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.
Hello real foodies!
***Don't miss an exclusive recipe and giveaway at the end of this post.***
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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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
● Inflammatory bowel disease
● Lou Gehrig’s disease
● Cystic Fibrosis
● Alzheimer’s disease
● 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?
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. 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.
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!
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!
Author: Kelley Herring
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.
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…
- 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
- Oregon State University. "Gut microbes closely linked to proper immune function, other health issues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013.
- 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
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Gut B Cells.
- 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
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Web. www.gutandpsychologysyndrome.com
Authored 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…
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.
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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.
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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.
If you’ve been eating a Paleo diet for some time, you may find that your usual meal rotations of meat and vegetables can become… well, a little boring.
But there’s a fast and easy way to dress up all of your favorite meals without much extra effort: Sauces.
As you probably know, most store-bought sauces and dressings should be avoided. These usually contain corn syrup or other hidden sugars, as well as unhealthy fats and oils (ie. Corn, soybean, vegetable oils, etc.). Of course, many folks shy away from making sauces at home. They think sauce-making is complicated, time-consuming and best left to classically-trained chefs.
But the truth is there are many simple sauces you can whip up in less than five minutes that will add extraordinary flavor, healthy fats and nutrients to all of your favorite standbys.
Today I’m going to share five Paleo-friendly, low-glycemic, no-cook sauces that will transform your everyday meals into restaurant-quality creations:
Paleo Sauce #1 – Pesto and Pistou
Originating from Genoa, this classic sauce is traditionally made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts and either Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) or hard sheep’s cheese. These ingredients are usually blended with olive oil. The French version (pistou) is made with olive oil, basil, and garlic only.
You can create your own favorite version of pesto (or pistou) using different nuts (Brazil nuts are delicious in pesto and provide a superior source of selenium) and hard cheeses (if tolerated). Fresh pesto is the perfect complement to grilled wild salmon or halibut, shrimp and pastured chicken.
Paleo Sauce #2 – Chermoula
This spice-infused North African herb sauce is a staple of Moroccan cuisine. It is traditionally made with cilantro, garlic, coriander, smoked paprika, chili paste, lemon and olive oil. Chermoula has powerful detoxifying properties thanks to cilantro, which binds to heavy metals and carries them out of the body. Use chermoula as a marinade or spoon liberally over wild fish, grass-fed steaks, grilled lamb and roasted chicken. (Need a recipe? Check out David Lebovitz’s Chermoula.)
Paleo Sauce #3 – Remoulade
Remoulade is a classic French mayonnaise-based condiment that is used worldwide in a variety of cuisines. Similar to tartar sauce, remoulade is often flavored with curry, mustard, horseradish, paprika, capers, diced pickles or shallots, depending on the origin. Create your own version using simple homemade Paleo mayonnaise (made with avocado oil) or Mark Sisson’s newest creation Primal Kitchen Mayo, and whisk in your favorite flavor combinations. For wild salmon and other seafood, I like minced shallot, capers, horseradish and lemon. For grass-fed meats and pastured lamb, try robust-flavored smoked paprika and cayenne.
Paleo Sauce #4 – Harissa
Another North African sauce, harissa is spicy, garlic-infused chile paste that can be used to enliven just about any meat or vegetable. Be sure to opt for organic chile peppers, as this is a crop that is heavily sprayed with pesticides. (Here’s a great harissa recipe from Saveur)
Paleo Sauce #5 - Romesco
Last but not least is the nut and red pepper-based Spanish sauce, romesco, made with roasted red peppers, raw nuts (almonds or hazelnut are traditional), roasted garlic and olive oil. Historically used to accompany fish, romesco is also delicious on pastured chicken and lamb. To make a quick superfood version at home, puree organic roasted red peppers (try Mediterranean Organic, sold in glass jars already roasted) and Brazil nuts with high quality olive or avocado oil and roasted garlic.
Pack more flavor, antioxidants and interest into your Paleo meals with these simple, healthy sauces. They’re quick to whip up, require only a few basic kitchen tools, and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Do you have a favorite Paleo sauce recipe? We’d love for you to share it here!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of 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. Pesto Genovese: an Ageless Benchmark of Great Italian Cuisine.
2. “Chermoula”. David Lebovitz.com. Web. May 4, 2015.
3. Prosper Montagné (1961). Charlotte Snyder Turgeon & Nina Froud, ed. Larousse gastronomique: the encyclopedia of food, wine & cookery. Crown Publishers. p. 861. ISBN 0-517-50333-6..
4. Aga M, Iwaki K, Ueda Y, Ushio S, Masaki N, Fukuda S, Kimoto T, Ikeda M, Kurimoto M. Preventive effect of Coriandrum sativum (Chinese parsley) on localized lead deposition in ICR mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Oct;77(2-3):203-8.
5. Omura Y, Beckman SL. Role of mercury (Hg) in resistant infections & effective treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes family viral infections (and potential treatment for cancer) by removing localized Hg deposits with Chinese parsley and delivering effective antibiotics using various drug uptake enhancement methods. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1995 Aug-Dec;20(3-4):195-229.
6. Karunasagar D, Krishna MV, Rao SV, Arunachalam J. Removal and preconcentration of inorganic and methyl mercury from aqueous media using a sorbent prepared from the plant Coriandrum sativum. J Hazard Mater. 2005 Feb 14;118(1-3):133-9.
Do you want smoother skin, more lustrous hair, stronger nails and a youthful glow? Who doesn’t?
In our modern world of uber-expensive creams, potions and procedures, many of us are willing to spend big bucks when it comes preserving or regaining our youthful looks. But the secret to looking young and vibrant doesn’t come in a fancy package. It doesn’t require needles, syringes and scalpels. And it won’t cost you a lot of money, either.
The key to looking vibrant at any age lies in the nutrient-dense diet of our ancestors.
The Ancestral Answer to Beauty and Bulletproof Health
The attributes we find attractive are also those correlated with good health and fertility. So maximizing nutrition won’t just make you healthier on the inside… but more beautiful on the outside too.
Your body is intelligently designed to prioritize the nutrients we have available. When you are deficient, your body will preferentially use nutrients for mission-critical biological processes like brain function, blood building and wound healing.
This is critical for survival. But it’s bad for your appearance, as you hair, skin and nails take a back seat in line for nutrients. If you’re lackluster in these departments, it’s a good indication that you are not getting the nutrients you need.
The good news is that following a Paleo diet can help…
Beauty Superfoods: Five Key Nutrients to Enhance Your Looks
By enjoying a wide variety of highly nutrient-dense foods – including healthy fats, clean protein, connective tissue, organ meats and bone – you provide your body with an unparalleled source of beauty-enhancing nutrients including collagen, zinc, biotin, vitamin A and omega-3 fats.
Eating ancestrally also eliminates or minimizes inflammatory compounds (like omega 6 fats from industrial seed oils), nutrient thieves (like phytates from grains) and DNA toxins (like sugar) that damage cells, bind up nutrients and promote the cross-linking of proteins that can lead to wrinkle formation.
Of course, it goes without saying that your diet should also include a wide variety of colorful, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and berries. These foods provide powerful phytonutrients and antioxidant protection that promote health and slow down the aging process.
So, let’s take a look at five key beauty nutrients and the best foods to optimize them in your diet:
- Collagen: This protein, found in connective tissue, has the unique ability to be deposited where you need it. That means dietary collagen can actually add cushion to your hips and knees or help to fill in fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Eating meat on the bone and making bone broth a staple of your diet are the two best ways to top off your supply of this superfood beauty nutrient.
- Zinc: You probably know this mineral best for its important role in growth, healing and immunity. But a deficiency in zinc (often due to inadequate dietary consumption or binding with phytate-rich grain foods) can result in thinning hair and skin problems, including acne. Get more zinc in your diet with oysters, grass-fed beef (short ribs and ribeyes are especially rich in zinc), lobster, shrimp, pork, beef liver, lamb and egg yolks.
- Biotin: This beauty nutrient is essential for hair growth and strong, healthy nails. The most concentrated sources of biotin are egg yolks and liver, with ample amounts in wild salmon, sardines, and chicken.
- Vitamin A: You’ve probably seen synthetic vitamin A creams and supplements – prescription or over-the-counter – marketed as a potent remedies for wrinkles. While these substances can help to prevent wrinkles and combat acne (thanks to their ability to boost cell turnover and increase collagen production), they also come with a list of potential side effects. Eating vitamin A rich foods – including beef liver, chicken liver, egg yolks, wild salmon and mackerel – can provide your body with this powerful anti-aging vitamin – without the unwanted side effects.
- Omega-3 Fats: Found primarily in wild game and seafood and meat from animals raised on pasture, omega-3 fats provide powerful protection against inflammation – a key disease process that promotes physical aging. Boost your intake of omega-3s with wild salmon and halibut, sardines, mackerel, wild shrimp and scallops and a high quality fish oil supplement.
Optimizing Your Nutrition for Beauty… and Beyond
To get the full spectrum of nutrients you need for optimal health, vary your diet. Try duck liver and bison liver… use bison marrow bones or chicken feet for collagen-rich stocks… enjoy halibut and lobster in addition to your usual seafood meal of wild salmon.
Enjoying delicious meals that include these nutrient-dense superfoods, coupled with a variety of non-starchy vegetables, is not just the best way to fortify your health… but also your appearance!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of 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…
- Shanahan, Catherine MD., Shanahan, Luke. Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. 2009
- USDA National Nutrient Database
- “How Paleo Makes You Look Younger, Sexier and More Vibrant”. ChrisKresser.com. Web. 14 Feb. 2014
We get a lot of customer questions about the different cuts of beef and what part of the animal they come from. There are nine primary cuts of beef in a harvested animal, and these are known as "primal." It is possible to cut each primal into smaller "sub-primal" cuts. For example, a short loin is sub-primal of the loin primal. A tenderloin and a striploin are also sub-primals of the loin primal. You can save significant money on our meat by ordering a primal, and cutting it into retail cuts at home.
This handy guide will help in locating where your favorite cuts come from:
Bottom Sirloin: This is a boneless sub-primal of the loin with elegantly tender meat requiring minimal preparation. It is cut from the second most tender muscle group in the beef animal. Our Products: Bottom Round Roast, Eye of Round Roast, Pre-Cooked Pot Roast with Gravy, and Ground Beef.
Brisket: The brisket primal is from the front of the animal beneath the chuck primal. Because cuts from the brisket are among the less tender, they are best suited for moist cooking methods like braising, stewing and steaming. Our Products: Brisket (small or whole), Hand Seasoned Hickory Smoked Brisket, and Corned Beef Brisket.
Chuck: This primal is rich in meat and marbling, which helps add flavor and tenderize the surrounding meat. Although rich in flavor, chuck cuts are not as tender as the elegant middle steak primals; consequently, they are perfectly suited to pot roasts and braising cooking. This primal cut is also the most popular source for ground beef, thanks to its rich flavor and its balance of meat and fat. Our Products: Teres Major Steak, Flat Iron Steak, Corned Beef Flat Iron, Chuck Roast, Center Cut Shoulder Roast, Heart of Shoulder Roast, Minute Steak and Ground Beef.
Flank: The flank is the primal cut just below the loin primal. The primary cut from this primal is the flank steak. Our Products: Flank Steak.
Plate: The plate primal is located under the rib primal. The cuts from the plate are slightly tough and therefore better used in moist cooking methods. Short ribs, skirt steak, and beef bacon all come from this primal. Our Products: Beef Bacon, Hanger Steak, Skirt Steak, Inside Skirt Steak, and Ground Beef.
Rib: This primal is the source, as you might expect, for ribs. Although there are 13 pairs of ribs, only ribs six through 12 fall into the rib primal. (One through five are part of the chuck cut and the 13th rib is part of the loin.) Rib roasts and rib eye steaks are from the rib primal. Our Products: Short Ribs, Pre-Cooked BBQ Short Ribs, Back Ribs, BBQ Hickory Smoked Back Ribs, Standing Rib Roasts (2 Rib, 3 Rib, 4 Rib, and 6 Rib), Ribeye Steak, and Ribeye Primal.
Round: The round is cut from the rear of the animal, including the hind shank and the rump. Meat from the round tends to be very lean but not as tender and is therefore best suited to moist cooking. There are exceptions to this: London broil is delicious when grilled. Sirloin tips and sirloin sandwich steaks are light, healthy meats that require minimal preparation times. Our Products: London Broil, Tri-Tip Roast, Tri-Tip Steak, Inside Round Roast, Beef Jerky, and Ground Beef.
Shank: Meat from the shank primal is some of the toughest; as a result, we do not offer cuts from this primal. We do use the shank for ground beef and our marrow bones. Our Products: Marrow Bones (Thin, Medium, and Long), and Ground Beef.
Shortloin: Because this primal is from some of the least-used muscles, meat from this cut is particularly tender. As a result, these cuts do not require long cooking times and are the most expensive. The Delmonico steak, T-bone steak, and tenderloin (the source of filet mignon) are all from this primal. Our Products: T-Bone Steak, Delmonico Steak, NY Strip Steak (8 oz. and 14 oz.), and Striploin Primal.
Sirloin: This is a cut of meat from the loin of a steer or heifer. Sirloin steaks differ from shortloin steaks in that the bone and the tenderloin have been removed. Some American butchers call a thick sirloin tip steak a chateaubriand, although the French reserve that term for a much better cut from the tenderloin. Our Products: Sirloin Tip Steak, Sandwich Steaks, Knuckle Bone, and Ground Beef.
Tenderloin: The most tender muscle in the animal, tenderloin is a superior center-of-the-plate gourmet treat for any gathering. Our Products: Tenderloin Filets (6 oz. and 9 oz.), Tenderloin Kabobs, and Tenderloin Primal.
Top Sirloin: Cuts from the top sirloin primal are tender, though not quite as tender as those from the shortloin. Sub-primal cuts of the top sirloin are the tri-tip steak and the sirloin steak. Our Products: Top Sirloin Steak, Petite Top Sirloin Steak, Coulotte Steak, and Ground Sirloin Patties.
Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions!
When US Wellness Meats was founded back in 2000, we were raising and selling our grass-fed beef products only. After a few short years in business we realized we needed to widen our horizons as there are so many other great products we could be offering! So we started to branch out into grass-fed dairy and lamb products, and things continued to grow from there. We would not be the company we are today without the other amazing farmers and producers who contribute to our business.
We get a lot of customer questions about the different sources of our products and where they are raised, so we decided an in-depth blog post would be a great way to address all of these questions at once.
We have many US Wellness farmers and producers all throughout the United States, as shown below:
Beef: Our founding farms are located in the heart of the Midwest. Most of our current production comes from three of the founding members of the company located in Northeast Missouri and West Central Illinois. We enjoy long summers with abundant rainfall to keep our pastures green most of the year. We bale plenty of those warm weather grasses in the summer so the cattle enjoy those same grasses when snow is on the ground.
We also source from a farm run by personal friends of ours in picturesque Tasmania. This island is the ideal place for grazing animals as they have a temperate climate that allows for grazing year round, and no hormones or GMOs are even allowed on the island. Both our Midwest and Tasmania cattle are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.
Bison: Our bison are roaming around the open pastures of the Dakotas and Northern Plains and our farmers there are dedicated to improving the native grasses of the area, and ensuring the natural way of life bison have been accustomed to for decades. Our Wisconsin and South Dakota bison products are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.
Pork: All of our pork products are GAP-certified, meaning they are raised in the best conditions possible. Our pork comes from Heritage Acres which is a group of small, local Missouri and Kansas farmers providing the finest quality, antibiotic-free pork. For more information about our pork products, please visit our pork blog.
Poultry: We have a few different poultry farms raising animals for US Wellness Meats. Oaklyn Plantation in Darlington, South Carolina raises all of our free range 20-lb chicken bundles and ships those direct from the farm. Due to growing interest and frequent customer requests, Oakland Plantation also started raising soy-free chickens in the summer of 2011.
Our additional producers are in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Florida. They raise free range birds for our smaller chicken packages. All of their birds are raised under sunny skies on a non-GMO feed ration, in addition to the grass, sticks and bugs they enjoy on a daily basis.
Duck: All our Peking Ducks are raised with passion and care on a farm in upstate New York. They are free range and enjoy a non-gmo diet free of growth hormones and antibiotics.
Rabbit: Gourmet rabbit is one of the best kept secrets here at US Wellness Meats. Our rabbit comes from a small farm in Ohio. Rabbits are fed pellets containing 90% alfalfa and the remaining 10% is a mixture of various grains and minerals. They are not given growth hormones or antibiotics.
Dairy: We are very lucky to be able to source grass-fed dairy products, without any added growth hormones. We have two different Amish dairies- one in Indiana, the other in Pennsylvania, who supply us with raw, grass-fed cheese.
Lamb: Our lamb comes from Missouri and Oregon. Raised just south of US Wellness headquarters near Perry, MO our Missouri lambs are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. They enjoy lush Missouri pastures and plenty of rainfall.
Seafood: Our seafood products come from Vital Choice located in the state of Washington, one of the premier wild-caught seafood providers in the country. Their products are certified sustainable, and most products are caught off the west coast and surrounding waters. The only exception is our wild-caught raw shrimp which are harvested in the Pacific Ocean and processed in the United States. They are wild-caught and chemical free.
We have carefully collaborated with like-minded farmers and individuals that hold their products to the same standards we believe in for our company. Long story short, we have built our business over the many years while respecting our animals and our environment. We enjoy the products, just like our customers, so it remains our goal to offer the best selection possible.