Chicken breast, filet mignon, and wild salmon steak all sound like nice options for a healthy dose of protein at any given meal. Ostrich, antelope and wild boar, though? Do they sound a bit "exotic" and perhaps even daunting?
Have you considered the health benefits of eating other proteins besides the tried and true, familiar options you typically pick up at the grocery store: chicken, fish, beef, and maybe pork? Do you ever feel as if you struggle to eat a variety of protein, as is recommended for a healthy and balance diet?1
Consider incorporating some "unusual" proteins into your diet in the form of wild game. Here’s a summary of some of the health benefits of eating wild game:
- Wild meats tend to be higher in naturally anti-inflammatory Omega 3's, which are essential for optimal brain function and heart health and have been shown to slow progress of certain cancers.2
- Wild or grass-fed meats are high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is also touted as a "good fat" and also may reduce risk of certain cancers.3
- Game meat, including venison, bison, ostrich, boar, rabbit and elk has a higher content of EPA, another type of Omega 3 fatty acid compared to domesticated meat. EPA is said to reduce risk of developing atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of heart disease and stroke.4
- Dr. S. Boyd Eaton, MD, reports that wild game meat has over five times the amount of polyunsaturated fat than that found in domestic livestock.5
- Bison is said to be "one of the most healthful foods for women" due to its high iron content. It’s also very low in sodium.
- Meat from wild animals is higher in vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant with anti-aging properties.6
Outside of the physical health benefits, I'd also argue that eating wild is far more beneficial not only to humans and animals but also to our planet, compared to eating meat that comes from animals who may have been inhumanely treated, injected with hormones and antibiotics, and mass produced for profits' sake.
So where do you get it?
I recommend starting locally. Head out to the farmer’s market in your hometown and see what is sold there. If that’s not an option, you can also check online to see what’s available for delivery. Granted, it’s not as local as the market down the street, but supporting the small businesses of farmers or ranchers who are doing their best to make positive changes in the meat we eat is instrumental in making lasting changes.
To get you started, check out my easy to follow recipe for a no-bean chili made with wild venison and ground bison. Make extra, as it’s even better the next day!
Nell Stephenson is happy to announce the release of her book: Paleoista - Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat. You can also check out Nell's nutrition plans, available on TrainingPeaks.com.
1) National Health Information Center Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga95/9dietgui.htm.
2) Simopolous, A. P. and Jo Robinson (1999). The Omega Diet. New York, HarperCollins.
3) Dhiman, T. R., G. R. Anand, et al. (1999). "Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets." J Dairy Sci 82(10): 2146-56.
4) Simopolous, A. P. and Jo Robinson (1999). The Omega Diet. New York, HarperCollins.
5) Dr. S .Boyd Eaton, MD (1985). The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living.
6) Smith, G.C. "Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle to improve shelf life and case life of beef for domestic and international markets." Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1171
Nell Stephenson, personal fitness trainer, nutritional counselor, Paleolithic eating coach & athlete, graduated from University of Southern California In Los Angeles, with a BS in Exercise Science, and received her Health/Fitness Instructor Certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. Visit Nell's website at www.paleoista.com or check out her blog.