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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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Enjoy your Traditionally-Cooked Grassfed Barbecue without Fear

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

Barbecuing tender grassfed meat the traditional way with indirect heat.

Barbecuing tender grassfed meat the traditional way with indirect heat.

July the Fourth is near, and that means barbecue. It is an old American tradition, and a most delicious one. Barbecues in America go all the way back to colonial times, where easy access to inexpensive meat and wood meant delicious grassfed feasts cooked with logs burned down to coals. Barbecues were huge social events, often drawing hundreds or even thousands of people, lured by the ancient pleasure of pastured and wild meat cooked with fire.

But today, many are afraid to barbecue, being concerned by studies that find that suspected carcinogenic substances are created by the barbecue process.

Not to worry. Even if these studies are accurate, you can avoid the cooking method that creates the suspect substances by using traditional techniques, which are perfect for cooking grassfed and pastured meats.

What the Studies Found

I was concerned by these studies, and I must admit I stopped barbecuing for awhile. But I really missed the wonderful flavor that can only come from real barbecue, so I decided to take a close look at the studies. I wanted to resolve this paradox. The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price nearly all barbecued most of their meat and fish, and they had no cancer, despite the modern studies stating that barbecuing created carcinogens. Just as puzzling was the fact that humans have been cooking with fire for uncounted thousands of years, yet cancer is a very modern disease, unknown among people eating a traditional diet. If cooking with fire created cancer, humanity might have died out a long time ago. There had to be another explanation.

I decided to start by looking at the raw data. The studies found that barbecuing created two substances that were believed to be carcinogenic. One substance was created by cooking meat over direct high heat, especially when the flames touched the meat. The second substance was created when fat from the meat dripped directly on to the heat source, which created a smoke that went into the meat.

The key is that these substances were created only when the meat was cooked directly over the heat source.

Traditional Barbecue Methods Avoid the Creation of Carcinogens

My next step was to study the barbecuing methods of traditional peoples, which I did. What I found was fascinating. Most traditional barbecue was never done directly over the heat source. This was true for most peoples all over the world, and over time. The meat was cooked in front of, never directly over the heat source. The meat was invariably cooked over a container to catch the drippings, which were used for basting and as a condiment. This meant that the meat was never cooked over direct high heat, and never touched by the flames. This also meant that fat never dripped into the fire.

There were some exceptions to this rule. Some traditional peoples grilled directly over the fire, but set the grill so high over the coals that the heat was gentle, and the flames never touched the meat. Some European cooks grilled directly over the fire. The people who wrote older cookbooks looked down on this practice, stating that it gave “a noisome stink” to the meat, or that it was the mark of a bad cook.

Some peoples cooked small pieces of heavily marinated meat over a small fire, but this was the exception. Even these people kept the heat of the fire low, and kept the flames from touching the meat. Interestingly enough, the studies found that marinating meat reduced the formation of the suspect substances by 90 percent or more.

In other words, the cooking method that creates the carcinogens was not used by most traditional peoples. Use their methods, and you will not create the potential carcinogens mentioned in the studies.

But What about the Smoke?

A number of articles have been published over the Internet that point out the toxins given off by burning wood. But this is not a problem in traditional barbecue. That is because the most common fuel was one hundred percent hardwood charcoal. Charcoal is made by burning wood under controlled conditions. The toxic chemicals burn off during the process, and are gone by the time the charcoal is made. This process goes back many thousands of years.

Barbecue experts and traditional peoples did not cook over blazing raw wood, but made sure to burn the wood down to coals before cooking. Burning the wood down to coals also burns off the toxic chemicals, which literally go up in smoke.

So you can avoid the toxins in raw wood smoke by using one hundred percent hardwood charcoal, or burning your wood down to coals. These are the most traditional ways of using wood for cooking.

How to Adapt the Tradition to Modern Barbecues

Cooking in front of, not over the fire, is very different from the way most Americans grill. Grilling over direct high heat results in the creation of the substances mentioned in the studies. I believe that this method was created to deal with the extra water in factory meat, which requires direct high heat to be somewhat palatable rather than grey and soggy.

But grassfed meat, including steaks and burgers, cooks beautifully in front of, not over the heat source. The meat is never scorched or charred, and picks up a wonderful flavor from the coals. You can avoid the risks and have a perfect cooking method for grassfed barbecue by cooking in front of, not over the heat source.

This cooking method is used in all the recipes in Tender Grassfed Barbecue, and is the method I use whenever I barbecue. This July 4th, we are going to enjoy a beautiful thick prime rib steak, cut from a beautiful grassfed roast we got from U.S. Wellness Meats. And we will enjoy without fear, following the tradition of our ancestors.

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

Why Taste Enhancers Should Be Avoided and How to Do It

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

The smell of good food cooking like the smoke of good wood and barbecued grassfed meat is the only taste enhancer needed.

The smell of good food cooking is the only taste enhancer needed.

What if the food you ate was spiked with a chemical that caused you to have hallucinations? A chemical that distorted what you saw to the extent that you could not trust your eyes, because the chemical was causing your brain to see things that were not there? A chemical that caused you to see things the manufacturer and seller wanted you to see?

Would you object to such a chemical? Would you want such a deceptive chemical banned from the food supply?

Almost every person would. After all, we need to be able to trust what we see with our own eyes, to get accurate information from our senses. Yet you almost certainly have ingested many chemicals designed to deceive and trick your senses. Except the sense they deceive is not your eyesight, but your taste.

These chemicals are known as taste enhancers. If they appear on a food label at all (and they often do not), they can be called artificial flavors, or a host of other names.

The purpose of these chemicals is to trick your mind into believing it is eating something that is not there. Since our sense of taste serves many important functions, these functions are also deceived by this false information, and cannot function accurately. These chemicals have one purpose, to get you to buy the product they are placed in.

The Importance of Taste

We have over ten thousand taste buds in our mouths and tongue. They are there for a reason. The reasons include these:

  • To detect poison
  • To detect food that is good to eat
  • To detect spoiled food
  • To detect the presence of nutrients in a particular food
  • To signal the digestive system so it can properly prepare to digest the food that is coming
  • To stimulate the production of and release of saliva with the right mix of enzymes to predigest the food as we chew it
  • To regulate our appetite
  • To let us know when we have had enough

There are many other functions, almost certainly including functions we have not yet discovered. An accurate sense of taste is vital to our knowing what and how much to eat. For most of human history, we could trust our sense of taste. It protected us from harm, and provided the best possible feedback on how much we should eat.

I consider it crucial to have accurate taste feedback at all times. If the natural taste of something is really bad, or even a bit off, our body is telling us not to eat it. If the natural taste of something is really good, our body is telling us that we need the nutrients in that food, and to keep eating it. If we have eaten enough of a particular food, the taste changes, and we know when we have had enough.

For example, the first bite of a perfectly cooked grassfed steak will make me want to eat more, as it tastes so good. But after I have swallowed the nutrients that I need, the steak no longer tastes as good. My body is letting me know that I have had enough. If I were to force myself to eat more, the taste would become worse and worse. This is nature’s way of letting us know when we need to eat more of something, and when we need to eat less. If you eat only real food, cooked with the traditions of our ancestors, your sense of taste should work properly to let you know what to eat and how much. Since every one of us is unique, this is much more useful, in my opinion, than “one size fits all” nutritional guidelines.

But if you eat food spiked with taste enhancing chemicals, it is a different story.

The Trouble with Taste Enhancers

The first widespread flavor enhancer was Monosodium Glutamate, also known as MSG, which was invented in Japan. During World War II, American soldiers eating captured Japanese rations were astonished by how good they tasted. This lead to the widespread use of MSG in the American food industry, and to the creation of many other flavor enhancers.

Taste enhancers work on a neurological level, which means that they deceive the senses and directly affect the brain. Some make food appear to taste much better than it actually does. Others fool your brain and body into thinking you are eating meat, even when you are not. Others convince your brain that you are experiencing a particular taste, but you are not. This gives false information to your body and brain, and your natural functions act according to this false information. There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of chemical combinations that are used to enhance and create taste in processed foods, and in fast foods. They are created and modified by skilled chemists who are trying to create a particular taste or effect. Unfortunately, these chemists are very good at their jobs.

Why are taste enhancers used? To enhance profits. Processed foods and factory foods are designed for long shelf life. They often contain many ingredients whose natural taste is foul and revolting to humans. They are processed, often heavily, to remove these foul tastes, and often have very little flavor. Tasteless foods often contain fewer nutrients than tasty foods. If the flavor was not enhanced to be better, much better than it naturally is, very few people would eat these products, because they just would not taste good enough. While giving a false good taste to inferior processed foods is a major reason for the use of taste enhancers, it is not the only one.

Taste enhancers can get you to eat more and more of a particular food. They do this by sending false information to your brain that makes you believe that you want to eat more and more of the food they are added to. The problem is made even worse by the poor nutritional content of factory and packaged foods, which makes your body hungry for nutrients which are not there. This combination is one explanation why so many people will eat a whole bag of cookies, or pint of ice cream, or huge amounts of soft drinks, cereal, fast foods, and any number of other factory foods. Obviously, if people eat more and more of a product, profits are enhanced. Getting us to eat much more food than we actually need is a big key to the profits of the food industry. These chemicals can be so effective that they totally override the natural appetite control built into our sense of taste.

A third and related use is to get our brains to crave a particular product. If you crave a particular fast food item, or packaged food, what you really crave is the chemicals used to enhance its taste. I still have a craving for a particular fast food item. I have had that item only once in the last ten years, yet I still crave it. When I ate it, I wanted to eat more and more of it, no matter how much I had. I tried it a few months ago, just to see what would happen. I ordered a small amount, which I quickly wolfed down, much faster than I intended. I immediately wanted to eat more, and more. It took a lot of willpower to leave the place. When I researched the contents of that particular food, I found that it contained several chemical taste enhancers.

The biggest problem with taste enhancers is that they deceive our sense of taste, and reduces its ability to perform its natural functions. Which means that the ability of our sense of taste to prevent us from eating foods that we should not, and to regulate our appetite, is greatly diminished.

The Solution

It takes work, but there are great benefits to avoiding chemicals, eating real food, and helping your body function as it was intended to do. It has made a huge difference in my life, giving me much more harmony, joy, and health. And my sense of taste has improved steadily, greatly increasing my appreciation of the food I eat. And I eat much less than I used to, without effort.

The only way I have found to restore my sense of taste to its proper function is to avoid taste enhancers. This means avoiding all packaged foods, except certain organic items. Even then, I read every label and reject everything that has an ingredient with a scientific or chemical name, or includes the words “flavors,” or “spices.” There are some wonderful traditional fermented foods out there, but I will only buy from a company that I have checked out and trust. To the extent that I can, I cook everything from scratch. I do my best to obtain foods that have been raised without chemicals, and which are traditionally raised on good soil.

I use traditional cooking methods and ingredient combinations. I only eat grassfed meats, or in the case of pork or poultry, meats that are pastured or naturally raised. I generally avoid most restaurants, and I am very careful to know the food of the few restaurants I will eat in. I never eat fast food, except for that experiment I described above.

What if you do not know how to cook? I respectfully advise you to learn. I think cooking is one of the most important skills anyone can have, as it gives you the freedom and ability to eat and prepare food that will be wonderful for you and your loved ones. And, given that we are what we eat, what could be more important?

Is all of this a lot of trouble and work? You bet it is. But it is worth it. Convenience was and is the great temptation that convinced most of us to rely on packaged foods and factory foods. The work of obtaining good food and the work of preparing and cooking them allows my sense of taste to function properly. I eat much less, though I eat as much as I want. I feel content and renewed after every home-cooked meal. I enjoy my meals without any negative consequences. And eating this way has resulted in the best health of my life, by far, as my natural functions work as intended, without being deceived by chemicals.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat TuesdayReal Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Only Small Farms Produce Magical Food

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

Dry-aged grass-fed Porterhouse steak

Grassfed Porterhouse steak aged to perfection. Cut by master butcher Robert Webster.

I had pre-ordered a grassfed Porterhouse steak for a special occasion. My butcher had dry aged the meat for several weeks. I waited with anticipation as he finished trimming off the dark, dry exterior, while leaving a healthy fat cap on the steak. When he presented me with the finished steak, I was stunned. I had expected it to look good, but not like this.

You can see the steak in the accompanying photo, with a deep, beautiful color, well marbled with fine flecks of life giving grassfed fat. It was one of the most beautiful steaks I had ever seen. I could only imagine how good it would taste. It looked even better in person than in the photo.

I have had plenty of great meat from this particular rancher, but nothing that looked like this. I asked the butcher why this meat looked so outstanding. He told me that they had been getting some beautiful meat from this rancher recently, even better than his usual excellent grassfed meat. And he told me the secret. The rancher said that there was a special pasture that he could use only part of the year. There was something about that particular pasture that his cattle thrived on. Every year when they grazed that pasture, they produced outstanding meat even better than usual. And meat that had a great deal of beautiful grassfed marbling. And the taste was also much better. The rancher just knew that this particular parcel of pasture produced magnificent meat. He finished as many of his cattle as he could on that pasture.

We had that steak for a special occasion, and I can tell you that it tasted even better than it looked. The tenderness was outstanding, and the flavor—that flavor would have won a prize anywhere. If that steak was a wine, it would have been a prize vintage. It was like magic. The magic of a special pasture, used wisely by a skilled rancher, enhanced by the art of two master butchers.

No factory meat, fattened on industrial feed, could come close to tasting like this.

Real food raised by artisan farmers is good beyond belief, Industrial food has no magic.

One of the worst things about industrial food is that we lose the joy, the magic of food. . Once, in America, farmers just did not use an industrial mix to grow food or feed animals. They used the unique magic of the land itself. The local people knew what farmer had particularly good cherries, or corn, or beef, and these farmers used their knowledge of the unique aspects of their land to produce food that was so good it was magical. Fruits and vegetables were eaten in season, at the peak of their perfection. Cattle were finished on special pastures chosen for their richness and wonderful effect on the cattle. Cattle and sheep might graze in a particular meadow, whose plants would give a nice flavor to the meat. Every farmer and rancher had their own special knowledge, often passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. And they would use this special knowledge to create food that was so much tastier and nutritious than the industrial food of today that there is no comparison. Eating this artisan food will renew your body and energy, enabling all the natural functions of your body to perform perfectly.

Industrial agriculture produces food that has no soul. This food, raised with chemicals from a lab, has a mediocre taste that is the same no matter where it grown, and no art, no magic. Just fodder that people eat because they have gotten used to the mediocre taste, and know no better. Food that is inferior in taste, in appearance, in texture, and in nutrition. Food with no magic.

My father, who grew up in rural Canada many years ago, constantly told me how much better the food was, and how modern fruits, vegetables, and meat had hardly any flavor, and never made you feel good. I thought he was old, and lost his sense of taste. I realize now he was right all along.

Magic food only comes from small farms and ranches.

I have been blessed in being able to eat some unbelievably wonderful food on many occasions. Grassfed beef, grassfed bison, grassfed lamb, and heritage pork that have the magic that only a master rancher, with great pasture, can produce. Vegetables with so much flavor that they make even organic supermarket vegetables taste like cardboard. And I have experienced the wonderful nutrition you get from food like this. Not only do you have the great pleasure of eating magical food, your body feels wonderful and renewed. You never feel stuffed or bloated on food of this quality.

But you can only get food of this quality from one kind of place. A small farm or ranch, where the farmer knows the magic of producing superior, real food. Every farm and ranch like this is a treasure, one well worth preserving. The quality of food from such a place ranges from excellent to even better. And sometimes, if you buy just the right food at just the right time, you will experience the food magic that most modern people have lost.

Let us do all we can to support our great small farmers, so the magic will not die.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Real Food WednesdayFight Back Friday and Freaky Friday blog carnivals.

Michigan Massacre Kills Freedom, As Well As Hogs

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

We the People
Creative Commons License photo credit: Caveman Chuck Coker

The Michigan Massacre continues. Heritage pigs are being slaughtered, down to the last baby piglet. The farmers who own these pigs are forced to kill them, or watch them be killed by DNR agents. If they fail to cooperate, or resist, they face years in state prison and a felony conviction, along with huge fines. These farmers are having their herds destroyed without trial or hearing, losing their livelihoods without compensation. It is not only the pigs that are being massacred in Michigan, it is our liberty.

The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America provides in part:

“(N)or shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. . . ”

Due process means a fair hearing, with the right of appeal, except in the most dire emergency circumstances.

And domestic farm animals, including heritage pigs, are property.

Heritage hogs behind a fence are not that kind of emergency, not by any means. What due process did the Michigan pig farmers get?

There was no trial, no hearing of any kind, no right of appeal. The kill-all-pigs order did not even come from the state legislature. Instead, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources issued a regulation. A regulation that is totally insane. A regulation that demands the extermination of almost every breed of pig in the state, based on how they look, including all heritage breeds raised by small farmers. This applies even when the pigs are behind strong fences, with no chance of escape. Oh, but the pigs in the CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), raised in confinement, are not affected by the regulation. The Michigan Pork Producers Association used its lobbying power to block an attempt in the state legislature to delay the implementation of the regulation.

In other words, big corporate hog farms are not affected, while small farmers raising heritage pork will have all their pigs killed, without compensation.

What “due process” do the small farmers get? Several carloads of armed DNR agents, who show up at their farm giving the farmer the choice of killing all their pigs or being charged with a felony that could put them in state prison for years. The fact that the agents may have a warrant is not due process. This is the same kind of process used in every totalitarian dictatorship, from Nazi Germany to Soviet Russia to East Germany to North Korea—those armed thugs had papers as well.

Liberty is dying in Michigan this month, while the federal government and the Michigan government do nothing.

If corporate America is allowed to destroy the production of real food by influencing state regulatory agencies, there will be no real food.

Many small pig farmers have already destroyed their herds, afraid of going to state prison for years, and being heavily fined. But a few farmers are standing strong. This article and the accompanying video, on the Hartke Is Online blog, describes how a brave man is standing against this tyranny:

On the Darkest Days of the Local Foods Movement, a Hero Takes a Stand

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

 

 

Grassfed Ranchers and the Lean Meat Drug

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


drugfree zone
Creative Commons License photo credit: loop_oh 

Have you ever heard of ractopamine?

No? Do not feel bad, almost no one outside the meat and drug industry has heard of this drug. Yet, chances are that you have ingested residues of ractopamine a number of times, if you eat conventional pork, beef, or turkey.

Not to worry. Meat with the levels of residue allowed by the FDA is safe for human consumption. Our government says it is safe, so it is safe. Disturbingly, the European Union and even China disagrees, banning the import of American meat that contains residues of ractopamine, even at the safe levels set by the FDA.

But everyone agrees that ractopamine reduces the amount of fat in meat, making for leaner meat. It also enhances the growth of animals, making them bigger.

Since the fat of grassfed and pastured animals is the most nutrient-dense part, making the meat more tender and adding great flavor, I am completely opposed to any drug that would make meat leaner.

For this reason, I contacted my local farmer and every source I use for grassfed beef and pastured pork to see if they used ractopamine. The results will be discussed later in this post.

Saturated Fat Phobia Leads to the Development of Ractopamine

The insane fear of saturated animal fat led to the development of the lean, tasteless, tough pork that is so common today. As part of that process, ractopamine was developed. This drug does actually make the meat of animals leaner. Lean meat is what Big Ag wanted to sell, especially lean pork, which they used to call “the other white meat.”

  • Ractopamine was approved for pork in 1999.
  • Ractopamine was approved for beef in 2003.
  • Ractopamine was approved for turkey in 2008.

At this point, ractopamine is believed to be added to the feed of sixty to eighty percent of the pigs slaughtered for meat in the U.S.

Problems Arise

A problem arose soon after the introduction of ractopamine into the pork supply—the FDA received many reports of pigs becoming very ill, and even dying. The FDA dealt with this problem by asking the manufacturer to include a warning insert with the drug, which the manufacturer did.

A second problem arose when the European Union and China refused to allow meat with detectable ractopamine residues to be sold in their respective countries, even when the residue was at or below the level the FDA has declared safe. This issue is still in dispute, and has not been resolved. This has put a serious dent in American pork exports, and some beef exports. The solution seems simple enough—stop using ractopamine, and open up those markets. Yet Big Ag refuses to stop using the drug, and has persuaded the U.S. government to pressure the Europeans and Chinese into allowing the importation of U.S. meat with ractopamine residues. So far, the pressure has not worked.

Grassfed and Pastured Fat Is Nutritious and Makes Meat Delicious

Saturated animal fat is perhaps the most demonized of all foods. Yet this fat, if it comes from grassfed or pastured animals, is the very best source of many vital nutrients. The fat of grassfed and pastured animals is one of the oldest human foods, and nutrients from this fat are easily assimilated by the human body. See The Skinny on Fats.

I want my meat to have more fat, not less, and I certainly do not want to eat meat that has been made leaner by a drug, even if the meat is safe for human consumption.

The natural fat of grassfed and pastured animals helps keep the meat tender, and adds terrific natural flavor.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of eating the lean, tough, tasteless pork so common in the U.S. will understand why I never touch the stuff. It is tough and tastes terrible. But pastured pork, from heritage breeds, with plenty of fat, is absolutely delicious, and very tender.

I Poll My Grassfed Farmers

I asked my local farmer and all the producers I buy meat from, if they use ractopamine.

This includes Humboldt Grassfed Beef (my local farmer), U.S. Wellness Meats, Homestead Natural Foods, Alderspring Ranch, and Gaucho Ranch.

I am happy to say that NONE of them use any drug to raise their cattle or pigs, and that most of them had never even heard of ractopamine. These fine grassfed ranchers and farmers raise their meat the natural way, on grass, using their skill at raising grassfed and pastured animals to produce wonderful, healthy meat. I am so grateful to all of them for making this good meat available to me and my family, and so many others.

My solution to the issue is the same solution I use for almost every meat issue—buy only grassfed and pastured meats, and buy them only from ranchers I know and trust.

Sure has resulted in a number of delicious meals that make me feel so good!

If you are interested in learning more about ractopamine and the issues involving it, here is a link to an excellent and comprehensive article on the subject. Dispute over drug in feed limiting US meat exports

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

Before Weight Loss Surgery — Try Grassfed Fat

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

Pastured butter—one of the most delicious ways to get your cholesterol.

Pastured butter—this is what people used to eat to lose weight.

The FDA recently claimed that some advertisers of “Lap Band” weight loss surgeries were not properly disclosing the many dangers of the procedure.

It is a total mystery to me why anyone would accept the risks of surgery if they had any alternative. Why anybody would accept mutilation, internal scarring, and the insertion of a foreign device into their bodies. To have this done for the purpose of losing weight is incomprehensible to me.

But it is supposed to be so hard to lose weight, and to keep the weight off. And weight loss surgeries like gastric bypasses and the “Lap Band” are supposed to make it easy.

But there is a much safer and ultimately easier way that will work for most people. A way that was in common use before World War II, from a time when obesity was very rare. A way that is simple and effective. This is the “secret” that was commonly used in the early twentieth century, with great success—eat a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Weight Loss Before

Before animal fat was demonized by the completely discredited “lipid hypothesis,” there was no massive diet industry. There were no surgeries for weight loss. There was very little obesity. If somebody wanted to lose weight, the common medical response was to prescribe a low-carb, high-fat diet. This was so effective in achieving weight loss that obesity was not a problem. And people did not suffer from malnourishment with such a diet, as grassfed animal fat is one of the most nutrient-dense substances on Earth.

The food at that time was also different. There was much less processed food. Meat was always grassfed and grass-finished. While there was far too much sugar in the diets of many people, going on a low-carb, high-fat diet would remove the sugar-heavy foods and the carbohydrate-rich foods. People who went on the low-carb, high-fat diet would usually eat large amounts of pastured animal fats such as butter, lard, beef tallow, and fatty meats, from animals that were grassfed and pastured. The fat of grassfed animals is rich in CLA, a nutrient that actually reduces body fat. It was not hard for most people to stay on such a diet, because the animal fats are so satisfying.

Weighing too much was simply not a problem for most people, and when it was a problem, there was an easy solution that worked for almost everybody.

And there was no market for a huge diet industry.

The Change

Obesity started to become a huge problem after World War II. The fear of cholesterol was created, and eating fat was identified with consuming cholesterol. Animals in the U.S. were finished in feedlots, a practice that resulted in the animal losing almost all the CLA in its meat and fat. Doctors stopped prescribing the low-carb, high-fat diets that had been so effective in the past, because of the fear of animal fat. People ate more and more high-carbohydrate, processed foods, more sugar, and more food additives. At the same time, they greatly reduced their consumption of animal fats and greatly increased their consumption of vegetable oils that could only be made with modern technology.

The result? Americans became fatter, and fatter, and fatter. The diet industry was born.

Weight Loss Now

You would think that something would have been learned about the fact that high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets make people fat, after decades of experience. And you would be right. Unfortunately, one of the things that was learned is that such a diet would make huge numbers of people fat, and that a fortune could be made by keeping them fat and giving them weight loss programs that would provide only temporary relief. Thus, we have a multi-billion-dollar diet industry, a segment of the medical industry that “treats” obesity, and millions of suffering people who are exploited by these industries.

Millions of people starve themselves, and exercise themselves into exhaustion as they follow these programs and get advice from medical professionals, in a desperate attempt to lose weight. Most people who lose weight, after much effort, suffering, and expense, gain it back, and the whole horrible cycle starts again.

This has led to the creation of “weight loss” surgical procedures, which promise an easy way to keep weight off. Two of the most popular are gastric bypasses and “Lap Bands.”

A gastric bypass actually involves stapling the stomach, and rerouting the food digestion so the small intestine is avoided. Normally, all food passes through the small intestine, which is crucial to digestion. This make it impossible for the body to function properly in digesting food, which leads to weight loss.

A “Lap Band” involves the surgical, interior attachment of an inflatable belt around the stomach. The belt constricts the size of the stomach, so it cannot expand to hold more food to digest. This makes it impossible for the stomach to function properly in digesting food, which also leads to weight loss.

Both of these procedures have many risks and a high chance of serious side effects, which often lead to more surgeries to try to correct the problems that arise.

The Solution

My own personal experience has convinced me that the best way to deal with almost any body issue is to strengthen the natural functions of the body, by eating a nourishing traditional diet, full of foods rich in pastured animal fat. Surgeries that interfere with and disable the natural functions of the body are something that I would never agree to.

If weight is the issue, the low-carb, high-fat diet is tried and true. It is important to eat only real food and grassfed meats when you are on such a diet, as those were the foods available when the diet was common and obesity was rare.

I am not giving medical advice, just writing about how things were done and about my own experience. If you have a medical issue, you should consult a medical professional, preferably one who treats each patient as an individual and is open to new ideas.

There are many such diets, with the Atkins diet being the most famous. The book “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Sally Fallon Morell, describes an effective high-fat diet, using a Weston A. Price perspective. My friend Jimmy Moore is devoted to providing information on low-carb, high-fat diets, and there is a ton of useful information on his website, Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Blog. Jimmy will also answer questions about the subject by email.

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

Give the Gift of Real Food

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

Grass fed meat, roast potatoes, and cabbage for a Christmas holiday feast.

This delicious holiday meal of grassfed prime rib, pan-roasted potatoes, and sautéed cabbage was a joy to cook and eat.

This holiday season, like all holiday seasons, is a time to give and receive.

Gifts are a wonderful way to express your appreciation of another person, whether it is a relative or a friend. Some people are impressed by expensive, fancy gifts. I prefer gifts that give a real benefit, and the price or status of the gift is not important to me. A gift that shows something of the giver is often the best of all. A gift that gives pleasure, and supports joy, is a gift I cherish, both as a giver and a receiver.

Would you like to give a gift that has the following benefits:

  • Gives great pleasure to the person who receives it
  • Gives great pleasure to the giver
  • Creates a wonderful aroma in the home
  • Makes the person who receives it feel wonderful
  • Improves the natural functions of the body
  • Creates a wonderful feeling of contentment and satisfaction
  • Warms the body and soul

For me, this most magic of gifts is real food, skillfully and lovingly prepared.

The Most Traditional of Gifts

Many decisions are being made about gifts at this time of year. In modern times, we often think of commercial products like electronics, jewelry, designer clothing, and a host of other products when we are deciding what to give. Yet in older times, one of the most popular and appreciated gifts was that of food. Not just any food, but special foods that would not only be appreciated for their wonderful taste, but would nourish the body and soul of the receiver. These special foods were not factory candies and cakes, but some of the most nourishing and delicious real foods available.

Not only was the giving of special foods a tradition, but the cooking of those foods by a skilled cook was a much-anticipated blessing of the holiday season, and great efforts were made to have this happen. This was true for almost everybody. For the poor, the holiday season might be one of the few times they actually had grassfed meat or pastured pork to eat, or another special meat such as goose, or duck, or a capon. Grassfed or pastured meat, or wild fish, were the featured highlight of holiday meals. The traditional European holiday feast dishes covered such wonderful dishes as roast prime rib of beef, pork loin roasted with the skin on, rack of lamb, saddle of lamb, roast stuffed goose, roast stuffed turkey, roast duck, and many others.

What made these gifts unique is that they actually nourished the bodies of the lucky people who ate them, improving their natural functions and creating a wonderful feeling of well-being and contentment.

Traditionally, these foods were real food, not factory food, and were exactly the kind of traditional food our bodies welcome and thrive on.

It is true that many holiday foods were special desserts. But these were different than modern desserts. They always contained large amounts of saturated animal fat such as butter, lard, and egg yolks. They were only served at the end of a meal, when the eater’s body was well-nourished with traditional fats and other nutrients that protected the body from the effects of the sugar in the desserts.

GMOs, pesticides, and artificial chemicals had no place in these wonderful, traditional foods.

While you may not find much real food in the supermarket, local farmers and ranchers, and farmers’ markets often have wonderful real food available, including grassfed and pastured meat, and organic or the equivalent vegetables and fruits. There are some wonderful Internet sources of great grassfed and pastured meat. Three of my favorites are U.S. Wellness Meats, Homestead Natural Foods, and NorthStar Bison.

Give the Blessings of Your Cooking

Even the best quality real food needs a skilled cook. A skilled cook can turn the best natural ingredients into a feast that will provide great eating pleasure and nutrients to all who are lucky enough to share in the meal. If you can cook, the time and effort you put into making a holiday feast is a wonderful gift to all who eat it, and to yourself.

If you do not think of yourself as a skilled cook, I have some good news.

Cooking wonderful real food is easy, and simple. There is an old saying, “God gives us good meat, the devil sends us cooks.” The meaning of this saying is that high-quality food should not have its great natural taste overwhelmed by fancy and complicated cooking. The wonderful natural flavors and tastes of the food will do most of the magic for you. All you have to do is bring them out. The recipes I use create wonderful food, yet most of them are very simple and easy to use. Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue are full of simple recipes for grassfed and pastured meat that result in wonderful food, cooked in an easy and natural way.

I spend a big part of the holiday season planning and cooking the holiday feasts, as a gift to my loved ones. It is also a gift to me, as I also get to share in the feast!

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

Feast Without Fear — on Real Food

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

Santa's Workshop is the newest addition to my wife's Christmas Village collection this year.

Santa's Workshop is the newest addition to my wife's Christmas Village collection this year.

The holiday season has come. It should be a time of joy, a time to celebrate. Wonderful, special meals have always been part of the holiday season, but an ugly new element has entered the scene in the last few years—fear. Every holiday season, we are barraged with fear—fear of getting fat, fear of eating fat, fear of indigestion, fear of getting sick, fear of cholesterol, fear of heart disease, fear, fear, fear!

We are told, over and over again, to count calories, eat low fat, substitute dead factory foods for the rich, traditional holiday foods of our ancestors—where is the joy in that?

All of that fear is nonsense, if you eat properly prepared real food. Leave the factory products in the supermarket, and buy grassfed meats, grassfed organ meats, pastured pork, pastured poultry, traditional dairy, wild fish and seafood, organic or the equivalent fruits and vegetables, real pastured butter, traditional fermented foods, and make this the basis of your holiday feasts. You will not only enjoy a magnificent feast, but feel much better after eating these truly nourishing foods.

There is nothing to fear about eating real food. Nothing.

The Joy of Feasting

Almost every culture on Earth has celebrated holidays by enjoying a special meal, or meals. The finest meats, fish, vegetables, and almost every other kind of food were carefully prepared by traditional methods, and served in quantity during the feast. Many of the best recipes were specially designed for the holidays, and served only at that time. The Christmas feast was so important in old England that wages often included a fat goose at the holiday season—so even the middle and poorer classes could enjoy a special holiday feast. Fear of the food was not even an issue for most of our history, and the feasts were cherished, looked forward to, and enjoyed, with great gusto. Feasting is one of the most universal and traditional human joys, and a feast should be an occasion for pleasure, joy, and good fellowship for all.

This joy is often absent in modern times, where carefully designed propaganda has convinced many people to be afraid of food, especially the rich holiday specialties enjoyed by our ancestors. Fear ruins joy.

Real Food Feasts Are Good for Us

Not only is joy great for human health, along with being a great deal of fun, but the traditional foods of the feast are great for the natural functions of our bodies. Often these meals center around special cuts of meat, poultry, and fish, cooked in a traditional manner with rich sauces and side dishes. If real food is used, we are talking about grassfed meat, pastured pork, pastured poultry, wild fish and seafood, and flavorful organic fruits and vegetables. We are also talking about plenty of pastured butter, pastured cheese, and the wonderful saturated animal fat that comes from the pastured animals. These foods are exactly what our bodies crave, and give us the nutrition we need for our natural functions to work at their very best, which leaves us satisfied and feeling wonderful. When we eat a well-balanced meal of real food, we are getting all the nutrition that we need.

Traditional foods that are eaten at this time are often especially rich in the nutrients that our bodies crave.

Even though many traditional holiday desserts come with sugar, the traditional forms of these desserts are loaded with butter, cream , lard, egg yolks, and other sources of saturated animal fat that help protect our bodies from the effects of sugar. And the original forms of the desserts contained far less sugar than modern desserts.

When we are eating real food, our bodies regulate our appetite by what we actually ingest, because there are no phony chemicals or dead foods to con our bodies into overeating.

Many people equate feasting with feeling bloated or stuffed. I used to, until I switched completely to real food. I have never felt bloated or stuffed since.

Our Holiday Feast Plans

We have four feasts during this holiday season: Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. We start planning the menus right after Thanksgiving, and look for the best real food we can find.

This year, we will have grassfed prime rib for Christmas Eve, redolent with the unique, mouthwatering flavor that only grassfed prime rib has, along with a plethora of delicious side dishes.

For Christmas, we will have a pastured goose, stuffed with a traditional apple stuffing roasted inside the bird, with crisp goose skin—one of the most delicious things on earth, gravy from the drippings, and other wonderful side dishes.

New Year’s Eve will bring a pastured pork loin roast, with a magnificent fat cap, marinated with Polish seasonings, roasted on a bed of apples, surrounded by roasting potatoes crisped to perfection by the melting pork fat, and many other wonderful side dishes.

New Year’s Day itself will bring another prime rib. Why two prime ribs? Since we eat only grassfed beef, we could not decide whether to get a prime rib from U.S. Wellness Meats or Homestead Natural Foods. Both have wonderful meat, yet the flavor is quite different because the plants the cattle graze on are quite different. We solved the problem by getting both, and having them on different holidays. Besides, a major holiday is a perfect excuse for the expense of prime rib, a cut we all love.

How much will we eat? As much as we want, no more, no less. And we will feel wonderful.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat TuesdayReal Food Wednesday  and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

My New Podcast at the Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore!

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

Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman, a new barbecue cookbook is now available at Amazon.

By Stanley A. Fishman

 

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jimmy Moore about my new book, Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo. We had a blast talking barbecue, the grassfed kind!

We talked about many things, including: how traditional barbecue avoids the factors that create carcinogens, how traditional barbecue differs from modern grilling, and is ideal for grassfed beef, bison, lamb and pastured pork. About how grassfed meat is ideal for Paleo and low-carb diets, and how the book supports those diets in the best possible way—delicious food. And we discussed “The Jimmy Moore” and many other things. Here is a link to the podcast:

518: Authors Stanley Fishman and Norm Robillard on Barbecue and Heartburn

 

 

Another Great Benefit from Grassfed Animal Fat

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

Pastured butter—one of the most delicious ways to get your cholesterol.

Pastured butter—one of the most delicious ways to get your cholesterol.

Anyone who reads my books or this blog will soon realize that I am a passionate advocate for the benefits of eating animal fat.

Anyone who has seen me in the kitchen knows that I practice what I preach, NEVER trimming off any fat from the meat, using large amounts of natural lard, pastured butter, grassfed beef tallow, lamb tallow, bison suet, uncured fatty bacon, and duck fat in my cooking.

Anyone who has seen me at the dinner table will know that I put my fork where my advocacy is, eating huge amounts of pastured butter, grassfed animal fat, well-marbled grassfed meat, chicken skin, turkey skin, duck skin, goose skin, pastured pork fat, and the crisp wonderful fat from all kinds of roasts.

When people learn about my fondness for animal fat, they almost always ask this question, in one form or another—“But what about the cholesterol? Doesn’t that fat contain plenty of cholesterol?”

Yes, it does. And that is one of the reason I eat it—for the cholesterol.

The Blessings of Cholesterol

I recently had the pleasure of watching a DVD entitled “The Oiling of America.” This DVD was made during a lecture given by Sally Fallon Morell, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The lecture was based on research done by Dr. Mary Enig, the renowned scientist who discovered the danger in artificial trans fats. I highly recommend this DVD to everyone, and it is my source for this column.

Some of the most important facts I learned from this superb DVD are as follows:

  • Cholesterol is vital for life and the natural functions of the body.
  • If you had no cholesterol, you would be dead. It is that simple.
  • Cholesterol is used by the body to keep water out of our cells, so they can function properly.
  • Cholesterol is used by the body to make Vitamin D, in combination with sunlight.
  • Cholesterol is used by the body to make many vital hormones, including all the sex hormones.
  • Cholesterol is what the body uses to repair damage. Cholesterol actually repairs tears in arteries, rather than clogging them. The body uses cholesterol to repair other wounds and damage as well.
  • Cholesterol is used by the immune system to fight off infections and disease.
  • Cholesterol is crucial for the proper functioning of our brains—much of the brain is made up of cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol is used by the body to make serotonin, the chemical used by the body to prevent depression.
  • Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant, used by the natural functions of the body to protect itself from free radicals. Free radicals have been implicated in many diseases, such as cancer.

These are just some of the blessings of cholesterol, there are many others.

Some of the other facts I learned from The Oiling of America:

  • Cholesterol does not cause heart disease.
  • Cholesterol does not clog arteries. In fact, when arteries or damaged or clogged, the body sends cholesterol to fix the problem. That is why some cholesterol is found in clogged arteries, along with much larger amounts of other substances that actually clog the arteries. Blaming cholesterol for clogging arteries is like blaming firemen for the damage caused by a fire they fight.
  • Women and all elderly people with higher cholesterol live longer and are healthier than women and elderly with low cholesterol.
  • Eating cholesterol does not increase the cholesterol level, as the body will make the cholesterol it needs and does not get from food. Trouble comes when a weakened body cannot make enough cholesterol, and there is not enough cholesterol in the diet.
  • All the cholesterol made by the body and included in natural foods is good, and is used by the body. The only bad cholesterol is an oxidized form found in some processed and refined foods.

But What about the Studies?

Yes, there are a number of studies that are interpreted to support the common belief that cholesterol is bad for health and causes heart disease. Most of these studies are funded by drug companies, or other organizations that have a direct financial interest in perpetuating the error that cholesterol is bad. Because of this conflict of interest, they do not persuade me.

Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig do a great job of exposing the statistical manipulation, cherry picking, tricks, and other misleading mechanisms used to misinterpret the results of these studies, going through this in great detail. After seeing the calm and convincing debunking of these studies, it is clear that they have been manipulated for a reason. And that reason is profit.

Finally, all of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price ate foods rich in cholesterol, in amounts much greater than any modern people. None of them had heart disease.

My thanks to Sally Fallon Morell for giving me permission to use the information in The Oiling of America. You can purchase the DVD Oiling of America here.

I will continue to enjoy my delicious diet rich in natural animal fats, knowing it is great for the natural functions of my body.

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

 

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