Holistic Nutrition: Raw Food 102
Why You Should Eat Raw Meat
(and how to do it safely...)
Eating enough raw foods is an important part of holistic nutrition.
If you haven’t already read
Raw Food 101,
make sure take a look at it. It addresses the health benefits of incorporating enough raw foods into your diet and gives you some basic guidelines for how best to do it.
Those holistic nutrition basics also apply here. This post deals specifically with eating raw meat and fish. In my next post, I’ll talk about raw dairy products, which are among of the healthiest and safest foods you can eat, AND are among my personal favorites.
Our negative attitudes about eating raw meat come from three places:
1. First, we think eating raw meat is gross just because it’s not what we’re used to.
2. There is an erroneous belief system in our society that animal products are inherently germy, and that we need to cook them to kill the germs and make them safe. The truth is, cultures around the world – including ours – have eaten raw animal products since the very beginning of our species. And we’re still here.
3. Although meat isn’t inherently germy, there is a very accurate understanding that today’s commercially mass produced food supply is not all that safe. That stuff would be dangerous to eat raw. And since it's the large preponderance of our meat supply, most people have the innacurate perception that all meat is unsafe to eat raw.
So let’s get into the reasons for why we DO want to incorporate raw animal products into our diet. The main reason is the same as with raw veggies and fruits: Cooking kills the nutrients and enzymes. More on that in Raw Food 101. With animal products, cooking also destroys important amino acids.
I have been enjoying sashimi (raw fish) since I first lived in Japan back in the 80’s. (A note on terminology – don’t confuse the terms “sushi” and “sashimi.” Sushi is the kelp covered rice roll that may contain raw fish, cooked fish or vegetables. It’s not a raw food. Sashimi slices of raw fish alone.)
I have been consuming raw dairy products pretty much on a daily basis for many years. I consider raw milk products to be one of the healthiest, most important and highest priority foods in my diet.
I’m pretty new to eating raw beef. I first tried it when my wife, Cricket, and I were visiting Philadelphia last summer (June 2011). We had dinner in an excellent restaurant called the White Dog Café, which serves a lot of food from local farms. If you're ever in Philly, I highly recommend it. They definitely have a handle on holistic nutrition. I saw Steak Tartare on the menu. I knew that it was raw beef, and I had never tried it, so we decided to order it. It was delicious! Since then I have made it several times, trying various recipes. At the end of this article, you’ll find my own recipe.
If you are going to consume raw animal products, there are some things you need to know to do so safely:
Get your dairy, eggs and meat ONLY from a local farm you know and trust. Make sure the meat has been grass fed AND grass finished…in other words grass fed for its entire life. Some beef labeled “grass fed” may have been grass fed for most of its life and then fattened in a feed lot for the last 2-3 months. Even a short period of time in a feed lot causes beef to lose important nutritive value. And since feed lots can be very crowded, they can also be very unsanitary and unhealthy. NEVER use the cheap stuff from the supermarket. Most of that comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) – feedlots – that are just plain filthy. Eating raw meat from them would be dangerous. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, do a Google image search for “CAFO.” You’ll be mortified.
Consider deep freezing meat that you plan to eat raw, for 14 dys. This kills any parasites that may be present. I have read this in several different places, but I have also read recommendations against it because freezing can also kill enzymes. Take your pick. I’ve tried it both ways.
For raw fish – only eat sashimi grade fish from a reputable restaurant market or specialty market. Sashimi grade fish is raised, stored, shipped and prepared with the intention of being eaten raw. Supermarket fish, even if it’s wild caught, usually isn’t, unless that is specifically stated.
Now, as promised, here’s my own special recipe for steak tartare:
1 lb raw grass fed, organic ground beef from a local farm that you know and trust
1 raw egg from a truly free range hen raised on a local farm that you know and trust
3 Tbsp raw organic apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp of dry mustard
1 tsp turmeric
3 dashes of cayenne pepper
Put all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and then squish them all together thoroughly by hand.
Enjoy atop fresh celery sticks or bok choy. Yum!
If you haven’t already, make sure you watch the accompanying “Raw Food 102” video. At the end, I show you how I make my steak tartare recipe…and I throw in a surprise twist at the end.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on eating raw meat. Please take a moment to leave a comment below. Your thoughts are valued by everyone reading this.
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