Raw Meat? Choose Wisely.

While I’m the first to tell anyone with the misconception that Paleo has to mean eating copious amounts of meat at each meal that this is inaccurate, I’m also one who quite enjoys a nice grass fed beef carpaccio or steak tartare now and then.

When we select fish that we intend to eat raw, it’s easy to choose based on whether or not it’s labeled as sashimi grade or not.   Hopefully, we’re buying from our local fish monger who is selling local fish, rather than fish marked as being suitable to eat raw which has been flown in to Los Angeles from Fiji…but that’s a topic for another post!

What if we want to prepare carpaccio or tartare at home?  How can we decipher whether or not the meat we’re buying is safe to eat raw or not, since we can’t exactly wander into any random grocery shop and eat their raw meat?

Just as when we eat sashimi, or a runny egg yolk, or actually, any food for that matter, there’s a chance of bacterial contamination, so let’s just get that out there.

However, we can certainly minimize our risk if we adhere to a few guidelines:

  • Opt for cuts you can identify, rather than ground beef.  The less handling, the better.
  • Go with 100% grass fed.
  • Buy from a local rancher you can trust; ideally one who you can speak with, face to face, at your local farmer’s market and ask every last question you have.
  • There is a school of thought that suggests freezing meat may kill some potentially dangerous bacteria; it’s certainly not going to hurt.
  • If you’re pregnant, or have a compromised immune system, or are a child, you may want to steer clear as certain populations may be particularly susceptible to falling ill more so than others.

Does one have to eat raw meat to be Paleo?

Absolutely not.

However, I’d personally say that to not enjoy the occasional serving of raw meat, whether it’s carpaccio or sashimi, one might be missing out.