There is a lively debate occurring at all levels of government about how we need to cut spending in order to be more fiscally responsible. Without turning this into a political discussion, I think most of us can identify areas where OUR money is being wasted without having to strain our eyes very hard.
Case in point – Last week the USDA gave us a new guide to healthy eating, the colorful food plate shown above. Granted it is simpler than the food pyramid, but is it really going to motivate anyone to eat a better diet? And why should the obvious work product of big, commodity agriculture be the standard for what is a healthy diet? Clearly it isn’t.
Personally I think the food plate as advocated by the folks at Nom Nom Paleo makes a lot more sense.
1) We harvested our first “new” potatoes yesterday (a mixture of La Ratte fingerlings, Cranberry Red’s, and Arran Victory). They should make a great side dish tonight to go along with our Spice Rub Slow-Cooked Chicken from Everyday Paleo.
2) The NIH has halted a major trial of a combination drug (a statin and Niacin) that was expected to have benefits to people with cardiovascular risk. “The lack of effect on cardiovascular events is unexpected and a striking contrast to the results of previous trials and observational studies….” Here is a link to more information.
3) Yesterday our family sampled the burgers (grass fed beef) and fries (cooked in duck fat) from Bull City Burger and Brewery. Highly recommended!
4) What do you think about these two? Separated at birth?
Thanks to everyone who entered the June Fitness Challenge by posting a goal for the month and also to Sarah Fragoso for providing a signed copy of her book, Everyday Paleo. As promised a winner was selected on June 1 (congratulations to Donovan, my buddy from CrossFit Local Boot Camp). Honestly it is somewhat surprising that we were able to pick a winner given that we were pulling the names from a Chicago Cubs baseball hat.
For those of you that didn’t win, seriously consider purchasing Sarah’s book – it is a great resource for folks new to eating a Paleo diet or for encouraging family members to get on board, especially kids. There are suggestions on what foods to stock your pantry with, color photographs of each recipe, and a 30 day family meal planner to get you over the initial hump.
My family has already sampled the “Pecan-Crusted Chicken” recipe and it got thumbs up from everyone. This week we are planning to try the “Spice Rub Slow-Cooked Chicken” and also the “Marvelous Meatballs.” Yum!
And Everyday Paleo isn’t just an outstanding cookbook. It contains an introduction to Paleo from Sarah’s point of view, including her personal struggles and challenges. For me, Sarah sharing her story (both the good and the bad) is what makes the book so compelling.
Lastly, the book contains about 70 pages of basic fitness routines. By basic, I don’t necessarily mean easy, but rather exercises that can be done in your home with little, if any, additional equipment. And like the section of the book focused on food, the fitness section is geared toward family participation. Getting family buy-in on things like food and fitness can be incredibility challenging, but Sarah definitely has some excellent tips for making this easier.
1) Dr. Andrew Weil has recently revised his stance on saturated fats:
“You’re correct that my thinking on saturated fat has evolved. One catalyst was a scientific analysis of 21 earlier studies, which showed “no significant evidence” that saturated fat in the diet is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The 21 studies analyzed included nearly 348,000 participants, most of whom were healthy when they were enrolled. They were followed for five to 23 years, during which 11,000 developed heart disease or had a stroke. Looking back at the dietary information collected from these thousands of participants, the investigators found no difference in the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or coronary vascular disease between those individuals with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat. This goes completely against the conventional medical wisdom of the past 40 years. It now appears that many studies used to support the low-fat recommendation had serious flaws.”
2) In spite of Dr. Weil’s intelligent reevaluation of the facts, our local newspaper dietician, Suzanne Havala Hobbs, continues to dole out the dogmatic advice of avoiding “artery clogging saturated fats.” Come on Mrs. Hobbs, your readers deserve guidance that is based on sound science, not fat phobic conventional wisdom.
3) If you are interested in making your own bacon, check out my guest post at Robb Wolf’s site. This post is similar to my very first blog post Makin’ Bacon; however I have made the instructions much easier to follow.
4) You have a few days left to post your June fitness goal in order to be eligible for the free, signed copy of Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo. I will pick a winner on June 1.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.“ - Hippocrates
In my wayward vegetarian days, before finding Weston A. Price and eventually Paleo, I ate my fair share of faux food: soy ground beef crumbles, egg substitutes made from tofu, heart-healthy margarine, and my favorite, seitan (pure wheat gluten). For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, check out this 30 second “public service announcement” from Ron Swanson of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Continue reading
This is the second season I have grown Hakurei turnips, and they look fabulous! Instead of growing them in my poorest soil (like last year), I amended several raised beds with double doses of compost. Most root vegetables need this loose soil structure created by the compost so they can easily expand.
The Hakurei variety is also known as the Tokyo or salad turnip. The Hakurei is a perfect cross between a turnip (earthy) and a radish (spicy) with a hint of sweetness. While typically eaten raw, tonight I am roasting them in the oven to go along with grilled pork tenderloin. In addition, I will use the turnip greens (sautéed) as a second side dish.
These turnips are becoming more and more common so look for them at your local farmers market. And remember to save (and eat) those greens.
photo credit: realhealthdebate.com
Last week Harley Johnson (a.k.a. Durianrider) champion of the “low fat, raw, vegan” experiment attempted to debate Richard Nikoley (blogger at Free the Animal). With facts and reasoning on his side, Richard clearly articulated the benefits of eating a Paleo diet based on nutrient dense animal products.
At one point in the debate, Richard challenged the listeners to compare the nutritional value of a small four ounce serving of beef liver to a “healthy” vegan alternative. One listener (via 30 Bananas a Day) suggested that his meal of 5 pounds of fruit (mangos and strawberries) was nutritionally equivalent to the liver. Five pounds of fruit (at one meal) – You must be joking (211 grams of sugary carbohydrates)!
Note: Not everyone loves to eat liver; however almost any cut of pasture-raised meat will show a vastly superior nutritional profile to the vegan alternative.
My worldview is strongly shaped by a belief that humans are a product of millions of years of evolution and adaptation. While our large brains have enabled us to achieve great things (from a human point of view), we too often think that evolutionary rules do not apply to us, that we are special and different from the other creatures on the planet.
A case in point is the belief that humans are best suited to a vegan diet, one devoid of ANY animal products. This belief is based on a moral argument that says keeping and/or killing animals for human needs and nutrition is wrong and unnecessary. While I can appreciate the sentiment, it totally ignores how our species has eaten (AND ADAPTED) for thousands of generations.
Let me be clear – I think that vegetarians, partaking of nutrient dense animal products such as eggs, milk, and cheese, can live in a healthy fashion. Vegans on the other hand are choosing to ignore evolution and experiment with an unproven diet. I do not think their experiment will end well.
Photo credit: Allen Gathman
A reader (Joyce) sent me the following email asking for my thoughts about using a root cellar in North Carolina.
I would love to read if you and your family have ventured into the world of food preservation. Having grown up in the Midwest with root cellars, I’ve been trying to find info on using root cellars here (we’re in Charlotte). I can’t seem to find anything. Do you know if there is a tradition of root cellars in the Carolinas? Our rocky clay soil really retains water which doesn’t bode well for my root cellar dreams, but I can’t think of any other way to preserve food without electricity or dehydrating. I really don’t want to live entirely off dehydrated foods.
Great question! Continue reading
I want to take the opportunity to say thanks to all of the readers of Soil to Sustenance who have visited during its first three months. Your comments, encouragement, and suggestions have been fantastic.
Also I want to say a special welcome to first-time readers who found the site via Real Food Wednesday. You can subscribe to the blog by clicking on the RSS feed button or email button in the upper right hand corner and if you read a post you particularly like, please take advantage of the “Share” button.
Generally, I write about experiences here on the farm, as well as my ideas about food and nutrition. Below are a few highlights since the blog began in December.
1) My So Called Healthy Diet – Part One, Part Two, and Part Three provide an overview of my journey to improve diet and health.
2) A couple of widely-read farm posts are Keeping a Family Cow and Fashioning a Farm.
3) Experiments in Blood Glucose Control – Part One and Part Two explain how I was able to improve my blood glucose levels through diet and exercise.
4) Finally, Do You Have a Healthy Heart is an introduction to heart rate variability and how it can be used as a predictor of disease and stress.
Even if you don’t have a specific comment, feel free to say hello and introduce yourself.
Cognitive Dissonance: “an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously.”
When faced with facts that are hard to explain or inconvenient, many of our leading health experts take an approach of willfully sticking their fingers into their ears or repeating their pet theory over-and-over, as if that will make it true. Unfortunately this approach doesn’t advance our knowledge and understanding and limits our ability to deal with many modern day health problems.
Below are a few examples where conventional wisdom doesn’t seem to match all of the facts. Continue reading