News that a daily diet of even 3 ounces of processed or red meat boosts your risk for early death by as much as 20 percent has left even part-time carnivores wondering what’s for dinner, especially after reading headlines such as “Death by Meat,” “Deadliest Red Meat Meals” and “Red Meat Shortens Life.”
Good news! We have a food-lover’s way to fill that hole on your plate with tasty, healthy stuff so satisfying, so full of flavor — and so grill-able — that you’ll never miss those old-fashioned killer burgers and deadly dogs again.
This isn’t the first time four-footed protein and the stuff that gets brined, cured and processed (sausage, ham and most lunch meats fall into this category) have been linked to big health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and all-round bigger odds for a sooner-rather-than-later Big Exit. In 2009, we let you in on earlier evidence that a burger a day boosts the risk for fatal heart disease and cancer by up to 30 percent. This new report from Harvard is notable because it followed more than 120,000 men and women for 20 years, tracking their diets and their health.
But “no meat” doesn’t mean you have to give up all the things that make beef, bologna and brats so tempting. Here’s how to step away from the four-legged creatures and keep big flavor, super-size satisfaction and something worth sliding into your next burger bun.
Grill something new. Fire up your grill and lay out beefy-tasting veggie — yes, veggie — burgers. We’re big fans of many types with flavors from spicy to barbecue and classic. Dr. Mike recently had a veggie burger “taste-off” of more than 20 brands at his house.
Love hot dogs? Here’s a great alternative. Look for low-fat, low-sodium tofu or turkey dogs; pair with sauerkraut on a 100 percent whole-wheat bun, top with a thin ribbon of yellow mustard (the yellow contains brain-healing turmeric) and you’re ready for great summer eating!
What you dodge: HAAs (heterocyclic aromatic amines), nasty compounds that form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, are linked to many cancers, including colon, breast, stomach, pancreatic and prostate.
Get stomach-pleasing satisfaction. Skip the beef in your favorite soups, stews and casseroles and shift the focus to beans — mild and trendy black beans, big, creamy kidneys and white cannellini beans. They are excellent meat substitutes because they’re ultra-low in fat yet high in protein and filling fiber. The calorie trade-offs are another plus. You’d have to eat more than 4 cups of black beans — and that’s not going to happen — to match the calorie count of one 10 oz. ribeye steak (860). One cup of black beans delivers just 190 calories, along with 14 to 20 grams of protein and nearly 20 grams of cholesterol-lowering, inflammation-soothing, heart-smart fiber.
What you dodge:Meat’s sizable dose of saturated fat that can turn on inflammation-triggering genes, increase wrinkles and decrease between-the-sheets performance. It also increases your lousy LDL cholesterol, as well as your belt size and makes it harder to control blood sugar levels.
Don’t give up “umami.” U-WHAT? Umami is a naturally occurring glutamate that delivers the subtle, savory taste of beef, but it turns out plenty of other good-for-you edibles tickle your taste buds in the same way. Foods with big umami impact include mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and even carrots. Grill big portobello mushrooms, or saute some shiitake mushrooms to add to scrambled eggs or a chicken dish.
What you dodge: In one study, people who ate mushroom-based dishes instead of meat-based ones consumed 420 fewer calories — and in a blind taste test said the food tasted even better and left them feeling just as full, for just as long.
With these tasty treats, you’ll never have to say “Where’s the beef?” You really don’t want it for health and don’t need it for great taste!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For information go to [/URL]