A Protein-Rich and Lean Meat... What is it?
Do you remember the first time you tasted game meat? If you come from a family of hunters or if you hunt yourself, this might seem like a silly question as game meat is part of your daily life. However, it's not necessarily the case for the majority of Quebecers. Whether it's moose, deer, elk, bison, wapiti, or guinea fowl, game meat is extremely rare in grocery stores. We tend to prioritize familiar farmed meats such as beef, chicken, veal, lamb, etc. So why not learn more about this still unfamiliar type of meat? In fact, game meat is worth discovering for both environmental and health reasons!
Game meat can be classified into two groups, namely feathered game (e.g., pheasants) and furred game (e.g., bison). Several studies have shown that game meat has more protein, fewer lipids, and more minerals than farmed meat. What's even more interesting is that it is now possible to support small Quebec breeders who raise game animals on pasture.
Lipids and Proteins
The diet of wild animals differs greatly from that of farmed animals. Game animals often have a more varied and much less processed diet since they must rely on what nature provides them. Additionally, wild animals work hard to feed themselves, hunt, and may even go several days without access to food. All of this greatly influences the lipid and protein content in game meat. The more an animal moves and eats a varied diet, the higher the protein content in its meat and the lower the lipid content. Other factors come into play, of course, but this generally explains why game meat is much leaner than meat from farming.
Furthermore, the quality of lipids present in game meat is also better. Game meat reportedly has a better omega-6/omega-3 ratio. These two lipids are considered "essential" as the body cannot produce them on its own. The problem is that the Western diet provides a large, even excessive, amount of omega-6 but little omega-3. Therefore, it is important to consume foods such as game meat that have more balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratios, unlike farmed meat, which provides very little or even no omega-3.
Sometimes overlooked for their importance, minerals are essential for the proper functioning of our metabolism. Therefore, it is important to consume foods that contain them to meet the recommended daily intake. In general, according to Health Canada, the mineral content is higher in game meat than in farmed meat. Specifically, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus have been quantified and compared. These minerals are known, among other things, to aid in oxygen transport in the blood (iron), bone and teeth formation (phosphorus), muscle contraction such as the heart (potassium), and protein construction (magnesium).
Game meat is definitely a meat to discover, both for its different taste and its nutritional attributes. Plus, you can support small Quebec breeders who raise game animals on pasture, feeding them naturally.
Some ideas for using game meat
- Replace traditional foods in Chinese fondue with our delicious game trio, containing deer, duck, and bison
- Grill the bison strip loin on the barbecue; it's a must for red meat lovers
- Create meatballs with our lean elk or deer and incorporate them into your weekly meals, such as pasta and salads
To explore our selection of game meat, click here!
Sources used for writing this article:
Corneau, L. et al. (2017). L'encyclopédie visuelle des aliments. Québec Amérique.
Health Canada. (2010).