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US Wellness Pork II

What makes our pork products special?  Lots of things, so we decided to put together a special pork post!

Raised in Missouri, our pigs are sourced from a small cooperative of like-minded farmers.  They are now using the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) 5-Step rating system.  We are really excited about these changes as we are hearing about more and more producers getting involved in the GAP program, and more retailers and consumers paying attention to that label.  To learn more about GAP, please visit their website for a breakdown of the steps, and for details about what producers have to do to stay in the program.

There are five steps in the GAP program.  All new producers have to start out at Step 1, which means they cannot use crates, stalls or cages.  Most of our Step 1 producers actually do have their pigs outdoors, even though this first level does not require it.  Our pork cooperative works with their new producers to help them move up as soon as possible, and make the commitment to move their farm to the next level.  Our co-op works very closely with each farmer to get them to the Step 3 & Step 4 commitment levels (enhanced outdoor access and pasture centered). 

Pork

What do they eat?  Pigs are foragers, and most of our pigs are outdoors every day (weather permitting) to forage for bugs, sticks, roots, etc.  Since pigs have a single stomach, unlike the four chambered stomach of cattle, we cannot raise a healthy animal on grass alone, so their diets are supplemented with corn and soy.  This is usually a non-gmo feed ration, however, due to the historic dought of 2012, it has been very difficult (and in some rural areas, almost impossible) for our producers to source and feed a 100% non-gmo ration.  We are getting closer to 100% non-gmo, and this post and our website will be updated just as soon as we can claim 100% non-gmo feed once again.  Since production is combined, we cannot currently split the gmo and non-gmo fed animals.  We hope to have 100% non-gmo fed pork by the end of 2014.

What about antibiotics & hormones?

We do not feed any antibiotics or growth hormones throughout the life of the animal. 

What about nitrites?  It is near-impossible to find pork in grocery stores that does not include some type of nitrites or nitrates.  They are usually used in the curing process, and unfortunately have been suggested to be possible carcinogens. Most of the "nitrite-free" pork products are cured with celery salt, however this is another possible danger, as celery salt contains naturally occurring nitrates.  The Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Magazine explored this subject in great depth as related to bacon. While there are countless ways to make bacon - the actual health benefits of this popular product depend on a host of factors, from the raising and processing, down to the cooking process.

The Wise Traditions article suggested that our ancestors had bacon figured out a long time ago.  All it takes is a dry rub (we use sea salt) and a cure (ours cures for 2-3 days) then a slow smoke (our bacon is hickory smoked).  The end result is deep pork flavor, healthy fat, and a new family favorite.

BaconWhat makes our bacon so special?  The only ingredients are pork bellies and sea salt.  That's it - no sugar, maple syrup, spices, honey, or sweeteners of any kind.  We do not use any nitrites, nitrates, celery salt or MSG in the making or processing of the bacon.  It is so clean, we even have Whole30 approval, a feat we are very proud of!

Since the new bacon went over so well, we have been working on several other pork recipes.  Our Pork Breakfast Sausage is an office-favorite and a staple in our kitchens every morning.  The new recipe contains only: pork, salt, rubbed sage, ground red pepper and black pepper.  No sugars, sweeteners, nitrates, nitrites, or MSG, and the flavor is amazing!

Ham
A holiday favorite is the Sugar-Free Ham.  This petite ham has the same ingredients as the bacon: pork, sea salt and water.  Be sure to check out the Sugar-Free Options section online for more sugar-free choices. 

LardA very popular pork offering is the highly sought after Pork Lard.  After numerous customer requests and a new kettle purchase, we are able to render pork lard now.  Lard is full of healthy fats and a very versatile oil to cook or fry in.  We offer the pork lard in a 2-lb pail.

Our newest additions to the pork department are Pork Rinds!  Fried in our pork lard, both varieties - Salt & Pepper and BBQ Spice - are tasty, shelf-stable snacks that both young and old will enjoy.

Looking for pork recipe ideas?  Not sure how long to cook a ham?  Here are some of our favorites pork recipes by some of our favorite chefs:

Citrus Glazed Ham

 

The Domestic Man: Honey & Citrus Glazed Ham

 

 

Black Forest Ham

 

Against All Grain: Black Forest Ham

 

 

Pork Tenderloin

 

Paleo Cupboard: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

 

 

Honey Baked ham

 

Civilized Caveman: Honey Baked Ham with Spiced Apples & Peaches

 

 

Breakfast Sausage

 

PaleOMG: Pork Breakfast Sausage

 

Bacon

 

The Domestic Man: Bourbon & Cider Braised Bacon

 

 

 Pork Sirloin

The Domestic Man: Roasted Pork Sirloin

 

 

Pork Roast

 

Everyday Paleo: Roasted Garlic & Herb Pork Loin Roast

 

 

Find more recipes for a variety of pork products in our Recipe Section.

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The #1 Kitchen Tool You Need to Save Time and Money this Holiday Season

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetCrockPot

With the holidays upon us, there are two things that most of us could use a lot more of: time and money. Today, I’ll show you how to save both time and money… and still eat like a king.

Unfortunately, many people think that eating right requires an array of chef skills, a big budget and spending hours upon hours in the kitchen. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, with the help of one simple and inexpensive tool, you can feed your family the healthiest foods that money can buy. And you can prepare them in the time it takes to order takeout… for about the same price per serving.

All you need is a slow cooker!

The Easy, Old-Fashioned Way to Be a Great Cook

Slow cookers reached their peak popularity when they were introduced in the 1970s. Nearly every house in the suburbs had a Crock-Pot on the countertop. Over the years, this healthy and super-simple way of cooking became passé.

Thankfully, the versatile slow cooker has made a resurgence in recent years. And for good reason!

With little more than a few cups of liquid or sliced veggies, a sprinkle of seasoning or a pour of sauce, a slow cooker can turn even the toughest cuts of meat into buttery, fork-tender morsels.

Best of all, the slow cooker provides unparalleled convenience. Simply add your ingredients, turn the dial to low and come home to a moist, flavorful, nutrient-rich meal ready to dish up for your family.

Elegant, Fuss-Free Party Fare

And if you’re planning holiday parties this season – don’t overlook the many benefits a slow cooker can provide…

Not only will it free up your oven and stove top for other uses, but using the slow cooker almost guarantees a succulent, fuss-free meal that will take center stage at your table.

From beef and bison… to pork, lamb, chicken (and even seafood!), there’s no limit to the festive and delicious dishes you can create. Here are some of the best cuts of meat (and a few recipe ideas) for your slow cooker:
 
•    Lamb Shoulder: The rich flavor of lamb is perfect for the low, moist heat in a slow cooker. Add fresh sprigs of rosemary, lemon slices and juice, and chopped garlic for a Mediterranean-inspired meal with just five minutes of prep time.

•    Grass-Fed Beef & Bison Roasts: Make succulent fork-tender beef recipes like Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon, hearty brisket and spiced corned beef, and simple shredded beef for Paleo French Dip Sandwiches with budget-friendly roasts.

•    Grass-Fed Ground Beef: From a delicious Italian meal of Slow Cooker Bolognese with spaghetti squash, to German Meatballs and Cuban Picadillo, the slow cooker will make all of your favorite ground beef recipes simpler… and more delicious.

•    Gourmet Pork Shoulder & Sirloin: From traditional pork barbeque to Slow Cooker Tuscan Pork Loin Roast and Carnitas, all of your recipes using pork shoulder and sirloin turn out moist and juicy.   

And the options don’t end there. Your favorite ribs and chicken drumsticks will be “fall-off-the-bone” tender in the slow cooker. And if you’re a seafood lover, Cioppino and Shrimp Etouffee are two you have to try!

Now that you know the many ways the slow cooker can add more flavor (and precious time!) to your life, here’s another benefit…

Better Flavor, Healthier Meals

Slow cooking actually makes your meals healthier.

That’s right. Cooking protein-rich foods at high temperatures – even for short periods of time – promotes the formation of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs).

But cooking in a slow cooker – at or below 212 degrees Fahrenheit – creates negligible amounts of HCAs. Cooking “slow and low” also infuses your meat with wonderful flavor, a tender texture, and mouthwatering moisture.

So now that you know the many culinary options you can create, which slow cooker is the best one to choose?

Choosing the Best Slow Cooker

There are a wide array of slow cookers on the market that will suit your budget and needs. Some are more high-tech with programmable options. Others are extremely simple with simple “low” and “high” settings.

One important factor that many people overlook is the material used in the vessel. Many times it is “non-stick” and contains PFOA/PFTE. You should avoid “non-stick” slow cookers as these compounds are hormone disruptors and are linked with certain types of cancers. You should also avoid using plastic liners. They are marketed as a way to achieve a quick cleanup, but they can also leach dangerous compounds into your food.

Opt for a slow-cooker with a ceramic vessel. This will keep your food free from harmful plastic and non-stick chemicals, while still ensuring a speedy cleanup.  

Another important factor is size. The vessel should be at least two-thirds full during cooking. If it isn’t, the meat will cook too rapidly and the results can be dry and overdone. Consider how many people you typically cook for when purchasing a slow cooker.

Finally, here are a few tips for making all of your slow cooker meals turn out perfectly:

•    Brown First, But Only Sometimes: Browning whole cuts of meat prior to adding to the slow cooker is not necessary. However, searing first in a stable fat (like beef tallow) will help the meat develop more complex flavors. For ground meat, brown prior to adding to the slow cooker. This will prevent clumping and allow the meat to absorb flavors more readily.

•    Go Easy on the Liquids: If you want to try your hand at a slow-cooker version of your favorite stovetop recipe, you will need to reduce the liquid. Slow cookers work by maintaining moisture inside of the sealed vessel, so any extra liquid will pool. A good rule of thumb when adapting your stovetop recipes is to decrease liquids by half.

•    Spice Wisely: Pungent whole spices like cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaves can overpower a dish if they are added at the beginning of the cooking time. Be sure to use them sparingly. On the other hand, ground spices, dried and fresh herbs and citrus juices tend to get “washed out” during the long cooking time. Adding these during the last two to three hours of cooking can help ensure your dish has a fresh, flavorful punch.

•    Seal It Up: If your slow cooker doesn’t seal properly, you may find your meals turn out too dry as much of the moisture can escape during cooking. Put a light coat of oil on the lid and inner rim to help ensure your slow cooker seals in the moisture.
   
•    No Peeking! While it’s tempting to peek at the mouthwatering progress inside your slow cooker, try to refrain. Each time you open the lid moisture and heat are lost and the required cooking time increases.

Bringing healthy, budget-friendly and delicious meals to the table needn’t be a chore. With a good slower cooker and your favorite cuts of grass-fed meat, poultry and sustainable seafood, you can create amazing dishes for special occasions…and every night of the week.

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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body's Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!).  Claim your free copies here...

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REFERENCES

1.    Vaughn Barry, Andrea Winquist, and Kyle Steenland Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) Exposures and Incident Cancers among Adults Living Near a Chemical Plant Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306615
2.    Jägerstad M, Skog K. Genotoxicity of heat-processed foods. Mutation Research 2005; 574(1–2):156–172
3.    Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K, Nakagama H, Nagao M. Heterocyclic amines: Mutagens/carcinogens produced during cooking of meat and fish. Cancer Science 2004; 95(4):290–299.


Griddle and Grub Giveaway!

We’re kicking off this summer with another giveaway. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This time we’ve created a breakfast bundle that’s sure to kick start your day. We’ve paired all of our sugar-free favorites with a Lodge Cast Iron Iron Griddle.

describe the imageReversible Pro Grid Iron Griddle and USWM Sugar-Free Breakfast Favorites (Valued at $150):

-         Pork Bacon

-         Pork Breakfast Sausage

-         Beef Sandwich Steaks

-         Beef Breakfast Sliders (Italian and Polish)

-         Beef Organ Sausages (Liverwurst and Braunschweiger)

Winner will be announced on Thursday, June 13th. Please enter via the widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who's Afraid of a Little Fat?

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDTallow

When I was little, my grandmother’s kitchen was the place to be on Sunday afternoons. That’s when she used to bake pies. She would trim the edges and I got to eat some of the delicious leftovers. Her crusts were second to none.

What was her secret? Homemade pig lard. Good old-fashioned lard is one of the most natural fats. In its unpolluted, unadulterated form it’s also one of the healthiest fats you can eat.

This goes against everything we’ve been told for fifty years. In fact, the diet dictocrats are doing everything they can to ban natural fat from your food because they say it causes heart disease.

Why would they do that? Because natural is not “proprietary.” By proprietary I mean something that they manufacture, patent, trademark, corner the market and sell it to you at a huge profit.

They do this with synthetic fat substitutes…but even before they created synthetic fats they were trying to tell you fat was bad for you. Because carbohydrates are easier to produce cheaply.

Fats in nature have a fixed cost. But carbohydrates…you can grow them in huge quantities, get the government to subsidize and pay you for growing them, and sell them for cheaper than dirt.

That’s what attracted the big food manufacturers to carbohydrate. For example, there’s only about 20 cents worth of wheat in a $4 box of Wheaties. A loaf of white bread has around 15 cents worth of wheat. Peanut butter has maybe 35 cents worth of peanuts.

With fat, it’s hard to make a 5,000% profit like you can selling a box of cereal.

It’s hard to keep perspective with such intense, widespread and effective marketing. I’ve devoted much of my professional career to this subject. I’ve read scores of books on nutrition, I’ve attended multiple conferences and I’m a certified clinical nutritionist. Yet their disinformation campaign is still overwhelming, even to me.

But before you start writing to me telling me how ignorant I am, Let me give you three reasons why telling you not to eat fat anymore is a bad idea. Then I’ll show you the best places to get the healthiest fats.

Reason 1: Fat is one of our three macronutrients.

You need this nutrient to give you energy, maintain your body temperature, transport nutrients, and build a faster brain.

Fat is so important that if your body senses you’re starving, it does everything it can to preserve your fat stores.

Reason 2: We eat less fat than our ancestors and our heart disease rates keep going up.

Reason 3: Saturated fats are a natural part of your diet and they don’t raise your risk of heart disease.

Take a look at the science that backs me up on this.

Contributors to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition did a review of 21 studies and found no evidence that eating less saturated fat lowers your risk of heart disease.(1)

In fact, one study found the opposite. It followed 235 women for over three years and the more saturated fat they ate, the less their arteries got clogged. The women who ate more processed fake fats had the worst progression of atherosclerosis, especially when eating carbs and a lot of high glycemic index foods.(2)

This was backed up by another study that found almost the exact same thing. More saturated fat meant less heart disease.(3)

I tell patients who come to my clinic that I recommend eating as many different natural foods as possible to get the widest variety of healthy fats. You should get at least 50% of your fat from saturated fats.

Here’s a chart I use to give you an idea of which foods have more of the “good” saturated and monounsaturated fats and which have man-made trans-fats:

Fat 1 TBS Saturated Fat (grams) Monounsaturated Fat (grams) Polyunsaturated Fat (grams) Trans Fats
Lard  5.0 5.8 1.4 0.0
Butter  7.2  3.3  0.5 0.0
Margarine (stick)  1.6  4.2  2.4 3.0
Vegetable Shortening  3.2  5.7  3.3 1.7
Olive Oil  1.8  10.0  1.2 0.0
Beef Tallow  6.4  5.4  0.5 0.0
Flaxseed Oil  1.3  2.5  10.2 0.0
Corn Oil  1.7  3.3  8.0 0.0


Also, remember:

  • If you want to try lard, you should get it from natural sources. The lard sold in most grocery stores is typically hydrogenated to give it a longer shelf life. It’s not the real stuff. One rule of thumb: If it’s not refrigerated, you don’t want it.
  • Other good food sources of healthy, natural fats are eggs and nuts.
  • Coconuts have two unique fats – lauric and cupric acid – that are among the heart-healthiest from any food.
  • Stearic acid, which is found in beef and pork, skinless chicken, olive oil, cheese, and chocolate, is one of many saturated fatty acids found in food. Other healthy fats include lauric, myristic and palmitic acids.

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Editors Note:  Dr. Al Sears, M.D. is a board-certified clinical nutrition specialist. His practice, Dr. Sears' Health & Wellness Center in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., specializes in alternative medicine. He is the author of seven books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation, including The Doctor's Heart Cure. To get his free special report on the proven anti-aging strategies for building a vibrant, disease-free life, go here now. You'll learn how to stop Father Time without giving up the foods you love.

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Resources:

1. Siri-Tarino P, Sun Q, Hu F, Krauss R. “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.
2. Mozaffarian D, Rimm E, Herrington D. “Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1175-84.
3. Griel A, Kris-Etherton P. “Beyond saturated fat: the importance of the dietary fatty acid profile on cardiovascular disease.” Nutr Rev. 2006 May;64(5 Pt 1):257-62.




Photo of the Day: Happy Pigs

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Happy pigs enjoying a sunny spring day!

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Ulster Fry Recipe: How the Irish Cure a Hangover!

The Ulster Fry is an old dish that has long been a tradition in Ireland. This dish is still reputed to be one of the best cures for a hangover. There is some science behind this belief, as the dish is rich in animal fat, which supports the natural functions of the brain, and could help the body recover from an overdose of alcohol.

But you do not need a hangover to enjoy Ulster Fry. Aside from its brain health qualities, Ulster Fry is just flat out delicious and satisfying.

Traditionally, Ulster Fry contains bacon, two kinds of pork sausage, including blood pudding, eggs, potato bread, and Irish Soda bread, all fried in glorious bacon fat.

It has been very difficult to find decent sausages these days, as so many of them are made from factory meat and contain chemicals and other unsavory ingredients that I would not want to eat.

However, U.S. Wellness Meats has a number of great sausages that are made from quality meat, free of chemicals, which are perfect for the Ulster Fry.

Potato bread is not common in the U.S., but you can add two slices of it if you can find it. You can use any bread you like, including low-carb bread, for the Irish Soda bread. No matter what you use, it will be fried in bacon fat. If you do not eat bread, you can add another egg.

This version uses grassfed organ sausage to make a delicious dish that is even healthier than the original, and just as tasty, in my opinion.

2 Ulster Fry

Serves two.

INGREDIENTS

4 fat slices of U.S. Wellness Meats Sugar Free Pork Bacon, (or 4 fat slices of U.S. Wellness Meats Sugar Free Beef Bacon Slices, combined with two tablespoons pastured butter)

4 one-quarter inch thick slices of U.S. Wellness Meats Liverwurst

4 one-quarter inch thick slices of U.S. Wellness Meats Bologna

2 slices bread, preferably a good Irish soda bread, but sourdough and even low carb breads will work. In fact, even a Paleo-type bread made of nut flours will work.

2 eggs, preferably pastured

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the bacon in a cold, large frying pan. Heat the skillet over medium heat, and render the fat from the bacon, turning occasionally. Do not pour out the fat, you will need every precious bit of it. When the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, remove the bacon slices to a warm place, and add all the sausages to the hot bacon fat.
  2. Brown each side of the sausages, turning once. They will brown quickly. Remove the sausages to a warm place.
  3. Add the bread. Break the eggs into the pan. Fry each side of the bread in the bacon fat until crisp, and cook the eggs until they are set to your taste, thought they are best when somewhat runny. Be sure to baste the egg yolks with bacon fat as they cook. Divide the ingredients equally on two plates, and enjoy!

describe the imageRecipe and photo compliments of Stan Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue. Stan’s mission is to promote and teach about how to cook tender grassfed meat, real food, and how to follow the nutritional wisdom of Dr. Weston A. Price. 

US Wellness Pork

What makes our pork products special?  We get asked quite often and decided to put together a special pork post!

Raised in Missouri, our pigs are sourced from a small cooperative of like-minded farmers.  They are now using the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) 5-Step rating system.  We are really excited about these changes as we are hearing about more and more producers getting involved in the GAP program, and more retailers and consumers paying attention to that label.  To learn more about GAP, please visit their website for a breakdown of the steps, and for details about what producers have to do to stay in the program.

There are five steps in the GAP program, and most of our producers are on the Step 3 and Step 4 levels (enhanced outdoor access and pasture centered).  All new producers have to start out with Step 1, which means they cannot use crates, stalls or cages.  Most of our producers actually do have their pigs outdoors, even though this first level does not require it.  Our pork cooperative works with their new producers to help them move up as soon as possible, however, if the farmer does not have a current plan in place to move on to the next level, they will drop them from the program.  This ensures that any new producers are constantly moving up and not just staying at the first level.

Missouri Pork

What do they eat?  Pigs are foragers, and most of our pigs are outdoors every day (weather permitting) to forage for bugs, sticks, roots, etc.  Since pigs have a single stomach, unlike the four chambered stomach of cattle, we cannot raise a healthy animal on grass alone, so their diets are supplemented with corn and soy.  This is usually a non-gmo feed ration, however, due to the historic dought of 2012, it has been very difficult (and much more expensive) for our producers to source and feed a 100% non-gmo ration.  We are getting closer to 100% non-gmo, and this post and our website will be updated just as soon as we can claim 100% non-gmo feed once again.  We also do not feed any antibiotics or hormones throughout the life of the animal.

What about nitrites?  It is near-impossible to find pork in grocery stores that does not include some type of nitrites or nitrates.  They are usually used in the curing process, and unfortunately have been suggested to be possible carcinogens. Most of the "nitrite-free" pork products are cured with celery salt, however this is another possible danger, as celery salt contains naturally occurring nitrates.  The Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Magazine recently explored this subject in great depth as related to bacon. While there are countless ways to make bacon - the actual health benefits of this popular product depend on a host of factors, from the raising and processing, down to the cooking process. 

The Wise Traditions article suggested that our ancestors had bacon figured out a long time ago.  All it takes is a dry rub (we use sea salt) and a cure (ours cures for 2-3 days) then a slow smoke (our bacon is hickory smoked).  The end result is deep pork flavor, healthy fat, and a new family favorite. 

What makes our bacoBaconn so special?  This year we completely revamped the recipe, we removed the honey powder and the only ingredients are pork bellies and sea salt.  That's it - no sugar, maple syrup, spices, or sweeteners of any kind.  We do not use any nitrites, nitrates, celery salt or MSG in the making or processing of the bacon.  It is so clean, we even have Whole30 approval, a feat we are very proud of! 

Since the new bacon went over so well, we have been working on several other pork recipes.  Our Pork Breakfast Sausage is an office-favorite and a staple in our kitchens every morning.  The new recipe contains only: pork, salt, rubbed sage, ground red pepper and black pepper.  No sugars, sweeteners, nitrates, nitrites, or MSG, and the flavor is amazing!

Petite Ham

Our newest release is the Sugar-Free Ham, just in time for the holidays.  It is the same petite ham we've been selling, but we took out the honey powder and the ingredients are the same as the bacon: pork, sea salt and water.  Be sure to check out the Sugar-Free Options section online for more sugar-free choices.

We've recently added a brand new pork product to our menu.  After numerous customer requests and a new kettle purchase, we are able to render pork lard now.  Lard is full of healthy fats and a great oil to cook or fry in.  We offer the pork lard in a 2-lb pail.

For some new and unique recipe ideas, here are some of our ham favorites:

Citrus Glazed Ham

 

The Domestic Man: Honey & Citrus Glazed Ham

 

 

Black Forest Ham

 

  Against All Grain: Black Forest Ham

 

 

Honey Baked ham

 

  Civilized Caveman: Honey Baked Ham with Spiced Apples & Peaches

 

 

If you have any pork recipes or cooking ideas, we'd love to hear them!  Feel free to post below or link to any favorite recipes you want to share.

 

The American Paradox (Why You Should Eat Lard!)

By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet

I have a confession to make: I’m a recovering vegetarian.

I didn’t shun meat for ethical reasons… although I do believe that all animals should be treated respectfully and humanely (even the ones we are raising for food). The reason I shunned meat is because I once believed that animal foods were unhealthy. I believed that they contributed to chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

But despite my belief that a vegetarian diet was healthy… my body disagreed. I felt poorly. I was frequently sick. My hair lacked luster and my skin was dull. My mood and energy were almost always low. And while I wasn’t overweight, I did carry excess body fat.

In addition to fearing meat, I also feared fat. I used small amounts of olive oil or (gasp!) vegetable oil. But most of the time, I opted for “low-fat” products. Grain had a place at nearly every meal – whether it was bread, pasta, oats or rice.

The diet I was eating was not the one that humans evolved to eat. And my health, appearance and mental outlook suffered for it.

Around ten years ago, I began to learn the difference between healthy fats and unhealthy ones. I learned that much of what we have been told about nutrition and disease was a big fat lie. And I learned that the diet most humans do best on is the one that our genetic ancestors consumed, before the dawn of modern agriculture.

I soon shifted to a more primal diet. I began by adding fish, then poultry, then beef and pork. I also eliminated vegetable oils and grains. Everything started to change. My energy levels increased. My body became leaner and more responsive to workouts. And my skin started to glow again.

As I tossed out the canola oil and soy burgers, I replaced them with grass-fed beef and traditional healthy fats… including lard.

Wait a minute, you might say. For decades we’ve been told that animal fat is bad for our health. And lard is the worst of all. The very word “lard” conjures up clogged arteries and a big backside.

Those connotations are unfortunate, because lard is a healthy fat. In fact, it is one of the healthiest fats you can use for cooking. So what makes lard healthy? And why is it good for cooking?

What Lard and the Mediterranean Diet and Have in Common

Olive OilThe Mediterranean diet has long been praised for its health benefits. And you might also know that this way of eating relies heavily on a type of fat called monounsaturated fat (MUFA). Research shows that monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) can help to:
•    Balance blood sugar
•    Boost HDL (or good) cholesterol
•    Protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation
•    Reduce belly fat
•    Reduce levels of CRP – a key marker of inflammation

We most commonly associate monounsaturated fat with olive oil and avocados. But this is also the primary fat found in lard. Monounsaturated fat accounts for 48 percent of lard’s composition.

Surprising, right?

What may be even more surprising is that many traditional Mediterranean diets – contrary to popular belief – are also high in saturated fat (which comprises 41 percent of lard).
Sally Fallon and Mary Enig explore this in a piece entitled: "The Mediterranean Diet: Pasta or Pastrami?"

"Consider the description of food in Sardinia [in Recipes of All Nations, published in 1935]. Grains are certainly a part of their diet, consumed as bread, pasta or polenta, but in most interesting ways. "One of their favorite ways of cooking macaroni is to cook it in either lamb or pork fat . . . with small pieces of either lamb or pork, chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic and curd, mixed with a little water and salt and moistened with a little game stock, if this is obtainable."

Gnocchi is flavored with saffron and "served with a tomato sauce, or with gravy and cheesemade from ewe's milk."

Polenta is enhanced with "chopped salt pork, small pieces of sausages and grated cheese."

A dish called La Favata is made with "pieces of salt pork, cut in large chunks, ham bone, special homemade sausages, a handful of dried beans, wild fennel, and other herbs and a little water."

Despite the widely held belief that Mediterranean diets derive their fat primarily from plant sources, historical records and traditional recipes tell a different story. They recount a culture with robust health and strong hearts. And it was a culture that prized and savored animal fats.

The American Paradox: Can Saturated Fat Reduce Heart Disease?

So what about the idea that saturated fat causes heart disease?

It’s just not true.

HeartIn fact, a growing body of research shows that saturated fats have been wrongly accused of causing cardiovascular disease.

A review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated data from 21 different studies. These studies involved more than 350,000 people. And the results? The researchers found "no significant evidence" that eating more saturated fat increased the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Another study published in the same journal found that saturated fat actually prevents the progression of coronary artery disease in women with metabolic syndrome. The researchers coined this phenomenon “The American Paradox”.

Multiple studies of Pacific Island populations who get as much as 60 percent of their total calories from saturated fat also show that cardiovascular disease is nearly non-existent.

Dr. Jeff Volek is a university professor and leading researcher. His extensive research shows that a high healthy-fat, low-carbohydrate diet confers significant health benefits. Dr. Volek also notes that, “Multiple recent reports find no association between dietary saturated fat intakes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).”

For decades, millions of people – at the urging of physicians and the fatally-flawed USDA pyramid – have avoided saturated fats for fear of disease. Lard has been especially vilified (even half the fat in lard is monounsaturated).

Instead, we have substituted polyunsaturated fats – like soy, corn, safflower, canola and other “vegetable” oils – much to our own demise.

Death by Vegetable Oil

While “vegetable oils” have been promoted as the healthy alternative, the truth is that these fats that are destructive to your health. A high intake of vegetable and seed oil is associated with inflammatory diseases including:

•    Cardiovascular disease
•    Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
•    Obesity
•    Irritable bowel syndrome
•    Macular degeneration
•    Rheumatoid arthritis
•    Asthma
•    Cancer
•    Psychiatric disorders
•    Autoimmune diseases

The reason? Vegetable oils cause free radical damage and inflammation. These are two primary contributors to chronic disease.

Cooking Up Chronic Disease

Because of their weak structure, vegetable oils break down readily (go rancid) simply when exposed to light and oxygen. Adding heat further damages their delicate structure. This generates more free radicals and dangerous compounds called lipid oxidation products (LOPs).

LOPs cause oxidative damage in tissues, cells and genes. They also cause cholesterol to oxidize and become “sticky.” This is a major risk factors for heart disease!

And that’s not all. By attacking cells and tissues, LOPs have also been found to promote cancer, macular degeneration, IBD, asthma, Parkinson's disease, kidney damage, preeclampsia and more.

But saturated fats are different. They are resistant to rancidity and oxidation. And they remain stable under heat.

Choosing Stable Fats for Superior Health

So, toss your vegetable oils and any packaged foods (including salad dressings, crackers, sauces, mayonnaises) that contain “vegetable oils” such as canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil and vegetable shortening.

LardFor sautéing, stir-frying, pan searing, baking or other cooking methods, opt for fats with a high ratio of saturated fats – like lard, tallow, ghee and coconut oil.

And when choosing lard – or any animal-derived fat – be sure that it is pasture-raised without hormones or antibiotics, such as the products offered by US Wellness Meats.

 

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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet – the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body’s Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!). Claim your free copies here...
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2.    "Lipids"; Dietary Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Are Protective Against Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors; LG Gillingham, et al.; March 2011.
3.    "Public Health Nutrition"; Mediterranean Diet and Metabolic Syndrome: The Evidence; N Babio, et al.; September 2009.
4.    Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM (March 2010). "Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91 (3): 535–46. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725. PMC 2824152. PMID 20071648.
5.    Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):502-9. Epub 2010 Jan 20.
6.    Kuipers RS, de Graaf DJ, Luxwolda MF, Muskiet MH, Dijck-Brouwer DA, Muskiet FA. Saturated fat, carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease. Neth J Med. 2011 Sep;69(9):372-8.
7.    J Bruce German and Cora J Dillard. Saturated fats: what dietary intake? Am J Clin Nutr 2004 80: 3 550-559
8.    Jeff S Volek and Cassandra E Forsythe. The case for not restricting saturated fat on a low carbohydrate diet. Nutrition & Metabolism 2005, 2:21 doi:10.1186/1743-7075-2-21
9.    Arora SK, McFarlane SI: The case for low carbohydrate diets in diabetes management.Nutr Metab (Lond) 2005, 2:16.
10.    Volek JS, Sharman MJ, Forsythe CE: Modification of lipoproteins by very low-carbohydrate diets. J Nutr 2005, 135:1339-1342.
11.    German JB, Dillard CJ: Saturated fats: what dietary intake? Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 80:550-559.
12.    Ravnskov U: The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease. J Clin Epidemiol 1998, 51:443-460.
13.    Trumbo P, Schlicker S, Yates AA, Poos M: Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids. J Am Diet Assoc 2002, 102:1621-1630.
14.    Grundy SM: Influence of stearic acid on cholesterol metabolism relative to other long-chain fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1994, 60:986S-990S. PubMed Abstract OpenURL
15.    French MA, Sundram K, Clandinin MT: Cholesterolaemic effect of palmitic acid in relation to other dietary fatty acids. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2002, 11 Suppl 7:S401-S407.
16.    Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB, Herrington DM: Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 80:1175-1184.
17.    Knopp RH, Retzlaff BM: Saturated fat prevents coronary artery disease? An American paradox. Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 80:1102-1103.
18.    Katan MB, Zock PL, Mensink RP: Dietary oils, serum lipoproteins, and coronary heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr 1995, 61:1368S-1373S. PubMed Abstract OpenURL
19.    Berglund L, Oliver EH, Fontanez N, Holleran S, Matthews K, Roheim PS, Ginsberg HN, Ramakrishnan R, Lefevre M: HDL-subpopulation patterns in response to reductions in dietary total and saturated fat intakes in healthy subjects.Am J Clin Nutr 1999, 70:992-1000.
20.    Hays JH, DiSabatino A, Gorman RT, Vincent S, Stillabower ME: Effect of a high saturated fat and no-starch diet on serum lipid subfractions in patients with documented atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.Mayo Clin Proc 2003, 78:1331-1336.
21.    Seshadri P, Iqbal N, Stern L, Williams M, Chicano KL, Daily DA, McGrory J, Gracely EJ, Rader DJ, Samaha FF: A randomized study comparing the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet and a conventional diet on lipoprotein subfractions and C-reactive protein levels in patients with severe obesity. Am J Med 2004, 117:398-405.
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23.    H Esterbauer .Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of lipid-oxidation products. Am J Clin Nutr 1993 57: 5 779S-785S
24.    Knopp RH, Retzlaff BM: Saturated fat prevents coronary artery disease? An American paradox. Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 80:1102-1103.  
25.    Katan MB, Zock PL, Mensink RP: Dietary oils, serum lipoproteins, and coronary heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr 1995, 61:1368S-1373S.
26.    Berglund L, Oliver EH, Fontanez N, Holleran S, Matthews K, Roheim PS, Ginsberg HN, Ramakrishnan R, Lefevre M: HDL-subpopulation patterns in response to reductions in dietary total and saturated fat intakes in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1999, 70:992-1000.  
27.    Hays JH, DiSabatino A, Gorman RT, Vincent S, Stillabower ME: Effect of a high saturated fat and no-starch diet on serum lipid subfractions in patients with documented atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Mayo Clin Proc 2003, 78:1331-1336.
28.    Seshadri P, Iqbal N, Stern L, Williams M, Chicano KL, Daily DA, McGrory J, Gracely EJ, Rader DJ, Samaha FF: A randomized study comparing the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet and a conventional diet on lipoprotein subfractions and C-reactive protein levels in patients with severe obesity. Am J Med 2004, 117:398-405.  
29.    Hibbeln, J. Nieminen, L. et al. Supplement: n–3 Fatty Acids: Recommendations for Therapeutics and Prevention. Healthy intakes of n−3 and n−6 fatty acids: estimations considering worldwide diversity Am J Clin Nutr June 2006 83: 6 S1483-1493S
30.    Bill Lands. How is tissue fatty acid composition maintained? Seminar to the Polyunsaturated Lipid Function Special Interest Group Wednesday February 12, 2003
31.    Addis PB. Occurrence of lipid oxidation products in foods. Food Chem Toxicol. 1986 Oct-Nov;24(10-11):1021-30.
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34.    Kaunitz H, Dayrit CS. Coconut oil consumption and coronary heart disease. Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, 1992;30:165-171.
35.    Barry Groves, PhD.  Second Opinions: Exposing Dietary Misinformation: The Cholesterol Myth.

Blackberry Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

blackberry pork2 610x300

Ingredients
  • 1-2 lbs Pork Chops
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
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  1. Turn your grill on!! If you don’t know how to light it, I can’t help you.
  2. Place pork chops on a plate and cover your pork chops in some cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper on both side and press into the pork chop.
  3. While your grill heats up, place a small saucepan over medium heat on your stove top and add your blackberries, balsamic vinegar, water, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Let the sauce begin to mix together, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  5. Turn heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Then pour half of the sauce into a bowl (you can leave the blackberries in the saucepan because you’ll just use them to top your chops off later).
  7. Use a glazing brush to glaze one side of your pork chop then place that glazed side down onto your grill.
  8. Then glaze the other side, cover grill and let cook for 5-7 minutes per side. I glazed each side of my pork chop probably 3-4 times to make sure as much blackberry sauce as possible could be soaked up by the chop. Make sure your chop is cooked on both sides and cook completely through before removing from grill. (took me about 12-14 minutes total).
  9. Once your pork chops are all done cooking, add to plate and top with your leftover blackberry sauce that has been simmering and thickening up.
  10. Then eat until you cry. So delicious.
Recipe and photos compliments of PaleOMG. For more mouth-watering recipes and entertaining rants visit her website.
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Bacon Wrapped Rabbit Loin with Bacon Strawberry Dressing

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Ingredients (Rabbit):

Ingredients (Dressing):

  • 1/2 Cup Strawberries
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Melted and strained Pastured Bacon Fat
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Process:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Farenheit
  2. Cut your bacon in half or to the length needed to wrap a loin and lay them out slightly overlapping on your cutting board
  3. Place a rabbit loin in each one and generously season the rabbit and bacon with salt, pepper, thyme, and sage to your taste liking
  4. Once seasoned, roll them up tightly.  I set mine up so the bacon met on the bottom where I seared them first to help them stay wrappeddescribe the image
  5. Heat your saute pan on the stove over medium high heat, you are going to sear the bacon to finish cooking it most of the way
  6. Once heated, add some bacon fat to the pan or duck fat or any fat and place your bacon wrapped rabbit with the bacon joint down
  7. You are going to sear the rabbit on all sides cooking the bacon so prob 2-3 mins total rotating as it sears
  8. Once all is seared place your entire pan in the oven and cook for 5-6 minutes turning occasionally
  9. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  The loin should be medium-rare or pinkish when done
  10. While your rabbit is resting after its exhausting weekend of delivering easter baskets, take all the ingredients for your dressing and throw them in your food processor.  Turn it on and let the magic happen until well blended
  11. If you want more bacon flavor, add more bacon fat, problem solved
  12. When done, slice your rabbit loin and plate on a bed of mixed greens and drizzle with your dressing
  13. Garnish with a lemon if you would like the citrus and enjoy
  14. And don’t worry Peter Cottontail has plenty of children to carry on his legacy of the easter bunny next year.  So don’t fret about eating him, easter will still go on.
Recipe and photos compliments of Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.
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