Food Quality – Eating Out – On Meat

Eating Out – Meat: Fresh, Frozen, Thawed, Cooked

and what to keep in mind when you choose your meat

Some time ago I volunteered to help for an event organized here and I had my meal outside, in a food-court-like canteen. I tried to pick up the food staying true to my main principles:

  • high in nutrients (especially the essential ones – eggs and organ meat most nutritious)
  • good carbohydrates (green, leafy vegetables and some roots vegetables)
  • avoid oily, sweet, salty, spicy  gravies

This was my plate with the choice food from what was available there, carefully selected and negotiated with the food vendor: “please give me this and that and I pay accordingly”.

Plate of balanced food in local school canteenA meal in a local canteen – mix of steamed veggies, boiled egg and chicken stew. Kopi without sugar.

Even so, the experience was far from good and I promised myself to think and plan better next time I have to eat out in an unknown place.

The problem was the poor quality of the meat reflected in its lack-of-taste, or a rather unpleasant taste, felt in spite of retaining some of the sweet, pungent taste of the gravy in which it was cooked.

Unfortunately even in fancier eating places than this little canteen I was served meat of similar, poor quality, its “lack-of-taste” hidden in tasty gravies or sauces. When these places regularly replace our home kitchen, diseases starts to replace our health.

It becomes important to know more about meat/meal quality and how to make better choices and I would like to share with you few facts and tips on that.

When possible it is always better to choose fresh meat over frozen meat. Thawed meat should be the last choice. 

It is important for you to keep in mind 2 details about thawed meat:

1. The longer the meat stays frozenthe more vitamins are lost. As a consequence the meat is not metabolized properly in the body and generates more toxic-inflammatory substances.(One example – low blood level of B6,B12, folic acid leads to high blood level of Homocysteine, correlated with occurrence of degenerative diseases)

Please take note that the vegetarians and vegans can have this problem, too: the vitamin loss in the refined, highly processed and not properly cooked grains and legumes leads also to improper digestion and accumulation of toxic, inflammatory metabolites in the body. (One example –  Thiamin deficiency and BeryBery disease) 

2. The more time from thawing to cooking – the more putrefaction, toxic substances are generated (indols, scatols) – a heavy burden for liver to detoxify.

Thawed meat decomposes several time faster than fresh meat, and it needs to be cooked IMMEDIATELY after thawing.

Cooking, Heating and Reheating Reduces Meat Quality 

Another point to keep in mind when we eat meat is that Complex B Vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folic acid, Vitamin B12, etc) are being destroyed every time we reheat the cooked food or if we prolong the heating process.

Here are some data on how different nutrients react during food processing, the “optimistic “scenario, when everything goes well and frozen time is minimum, but otherwise the losses can be more than is recorded here:

Nutrient losses with cookinghttp://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/processing

When is Meat Detrimental to Health?

Meat is more nutritious than many other types of food, but there are conditions when meat looses its nutritive value and becomes detrimental to our health:

  • meat that was frozen for a long time (for months or even worse – close to expiry date, a year or maybe more)
  • meat unattended properly when is thawed (not cooked IMMEDIATELY)
  • fresh meat not stored properly
  • cooked meat not stored properly or stored for long
  • meat that is reheated or kept warm for a long time after cooking

At least some of these problems are very common for the meat that you eat in the food courts, fast food places or even some restaurants. The meat can be nutritionally void, “dead”, and to some extent may be even toxic.

Many children and adults may suffer because they eat poor quality food lacking essential vitamins and other essential nutrients. They may feel lethargic, experience energy drops throughout the day, they don’t look their best and can get sick often or even have allergic reactions and in time serious health problems.

Though the appearance and the balance of the ingredients on your choice food plate might be good –  when you eat outside you have little control over the quality of your food, and that matters a lot to your health in the long run.

How to Choose Best Quality Meat/Meal?

  1. BECOME AWARE: choose carefully your food and pay attention to what your taste buds are trying to tell you. Assess the taste of the meat in the absence of the gravies and sauces. You will notice the difference in taste for different meats in different shops.
  2. Be mindful to the food’s quality more than the food’s price, when you find something good stick to it.
  3. Talk to your vendors, ask them politely about ingredient choices, fresh or thawed, most fresh meat dish of the day, cooking procedures. When you find something good, share the info with your friends so the good businesses and our health will both thrive
  4. If you consider you have no healthy food choices when eating out, plan better and home-pack your food
  5. If you buy frozen meat and thaw it yourself, cook it IMMEDIATELY, be mindful of what you learned here or even better, reconsider your choices. You never know for how long was that meat frozen or if it was handled properly
  6. If your kids eat in the school canteen make sure they know what they eat. Go with them and help them identify best food choices. Sooner or later they will pay attention and they, too, will appreciate the value and taste of really good food. In time they will get stronger and stronger. Getting GENTLE support from you can only help. Come forward with better choices that they also enjoy
  7. Be aware there is a war between convenience-complacency, pushy commercials adds and social pressure on one side and your motivation and will to sustain true-health and well-being on the other
  8. Strengthen your will. Recall often how good you feel when you prepare and how bad you feel when you don’t
  9. Plan, prepare, prevail

IMG_5093Little lunch box – asparagus, broccoli, spinach, coriander, onion, garlic, kalamata olives, grass-fed beef.

I witnessed how the health of many patients improved tremendously only by changing this one habit – replacing the food they eat outside with good quality food brought from home most of the time. The changes I noticed most frequently were consistent, persistent weight loss, no more fever episodes and no more recurrent infections.

I hope that sharing this with you will be of help to you, too.

sushi ketogenicAt “Sushi Express” – Salmon Sashimi, White Fish, Monk Fish Liver, Broccoli, Spinach, Ginger, Wasabi, White Radish, Cabbage, Onion, Soy Sauce, Sesame Sauce and Seeds and Green Tea – a meal almost at the same price as one in the food court.

When you find something really good, you need not vary that much, unless you find something better. 🙂

 

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