I recently came across a meme that said, “What’s in a hot dog?”. I could tell by the design that they were not trying to show hot dogs in a good light. The meme listed ingredients like cheeks, tongues, hearts, livers, and ears. Out of curiosity I read the comments. “EW!” and “Gross!” were some of the top, most repeated comments. But my response to this meme was totally different; it wasn’t of disgust, it was of appeal. If you asked me, “Are hot dogs healthy?” my response would be, “Yes! Absolutely!”.
Hot Dogs Healthy? Really?
There are reasons why our ancestors ate every part of the animal (and why many cultures today still do). However, as Americans, we’ve somehow been taught that lean muscle meats, zero fat diets, and processed grains are what keep our bodies healthy.
As a culture, we have gotten away from consuming the most nutrient dense parts of the animal; organ meats. However, those “scrapes” are nutrient powerhouses!
Take liver for example…
Liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat out there and is loaded with vitamin A, folate, iron, copper, chromium, and zinc just to name a few. Liver is great for heart health and an excellent anti inflammatory. What diabetic doesn’t love heart health & anti-inflammatory foods (which help promote insulin sensitivity). I personally take this brand of desiccated liver capsules because I think the liver is an extremely beneficial organ to consume regularly.
…and the heart…
The heart is rich in folate, iron, and zinc, plus has the extra benefit of B-complex vitamins (B2, B6, and B12). Heart meat also contains coenzyme Q10 which is a powerful antioxidant that is known for its effects in treating and preventing heart disease (see this study here and here and check out this article here). Heart disease is pretty prevalent in the T1D community, which is why eating nutrient dense foods and staying active are so important.
Collagen (found in ears, bone, skin, and connective tissue) is starting to make a comeback, and for good reason! It has a whole slew of amazing benefits, some of which include:
- Improving the health (and elasticity) of hair skin and nails – goodbye wrinkles, stretch marks, and brittle nails!
- Helping heal leaky gut
- Boosting metabolism and muscle mass
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Helping joint pain and stopping joint degeneration
I LOVE adding collagen to my smoothies (this is the collagen brand I use), but it’s always better if you can get it from whole foods sources like organ meats, chicken thighs, and yes, hot dogs.
And who could forget about the tongue?!
The tongue is chalk full of folate which is super important for both fertility health & prenatal health. Folate helps baby avoid developing neural tube defects like spina bifida (which babies who are born to T1D’s are super prone to developing).
Will just any ‘ol hot dog do?
No. Absolutely not. Organ meat and fat is also a place where animals store toxins, so it’s incredibly important to get your dogs from a reliable source. Make sure that the animal has been grass-fed or pasture raised, humanely treated, and hasn’t been injected with hormones or antibiotics. Not only that, but lesser brands will use fillers, food dyes, and preservatives in their hot dogs making them more chemicals than actual food.
So it is incredibly important that you buy from a good source. Most of the time, this will mean that your hot dogs will be coming from a local farmer.
I have found a couple store-brands that I feel comfortable with, Apple Gate being one of them, but my preferred source is from local farmers, hands down.
Question of the Day
Do you have a favorite brand of hot dogs?
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