Sarah’s Rap: Does anyone remember the slogan “Where’s The Beef?” from Wendy’s commercials? Well, this has been what I’ve been asking lately. Burgers are one of my favorite foods on the planet. Even when I went vegan for almost a year back when I was diagnosed with digestive issues (it was the wrong tact for many reasons!), the only meat I craved was a nice grilled hamburger – juicy, sloppy and covered with yummy toppings. Considering my love of this guilty pleasure, you can imagine my disappointment when a recent MRT LEAP food sensitivity test listed beef as one of the foods which I was not tolerating. Not only beef, but things like almonds, lemons, avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, salicylic acid and a few others made the list. This was definitely upsetting, particularly the last one. Do you realize all the things salicylic acid is in? I hadn’t until I started researching. It’s not pretty! But as upsetting as that sensitivity is, the beef one seemed to bother me even more. Probably because I felt like one of my last comfort foods was being taken away. If you’re wondering why I have so many food sensitivities, this is very common for people suffering from Leaky Gut, particularly with foods that are eaten often. Leaky What? For more information on Leaky Gut and the bane of my existence in recent years, check out this excellent article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.
Well, as you may know by now, I am not one to sit back and let something like a beef intolerance get me down. I’ve already given up dairy, grains, sugars, most fruits, alcohol, most nuts and starchy vegetables after all!
I’ve been on the hunt for good substitutes for beef and have come across some excellent options which I’d had occasionally before at restaurants but which I never cooked at home. Even if you CAN eat beef, I’d recommend expanding your culinary repertoire to include a few delicious alternatives. FitDay.com has an excellent article that explains the benefits of eating on the more “exotic” side. As noted by the article’s author, Kari Hartel, most of the listed beef-alternatives are lower fat and higher in protein than traditional American beef. Bonus!
There are three recipes I’ll be making (and sharing) this week using some of these non-traditional meats – elk, bison and wild boar! Three recipes in one week?! Cha-ching! I hope this will spark some ideas to jazz up your weekly menus too. You can pretty much make anything with these meats that you would normally use beef for, although they do better when cooked slow-and-low due to their lower fat content. (You’ll notice my recipes will call for garlic, which is also on my new no-no list. 😦 I omitted it in mine, but if you can eat by all means include it in yours!)
It is important to make sure that the meat you get is either wild or grass-fed for the most nutrition, particularly for those with grain sensitivities. And as with any meat, make sure they are from a reputable food source. I was super excited to see that Prime Now in
Seattle-area delivers elk, bison and wild boar from my local supermarkets! If you’re not that lucky, many cities have a butcher in town that sells unique types of meat or you may find them at your local health food store in the frozen food section. Last resort, Amazon.com sells many different kinds as well. Durham Ranch is one company that sells ground wild boar, bison and elk on Amazon, although I am disappointed to see that their bison is grain-finished. NorthStar Bison is one company that offers 100% grass-fed bison, but you can likely find it at your local Whole Foods too. Be sure to do your research on the farm and feed.
I chose the three meats I am cooking with this week because they were the easiest to find. Wild boar tastes more like pork, rather than beef, but’s it a great meat to try, being leaner than pork but with a richer flavor. Bison tastes the most like beef and is the least “exotic”, in my opinion. It’s also one that I’ve cooked with before, and have often enjoyed it more than beef. Elk is the one meat I have not been able to find a grass fed version of yet, but I am going to try a burger recipe tomorrow with the locally grown ground elk that I found at a local butcher.
If you have any good recipes with any of these meats or other less-traditional meat alternatives, please share. I’m also going to be on the lookout for some ostrich or emu meat, which I’ve had before (oh how I miss Fuddrucker’s restaurants) and I might try goat as well. I ate goat when I went to India last year for work and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it! For many countries, goat is a staple and there’s likely a good reason why. According to this Washington Post article, another benefit to goat meat other than it’s flavor is it’s sustainability. Bonus! I’ve also had venison deliciously prepared as a roast and as sausages before and hope to venture into trying that one soon too. Rabbit is probably where I’ll draw the line since I’ve always wanted to own a bunny of my own. But I think there are enough other options for me that I can leave Thumper alone.
Look for the first recipe up tomorrow – Elk Burgers Extraordinaire. Enjoy your wild and exotic meals! I know I will!