According to Conrad

Food manufacturers use vegetable oils for the same reason other manufacturers use plastic: it is easy to manipulate chemically, the public can be taught to ignore the consequences of its use and, best of all, it's cheap


Whether or not you like the ethics, we have evolved to preferentially eat animals, and especially fat animals. I've discovered that from a nutritional perspective eating meat is like buying houses - buy the worst house on the best street; eat the worst meat of the best animal. Fillet steak is beautifully tender and is great for building muscle. If you want also to build your bones, joints, organs and brain, then eat the whole animal. Sardines and shellfish are great in part because you eat the whole animal (not that shellfish have much in the way of bones or brains). Our distant ancestor were scavengers, thriving on brains and marrow. Later they became active hunters, but hunters (like lions) prefer the organs and innards to muscle (see Stefansson).

Being aware that cured meats are suspicious, I thought about making my own. So I looked at Jeremy Schmid's recent Bangers to bacon. Every recipe called for Colorquick. The glossary describes it thus: "Colorquik is the standard preserving agent used in dried, smoked and cured meats. It prevents botulism, enhances flavour, and helps retain the natural pink colour of meat. Colorquick must not be used as common salt! It is a highly poisonous substance. It must be measured with accurately and used with extreme caution [author's italics]. Always store Colorquick out of reach of children.'' And we are supposed to eat that?

Wild or free-rangebeforeshed-bound. They also need to be free range (real free range, not the legal NZ definition).
Grass-fedbeforecorn (or anything else unnatural to the species) fed.
Organicbeforethe pesticide and antibiotic-laden, of course. Especially for pork: There's much debate on nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines - I recommend playing safe and avoiding nitrate-cured meats, which rules out the mass-produced bacons and salamis1.
Full fatbeforetrim
Flesh on the bonebeforeflesh off the bone
Raw or rarebeforewell cooked or burnt (pork and chicken aside)
Naturally curedbeforeany preservatives, colouring or Colourquick/nitrates

My take:

  • Our western tastes in meat are too 'refined' for health. We should eat insects and reptiles, and the innards rather than just the flesh of mammals and birds, but we (I included) share a common culture of squeamishness.
  • Organic meats including liver (definitely organic for livers)
  • Eat beef rare or raw (e.g. steaks at the rare or blue end steak tatare)
  • Meats on the bone wherever possible - oxtail and osso bucco for example are excellent, as are chops and T-bones. Become a bone-gnawer.
  • Extensive use of stocks and broths, organic of course
  • Traditionally smoked bacons and meats only - avoid all additives

1 In New Zealand, the Harmony brand and all organic pig farms are true free range, Freedom farms are 50% free range. The SPCA blue tick indicates 50%+ free range. The pork industry's Pigcare label is irrelevant - it just means complies with NZ law. (TV3)

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Page last modified on February 29, 2016, at 07:09 AM