Tag Archive | bison

Taco Tuesday on a Friday

Jon and I couldn’t remember the last time we had tacos. Seriously. We haven’t purchased ground beef, or turkey in at least a year, and the ground bison we buy is usually for the chili. It’s almost like we had forgotten it was a dinner option. Almost. Plus Jon loves flour tortillas and I love hard corn shells so we compromised.

Almost Paleo Tacos (serves 4)

  • Organic corn tortillas (probably not paleo, but they’re gluten free and deeelicious)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb bison
  • 1/4 c water
  • Chipotle chili powder, minced fresh garlic and cumin-you can also buy taco seasoning, but they can have loads of sodium and possibly MSG and other junk
  • Onion, diced
  • Raw milk cheddar, shredded (possibly not paleo…but I don’t care)
  • Lettuce, chopped (salad lettuce worked just fine)
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Salsa (a common offender in the “why is there sugar in this?” category)-try to get the kind that only has food in it
  • Cilantro, diced
Directions:
  1. Corn tortillas work best when they are fresh because moisture buildup can make them stick. No holes in tacos please! You want to warm a small pan and slap a tortilla in there for a few seconds on each side when you’re almost ready to serve.
  2. Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium-large pan over medium low. Add bison and cook until no pink remains. Drain the excess liquid from the pan and add seasonings and water. Simmer for a few minutes until well mixed. Add more water if necessary.
  3. See number 1!
  4. Serve with onion, cilantro, cheese, salsa and lettuce.

I know that there is not really a one-size fits all approach with the paleo diet, but I like the premise. Obviously most successful diets (meaning nutrition not weight loss) contain a large majority of fresh foods and very little if any prepackaged food. Foods like dairy show up as a yes and no, but I really love the idea of  raw milk.

What’s raw milk? Johnny Bowden’s 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth says:

“I’m a huge fan of raw, organic, unpasteurized, nonhomogenized milk from grass-fed cows that graze in small farms devoted to sustainable agriculture. In fact, I think milk-raw, whole milk from the cows I’ve just described is one of the best whole foods in the world. But I can’t say the same about the milk we find in the typical supermarket. …Even calves probably wouldn’t touch the stuff we get in supermarkets.” (pg. 173)

Of course we’ve all been told milk prevents osteoporosis and it’s good for us and a low-fat snack… but is it really? The traditional milk supply has a lot of problems. Problems many of us find hard to swallow. Some of the myths about milk that exist are:

  • My milk/dairy products don’t have growth hormone in it.
    Unfortunately, unless it states “rBst/rBGH free”, “organic” or along those lines, it does. An article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded “We found a positive association with acne for intake of total milk and skim milk. We hypothesize that the association with milk may be because of the presence of hormones and bioactive molecules in milk.” The article? High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. Interestingly, European cheese is free of hormones since its use is banned. The leading manufacturer of the hormone in the U.S. is the same company who created DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs, Roundup, and is pushing GMOs. Additionally, there isn’t a lack of studies linking dairy to cancers, particularly ovarian and prostate. You will also find studies to the contrary.
  • I get essential vitamins and minerals that I wouldn’t get elsewhere.
    Pasteurizing and homogenizing dairy destroys enzymes and diminishes the nutritional value of the once-whole food. That’s why vitamins are added back in. Same goes for orange juice, cereals and bread (enriched product anyone?). You can get vitamin D in salmon and in some fish oil supplements. Vitamin C and A from spinach (in your smoothie!). Magnesium-In fact, one study that had rats who were fed (human equivalent) one side serving of steamed spinach showed a blood-pressure lowering effect in 2-4 hours. Greens (spinach, dandelion, broccoli) also have calcium!
  • I’ll get osteoporosis if I don’t drink milk, since I don’t eat greens.
    Sugar, caffeine and too much protein have devastating effects on calcium levels, and so does too much milk. This link has pros and cons, and it’s interesting that several studies mentioned in the pro side are Dairy industry people. In fact, protein is being linked to hip fractures more and more. Of course you will find articles to the contrary, such is science.
  • Raw milk is dangerous! It’s practically illegal.
    There will always be two sides to every story. Spinach is a super food no doubt; spinach was also the cause of very serious food-borne illnesses a few years ago. Same with cantaloupe, and beef. There may be a danger in ingesting raw milk, and that debate wages fierce. Proponents are adamant that it is a life-altering elixir. The choice is quite personal, especially since its sale is banned in several states. Raw milk cheese is ok by FDA standards as long as it’s aged for 60 days. While I can’t guarantee the safety of raw milk, I certainly encourage education on the topic.

David Gumpert’s book The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights is simply astounding, as is his blog. It exposes the unfair treatment farmers receive trying to make a living selling a product, and the lengths people will go to for a food they cannot live without. Most people just want a choice, which is being taken away with little explanation. You can create fear for just about anything, raw milk is no different. While I recognize the possibility of getting sick, I also recognize the benefits of unadulterated food. You take a chance when you rely solely on scientific studies. The study must serve a purpose and of course it needs to be funded. I love that studies are readily available to me, but I also recognize that there is little industry benefit in studying the health benefits of competitive foods. This is the other side of the coin, and the choice should always be yours.

Where’s the Beef?

 Bison has been a part America for over 120,000 years, and they almost weren’t. Around 1894 there were only about 300 left until President Grover made it illegal to kill one! Since then they have come back from near extinction to provide a healthy and sustainable alternative to beef.

Bison meat has on average 70% to 90% less fat compared to beef and less cholesterol. Bison has less cholesterol, fat and calories than chicken, beef or salmon.  Bison are naturally resistant to disease and grow faster than domestic animals so they don’t need all the antibiotics and growth hormones that are typically given to beef cattle. Bison is higher in protein, iron and all the omega and amino acids than beef.  Due to the high protein content of bison, less (meat) is more (filling). It’s also high in iron, selenium and B vitamins.

Cook it the same way you cook beef but because of its lower fat content, it will cook faster than beef. The fat works as an insulator and decreases the cooking time; Less fat = Faster cooking (just don’t overcook it). Bison tastes delicious, oh and it’s hypoallergenic (good news for people with red meat allergies).

Buying grass-fed is also more important than buying organic. Why? Well organic doesn’t necessarily mean they were fed a grass-based and not corn-based diet. Grass-fed also means that the meat has higher levels of CLA. CLA is a good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” that may be a potent cancer fighter. In animal studies, very small amounts of CLA have blocked all three stages of cancer, and CLA from an animal source works more efficiently than artificial CLA. (Most anti-cancer agents block only one stage). CLA has slowed the growth of a wide variety of tumors, including cancers of the skin, breast, prostate, and colon. Milk products from 100% grass-fed cows are as much as 7 times higher in cancer-fighting CLA than ordinary milk and far lower in cancer-promoting linoleic acid.

Sure it’s a bit pricey, but your body will thank you. Feed-lot produced beef has had the lid blown wide off with the production of movies like Food Inc. and Forks over Knives. You may have noticed that McDonald’s even airs commercials showing you pasture cattle in the wake of the pink slime debacle. And if you didn’t know you were eating it, now you do; it’s also used in readymade cake mixes and as a bread leavener. If McDonald’s was doing it, what would lead me to believe those frozen patties at the store are any different, since this stuff does not appear on nutrition labels. Of course the use of ammonium hydroxide is illegal in countries like England and Ireland! I digress, so here is a recipe for Buffalo Chili I adapted from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson.

This chili recipe contains kidney beans. I rarely buy beans in a can now since it’s so ridiculously cheap to buy them dry and prepare them (80¢ for ½ lb organic dry beans vs $3-5 for a can of BPA-free beans). I use 1 cup of dry kidney beans which is about 3 cups cooked beans. To prepare beans, soak 1 cup of beans in water for 4-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Place in a pot with water and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil for 1 hour or until the bean is almost tender (if you overcook them just add toward the end). This is especially important with kidney beans as they contain a toxin (phytic acid) and soaking also reduces gas. Beans and dairy are not part of the Paleo diet, but spending $25 on bison and bacon for the original version was intense. The beans provide fiber and the cultured sour cream contain probiotics.

Bison Chili (6 servings)

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb ground buffalo/bison
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, (chop carrot into 3rds, then in half, then lay flat side down and cut slices)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (adobo ones work great here)
  • 3 cups cooked red beans
  • 2 jalapeno diced (save the seeds for adjusting hotness)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T chipotle chili powder
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T cacao (unsweetened cocoa) powder
    Sounds weird but it makes it AMAZING!!!
  • Optional:
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Diced green onions
  • Dollop of cultured sour cream or a bit of raw milk cheddar
  • Can of green chilies

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot on the stove over medium low heat, add onions.
  2. When onions are semi-translucent add garlic. In a few minutes add the bison and cook until no pink remains.
  3. Add carrots, water, tomatoes, beans, jalapeno (adjust hotness using seeds), oregano and chili powders. Simmer covered on low for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar and cacao powder and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes.
  5. Serve and garnish if desired. This is also delicious as a chili cheese omelet the next morning.

**If your chili is too thick add a bit more water or some salsa.

It takes some time but it’s worth it. This recipe sounds very similar but replaces half of the bison for cauliflower. Sounds delicious, I will have to try it. If you omit the bison and maybe use cauliflower it’s a delicious vegan chili in addition to gluten-free.

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