5 Ways to Make Meal Prep MUCH More Effective

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5 Meal Prep Tips That Make Eating Easier -Thomas DeLauer


Consistent Form of Weighing

Weighing after because it’s easier is pretty straightforward, but you may also want to pick between weighing pre-cooked and cooked and stick with it for the following reasons:

If you’re trying to accurately measure your macros, then flipping between weighing pre and post-cooked will result in discrepancies

Meats

Raw and cooked meat differ in weight because water and other juices in meat evaporate through the culinary process

If you cook your meat thoroughly, there will be less water (and weight) in the finished product - for instance, take two identical pieces of raw meat and cook one rare and the other well-done.

The well-done piece will weigh less than the rare piece - meat nutrition facts are based off the raw weight, not cooked

In other words, when you buy a product, the nutrition facts listed pertain to that product in that state

Typically when cooking meat, water will be lost and the meat will shrink and weigh somewhere around 20-30% less

So if you weigh your meat after you cook it, instead of consuming the protein, fat and calorie amounts listed for 4 oz., you are actually consuming quite a bit more than this, equal to that of around 5 or 5.5 oz. (more or less depending on the type of meat, and the method you used to cook it)

Be consistent with your cooking method - as long as you cook the meat the same way every time (baking, grilling, whatever), for the same length of time each time, this should give you pretty consistent, accurate values

Amines and Leftovers

Biogenic amines form when the amino acids in food undergo microbial decarboxylation.

Amine formation is dependent upon the availability of the amino acids, the bacterial strains present and the level of decarboxylase activity.

Amines are found in meat, cheese, fish, wine, chocolate and vegetables.

Amines have been found to have negative effects on many individuals, including:

Migraines and headaches

Increased blood pressure, leading to heart failure and brain hemorrhage

Some are carcinogenic in large quantities

Histamine (one kind of amine) poisoning is a problem throughout the world and is associated with a severe allergic reaction - can include fever, vomiting, trouble breathing, rash and hypertension.

Some individuals have even more trouble processing amines than the rest of us:

Those taking MAOIs - antidepressants
Genetics - some have naturally fewer oxidizing enzymes and cannot break down large quantities of amines, leading to an overaccumulation of amines in the body

In manufacturing, prevented by:

Freezing or cooling foods
Food additives
Controlled atmospheric packaging and other packaging strategies

Storage and manufacture are important when it comes to amine formation

As food ages, amine quantity increases. So the older food is, the more amines it contains

*This is why you have heard to different periods of time that it is alright to store meats. Fish and red meat specifically should only be stored for two days maximum, and eating right away and not keeping leftovers is even better, especially for those with amine sensitivity.

Just because foods does not grow mold or make you vomit does not mean that it is safe to eat.

Gut flora imbalances can also cause histamine poisoning. When your gut has an imbalance of bacteria, such as for people with SIBO, histamine is actually created while you digest the food.

Note: Amines are heat stable compounds and are thus not removed by cooking

Some foods high in histamines include leftover meat, leftover and canned fish, smoked/cured/fermented meats, dairy and artificial colors and preservatives. This is only a small list, but of some of the biggest offenders.

Defrost the Night Before

The "temperature danger zone" is the point where food isn't cold enough to suspend the activity of any bacteria that might be present, and isn't hot enough to kill them - that zone is between 4.4 C to 60 C (40 F to 140 F)

Bacteria won't reproduce in the freezer, but freezing won't kill them - so whatever was in your food when you froze it will be there again when you thaw it

A lot of people pull it out of their freezer and they leave it on their counter overnight to thaw - the surface gets up to room temperature before the core of it is thawed, and if there's bacteria on the surface, they begin to grow

Aside from putting your food in the fridge, another option is to submerge the food to be thawed – encased in packaging, of course – in cold water. But the water must be cold – no hotter than 4 C (40 F)

Resources

Control of Biogenic Amines in Food
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995314/

Histamine Intolerance - Causes and Treatment
http://naturimedica.com/histamine-intolerance-causes-treatment/
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