QUESTION:  I want to eat protein with the taste of meat but with no sodium nitrate in it.  What kind of foods can replace the taste of meat?

Sodium nitrate is one of the most commonly used preservatives in processed foods.  Things like salami, sausage-meat, tinned ham, all of those things all contain elevated levels of sodium nitrate.  On the other hand, fresh meats generally don’t contain any added chemicals.

Some folk are concerned about eating sodium nitrate because laboratory tests have shown that it reacts with stomach acids to produce nitrosamines, which in the laboratory at least, have been shown to cause cancer when consumed in large quantities.

Now there are, in most Western countries, strict guidelines laid down as to how much sodium nitrate is allowed in food.  You can find the current levels in America, for instance, by looking at the Meat Inspection Regulations on the US Department of Agriculture’s website.

So to answer the question, how can you keep the taste of meat without consuming extra doses of sodium nitrate, the short answer is eat fresh meat from an organic source.
However, it should be noted that many people are consuming more nitrates from their vegetables than they are from even the cured meat products that they eat. This is  particularly true if those vegetables have been treated in the field with nitrates to promote growth.

Things like beets, spinach, radishes, celery and cabbages are among those vegetables that generally contain quite high concentrations of nitrate.  So again, if you want to reduce the amount of sodium nitrate that you eat, or nitrates that you consume, make sure that your vegetables come from an organic source.

One last thing that I would say is that you say you want to eat protein with the taste of meat but no sodium nitrate in it – but whatever you do, don’t be conned into going into the soy-based protein meat substitutes. These will cause far more problems and other unwanted effects than eating a little bit of extra sodium nitrate in your meat can cause.