If you read the papers or watch the news, there is a good chance that you’ve seen the latest nutrition report from the World Health Organization. The story has been reported worldwide by virtually every major news organization.
In case you’re not aware, the report, produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, implicates processed meat and red meat in colon cancer.
Here’s the gist of the press release from the IARC:
“Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans … The consumption of red meat [is] probably carcinogenic to humans …”
But don’t banish your juicy Filet Mignon just yet! The real truth of the matter is actually contained within the full report, published in The Lancet.
“Chance, bias, and confounding could not be ruled out with the same degree of confidence for the data on red meat consumption, since no clear association was seen in several of the high quality studies and residual confounding from other diet and lifestyle risk is difficult to exclude. The Working Group concluded that there is limited evidence in human beings for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat”.
In case you missed that …
There was no clear association regarding red meat consumption and cancer risk.
So, what are the real facts? Can you still enjoy your favorite Paleo meals without increasing your risk of cancer?
The Link between Eating Ice Cream… and Drowning
Did you know that decades of statistics prove that as ice cream consumption increases, so do deaths from drowning?
It’s true. There is a very clear correlation between these two statistics… but it goes without saying that ice cream does not cause people to drown.
The numbers of people eating ice cream go up sharply during the summer. As you can imagine, so too do the number of swimmers. It’s clear that correlation does not equal causation. Always keep this in mind when it comes to “scientific” reports.
In this case, the IARC considered data from over 800 different studies on cancer in humans as it relates to red and/or processed meat. Sadly, however, all of these studies were epidemiological.
These are not controlled clinical studies designed to prove causation. They are population studies, often based on questionnaires. While some population studies can provide useful information, most are unreliable.
Did You Have Fries With That?
Can you remember what you ate last Saturday? How about last year?
One reason why food questionnaires are unreliable is because they ask for historical food recall. This paves the way for poor memory and a misrepresentation of facts. There is a large difference between someone recalling that they ate a steak, when the truth was that it was a steak and fries…
… Washed down with a beer or soft drink
… Followed by a cigarette.
Another reason why these studies are unreliable is that they don’t distinguish between variables such as the source of the red meat or the preparation method. They also don't consider general diet, level of fitness (or fatness) or other carcinogens to which the subjects may be exposed.
The IARC does acknowledge this in their full report. It would be nice if the world’s media had done the same.
So now, let’s take a look at what you really need to know about red meat and cancer risk.
The 5 Unhealthy Ways to Consume Red Meat
Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCAs) are formed when muscle meats; beef, pork, poultry and fish, are exposed to high temperatures such as grilling. Acrylamide is formed when plant foods rich in carbohydrates (like sugary marinades or the French fries that commonly accompany beef) are cooked at high temperatures. Research demonstrates that both of these compounds are known carcinogens.
What Goes Into the Animal, Goes Into You
Epidemiological studies make no distinction between pasture-raised and conventionally-raised meats; main factors being their feed and the administration of hormones and antibiotics. The beef from corn-fed cows can have as much 50 times more omega-6 fatty acids than that from grass-fed cows. Too much omega-6 has been conclusively proven to promote inflammation and oxidation – two key factors that can promote cancer. What’s more, antibiotic residues from conventional meats wreak havoc on the microbiome – altering the delicate balance of microbes, including those that produce butyrate – a powerful cancer-fighting agent.
Pots, pans, storage containers and wraps can leach harmful substances into our foods. Non-stick pans are just one of these offenders which leach toxic substances like trifluoroacetate (TFA) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) into the food you eat, as well as into the air around you. These chemicals, collectively called perflourinated compounds, are xenoestrogens (estrogen mimics) and have been linked with cancer, endocrine issues, “polymer fume fever” and other health problems in humans.
Chewing the Wrong Fats
Lipid oxidation products (LOPs) are created by the degradation of oils. This happens through heat, aging and chemicals (like hydrogenation). As these oils break down, they generate free radicals that damage DNA and have been found to increase the risk of cancer. When we heat unstable oils (like the polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-6 oils) we produce these dangerous LOP's. This could make the fat you are using to cook with carcinogenic, without regard to the meat itself.
Dietary & Lifestyle Factors
We all know that smoking is a Category 1A Carcinogen. But do you know that some contraceptives are too? Acetaldehyde, (the by-product of alcohol metabolism) and inactivity are two more key factors that increase cancer risk. And how about being overweight or obese? According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity is overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer. It goes without saying that these kind of variables cannot be ruled out as potential causes of cancer in “population” studies.
Cancer Prevention through Ancestral Wisdom
- Choose Healthy Sources: When choosing meats, choose grass-fed and pasture-raised to achieve a healthy fat balance and avoid exposure to antibiotic residues, pesticides and hormones that can encourage cancer.
- Nourishing Preparation: If you're going to cook at higher temperatures, be sure to choose stable fats like tallow, lard, coconut oil or grass fed butter. Better still, focus your cooking around stewing, boiling, poaching and slow cooking when it comes to meats. Cook with non-toxic cookware like ceramic, enamel or cast iron to reduce toxic chemicals leaching into your food. And use natural herbs and spices to bring out the flavor and nutritional value of the meal.
- Don’t Forget Your Veggies: Enjoy a colorful, varied diet with lots of fresh organic produce (free from hormone-mimicking pesticides). Also be sure to include microbe-loving lacto-fermented vegetables such as like sauerkraut or kimchi.
- Live a Balanced Lifestyle: Maintain a smoke free, active lifestyle and a healthy weight. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and opt for organic red wine which is high in antioxidants, including the powerful cancer-fighter resveratrol.
- Reduce Toxins: Take into consideration all of the “inputs” that make their way into your body via your stomach, lungs and skin. Breathe fresh air, consider an indoor HEPA filter to reduce your exposure to indoor pollution, and choose household and personal care products made without harmful ingredients.
- Get Sunshine: Vitamin D is one of the most powerful cancer-fighting nutrients known. In fact, a study presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) found that 75% of cancer patients had low vitamin D levels , and those with the lowest vitamin D levels were associated with more advanced cancers.
Prevent (and fight) cancer with a healthy, active lifestyle and the diet that models our ancestors including an abundance of organic veggies and low-glycemic fruits, lacto-fermented foods, stable, traditional fats and meats from animals raised on pasture that are prepared safely. In addition, don’t smoke, achieve (or maintain) a healthy weight, optimize your vitamin D levels and avoid chemicals in household and personal care products to reduce your risk of cancer.
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, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
(1) International Agency for Research on Cancer. Media Press Release #240.
(2) Bouvard, V. Loomis, D. Guyton, K. et al. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology. Published online Oct 26, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00444-1
(3) Muscat JE, Wynder EL. The consumption of well-done meat and the risk of colorectal cancer. American Journal of Public Health 1994; 84(5):856-858.
(4) Friedman M, Levin CE.Review of methods for the reduction of dietary content and toxicity of acrylamide.J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Aug 13;56(15):6113-40. Epub 2008 Jul
(5) Wikipedia. List of IARC Group 1 carcinogens
(6) Cancer Research UK. Physical Activity Facts And Evidence.
(7) National Cancer Institute. Obesity and Cancer Risk.
(8) Vitamin D deficiency common in cancer patients. American Society for Radiation Oncology. Oct. 3 2011
Bonefeld-Jorgensen, Manhai Long, E. Bossi, R. et al. Perfluorinated compounds are related to breast cancer risk in greenlandic inuit: A case control study. Environmental Health 2011, 10:88. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-10-88.
Zoe Harcombe. Diet, obesity, nutrition and big business: So much, so wrong. World Health Organisation, meat & cancer.
Blouin JM1, Penot G, Collinet M, Nacfer M, Forest C, Laurent-Puig P, Coumoul X, Barouki R, Benelli C, Bortoli S.Butyrate elicits a metabolic switch in human colon cancer cells by targeting the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex.Int J Cancer. 2011 Jun 1;128(11):2591-601. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25599. Epub 2010 Oct 8.
Gonçalves P1, Araújo JR, Pinho MJ, Martel F.In vitro studies on the inhibition of colon cancer by butyrate and polyphenolic compounds. Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(2):282-94. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2011.523166.
The Natural Diabetes Treatment Masquerading as a Common Everyday Spice
Within your kitchen you have access to a common spice powerful enough to prevent diabetes. In fact, a recent study showed this same spice can be up to 100,000 times more potent than metformin, the leading treatment.
If you don’t happen to have this common spice in your house, it's easy to find. And if you don’t know how to use it, you’ll want to keep reading for some tasty, yet simple ideas…
This super-spice has been called the “King of Spices.” It has appeared in over 5,600 peer-reviewed studies. A quick public search on the National Library of Medicine database shows it has over 600 health benefits
It may sound unbelievable that one spice has such medicinal power, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’m talking about that golden beauty – turmeric!
Also known as Indian saffron due to its vibrant color, turmeric is quickly becoming known as a natural way to prevent and treat diabetes.
A 2014 study conducted at The Center for Cancer Prevention Research at Rutgers confirms the strong influence of turmeric on cardiovascular complications in the diabetic population.
“A 6-month curcumin intervention in type-2 diabetic population lowered the atherogenic risks. In addition, the extract helped to improve relevant metabolic profiles in this high-risk population.”
But it’s not just those who already have diabetes who benefit from using turmeric. It’s for anyone concerned about blood sugar - including the 40 percent of Americans with pre-diabetes. In fact, early research is showing that turmeric can help prevent the disease… with an astounding 100% success rate.
This is tasty news for those searching for a natural diabetes treatment.Turmeric: The Golden Healer
It is the polyphenol compound known as curcumin that gives turmeric its mighty power, not to mention its exquisite color. Within the rhizomes of the turmeric (Curcuma longa) plant is where we find the magic.
It’s well known that turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. But the benefits go much deeper than that. Curcumin influences more than 150 biological pathways within the body, and it does this in many different ways.
A recent review in Current Pharmacology Reports highlights its power:
“[Curcumin] is a well-known anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-lipidemic agent and has recently been shown to modulate several diseases via epigenetic regulation. Many recent studies have demonstrated the role of epigenetic inactivation of pivotal genes that regulate human pathologies, such as neurocognitive disorders, inflammation, obesity, and cancers.” Turmeric: Natural Diabetes Prevention… and Treatment
If you have Type-2 diabetes then you are likely aware that it is the health complications that kill. These include heart and liver disease. The latest curcumin research offers exciting hope for these complications.
Cutting-edge research performed at the Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok found that curcumin has the capacity to repair and regenerate damaged liver tissue in diabetic rats. The liver tissues appeared to display both normal and healthy characteristics.
Numerous studies have been done on curcumin’s efficacy in liver function and this groundbreaking research promises great hope for those with diabetes-related liver disease.
There’s also great news for diabetics with heart disease.
The authors of a study published in a leading pharmacology journal, measured the effectiveness of curcumin on six heart-disease parameters:
• Arterial stiffness
• Markers of inflammation (increased adiponectin or decreased leptin)
• Insulin resistance
• Triglyceride levels
• Uric acid levels
• Abdominal obesity
Curcumin improved every single one of these measures.Turmeric really does deserve the title, “The King of Spices.”Pre-diabetic? The Answer is in Your Spice Rack!
Pre-diabetes often comes with no warning signs.
But the daily addition of turmeric may go a long way to preventing Type-2 Diabetes, regardless if you are pre-diabetic or not.
A study conducted by the American Diabetes Association tested turmeric on subjects with pre-diabetes. What they found during the nine-month research was remarkable. Turmeric had a 100% success rate in preventing type-2 diabetes, compared to a control group who received a placebo.
That’s just one more compelling reason to include turmeric as part of your daily diet.Turmeric: Fighting Hundreds of Diseases in Hundreds of Culinary Ways!
Most of us love a good curry, but you don’t need to be a master chef to use turmeric. It is incredibly versatile and you can simply add it to most foods, just as you would salt and pepper!
Many people also enjoy raw turmeric root daily, juiced or blended. Start slowly with a one-inch piece and adjust to suit your taste.Five Delicious Ways to Include Turmeric in Your Diet
1. Enjoy a pastured organic chicken
curry with fresh organic vegetables. Better still, if you have a mortar and pestle, you can make your own signature curry paste with a liberal helping of fresh or dried turmeric.
2. Try a twist on a Turkish classic by creating a turmeric Tahini to serve with Grass-Fed Lamb Shish Kebabs
3. For a beautiful golden centerpiece to meals have a go at dressing a whole cauliflower with coconut oil, turmeric, salt and pepper and then roasting slowly in the oven.
4. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to your morning scramble of farm-fresh eggs.
5. Make a simple and delicious turmeric-infused sauce using Paleo mayonnaise, turmeric, fresh pressed garlic, sea salt, and smoked paprika. Serve alongside your favorite grass-fed beef
dishes– from a rare teres major
… to a slow cooked chuck roast
Combine your daily dose of turmeric with a healthy balanced ancestral diet and regular exercise for an easy and tasty way to prevent and treat diabetes… naturally.ED NOTE
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, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads
Kim T, Davis J, Zhang AJ, He X, Mathews ST. Curcumin activates AMPK and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression in hepatoma cells. Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Community. 2009 Oct 16;388(2):377-82. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.08.018. Epub 2009 Aug 8.
Boyanapalli SS, Tony Kong AN. "Curcumin, the King of Spices": Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms in the Prevention of Cancer, Neurological, and Inflammatory Diseases. Current Pharmacology Reports. 2015 Apr;1(2):129-139. Epub 2015 Jan 30.
Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Phonrat B, Tungtrongchitr R, Jirawatnotai S. Reduction of atherogenic risk in patients with type 2 diabetes by curcuminoid extract: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2014 Feb;25(2):144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.09.013. Epub 2013 Nov 6.
Khimmaktong W, Petpiboolthai H, Panyarachun B, Anupunpisit V. Study of curcumin on microvasculature characteristic in diabetic rat's liver as revealed by vascular corrosion cast/scanning electron microscope (SEM) technique. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. 2012 May ;95 Suppl 5:S133-41. PMID: 22934459
Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S. Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov ;35(11):2121-7. Epub 2012 Jul 6. PMID: 22773702
Cruickshank K, Riste L, Anderson SG, Wright JS, Dunn G, Gosling RG. Aortic pulse-wave velocity and its relationship to mortality in diabetes and glucose intolerance: an integrated index of vascular function? Circulation 106 (16): 2085–90. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000033824.02722.F7. PMID 12379578.
There is a deadly disease that affects 70 million Americans today – or one out of every three adults. That means there is a good chance that you, your spouse, and your loved ones could have this disease – and you might not even know it.
It’s called the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms or warning signs, but the effects are deadly.
In fact, this disease is a pre-cursor to the top five causes of death in America. Eighty percent of first-time stroke patients have it, as do 70 percent of those who experience their first heart attack.
Most who are diagnosed with this disease take medication. In fact, the drugs for this condition are among the most popular in America (alongside sleeping pills and painkillers). But the side effects can be debilitating. And of course, like all drugs, they do not treat the underlying condition.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about hypertension or high blood pressure.
But there is good news…
Did you know there are many foods that have been proven to lower your blood pressure? These foods can work just as effectively as drugs – in some cases, even better. And they come with zero side effects.
Let’s take a look at four everyday foods that help to lower your blood pressure… plus some delicious ways to include them in your diet.
Eat "Alligator Pears" To Boost Potassium
The mineral, potassium, is essential for healthy blood pressure. Potassium works side-by-side with sodium to maintain an electrical gradient. The correct ratio of these nutrients exerts a strong influence on healthy blood pressure. Unfortunately, our modern processed diets have reversed this healthy ratio.
According to the authors of a 2005 paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
“The addition of manufactured salt to the food supply and the displacement of traditional potassium-rich foods by foods introduced during the Neolithic and Industrial periods caused a 400% decline in the potassium intake while simultaneously initiating a 400% increase in sodium ingestion”
Unfortunately, most of us simply don’t get enough potassium. At the same time, we consume way too much sodium.
We tend to think of bananas when it comes to potassium, but did you know that avocados actually contain more of this critical mineral?
One cup of avocado provides over 700 mg of potassium, compared to just over 450 mg in the same amount of banana. And of course, there is almost no sugar in an avocado, making this a much wiser choice.
Here are three simple ways to enjoy your hypertension-lowering avocado:
- Try a simple guacamole served with grass-fed ground beef and organic salsa for a tasty Mexican meal
- Blend half an avocado into a whey-protein smoothie for a creamy texture
- Use as a spread on your favorite grain-free Paleo bread
Balance Blood Pressure… with Beets!
It has long been known that foods rich in nitrates have a blood-pressure-lowering effect. This is due to the ability of these foods to improve vasodilation in the blood vessels.
And research tells us that beets are one of the most preferred sources!
Researchers at Newcastle University in the UK conducted a systematic review of 16 clinical trials between 2006 and 2012. What they found were significant reductions in systolic blood pressure from inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation.
Have you tried fresh-juiced beets?
If you have a juicer, have a go at juicing beets to drink regularly. If you're a regular juicer, try adding beets to your existing blend. And if you want to go ‘next level’, try Beet Kvass, which provides probiotics as well as hypertension-fighting nitrates.
Halt Hypertension with the “Stinking Rose”
Garlic, known as the “stinking rose”, has been used in culinary and medicinal applications for thousands of years. It contains numerous health-promoting compounds. One of the most active is a phytochemical called allicin.
Not only does it add a punch of flavor to meals, studies also show that it has a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Researchers from King Khalid University found significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when using garlic supplementation compared to placebo.
A 2015 meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension also suggests that garlic outperforms placebos, after examining randomized controlled trials over a 67-year period.
Because allicin is destroyed by heat, the greatest health and blood pressure benefits of garlic come from eating it fresh and uncooked. It is best to crush or press the cloves, then allow the garlic to stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the bioactive compounds form. Then stir into homemade salad dressings or herb-based sauces like chermoula, pesto and chimichurri and serve with your favorite roasted chicken, beef and fish dishes.
Black Tea: Sip Your Way to Better Cardiovascular Health
The next time you put your feet up, you may want to consider doing it with a cup of blood-pressure lowering black tea.
Black tea is high in flavonoids, which are well documented as one of the greatest health-giving phytonutrient groups on the planet.
Researchers from Australia and The Netherlands looked at the effects of black tea on blood pressure. During the six month study participants followed a low flavonoid diet, while consuming three cups per day of black tea. They found that “black tea consumption resulted in significantly lower systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP).”
For the best effects on your health, make sure you have your black tea “au natural”, or with a few drops of stevia.
It’s All About Lifestyle … And Saving Your Life.
I’m sure you realize that you can’t just add these foods to an unhealthy lifestyle and expect incredible results. To get the most out of these four blood pressure lowering foods, ensure you’re also doing the following:
Maintain a good ancestral diet full of fresh vegetables, grass-fed meats and lacto-fermented foods.
Include 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity three to four times a week.
Cut down on high risk behaviors such as smoking, processed foods and heavy alcohol consumption.
Choose mineral-rich sea salt instead of “table salt” which has had the valuable minerals removed.
Love bread, but not the health-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. Aburto NJ, Hanson S, Gutierrez H, Hooper L, Elliott P, Cappuccio FP. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses. British Medical Journal. 2013 Apr 3;346:f1378. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f1378.
2. Cordain L, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54.
3. Hord N, Tang Y, Bryan N. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. American Society for Nutrition. July 2009 vol. 90 no. 1 1-10
4. Siervo M, Lara J, Ogbonmwan I, Mathers JC. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.The Journal of Nutrition. 2013 Jun;143(6):818-26. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.170233. Epub 2013 Apr 17.
5. Coles L, Clifton P. Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition Journal. 2012 Dec 11;11:106. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-106.
6. Ashraf R, Khan RA, Ashraf I, Qureshi AA. Effects of Allium sativum (garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension.Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2013 Sep;26(5):859-63.
7. Hodgson JM, et al. Black tea lowers the rate of blood pressure variation: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013 May;97(5):943-50. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.051375. Epub 2013 Apr 3.
8. Hodgson JM, Puddey IB, Woodman RJ, et al. Effects of black tea on blood pressure: A randomized controlled trial.
9. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. High Blood Pressure Facts (last reviewed 2015). http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm Accessed October 21, 2015.
10. Hai-Peng W, Jing Y, Li-Qiang Q, Xiang-Jun Y. Effect of Garlic on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension. 2015 March; 17(3): 223-231.
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.
1 package U.S. Wellness Meats beef flat iron steak
FOR THE MARINADE
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
FOR THE COOKING
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt, crushed
2 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
- 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.
- Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before you plan to cook it, so it can come to cool room temperature.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and place on a plate. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with the salt.
- 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.
- 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.
Stanley 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 Tendergrassfedmeat.com.
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…
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
More than 29 million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes, 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 http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
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. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/06/diabetes-care-cost/1965185/
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.
Three 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…
In our bacteria-averse culture of hand sanitizers, chlorinated water, 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.
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!
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…
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