Recipe: How’s The Beef?

Red meat. We love it. But because we’ve been told it’s bad for us, many of us have taken it out of our diets. On a recent segment, I discussed this with our resident Nutrition and Fitness Expert who told me that with a few stipulations, we can enjoy a little red meat and stay healthy too. Here’s what they had to say about eating, cooking and enjoying red meat.

The fact is that red meat is the best source of many nutrients including iron and zinc. Our Paleolithic (and therefore, genetic) ancestors were hunter/gatherers. They ate animals and non-cultivated vegetation, nuts and seeds. There was no cultivated grain. So, since heart disease did not exist millions of years ago, what has changed? What has changed is what the animals eat. Here is the first stipulation: you must eat grass-fed beef. It is higher in omega-3 fats and lower in saturated fat. Corn-fed beef is much higher in saturated fat and is pro-inflammatory instead of being anti-inflammatory. Animals such as buffalo, bison and venison are allowed to graze and they eat grass, not grain. Stipulation No. 2: If the animals are not grass-fed, they must be organic or free-range. Wild game is a good option.

Let’s get down to cooking. While many people will eat red meat well-done, it is not the healthiest option. It destroys the enzymes and denatures the proteins. What does that mean? Raw food in its natural state contains enzymes which help you digest it. When you fiddle with the food by cooking it, you destroy the enzymes and make your body work harder to break it down so that you can utilize the nutrients. It’s the same for protein. When proteins are denatured, it means that the protein molecule structure has been altered from its original state. Combine this with a high saturated fat content and you don’t exactly have a health food. Therefore, I always recommend eating red meat rare or medium rare. Well done meat is dead food and is best avoided.

So, here’s the beef on how to cook meat perfectly every time. The system to determine when meat is rare, medium rare, medium or and well done is easy and you only need one tool, your hand.

Hold your hand in front of you with your palm up, relaxed.

With the index finger of the other hand, gently tap the meaty part of your thumb that is closest to your wrist. That is what rare meat feels like.

With the open hand, gently bring your thumb and index finger together. Tap again with the index finger of the other hand. You will feel more tension in the muscle. That is what medium rare feels like.

If you put your thumb and middle finger together and gently touch the meaty part of the thumb, you will discover what medium feels like. And lastly, touching your thumb and fourth finger will feel like a well-done piece of meat.

And here’s one other very important fact to know about cooking meat. It doesn’t matter if it’s beef, lamb, buffalo, or even pork or chicken for that matter. If you want it to be juicy, you must never cut into it while it’s cooking or just after removing it from the grill or broiler. Meat must rest for at least ten minutes before slicing. A larger piece will require more resting time. Resting the meat will give it a chance to relax so the juices can be reabsorbed. Cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil to keep it warm.

And there you have it.