Lean meat and skinless poultry should be eaten in moderation. Watch your lunch meat consumption because it is processed. Eat lunch meat in limited amounts.
If you're a vegetarian or a plant-based eater, we respect your food choices.
Food for thought...
- So, here’s a pretty easy one: When your diet consists of healthy foods that you were designed to digest, you’re healthier as a whole… right?
- Do you think the same goes for animals? If they’re fed the foods they would eat in their natural environment, what they were designed to digest, are they more likely to be healthier as a whole?
- Have you ever heard of a chicken or cattle feedlot? Are you familiar with the animal's living conditions in most feedlots?
- How do feedlots speed up growth and shorten the length of time needed before cattle go to slaughter? Could a corn-based diet have anything to do with it?
- When cattle begin eating a diet that consists largely of corn, why do they need to be fed daily rations of antibiotics?
- If hormones are used to promote growth, do you think those hormones could remain in the animal’s meat? If antibiotics are administered or pesticides are used in their food, could trace amounts remain? If so, do you think it’s healthy for you to consume that meat?
- Do you think the environment that an animal lives in can affect its health? How about the quality of its meat? Do you think there could there be a difference in the quality of meat between cattle that live in a healthy environment and graze freely in a pasture versus cattle fed corn and other grains, confined to a small area and forced to stand in their own and other cattle's feces for extended periods of time?
- If an animal is healthy, do you think that plays a role in the overall quality of its meat?
- Do you think eating meat that is processed with preservatives can have a negative impact on your health? Could trace amounts remain?
- Have you ever purchased meat from a local butcher? Would you consider it?
- You may find that the meat at a local butcher is of higher quality and is less expensive than 100% grass-fed meat at a grocery store. Would it be possible for you to visit a local butcher and ask where the animals were raised, what their diet consisted of, if they had regular access to a pasture and if they were administered growth hormones?
- There are various ways to cook meat: braising, slow cooking, roasting, broiling, pan frying and grilling. Different cuts of meat are cooked best in certain ways. Have you tried cooking different cuts in a variety of ways?
The “No-No’s”: What should you steer clear of when it comes to meat and poultry?
- Avoid meat or poultry from animals that were administered growth hormones and antibiotics.
- Avoid meat or poultry with preservatives such as nitrates or nitrites added (naturally occurring is okay).
- Avoid highly processed meats, poultry or luncheon meats.
- Avoid breaded meat patties or nuggets.
So, what’s okay to eat when it comes to meat and poultry?
- Eat lean meat and skinless poultry. Certain cuts of meat are leaner than others.
- Eat limited amounts of dark meat due to a higher fat content (chicken and turkey).
- Eat limited amounts of lunch meat.
Some things to look for when checking meat and poultry labels and ingredients:
- All natural
- 100% grass-fed beef (if it doesn't state 100% there's no way to know how much of their diet is actually grass)
- Chicken and turkey fed a vegetarian diet, preferably soy-free (some are fed all-vegetarian diets that include soy)
- Pasture-raised chicken
- Choose pasture-raised over free-range chicken. Free-range means the chicken may only have access to 2 whopping feet of outdoor space. Better, but not awesome!
- Be wary of cage-free chicken. Cage-free chickens have no outdoor access.
- No antibiotics ever administered or no added antibiotics
- No added growth hormones or stimulants
- No artificial colors, added flavors or preservatives
- Meat in casing should only have simple ingredients such as the meat, water, salt, spice and the casing (sausage).
Don't be nervous to ask the butcher or deli attendant. This is your HEALTH!
- Look for all natural lunch meats; basically, the meat, salt and spices.
- Try to get lunch meat from a whole hock or bone rather than pressed lunch meat.
- Look for low sodium lunch meats without artificial ingredients, flavor additives, added preservatives, sodium nitrites or sodium nitrates.
- Avoid lunch meat with added coloring.
- Look for lunch meat from a butcher or deli sliced fresh rather than prepackaged.
Vegetarian "meat" products such as veggie burgers:
Vegetarian "meat" products are often filled with a host of questionable ingredients. Like anything else when it comes to FULLfoods, always check the ingredients.
- Look for all natural products consisting of whole foods such as millet, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and veggies.
- Avoid products with artificial ingredients, flavor additives, added coloring, vegetable oils and processed soy protein.
Some of our favorite FULLfood meat and poultry for you to try:
- Beef: Leaner cuts include eye of round, top round, top loin, sirloin, tenderloin and London broil. When eating ground beef, choose a leaner ground beef.
- Pork: Leaner cuts include top loin, sirloin, tenderloin, loin chop and rib chop.
- Lamb: Leaner cuts include leg of lamb, arm and loin.
- Skinless chicken: Chicken breast and white meat are leaner meats.
- Turkey: Turkey breast and white meat are leaner meats. When eating ground turkey, choose ground turkey breast because it is leaner.
- Game meat: venison, duck or rabbit
- Elk and bison
Where to find your meat and poultry
- Locally raised and butchered meat or poultry from a reputable resource is preferred.
- If you're unsure where to find local meat, look for local butchers online or ask around at your local farmer's market or food co-op.
- When you can’t buy local, consider purchasing meat and poultry that is organic or from a reputable small-scale company.
FULLfood facts and fun
- Meat and poultry from a local butcher may be cheaper than meat and poultry from a larger scale company due to lower overhead, no shipping costs and reduced packaging costs.
- Consider purchasing meat in bulk, such as buying half a cow or pig. It’s much cheaper in the long run. You can split the meat up with others if necessary.
- Annually, we purchase half a cow that's butchered from a local farm. It’s much cheaper than buying individual cuts.
- Organic meat doesn’t necessarily mean the animal was grass-fed or pasture-raised.
- If asking questions makes you nervous, go to the butcher or deli during a low-traffic time when there aren't as many people around.
- 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised meats are best. But if you can’t afford it, buy the best quality meat you can.
- Veggie burgers with FfL-friendly ingredients make a great meal in a pinch! We keep them in the freezer for a busy day. Warm a tortilla (I prefer Siete Almond Flour Tortillas), top with your veggie burger, ¼ slice of muenster cheese, fresh sprouts and hot sauce.
- If you're looking for a good read and want to learn more about the food industry, meat in particular, check out Michael Pollan's "Omnivour's Dilemma." Another good resource that you can find on Netflix is the documentary "Food Inc."
Substitutions that are considered FULLfoods
- For a delicious low-fat option in recipes or when preparing burgers, consider using ground turkey breast rather than ground beef. You can season the meat with herbs and spices.
- Rather than using lunch meat in your wraps and sandwiches, consider grilling and using chicken breast, ham, turkey or roast beef.
Tips and preparation
- Pressed for the time it takes to prepare healthy meals? Grill a large quantity of meat, cut it into strips and freeze it in small packages with three to four servings. Grab one from the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before you want to use it.
- Want to cut down on your fat intake when eating chicken? Avoid eating the skin! It can be high in fat content and calories. When cooking a whole chicken or drumsticks, cut the skin off before cooking it.
- When browning ground meat, drain and discard the fat drippings rather than adding them into the dish with your meal.
- When cooking lean meat, adjust the cook time accordingly. It often cooks faster due to a lower fat content.
Tips when eating out
- Avoid ordering fried meat or poultry.
- Avoid ordering breaded meat or poultry.
- Avoid ordering meat or poultry that is cooked in butter or cream sauces due to a high fat content.
- Instead, consider ordering baked, grilled or broiled meat or poultry.
- Check out and visit a local butcher. Talk to the sales staff or owner and consider purchasing your meat and poultry there.
- Focus on finding an outlet for quality meat products. Ask questions and search until you get the right answers. Once you find the meat you're looking for, you can continue using that source!
- Cut down on fat by purchasing skinless chicken or removing the skin from the chicken when you prepare it.
- Purchase a cut of lean meat and cook it in a way that differs from your “typical” preparation. Consider braising, slow cooking, roasting, broiling, pan frying or grilling it.
- Instead of purchasing lunch meat, try cooking, slicing and packaging your own meat to use in sandwiches. You can freeze or refrigerate it. You could even use some leftovers from #3 to do this!
- Consider keeping veggies burgers with FfL-friendly ingredients in your freezer for an in-a-pinch option.
- Plan to bake, grill or cook your meats on your prep day.