Since beef jerky often comes in a plastic bag and looks processed, many people believe that it is an unhealthy meat that is loaded with preservatives. However, beef jerky actually has many health benefits that are certainly worth exploring, such as its high protein amounts that don’t raise insulin levels, or the fact that it doesn’t signal your body to store it as fat. In order to determine whether this snack that is often assumed to be junk food is Paleo or not, there are many factors that have to be considered.
What is Beef Jerky?
Traditionally, jerky is an age-old method that consisted of preserving meat, poultry and fish. Meats were dried into jerky because our ancestors needed it to last for longer periods without refrigeration. Today, jerky is a delicious snack that you have probably seen in the corner store, and it is a mess and hassle free snack option that often comes in long, thin strips of meat, which is almost always beef. However, commercial jerky products that can be found in corner stores are almost always packed with a number of preservatives that provide different flavors. This isn’t the case for all of them though as you can find many varieties with different seasonings, salted, unsalted and more importantly, Paleo and non-Paleo options.
What to Look Out For?
You have to know what to look out for as some beef jerky brands are packed with all kinds of non-Paleo ingredients such as; MSG, sodium nitrate, soy, corn syrup and plenty of other awful additives. Always check the ingredient list when purchasing beef jerky – as well as anything else that is ‘new’ to you. You just never know what may be added, and the truth might shock you. However, as mentioned, chemical-free jerky products are unheard of. There are many Paleo companies and health food stores that offer natural, home-made beef jerky that is delicious without all of the additives, preservatives and unnatural flavors.
If you really have a knack for do-it-yourself projects, you can purchase a dehydrator for approximately $50 and make your very own beef jerky. This way, you will know for sure that it is Paleo. Toss some beef products into it (you can marinate it for extra flavor) and you will officially be enjoying the most natural and satisfying kind of beef jerky around. After all, you made it! This is an extremely ideal option for those of you who snack on jerky often. It will also save you an abundance of money.
In conclusion, beef jerky can be Paleo but it can also be the opposite as well. You must always place importance in the quality of food that you are purchasing. Read the ingredient list to ensure that you are staying within the Paleo guidelines and not sacrificing your health with a modern day diet version of this snack. Beef jerky, traditionally, is 100% Paleo and you should definitely stick with the naturalist of forms in today’s society.