Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FUEL Better: Bison

Bison: It is what’s for dinner.
What is it?
Bison or buffalo in layman’s terms is arguably the leanest and most nutritious red meat available in stores.  Found in specialty groceries or available online.
Bison is good for the heart.
Buffalo meat fits the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association and is often prescribed by physicians to patients who should limit their fat intake. Several of the nationally recognized weight-loss programs list buffalo as one of their recommended "diet foods".
Bison is significantly less fat per gram than other animal proteins; the average cut of bison contains more iron, protein, and minerals than that of conventional beef.
Bison is good for the environment.
Eating bison is also eco-friendly. Bison graze in open pastures rather than being confined to small plots of land and are fed a combination of grain and hay. This is good for them and the environment because natural foraging stimulates new grass growth. Grass diets also make bison's meat milder and richer. Plus, while farm-raised livestock need daily antibiotics to stay healthy, bison require antibiotics only in cases of medical emergency.
Bison are handled as little as possible. They spend their lives on grass, much as they always have. They are not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals or hormones. The members of the National Bison Association (NBA) feel so strongly about this that they have a resolution opposing the use of these substances in the production of Bison for meat.
 “There are more saturated fats in the meat of feedlotted animals than in that of grass-fed ones,” says Kevin Weiland, MD, author of The Dakota Diet (Basic Health, 2007). “The fat produces a marbling effect, but other healthy nutrients diminish. Grass-fed bison contains higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and antioxidants such as vitamin E.”
To distinguish buffalo's boons, the NBA has developed a new USDA-audited labeling system, which indicates that the animal wasn't fed growth hormones, unnecessary antibiotics, or animal byproducts, and can be traced back to its farm of origin. Watch for the Certified American Buffalo seal.
Other Benefits for choosing Bison
Bison tastes great! Bison is flavorful meat, with a sweeter and richer flavor than beef. Bison is naturally flavorful and tender and can be prepared much the same as beef.
Bison falls into the gourmet or specialty meat category at your supermarket or meat market. The value of Bison is not what you pay, but what you get in return. Nutritionally you are getting more protein and nutrients with fewer calories and less fat. Bison is a dense meat that tends to satisfy you more while eating less.

Cooking Tips for Bison
Buffalo meat is similar to beef; however, when preparing various cuts of bison you need to cook it differently. Because of the lack of marbling (white streaks of fat through the meat), bison needs to be cooked at a lower temperature than that used for beef. Fat acts as an insulator causing most meats to take longer to cook. This lack of fat also accounts for the deep red color of the meat. You should cook bison to the same doneness you prefer in beef. When you overcook bison, you get the same results as when you overcook other meat. The juiciness and tenderness of the meat will be compromised.

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