Originally Posted by pg600rr
So I know most (i.e. 99%) of deli meats are complete shit. In the past month I have switched to eating almost entirely organic/fresh foods. It has not been easy (or cheap) but already feeling the benefits. One of the biggest pain in the asses is cooking small turkey or chicken, then using it for sandwhich/wrap meats. It would be waayyy easier to just grad some meat at the deli, however I have yet to find a local deli that cooks & shaves their own meat.
I have recently came across some 'natural organic' prepackaged deli meats at trader Joes by Applegate Farms. They say Nitrate and preservitive free but I am still hesitant. Anyone try these or have any reccomendations?
It is expensive but I try to eat grass fed meats. The organic stuff doesn't seem much better than regular factory raised animals.
I read this article today about nitrates and thought it might be of help.http://www.advicegoddess.com/goddessblog.html
For Anybody Wasting Their Money On Nitrate-Free Bacon
Somebody in the comments talked about going to Whole Foods and buying that pricey nitrate-free bacon. I don't know about you, but I don't have dollar bills I'm particularly interested in getting rid of, so I buy the cheap-ass bacon at the supermarket (low-sodium, if I can find it, because it's really salty even in that variety).
I actually read a study that relates that I think is behind this portion of this New York Times piece, but I'm running out and I can't remember which one it is or where I found it. Luckily, Harold McGee is there to clear things up:
Then there's the ongoing saga of nitrite and nitrate, which give hams, bacon, hot dogs, bologna and other salt-cured meats their special color and tang. Nitrite reacts in the meat tissue to form nitric oxide, which binds tightly to the iron in myoglobin and turns it a stable red. Nitrite is also toxic to many microbes, including the bacteria that cause botulism, so it's a critical preservative in cured sausages. For centuries meats were treated with a liberal mixture of salt and saltpeter, or sodium nitrate, which bacteria on the meat converted into nitrite. Nowadays manufacturers generally use very small quantities of pure nitrite, or a mixture of nitrite and nitrate.
In the 1970s, the nitrite and nitrate in cured meats fell under the suspicion that they might cause cancer. Later research showed that we get far more of these chemicals from vegetables like celery, spinach and lettuce. Their abundant nitrate comes from the soil and is turned into nitrite by bacteria living in our mouths.
Nevertheless consumers remain wary of nitrite-cured meats. And United States Department of Agriculture regulations forbid the use of pure nitrate or nitrite in foods labeled "natural" or "organic."
So ingenious manufacturers figured out how to replace the pure chemicals with a mix of nitrate-rich vegetable extracts and bacterial cultures that convert the nitrate into nitrite. (Celery-juice powder, for one, is especially rich in nitrate and has little flavor of its own.) As a result, natural and organic hot dogs that once were quite drab are starting to look better.
According to a review from the American Meat Science Association, recent studies at Iowa State University show that careful formulation and processing can produce vegetable-cured hot dogs and hams that are quite similar to their nitrite-cured models in color and flavor. They are not, however, free of nitrites or nitrates, no matter what the label suggests.
Here's Sandy Szwarc on the topic. (I don't normally link to her because she doesn't understand copyright law or fair use, and I don't want to put her panties in a wad -- see the statement at the bottom of her page.)
UPDATE: Dr. Michael Eades, who is just fantastic at cutting through the accepted dietary crapthink, sent me this study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits."
An excerpt from the abstract:
The strength of the evidence linking the consumption of nitrate- and nitrite-containing plant foods to beneficial health effects supports the consideration of these compounds as nutrients.