Something surprising to many people about fat loss is that it is OK to eat red meat. And not only can use you lose fat while keeping it in your diet, but it provides the body with many essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids that may be hard to come by without it. For example, vitamin B12, a vital cofactor for energy production, is only available in animal protein and abundant in red meat. Your body’s healthy gut bacteria make some, but not enough to meet the body’s needs. Amino acids carnitine and carnosine, primarily found in muscle, are also abundant in lean animal protein sources and aid in fat oxidation and energy metabolism.
However, you do need to watch out for “red meat gone bad”–and I don’t mean past the expiration date. Red meat, depending on how the animal from which it came was raised–grain-fed or grass-fed/finished–has a huge impact on the leanness of the cut. The food upon which the animal was raised affects the meat’s total amount of saturated fat, as well as its ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, an indication of whether consuming the meat will be more inflammatory or anti-inflammatory in the body. For example, grass-fed beef tends to be leaner (less total fat and saturated fat) and contains a more favorable ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids = less inflammatory in the body. Fatty meats like conventionally-raised beef (fed grain) and other unlean cuts contain higher levels of long-chain saturated fats, more overall fat, plus tend to be more pro-inflammation, and less healthy overall.
Bison are much more likely (though not always) to be raised and fed on grass, since they do not do as well on grain as cows. Thus it is more likely that their meat is leaner and less inflammatory than their conventionally-raised counterparts. Bison is our favorite red meat choice because of its amazing nutritional profile and also its yumminess–definitely tender and has a ton of flavor, despite being lean. Just be sure to do your homework and make sure your bison products are grass-fed. Check out Carolina Bison, located in Asheville, North Carolina for more info on how bison are raised and some more recipes.
You can get ground bison and bison steaks at the butcher counter of Whole Foods Markets and other similar grocers, and frozen bison patties can be found pretty much at any grocery store. The per pound price is similar to that of lean cuts of ground beef. Use it just like ground beef, sauteed up with veggies, add to salads, make burgers, etc.
One of our favorite uses is our Bison Chili Recipe! I make this almost every Sunday for the upcoming week, and then just take a serving out of the vat to heat up when it’s time to eat. Even kids will eat this! :) Here is the recipe (makes about 8 servings):
3 lbs lean ground bison
1 cup chopped white onions
10 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 16 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 can pinto or black beans
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 tbsp crushed red pepper
3 tbsp chili pepper
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp Bone Suckin’ sauce or something similar
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon (my secret ingredient!)
Sautee up bison along with onions and garlic until brown
Place mixture into a large sauce pan on medium heat, add diced tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, stir 1 minute
One by one, add spices and seasonings, stirring throughout
Reduce heat to medium/low, cover and let simmer 1 hour
Stir, reduce heat to low, let simmer 1 more hour (the longer it simmers, the more the flavors come out)
Remove and store for the week :)
Let us know what you think! Enjoy! ox Jill