Written by Joachim Bartoll, January 1, 2019
From My Client’s Handbook, First Edition
Cooking and storage of food
Plastics are the number one source of chemicals and toxins in the kitchen. No matter if it’s dishware, storage containers, drawer liners, or even disposable products like Styrofoam and plastic bags – get rid of it.
Plastic, Styrofoam, and resin coatings are all made from petroleum products. These can leach into your food and drinks and contaminate them with toxins. Another common ingredient in these plastic products is bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is very common in our everyday products; from toilet paper to food storage containers and to the liners inside metal cans.
BPA is a synthetic hormone that has been found to cause organ failure and leukemia with toxic levels of exposure. In recent years, we’ve learned that even in trace amounts, BPAs are harmful. And they are especially nasty when heated up, especially if heated up quickly, like when you microwave leftovers in a plastic storage container. Rapid heating tends to cause more damage to the plastic from heat expansion.
Here’s a couple of healthy rules to follow:
- Avoid water bottled in plastic (glass is OK). Never buy bottled water in plastic – you don’t know how long it’s been in that leaky plastic or how it’s been handled.
- If your tap water is bad, get a good filter for your sink. It will pay for itself within a few months of stopping the frequent purchase of bottled products that only harm your body and the environment anyway.
- Avoid canned foods and drinks whenever possible. There’s often a plastic epoxy resin liner inside the metal can where you open it.
- Don’t microwave food in plastic containers or bags. Actually, don’t microwave at all if you can help it. A microwave destroys a lot of nutrients in the food and the radiation from the microwave is extremely high. A toaster oven is a way less-toxic option for reheating.
- Use glass and ceramic dishes for dining, glassware for storage, and stainless steel or wooden utensils.
- Avoid Teflon coated pans and nonstick surfaces. Choose stainless steel over aluminum and never cook or put very hot foods in plastic.
- Best fats/oils for cooking: butter, ghee, and tallow. These fats have a high smoking point and will not burn with normal cooking heat.
- After cooking meat, achieve a juicy, moist inside by allowing 5 to 10 minutes of rest-time on the counter before eating.
- Plan to remove meat from heat slightly before the desired temperature, as it continues to cook as it rests. Lean meat cook quicker than fatty cuts.
- Make meals in bulk for easy access throughout the week.
About cooking meat and trying raw meat
Exposure to heat will slowly destroy vitamins, enzymes and good bacteria. More intense heat will also denature proteins, making them useless and also slightly toxic. The main factors are the amount of heat and the time of exposure. The best way is to simply sear the meat for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, leaving it pretty much raw inside. Never cook meat beyond ‘medium well’. It should still have a healthy reddish or pinkish color to it and have some glittering from the moisture inside.
Do not burn the surface or edges, as these will be somewhat toxic. If it happens, cut it off.
While raw meat is not for everyone, it’s one of the best options to guarantee maximum nutrition and healthy bacteria. Any organ and muscle meat can be eaten raw. Parts from the loin (tenderloin, sirloin, and tri-tip) are excellent when eaten raw.
Simply start cooking your steaks very rare. Gradually get used to the taste and texture of rare and raw meat. Another common approach is to try a small piece of raw meat (like an appetizer) while you prepare a cooked dish.
Chicken and pork should not be consumed raw unless you really know the source and handling. Chicken and pork from unknown sources might need slightly longer cooking times than other meat.
Pre-digested foods and fermented foods
Pre-digested foods mean less work for your stomach and your small intestine. One way to pre-digest meat is to marinate them before searing/cooking. Another way is to ferment the meat by letting it age in the refrigerator. Fermentation/aging of the meat will increase the beneficial bacteria needed by the intestines to break down the food and extract the nutrients. Fermentation will also increase some of the vitamin content and some digestive enzymes as the meat breaks down (the protein breaks down into shorter amino acid chains.)
Note that fermented foods taste tart/sour, like aged cheese. This is because friendly bacteria consume the naturally occurring sugar – removing the sweetness. Also, beneficial bacteria produce lactic acid, which contributes to the sour taste of fermented foods. Research shows that the lactic acid bacteria in fermented foods stop intestinal inflammation and heal a permeable gut lining.
The only possible drawback of fermented food is an increase in histamine. If you are very sensitive, you might feel a bit lethargic and/or tired after consuming fermented food. If this is the case, start with very little and build up your tolerance. Or stick with only marinating your meat.
Fermenting meat and organ meat
The easiest way is to clear a shelf in your refrigerator. Cover the shelf with white plain towels and place a steel grid on top of the towels (similar to the grid you’ll find in ovens.) Then place your cuts of meat on that grid and simply turn them over after a day or two to allow better air-flow around the meat and to get it evenly aged. Let them dry a bit and age for 5 to 7 days before cooking and consuming them.
Note that minced/ground beef should not be aged. Cook with it fresh.
For organ meats, like liver, simply cut it into small pieces and place them in a glass jar with a lid. Keep the jar in the refrigerator and open it every second to third day. Shake it a bit and let it breath for a minute before sealing it and placing it in the fridge again. You can eat from the jar as it ages if you wish. Eating it raw will give you the most benefits and the most good bacteria and vitamins. If you do not like it raw, you can sear it slightly in a frying pan or on a grill/gridiron.
Marinate meat as a way of pre-digesting it
Marinating improves the flavor, color, moisture, and texture of meats as well as liquid retention. It also starts an enzymatic process of breaking down the proteins into shorter chains of amino acids. This makes the meat easier to digest and can be very helpful when trying to heal the gut.
To accomplish this, your marinade needs an acidic component like vinegar, lime or lemon juice extract, or red wine – and/or a component with naturally occurring pepsin and/or bromelain (the enzymes that breaks down proteins), like pineapple juice.
You can find thousands of marinate-recipes in books and on the internet. Just make sure that they include some of the ingredients listed above.
And make sure not to use any kind of sugars or honey, as these will feed the bad bacteria. And hold off with fruit juices and extract in the beginning – you can try them once you feel an improvement. Go simple with vinegar and some herbs and spices.
Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed meats
Grass-fed refers to meat from cattle raised on their natural diet: grass, shrubs and other local edible plants. Grass-fed beef contains higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA than grain-fed beef. Grain-fed beef from cattle-farms are fed antibiotics to be able to tolerate grain, soy and corn, which might end up in both the meat and organs.
Always choose grass-fed free-range meat if available.