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Red Meat and The Paleo Diet

Who doesn’t like a nice, rare filet mignon for dinner?  Or some flank steak, marinated in cumin, orange, lime and garlic, sautéed with peppers and onions and served with Bibb Lettuce warps and guacamole to create Paleo Fajitas?

It’s too bad we can’t eat this type of food that often. Or can we? We’ve all heard “Don’t eat red meat more than once per week” and “Always choose the leanest cuts of meat” from not only our doctors, but also from the media.

Unfortunately, the misconception that eating red meat, in and of itself, can cause certain types of cancers, high cholesterol and weight gain in the case of choosing fattier cuts, often serves as a deterrent for eating what is, in actuality, an outstanding source of protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and fatty acids.

While we’d certainly want to avoid feed-lot, corn-fed beef, if we also ‘steer’ clear (pardon the pun) of 100% grass-fed beef, we’re actually doing ourselves a huge disservice.

To group the two together and present the nutritional value as one in the same would be akin to categorizing all proteins under one heading, where anything from hot dogs to wild salmon are suggested to be basically the same.

Not only does grass-fed beef come from a far more humane source, it’s also much higher in omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (a potent source of antioxidants), Vitamin E and beta-carotene than grain-fed beef.

So how often can we eat it?  Isn’t more than once per week too much?

Eating it in balance, with a variety of other wild proteins, is the key.

Just as we wouldn’t want to eat only pastured chicken breast and wild salmon along with only broccoli and spinach, if we focus on incorporating some grass-fed meat, some wild fish, some pastured chicken, some eggs from pastured hens and some game meats, if accessible, we’ll reach a nicely balanced range of proteins, to accompany an equally varied array of fresh, local, in season veggies.

Now, what about choosing between a rib eye and a filet? Surely, the rib eye is a no-go, isn’t it? Not necessarily.

There’s room on a Paleo Diet for a fattier cut now and then, too.

So long as we stick with grass-fed, adding the more decadent cuts once in a while can often be what keeps us more likely to stay true to our Paleo lifestyle.

The satiating effect of the higher fat content, not to mention the flavor, can be the pièce de résistance of a special occasion meal, providing that beautiful balance so inherent to this healthy approach to eating and living.

Here is a great recipe to try; it’s my Paleoista version of Argentinean Flank Steak with Chimichurri.

Salud!

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-3

  • 2 lbs grass fed flank steak
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried crushed red pepper, optional, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Using a meat tenderizer tool, pound both sides of steak.

2. Place smashed garlic onto flesh of one side and pound into meat with tenderizer tool.

3. Rub thoroughly with olive oil and squeeze lime on top.

4. Combine all dry spices and press into meat.

5. Place in glass or ceramic dish and cover tightly; let marinate in refrigerator at least four hours.

6. Combine four remaining ingredients in mini prep food processor and whiz to combine. Tightly cover and refrigerate.

7. Preheat oven to broil (or light up the barbeque) and cook for roughly three minutes per side for rare, or longer for more done.

8. Remove from heat and let rest while you steam your favorite veggies.

9. Serve together with parsley combination on top.

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