Sign Up For Our Blog!

RSS Feed   RSS by Email

Sign-up for the US Wellness Weekly Newsletter and receive Subscriber-Only Discounts and Weekly Deals!

The Wellness Blog

...brought to you by the farm families at U.S. Wellness Meats.

US Wellness Cattle

Follow & Share

Tour Our Farms!

The Wellness Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

The Accidental Discovery

SpicesThis Discovery Can Add Flavor & Health Benefits To Your Food

Many of the world’s greatest culinary discoveries were made serendipitously. But very few were as impactful as the discovery of using spices to flavor and preserve food.

Anthropologists have shown that thousands of years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors would often wrap their kill in leaves and bark to preserve and transport the contents inside. Only later did they discover that this method of preservation could also improve the taste of their food.

And so the worlds’ love affair with spices began…

SPICES & HERBS: THE CULINARY CURATIVES

As civilization advanced, the use of spices became ubiquitous in culinary tradition. But it wasn’t just for their flavor-enhancing abilities. It was also for the health-promoting properties they possessed:

Texts from Ancient Egypt (1555 BC) deemed coriander, fennel, juniper, cumin, garlic and thyme as powerful medicine. It is also known that laborers who constructed the Great Pyramid of Cheops consumed onion and garlic as a means to promote health.

•    Black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom have been used by Indians for thousands of years for both culinary and health purposes.
•    Hippocrates wrote extensively about spices and herbs, including saffron, cinnamon, thyme, coriander, mint, and marjoram. Of the 400 herbal remedies he created, at least half are still used today.
•    Theophrastus, the "Father of Botany”, authored two books summarizing the knowledge of over 600 spices and herbs.
•    Dioscorides, a Greek Physician of the 1st century, authored De Materia Medica – an extensive medical and botanical guide that was used for over 1,500 years.
•    In the Middle Ages (600-1200 AD), European apothecaries used herbs and Asian spices including ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron and cardamom in their remedies.
•    Plants were used as the primary source of medicine in the United States from the time of the Mayflower (1620) until after World War I (1930).

Science now proves that the instincts and knowledge of our ancestors were correct: Spices and herbs can be powerful medicine. In fact, countless studies show that herbs and spices possess a wide range of beneficial phytonutrients that can kill bacteria, viruses and parasites. They also act as powerful antioxidants and can promote cellular health, reduce inflammation, and more.

And one of the most convenient ways to harness the health-and-flavor enhancing power of herbs and spices is a homemade dry rub.

4 CHEF-INSPIRED DRY RUBS: POTENT FLAVOR – WITH BENEFITS

Complimenting just about every kind of food – from meat, chicken, fish and vegetables – a dry rub is a combination of herbs, salt and spices that is applied before grilling, broiling, baking or roasting.

As you know, there are many commercial seasoning blends available. However, these often contain chemical preservatives, MSG, anti-caking agents and other unsavory additives. By creating your own custom combinations at home, you can ensure a higher quality, additive-free product that is personalized to your tastes.

Using just one or two spices and herbs can produce delicious results. But if you really want to elevate your food to new heights, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ingredients and unique combinations. You can make a dry rub from nearly any combination of herbs, spices and salt. Here are four chef-tested dry rubs to try in your cooking:

Za’Atar

Use On: This exceptionally versatile Middle Eastern spice mix can be used on every kind of meat, fish or vegetable.
The Blend: ¼ cup sumac, 2 Tbsp. dried thyme, 1 Tbsp. roasted sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp. dried marjoram, 2 Tbsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. sea salt
Yield: ~2 Tbsp.

Ras El Hanout

Use On: The name of this Moroccan spice mix translates to "head of the shop" – as it often includes the best spices the purveyor has to offer. Try on grass-fed steaks, wild-caught salmon and chicken.
The Blend: 2 tsp. ground ginger, 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 ½  tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1 ½ tsp. ground turmeric, 1 tsp.  ground nutmeg, 1 tsp.  ground allspice, 1/2 tsp.  ground cloves
Yield: ~ ¼ cup

Mediterranean Dry Rub

Use On: This classic blend goes with just about anything – from pastured pork, lamb and chicken to wild seafood.
The Blend: ¾ cup dried basil , ¼ cup dried thyme , 2 Tbsp. dried sage, 2 Tbsp. fennel seeds, 1 Tbsp. sea salt, 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
Yield: ~1¼ cups

BBQ Dry Rub

Use On: A classic BBQ favorite that complements pastured chicken, ribs, and brisket
The Blend: ¼ cup paprika, 2 Tbsp. granulated garlic, 2 Tbsp. granulated onion, 2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 Tbsp. cumin seed (toasted), 3 Tbsp. coriander seed (toasted), 1/4 cup sea salt, 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
Yield: ~1 ¼ cups

TIPS FOR USING DRY RUBS

Now that you have a few flavor combinations to start with, I’d like to share how you can maximize the seasoning power and life span of your dry rubs:

Toast to Get the Most: Many spices – especially cinnamon, cloves, allspice, coriander and cumin – benefit from a little heat. A brief toast in a dry skillet will coax more flavor out of these in particular.  

Grind Fine: Finely milling your spice and herb blends allows more surface area to come into contact with your food, producing deeper flavor. Use a spice mill or coffee grinder to powder your dry rub to a uniform consistency.

Prepare The Canvas: For each pound of meat, poultry, or seafood coat entire surface with 2 to 3 teaspoons melted lard, tallow, duck fat or coconut oil. Then apply one to two tablespoons of dry rub.

Coat Well: When using dry rubs, coat the entire surface of the food, ensuring it sticks. Not only will this ensure you get the full flavor effect, but it will also produce a beautiful crust. To produce a stronger flavor, cover pre-rubbed meats or chicken and refrigerate to allow the flavors to penetrate for up to 24 hours. Then cook as desired.

Store Properly: Spices and herbs lose potency, and light, heat and oxygen speed this loss. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Adding dry rubs to your cooking repertoire won’t just add more flavor to your food, but also more health-promoting nutrients. So season often and liberally with these flavor-packed dry rubs, and change up the spices and herbs you use to get the full-spectrum of their healing powers.

We would love to hear from you.  Do you use dry rubs in your cooking? If so, do you have a favorite combination?

_______________________________________________________________________________

ED NOTE
Kelley Herring is the author of the new book Better Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads

_______________________________________________________________________________

REFERENCES
1.    Rosengarten Jr, Frederic. "The Book of spices." The Book of Spices. (1969).
2.    Tapsell LC, Hemphill I, Cobiac L, Patch CS, Sullivan DR, Fenech M, Roodenrys S, Keogh JB, Clifton PM, Williams PG, Fazio VA, Inge KE. Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future. Med J Aust. 2006 Aug 21;185(4 Suppl):S4-24. 4. History Online. Medicinal Uses of Herbs and Spices.
3.    Bellamy D, Pfister A. World medicine: plants, patients and people. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992.
4.    Block E. Antithrombotic agent of garlic: a lesson from 5000 years of folk medicine. In: Steiner RP, editor. Folk medicine, the art and the science. Washington DC: American Chemical Society, 1986:125-137.
5.    Chevallier A. The encyclopedia of medicinal plants. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1996.


Tags: 

Could These Farm-Fresh Foods Cause Pain?

Ruby-red tomatoes… crisp bell peppers… spicy-hot cayenne pepper…  nightshade resized 600

For most people, these are garden-fresh ingredients for a healthy diet, rich in a variety of health-promoting nutrients like vitamin C and lycopene. But for others, these seemingly healthy foods can be the cause of pain, migraines, stiffness and systemic inflammation.

Arthritis & The Nightshade Family

As members of the nightshade (or Solanaceae) family of vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and other common foods contain a number of potentially problematic compounds, including glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids.

These compounds can inhibit acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme responsible for flexibility of muscle movement. And for some people, consuming these foods can cause stiffness and joint pain related to arthritis.  

Dr. Norman F. Childers, PhD, founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation states:

"Diet appears to be a factor in the etiology of arthritis based on surveys of over 1,400 volunteers during a 20-year period. Plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people."

In fact, a growing number of doctors and health experts believe that the symptoms of arthritis are often a misdiagnosed reaction to consuming nightshades. What’s more, many people who suffer from other inflammation-related illnesses – such as lupus, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, and musculoskeletal pain disorders – often find relief with a nightshade-free diet.

Take the Nightshade-Free Challenge

It’s important to note that not all people are sensitive to nightshades to the same degree. However, when an inflammatory condition exists, eating nightshades can compound the problem.

If you want to determine if nightshades could be a cause of pain, stiffness or chronic inflammation, you should consider taking a nightshade-free challenge. For three weeks, avoid all nightshade family foods including:


•    Potatoes, all varieties (NOTE: sweet potatoes and yams are not nightshades.)
•    Peppers, all varieties (red, green, yellow, orange, jalapeno, chili, cayenne, pimento.)
•    Tomatoes, all varieties (including Tomatillos)
•    Paprika
•    Eggplant
•    Pepino melon
•    Goji berries
•    Cape gooseberries
•    Ground cherries
•    Garden huckleberries
•    Ashwaganda

It’s also important to avoid foods that contain solanine (one of the steroid alkaloids). These include:

•    Blueberries
•    Huckleberries
•    Okra
•    Artichokes

Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs, homeopathics and other consumables also contain nightshades or solanine. Be sure to read labels and watch for:

•    Belladonna (the deadly nightshade often found in homeopathics)
•    Potato starch in medications and many packaged products
•    Edible flowers including petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil’s trumpets
•    Atropine and Scopolamine (compounds used in sleep aids)
•    Topical capsaicin creams (derived from cayenne)
•    Potato-based vodka

After three weeks, begin to reintroduce nightshades to your diet, one at a time. As you reintroduce these foods, be sure to keep a journal with notes about your symptoms and their severity, including energy levels, pain and stiffness, headaches, etc. Obviously, if you notice an increase in symptoms or severity upon reintroduction of these foods, it is likely that you are sensitive to nightshades and these foods should be avoided.

As the adage goes: "One man's meat is another man's poison." If you are suffering from a pain-related illness, consider a nightshade-free challenge diet. Like many others, you may find a big improvement in your quality of life and a decrease in pain.

Do you have issues with nightshades? If so, what experiences have you had? What benefits have you noticed by eliminating / reducing these foods in your diet?  

_______________________________________________________________________________

ED NOTE
Kelley Herring is the author of the book Better Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Learn more about Better Breads…

_______________________________________________________________________________

REFERENCES
1.    Smith, Garrett, ND. Nightshades. Problems from these Popular Foods Exposed to the Light of Day. Weston A. Price Foundation. March 30, 2010
2.    N.F. Childers, Ph.D., M.S. Margoles, M.D. An Apparent Relation of Nightshades (Solanaceae) to Arthritis. Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery (1993) 12:227-231
3.    Childers NF. Arthritis-Childer’s Diet to Stop It. Nightshades, Aging, and Ill Health, 4th ed. Florida: Horticultural Publications, 1993; 19-21.
4.    Patel B, et al. Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2002 Sep;8(5):340-6. PubMed ID: 124796498.
5.    Childers N.F., Russo G.M. The nightshades and health (extensive literature). New Jersey (Somerville) and Florida (3906 NW 31 Pl., Gainesville 32606): Hortic Pub, 1977
6.    D’Arcy WG. Solanaceae: biology and systemics. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985
7.    Heiser CB Jr. The fascinating world of the nightshades, 2nd ed. New York: Dover Publ, 1987

SAVE TIME & EAT HEALTHY TOO

describe the imageThree Meal Planning Tips for the Busy Family

As an aware and health-conscious person, you’re already doing a lot to protect your health by enjoying more nutrient-dense foods and avoiding the added sugar, fake fats and harmful chemicals found in most processed foods. You and your family might even follow specific dietary regimen that works best for you.

Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, it can still be a big challenge to consistently follow a weekly meal plan – and that goes for even the most organized home cook. With jobs, kids, travel and life’s other demands, it is all too easy to deviate from a weekly meal plan, or fail to make one in the first place.

The result?  We succumb to the temptation of unhealthy convenience foods. Or we rely on the same boring go-to meals, week after week. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

With a little forethought, you can prevent dietary pitfalls, while cooking exciting new recipes and getting more diversity in your diet.

Here are three easy-to-follow tips to help you create a flexible, healthy meal plan – without adding a lot of time to your already busy schedule.

Meal Plan Tip #1: Cook Once, Eat Three Unique Meals

We often we think of leftovers as a carbon copy of the meal we ate the day before. But it doesn’t have to be. You can completely transform your previous meal into something entirely new. The key is to choose large cuts of meat and use simple spices that will lend themselves to a variety of cuisines.

Here are a few quick ideas:

•    Pork Sirloin/Shoulder Roast: Roast pork sirloin or shoulder with a simple marinade of salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice and avocado oil. The first meal can be traditional Pork Roast, served with a side of sweet potatoes and greens. The next several nights can include Pork Carnitas (break cooked pork into chunks and sauté in duck fat)… a Green Coconut Curry with Pork… or a Southern-Style Pork Barbecue with fresh cabbage slaw and Paleo “Cornbread”.

•    Whole Chicken: Using the same simple marinade from above, cook a whole chicken in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. From there, the possibilities are endless. Cobb Salad with pulled or chopped Chicken, Quick Chicken Soup with Zucchini Noodles, Chicken and Mushroom Sauté, Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Asian Dipping Sauce.  

•    Grass-Fed Beef Roast: Choose your favorite grass-fed roast – Eye of Round, Chuck Roast or Bottom Round – and prepare simply. Transform your leftovers into Thai Beef Salad, Chinese Beef & Broccoli or Paleo Tacos.

Meal Plan Tip #2: Have Go-To Meals at the Ready

Life can be unpredictable. Some days you arrive home later than usual, with hungry mouths to feed and nothing at the ready. Worse yet, the family chef may come down with the flu leaving the non-cooking parent at a loss for what to make.

In these cases, having meals fully prepared for your family in advance can save time and stress.

Make some of your favorite freezer-friendly meals in larger quantities for cases like these. And to prevent “freezer forgetfulness” (what IS in there anyway?), keep a running tally of your pre-prepared meals with their dates posted on the fridge or in a kitchen drawer.
Soups, stews and slow-cooked or pressure-cooked meats with their broths make great ready-meals. Also be sure to try US Wellness Meats pre-prepared foods like BBQ Shortribs, Shredded Beef, Pot Roast and Gravy, Sugar-Free Beef Franks and Italian Beef Sausage.

Having these healthy and delicious quick fixes on hand will help the cook in the family rest easy – no matter what life throws in the way!

Meal Plan Tip #3: Prep Ahead and Cook in Bulk

Enjoying a hot Paleo breakfast doesn’t have to mean pulling out the cast-iron skillet every morning. Prepare your staples in advance for the week ahead for a fuss-free pre-work (or school) breakfast.

Cook a batch of Sugar-Free Pork Bacon and Sausage and boil eggs to your desired temperature.   Then simply warm the meat in the toaster oven and serve with pre-cooked eggs for a hot meal in minutes.

When it comes to meal plans, there are many benefits. Not only will you save money and time, but you’ll enjoy more variety in your meals and a greater diversity of nutrients to boot.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you found a meal planning strategy that works for you? Or do you prefer to “wing” it? If the perfect “done-for-you” meal planning program existed, what features would you most like to see? What benefits would be the most helpful?

______________________________________________________________________________

EDITOR'S NOTE – Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

______________________________________________________________________________


5 Delicious Probiotic Foods You Can Make at Home (in 20 Minutes!)

In our bacteria-averse culture of hand sanitizers, chlorinated water,describe the image irradiated and pasteurized foods, research continues to prove that bacteria play an important role in improving our health, our mood… and even our risk of disease.

In fact, studies show that many seemingly unrelated conditions – including Alzheimer’s, autism, migraines, food allergies, depression, insomnia and autoimmune illnesses – can all be improved by supporting the health of the bacterial colonies that reside in your gut (called gut flora or the microbiome).

Microbial Diversity: A Balanced Microbiome for Lifelong Health

You may have heard that the best way to improve your gut flora is to boost the “good” bacteria, like the well-known Lactobacillus and Bifidus.  

This is certainly important. But what may be even more important is to foster the diversity and balance of the specific strains of bacteria within your digestive system.

In his new book, Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life, Dr. David Perlmutter, MD says:

“It is now firmly established that the gut community of lean people resembles a rainforest filled with many species and that of obese people is much less diverse.”

And while probiotic pills can be beneficial, probiotic foods are much more effective at cultivating a diverse and well balanced internal ecosystem, thanks to a broader range and higher concentrations of bacteria.

So, let’s delve into a few of the delicious probiotic foods you should be consuming to support diversity and balance in your microbiome. The great news is that you can enjoy these health-promoting foods for mere pennies per serving.

5 Do-it-Yourself Probiotic Foods

Sauerkraut: Made with nothing more than cabbage, salt, water and time, sauerkraut is a great place for the first-time home fermenter to begin. The website, Mark’s Daily Apple, has a great step-by-step overview here. The preparation takes just about five minutes. And within a week, you’ll have a delicious, probiotic-rich German condiment to enjoy with all of your favorite Paleo foods (including grass-fed beef franks, of course).
 
Kombucha: If you love the fizzy goodness of kombucha, but not the hefty price at the store, you will be pleased to know just how easy it is to make at home. You’ll need a large glass vessel, some organic tea (I like oolong), organic sugar, organic white vinegar or pre-made kombucha and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). You can buy a live SCOBY or dehydrated SCOBY at various online purveyors. Here is a simple method for making great kombucha. Like all fermented foods, the longer the ferment, the higher levels of beneficial bacteria. Also, in the case of kombucha, a longer fermentation process produces a finished product that is lower in sugar, as the sugar will be consumed by the bacteria over time.

One note of caution: Do not use a glass container with a metal spigot. The acidity of the brew can react with the metal and taint the kombucha with a metallic taste. Metal is also generally detrimental to the SCOBY. Stainless steel may be an exception, and some brewers have success using stainless steel vessels, but it is not recommended.

Ginger Beer: This fermented beverage hails from Ireland. Making this effervescent probiotic drink requires a Ginger Beer Plant (GBT) and about two weeks of fermenting. Here is a guide to making probiotic ginger beer.

Yogurt: Using just two ingredients – organic milk and starter culture – you can make fresh, additive-free yogurt in about 10 minutes active time and 10 hours culture time in a slow cooker or a yogurt machine. Cultures for Health is a great resource for making yogurt (and more!).

Corned Beef: Surprise, meats can be probiotics too! Large cuts of meat (like a grass-fed beef roast) will take about two weeks to ferment. Brisket will be “corned” in just under a week. Check out Alton Brown’s Corned Beef recipe, or save yourself the time and buy a delicious grass-fed corned beef from US Wellness Meats.

Supporting Your Flora

Along with consuming a diverse array of delicious, healthy probiotic foods, there are several other simple things you can do to cultivate the diverse, disease-preventive microbiome of our ancestors:

Avoid chlorinated water, antibiotics, hand sanitizers and other common disinfectants (ie- bleach)

Don’t be a “clean freak” – excessive washing, especially with anti-bacterial soap is unnecessary and can deplete your microbiome

Feed your flora – eat prebiotic foods such as garlic, onions and jicama. These foods contain inulin – a prebiotic fiber that acts as food for your flora.

Exercise – along with the array of established benefits, studies show that exercise also improves microbial diversity

Avoid sugar and high-carbohydrate foods. These promote a higher ratio of bacteria, called Firmicutes, which are associated with obesity. It can also encourage gut-harming Candida and increase the risk of a leaky gut

Indulge wisely. Coffee, red wine and dark chocolate have been shown to have beneficial effects on gut bacteria

Do you make your own cultured foods? If so, what are your favorite fermented foods and methods? We would love to hear from you below.

______________________________________________________________________________

EDITOR'S NOTE – Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

______________________________________________________________________________

REFERENCES
1.    Perlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life. Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 28, 2015)

2.    Clarke SF, Murphy EF, O'Sullivan O, et al. Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity.Gut. 2014 Dec;63(12):1913-20.

The Health-Harming Trifecta in “Paleo-Friendly” Foods

If you follow an ancestral diet, you’ve probably given up the consumption of grains. And that’s a good thing. Not only are grain-based foods unnecessary from a nutritional perspective, they also promote inflammation, contain anti-nutrients and contribute to a leaky gut.

pseudograins
But what about the pseudograins, including quinoa buckwheat and amaranth? While these foods bear a resemblance to grains in their taste and texture, they are actually the seeds of broadleaf plants and are biologically unrelated to grains. They are often touted as a safe alternative.

Unfortunately, however, despite their despite their genetic differences and “healthy” reputation, pseudograins can have many of the same health-harming effects as their grain-based counterparts.

In fact, three of the compounds known to cause digestive and immune problems found in grains are also found in pseudograins.

The Health-Harming Trifecta in “Paleo-Friendly” Pseudograins

These compounds, including lectins, saponins, and protease inhibitors are designed to protect the plant from being consumed. They do this by causing digestive irritation to the animal (or person) eating them. But the damage these little compounds can create does not end with a benign “belly ache”.


Take a look at the research on how these compounds – just like true grains – can also damage the gut, promote inflammation and contribute to immune dysfunction:

Lectins are a type of protein that acts as a component of the plant’s natural defense mechanism. Lectins can strongly interact with the proteins in gut cell membranes, increasing intestinal permeability. Once this occurs, lectins are able to pass through the “leaky gut” into the bloodstream. This contributes to systemic inflammation and increases the risk of autoimmune illness. While many foods contain lectins, those that are heat-stable (like the ones found in grains, pseudograins and legumes) appear to have the most harmful effects.

Saponins have a molecular structure similar to detergents. These compounds can interact and combine with cholesterol molecules in the cell membranes. This process also creates micro-tears in the gut, allowing a variety of harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream. Saponins can also damage the membrane of red blood cells, causing these cells to break down. What’s more, they act as adjuvants – triggers that can cause a cascading inflammatory and immune response. Small doses of saponins are found in fruits and vegetables and may actually be beneficial, helping to enhance nutrient absorption. However, the large doses found in pseudograins have been shown to compromise the integrity of the human gut.
 
Protease inhibitors are compounds found in pseudograins (as well as grains and legumes) which inhibit the digestion of proteins. But the protease inhibitors don’t just prevent proteins in the seed from being degraded – they also prevent your body from breaking down other proteins consumed at that time. In response, the pancreas secretes more digestive enzymes to facilitate protein digestion. However, because the protein-dissolving enzyme, protease, is being inhibited, the result is an excess of trypsin. While trypsin is essential, an excess in the small intestine can weaken the connections between gut cells. This too can create a leaky gut and set the stage for inflammation and autoimmune illness.

Protect Your Gut, Protect Your Health

Maintaining – or regaining – a healthy gut is essential to prevent a multitude of chronic illnesses, including autoimmune diseases, food allergies, cognitive decline, mood disorders and more.

Eliminating grains, pseudograins and legumes, while enjoying a diet rich in organic vegetables, healthy fats, grass-fed meats, and nutrient-dense bone broth provides a template for the healthy gut diet on which our ancestors thrived.

Have you eliminated pseudograins from your diet? What was your experience? Share your comments below.

______________________________________________________________________________

EDITOR'S NOTE – Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

______________________________________________________________________________

 REFERENCES
1.    Tommy Jönsson,Stefan Olsson, Bo Ahrén, Thorkild C Bøg-Hansen, Anita Dole, and Staffan Lindeberg. Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence – Do evolutionary novel dietary lectins cause leptin resistance?BMC Endocr Disord. 2005; 5:10.
2.    Gee JM, et al. Effects of saponins and glycoalkaloids on the permeability and viability of mammalian intestinal cells and on the integrity of tissue preparations in vitro. Toxicol In Vitro. 1996 Apr;10(2):117-28.
3.    The Paleo Mom. How Do Grains, Legumes and Dairy Cause a Leaky Gut? Part 2: Saponins and Protease Inhibitors
4.    Van Damme JME. Handbook of plant lectins : properties and biomedical applications. Chichester, John Wiley; 1998. p. xiv, 452p : ill ; 26cm. [Ref list]
5.    Freed DLJ. Lectins in food: Their importance in health and disease. Journal of Nutritional Medicine. 1991;2:45–65. [Ref list]
6.    Freed DL. Do dietary lectins cause disease? Bmj. 1999;318:1023–1024.
7.    Johnson IT, Gee JM, Price K, Curl C, Fenwick GR. Influence of saponins on gut permeability and active nutrient transport in vitro. J Nutr. 1986 Nov;116(11):2270-7.

Tags: ,

Paleo Takeout + US Wellness Meats Giveaway!

 Hello real foodies! 

***Don't miss an exclusive recipe and giveaway at the end of this post.***

describe the image

We've known home chef, blogger, and cookbook author Russ Crandall (aka- The Domestic Man) for many years. Like us, Russ believes in an ancestral, whole foods way of eating. We are so thrilled to share the release of his second cookbook, Paleo Takeout. Available today, June 23rd!

Before we get to the giveaway, Russ has generously agreed to let us share a NEW recipe that can only be found in Paleo Takeout. It's one of our favorites, and we're sure you'll love it too!

______________________________________________________________________________

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

1IM8vQwcDJG8maMqWrMsah56juF8Mv0nILWJzesdueE resized 600SAUCE:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

NUGGETS:

  • 2 tbsp expeller-pressed coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

SLURRY:

  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, to garnish
  • 2 green onions, sliced, to garnish

- In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to low to gently simmer as you prepare the rest of the meal; stir occasionally.

- Preheat your oven to 250°F. In a wok or skillet, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Combine the tapioca starch, salt, and pepper, then toss the chicken pieces with the starch mixture. With your fingers, dip a starchy chicken piece in the beaten eggs, shake off the excess egg, and then add to the oil. Repeat until you have filled your skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken until cooked through, flipping every 2 minutes, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. As you finish each batch, place the cooked pieces on a plate lined with paper towels; put them in the oven to stay warm. You should be able to cook the chicken pieces in 3 or 4 batches, depending on the size of your skillet.

- Once the chicken is cooked through, finish the sauce. Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too dark and strong tasting, add a little chicken broth to thin it out. At this point, the sauce should be about as thick as tomato soup and should have a sharp but not overwhelming flavor.

- In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot starch and cold water to create a slurry. Raise the sauce temperature to medium; once bubbling, add half of the slurry and stir until thickened, adding more slurry if needed. Remove from the heat.

Toss the chicken pieces with the sauce, then garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve over Basic Steamed Rice (page 286) or Cauliflower Rice (page 288).

* Consider adding chunks of onion, bell pepper, or even pineapple to enhance the flavor of this dish. These ingredients should be added with the starch slurry in step 4.

* This dish is equally delicious made with sliced pork loin or shrimp.

______________________________________________________________________________

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

We're pairing Paleo Takeout with a $150 US Wellness Meats gift certificate to give to one of our loyal followers. 

Enter via the widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for participating!

How Gluten Promotes Chronic Disease (Even if You are NOT Gluten Sensitive)

Author: Kelley Herring   Author: Kelley Herring

If you are a student of health and nutrition, then you’ve certainly heard a lot about the benefits of a gluten-free diet over the last several years. In fact, there is a good chance that you have made the choice to eliminate grains and gluten from your own diet.

But you’re probably also familiar with the backlash against this way of eating from a few vocal bloggers, journalists, doctors and possibly even your own friends and family. I recently came across an article in Time, with the title, “Eat More Gluten, The Fad Must Die.” The same day, I received an email with the subject line, “99% of People Should Stop Eating Gluten Free.”                      

Many of these critics claim that a gluten-free diet will cause you to miss out on critical nutrients. Others claim that a grain-free diet is only necessary for the less than one percent of the population (two to three million Americans) who suffer from Celiac disease. For anyone else, they claim, a gluten-free diet is but a waste of time and money, with no particular benefit.

Today, I’ll show you why these conclusions are reckless and unfounded. I will also show you why a grain-free diet is critical to your long-term health – even if you’re able to consume foods containing gluten with no apparent adverse effects.

So, let’s begin with the facts…

It is quite easy to refute the claim that, “99 percent of people should stop eating gluten free.” This is based on the logical fallacy fact that less than 1 percent of the people in the U.S. are currently diagnosed as Celiac. Of course, it does not account for those who have the disease and have not been diagnosed. More importantly, it excludes the additional 18 million Americans (at least) known to suffer from gluten sensitivity – a heightened immune response to gluten that causes discomfort and a wide range of systemic effects.

But research continues to mount that gluten is NOT the only problematic compound in cereal grains. Furthermore, we are discovering that the immune response that gluten elicits in some people – most notably Celiacs – is not the only health issue to be concerned about.

New research, published by Dr. Alessio Fasano at Harvard, confirms that gluten-containing foods impact the health of ALL who consume them, by increasing the risk of a “leaky gut.”

Gluten:  The Loaded Gun for a Leaky Gut (and Brain)

Dr. Fasano discovered that exposure to gliadin – a protein found in gluten -- increases the permeability of the epithelial lining of the gut. And this happens in healthy subjects, as well as those with Celiac.

A healthy gut plays a critical role in the function of your immune system. Of course, it also helps to extract nutrients from your food, allowing these compounds to enter the bloodstream where they can nourish your body. But the gut also serves as a critical barrier. It is supposed to block harmful substances and undigested food particles from entering the bloodstream.

However, when the small spaces between gut cells (called tight junctions) expand, a wide range of substances that would never pass through a healthy gut into the bloodstream are allowed to pass right through.

What’s more, consumption of gliadin was ALSO found to increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, allowing proteins, viruses, bacteria and toxins in the blood to breach this normally safeguarded space.

As you can imagine, a “leaky” gut and brain have been linked to a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms and chronic diseases including (but certainly not limited to):
●    Rheumatoid arthritis
●    Food allergies
●    Asthma
●    Eczema
●    Inflammatory bowel disease
●    Lou Gehrig’s disease
●    HIV
●    Cystic Fibrosis
●    Diabetes
●    Autism
●    ADHD
●    Alzheimer’s disease
●    Parkinson’s
●    Brain fog and fatigue

While these conditions may seem disconnected, they share a common root:  Inflammation.

In fact, Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., renowned neurologist and the author of Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life says:

“In millions of people today, the gut is largely disrupted by increased intestinal permeability  which fuels a continuous state of low-grade inflammation.”

Gluten Promotes Inflammation: The Cornerstone of Chronic Disease

Among the substances that leak into the bloodstream from the gut, one of these is particularly nefarious: lipopolysaccharide (LPS).

LPS is a compound that makes up the outer membrane of certain types of bacteria in the gut. These bacteria normally live within the confines of your gut without issue. But when they pass through the gut into the bloodstream – where they don’t belong – they cause a sharp inflammatory response.

In fact, LPS is so inflammatory that it is actually used experimentally in the lab to create inflammation.

A leaky gut will increase the amount of LPS that circulates in your blood. Systemic inflammation (including brain inflammation) and an increased risk of disease is the inevitable result.

(NOTE: You can test your levels of LPS, and therefore your degree of gut permeability, with a test called the Cyrex Array 2. The test costs around $200.)

Heal Your Gut and Reduce Inflammation with a Gluten Free Ancestral Diet

Research now shows that gluten can cause long-term health consequences… even in the absence of gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease.

Focus your diet on the nutrient-dense foods our ancestors enjoyed – including gut-healing foods like bone broth and saturated fats from animals raised on pasture – to help seal and heal your gut and reduce the systemic inflammation associated with chronic disease.

Do you have any experience with leaky gut? If so, how did you heal it?

Editor’s Note
Kelley Herring is the author of the new book Better Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

REFERENCES
1.    Jargon, Julie. “The Gluten Free Craze: Is It Healthy?” Wall Street Journal. June 22, 2014  
2.    Kluger, Jeffrey. “Eat More Gluten; The Fad Diet Must Die”. Time Magazine. June 23, 2014
3.    Perlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life. Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 28, 2015)
4.    Fasano A.Intestinal permeability and its regulation by zonulin: diagnostic and therapeutic implications.Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Oct;10(10):1096-100. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2012.08.012. Epub 2012 Aug 16.
5.    Fasano A .Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer.Physiol Rev. 2011 Jan;91(1):151-75. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00003.2008.
6.    Groschwitz KR1, Hogan SP.Intestinal barrier function: molecular regulation and disease pathogenesis.J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Jul;124(1):3-20; quiz 21-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.05.038.
7.    Turner JR.Intestinal mucosal barrier function in health and disease.Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Nov;9(11):799-809. doi: 10.1038/nri2653.
8.    Drago S, El Asmar R, Di Pierro M, Grazia Clemente M, Tripathi A, Sapone A, Thakar M, Iacono G, Carroccio A, D'Agate C, Not T, Zampini L, Catassi C, Fasano A. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;41(4):408-19.
9.    Lammers KM1, Lu R, Brownley J, Lu B, Gerard C, Thomas K, Rallabhandi P, Shea-Donohue T, Tamiz A, Alkan S, Netzel-Arnett S, Antalis T, Vogel SN, Fasano A. Gliadin induces an increase in intestinal permeability and zonulin release by binding to the chemokine receptor CXCR3. Gastroenterology. 2008 Jul;135(1):194-204.e3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2008.03.023. Epub 2008 Mar 21.

Tags: 

Strongwoman Maureen Quinn!

They say that good things come in small packages...Maureen Quinn might say that about the US Wellness Meat shipments that she gets as she’s training. We definitely say that about her! Featherweight competitor, Maureen will be representing US Wellness Meats in the United States Strongman National Championships next weekend. We are very excited to have her on board with the US Wellness Meats team, and wish her the best of luck as she competes for a National Championship!

log pose resized 600

Q: How did you get started in Strongman Competitions?

I’ve been a runner my whole life. I fell in love with the simplicity of it. Once I graduated, and began working full time as a microbiologist, it became harder to motivate myself to go out and run “an easy 12 miler.” I am big on health and staying in shape so I wanted to try something new.

I joined GrassFed CrossFit with a bunch of my running girlfriends. My coach insisted I had potential to be super strong, and I thought he was crazy. Eventually, I agreed to start his strength-biased weightlifting program. Within weeks my body underwent a transformation like I had never experienced before. The allusive lean “bikini figure” I had been chasing in my endless cross country running, was hiding in heavy weightlifting all along.

I was then introduced to the sport of Strongwoman, the female counterpart to the televised “World’s Strongest Man” on ESPN. I learned that it wasn’t only burly men who could pick up cars and press tree trunks above their heads. I entered my first competition in August of 2014, shocking everyone with a first place finish in the featherweight division. The win qualified me for the North American Strongwoman Championships held in Reno, Nevada.

Two months later, I’m on stage pitted against the world’s strongest females in contention for the Championship title. Although I didn’t leave with the gold medal I was ecstatic to be officially ranked as the 6th strongest female in the nation under 120 lbs, especially considering I didn’t know what Strongwoman was four months prior. This month, I’m headed to the 2015 United States Strongwoman National Championships stronger and more motivated than ever before.

Q: How did you learn about grass-fed beef?

I learned about grass-fed meats from my coach Chad, the owner of GrassFed CrossFit. Actually, I learned about MEAT from my coach Chad. Before I started lifting weights my diet was heavy in fruits and vegetables. Like most girls growing up, I was never satisfied with my body. Chad put me on a high-fat, paleo based, grass-fed diet. He made it seem necessary for my training, but it really had an impact on my overall health. This was scary (I had a slight meltdown the first time I ate real cheese again) because I was so sure that eating fat would make me fat.

Coupled with the weight training, my body changed instantly. I was a distance runner my whole life, yet somehow my body fat decreased. I had become the leanest I’d ever been after eating all the fat I wanted. I was also introduced to amazing meats that I never would have considered trying before, like beef cheeks and head cheese. I got to cook all my veggies in butter and cover my burgers with cheese. My workouts began improving and most importantly I learned what it was like to feel healthy. I now realize why I always felt tired and hungry when I was eating like a vegetarian.

Chad also introduced me to what he considered “the best offering of quality, variety, convenience, and pricing in the grass-fed world,” US Wellness Meats. And after my first experience with their products, I couldn’t agree more! The majority of people, both athletes and non-athletes, are lacking quality saturated fat in their diet. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of grass-fed fats being offered in local grocery stores. Fortunately I’m able to have grass-fed pemmican, tallow, marrow, cheese, and bacon delivered right to my door.

Q: What is your favorite meal to cook using grass-fed beef?

My new diet has turned me into a self-proclaimed chef! I usually find a cool recipe on a paleo blog and try to recreate it. I stick to the most wholesome and simple ingredients (meat!) and stay away from metabolically incongruent food sources our nomadic ancestors wouldn't eat (no matter how much we try to pretend they could have).

I fry a lot of the food I eat in beef tallow, anything from meat to fish to sweet potatoes. My carbohydrates for the day normally consist of plantain chips fried in beef tallow and dipped in grass-fed sour cream or butter. It never gets old, trust me. I like to try a lot of different cuts of meat, but the 75/25 ground beef is my favorite. It’s the simplest way to make a delicious dinner when I get home late from the gym. The high fat content gives it great flavor.

Currently, my favorite recipe is zoodles with avocados and liverwurst. I make “zoodles” by running a zucchini (or two) through a spiralizer. Next, I sauté the zoodles in a pan with grass-fed butter, avocado, onions, and various spices. After about 10 minutes, I add the liverwurst and let it cook another few minutes. It’s sort of a weird creation, but the liverwurst gives my zoodles immaculate flavor, and it is incredibly nutrient dense.

My ABSOLUTE favorite snack is sugar-free pemmican bars. I love telling people that it's just meat and fat. They think I'm strange until they try it. It's even good a little frozen; I discovered this because I was too impatient to let it to defrost.

Q: How do you prepare for a competition?

My training is relatively the same year round. There's nothing more important than building fundamental strength. Once you've built strength, accessory work is necessary, but in Strongwoman you should really focus on being strong. A week or two before competition I’ll work on technical components of the lifts for the specific event. I’ll only lift heavy once during the week of a competition so that I’m well rested beforehand. I always pack all of my food in a big cooler and get a hotel room with a kitchen so that I can cook my own meals. I don't eat out and I want to be able to fuel myself with the best food possible before a competition. Pre-cooked foods like summer sausage and pemmican come in handy when I don’t have the best accommodations for preparing foods.

Q: What's your favorite lift/event in competition?

My favorite lift is most certainly a deadlift. Mentally, it’s pretty simple. Either you can pick the weight up or you can't. Everyone that trains with me knows that my ideal workout is deadlifts and box jumps. Box jumps aren't exactly a Strongwoman event but I practice other movements to make sure I stay a well-rounded athlete. It's sort of funny; statistically the deadlift is probably my worst event in Strongwoman competitions, but I still love it.

My favorite event during my Strongman journey was without a doubt, the wheelbarrow carry at Nationals. My wheelbarrow weighed 1000 pounds…so naturally I didn't think I'd be able to pick it up. I almost started laughing during the event. Once I picked it up and started moving, all I was thinking was "Oh my gosh, how do I stop now?" It was a lot of fun. My favorite aspect about it is that I can now say I've lifted 1000 pounds.

Thanks for reading! To follow Maureen's progress, click here

GAPS: A HEALING DIET FOR BODY AND MIND

Author: Kelley Herringdescribe the image

Our modern world is awash in chemicals and food-like substances that wreak havoc on our health. And while these compounds can adversely affect any system in the body, it is your gut where the greatest impact occurs.

In recent years, the gut has been called the “second brain” because of its unique relationship to cerebral health. It’s also been shown that over 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, thanks to a diverse population of organisms (or flora) and the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) that mediates immune response. Even conventional medicine now recognizes that a healthy body and brain are dependent on a healthy gut.

Gut and Psychology: Build a Stronger Brain with a Healthy Gut

But long before these ideas were mainstream, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD made the connection. In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia, Dr. McBride shows how many physical and neurological disorders can be attributed to dysbiosis – or an unhealthy imbalance – in the gut.

But how?

As we deviate from our ancestral diet, the symbiotic relationships between microorganisms in our gut change. These changes can cause abnormal gut flora to proliferate. The combination of these unhealthy bacteria and irritants from our modern diet can cause tiny perforations to form in the sensitive lining of the gut. The resulting “leaky gut” allows harmful microbes and toxins to enter the bloodstream, where they impact normal biological processes and can lead to dysfunction and disease.

Getting Started with GAPS:  Seal and Heal Your Leaky Gut

So how do you seal and heal the gut and restore a healthy microbial balance? Dr. McBride has created a safe and effective protocol designed to provide the body with an array of healing nutrients and flora-friendly foods while eliminating potential irritants. The protocol is broken into six phases, each lasting three to five days.

Here is an overview of the protocol and what to expect:

Stage 1: In this phase, the focus is on nutrient-rich meat stock, which is easy to digest and allows the gut to focus on healing as opposed to breaking down foods.

Stage 2:  In this phase, raw, organic egg yolks are added to meat stocks to provide additional nutrients for repair. Animal fats from pasture-raised animals – like tallow and lard – are especially important at this time to seal and heal the gut. These healthy fats also provide a concentrated source of energy.

Stage 3: Onions cooked in grass-fed fat (great immunity-boosters) and avocados are added at this time. Probiotics should be taken before meals to help restore healthy gut flora.

Stage 4: Grass-fed burgers, roasted pastured chicken and wild fish are added in this stage, as well as sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. The juice of organic vegetables is also introduced at this time.

Stage 5: As the gut lining strengthens and your ability to digest improves, foods that are more difficult to digest are introduced, including apples cooked in coconut oil or ghee and raw veggies.

Stage 6: Raw fruits and GAPS-approved desserts (like cinnamon baked apples and coconut macaroons) are allowed in this final phase of the Introduction Diet.

Is The GAPS Diet Right for You?

Thousands of people have found significant relief from the GAPS diet. If you try the introductory diet and notice you are feeling better, following the Full GAPS diet (which lasts for at least two years) could be a beneficial next step to improve your overall health.

Have you tried the GAPS diet? If so, what was your experience?

ED NOTE: Love bread, but not the grain and carbs? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free and Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

REFERENCES

  1. Anastasia I. Petra, Smaro Panagiotidou, Erifili Hatziagelaki, Julia M. Stewart, Pio Conti, Theoharis C. Theoharides. Gut-Microbiota-Brain Axis and Its Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders With Suspected Immune Dysregulation. Clinical Therapeutics. Volume 37, Issue 5, 1 May 2015, Pages 984–995
  2. Oregon State University. "Gut microbes closely linked to proper immune function, other health issues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013.
  3. Antoine Louveau, Igor Smirnov, Timothy J. Keyes, Jacob D. Eccles, Sherin J. Rouhani, J. David Peske, Noel C. Derecki, David Castle, James W. Mandell, Kevin S. Lee, Tajie H. Harris, Jonathan Kipnis. Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature14432
  4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Gut B Cells.
  5. Shulzhenko N, Morgun A, Hsiao W, Battle M, Yao M, Gavrilova O, Orandle M, Mayer L, Macpherson AJ, McCoy KD, Fraser-Liggett C, Matzinger P. Crosstalk between B lymphocytes, microbiota and the intestinal epithelium governs immunity versus metabolism in the gut. Nature Medicine. 20 November 2011
  6. Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Web. www.gutandpsychologysyndrome.com

 

5 Sources of these "SuperFats" Might Surprise You

describe the imageAuthored by: Kelley Herring

Many factors contribute to the twin epidemics of obesity and chronic disease in America (and, increasingly, throughout the world). But two dietary factors play the greatest roles, by far. These are the over consumption of:

1.    Sugar (and other simple carbohydrates) and
2.    Unhealthy fats

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the negative effects of a high-carbohydrate diet and chronically-high insulin levels. Today, let’s focus on fats… in particular, one of the healthiest fats you can consume and the positive effects it can have on your body. I will also share with you the most potent (and surprising) sources of this healthy superfat.

Healthy Fats: You Are What You Eat

You’ve certainly heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” This is especially true when it comes to fats. The type of fat in your diet dictates the type of fat in your cells. In other words, you literally become what you eat.

The make-up of fat in a healthy human body is normally about 97 percent monounsaturated and saturated. The other 3 percent should be polyunsaturated (half of which should be omega-3 and the other half omega-6). That means that omega-6 fats should make up only about 1.5 percent of your total calories.

But here’s the problem…

It has been shown that approximately 80% of the fats consumed in the United States are omega-6 fats. Today, the average American eats more than 75 pounds of these industrial fats each year!

These are primarily found in vegetable, corn and seed oils, which are the primary ingredients in most commercial sauces, dressings, chips, snacks and all manner of processed foods. Conventionally-raised meats are also very rich in these unhealthy fats due to the corn- and soy-rich diet on which these animals subsist.

When you consume these extracted and concentrated oils, your cell membranes incorporate their molecules. The problem is that they are highly unstable, vulnerable to oxidative stress and prone to causing inflammation.

These fats (along with the dreaded “trans fats”) also inhibit the natural permeability of the cellular wall. It becomes more difficult for nutrients to enter the cell… while waste products and cellular debris are unable to exit.

As you can imagine, this is a virtual prescription for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cataracts and macular degeneration, auto-immune disease, wrinkled and cancer-prone skin… and the list goes on.

Healthy fats, on the other hand, are essential for cellular health. They improve your ability to absorb nutrients from your food, they reduce inflammation, and they can even help to balance blood sugar and foster weight loss.

And one of the most important of these is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).

The Healthy Benefits of Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature. They are commonly associated with the health benefits of the “Mediterranean Diet.” But before we explore their benefits, consider what makes these fats unique:
•    MUFAs Don’t Readily Oxidize: Chemically speaking, monounsaturated fats contain a double bond. This makes them very stable (even in the presence of heat) and much less prone to oxidation than omega-6 fats.
•    Antioxidant Benefits: The foods rich in MUFAS are generally rich in antioxidants, minerals and phytonutrients, including magnesium, selenium, vitamin E and phenolic compounds, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin (two potent antioxidant carotenoids).
•    MUFAs Reduce Inflammation: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined data from 690 women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers found that higher “diet quality” scores – particularly on the Mediterranean Diet Index – were associated with much lower markers for inflammation and endothelial dysfunction (endothelial cells are those that line inside of blood vessels).

Now, let’s look at some of the specific health benefits researchers have attributed to these superfats:
•    In 2005, Greek scientists studying more than 3,000 men and women found those eating a diet closest to the traditional Mediterranean diet had 19% lower oxidized LDL levels than those with the lowest adherence to the diet. This diet also showed the greatest positive effect on the dilation of blood vessels.
•    A study published in Public Health Nutrition found that women getting the most monounsaturated fat had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer than those getting the least. Another study, published in Cancer Causes and Control, found that men who consumed the most MUFAs experienced the greatest reduction in prostate cancer risk.
•    According to a study in Diabetes Care, when test subjects ate a carbohydrate-enriched diet, they accumulated fat in the abdomen. When they ate a diet that had more MUFA, abdominal fat decreased (even without exercise!).
•    A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: After six months on a MUFA-rich diet, the insulin levels of test subjects were reduced by 9.4% and the insulin resistance score was reduced by an average of 12.1%.  Another study showed similar reductions in fasting insulin levels in subjects diagnosed as insulin resistant.

So, what are the best sources of these healthy fats?

Beyond Olive Oil: Superior Sources of Monounsaturated Fats

You’ve probably heard that olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. This is true in some cases. But what you might not know is that independent researchers recently tested numerous olive oils for their potency and purity. As reported in the New York Times, they found that nearly 70% did not match the nutritional content reported on the label.

In fact, some of these “olive oils” were found to contain other refined oils… and even green food coloring!

Macadamia nuts and macadamia nut oil are also excellent sources of MUFAs, as are avocados and avocado oil.

But here’s something that may surprise you: Some of the best sources of monounsaturated fats don’t come from plant sources at all… but rather from animal origin.

Take a look at the amount and ratios of fats per 100 grams in these foods:

FOOD                                     SAT    MUFA    PUFA
Olive Oil                                  14       73          11
Avocado Oil                             12       71          13
Macadamia Nuts                      12       59            1.5
Duck Fat                                33       49          13
Pork Lard                              39       45           11
Beef Tallow                           49       42           4
Lamb Tallow                         47        41          8
Avocados                                 2        10           2
Grass-Fed Beef Ribeye          3.6       3.5         0.3
Bison (Ground)                      3.5       3.3         0.4
Grass-Fed Beef Strip Steak    1          1           0.1

What’s more, sources of monounsaturated fats from animal origin (including duck fat, lard and tallow) are also more stable under heat, thanks to higher levels of beneficial saturated fats. This should make them your ideal choice for cooking.

Choosing an ancestral diet rich in healthy fats (in the right ratios) is one of the best things you can do for your health. Here are a more than a few delicious ideas for adding more of these health-boosting fats, plus a full spectrum of other beneficial nutrients to your diet… sear grass-fed steaks and sauté veggies in beef tallow… enjoy a fresh arugula salad with avocados and olive, avocado, or macadamia nut oil… enjoy a breakfast of farm fresh eggs and grass-fed beef sliders… and keep some delicious macadamia nuts around for snacking. Bon Appetit!

ED NOTE –  Love bread, but not the grain and carbs? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free and Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

REFERENCES
1.    "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil" by Tom Mueller (Atlantic Books in the U.K.)
2.    Fallon, Sally, and Mary G Enig, PhD, "Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglandin Pathways," Price- Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Health Journal, 1996, 20:3:5-8
3.    Fallon, Sally, and Mary G Enig, PhD, "Diet and Heart Disease—Not What You Think," Consumers' Research, July 1996, 15-19
4.    Simopoulos AP, Leaf A, Salem N, Jr. Workshop statement on the essentiality of and recommended dietary intakes for Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2000;63(3):119-121
5.    Kris-Etherton PM, Hecker KD, Binkoski AE. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular health. Nutr Rev. 2004;62(11):414-426.
6.    Mozaffarian D, Ascherio A, Hu FB, et al. Interplay between different polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in men. Circulation. 2005;111(2):157-164.
7.    Cortés B et al. “Acute effects of high-fat meals enriched with walnuts or olive oil on postprandial endothelial function.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Oct 17;48(8):1666-71. Epub 2006 Sep 26.
8.    Perona JS et al. "Virgin olive oil reduces blood pressure in hypertensive elderly subjects." ClinNutr. 23, 5:1113-21, 2004.
9.    Assies J, Lok A, Bockting CL, Weverling GJ, Lieverse R, Visser I, Abeling NG, Duran M, Schene AH. Fatty acids and homocysteine levels in patients with recurrent depression: an explorative pilot study. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2004 Apr;70(4):349-56
10.    Baer DJ, Judd JT, Clevidence BA, Tracy RP. Dietary fatty acids affect plasma markers of inflammation in healthy men fed controlled diets: a randomized crossover study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;79(6):969-73.
11.    Raymond R. Tjandrawinata, PhD, of UCSF, Chai-Fei Li, BA, of SFVAMC, and Sina Sayyah, BA, of SFVAMC and UCSF   Omega-6 Fatty Acids Cause  Prostate Tumor Cell Growth In Culture. Science- Daily.
12.    Soriguer F, Rojo-Martinez G, Dobarganes MC, Garcia Almeida JM, Esteva I, Beltran M, Ruiz De Adana MS, Tinahones F, Gomez-Zumaquero  JM, Garcia-Fuentes E, Gonzalez-Romero S. Hypertension is related to the degradation of dietary frying oils. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;78(6):1092-7.
13.    Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Faulkner DA, Josse AR, et al. Direct comparison of dietary portfolio vs. statin on C-reactive protein. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 May 18; [Epub ahead of print]2005. PMID:15900306.
14.    Jerling JC et al. “A systematic review of the effects of nuts on blood lipid  profiles in humans.” J Nutr. 135, 9:2082-9, 2005.
15.    Staprans I, Pan XM, Rapp JH, Feingold KR.The role of dietary oxidized cholesterol and oxidized fatty acids in the development of atherosclerosis.Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Nov;49(11):1075-82.
16.    Pitsavos C, Panagiotakos DB, Tzima N, Chrysohoou C, Economou M, Zampelas A, Stefanadis C.Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with total antioxidant capacity in healthy adults: the ATTICA study.Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;82(3):694-9.
17.    Paniagua JA, Gallego de la Sacristana A, Romero I, Vidal-Puig A, Latre JM, Sanchez E, Perez-Martinez P, Lopez-Miranda J, Perez-Jimenez F. Monounsaturated fat-rich diet prevents central body fat distribution and decreases postprandial adiponectin expression induced by a carbohydrate-rich diet in insulin-resistant subjects. Diabetes Care. 2007 Jul;30(7):1717-23. Epub 2007 Mar 23.
18.    Babio N, Bullo M, Salas-Salvado J: Mediterranean diet and metabolic syndrome: the evidence. Public Health Nutr 2009; 12(9A): 1607-17.
19.    Giugliano D, Esposito K: Mediterranean diet and metabolic diseases. Curr Opin Lipidol 2008; 19(1): 63-8.
20.    Giugliano D, Ceriello A, Esposito K: The effects of diet on inflammation: emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006; 48(4): 677-85.
21.    Seth Rakoff-Nahoum. Why Cancer and Inflammation?Yale J Biol Med. 2006 December; 79(3-4): 123–130.
22.    Hussain SP, Harris CC. Inflammation and cancer: an ancient link with novel potentials.Int J Cancer. 2007 Dec 1;121(11):2373-80.




All Posts