Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Meat Cookbook

Whether you're already consuming sustainable meats like grass-fed beef, or you're heading in that direction, it's important to understand that meat raised on grass cannot always be prepared in the same way as conventional meat. Grass-fed beef is much leaner so there is little to insulate it from the heat source, making it important to cook with lower temperatures.  Also because of the lack of insulation, the meat will cook about 30-50% faster!  I'm embarrassed to admit how many grass-fed roasts and steaks I've ruined because I didn't know how to properly cook them!

As someone who knew very little about cooking until 10 years ago, I tend to depend a lot on cookbooks (truth be told, I'm a "cookbook junkie") for guidance and instruction.  That's why I am so thrilled about a new cookbook designed specifically for sustainably raised meats.  Please allow me to introduce "Good Meat-The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat" by  Deborah Krasner.
This is not just a 400 page cook book with over 200 recipes (weighing in at 5 pounds)! It's a complete educational resource. My favorite part is the section on "Cow Anatomy" where she breaks down where each cut of meat comes from and how to communicate a cutting order to the butcher.  When I first started buying meat directly from the farmer, nothing was more intimidating than getting that call to say "Your beef is ready, time to get your cutting order to the butcher!" Yikes! I had no clue what was I doing.

Krasner's cookbook not only does this for beef, but offers the same great information on lamb, pork, rabbit and poultry!  If you're like I was and the only thing stopping you from buying a whole side of beef, pork or lamb is not understanding how to find it and order it, this is for you.  The book is packed with beautiful full-color photographs, thorough explanations of cooking techniques and, for those of you blessed with a little acreage, she even discusses the economics of raising meat in your own backyard. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Have "Normal" Blood Sugar?

A couple weeks ago I shared an article on Facebook from The Healthy Skeptic blog about testing your own blood sugar levels. As I have continued to research this topic both at The Healthy Skeptic and at Blood Sugar 101 and began testing myself, I am fascinated by what an excellent personal diagnostic tool this actually is.

Knowing your own personal fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels can give you valuable information about your health and prevent you from suffering needlessly in the future. You don't have to wait until you're diabetic or pre-diabetic to benefit from this information. Currently, the medical community offers us these targets for "normal":

Fasting blood glucose (mg/dL)<99100-125>126
OGGT / post-meal (mg/dL after 2 hours)<140140-199>200
Hemoglobin A1c (%)<66-6.4>6.4

HOWEVER, before you adopt any such target, it is worth mentioning that the point of setting and adhering to any blood sugar target is to avoid diabetic complications. I don't know about you, but just avoiding diabetic complications is not quite what I have in mind when it comes to good health!

So, if you’re interested in vibrant health and longevity – instead of just slowing the onset of serious disease by a few years – you’d be well advised to shoot for these targets instead:

Fasting blood glucose (mg/dL)
Post-meal (after 1 hours)
Post-meal (after 2 hours)
*If you’re already following a low-carb diet, fasting blood sugars in the 90s and even low 100s may not be a problem, provided your A1c and post-meal blood sugars are within the normal range.

So why not pick up a ReliOn Confirm-Blood Glucose Monitoring System for $9 next time you're out and put your blood sugar to the test? (don't forget extra testing strips) Specific testing instructions are available HERE.