Beef has been riding the media rollercoaster for years—one minute it’s good for you, the next minute you should avoid it. With the recent popularity of the Paleo diet, beef is back on an upward trend. So do we eat it or not? My thought is simple: Small portions of high-quality lean beef enjoyed in moderation can be a healthy addition to your diet. Here’s why:
Beef is a rich source of:
- Protein. We need protein to keep our body strong and satiated. This is the nutrient that builds and repairs our cells in muscles, bones, skin, etc. Protein also helps us maintain even blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- Iron. This essential mineral carries oxygen through the body. Those with low levels may suffer from fatigue or iron-deficient anemia.
- Vitamin B12. Only found in animal products and supplements, this vitamin is crucial for brain and nervous system functions.
Despite all its good qualities, beef does contain saturated fat. This is why portion control is key. The American Heart Association suggests that a single serving of beef should be around 2 to 3 ounces (a typical restaurant burger is 8 ounces!). Yoffie Life follows these guidelines and suggests keeping your 2- to 3-ounce red meat meals to no more than two or three times a week. Note: Proponents of a more meat-heavy diet may recommend you eat the quantity (in ounces) that’s right for you; that is, eat the quantity that makes you feel satiated and energized, not sluggish and bloated. Consult with your doctor or wellness practitioner to make the best choice for you.
When purchasing beef, opt for organic and grass-fed labels. Consider shopping at small local farms, ethical butchers, or high-end grocery stores. The price may be more expensive, but remember, with 2 to 3 ounce portions, you can buy smaller quantities and supplement your meal with alkalizing foods, like raw vegetables, fresh salads, and leafy greens.
My favorite cut is filet mignon. It’s a leaner cut that doesn’t contain a marbling of fat. Some say the marbling contributes to the flavor, but when cooked just right, filet mignon is rich, juicy, and so very tender.
- Season to perfection. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season or marinate the filet. (I like to keep it simple with salt and pepper.)
- Raise the heat. Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add a thin coating of grapeseed oil.
- Sear & sizzle. When the skillet and oil are hot, sear your filet for 3 to 4 minutes on each side (depending on the size). The heat should be high enough that the steak sizzles when it hits the skillet.
- Into the oven. Once the meat is browned, place the skillet into the preheated oven.
- Take the temperature. The internal temperature should register at 130 to 135°F for medium-rare, 135° to 140°F for medium, and 150°F for medium-well. Chef’s Note: according to the FDA, meat is safe when cooked to 145°F with 3 minutes to rest.
- Let it rest. It’s important to allow the meat to rest afterward. During this time, the internal temperature will continue to rise and finish cooking the beef. Plus, the juices will reconstitute.