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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.
[Ed Note: We never condone eating any meat/animals. This article is for your use in educating your friends and families about yet one more "danger" that can be avoided by GOING VEGAN!]
This summer most people will attend a barbecue where they will be served grilled meat. Some will opt for chicken over beef due to their health conscious nature. However, the most dangerous element they will consume will not be the red meat or the white meat. The real dietary danger will be the black meat! Grilled meat contains one of the most potent carcinogens known: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), and the telltale signs are the black stripes from the grill. This article will provide information about this toxin along with ways to avoid it.
When fire directly touches meat the fat liquefies and drips into the fire, vaporizing and creating dangerous compounds that rise in the form of gas and reattach to the meat. While all substances have a temperature whereby they will vaporize, animal fats must be heated to extremely high temperatures in order to achieve this. When they do vaporize (as they do when they drip into the fire) they become not only toxic but easily absorbed by the body.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
The bad news is they are polycyclic. The good news is they are aromatic. It's like being bitten by a blood-thirsty, tasty shark. It turns out the most dangerous substance found inside vaporized animal fat is PAH. When scientists want to create cancer in a laboratory (something done to animals as a matter of course), they will often use PAH because cooked animal fats are known to be one of the primary causes of cancer. Throw in the hormones, MSG and sodium nitrate (which also fuse into various bad things at high temperatures) and it's obvious why about half of Americans develop cancer in their lifetime.
Cast Iron Skillet
Does this mean the fancy outdoor grill was a complete waste of money? Not exactly, for some have a working egg timer and foot massager. Plus, there is a fast solution to the problem: a cast iron skillet can be used on the grill to protect the meat from touching the flame (one just needs to watch out for the handles that get hot). Does this mean that meat can just as easily be cooked on the kitchen stove? Technically yes, but then nobody would get to smell butane while the head of the household dons a chef hat and thumps their chest.
Blackened Bread and Pan Seared Meat
When bread cooks under a flame on a hot stone, the blackening it obtains is actually a powerful antioxidant (similar to activated charcoal). Also, when meat or fish blackens in a pan or under a broiler it's not as dangerous. In fact, this is a key used by most chefs to obtain certain textures and flavors and to sear in juice. One mainly wants to avoid having the fire directly touch the meat.
Nowadays many restaurants ask patrons if they prefer an item "blackened". A few years ago this meant flame broiled. However now "blackened" usually means blackened seasoning, an artificial flavor normally containing MSG along with cheap fillers. Should you inquire the wait staff will most likely know nothing about it and will resent your even asking (some resent even reading this). The wait staff will have to the cook who is likely to become equally annoyed. The cook must then read the ingredients on that giant container of powder on the shelf for the first time. Most won't be able to detect hidden forms of MSG such as Natural Flavoring, Casein, or Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, and some won't even know that MSG also goes by the name Monosodium Glutamate. They will say "no MSG". To make matters worse, a number of restaurants (even high end chains) don't make the ingredients of their spice blends available to the chef (or on their web site). To avoid real flame broiled meat you might request that the cook use flat grill, but another unusual request might mean free special sauce with your meal.
For a great MSG-like flavor try the following blend in equal parts:
* Celery salt
* Cayenne pepper
Ideally one will limit meat consumption, choose naturally raised meat and either pan-sear or slow-cook meat in a cast iron skillet.
There is still hope for the renegade types like comedian Denis Leary who only eat red meat from cows that smoke. Studies have shown that many foods can help detoxify PAH, namely apples, cherries, sage, rosemary, garlic and olive oil.
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