With the popularity of the paleo diet still on the rise, I was not surprised to read about another option for those zealous meat eaters. Move over bison, ostrich, venison, squab, kangaroo, and elk and make room for zebra. Yes, the exact same black and white mammal that for most of us we have only seen in the zoo.
“Game meat, including zebra meat, can be sold [in the U.S.] as long as the animal from which it is derived is not on the endangered species list,” an official with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Time. “As with all foods regulated by FDA, it must be safe, wholesome, labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading, and fully compliant with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its supporting regulations.”
As of today there is only one of the three breeds of zebra that can be legally farmed for consumption: the Burchell breed from South Africa. Known to have a somewhat “sweeter than beef” taste, the edible meat comes from the hindquarter of the animal and is very lean.
A 3.5-ounce serving of lean sirloin contains 182 calories, 5.5 grams (g) fat (2g saturated), 30g protein, and 56 milligrams (mg) cholesterol. By comparison, a 3.5 ounces of zebra provides only 175 calories, 6g fat (0g saturated), 28g protein, and 68mg cholesterol. It surprisingly is very close to a chicken breast: 165 calories, 3.5g fat (1g saturated), 31g protein, and 85mg cholesterol.
Since zebras are vegetarian, spending about two-thirds of their day grazing primarily on grasses, their meat is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids; it's also known to be high in zinc, vitamin B12, and iron, the same as other cuts of beef.
Personally I am not ready to try zebra. I am a big fan of black and white, but for now just in my clothes. With so many other tasty lean cuts of beef available, such as sirloin, skirt steak, flank steak, and round roast, I think I will stick with those. How about you? Comment below or tweet us @kerigans and @Shape_Magazine.