Saturday, September 15, 2012

turkey-veggie burgers and why meat could still be important in your diet

I realize I have been posting mostly vegetarian/vegan recipes, so this post might surprise you a little. Like I have said in my first post, I do not consider myself rigid about food, and I am constantly searching to find out what is the best diet for our family. Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the Weston Price Foundation and about the benefits of animal protein and animal fat, providing it comes from an organic, pasture raised, grass fed animal. I am also learning that different health issues require different diets. I definitely believe that for someone suffering from cancer or at high risk of cancer, meat and dairy should be avoided or kept to a minimum. If the body and the immune system are weak, they are not able to process things the same way, and these two foods can increase inflammation if the immune system is not strong enough, or so I was told at the Real Food Symposium.

However, meat is rich not only in protein but also in minerals and essential fatty acids.
Red meats in particular, are rich in minerals, especially iron, zinc and magnesium, and are a great source of Vitamin B12. The fat from the meat of grazing animals contains both omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, in small but balanced amounts. And it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is an anti-carcinogenic fatty acid. Two good reasons to go for grass-fed meats.

Now there are so many studies out there, saying so many contradictory things, it is really confusing. The vegans say that meat and dairy will cause cancer, the meat and dairy eaters say that  veganism depletes your body of too many things and that you end up with food allergies, joint problems, gut issues, asthma, etc, etc... Since despite all my research, I can't quite find one approach that clicks with me and they all make a little bit of sense, I am trying to eat a balanced diet and notice what causes irritation. Our consumption of meat has definitely been reduced significantly over the past two years and we all feel much better since then. But my boys jump for joy when I cook beef or chicken, and could by-pass all the veggies if it was up to them. So I have developed little tricks to get them to still eat vegetables, and it ends up making my burger taste better. 

This recipe works with any kind of ground meat, and you can vary the quantities of vegetables you mix in, as well as what kind of vegetables and herbs you put in. Use your imagination, this is just an example :)

For a great source of grass fed beef and organic chicken, visit your local farmer's market and look for Dey Dey's truck. I know he is at the Pasadena Saturday farmer's market, and other LA markets. To find out his schedule and/or how to order from him, visit his website here.

1 pound of ground turkey or beef
1 cup of  shredded carrots or zucchini or both
1 cup of shredded onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl, form into patties, heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan on medium to low heat and throw the patties in, flipping sides after 3-4 minutes, and continuing to do so until fully cooked.

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