So I decided to try a new dinner recipe last week. Kevin was getting bored with the copious amounts of poultry and fish we were eating so I made a pork tenderloin. Because I eat a diet that is high in meat-based protein, I’ve been trying to choose “healthier” cuts of meat lately. Paleo places an emphasis on eating a lot of meat, but not all meat is created equal.
If you’re trying to find a balance, here are some examples of healthy meat vs. not-so-healthy meat:
- Chicken breast (not fried)
- Fish like tuna and salmon (not fried)
- Lean cuts of buffalo or bison meat (even the American Heart Associate likes buffalo and bison meat because it’s “lower in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium” than beef)
- Lean cuts of beef like round, chuck, sirloin or tenderloin (preferably grass-fed) are completely okay in moderation
- Lean cuts of pork like tenderloin
- Cured meats like bacon, sausage, brats, and hot dogs. Cured meats typically contain nitrates, preservatives, and artificial color enhancers and flavors. When cooked, these ingredients can form “N-nitroso” compounds which have been linked to cancer. Source: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/bad-meats/#axzz2SGplVXqp
- Deli cold-cuts like turkey and ham slices. What do these contain? Nitrates that preserve the meat. Here’s what TLC.com says about cold-cuts, “Sodium nitrite reacts with stomach acid and other chemicals in the stomach to produce nitrosamines, which have been shown to cause cancer in animals when consumed in large quantities.” Cold-cuts also contain a lot of salt.
- Any processed meat (like turkey and burger patties that are wrapped in plastic and then frozen in a box). These often contain preservatives and high amounts of salt.
- Any meat that is cooked at high temperatures. You know the black, seared part of a chicken breast hot off the grill? That’s not good. Here’s some information from cancer.gov, “Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame. In laboratory experiments, HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic—that is, they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer.” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cooked-meats
Here are ways to avoid HCAs and PAHs from forming: 1) Avoid direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface 2) Avoiding prolonged cooking times 3) Using a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures can also substantially reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat must be in contact with high heat to finish cooking 4) Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation 5) Removing charred portions of meat can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure.
I hope this gives a clearer idea of how to tell healthy meat apart from non-healthy meat. Now onto my recipe!
Paleo Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce
1 lb pork tenderloin
1 small carton of blueberries
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp thyme
Rub thyme all over the pork tenderloin and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
In a small sauce pan, finely crush blueberries and add honey. Stir frequently over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until warm and bubbly.
Once the pork tenderloin is cooked, remove from the oven, cut it up, and pour the blueberry sauce over it.
I made pan-roasted sweet potatoes and cinnamon pears as sides to go with this meal. Enjoy!