Outdoor barbeques have become a family tradition for many families across the globe. There’s nothing like real, delectable food to bring together family and friends, right? But wait, is grilled meat still a part of the Paleo diet food list?
Grilling The Grilled Meat Issue
This is one of the most common questions I come across when talking to people who genuinely love their meat and contemplating on making a big switch to Paleo. So back to the issue at hand – grilled meat.
The question is, is chomping down some freshly grilled, grass-fed rib eye considered safe and in line with the Paleo diet food guidelines?
Well, certainly eating red meat is highly recommended but as you already know, grilling comes with some serious health risks, as it is closely associated with cancer. Why is grilling discouraged in the first place?
The Dark Side of Grilling
Grilling can create two different types of potential cancer-causing agents: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). What are these and why should they matter to you? PAHs refer to the smoke that is generated from fat drippings. When grilling, smoke will envelope your meat, thereby transferring PAHs to the meat. On the other hand HCAs are generally formed when meats are grilled under significantly high temperature for extended periods of time.
In recent studies, these two culprits are closely associated with the development of colon, breast, prostrate, and stomach tumors. Many people I know would just say, “Well, everything is it now considered cancer causing agents, right?”
Healthier Cooking Alternatives To Grilling
Well, you can still go ahead and enjoy your red meat without the health risks that are associated with grilling food. Here are some great ideas in preparing your Paleo diet food, especially during summer season:
Marinate Your Meat. Marinating can help add flavor to your meat as well as tenderize it. Marinating can also help in blunting the heat, which will result to the decreased levels of HCAs from grilling. Consider adding in some rosemary and thyme herbs to your marinade in order to further lower down the HCA formation.
Microwave it. Before you grill your meat, consider nuking in using a microwave oven for about 1 to 2 minutes. The microwave can effectively release some of the meat compounds that are known to contribute in the formation of HCA.
Serve It Rare. Yes, rare. By avoiding well done cooking of your Paleo diet food red meat, you can also lessen the exposure to PAHs and HCAs. With less time spent on grilling, it can result to shorter grill time and less smoke exposure.
Accessorize it. Add some cruciferous veggies to your grilled meat. Among the highly recommended ones include cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, all of which are known to contain key nutrients that can help the body in metabolizing chemicals that are produced during grilling.
Save grilling on weekends and special occasions. Instead of merely focusing on preparing grilled meat, consider other ways to prepare your Paleo diet food such as roasting, pressure cooking, braising, stewing, poaching, stir frying as well as using the crock pot.
Don’t overdo it. The last thing you want is to burn your perfectly marinated red meat. To avoid this, seriously consider buying a meat thermometer, which basically works to give you thumbs up that your meat is not ready for you to gnaw and enjoy.
So there you have it. All the above-mentioned suggestions offer a wonderful and smart way of preparing and enjoying your red meat and reducing the ill-effects of grilling. If you are curious on the different Paleo approved spices that you can use with your meat, check out the blog post on spices.