If you’re like me you hate when meat is cooked to the standard of a hockey puck! Personally, I like a steak that’s medium or medium well so that it’s cooked but still tender, juicy and flavorful with a bit of pink. Well, here’s another reason to keep from munching on the grey slab of crunchy charcoal that is well done. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, women who ate hamburger, steak and bacon very well done were at 4 1/2 times more at risk of getting breast cancer than women who ate these meats rare or medium! The reason being heterocyclic amines, or HAs, that form when meat is cooked beyond well done. This is fairly old news to some as I’m sure I’m not the only ones who’ve heard about the dangers of consuming carcinogens but how do you avoid consuming too many HAs?
Alternate Methods of Cooking
Roasting meat in an oven allows easier temperature control and avoids overcooking. Steaming and stewing meat are also ways to keep meat moist which prevents HAs from forming.
Exercise caution when grilling
Avoid the drying out and charring of meat when grilling, broiling or frying as HAs can form. When grilling marinate the meat first to ensure a dramatic decrease in HA levels.
Undercooking is also not your friend!
While you want to avoid overcooking your meat, undercooking can present a whole new world of problems as bacteria responsible for nasty illnesses like salmonella and E.coli can hang around if the meat is not cooked properly. Be sure to cook steaks, chops and seafood to 145F, ground beef to 155F and poultry to at least 165F.
Veggies, however, are your friend!
While not a vegetarian myself, I tried for about three weeks but I loves me some MEAT, bear in mind the HAs only form in muscle tissue so when in doubt you can always try substituting vegetables or soy meat. Personally I prefer Boca over Morningstar and tofu can be pretty good if it’s left to marinate long enough, just be sure to thoroughly wash your veggies first or the food-borne illness can rear its ugly head once again.
Chow for now!