I'd say "Let's get ready for winter!" with this newest recipe, but from the looks of the weather map... Well, winter has already hit pretty hard for most of the country. I'm still hanging out down here on the Gulf Coast in flip flops and a light sweater...in December! Our cold will hit us eventually, but in the meantime, there are lots of rainy days where soup makes the perfect go-to. And a traditional beef stew is what's on the menu!
Now in the Standard American Diet (SAD), there's a lot of smack that goes around for eating red meat or eating "too much" red meat. The claims are that its full of fat and bad for your heart because it causes high cholesterol.
The reality is that beef is a great addition to any healing diet. Red meat is full of essential vitamins., making it nutrient dense. Since most of us with autoimmune disorders tend to have issues with leaky gut (or increased intestinal permeability if you want to use the more official terms), eating nutrient dense foods is part of AIP 101. Why? Because leaky gut means that malabsorption of essential nutrients is more likely, and eating nutrient dense foods is more critical in order to obtain as many nutrients as our body is able.
Specifically, red meat contains significant levels of B vitamins (especially B12, which most people tend to be deficient in), Vitamin D (another common vitamin deficiency), Iron (usually the main issue in individuals suffering from anemia), zinc, copper, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, selenium, and nickel.
The saturated fat and cholesterol argument has also been debunked lately. There's been no consistent evidence that proves that saturated fat makes you fat. In fact, there are more studies and facts showing the benefits of a diet rich in healthy saturated fat. TIME also recently published an article pro-butter versus margarine. For those of us following the Autoimmune Protocol, butter might be out but animal fats such as tallow, lard, bacon fat, and duck fat are great options.
Lastly, if you're eating grass-fed beef, then your source of omega 3 fatty acids is much higher than eating poultry. Omega 6s aren't necessarily bad on their own, but the major issue is the ratio between the two. Because SAD is a diet full of omega 6s, any opportunity to boost omega 3s is an opportunity not to be wasted. If you're worried about your consumption of non-grassfed beef due to budget, no worries. While it's not the AIP or Paleo ideal, not be able to eat grass-fed or pasture-raised for every meal isn't a deal-breaker. As the Paleo Mom states in her post Paleo FAQ: “Can I still do paleo if I can’t afford or source grass-fed beef and organic produce?”:
Whether sourcing exclusively the best quality foods available or buying your groceries at your local superstore, a Paleo diet is still a nutrient-dense diet that reduces inflammation, helps regulate hormones, encourages a healthy gut and generally promotes good health.So don't be afraid of beef—grass-fed or not. Add some stew meat to your grocery list, and whip up big pot of this hearty stew. This recipe is also perfect for batch cooking; just freeze and heat up when you're ready for a bowl.
Chunky Beef Stew
¼ cup arrowroot starch
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp parsley flakes
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
2 lbs beef stew meat
3 tbsp beef tallow or coconut oil
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups sliced carrots
6 cups beef bone broth
3 cups white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
2 tsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp coconut vinegar (or more red wine vinegar)
2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme (½ tsp ground thyme)
In a medium bowl, combine arrowroot starch, oregano, parsley, sea salt, and garlic powder. Dredge the stew meat in the mixture to lightly coat. Set aside any remaining flour mixture.
In a dutch oven or large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of fat over medium low heat. Toss the meat in and cook until browned on all sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Remove from pan and set aside.
Add remaining tablespoon of fat to the pot. Add leeks, onion, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook until the edges start to turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
Add bone broth and sweet potatoes to the pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Add stew meat and reserved arrowroot mixture to the broth and stir again. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is tender and sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Serve.