Here is the good news: “This food is low in sodium. It is also a good source of niacin, iron, phosphorus and selenium, and a very good source of protein and vitamin B12.”
And there is always bad news: “This food is very high in cholesterol.”
I must have been feeling dissatisfied after that bowl of oatmeal, so I had to look up how much better a cottontail rabbit would taste.
Nutritiondata.self.com is a fascinating website that can tell you all kinds of things you don’t want to know about what you ate last night. That Arby’s beef ’n cheddar had 440 calories, 21 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1270 mg of sodium and 22 grams of protein.
A wild rabbit, by contrast, has about 150 calories in a 3-ounce serving with 28 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat. And yes, 105 milligrams of cholesterol and hardly any sodium.
Maybe you should stick to venison — you’ve probably got some in your freezer. I was going to say lean cuts have 128 calories in 3 ounces, but we know they’re all lean cuts. It contains 26 grams of protein and just 2 grams of fat. But it’s still meat, so it has 67 milligrams of cholesterol.
Even with that, venison is almost as good for you as a One-A-Day vitamin. It is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, zinc and selenium, and a very good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
I used to think that woodchuck was the best meat on four legs. The nutrition data may explain why. Three ounces contains 15 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat, which adds up to 132 calories. It’s relatively low in cholesterol, though, so it’s OK for special occasions, like when you’re expecting company for dinner.
Squirrel, which comes in second best, delivers 26 grams of protein and 147 calories per serving.
By contrast, a beef ribeye (if, by some miracle, someone ate just 3 ounces of one) means chewing into 25 grams of protein, twice as much fat and 174 calories.
If you want lean, stick to wild turkey. Three ounces has 26 grams of protein but just 1 gram of fat. That probably explains why it’s so hard to cook. I’ve been grinding the white and dark meat together to make sausage, which apparently is a very good source of iron. I’m feeling stronger already.
Of course, none of this nutrition information really matters.
There are real benefits from eating wild game and fish that go way beyond cholesterol numbers and vitamin content.
Probably the biggest and most obvious is that squirrels grow on trees.
And going out among the trees is so good for you that the president should have mandated walks in the woods instead of universal health insurance. Walks in the woods help people cope better with stress and depression, makes schoolchildren concentrate better on their work, lowers blood pressure in their overwrought parents, helps people lose weight better than steps taken elsewhere. And one Japanese researcher says he has evidence that just smelling the woods can help you avoid cancer.
The less obvious advantage is that the giant food conglomerates have no interest in woodchucks. We don’t have to turn a mallard over and check the list of ingredients. Not only are those pheasants pretty, they don’t contain any chemical dyes or added sugars.
Bear meat doesn’t need any “non-GMO” or “organic” labeling. But you shouldn’t eat it anyway.
It’s really high in fat calories.
Contact Michael Eckert at firstname.lastname@example.org, (810) 989-6264, on Facebook @michaeleckert or on Twitter @michaeleckert.