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What constitutes 'processed' meat?

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  • What constitutes 'processed' meat?

    Since moving toward a primal/whole foods sort of nutrition plan, I have started to increase the variety of meats I eat. Particularly, I used to only eat eggs for breakfast, but I developed a foods sensitivity to them due to over-consumption. Now I try to rotate ham, bacon (uncured), and turkey breast into my first meal of the day. I don't consume pre-sliced ham or turkey--I buy the actual rump or breast. The ham and turkey have sodium nitrate, but I cant seem to find them in their uncured forms. With this concern over the dangers of processed meats I wonder if these meats I eat are considered 'processed'? Should I be concerned with them?

    Thanks for any input!

  • #2
    That depends upon the purity of definition of 'processed'. After the cow or turkey is dead, processed means, essentially, anything done to the meat other than wrapping it. All ham is cured with something. Even freezing can be considered a process by some people.

    Sould you be concerned? That depends on you and what kind or degree of 'health' you want. There are a lot of movies out about food production and processing. watch a few.
    "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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    • #3
      I take processed meats to mean that it's been treated, cured, or else emulsified and reshaped and pressed together. Unless you have a problem with nitrates, I don't think it's a big deal, but I'd be more concerned about the quality of the original meat.
      F 28/5'4/100 lbs

      "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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      • #4
        Any meat that has been cut, sliced, ground, etc. If you are not eating the meat right off the dead carcass, then it's processed and potentially deadly!

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        • #5
          The "etc" includes brine, which is probably what a whole deli-meat turkey breast most likely is.

          If you are really worried about it, you can cook a turkey really easily. It only takes a few hours in the oven. You don't have to put any stuffing or anything in it. Some places you can buy just a big breast or leg just like if it was chicken. Then you can make lots of lunches from it.
          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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          • #6
            For me, a processed meat is anything that isn't just hacked into the appropriate parts and sold by the pound. So anything sold in a deli, or anything with sodium nitrate/nitrite. That said, I like deli, and though I no longer make it 85% of my food (damn you Grok for not eating ham, spam, salami, and bacon), I do indulge. I would watch the additives and make sure you're not sliding back to processed land. If you like turkey breast*, buy an uncooked one, look for a brining recipe online, and make your own. The same can be done with corned beef.

            *Didn't see sbhikes' post above.
            "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

            B*tch-lite

            Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the replies and helping me understand the question at hand--it helps. I have a few more questions based on what was written though.

              My body seems to tolerate nitrates just fine. It seems to me that they, like saturated fat, aren't as bad as once believed. Is that correct?

              How does one determine the quality of the original meat?

              I really like the idea of cooking a whole turkey. I really like ham too. Aside from roasting a whole pig, is there some middle ground in terms of getting a less processed form?

              Thanks!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Coffee, Salmon, & Apples View Post
                My body seems to tolerate nitrates just fine. It seems to me that they, like saturated fat, aren't as bad as once believed. Is that correct?
                Yep.

                Originally posted by Coffee, Salmon, & Apples View Post
                How does one determine the quality of the original meat?
                Unfortunately, the best way of doing this is by knowing where it came from. But that is pricey because it's outside the current industrialised factory process.
                Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                Griff's cholesterol primer
                5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                bloodorchid is always right

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Coffee, Salmon, & Apples View Post
                  Thanks for all the replies and helping me understand the question at hand--it helps. I have a few more questions based on what was written though.

                  My body seems to tolerate nitrates just fine. It seems to me that they, like saturated fat, aren't as bad as once believed. Is that correct?

                  How does one determine the quality of the original meat?

                  I really like the idea of cooking a whole turkey. I really like ham too. Aside from roasting a whole pig, is there some middle ground in terms of getting a less processed form?

                  Thanks!
                  Nitrates are bad for you. No question.

                  A pig is cut up into pork. Cured pork is called ham. So all ham is cured one way or another.

                  The quality of the original meat is determined by how the animal was cared for and what it was fed.

                  You'd best buy a copy of "Rich Food, Poor Food." It will answer all your questions.
                  "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wvpptzff
                    There are a lot of movies out about food production and processing.
                    Can you list them here, please?

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                    • #11
                      I prefer that the vast majority of the meat I consume have no ingredient list. If it has any ingredients at all, I consider it processed. I am not a purist - I have no problems eating bacon, ham, etc. But I use them as condiment, not as main food supplies.

                      I don't eat eggs either. So for breakfast I have bowls of chicken veggie soup, cold burger patties that I grilled the night before, cold sliced chicken with some mustard, crisps of japanese sweet potatoes with butter and fresh berries (Yum!),etc.
                      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                      http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                      • #12
                        Yes, please list meats....I am wondering and having concerns about meat. Can't find any grass fed meats besides ground beef at trader joes. Is there a website that I can buy from?

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                        • #13
                          Do you eat egg whites?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cryptocode View Post
                            Nitrates are bad for you. No question.

                            A pig is cut up into pork. Cured pork is called ham. So all ham is cured one way or another.

                            The quality of the original meat is determined by how the animal was cared for and what it was fed.

                            You'd best buy a copy of "Rich Food, Poor Food." It will answer all your questions.
                            "Nitrates are bad for you" Does that include the natural nitrates in celery and spinach? They have far higher nitrate levels than bacon does... yes, I know the argument that they are from a natural source and other compounds that reduce their effect (but that isn't what you said)

                            "cured pork is called ham" Not really.... there are lots of cured pork products that are not ham. Ham is the cured rear leg of a pig. Bacon is cured pork belly (can also be made from the jowl), canadian bacon is the cured loin or tenderlioin, just to name a few.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ssn679doc View Post
                              "Nitrates are bad for you" Does that include the natural nitrates in celery and spinach? They have far higher nitrate levels than bacon does... yes, I know the argument that they are from a natural source and other compounds that reduce their effect (but that isn't what you said)

                              "cured pork is called ham" Not really.... there are lots of cured pork products that are not ham. Ham is the cured rear leg of a pig. Bacon is cured pork belly (can also be made from the jowl), canadian bacon is the cured loin or tenderlioin, just to name a few.
                              Read somewhere recently, it's not so much the Nitrates/ites, but in the curing of meat(amino acids) Nitosamines are formed and these are the primary culprit in that instance.
                              "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

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