Yesterday evening I went out to dinner and indulged in a mind-blowing meat course. After posting a few snaps of my delicious meal on Instagram, I was instantly challenged by my followers with the question: “What happened to your healthy lifestyle choices, Julsie?”. I want to reassure everyone that I continue to promote a vegetarian lifestyle, encouraging people to cut back on their meat consumption. However, I do not think that unprocessed hormone-free meat should be absolutely banned from our menu. Enjoying a good old steak on rare occasions can be part of a balanced diet. If you are a pleasure seeker and a restaurant lover, then you are most likely to understand where I am coming from.
Whether meat is good or bad for us is an eternally conflicting debate. There is so much research done about meat’s harmful/beneficial properties that it confuses us more than giving us factual answers. From a health viewpoint, eating meat is said to cause cancer and heart disease. Although, according to Doctor Marc Hyman “many of the studies demonizing meat use subjects who are smokers, drink too much, eat way too much sugar and processed foods, eat very little fruits and veggies, do not exercise and do not take vitamins”. Thus, to some extent the results of such studies can be considered biased. Who knows, maybe if these subjects were to eat quality grass-fed meat in moderation, meat consumption would be proven to be harmless? In my opinion, the main focus should be towards avoiding processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, bolognese etc. and practicing healthy habits in order to boost our chances of a longer life.
Personally, I define myself as a “part-time vegetarian”. I can go on without meat for months, but there will be occasions, when I’ll be craving steak real bad. On a general basis, such cravings are caused by a fluctuation in blood sugar levels (especially before a menstrual period in women). Instead of fighting such cravings, I usually embrace them. With all due respect to vegetarians, I see nothing wrong with having a piece of quality meat once in a while. As long as one exercises on a regular basis, consumes a lot of fruits and vegetables, and conducts an overall healthy lifestyle, I do not see how a piece of hormone-free quality steak on rare occasions can be seen as a ‘life killer’. Although, we must be conscious about the death of innocent animals; an act of cruelty which is transmitted to meat consumers. According to Yogi Sadhguru “more evolved, intelligent, and emotionally endowed creatures, such as cows, are aware of their impending slaughter, thus they experience high stress levels, which generate tremendous amounts of acid content in their systems”. Maybe if one feels negative emotions after meat consumption, abstaining from eating it is not such a bad idea.
Our body needs a lot of energy to digest such a complex ingredient, thus causing our stomach to bloat and our mood to swing downwards. On my post-meat days I usually opt for an all day long juice fast. It cleanses out excess toxins left in the body after meat consumption, as well as improves metabolism and gives me a general sense of wellbeing.
Yesterday was one of those rare meat consumption days for me. I was craving steak with a glass of red wine. The weather in Paris was gloomy and my hormones were giving me heads up to some carnivore fun. When I joked about my craving to a good old friend, he instantly offered a ‘helping hand’. Being a passionate #foodie, he is always the first one to discover hidden gems in the city of Paris. Thus, I knew that his invitation to taste the exquisite Basque Cuisine of Pottoka – a hotspot on the left bank of Paris, would be a really delightful discovery. Chef Sebastien Gravé’s restaurant of “simplified haute cuisine” was named after a horse breed that can be found only in the Basque Country, where he is originally from. The setting of this restaurant is simple, welcoming and cosy. All of the ingredients used by Gavé are carefully crafted and masterfully presented, evoking his Basque roots.
I have truly enjoyed this foodorgasmic experience, where every plate was scrumptious and inviting. I may have been sinful by indulging in my carnival craving, but I have no regrets – the experience was totally worth it. We opted for a spicy red wine to accompany our meat main course, and enjoyed every sip and every bite. We were so absorbed by the taste and smell of every plate, that at one o’clock in the morning the emptiness of the restaurant caught our attention. Indeed, we were the last two clients left – not hurrying up to wrap up the conversation over dessert.
Last customers are usually of the most hated by any hospitality and service business out there. Maybe we were hated, but we were not kicked out by the waiters. Instead, they kept patiently and respectfully waiting for us to realise, at our own pace, how late it was getting. Feeling cosy and welcomed, we were not too motivated to get going. The pleasant environment made us lose track of time – a very rare occurrence, if you ask me.
The menu at Pottoka is very varied. I ordered meat, but I did hesitate to opt for fish, provoked by a beautiful variety of fish plates my neighbours, at the nearby table, were passionately savouring. I was pleasantly surprised by this Parisian hotspot, and I will be definitely giving it a visit again in the near future. I truly advise it to anyone who is living or visiting the City of Lights – you will be impressed.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Pottoka Restaurant
4 Rue de l’Exposition
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