Saturday, October 10, 2009

Protecting Your Family From E-Coli

My kids eat a lot of meat. It is a concentrated food source that they seem to do well with. Last night I made baby back ribs which were amazing--I will post the recipe tomorrow. When I was in India, I ate all "veg" for five weeks and I have never felt better, but I found it easier to be vegetarian in India when being served three hot meals a day in a country with a history of a traditional vegetarian diet. In New York, we eat meat--hamburgers, tacos and chicken are all dinner staples at our house. Recently, there was an article in the New York Times article on e-coli about a woman who became paralyzed after eating a hamburger which contained the pathogenic bacteria e-coli.

There are several things you can do to protect your family from this pathogen. The easiest, most obvious, way to avoid e-coli meat is to stop eating meat! For most gluten free people, that just isn't possible. A second option, is to can eat whole cuts of meat that come from one cow--an individual steak, a skirt steak or brisket would be an example of cuts you might eat. The hamburger meat that was eaten by the woman who got e-coli was made from slaughterhouses in FOUR different states and who knows how many cows. If you eat whole pieces of meat, you can avoid this kind of situation. Or, you could ask your butcher to grind your meat from a piece of steak. This is what our butcher does--he sends us ground sirlion. Another option to consider is switching to 100% grass fed beef. According to an 2003 article in Journal of Dairy Science titled Forage Feeding to Reduce Preharvest Escherichia coli Populations in Cattle, a Review:

"When cattle were abruptly switched from a high grain (corn) diet to a forage diet, generic E. coli populations declined 1000-fold within 5 d."

In New York City, I have found organic grass fed beef at Trader Joe's and Citerella's. Other places have organic meat, but I usually have to ask the butcher where to find it. If you buy meat from the farmer's market you can avoid meat from the large slaughterhouses that have the most trouble with e-coli.

David Kirby's new book on these large slaughterhouses, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) is coming out shortly and will have more information on this growing problem. It is called Animal Factory and you can pre order it at Amazon.