Sunday, May 11, 2008
Meat and Iron
I grew up with three older brothers and all they ever wanted was meat, meat, and more meat. Burgers, spaghetti and meat balls, meat loaf, whatever but we didn't have a vegetarian bone in our whole family. During one of Nutrition Science courses at UT Austin, our class had to study and "experience" the process of slaughtering meat and how it was then packaged for the USDA gov. inspection. I remember that day like yesterday. I brought a healthy choice roast beef sandwich for lunch and I couldn't even look at it after our class. No thanks! I decided to investigate more on how much meat the human body needs and the what choices are best. To make this story short, I'll get to my point. The human body does need meat or iron for that matter. Vegetarians can still get their iron too, just from different plant sources. I'm not bashing vegetarians, don't get me wrong. Iron's main function is to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs. When iron is low, this oxygen consumption slows down and therefore no oxygen is getting to our muscles and other organs. This creates fatigue, irritability, and headaches for us! Men need about 8mg per day and women under 50yr. need about 18mg.
Meat is one of the best sources of iron but certain ones are loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol so be careful in choosing your red meat selection. Look for meat low in saturated in fat (4 grams and under). Sirloin, Pork Tenderloin, chicken or turkey sausage, and venison are some of the leanest sources of meat/poultry. This article has a great list of foods that are rich in Iron. It also provides more detail about this important mineral!
I tried this recipe out on James last week and it was a success. Not only did it give him a meat fix (although I used chicken sausage), it was hearty and healthy. Let me know if anyone tries it!
FARFALLE WITH SPINACH AND FETA SAUSAGE (picture of sausage above)
1 lb chicken sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick (I used the feta and spinach sausage)
4 tsp olive oil
1 lb farfalle or rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained (do not rinse), 1/2 cup cooking water reserved
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 lb baby spinach
2 tsp oyster-flavor sauce
4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil, and cook the chicken sausage over medium-high heat until it is browned. Add onion, red pepper and spinach, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add oyster sauce and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Add cooked pasta, and cook together for 2-3 minutes until pasta is incorporated with the sausage and vegetables. If needed, add a few Tbsp of reserved pasta water.
I also tried this recipe with brown rice instead of pasta with added thawed baby shrimp. And I added tomatoes and okra instead of red pepper.
Have a great week!