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It’s Grilling Season – Are You Eating the Safest Meat?

It’s Grilling Season – Are You Eating the Safest Meat?

There’s a growing interest in the “carnivore” diet, which focuses heavily or exclusively on eating meat.

But is all meat created equally? And is it all equally safe?


Read on to find out how to choose (and cook!) meat that won’t make you sick – ideally in both the short term and long term.

That way you can truly enjoy your grill this summer!

Young caucasian woman holding board with raw meat clueless and confused expression. doubt concept.

Your Meat’s Source – Perhaps Not as Wholesome as You Assume? 

Most people assume that because there’s a USDA stamp on your meat package, it’s automatically safe. Not so fast… 

The source of your meat makes a huge difference in food safety on multiple levels.  

Most meat comes from CAFOs – which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. These are large-scale industrial facilities (read: factory farms) where animals are raised crowded in confined spaces.  

There are multiple problems with CAFOs, and they can reflect negatively for your health.  

If you’ve ever driven by one of the nation’s humungous factory farms, you’re sure to understand why. You’ll be plugging your nose for miles on end! 

5 Nasty Characteristics of CAFOs 

1. Antibiotic resistance. CAFOs rely on antibiotics to prevent infections (to compensate for the crowded and unsanitary conditions), or to promote faster growth. When you consume the meat containing all these antibiotics, you can become exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria… which puts you at greater risk of infections, sometimes serious ones.

2. Spread of pathogens. As if that wasn’t enough, the crowded conditions help breed the spread of pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. These can produce foodborne illnesses in humans… especially in those who may be immune-compromised.

3. Poor nutritional profile. CAFO animals are fed a diet heavily based on corn and soy. These alter the fatty acid content and nutrient profile of the meat. And in the end, you eat what the animals eat!

4. Environmental concerns. CAFOs generate large quantities of animal waste, which pollutes nearby waterways, soil, and air. Pollutants include nitrogen and phosphorus, which contribute to algae blooms and ecosystem disruption. They also release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

5. Animal welfare concerns. Many people are concerned about the ethical treatment of the animals in CAFOs.

cows graze on a green field in sunny weather and blue sky, layout with space for text copy space. Cattle grazing in a lush green field in the daytime summer meadow

A Safer Alternative 

Fortunately, there are better alternatives available.

Choosing meat from sources that utilize responsible farming practices, including organic or pasture-raised production methods, reduce risks from CAFO meats.

Grassfed meats greatly reduce the risks involved with CAFO meats.

One of the biggest historical complaints about grassfed and organic meats has been its cost. However, over the past couple years of high inflation, buying directly from the farmer (at farmer’s markets or directly from the farm) has become far more viable financially.

This is because the price of beef rose astronomically in stores over the past two years, compared to buying directly from the farmer.

Leisure, food, people and holidays concept. Man cooking meat on barbecue grill at outdoor summer party

How You Cook the Meat Matters Too

Overcooking meat can lead to a number of problems, among them the production of carcinogenic compounds. Is this the real reason some experts recommend you remove meat from your diet if you’re diagnosed with cancer?

Faulty Cooking Threat #1

When meat is cooked at high temps for too long, compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form. Especially when meat is charred or exposed to open flames.

Perhaps the most devastating risk of these compounds is an increased risk of cancer.

Several studies have linked HCAs to tumors in various organs, including colon, liver, lungs, mammary glands, and prostate.

There’s limited direct evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. But there’s strong biological plausibility based on animal studies and the mechanisms of HCA action.

HCAs are also known to cause DNA damage. They bind to DNA and lead to genetic mutation. DNA damage is known to disrupt normal cellular function and promote out-of-control cell growth.

HCAs can produce oxidative stress, which is when there’s an imbalance between harmful free radicals and the body’s antioxidant defenses. Oxidative stress in turn can damage cells, proteins, and DNA.

Faulty Cooking Threat #2

High heat cooking also produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs occur when protein and sugars react at high temps during grilling, frying, and toasting. This reaction can also occur naturally in the body during normal metabolic processes.

AGEs are linked to various chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

AGEs lead to degenerative disease because of:

  • Cellular dysfunction. AGEs can accumulate in tissues system-wide, including your skin, blood vessels, kidneys, and brain. Once formed they can bind to specific receptors and lead to cellular dysfunction and oxidative stress. Which in turn can lead to chronic inflammation and organ damage.
  • Inflammation. AGEs can promote inflammation, activate inflammatory pathways, and stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory molecules.
  • Impaired cellular function. AGEs can interfere with normal cellular function, disrupt key biological processes, and more.

AGEs can also form internally as part of the normal aging process.

Minimizing Your Exposure, Maximizing Your Health

Fortunately you have options and ways to reduce exposure.

1. One of our recent podcast guests – a man whose son had childhood cancer – says that he never cooks things above 350 degrees. Cooking methods like boiling, steaming, stewing, and poaching results in fewer AGEs and HCAs versus high-temperature methods such as grilling, broiling, and frying.

But I can hear you say you want to use the grill. And I get it. So here are your other options. 

2. Buy leaner cuts of meat. Fat dripping onto hot surfaces during cooking leads to HCA formation. Lean cuts of meat and trimming excess fat before cooking can help reduce that risk. Grassfed beef is naturally leaner than conventionally grain-fed beef.

3. Marinate your meats in acidic marinades (think vinegar, lemon or lime juice, citrus zest) for at least 30 minutes. This helps reduce HCA formation by slowing the reaction between amino acids and creatine.

3. Use more antioxidant-rich herbs and spices in your cooking. They can help mitigate the negative effects of AGEs and HCAs. Examples include rosemary, thyme, oregano, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon – all of which help counter some of the oxidative stress of HCAs and AGEs.

4. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables which provide antioxidants and phytochemical that protect against harmful compounds such as AGEs and HCAs. These foods can help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.

5. Practice moderation and balance. Don’t cook your foods at high temperatures every day. Variety is the spice of life. Balance your cooking methods as well as your foods.

6. When cooking leaner meats, such as grassfed meats, use shorter cooking times and a lower temperature.

7. Rest the meat before serving. Allow your cooked grassfed beef to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This helps retain moisture and enhance tenderness. While resting, the juices redistribute throughout the meat, giving more flavor.

In summary, buying lean grassfed meats directly from the farmer, and cooking it at lower temperatures most of the time minimizes your risk and still lets you enjoy your protein – and your grill.

Make it a healthy summer!

Episode 66

How Doctors and the Medical System Actually Conspire Against You

If you’ve ever not gotten well after being treated repeatedly with the allopathic medical system, there’s good reason for that. What’s the hidden agenda that keeps you stuck in a cycle of poor health? And how do they perpetuate it against all odds? 

Discover how the system is rigged against you… and how they keep you hooked even when you’re thoroughly disenfranchised. 

Once you know that, you’ll know how to fight and win back the health and wellness of your dreams.  

Watch the video on YouTube now. Prefer audio only?

Listen on Spotify now.

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It’s Grilling Season – Are You Eating the Safest Meat?

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