Our Stone Age (Paleolithic) ancestors subsisted on whatever they could catch, gather, pluck or hunt. Animals that they caught for food were naturally grass fed, lean and high in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and cancer-fighting selenium, yet low in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Much of today’s “factory farmed” animals for food are fed grain and pumped with antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones, all of which can be toxic in certain amounts.
Eating wild game is a delicious experience. Meats like venison, elk, bison, wild boar, rabbit and ostrich are highly flavorful, lean and full of FoodTrients. Here are just a few reasons to put game in your diet:
Low Fat Content – Because they are more active than animals raised in feeding pens, game meats have a lower fat content. Plus, game animals do not subsist on the diet of corn and grain that is fed to domestic animals to create tender meat marbled with fat. They eat whatever they find naturally—grass, seeds, fruit and other wild plants.
Lower Omega-6 Fatty Acids – The high grain diet of most domestic animals can lead to higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the meat, which, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Animals that graze in the wild have lower levels of omega-6 fatty acids in their bodies.
Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids — Wild game meat, such as venison, is lower in saturated fat and has a higher omega-3 versus omega-6 fatty acids content than grain-fed cattle. Grass-fed beef or bison also contains higher beneficial omega-3 fatty acid content.
Vitamin and Mineral Benefits – Game meats have similar high levels of iron, zinc, B vitamins, potassium and selenium as farm raised. However, this is with reduced saturated fat, more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and less inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and without steroids and growth hormones.
In my book, The Age Beautifully Cookbook, there are several recipes featuring wild game. They are a great introduction to these healthful and tasty proteins. Game meats are available in some specialty and ethnic markets as well as Whole Foods.
Wild boar has more flavor than farm-raised pork. It may need to be tenderized a bit, but that’s easily accomplished with the onion-juice marinade in my recipe. You can substitute grass-fed pork or beef medallions instead of boar. See my recipe.
Who doesn’t love sliders? This recipe is a great way to introduce wary friends and family to bison meat. If you can’t find bison, you can use any grass-fed meat like beef, lamb or even ground turkey for this recipe. The cranberries and the goat cheese spread are perfect flavor counterpoints for the bison. See my recipe.
In my family we call these meatballs albondigas. I tweaked this recipe by making the broth out of green tea and using ostrich meat from a local farm. You can use store-bought vegetable broth instead of homemade. You can use it instead of the green tea, but you won’t get the same health benefits. You can use organic or free-range ground chicken or turkey instead of ostrich meat. Green tea leaves are full of catechins, theaflavins, and safranal, which are all cancer killers. Ostrich meat contains copper, riboflavin, and selenium. Copper is a necessary component of collagen for healthy skin and joints. Selenium increases resistance to infection.
1 medium egg (organic, free-range, or Omega-3-enriched)
1 tsp. rock salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 lb. ground ostrich
1 Tbs. all-purpose or gluten-free flour
¼ cup finely chopped white onion
2 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. minced green onions or chives
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups brewed green tea
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup each diced celery, carrots, onions, and tomatoes
4 Tbs. chiffonade of cilantro leaves
– Disease Prevention – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.