If you’ve been following this blog, you’re well aware of our lean towards animal flesh, fruits and vegetables as our main source of fuel. Sure, we encourage the occasional indulgence but our staples are consistent. We don’t believe in rules, and we certainly don’t stick to cows, pigs, chicken and fish. Among our choices should be the wide varieties of wild game.
Last night, I ate at a steakhouse in a casino (Yelp didn’t tell me that part). I suppose making fun of my friend for having the audacity to order salmon in that environment was shortsighted, considering I was about to ask for elk. When I’m out for a nice meal, I generally optimize for flavor, but widening the scope of our palates can pay dividends related to sourcing optimal fuel for training.
In fact, elk may be closer to our natural feed than the aforementioned, generally domestic animals. From a nutritional standpoint, we can derive tremendous value from the forest and forest-edge habitat living, grass plants, leaves and bark eating friends. Particularly dense on the protein front, elk meat makes a great partner to your 5 x 5 workout routine. From livestrong.com:
One of meat’s greatest contributions to your diet is its high protein content. In this regard, elk products can meet and even surpass the protein content of other types of meat. Although the exact protein content can depend on the type of meat and fat content of the cut, the average cut of elk meat contains about 30.6 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving.
The benefits of eating elk and other game meats go beyond just their basic nutritional composition. I’m well aware that we eat what the animal eats, and devouring wild game instead of factory farmed animals means you get less antibiotics and added hormones, healthier meat, and a more natural ratio of fats. My friend’s salmon wasn’t the only protein packed with omega 3 fatty acids. From Purdue University:
According to Watkins, the analysis done at Purdue found that wild elk, deer and antelope from the Rocky Mountains region have greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and a lower – and therefore healthier – ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in muscle meats, compared to grain-fed beef.
As the Paleo style diets grow in popularity, perhaps there should be more discussion of eating meats more akin to what our ancestors ate. They certainly weren’t picking up boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the grocery store. Elk is packed with nutrients we need for superior health and well-being. Livestrong.com continues:
Elk meat also features several vitamins, including over 100 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin B-12, 15 percent of iron, 20 percent of thiamine, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B-6, 45 percent of riboflavin and 30 percent of niacin…Vitamin B-12 can help reduce your risk of heart disease and dementia and increase your energy levels…Elk is very high in selenium, phosphorous and zinc. Zinc helps boost your immune system and reduces the length and severity of the common cold.
These benefits are exceptional, but we’re all about the taste here. The elk was well cooked, which can be a challenge since it’s leaner than beef. It had a rich flavor and added depth that illuminated the fact I was eating something more exotic than beef. Next time the opportunity presents itself, venture outside your comfort zone and dig into wild game.