(AscendHealthy.com) – Remember when buying meat for dinner meant choosing between hamburger or steak? These days, our increased interest in what’s in our food has resulted in detailed labels.
Beef labels today may tell us everything from what the cows ate to where they were raised. And as discussed below, those ingredient listings can also help us avoid a popular but unhealthy protein.
Is This Unhealthy Protein Hiding In Your Fridge?
When we think of cows and farms, we may picture livestock peacefully roaming around and munching grass. But increasingly, some beef producers are feeding their cows corn or grain in confined areas rather than letting them graze freely.
The corn-fed and grain-fed beef products resulting from these practices are widely available in grocery stores. They may even be hiding in plain sight in our refrigerators. This type of meat, though, might be unhealthy because of how corn and grain affect livestock.
Cows who live on grain and corn may suffer grain overload, known as acidosis. Beef producers typically treat sick livestock with antibiotics, which also may be used to prevent cattle from becoming sick.
The use of antibiotics in cows is linked to antibiotic resistance in people. Health professionals face more difficulties in curing illnesses caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These types of ailments also tend to be more expensive to treat.
Antibiotics aren’t the only reason to steer clear of corn-fed and grain-fed beef products. The increase in potentially lethal E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria is also associated with grain-fed cows.
Before beef producers fed grains to cattle, cows’ intestines provided a neutral-PH environment for bacteria. Consequently, even if those bacteria were in our meat, our acidic intestinal tracts didn’t allow the microbes to survive.
Now, however, cows who live on grains or corn are developing more acidic intestinal systems. Those acidic environments allow E. coli bacteria and other potentially dangerous microbes to flourish. The shift in cattle’s intestinal tracts from neutral-PH to acidic has made grain-fed beef potentially hazardous to our health.
What Are the Best Substitutes for This Unhealthy Protein?
We don’t need to give up our beloved burgers to avoid the risks of grain and corn-fed cattle. We have many different options, from grass-fed beef to turkey burgers.
To replace grain-fed and corn-fed beef, we may want to try:
- Grass-fed meat: We can find grass-fed meat by looking for labels that include the American Grassfed Association (AGA) certification. The AGA certifies that the meat comes from cows free to graze in open grass pastures. Born and raised on U.S. family farms, these cattle are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones.
- Organic meat: The USDA’s organic certification on meat means that the cattle grazed on grass and did not receive antibiotics. The organic label promises that the cows’ food excluded GMOs, synthetic ingredients, and chemicals.
- Ground turkey: Ground turkey made from lean white-meat poultry may be less expensive while offering a hamburger-like texture and rich protein source. Consider trying ground turkey in place of hamburger in recipes like tacos, sloppy joe’s, and meatloaf.
- Tofu: Tofu absorbs flavors. Choosing extra-firm, organic tofu to use with beef marinades and barbecue sauces may turn doubters into believers. This type of tofu can be pan-seared or grilled.
- Canned wild salmon: From burgers to casseroles, canned wild salmon makes a healthy substitute for beef. Bonus: Wild salmon provides us with omega-3 fatty acids and calcium.
Moderation Is Key
If we already have corn-fed or grain-fed beef in our fridges and freezers, we don’t necessarily have to toss these foods. Instead, we may want to cut down on our corn-fed beef consumption.
For example, we might enjoy a small amount of grain-fed beef in stir-fries, with meat used as a flavoring along with tofu for a protein source. Alternatively, we could dig into a big bowl of pasta with just a few meatballs or savor spicy red beans and rice made with a few slices of beef.
Those detailed labels in the meat counter might initially seem like time wasters. But by focusing on avoiding corn-fed or grain-fed beef, we may reduce the risks of antibiotic-resistant infections and E. coli.
From tofu marinated in barbecue sauce to grass-fed beef, we can choose from many tasty replacements. Whatever substitute we choose, avoiding unhealthy proteins is a recipe for increased wellness.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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