Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Raw Sprouts May be the Riskiest Food in Your Grocery Store

Everybody knows that undercooked ground beef is risky. But there is one innocent looking food that is probably riskier: Raw sprouts. Mike Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia has been quoted as saying "I consider sprouts to be among the most risky foods sold at retail".

How could this be? How could innocent crunchy, juicy, delicious sprouts, full of nutrients and beneficial compounds, be dangerous? Because they are grown differently than any other vegetable, in an environment practically ideal for bacteria.

Let's get a close look at the problem and consider solutions.
In June 2011 vegetable sprouts from Germany contaminated with bacteria killed more than 30 people and sickened more than 3,000, and the outbreak has still not run its course.
2011-06-10-sprouts.jpgThe survivors had more than tummy aches. Many of their kidneys shut down, many have anemia, many were hospitalized, many were near death, and there almost certainly were thousands more who never reported their illness and just gutted it out at home.

In Germany it was Escherichia coli O104:H4 on the sprouts. Sometimes it is Escherichia coli O157:H7, sometimes it is Listeria, sometimes it is Bacillus cereus, but most often it is Salmonella on sprouts. Tangy tasty radish sprouts also caused one of the world's largest food-borne illness outbreaks in Japan in 1996, sickening about 10,000 people (that we know of), many of them children. In the US there have been at about 40 sproutbreaks since 1990 according to Bill Marler, a personal injury attorney who specializes in food-borne illness.

Mark Bittman of the New York Times
interviewed Dr. David Acheson, an MD who was the chief medical officer in Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA. He said "only 5% of food-borne illness is linked to big outbreaks 95% is sporadic". He told me Bittman that there are 1.5 million cases of salmonella in the US each year, and few are linked to outbreaks. Marler and Doyle and the Center for Disease Control and other safety experts only know when there is an "outbreak", when many people get sick and when they go to a doctor and when their doctor does the right tests and then reports the results to the authorities.

Some probably thought they had the "24-hour flu". Well there is no such flu. Look it up in WebMD. Zero hits. If you had the flop sweats and were on the toilet for a day or three, you probably had a food-borne illness caused by something you ate perhaps as long as a week ago. That's one of the reasons it takes so long to trace the cause of an outbreak.

FDA says "If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added".

What makes sprouts risky

Sprouts are seeds that have just begun to grow, usually less than a week old. Inside every seed is a "germ", a sort of a baby plant, waiting for water and warmth to germinate. This is not a bad germ. It is part of the seed. Sprouts are easy to grow, and many people do it at home, you just soak the seeds in warm water until the germ is awakened, then rinse the seeds daily keeping them wet, and preferably warm and dark. So how do they turn into high risk disease vectors?

Alfalfa is a grass, that grows just like your lawn, but in a big field, and when you don't cut it, it produces lovely lavender flowers that eventually are fertilized and go to seed. The plant reproduces itself by developing scores of new seeds per plant, and each seed contains the germ of another alfalfa plant. But the seeds can be contaminated right there in the field and it is pretty hard to prevent it.

The sources of contamination are myriad. Critters are a strong possibility. Birds flying over, rabbits munching on the green shoots, deer grazing in the field, raccoons, field mice, rats, even feral hogs can poop in the fields and it is impossible to prevent them. Heck, sometimes farm workers are the source. I know we want perfectly safe food for our children, but as long as food is grown outdoors it is impossible to prevent unwanted intruders.

Another possible source of pathogens is water. Rain is pretty safe, but irrigation may not be. Lakes, streams, and wells can host the bad guys easily. They can come from improperly treated human waste in sewage or seepage from septic tanks. It can come from runoff from livestock pastures, where rainwater mixes with manure and drains into the water supply. It can come from fertilizer made from manure that has not been properly pasteurized. And it is hard to pasteurize manure. Manure, of course, is the fertilizer of choice for organic farmers, so organic seeds may, in fact, be more risky than others.

It can be amplified in water tanks or hoses where the bacteria can continue to reproduce. The problem is greater in areas that have less control over pollution such as third world countries that sell to the US market.

Once the bugs are on the seed and in the seed, yes, they can get down into the seed where they cannot be washed away, they can survive in a dormant state for weeks. They can even get down past the shell and into the germ. Then the seeds are harvested, mixed together in hoppers, and thus the seeds of a single plant that had bird poop on it can be distributed widely among millions of clean seeds. They are often then bagged in cloth, and stored in warehouses or sent overseas in the holds of ships where mice and rats have a chance to do their business on the seeds

So why aren't things like celery seeds used in our potato salad dangerous? Because the microbial load, which means the number of microbes, is usually very small on seeds. Even if you ingest them, there are usually not enough, and they don't grow fast enough in our gut to do us any harm. Many spice companies, knowing that they sell a product that is easily contaminated, treat their seeds and leaves with a special grade of radiation that sterilizes the product.

The problem is when the microbial load gets heavy. When microbes reproduce in a lab, they can double in 20 minutes, so within a few hours they can reach a deadly level. And that's why sprouts are uniquely dangerous when compared to other vegetables. Sprouts are grown indoors in a warm room. The seeds are soaked in water for up to 12 hours. The seeds can absorb up to three times its weight in water in this first phases. The seeds and water are stirred often to make sure they are all soaking properly, so if there are unwanted bacteria in the soup, they are spread among the whole mass. Warm water speeds the germination of the seed. The problem is, warm water also awakens the dormant bacteria.

Sprouting systems are essentially incubators, and it is very hard to prevent microbes from growing. They've tried chlorinated water and other purifying systems with only limited success. The problem is that the bad guys get down past the surface into the flesh of the seed. Germs get into the germ in a manner of speaking. A solution may yet be found, and believe me, people in the sprout biz have tried just about everything.
Finally, the wet sprouts are bagged and shipped to stores. They are chilled to keep them from growing too large, and that inhibits both the sprouts and bacteria. But it doesn't kill them. If the truck's AC is on the fritz, if they sit on the loading dock a while, or if they sit outdoors at the farmer's market too long, things can start growing again. A food safety scientist I know calls the packaging a "culture chamber". According to the scientists at FDA "Rinsing sprouts first will not remove bacteria". And before you know it, people are falling face down in their salads.

Admittedly German authorities never found the smoking gun. All the contaminated sprouts had been eaten or destroyed by the time they got to the organic farm that probably grew them, but epidemiological research showed that it is highly likely that all the victims had eaten sprouts. Regardless, it doesn't diminish the fact that sprouts are risky, especially to children, the elderly, and the immune compromised.

Growing at home is only slightly safer

It is easy and fun to grow sprouts at home and there are scores of companies that sell kits. But the risk is only slightly less. You can start with an impressive range of tasty seeds. The first catalog I found offered this enticing array in their customer favorites list: Adzukis, alfalfa, almonds, amaranth, arugula, barley, broccoli, clover, cress, dill, fenugreek, garbanzos, garlic, groats, kamut, lentils, millet, mung beans, oats, peanuts, peas, pumpkins, quinoa, radish, rye, sesame, spelt, sunflower, and wheat. There are many more options.
But the procedure is the same: Soak, rinse, grow. The home sprouter is subject to the same concerns as the commercial operation: Contaminated seeds, ideal growing conditions for both sprouts and their unsavory passengers. And the risk isn't much lower if you buy from an organic farmer right around the corner whose kids go to school with yours and they are always immaculately groomed. In 1987, Harmon et al recovered Bacillus cereus from 57% of commercially sold alfalfa, mung bean, and wheat seeds.

The only reduction in risk is that you usually are growing small batches, so there is a slightly smaller chance that there will be a bad seed or three.

How big is the risk?

Some say that the risk is much less than eating burgers, but that's because we eat so much more hamburger than sprouts. And most of that is cooked properly. Nobody knows the odds for sure, but I'll guess that it is probably less than driving your car, and probably more than eating eating raw burger.
If this number of deaths and illnesses were caused by terrorists, governments and the populace would be willing to spare no expense to cure the problem. But many people who love sprouts seem to be in denial, touting their taste and health benefits, and as I have learned in writing about the subject, they are having difficulty understanding the real risk.

Whose fault is it and what can be done?

E-coli is more common in cattle than in sprouts. There are dozens of strains, and most are harmless, but some glom onto your intestines and grow and produce toxins. There are some, like Dr. David Katz, who want to place blame on the meat industry for this. But remember, runoff from livestock is only one potential source of the bug. Bambi, Porky, Bugs, Tweetie, Mickey & Minnie, and other cute little critters who refuse to use sanitary stations to do their business can easily be the source.
Marler told Bittman that "Maybe somewhere in the far distant past, before we started feeding grain to cows, these shiga toxins weren't in cows. And maybe because of a higher acid content in the gut these bugs evolved to become pathogenic. There isn't a lot of good science on this, and there have been studies that have gone either way in whether feeding grass to cows will create a lower level of pathogenic E. coli in their guts. What you can say is that cows fed DDGS [Distiller's Dried Grains with Solubles from ethanol production] may have a higher level than cows that weren't fed them. If you're anti-CAFO [Concentrated Animal Feeding

Operations commonly called "factory farms"] and anti-corn subsidies, you jump from that study to 'get rid of this and you get rid of e-coli,' and it would be great if things were that simple but they're not."
But attacking the meat industry is not likely to solve the problem. We are not going to be able to ban meat or significantly reduce consumption. People love to eat meat and will not likely give it up in significant numbers. In fact, the trend is going the other way as meat consumption is rising around the world.

That cow has left the barn. E-coli is in the soil, and water. It likely has been there a long time, and it will not go away in the visible future.

The alternative to CAFOs is to grow livestock free in pastures where they can eat grass. But the all poop. We can't put cattle in diapers. And the microbial populations in that manure gets into the water table, rivers, streams, lakes, and wells.

Some try to blame big ag like ConAgra, ADM, or Monsanto, but the sad fact is that many of the sprout growers are small family operations. I fear they are in an endangered industry.

The FDA, which regulates sprouts, and the USDA which regulates meat, can mandate more controls on pollution and inspections. Marler proposes that sprouts be given the raw milk treatment: Have the Feds make them illegal for interstate commerce. Of course this will not keep them out of intrastate commerce or home growing, but it would go a long way to protecting the public. Not likely in this political climate where mandates are a dirty word, even if they save lives. Just before Republicans took control of the House, the Obama administration got a new Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 through that will help with more funds for inspections, but Republicans want it repealed. Even so, the strain found in Germany is not on the wanted list in the US, and hardly anybody tests for it.

Another possibility is that groceries will stop selling sprouts. In May 2010, tainted alfalfa sprouts were sold by Walmart and 22 people got sick. Walmart should take the lead and remove sprouts from the shelves the same as they would remove risky toys.

Irradiation will clean them up, but surveys show the public clearly doesn't like the concept of irradiation, and, despite the fact that it is approved in more than 40 countries, there are some who argue it is dangerous, or that it alters the flavor and nutrition.

The one solution that is foolproof: Throughly cook your sprouts. Cooking kills the bad guys.

Will you still eat raw sprouts?

Now you have the facts. Still want to eat raw sprouts? Serve them to grandma and the kids? In the words of Dirty Harry "You've got to ask yourself one question. 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you punk?"


Friday, October 14, 2011

What is Wrong with Grains?

As you probably know, we’ve been eating grains, refined or whole, only since the beginning of agriculture some 10 000 years ago. The problem is that our genes where formed about 2 million years ago and haven’t changed much since then, nor did our digestive systems. Eating structurally and chemically different foods is therefore more often than not asking for problems. Grains are miles away from what our bodies should be processing.

In fact, grains aren’t really a good thing for any mammal. We’re better off leaving them to the birds, who have a system adapted to them.

The problem is that our food system is so skewed in the wrong direction that everybody now thinks that grains, especially whole grains, are healthy and nutritious. Grains, a food group that we didn’t eat for 97% of our human existence are now at the bottom of the USDA food pyramid with a recommended 6 to 11 servings per day. This is amazingly wrong!


Be aware that the reason why governments pushed grains in the first place where economical. They are cheap to produce (although not without environmental costs), they can be stored for much longer and they can be sold overseas much more easily. In fact, it’s now one of the few things that the US successfully sells overseas, so I wouldn’t count on them to stop promoting them as the healthiest thing around. Sad but true!
Now on to why exactly grains are probably one of the worst mistakes human kind made.

High carbohydrate intake and elevated insulin

Whole wheat bread

Chronically elevated insulin levels is indeed the number one problem we now have as a society. In a few words, blood sugar as to stay between a very narrow range, otherwise you would die. Insulin’s main job is to lower blood sugar levels after you consume any form of sugar or carbohydrate (they’re converted to sugar anyway). When insulin as to deal with so much sugar that it doesn’t know what to do with it anymore, it stores it as fat. Also, when insulin is always high, inflammation begins and cells become resistant to insulin, so your pancreas as to produce even more of it. When your cells have become resistant to insulin, you’ve become diabetic. This is the new epidemic of westernized countries that we also call the metabolic syndrome.
Guess what, the main food source of carbohydrate in out diet are grains (wheat, corn, rye, oats, barley, rice…). Breads ans pastas are mostly made of wheat. Without grains, people wouldn’t get fat and wouldn’t have high insulin levels. Try to get 300g, US’s recommended daily intake of carbs, with vegetables and fruits. You’ll have to eat buckets of them.

Bread, cookies, cakes, crackers, rice, pasta, pastries and breakfast cereals are all staples and consumed at almost every meal by almost everybody. This leads to a high carbohydrate load at every meal and this is why people get hungry all the time and have so much fluctuation in their energy levels (blood sugar levels are unstable).

Your grand-mother knew that potatoes and pastas are fattening, maybe we should listen to her wise words.
Don’t worry, replacing carbs by fat sources will not kill you. For all human evolution, we’ve been eating animal meat and fat with some vegetables, fruits and nuts in the mix and yet observations demonstrate that caveman was lean, strong and healthy.

Gluten, lectins and phytates, three poisons you can live without


Living organisms all develop ways to protect themselves against preys and invaders. It’s the basis of our survival mechanisms. Animals can usually run or attack, but plants have to find another way. In fact, most plants contain some form of toxins so animals can’t eat too much of them before getting sick.
The only part of a plant that want s to be eaten are fruits, and this is not without a purpose. Fruits contain seeds that we and other animals can’t digest so we evacuate them elsewhere and help propagate the plant to new horizons. It’s a fair partnership after all. It’s not by accident that plants produce fruits, it takes up most of its resources do to so.

Grains are not different from most plants and in certain regards they’re much worse. Grains are the offsprings of soon to become grasses so they need even more protection in the beginning to ensure other species stay far away. Other then that, they also contain toxins that inhibit their own growth until they have what they need to grow (soil and water).



Gluten is, arguably, the worst offender. You can find gluten in wheat, rye and barley. Don’t forget that wheat is absolutely everywhere today. You probably already know that those who have Celiac disease can’t have even a tiny bit of it or else they’re in for big trouble.

What you might not know though is that 30% of the population have noticeable amounts of antigiadin in their stools. Antigiadin are antibodies secreted when the body sees giadin, one of gluten’s constituent, as an intruder. Having the antibody in your stools means that your body is actively fighting an intruder and that you already have a low level of chronic inflammation, the source of all modern diseases.

Gluten also has this weird ability to mimic certain proteins and to make its way into your cells, then wreaking havoc and making you develop autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself (Chron’s disease is an example).


Lectins are other toxins present in all grains that cause their load of problems. First, they damage the gut lining and a damaged gut lining is an inflamed gut lining that will have difficulty absorbing nutrients. This also leads the way to colon cancer. Lectins also causes leptin resistance, which means that your hunger signal is suppressed and that you’ll be hungry even when your body has had more than enough calories.


Corn farming

This other set of toxins, also found in lesser quantities in nuts and seeds, bind to nutrients and robs them from your body. You can then think twice when you think that eating grains will feed you loads of nutrients. Phytates make a good job of making them less bio-available. All this list of nutrients on a bag of sliced bread is only a small proportion of what your body will really be able to get.

Do you think that grains can beat any vegetable or fruit nutrition wise or that you’ll find some nutrients only in them? The answer is NO!


I sincerely hope that this article helped shed some light on the problems caused by this group of food that is so popular.
Of all the habits that you can develop, dropping the grains off your diet is probably the one that will pay off the most.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recipe: Portobello burgers

I am sticking with the theme of quick and easy recipes as this good weather continues. The other night I hosted some friends and we were all really in the mood to be outside. When this happens, I almost always resort to the BBQ. The menu called for simple beef hamburgers atop a lightly seasoned Portabello mushroom. Tomatoes and avocado were the perfect toppers, along with a spiced mustard. I will especially enjoy making this meal again later in the season when the vegetables from my garden are ready. I completed the meal with a side of mashed sweet potatoes, which just so happens to be a recipe I posted not too long ago.

Whenever I am making hamburgers, I make sure that the ground beef is not too lean. Reason being, I do not like to season the meat too much, so the more fat on the meat, the more flavor. That being said, by no means do you have to limit your seasoning. Pretty much anything goes! I will share with you what I did; however, feel free to add your own twist.

In the recipe, I didn’t specify any specific topping to use with those burgers, but the reason is to let you choose what you prefer and what you have available. Almost anything goes. A good homemade condiment like ketchup or mustard is a great choice, so is a homemade mayonnaise. As for the vegetables, tomatoes, lettuce and avocados are great. I also personally really like a sliced, crunchy and naturally fermented dill pickle.

Portobello burger recipe

Serves 4 to 6

Burger on the grill 

Ingredients for the hamburgers

Makes 6 to 8 patties
  • 3lbs of ground beef (not too lean ifyou want a very flavorful patty);
  • 3 eggs;
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Ingredients for the portobello mushrooms

  • 6-8 large Portabello mushroons;
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil (the amount will depend on how large your mushrooms are, so start with a little and add more as needed);
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation for the hamburgers

  1. Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the eggs. Combine until the eggs are evenly mixed through.
  2. Mix in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form 6 to 8 patties that are slightly smaller than the mushroom caps so they can fit on top once cooked.
  4. Place on a preheated grill and cook each side for about 5-7 minutes (the time it takes will depend on the temperature of your grill. I cooked them at medium-low for approximately this time).

Preparation for the portobello mushrooms

  1. Rinse the mushrooms and pat them dry.
  2. Remove the mushroom stems. The reason for this is because you want your mushroom cap to take the form of the hamburger bun. Do not discard, they can be great for many other recipes, or you can grill them along with the caps.
  3. Coat the caps in olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Do not let the oil penetrate for long, as you will notice the mushrooms will start to get soggy.
  4. Place on the preheated grill and cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes.
Now all there is left to do is stack your patty on top of your mushroom and add any toppings you desire. There you have it! The complete Paleo hamburger. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Recipe: Green Chicken Masala

Chicken tikka masala is a curry made with roasted chicken and a red or orange sauce. This recipe differs from the traditional tikka masala in its use of a paste made with fresh cilantro and mint for a green chicken masala. Similarly to the traditional tikka masala though, the combination of Indian spices give a nice and spicy taste to this dish, something not too much unlike other curries.

It should not be confused with chicken marsala, which is an Italian dish made with mushrooms and marsala wine. A great Italian chicken marsala recipe can be found in the cookbook.

This recipe calls for quite a few ingredients, but is really quick and simple to prepare. It should take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish to prepare. Of course, you can substitute the chicken thighs with pork or beef for an equally great result. Beef should give the dish an even bolder taste. Choose tender cuts of meat since the meat cooks quickly, contrary to a stew where the meat cooks slowly and tougher cuts can be used.

  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces;
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk;
  • 1 onion, finely chopped;
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice;
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock;
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced;
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves;
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves;
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped coarsely;
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric;
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon;
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom;
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves;
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or clarified butter;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;


  1. Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and add the onion with the cooking fat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
  2. Add the chicken thighs as well as the turmeric to the skillet and continue cooking, still while stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the lemon juice, water or stock, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and garlic in a blender or food processor and process to obtain a smooth puree.
  4. After the chicken has cooked for about 7 minutes, add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the herb puree.
  6. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked and tender.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Choosing and cooking meat The butcher shop


Lets not kid ourselves, one of the nicest things about the Paleo diet is the fact that we can eat unlimited amounts of meat. Red meat, fatty meat, anything will do as long as it has been fed and treated properly. Like so many others following the conventional wisdom way of thinking, I use to think that high quantity of fatty red meat would cause a quantity of problems latter in life.

I’ve now learned better and know that meat and fat is not what’s causing all the deseases we’ve burduned with today or else how would we’ve thrived for millions of years as a specie eating mostly game meat and vegetables.

Now, I think conventional wisdom has moved us so far off red meat that we don’t know how to choose a good cut or how to prepare it anymore.
When starting out with the Paleo diet, I was only agile with simple cuts of chicken and pork. I now know better and I’m not shy to buy cuts of meat that need roasting, stewing, poaching, braising or grilling. So much flavors are available to us, it’s a shame to eat the same things over and over again.
As a rule of thumb, the parts of an animal that move the most will require the longest and slowest cooking. Those will reward you though with a deep flavor and melt in the mouth meat when cooked properly. On an animal like a pork, a lamb or a beef, those parts are usually the shins and the shoulders.
Try to choose your meat with the bone still in as the bone will render great flavor and nutrients when cooked slowly in a liquid with meat attached to it. If you grill or roast meat with the bone, you can then use those bones to make delicious stock.

How to choose great meat from your butcher

When choosing meat at your butcher’s, other than how it was fed (choose naturally fed and grass fed) or treated (choose free-range and antibiotic free), also look at the meat your buying and look for cuts that look dry, have a deep red to purplish color and are marbled with fat with an extra creamy fat layer on top. Of course, with pork or chicken, it won’t be marbled, but good cuts of pork should have a good layer of fat on the exterior (exception made for lean cuts like the tenderloin). The more fat a cut of meat has, the more moisture it will hold when cooked. You’ll want to choose meat that look dry because wet meat often hasn’t been hung long enough and will lose most of its juices in the cooking process. Hanging an animal makes the muscle fibers break down and the meat gets more tender.

The different cooking methods

For almost all cooking methods, it’s best to have your meat at room temperature before cooking it so it cooks faster and more evenly. Also, most cooking temperatures given in recipes are based on room temperature cuts of meat, so you’ll have more accurate results if you start this way.


Great method for tender cuts of meat like racks of lamb, pork loin, poultry or beef ribs, rump and sirloin roasts. You basically put your meat in a hot oven (about 425 F) for the first 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to around 350 F for the rest of the cooking process making sure to baste the meat from time to time. Tender red meat can be underdone to your taste, but chicken and pork should be well cooked through.



Basically the same method as roasting, but with an oven at a lower 300 F to 325 F and for a longer period of time. This method is very well suited for cuts that are a bit too tough for regular roasting like lamb and pork shoulder and pork belly.



A method that is suitable for the same cuts of meat has slow-roasting. You brown your meat in a pot on all sides (this helps keep the juices inside the meat) and then put the pot with the meat in the oven to roast and add a liquid like stock halfway through the cooking process. You can also add red wine in place of the stock if you allow it in your diet. You can baste the meat with the liquid is often as you want.



A bit like pot-roasting, but for tender cuts of meat and without a liquid. This method is well-suited for cuts that are tender, but are still too thick to simply fry like a steak. You brown the meat on all sides in a pan and then put it in the oven for the rest of the cooking process.


Frying and stir-frying

Those two methods are probably the most used methods and are well suited for all kinds of tender cuts of meat like chicken breasts, steaks, chops, ribs and tenderloins.

For frying, you heat up a pan to a medium-high heat and then put some kind of healthy fat (coconut oil, ghee or other animal saturated fat that won’t burn) on the meat or in the pan and cook the meat while turning every now and then until cooked through.
For stir-frying, you cut your tender piece of meat in thin slices and put them in a sizzling hot wok with a fat that’s heat resistant and then stir non stop until your meat is cooked.


What’s better than grilling a tender piece of meat during the summer time outside on the grill with friends and family? Simply sear your meat on the hot part of the grill and then let the rest of the cooking process happen on a medium-hot part of the grill. Make sure your piece if meat is well browned before turning so it doesn’t stick and turn it with tongs so the meat doesn’t get pierced which would make the juices run out of the meat.


A good way to cook tender meat like fish and chicken, poaching will also produce a delicious stock that can be used for the sauce that will go with the final dish. You can poach whole chickens and whole fishes and the rule is to have a tight lid that will cook even the parts that are outside the liquid with the steam it produces. Keep the temperatures low and make sure that the liquid is no more than simmering.

Stewing and braising

This method is used for tougher cuts of meat like shoulders, shins or beef brisket and will produce a very flavorful and tender end product when done properly. Simply put your meat and a liquid like stock or water on the stove top, in the oven or in a crock-pot. Add tough vegetables (onions, carrots and celery are a good aromatic combination), herbs and spices and let cook at a low temperature until the meat is fork tender.
With braising, you usually use a whole cut of meat instead of having it cut in small pieces and you don’t cover the meat entirely with the liquid letting the steam between the lid and the liquid do to rest.