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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman

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DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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The Magic of a Traditional Stew

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

A rich traditional grass-fed stew is good eating, loaded with nutrition.

A rich traditional stew is good eating, loaded with nutrition.

Most traditional stews throughout the world have one thing in common. They were cooked until most of the vegetables were very soft, often disintegrating into the stew. The meat was also cooked right along with the vegetables, until it was very soft, and easy to chew. However, in more modern stews, the vegetables are usually cooked separately, so they remain in distinct pieces, and the vegetables are added to the meat only a few minutes before serving. This is considered to look better, and to preserve more of the nutrients in the vegetables. But our ancestors cooked everything together, and were fine with the vegetables disintegrating into the stew.

I made a couple of traditional stews this winter, and really enjoyed them on the cold, rainy days we have been having. They tasted wonderful, and warmed and renewed me, in a way that no modern stew ever did. I felt better while I ate them, and after I ate them.

 

Why the difference?

After some thought, I realized that the traditional stew, with its long-cooked ingredients melting into each other, is much easier to eat, and to digest. Since it is easier to eat and digest, that means that the nutrients in the stew are more easily absorbed and processed by our bodies. The long, slow cooking breaks down the components of the vegetables and meat, making them softer, often causing some of the vegetables to disintegrate into the gravy, with their precious nutrients. When the stew is eaten, the nutrients are right in the gravy, all broken down into a much more easily absorbed form.

It is true that cooking may reduce the amount of vitamin content in some vegetables, but vegetables are hard to digest and many people have trouble absorbing the nutrients. Cooking them in a traditional stew makes the remaining nutrients very easy to absorb, so you end up getting more nutrition.

This idea is supported by the tradition, in many lands, and throughout Europe, of feeding stews and broths to people who were recovering from sickness or physical injury. These kinds of foods were considered vital for recovery, because our ancestors knew, through knowledge passed down for thousands of years, that stews and broths helped people recover.

I usually add cabbage and onions to my stews, and they almost totally disintegrate into the stew by the time the cooking is over. The flavor they add is beyond wonderful. The other vegetables are very soft, partially disintegrated into the stew, and taste so good, flavored by all the ingredients.

I am sticking to traditional stews, every time.

Why I Do Not Fear Grassfed Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grass-fed picanha (sirloin tip)

A delicious grassfed roast.

An endless array of studies claim that eating meat, or too much meat, will cause all kinds of harm. I am not sure that there is a disease or chronic condition that has not been blamed on eating meat.

But I find that all these studies share certain flaws. Fatal flaws. As an attorney, I have decades of experience in analyzing evidence and evaluating arguments. And I find the case against meat to be based on flimsy evidence, at best, and the arguments are either based on this poor evidence, or on ideology, not fact.

And every one of these fear-all-meat-studies share the same fatal flaw—they never distinguish between the pure, grassfed meats developed by nature, and the factory meat that has been developed for profit.

The two meats are very different in their composition and content. A study that fails to distinguish between them is worthless, in my opinion, when it comes to grassfed meat.

And I believe that the most comprehensive, unbiased, and hands-on study of all exonerates the grassfed meat of nature.

 

The Fatal Flaws

There are many common problems with the anti-meat studies, such as asking the participants to remember everything they ate over a period of years, when most people cannot remember what they ate over the last week. I do not have the space to describe all the problems, but three stand out.

First Flaw: Most of the meat eaten in the modern world is factory meat. This is meat that has been raised with the use of chemicals, such as growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other substances that were never part of the raising of meat animals until the twentieth century. These animals were also fed a diet that is not natural to their species, consisting in part of GMO plants that were grown with the aid of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, or non-GMO plants also grown with chemicals. Part of the diet could also consist of a huge variety of human-created feed such as restaurant plate waste, expired bakery items, or even plastic balls. None of these are the foods of nature. If this meat is harmful, and I am not saying that it is, we have no way of knowing as to whether the harm is caused by the meat, or the chemicals it contains, or the combination of both.

Second Flaw: The studies focus on meat as the only causative factor, but many other factors are just as important, such as the other foods the people in the study ate. This usually includes a huge variety of modern foods that are raised, or prepared, or preserved in completely unnatural ways, utilizing a huge variety of human-made chemicals. Many of the people in these studies are inactive, or suffer great stress from their jobs or other factors, or smoke, or drink too much alcohol, or take illegal drugs, and most of them take one or many prescription drugs, and over the counter drugs.

All of these factors are known to have drastic effects on human health, and we have no way of knowing whether it is the meat, or the combination of these factors, or some of these factors, or the interaction with one or more of these factors with the meat, that causes the harm.

The third fatal flaw is that these studies never distinguish between the effects of eating factory meat, or the grassfed meat of nature, which has nourished humanity from the beginning. In fact, these studies treat all meat as being the same, which it is not.

 

Dr. Weston A. Price Established that Eating the Meat of Nature Does Not Cause Disease

Dr. Weston A. Price did the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever done, traveling around the world for ten years to visit, in person, the healthy peoples eating their traditional diet. Dr. Price, a very spiritual man, expected to find that the healthy peoples were eating a plant-based diet. What he found instead, and had the integrity to report, was that all of the healthy peoples he found ate plenty of animal foods, including meat. None of these peoples had any of the diseases of the modern world, and all were free of illness, as long as they ate the diet of their ancestors.

While the diets of the various healthy peoples differed in many ways, some of them ate only animal foods, and one of the groups he spent the most time with ate only meat and fat, for most of the year.

The natives of northern Canada lived in a climate so cold that fish could not live in the rivers, and there were no edible plants for most of the year. These people survived entirely on the meat, organs, and fat of the animals they hunted, especially moose. They were free of all disease, and had perfect teeth. This could not happen if natural meat was harmful.

For these reasons, I feel perfectly safe in eating all the grassfed meat my body wants, and my health has improved greatly since I have done so.

Our government says that factory meat is safe. I choose not to eat it because I dislike the way it tastes and how I personally feel after eating it. But I always feel good after eating grassfed meat.

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Dr. Weston A. Price Did Not Advocate Plant-Based Diets

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

One of the healthiest traditional fats, pastured butter.

One of the healthiest traditional fats, pastured butter.

Dr. Weston A. Price was, in my opinion, the greatest nutritional researcher of all time. He spent ten years actually visiting healthy traditional peoples, studying and recording what they ate first hand, and comparing the health of people eating their traditional diet with their relatives who ate modern foods. He discovered that people eating the traditional diet of their ancestors were much healthier than their relatives who ate modern foods.

Dr. Price recorded his findings in a book entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, published in 1939. The book is difficult for many people to read and understand, as are many academic works.

Somehow, the rumor is spreading on the Internet that Dr. Price was an advocate of eating only plant foods. This is simply not true, as Dr. Price addressed the issue directly in his book.

 

The Physical Degeneration

Dr. Price was a dentist, in Cleveland Ohio. He noticed that each generation of his patients was less healthy than their parents, with decayed teeth, badly formed and crowded mouths, and deformed arches in the mouth. Clearly, something was very wrong. Dr. Price noticed how the American diet was changing, with more and more processed factory foods being eaten. Dr. Price believed that this change in diet might be responsible for the physical degeneration he was observing. But, what should people eat to be healthy? One day, Dr. Price saw a photo of a “primitive” man, who was grinning. The man had superb, perfectly formed teeth, with no signs of decay. Dr. Price decided that the diets of the so called primitive peoples might have the answer.

 

The Plant Food Desire

It is true that Dr. Price, before he set out on his ten year journey, believed that he would find that the traditional healthy peoples would eat plant foods only. Dr. Price, a gentle and very spiritual man, disliked the killing of animals for food, and thought he would find that people could thrive on plants alone.

Dr. Price, however, was a true scientist, more interested in learning the truth than proving his theory.

 

The Animal Truth

Dr. Price found, contrary to his expectations, that animal foods were crucial to a good diet. He stated that he had never found a group which was building and maintaining excellent bodies by eating only plant foods. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, page 279.

There it is. All the peoples he found with excellent health from a traditional diet ate animal foods, especially the fats demonized in modern nutrition. This is described in detail in his book, where every healthy people he found ate plenty of animal foods, and animal fat.

And Dr. Price also commented on the plant food only groups of his day, noting that they all had signs of dental degeneration, if they had been on the diet for an extended time. He also noted that their children had deformed dental arches. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, page 279.

As we can see, there is nothing new about the belief that people should eat only plant foods, as Dr. Price did most of his research in the 1930’s.

Dr. Price found that we need animal foods to be healthy, good real foods, not the foods of industry.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

The Power of a Good Grassfed Steak, Pastured Butter, and Pastured Sour Cream

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

Sometimes life presents us with difficult challenges. Not that we want them, but sometimes they are there, and must be dealt with. I am in the middle of dealing with a very difficult challenge right now. Not to worry, it is not a matter of life and death. And I am doing well with it, considering. And a good end is in sight, more likely than not.

Yet it takes a huge amount of energy and time to deal with, and often leaves me feeling worn out and discouraged. And I admit, I really hate to deal with it. But there it is.

However, I have found help in the wisdom of our ancestors. Their solution for so many problems was to eat the right food. For me, yesterday, it was a thick grassfed beefsteak, cooked rare, juicy, tender and delicious, served with pastured butter and sour cream.

 

Modern Solutions

The modern way to deal with mental stress is to take a drug, often a prescription drug, hoping it will somehow relieve or fix the problem. But, my body has fought every drug I have ever taken, over the counter or by prescription, and it always felt bad. While I have never taken anti depressants or any kind of psychiatric medication, I know they are not for me. I have not taken any kind of drug for over ten years, and I am much the better for it. Obviously, our ancestors never had these kinds of medications.

Some people will eat a lot of sweets and factory desserts, which may give them temporary relief but creates a craving for the product, and other problems. Not a solution for me either, as I have felt much better since I gave up eating that kind of thing.

 

Traditional Solutions

Our ancestors had two major solutions for relieving mental stress, one good, and one bad, in my opinion.

The bad option was to get drunk. I got drunk exactly once in my life, and I hated the experience so much that it never happened again, and never will.

The good option was to eat the right food, which was always real. So many cultures would serve food at times of stress, such as wakes. And the food would usually have a good amount of pastured animal fat, of one kind or another. The belief was that the food would help the stressed person feel better. Research has shown that butter and other animal fats provide important nutrients to the brain, which is probably why our ancestors served such foods at stressful times. My belief is that the food provided nutrients that helped the brain cope with the stress, which resulted in feeling better. I also believe that we require more nutrients at times of stress, so I decided to eat more of what would help nourish my brain.

 

My Solution

I made a really thick, grassfed steak, served with plenty of butter and sour cream. I was almost too tired to cook it, but I made it with one of the easy recipes in my cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat.

After a couple of bites of the delicious tender meat, combined with pastured butter and sour cream, I started to feel better. My exhaustion began to fade, and I just felt better. At the end of the meal, I felt fine. I had energy! I felt confident that the resolution of the challenge would go well, and I felt ready for it. So I will continue to follow the way of our ancestors and nourish my brain with plenty of pastured animal fat and grassfed meat.

A truly delicious solution!

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Real Food Plus Real Sleep

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Cats know the value of sleep.

Cats know the value of sleep.

I have written so many times of the benefits of avoiding factory foods, and eating only real food. These benefits are real, and they have greatly improved my health and enabled me not to need medical care for over a decade. But I have come to realize something. Even though it is a lot of work and effort to just eat real food, it is not enough.

Our bodies need sleep to get the full benefits of the nutrients in the food. Our bodies use this time to rest and rejuvenate. And our bodies need enough sleep, something very few of us get these days.

It is somewhat hypocritical for me to advocate the benefits of getting enough sleep, because I usually do not get enough. To be honest, it is common for me to sleep for only four hours. But last night, for some reason, I did get enough sleep. I slept for over eight hours. And the benefits were so profound that I did some research. Now I have a new goal to go along with my good diet—getting enough sleep.

 

The Benefits of Sleep

There is a good reason for everything in nature. We sleep for a number of important purposes.

From a food perspective, sleep is absolutely vital to get the full benefit of real food. The natural functions of our bodies use the time we are asleep to repair and rejuvenate our bodies. This does not work well unless our bodies have all the nutrients we need to do this. A crucial reason to eat only real food, so we can get those nutrients. But we also need enough sleep so our natural functions can concentrate the energy of the body on repair and rejuvenation. If we are awake and engaging in work or other activities, our natural functions have far less energy available to them to do their work.

I thought I was healthy, but one night of getting enough sleep made me feel even better. Much better. And much more alert and productive.

I now realize that if I am going to enjoy the full benefits of the real food that I put so much effort into obtaining and cooking, I will also need to get enough sleep.

 

How Much Sleep?

Before the advent of electricity, most people would sleep during most or all of the hours of darkness, and wake early in the morning, often with the sun. Humans are made to be active during the day, and to sleep at night. Other animals sleep during most of the day and are active at night. This natural sleep pattern was followed for most of human history, though there were exceptions. While Dr. Weston A. Price did not write much about the sleep patterns of the healthy peoples he studied, the information we have on them indicates that they slept during the night and were active during the day. Most of them did not have electricity or artificial lighting. But now, technology and lighting have enabled humans to be active, alert, and productive at night, which is not ideal for us.

Albert Einstein, one of the brightest and most productive humans to ever live, slept ten hours a night, every night. He literally changed the world with research and analysis.

Sophia Loren, the actress, is in her mid-seventies. She is still amazingly beautiful, active, and attractive, with great skin and muscle tone. She goes to bed every night at eight p.m. and wakes up at five a.m., getting nine hours of sleep every night. While diet and exercise are also a vital part of how she stays so healthy, she considers this long sleep to be very important.

I believe that eight to ten hours of sleep are ideal for us, but most of us get so much less.

 

My Own Sleep Issue

Since I have adopted my real food diet, I have no trouble falling asleep. I can also decide the time I want to wake up, and I will wake at that time. In fact, I stopped setting an alarm clock, because I would always wake up just before the alarm rang.

The problem is that the day is much too short for me. I have many interests, and have often worked into the wee hours of the morning, engrossed in what I was learning or writing. One of my greatest joys is learning, and the more I learn, the more I want to learn. And there are the necessities of life, such as cooking, eating, socializing, and spending time with my family. I deliberately chose to sleep less so I would have more time to do the many things that need doing, and that I want to do.

Last night, I did not set a time to wake up. I was tired. I slept for eight hours. And felt so much better.

Now, I have decided to get those eight to ten hours of sleep, somehow. Now that I understand its importance, I will find a way to do it.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

How Real Food Really Heals

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Apricot picking 1

photo:

In our heavily medicated culture, we have been conditioned to believe that the way to get well is to have a doctor diagnose our illness, and prescribe a drug for it.

We then expect to take the drug, and get well. In many cases, we do not get well. The symptoms are relieved, and we get some immediate relief, but the underlying cause of the illness is not touched.

Many people who try to use food first for healing treat it like taking a drug. For example, people with a sore throat will take a honey vinegar drink, expecting it to act like a drug and provide immediate relief. Sometime it will, sometimes it will not. Sometimes the underlying condition will disappear. And sometimes it will not.

This is because the food we eat does not act like drugs. No food acts directly to cure an illness. Instead, the food provides various substances to our bodies. It is the natural functions of our bodies that use these substances to actually heal us.

So, if eating a particular real food does not help, it is likely that something else the body needs is missing.

Eating a diversified, wide ranging diet of real foods is our best chance of giving our bodies what they need to stay healthy. And, if we avoid chemicals that deceive our senses, like the flavor chemicals put in processed foods, our bodies may actually tell us what foods we need.

 

How Real Food Helps Us Heal

If you try to use food to help your body heal, eventually you will realize that some foods that help you one time, will not help the next. But some other foods may. This is because the content and chemistry of our bodies is constantly changing, and our natural functions have many different ways of resisting disease and healing us, only some of which are understood. From my own experience, and the reported experience of others that I know, and from the rare studies in this area, I believe that our bodies know how to heal most conditions. But they must have the right ingredients to perform these healings, which could also be viewed as “repair jobs.”

Some of these ingredients are produced by our bodies. But other ingredients can only be obtained from food. Our bodies also need the right substances from food to make the ingredients our bodies produce. The key is to eat the foods that our bodies need for our natural functions to work well.

 

So How Do We Know What Foods to Eat?

Our ancestral food traditions give us a lot of information. These traditions emphasize a huge variety of real foods, prepared and combined in many different ways.

But the best guide we have is the craving for a particular food. Our bodies know what foods we need to eat, and make us hungry for them. Our ancestors could trust these cravings. But most modern people cannot.

Factory food and chemicals deceive our natural sense of what is needed.

We cannot trust these cravings, if we eat processed food, or food with chemicals. That is because these foods have chemicals added to them that fool our bodies into believing that the food contains something it does not. Flavor enhancers do this, and chemicals that make people crave a certain factory food do this. Large amounts of refined sugar do this, as do chemical additives. It is like trying to see a path when you have been given hallucinogenic drugs.

The only way to get our cravings back on track is to eat only real food, with no added chemicals. Once we do this, our bodies can recover their natural abilities to know what to eat.

 

An Example

Some years ago, the skin on my fingertips was drying, peeling, and splitting. I ate a good diet, and I tried various natural remedies, but nothing helped. I did avoid all processed foods and foods with added chemicals .One day, I visited a wonderful organic farm, where the soil had never been sprayed with chemicals. Some apricots were for sale at that farm, and I felt an intense craving for them. I should mention that I never liked apricots. But I went with the feeling, and bought a large amount of these apricots. Once we got home, I began eating them in large quantities. They were delicious, and I loved eating them. They were gone in a few days, and so was my skin problem. It never returned.

Now, that was not just the apricots, but many of the other real foods I was eating at the time, combining to give the natural functions of my body the ingredients they needed to repair my body. But the apricots did provide the missing ingredient, whatever it was.

Now, I am not saying to stop using modern medicine. It can be very helpful, even lifesaving, especially in cases of trauma.

But I am saying that I have found that supporting the natural functions of my body with real food, avoiding all factory food, and listening to what my body wants has been very effective in keeping me healthy, and in healing conditions that the doctors could not help me with.

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Diversity Matters — Especially in Food

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Farmers' markets are great places to find heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Farmers’ markets are great places to find heirloom fruits and vegetables.

We are taught to think of our modern, high-tech civilization as being much more advanced, wiser, and richer than anything that existed in the past.

When it come to machines, weapons, travel, and other mechanical areas, this is true (at least to the extent of our culture’s knowledge). We are much richer in these things than our ancestors were.

But when it comes to food—the real food that our bodies need to thrive—we are paupers. Our ancestors were the rich ones. They regularly ate hundreds of varieties of meats, vegetables, nuts, fruits, grains, milk products, and other foods, but we have far fewer to choose from. And where our ancestors’ food was chosen for taste and nutrition, our food is usually chosen for profit, cheapness, appearance, and shelf life.

 

Traditional Food

I have studied the traditional cooking of our ancestors from all over the world. I have read hundreds of books and many articles, and I am still learning.

And one of the most important things I learned was how much our ancestors valued diversity in the foods they ate, whenever they had a choice. People did not limit themselves to factory beef and chicken breasts, but ate many different kinds of meat, heritage varieties of pigs, chickens, duck, geese, squab, cattle, sheep, lambs, calves, water buffalo, bison, rabbits, a vast variety of fish and seafood, and a huge variety of wild game. Produce was only eaten in season. There were dozens if not hundreds of varieties of almost every fruit and vegetable, that were regularly eaten. During the winter, people relied on certain root vegetables, such as cabbage.

Traditional meals included a huge variety of ingredients. For example, the traditional English breakfast included a number of different kinds of meat and fish, often fermented (such as sausage) or salted, along with eggs, breads, and a variety of condiments. The Russian custom of serving appetizers before a meal could include dozens of different items, all kinds of meat and fish and vegetables and small dishes, as did the Scandinavian Smorgasbord. And this was not just the custom of the rich, but also the practice of middle class families and prosperous farmers. Even ordinary working folks enjoyed a great variety of seasonal foods.

The different varieties of food were prized for their taste and nutritional qualities. Food that looked good tasted good, and tasty food was widely believed to be healthier.

 

Modern Food

Modern food was developed for profit. This meant focusing on the foods that had a long shelf life, and foods that looked good so people could buy them. The replacement of small farmers by huge factory farms meant concentrating on only the most profitable foods, that had the longest shelf life.

The chemical industry became a crucial part of this change, as chemicals could preserve the appearance of food, and chemicals could make even mediocre quality food taste good. The number of varieties of food available to us is now but a tiny fraction of the bounty available to our ancestors. These factory varieties are available all year long, but their taste and nutrition leave much to be desired.

My father grew up in Canada, before its food system was industrialized. He enjoyed a huge variety of the wonderful natural foods raised on the Canadian Prairie—wonderful meats, an endless variety of berries, fish, and vegetables—all grown and served in season.

After he immigrated to the U.S., he was delighted to see beautiful tomatoes available all year round in the supermarkets. Until he tasted them. He could never understand how something that looked so good could be so tasteless and have such a horrible texture—like soggy cardboard.

I could go on for a thousand pages, or more, but I will simply say that our ancestors were much richer in real, life-sustaining food than we are, in endless varieties that we no longer have.

What we can do is support small farmers raising traditional foods like grassfed beef, heirloom vegetables, real milk, and by buying as much as we can from them. As much as possible, avoid purchasing factory food.

This may be more trouble, but the taste of heirloom vegetables and fruits and pastured meat is superior. And the wonderful benefits I and my family have enjoyed in improved health and nutrition—are more than worth it.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

The Hippocratic Alternative — Food

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Bust of Hippocrates, the great healer.

Hippocrates, the great healer.

With the current controversy over medical insurance, our nation seems fixated on drugs and medical treatment as being the only way to maintain health. No doubt drugs and medical care can be necessary under certain circumstances, especially trauma.

But they are not the only way to stay healthy, under normal circumstances. The most famous and successful physician of ancient times, Hippocrates of Kos, had a very different approach.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

 

Modern Medicine

Modern medicine has a one-size-fits-all approach to disease. Every patient who is diagnosed with a particular disease is supposed to receive the same treatment. One size fits all. Often the same dose of drugs is prescribed with no regard for the body weight of the patient.

Usually, food is never even considered when treating illness. Drugs are the treatment of choice, though surgery is often used. The majority of treatments used for most illnesses are not even designed to cure the disease, but to help the patient “manage” the disease, by suppressing the symptoms. Many people have bad reactions to various drugs, called “side effects.” This can result in the prescription of yet another drug, which could have bad effects on the patient, which could lead to the prescription of yet another drug.

According to the Mayo clinic, and to CBS news, 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug. And many of these people take several prescription drugs. This statistic does not even consider over the counter drugs, which are also widely used.

Yet this huge amount of drug use has not resulted in good health for the American population.

Let me make this clear. Modern medicine can achieve some amazing results, such as reattaching severed fingers and limbs, and saving the lives of those who have suffered trauma. Yet in many instances, it “manages” rather than cures.

 

Hippocratic Medicine

Hippocrates had a very different approach. Greek medicine of his time was far more advanced than most people realize, and did use drugs and surgery. Contemporary Greek writings show that Greek citizens led long lives, often recovered from serious wounds, and were expected to put on heavy armor and fight in brutal hand-to-hand combat when needed, even into their seventies. Great emphasis was placed on personal cleanliness, and Greek doctors were very skilled at disinfecting and treating battle wounds, and many other injuries. They had many medications, compounded from plants and other substances, and were skilled at performing many kinds of surgeries.

Hippocrates was the most successful doctor of his time, and became famous. He became so famous that he was asked to come to Athens to stop a plague that was killing many people while the city was under siege. Hippocrates cured the plague, and ended the epidemic, by, among other things, getting the people to boil their drinking water.

Yet Hippocrates believed in treating most illness with what he called “regimen,” using food, exercise, massage, sleep, and relaxation as the treatments of choice. Only if these methods failed, or if the patient was incapable of using them, would drugs be used. Surgery would be done only if there was no alternative. Each patient was considered to be a unique individual, and the treatment would be customized for the unique condition of each patient. Hippocrates had great success in using these methods.

Many Greek physicians resisted his methods, because, then, as now, it was much more profitable to use drugs and surgeries.

This led Hippocrates to create new moral standards for physicians, placing the welfare of the patient before the profit of the doctor. These standards were set forth in the oath he created for doctors, the famous Hippocratic Oath.

In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price studied many peoples who were eating the traditional diets of their ancestors. In every case, these people had perfect teeth, and none of the chronic diseases that plague our culture. This research is direct proof of Hippocrates’ belief that food was the best way to prevent and treat many illnesses.

 

What We Can Learn from Hippocrates

Modern medicine is too focused on drugs, radiation, and surgery as the only way to treat illness. I believe we could greatly drive down the cost of medical care, and be a much healthier nation, if doctors were actually trained in the Hippocratic methods of healing, and were required to be just as familiar with the healing effects of real food as they are with drugs. In fact, our whole society needs to relearn and use the benefits of eating real food, rather than modern factory foods.

Many individuals have reported enjoying good health and curing all kinds of illness just by eating the right foods, and avoiding the wrong foods.

We can still use modern medical methods when needed, but I believe they would be needed far less often, if our population was well nourished, and if doctors used Hippocratic regimen as the treatment of choice (when possible).

We would also have more success if we abandoned the “one-size-fits-all” approach, and treated each patient as a unique individual.

Finally, we need to return to the moral standards set down by Hippocrates. The main motive of doctors should be to heal people, not to make money. People who are mainly concerned with making money should go elsewhere. People who truly want to heal should be the doctors. The welfare of the patient must come before the profit of the doctor.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

The Joy of a Traditional Meal

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

In our modern, “advanced” culture, eating is often a burden. We are taught to fear our food, and avoid many foods that our bodies crave and need. Everyone is busy, and meals are often gulped down quickly after being “nuked” in a microwave.

Most of our ancestors viewed meals as being of great importance, and tried to arrange a pleasant, happy setting to eat and enjoy the real food they valued.

 

Modern Eating

The need to get to work or school at an early hour often means a hurried breakfast, gulped down quickly. The time allowed for lunch at work or school is usually short, and eating lunch is often a race against the clock. People are busy in the evening as well, and the time available for cooking and eating dinner is often limited. It is common for people living in the same family to eat at different times. Most people do not know how to cook, and meals often come from a package nuked in the microwave, or consist of takeout from a restaurant. Upset stomachs and digestive ailments are common. Many people try to relieve this discomfort by gulping pills, which only masks the problem, at best.

Of course, many of these problems come from the poor quality of factory food. But the fear of food and the race to hurry through a meal are huge factors as well.

 

Traditional Eating

Our ancestors would have been appalled by this modern way of eating. To most of them, meal time was a carefully conducted ritual, where healthy natural foods were enjoyed without fear or hurry, where every custom was designed to bring harmony and joy to the table. Discussing the taste and quality of the food being enjoyed was a tradition, and it was usually forbidden to argue or raise controversial subjects at the table. Being friendly and courteous was expected. Everyone was expected to do their part to create and sustain a pleasant atmosphere while eating. The cook was praised and complimented for the good food prepared, and thanks for the food was often given before eating began.

There was a definite purpose behind the ritual of a pleasant meal. It was considered absolutely necessary for the food to be properly digested. Our ancestors knew there was more to digestion than cramming food into their mouths.

Our ancestors did not need studies to tell them that eating a delicious meal in harmony , peace, and happiness was important for digestion, and the absorption of nutrients, and they were absolutely right. Modern research has confirmed that stress, hurry, and rushing through meals impairs digestion, and often results in stomach problems, with a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

It is not enough to have good food, it must be properly cooked, eaten in relaxed, pleasant circumstances, and deeply appreciated. This is the time-honored way to help our bodies process the nutrients in food. The importance of having pleasant surroundings as an aid to digestion, and to avoid conflict or stress while eating was mentioned by many ancient, medieval, and pre-twentieth century writers. While circumstances such as war or famine could prevent the tradition of a happy meal from taking place, a peaceful meal of great real food was the ideal, and almost everyone tried to make it happen when circumstances would allow it.

Having a pleasant meal of great real food is a challenge in our modern, hurried culture. But it can be done. I select the best real food I can find, without extravagant cost. I cook from scratch, using only real food. If eating out, I select the most real food from what is available. Wherever I am at mealtime, I do my best to relax, think happy thoughts, and focus on eating and enjoying the food, and the company of the people I am with. I try to maintain a pleasant discussion as we eat, and to focus on the good things in my life. I do not rush when I eat, as I believe it is better to eat at a pleasant pace, even if time is short, even if I might not finish the food.

When I can influence the time available to eat, I do the best I can. Then with the invaluable help of my family, we arrange delicious real food, in pleasant surroundings, without hurry or worry.

I know for a fact that the wonderful feeling of well being I usually get after eating is due not only to the good real food, but to the happy pleasant atmosphere in which it is enjoyed.

Our ancestors were right about this, in my view. This kind of meal is a happy, wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday  and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Photo credit

Cooking—The Most Important Skill

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Click on this photo to see photos of home-cooked recipes from Tender Grassfed Meat.

Click on this photo to see photos of home-cooked recipes from Tender Grassfed Meat.

Your first reaction to the title of this post might be, “What!? Cooking is important?”

That is typical of a culture that no longer values cooking, one of the oldest and most vital human skills. In fact, two-thirds of American adults know almost nothing about cooking, and never cook. To these folks, cooking means heating up an already prepared product in the microwave, or warming up takeout that has gotten cold.

Suppose you had the power to create an almost magical medicine that had no side effects, yet gave you strong bones, powerful muscles, strength, stamina, great vision and hearing, a happy optimistic viewpoint, a clear mind that can focus on anything, a great memory, an immune system so strong that you almost never get sick?

Suppose this power and this medicine brought great happiness and pleasure to all who used it?

Would you want this power?

Well, you can learn this power, and make that medicine.

The power is cooking, and the “medicine” is real food.

 

The Power of Real Food

Nothing affects the health of our bodies as much as the food we eat. Our bodies are made of the food we eat. Our bodies use the food we eat to repair themselves, to run the natural functions of the body, and to get energy. We need the right kinds of food, and enough of it. If people do not have enough food, they die. If people do not get enough good real food, their health deteriorates and they become vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.

Doctors and hospitals can be very good for traumatic injuries, and some very serious conditions, yet their drugs and surgeries and radiation cannot keep our bodies healthy.

Only food can do that.

Hippocrates, the most famous of doctors, said it best:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

In ancient times, and actually until the twentieth century, most food was real, and grown and produced in accordance with the laws of nature. Countless generations of humans had eaten this kind of food, and our bodies adapted to using it. The main problem was getting enough of it, and obtaining certain foods that could be hard to get.

In modern America today, most of the food has been raised with chemicals, and has been altered. Fruits and vegetables are grown in poor soil with the use of chemical fertilizers. Produce has been altered to have a longer shelf life and better appearance, at the cost of taste and nutrition. Meat animals are fed substances unnatural to them, that cause the very composition of their fat and meat to change. Antibiotics, growth hormones, and other drugs are used to cause meat animals to grow faster.

Humans have never eaten this kind of modified food before the twentieth century.

Real food is the unmodified food of our ancestors, grown in good soil, or grazed on good grass, without the use of chemicals. It is what our bodies know how to process, and we thrive on it. But it is not enough to just buy real food. You have to know how to cook it.

 

The Magic of Cooking

The art of cooking transforms produce and meat into almost magical creations that give our bodies the nutrition they so desperately need, and create great pleasure for the people who eat a well cooked meal. You cannot get this kind of food in a can or microwavable container. You can almost never get it in a restaurant. But you can learn how to cook it. You can create the magical “medicine” advocated by Hippocrates, which can keep your body healthy and functioning perfectly.

Our ancestors knew this, and knew what foods to eat, and how to combine foods to sustain life and health. Much of this knowledge has been lost, yet much has been preserved. My major motive in writing my cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, has been to rediscover and preserve some knowledge of how to cook grassfed meat, perhaps the oldest and most valued food of humanity. Learning how to cook and eat this meat and other real foods healed all the problems that modern medicine could not help me with.

I am an attorney, yet cooking real food is my most valuable skill, without a doubt.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

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