Nose to Tail
Our ancestors used to eat the whole animal, from nose to tail. As we become more and more affluent, we eat less and less of the animal. This has had several unintended side effects:
- Collagen Deficiency
Now the first is pretty easy to see; iffen you don’t eat it, it gets thrown away. Fortunately, a lot of the “thrown away” isn’t actually thrown away, it just gets ground up and becomes sausage. Yummy, yummy sausage, so it’s not wasted. Or course, some of it is not ground into sausage, and that’s where we run into disease.
Mad Cow Disease
Remember Mad Cow disease? Back when it was a thing (did it actually go away?) we found out that bits of cow that weren’t going to be eaten got ground up and…fed to other cows.
Fed to other cows? Yes, in spite of the fact that cows are herbivores, they were being fed meat-and-bone meal from other cows. The prion that causes mad cow lives in the nervous system, we don’t eat much cow brain anymore, and to save on disposal and feed costs, the bones and other unused bits (including the brains) were ground up and mixed into the feed.
Funny that making cows into cannibals turned out to be a bad idea. Whoever could have imagined?
Collagen is a protein primarily found in the skin and connective tissues. Now, with the asinine food pyramid that got foisted upon us to create the fat, diabetic society we live in today, we eat less meat overall, and the we only eat the purest, skinless, boneless, fatless flavourless bits. In short, all the bits that contain collagen are carved off and thrown away.
The good news is there is are things you can do about it. For instance, you can go to your local Pho place and have the tendon and tripe bowl.
If that doesn’t suit your fancy, stop buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Buy the whole drumstick and eat the damn skin. Not only is it tasty, it’s cheaper and healthier.
Or you could buy the whole cut of meat; the leg of lamb, the whole chicken or turkey, the rack of ribs, whatever. When you’ve carved off and eaten all the bits you plan on, make broth with the rest. A day of boiling will break the chemical bonds and make the collagen available to you in a yummy bone broth.
Which also happens to make a great base for Pho, which you can have with tendon and tripe. Did I already mention that?
There are other dietary sources of collagen, fish, some of the berries, some of the greens. You can look it up if you like, I can’t be assed to do it right now. I just had a bowl of my mother in law’s noodle soup in homemade broth and it got me to thinking about collagen and the tastiest source of it.