Americans have been told that eating saturated animal fats will clog our arteries and kill us. We are told that we need to eat only fats made from vegetable oil, modern oils, such as corn oil, soy oil, canola oil, safflower oil, and other oils that could not even be made before the twentieth century.
The truth of the matter is that fat from healthy animals eating their natural diet is very good for us, providing vital nutrients in the right proportion, and supporting the natural functions of our bodies.
Modern vegetable oils have a huge imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance contributes to many illnesses, and causes inflammation in many people. Our bodies have never tried to digest or use these oils before the twentieth century, because they just did not exist. These oils are often processed with chemicals, and subjected to pressures and high heat, which makes them even stranger to our bodies. Some of these oils stink so bad in their natural state that chemical deodorizers are used to hide the bad smell.
Humans crave healthy animal fats, because we know instinctively that they are good for us.
Most people think only of butter when they think of an animal fat they might use in cooking. Pastured butter is great, but there are many other animal fats that are great for cooking and eating.
Grassfed Beef Tallow
Beef tallow is one of the oldest human foods, used for cooking and added to all kinds of foods for countless thousands of years. In its real form, from grassfed animals, beef tallow is full of vital nutrients. It was traditionally used for every form of frying, with potatoes fried in beef tallow being a favorite food all over Europe and America. It was used to brown meat for traditional stews and pot roasts, to sauté steaks, and to baste roasting meat. It gives wonderful flavor. Vegetables roasted in beef tallow are crusty and caramelized, absolutely delicious. Grassfed beef tallow is one of my very favorite cooking fats, and I use it often. I consider it important to only use beef tallow from grassfed beef, as it has the proper balance of nutrients and tastes so much better.
Unhydrogenated Pastured Pork Lard
Pork lard has been so vilified that many people are horrified by the very thought of eating it. Yet real pork lard was once the most popular cooking and eating fat on the planet.
Pork lard was used extensively for cooking in China, other Asian countries, Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Many traditional American and European baking recipes make extensive use of pork lard. Pork lard has a very high smoke point, and is one of the easiest cooking fats to use, being soft even when refrigerated, and perfect for frying, sautéing, basting, and browning. It lends great flavor to food, and is very nutritious and easily absorbed by the body.
You have to be very careful in selecting pork lard, because most of the pork lard sold in the U.S. is hydrogenated, which means that its very chemical structure has been changed by processing to increase its shelf life. I have knowingly eaten hydrogenated pork lard exactly once, and found it disgusting, with a terrible taste. Real pork lard, from pastured pigs, in its natural form, is wonderful.
Grassfed Lamb Tallow
You can use grassfed lamb tallow for frying, sautéing , basting, and roasting. It gives incredible flavor. It is important to make sure that food cooked with lamb tallow is served hot, as congealed lamb tallow can feel greasy. Serve the food hot, and it is wonderful. Potatoes and other vegetables are particularly wonderful roasted in this fat, which lends a nutty, delicious flavor to food.
It is also important to use lamb tallow from a meat breed of lamb, as the taste of the fat from wool breeds can be strong and not very appealing. But the flavor given by grassfed lamb tallow from meat breeds is unbelievably delicious.
Grassfed Bison Tallow
Bison fat was one of the staple foods of the Native Americans who lived on the Great Plains, being a vital component of their survival food, pemmican. Bison fat just may be the most nutritious of all, being full of nutrients from the strong, healthy bison. It is great for basting, frying, and sautéing. It gives a wonderful flavor to meat, unique yet wonderful. It is particularly good for sautéing at medium temperatures. Adding just a bit of bison fat to stews will do incredible things for the flavor.
It is important that all of these traditional fats be grassfed or pastured. That way, you are eating the same kind of animal fat our ancestors have been eating since the beginning, and getting similar nutritional benefits.
But where do you find grassfed beef tallow?
Where do you find real pastured pork lard that has not been hydrogenated?
Where do you find grassfed lamb tallow from a meat breed?
Where do you find grassfed bison fat?
A local farmer may have any of these. But you can get all of them from U.S. Wellness Meats, which has done us all a great service by making these hard-to-get real animal fats available. The quality is superb, and I happily use all of them.
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