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Are "Aliens" Making You Hungry?

Have you ever felt strong emotional cravings for certain foods? And have you ever experienced these cravings… even when you knew that your body had enough to eat.

It’s well known that emotions and stress can play a role in food cravings. And of course, your hormones also send signals to your brain that boost hunger and cravings.

But what if there was something else that could cause these feelings? In fact, what if some of the cravings you experience did not even originate in your own brain… but instead, you were acting on impulses from another entity?

This might sound like the beginning of a science fiction story. In this case, however, the truth might be stranger than fiction.

You’ve probably heard the word, microbiome. This is the ecosystem of microbes that reside primarily in your gut. We already know that this swirling mass of bacteria play a role in your immune system. They help digest your food and even provide vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

But this is not merely a passive population of hitchhikers, happy to eat whatever you decide to feed them. In fact, a growing number of researchers believe that the bacteria in your gut can promote feelings of hunger. What’s more, they can actually influence your dietary choices so that you favor the foods THEY thrive on (or those that suppress their competitors).

And that’s not necessarily a good thing…

“Bacteria within the gut are manipulative,” says Dr. Carlo Maley, one of the authors of a study published in the journal BioEssays. “There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome. Some are aligned with our own dietary goals. Others are not.”


What Does Your Bacteria Want From You?

Estimates are that the average person has between 15,000 and 30,000 different species of bacteria, fungi and other microbes in their gut. Each of these species has a preference for specific food sources that allow them to feed and reproduce.

Some species of gut bacteria thrive on the fiber found in vegetables. Some are specialists that digest and prefer seaweed (these have been isolated from humans in Japan). Others thrive on cellulose (these have been found in African children raised on sorghum).

Researchers have even identified certain populations of bacteria that are common to those who have a “strong desire” for chocolate... while those who are indifferent to chocolate have a very different bacterial mix.

And then there are those species that thrive on sugar, grains and the basic ingredients of the standard processed diet…

According to author and genetic epidemiology professor, Tim Spector, the microbes living inside you, “have their own evolutionary drive to maintain their ecological niche. They will do anything to ensure their survival. This includes sending signals to the host human that they want more of the same junk food that they thrive on.”

Yes, it’s true…

To ensure their own dominance and survival the bugs in your gut will insist that you consume whatever they say, even when it’s not in the best interests of your health.

And scientists are just beginning to understand how this works…


Willpower Is No Match For Bio-Power

It’s proven that the brain can use signaling molecules to influence gut bacteria. But the lines of communication go both ways.

Not only do these bacteria recognize the hormones and neurotransmitters your body uses. They can even synthesize these chemical signals to control your behavior!

A recent study, published in the journal BioEssays highlights the ways these “alien” hitchhikers can potentially control your brain.

The authors believe your gut bacteria may be able to change the expression of your taste receptors, making certain foods taste better.

They can release hunger-inducing hormones and peptides.

They are able to stimulate the vagus nerve directly (this is the connection between 100 million nerve cells in the digestive tract and the base of the brain).

They can even manipulate your feelings by producing compounds that are converted into dopamine and serotonin – thus taking control of your body’s basic “feel good” reward system!

These “aliens” want you to feed them and they will stop at nothing until you do.


But you CAN outsmart them and get the control back.

You are not powerless when it comes to creating a good relationship with the “aliens” that reside in your gut. The key is to do things that cause the thousands of species of good bugs to proliferate, so that they can “outcompete” and overcome the species of bad bugs.

The good news is that researchers have measured positive changes in the microbiome within just 24 hours of positive dietary changes. These are simple changes that you can make outside the lab.

Again, from the study in BioEssays:

“Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes, altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating.”

How Can You Cultivate a Healthy Inner Ecosystem?

As I’ve noted in previous essays, here are the six easy steps to a balanced microbiome and a better relationship with food:

1.    Re-populate the good bacteria:  Populate your healthy gut bacteria with good probiotic food sources including lacto-fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut and kimchi), kefir, kombucha and other foods preserved using traditional methods. Probiotic supplements are also useful in changing gut populations.

2.    Maintain daily with natural probiotic foods: Our ancestors obtained a lot of their probiotic bacteria from the soil. These bacteria, called soil based organisms (SBOs), support digestive balance. Consume fresh, organic veggies raised in healthy soil, and don’t wash them too ‘clean’.

3.    Feed the good bacteria and starve the bad: Many vegetables contain powerful prebiotic fiber that feeds our good bacteria. Onions, jicama, garlic and leeks are great choices. Reduce and eliminate sugar along with processed grains. These feed the growth of hostile microorganisms.

4.    Don’t kill them with pesticides and antibiotics: Choose organic, pesticide-free foods to avoid destroying the good bacteria you are working so hard to nourish. Source grass-fed meats, organic pastured poultry, organ meats and wild caught fish, which are free of antibiotics. Avoid antibiotics and use only when necessary.

5.    Minimize modern products: To maintain the integrity of the gut, minimize or eliminate the use of antibacterial products. Consume only filtered or spring water, which doesn’t contain chlorine, perchlorate and fluoride. And remove gut-damaging processed foods such as those containing aspartame, sucralose and preservatives. These have been shown to destroy gut bacteria.

6.    Stress Less: Our ancestors experienced periods of stress followed by periods of rest. By adopting a similar lifestyle we can influence our microbiota in positive ways.  In the words of the popular book “don’t sweat the small stuff”.


Are You Growing Sugar-Craving or Vegetable-Loving Bugs?

Our microbiome starts growing the day we are born; the type of birth we had and the health of our mother begins the process. Our environment influences these bugs as we journey through life. Modern processed diets and toxic lifestyles influence the growth of the bad bugs, while ancestral diets support the good guys.

It's like a garden; plant it well, remove the weeds and don’t kill the flowers. Your current food preferences provide feedback about what type of garden was planted and how it was maintained.

By choosing to eat and live the way our ancestors did, we can improve the balance of our microbiome and our relationship with food.

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

1.    Alcock, J. Maley, C., Aktipis, A. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. BioEssays, August, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/bies.201400071
2.    Norris, V, Molina, F, Gewirtz, AT. Hypothesis: Bacteria Control Host Appetites. J Bacteriol. 2013 Feb; 195(3): 411–416.
3.    Wallis, C. “How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin.” Scientific American. June 1, 2014.
4.    Beck, J. “Your Gut Bacteria Want You to Eat a Cupcake.” The Atlantic. August 9, 2014.

Flat Iron Steak with Migas Flavoring

Migas refers to pieces of beef seasoned with paprika and garlic, and quickly cooked in hot fat. This is a traditional Spanish treat, which has been enjoyed for a very long time. U.S. Wellness Meats flat iron steak is perfect for this dish.

The flat iron is a tender cut of meat near the chuck area. It usually comes with a thick wad of sinew right in the middle, but U.S. Wellness Meats trims out this wad of sinew from their flat iron steaks, which come ready to cook.

This dish is delicious and easy. It is best to marinate the meat overnight, so the rich flavors will permeate the meat.

4 USW Flat Iron 50 Max resized 600

Serves 4

1 package U.S. Wellness Meats beef flat iron steak


4 tablespoons unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine, preferably sherry

2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika

2 teaspoons organic granulated garlic powder

1 teaspoon organic oregano, crumbled between your fingers

1 teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper


1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt, crushed

2 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish

  1. The day before you plan to make the steaks, prepare the marinade by combining all ingredients, and mixing them well. Place the meat in a glass bowl, and cover all surfaces with the marinade. Cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before you plan to cook it, so it can come to cool room temperature.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade and place on a plate. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with the salt.
  4. Place the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan that is large enough to hold the steaks. Heat the pan at medium heat until the butter is melted and the fat is hot and bubbly.
  5. Carefully add the steaks to the hot fat. Cook for 4 minutes on each side for rare; or 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Serve and enjoy the rich, traditional flavors.

describe the imageStanley Fishman is a cookbook author and blogger who is an expert on cooking grassfed meat. Stanley uses traditional flavor combinations and cooking methods to make the cooking of grassfed meat easy, delicious, and tender. Stanley has written two cookbooks that make it easy to cook grassfed meat —Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo. Stanley blogs about real food and the cooking of grassfed meat at his blog

How An Unhealthy Microbiome (Gut) Promotes Diabetes


The World Health Organization predicts that diabetes will be among the top 10 causes of death globally by 2030. What’s more, according to the CDC, if this trend continues, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

And while blood sugar imbalances due to a high-sugar diet are certainly to blame, research now shows a deeper cause in this epidemic – one that goes far beyond blood sugar…

Our microbiome.

The Delicate Balance of Our Inner Ecosystem

It was Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, who told us over 2000 years ago that “All disease begins in the gut”.

Today it has been proven that the health of our gut has a big impact on our overall health – from immunity to brain function. And the health of our gut largely depends on the balance of the trillions of microbes within us (and on our bodies).

“For a long time, scientists assumed that these bacteria, despite their numbers, neither did us much harm nor much good. But in the past decade or so, researchers have changed their tune.” – Scientific American

Your gut alone contains three pounds of bacteria that carry out a number of vital processes. They produce nutrients like vitamin B12 and vitamin K. They assist in the digestion of food and elimination of waste. And they help to regulate hormones and aid in detoxification – to name just a few.

But not all gut bugs are good bugs.

As we shift the pH inside our digestive system with processed foods, chemicals, drugs and alcohol (to name a few), we can tip the balance in favor of the “bad guys.  This imbalance is called dysbiosis and it is a key factor in promoting chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, mood disorders, certain forms of cancer… and even diabetes.

The Bacterial Link to Diabetes

In fact, a recent study published in the journal Nature, discovered that those with Type 2 diabetes had high levels of hostile bacteria.

Similarly, children with Type 1 diabetes were found to have noticeable differences in bacterial levels compared with healthy children.

Specifically, the researchers found imbalances in optimal levels of butyrate-producing bacteria - the same bacteria connected with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

Dr. Jun Wang, PhD, a biology professor at the University of Copenhagen says:

“Butyrate-producing bacteria seem to have a protective role against several types of diseases, including diabetes.”

Butyrates are short-chain fatty acids. They are produced by gut microbes when we consume fiber-rich foods. These compounds can exert a powerful anti-inflammatory effect both inside and outside of the intestine and are well documented for their beneficial effects on insulin resistance.

Creating Optimal Balance in Our Microbiome

Unfortunately, modern diets high in sugar, refined grains, additives and preservatives, along with chlorinated water, pesticides and antibiotics support the growth of hostile bacteria… while decreasing the numbers of our healthy butyrate-producing flora.

Along with consuming the foods that promote an overgrowth of unhealthy strains, we also don’t consume enough of the right foods to populate the gut with beneficial bacterial strains.

When it comes to the microbes in your gut, balance is the key. So how can we optimally balance our microbiome to lower our risk of diabetes and other preventable disease?

The same way our ancestors did…

Bringing Back the Balance with Ancestral Diets

Here are six simple steps to a health gut and balanced microbiome:

1.    Be a Dirt Lover: Our ancestors obtained a lot of their probiotic bacteria from the soil. These bacteria, called soil based organisms (SBOs), have a profound beneficial effect on digestive balance. Consume fresh, organic veggies raised in healthy soil and don’t make them “squeaky clean” before consuming. You can also purchase supplements containing soil based organisms.

2.    Get Your Prebiotics: Many vegetables – especially onions, jicama, garlic and leeks - contain powerful prebiotic fiber that provides important nourishment for those butyrate-producing gut bacteria.

3.    Pass on the Pesticides and Antibiotics: Choose organic, pesticide-free foods to prevent wiping out the good bacteria you are working so hard to nourish. Similarly, grass-fed meats, organic pastured poultry, organ meats and wild caught fish are free of antibiotics, which allow good bacteria to remain intact.  Avoid antibiotic, unless absolutely necessary.

4.    Focus on “Reflorestation”:  Feed your healthy gut bacteria with good probiotic food sources including lacto-fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut and kimchi), kefir, kombucha and other foods preserved using traditional methods.

5.    Beware of Modern Products: To maintain the integrity of the gut, minimize or eliminate the use of antibacterial products. Consume only filtered or spring water which doesn’t contain chlorine, perchlorate and fluoride. And remove gut-damaging processed foods such as those containing aspartame, sucralose and preservatives, which have been shown to destroy gut bacteria.

6.    Avoid Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates: Reduce and eliminate sugar along with processed grains. These foods and ingredients can actually feed the growth of hostile microorganisms.

By choosing to eat the way our ancestors did, we can improve the balance of our microbiome, improve our health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes.

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

1.    Junjie Qin,Yingrui Li,    Zhiming Cai. A metagenome-wide association study of gut microbiota in type 2 diabetes. Nature  490, 55–60 (04 October 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11450
2.    Gut bacteria could cause diabetes. University of Copenhagen. September 26 2012.
3.    Roberto Berni Canani, Margherita Di Costanzo, Ludovica Leone, et al.Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar 28; 17(12): 1519–1528.
4.    Rob Knight. How our microbes make us who we are . Posted  Feb 2015. TED Talks.
5.    Number of Americans with Diabetes Projected to Double or Triple by 2050. Centers for Disease Control. October 22, 2010

Write A Review & You Could Win!

Hi folks!

We're celebrating our 15-year anniversary this month! 

We wouldn't be where we are today without each and every one of you. We appreciate your continued support and patronage. We look forward to many more years of doing what's good for our animals, good for our planet and good for you. 

What better way to kick off the anniversary festivities than with a giveaway? So here are the details...

In case you missed it, our new and improved website has the option to leave product reviews. Just click the product(s) you wish to review and select 'add your review' and you're done. Easy peasy, right?

Submit a review of any of our online selections between Thursday, September 17 - Tuesday, September 22 to be entered to win a $100 gift certificate!

Upon leaving a review you will automatically be entered into our drawing. Only one entry per person, but you're welcome to leave multiple reviews. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, September 25. 

Good luck & happy reviewing! 








More than 29 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Diabetes Definitiondiabetes, with an additional eight million un-diagnosed. To make matters worse, it’s estimated that 86 million Americans have the symptoms of “pre-diabetes” and that close to half (40%) of the American population will develop diabetes during their lifetime!

But it’s not just people with diabetes or pre-diabetes who should be concerned about blood sugar. Keeping your blood sugar within a healthy range is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, weight gain, hormonal issues, certain cancers and more.

As you can imagine, the diabetes industry is a big business. It is estimated that over $176 billion is spent each year on diabetes medications and care alone. Billions more are spent on medical devices and so-called “diabetic-safe” industrial foods, many of which actually promote or worsen blood sugar control due to their high levels of sugar, artificial sweeteners (like sucralose and aspartame) and harmful fats (including trans fats and processed seed oils).
With all of these harmful drugs, fake pharma-foods, expensive gadgets (and the mass media and marketing surrounding them), many people with blood sugar issues feel pressure from their physicians, family and friends to “get with the program”. Unfortunately, this typically means taking a prescription medication (or three).

But recent research shows that a simple, healthy, drinkable addition to your meals may not only stabilize blood sugar enough to prevent post-meal blood sugar surges… this tasty treat may even be powerful enough to reduce the need for diabetes medications altogether.

So, what is this tasty treat?

The Blood-Sugar Balancing Shake

Well, not just any shake – a shake made with whey protein.

Researchers at Wolfson Medical Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem evaluated 15 diabetic patients with type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group received 50 grams of whey protein in 250 ml of water and a high-glycemic breakfast (three slices of white bread with sugar jelly). The second only ate the blood-sugar spiking white bread stack with jelly.

Blood samples were taken before the meal, when the whey protein was taken, and at specific intervals after the meal. The researchers found that blood sugar levels were reduced after the meal by an impressive 28 percent in the participants who consumed the whey shake. What’s more, the whey shake group also enjoyed a 105 percent increase in insulin release and 141 percent higher levels of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) – a gut hormone that stimulates insulin secretion. All in all, the whey shake group enjoyed a 96 percent improvement in early insulin response compared to the control group.

The lead researcher on the study, Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz, said:

“What’s remarkable is that consuming whey protein before meals reduces the blood sugar spikes seen after meals. It also improves the body’s insulin response, putting it in the same range or even higher than that produced by novel anti-diabetic drugs.

Eat Wisely, Move Often, Add Whey Protein

When it comes to controlling your blood sugar - or even reversing diabetes - focus on lifestyle and diet first.

Move your body. Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. And base your meals around the low-carb, grain-free, healthy-fat foods that are known to naturally regulate blood sugar and metabolism, including grass-fed beef, bison and lamb, pastured poultry and wild fish, with as many of the above-ground veggies you can eat.

And for even more blood-sugar balancing power and nutrition, add a delicious shake made with non-denatured, grass-fed whey protein before a meal.

We would like to hear from you.  Have you overcome a blood sugar challenge or a diagnosis of diabetes? If so, how did you do it?



Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? 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…


1.    American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. Taken from National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014
2.    Gregg, E., Zhuo, X., Cheng, Y. Trends in lifetime risk and years of life lost due to diabetes in the USA, 1985–2011: a modelling study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2014
3.    Wild, S. Roglic, G., Green, A, et al. Global Prevalence of Diabetes. Estimates for the year 2000 and projections for 2030. Diabetes Care, Volume 7, No. 5, May 2004.
4.    USA Today. Diabetes care costs nation $245 billion annually.
5.    Daniela Jakubowicz, Oren Froy, Bo Ahrén, Mona Boaz, Zohar Landau, Yosefa Bar-Dayan, Tali Ganz, Maayan Barnea, Julio Wainstein. Incretin, insulinotropic and glucose-lowering effects of whey protein pre-load in type 2 diabetes: a randomised clinical trial. Diabetologia, 2014; 57 (9)
6.    Pepino MY, Tiemann CD, Patterson BW, Wice BM, Klein S. Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load. Diabetes Care. 2013 Sep;36(9):2530-5.
7.    Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, Zilberman-Schapira, G. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014 Oct 9;514(7521):181-6.

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…


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.


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:


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


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?


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


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.


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?  


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…


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


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…


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.

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…


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.

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