I though it would be interesting for all of us to see what is the place of eating chicken when doing a Zero Carb diet. The main reason being variety it is always welcome when on an all-animal product diet. Yes, and I will admit it right here, I could easily continue eating my beef, at all meals, for the rest of my life. But each time I have chicken, I realize how I enjoy it so much…
The first thing that come to my mind about eating chicken, which is not offered by other type of meat is: the skin!!!! Taking a bite in crispy chicken skin is one unique pleasure, especially if you get it to be nicely flavored and salty enough to satisfy you. For myself, this one reason would be enough to “go chicken”!!!
In traditional Chinese medicine, chicken has an important place. And believe me, even nowadays, Chinese have no problem eating their it many times per week. In fact, when Chinese doctors examine a sick person, the first thing they do is to question their diet and especially find out if they eat chicken; and if it is missing in their menu, it is part of their first suggestion they give toward recovering health.
Another nice thing about chicken is its freshness. Meaning that, because the flesh can spoil rapidly, by necessity, chicken has to be eaten fresh. This guarantees good protection of the nutrient content, especially the proteins. Talking proteins, chicken meat contains of full array of essential amino acids; in fact, it is so good, one could only depend on it to answer all his protein needs. One cup of cooked chicken contains 61% of ones daily requirements for proteins, which makes it a “filling meat” because of the satiety index of the said proteins.
Chicken meat, when compared with other meat sources appears to be the one of highest protein source of the ‘traditional’ meats, though the equal second when compared with fish. (Not bad)
Also, and not the least, chicken contains a large array of nutrients.
On the vitamin side, it has a lot of vitamin A, D and E, folate, Vitamin B12 (only contained in animal products…), and the full array of the other Vitamin B (B1, B2, B6). As for minerals, it is a good source of iron because of the myoglobin it contains (especially the dark meat), phosphorus, zinc and the powerful antioxidant selenium. Selenium plays a role in the prevention of some forms of cancer. A deficiency of selenium can cause Keshan’s disease, a heart problem in the young and, not the least, it can be responsible for cognitive decline in adults. Eating poultry meat could help alleviate these conditions.
Interestingly lean breast of chicken provides 25% more selenium than beef, lamb and pork, and 90% more manganese then lamb. It also provides 40% more vitamin E than lamb and beef.
As for the fat content, it also contains omega-3 but, sadly, nowadays grain-fed chicken have too much of omega-6. To solve this problem, one trick is to avoid eating a lot the “dripping fat” when cooking this meat and replace it by other oil, especially coconut oil or butter. Of course, if one can find “free-range” raised chicken that had the chance of feeding on insects (the way it should be…), this would be an optimal choice. Another interesting option, would be chicken fed with added “flaxeed” in their diet. This will boost their omega-3 content. By feeding broiler chickens only small amounts of a supplement rich in alpha linoleic acid (an n-3 PUFA), such as flax seed, the n-3 PUFA in thigh meat can be increased from 86 mg to 283 mg/100 g, and that in the minced carcass from 93 to 400 mg/100 g. To a large extent, the fat contents of the different portions determine the content and enrichment of PUFAs, so dark chicken meat always contains more PUFAs than white breast meat.
Of course, there is concern about antibiotics given while chicken farming but now most supermarkets offer good quality chicken without added chemicals and this, for not more money then regular chicken. As for regulations, the words "no antibiotics added" on meat or poultry products indicate that the producer has satisfied the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
Finally, aside variety, chicken offers a lot of possibilities “preparation wise”. It can easily be eaten cold, as chicken salad with mayonnaise, or as big roasted chunk, which is very handy for lunch or picnic. Leftovers can find a place in omelets or even make up some “chicken patties”.
Chicken meat can make many positive contributions to the diet of those on low incomes as chicken meat is is frequently. more affordable than other meats.
And because it is of a consistently high quality as for its freshness requirements, one can “go chicken” with no guilt!!!