We are constantly told that consumption of too much red meat is a major cause of heart disease, among other health problems. Yet many of us continue to indulge in a tender steak or juicy burger. The small period of happy satisfaction garnered from such delicious fare is apparently worth more than the unseen risks.
However, thanks to the advent of a more nutritional, healthier source of red meat, we can now enjoy that hearty steak and worry a little bit less, feel a little less guilty. Buffalo is the new alternative to beef, and is a far cry better for our bodies, while essentially tasting the same as the savory beef we are all familiar with.
Buffalo meat contains only 2.4 grams of fat per 3.5 oz. (100 grams), while beef contains a whoppingly higher count, at 9.2 grams. Calories are nearly cut in half, with buffalo meat weighing in at 140 calories, and beef at 211. Admittedly, there is nary a difference in the amount of cholesterol in buffalo meat and beef, holding steady at about 83 mg, but since additional fat in our bodies helps to produce additional cholesterol, the absence of much of the fat content in buffalo meat means that we wont be giving ourselves another unhealthy dosage of cholesterol as we would with beef.
Another benefit of buffalo meat and its low fat content is that the cuts of the meat are tender and very lean, and buffalo meat will also not shrink when cooked, as beef tends to do. Tasting as delicious as beef, buffalo meat is also higher in protein and almost 70% higher in iron. A logical choice for a health-conscious eater or someone who just wants a little more nutritional value and meat for their dollar.
Buffalo meat can now be found in many supermarkets, either in pre-made burgers or ground form, and as steaks. Many diners also offer buffalo burgers as an alternative to beef burgers, recognizing the rising interest in the healthier, more nutritional red meat.
Though not quite as popular or readily available as buffalo, ostrich meat is another red meat steadily gaining attention. With the enticing flavor of beef tenderloin, but actually classified as poultry, ostrich meat is already a tasty dish consumed frequently in many European restaurants, and to a lesser degree, upscale American restaurants.
Containing less than half the fat of chicken, at 2.8 grams, with chicken at 7.4 and beef again at 9.2, and the same amount of calories and cholesterol as buffalo, ostrich is another healthier choice for those trying to cut beef from their diets, but still craving that red meat taste. The iron and protein content is also nearly the same as beef, and about twice as much iron as chicken.
Ostrich is available at some supermarkets, in a variety of cuts. You can purchase tender cuts, for grilling or broiling, or medium tender cuts for braising. It can also be found ground or processed. All cuts are ideal for roasting or for stir-fries. As with buffalo, there is virtually no shrinkage during cooking.
Both buffalo meat and ostrich meat should be all-natural, with no preservatives, additives, or other chemicals or antibiotics added, for maximum freshness and flavor. Ask your grocer for cooking suggestions.