Monday, February 22, 2010

Bison vs. Hamburger

Herd’ of Bison Burgers?
Flower bearing Laugh-In star Henry Gibson waxed poetic, ‘But what about the buffalo?’, and peals of canned laughter ensued. If only he knew Bison has become one of the fastest growing segments of American Agriculture, and for a very good reason.

Were you aware Bison and Buffalo are distinctly different animals? True buffalo's are native only to Africa and Asia. An estimated 30 to 75 million buffalo, or bison crossed over a land bridge that once connected the Asian and North American continents. By the time America’s earliest peoples had established villages about 20,000 years ago, the bison dominated the rolling grasslands and forested hillsides that stretched west from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains. . "The moving multitude...darkened the whole plains," wrote Lewis and Clark, who encountered a herd at South Dakota's White River in 1806, then killed them.

Ruminant, 2000 pound Bison obtain their food from grazing on grass, herbs, shrubs and twigs the way the Universe intended. They are not fed, God-awful tidbits like corn, chicken droppings or other dead cattle scraps as in Factory Farm grocery versions. Nor are they injected with questionable drugs, antibiotics or growth hormones. Genetically altered, cannibal, chicken-poop eating cows bears resemblance to a B-Horror Movie, but that’s your contemporary choices.

Our four-footed, furry friends have a clear-cut advantage in our 'heart healthy’ search for meat alternatives that do not cause heart disease. Did you know grass-fed Bison tastes like beef, has similar protein content, but is lower in fat and cholesterol? They are much healthier than other meats yet contain very high levels of protein. Bison has 35% more protein than beef so you can eat 1/3 less volume and still come away satisfied. A 3.5 ounce serving of cooked bison, my friends, contains 2.42 g. of fat, 28.44 g protein, 143 calories, 82 mg of cholesterol, 3.42 mg of iron and 2.86 mcg B-12. The same portion of choice beef contains 18.54 g. of artery obstructing saturated fats, 29 g protein, 201 calories, 86 mg of cholesterol, 2.99 mg iron, and 2.64 mcg B-12.
Now we know why Native American Indians affixed such value to the magnificent large hoofed mammal.
Other than for clothing and warmth, Bison was the main diet of the Plains Indians who never had cancer, never had heart disease or heart attacks and lived to be 85-90. It tastes similar to the best beast you ever eaten; hearty, sweet and rich with no gamey after-taste. Enlightened carnivores are also attracted to the information that Bison are raised with no growth stimulants, hormones or antibiotics. Bison has more iron as well as some of the essential fatty acids necessary for human well being. Readers' Digest magazine has even listed bison as one of the five foods women should eat because of the lofty iron content.

Because it has so little fat, bison needs to be cooked differently. Do not overcook; the meat dry out. It can be successfully used interchangeably with beef in most recipes, so enjoy all your favorite dishes made healthier - buffalo chili, buffalo lasagna, buffalo stew - the list is endless.
With ground bison, what you see raw is what you get; there’s precious little shrinkage. No matter what you call it, join the herd. Bison, Buffalo, tomato, tomaato; please don’t call the whole thing off.

Give the noble beast the green light. Your family’s health will be at home, home on the range, stove, or grill. Don’t forget to support your local, sustainable Bison growers. It may cost a bit more, but considering the $60,000 expense of a trip to ICU, open-heart surgery or worse, Bison is a wise investment into your family’s collective health equity.
Ask your grocer to start carrying it or explore Indiana’s Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve or Brad at Miller Bison Farms.


No comments: