As I have explained on my About Me page, I have histamine intolerance. This makes eating an all meat diet a bit more challenging for me than for the average person. Once an animal is slaughtered, histamines begin forming in its tissues almost immediately. Therefore, people who are histamine intolerant can only eat meat that is fresh or fresh-frozen.
Some meat – like beef – is usually intentionally aged for 21 days or longer. It can be either dry-aged or wet-aged, but wet-aging is far more common because less meat is lost during the process. However, wet-aging does create more histamines than dry aging. After aging, the meat is cryovac’d in plastic for shipping purposes. All of this is convenient, cost effective, and efficient, but it also creates a high level of histamines in the meat. All of the beef I have tried from supermarkets like Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Safeway has caused very strong histamine reactions in me.
Other meats – like pork, lamb, chicken, and fish – are not intentionally aged, but they are cryovac’d to help preserve them longer and make shipping them easier. Many commercially produced meats can be in cryovac’d packaging for weeks or months before reaching a retail market. Consequently, they are almost all very high in histamines and also not an option for me.
Once I understood what I needed in order to successfully practice Zero Carb, it took me about a month to secure a source of grass-fed, free-raised veal that was not aged. This was a wonderful find, but the butcher shop where I found it only orders from Strauss twice a year. So, once I bought what they had on hand, that was the end of their supply until they placed their next order (which is still pending). Also, at $10 a pound, this veal is a little pricey for me. I definitely like to support humane animal husbandry practices, and I am very willing to pay extra for this, but my financial situation is a bit tight right at the moment.
This situation encouraged me to search out another source of histamine-free meat. My efforts we rewarded when I discovered The Meat Shop located in Phoenix about 20 miles from where I live. This little “hole in the wall” is a perfect example of why you can never judge a book by its cover. It is an absolute gem!
All of the meat they sell has been raised in humane growing conditions by local ranchers. Even more amazingly, they own their own slaughterhouse which uses the most humane slaughter practices known and is one of the largest privately owned slaughterhouses in the country.
The chicken and pork they sell is not aged. The chicken is fresh-frozen because there is less demand for it, but the pork is brought in fresh once a week. So, if I buy the pork on the day is comes in, it is as close to histamine-free as possible.
The beef is dry aged for one week prior to arriving in their shop. As mentioned earlier, dry aging creates fewer histamines than wet aging. The beef is brought in less often than pork, about once every 10 days or so, but if I can arrange to get it as soon as it arrives, then the level of histamines will still be quite low.
I bought a 10 day old steak to try last week, and I did not experience any negative reaction to it. They received a new beef on Thursday, and I had them make me 30 lbs. of 75/25 ground beef from it on Friday. Grinding meat also accelerates histamine production, so it is vital to process it and freeze it in an expeditious manner.
Dave – the butcher who did my order for me – used to work for Whole Foods, and he was very understanding and sensitive to my unique needs. I truly appreciated the way he listened to me (without looking at me like I was a pain-in-the-ass nut case!) and eagerly carried out my request. Once he was finished grinding my meat and putting it into to individual 1 pound packages, he put it in the freezer. Then, I went and picked it up today (Saturday).
Because the beef is 100% grass-fed, grass-finished – and grown by small local ranchers – it is more expensive than commercial supermarket beef. It is about $7.50 per pound which is still less less expensive than the Strauss veal I was getting. Plus, I am supporting my local growers which I like to do whenever possible.
Along with the piece of beef I tried a few days ago, I have also tried their pork. I am not a huge pork fan, but I wanted to try it and see how I reacted to it. I experienced no histamine reaction after eating it. So, now I have two more options of histamine-free meat to eat.
The pork is neither organic, nor pasture-raised, but the animals have a large space to move around in with both sun and shade available to them. The pork is considerably less expensive than the beef for this reason, and it provides an alternative choice for me in case I need it. I even got a whole box of pork necks at $0.75 a pound for my dog which is an awesome deal. These might be a good, affordable option for bone broth too.
All in all, I am thrilled with my new find and I feel extremely blessed to have such an excellent source of safe, high-quality meat so near to where I live.
THINGS ARE ALWAYS WORKING OUT FOR ME!