Of Kale and Coffee

“What’s wrong with kale?” a reader wanted to know after my post about parental bribery, which was not really about kale. I trust this means that my point about parenting was well-taken, at least.

If I didn’t have a personal clean speech policy, I’d gladly don the t-shirt that Paul Salad-no–er, Saladino–likes to wear:

I know people hear that and think it’s some kind of anti-health joke, but I am in earnest when I say you shouldn’t eat it. It is mostly unusable fiber, useful only for making your poops big. It is also loaded with compounds that both inhibit absorption of any nutrients that might be found in it and could potentially harm you in other ways. Cooking it can take care of some of these chemicals, but not all. It’s a leafy green that has iron, you say? Sorry, mom, it’s not iron that a human body can use very well. You’re much better off eating an ounce of liver, or just plain old ground beef, than several cups of kale.

The goitrogens found in kale and all of its relatives are the main reason I find that mother’s feeding of her children to be appalling. That wasn’t just kale, but raw kale. The kids’ thyroids will survive a few doses of that, but over a lifetime? This is an incredibly bad idea.

Is kale good for anything? Well, we took a weekend trip to Asheville a few years ago and saw that they had kale planted in the flower beds. I approve of this use of kale. And look, if you cook it real good to get the goitrogens out and eat it far, far away from any foods you want to actually absorb, you can eat some kale and not be harmed by it. If you really like it (you freak), your pleasure is a good). It’s not actual poison in the right dose, delivered the right way. You might even get some trace minerals with your snack, if you salt it with an unrefined salt. But kale is not really helping anything, once you factor in the numerous downsides.

And now I turn my baleful gaze on coffee. I can hear you already screaming “Why do you have to ruin everything, Cindy? Why?!” Coffee is good for you. Everybody says so. Just like kale. In fact, Ken Berry says it’s good for you (or did, back when he posted this), so you can comfort yourself with this happy video:

I believe I heard that the good doctor has quit coffee himself now, and become somewhat less certain of himself in this regard.

I’ll let Paul Saladino explain the problem with coffee, which also happens to be the problem with chocolate.

If you don’t have time to watch, that’s fine. It’s all pretty sciencey and involved. Suffice it to say that there are good reasons to turn down that morning cup of wakefulness.

For myself, coffee and chocolate both were causing hormonal acne. I’m not sure if it was the high cortisol, the disturbed sleep, some chemical from the growing or processing of those beans, or something else I can’t even think of, but my face had at least one, sometimes two or three new oil volcanoes every month, right about that time, IYKWIM. I looked awful. One thing I’m certain of is that caffeine all by itself is not causing these problems. I’m still having the equivalent of one to two cups a day with Run gum (that link gets you 20% off for the next two shoppers that use it), which I will be stopping as soon as I feel like it, which is not right now. I also like a yerba mate or yaupon tea from time to time, as they’re a low-oxalate alternative to pekoe tea.

I quit chocolate first, and things got some better. I did see improvement, but not enough to think I’d really solved the problem. It wasn’t until I finally broke the coffee (not to say the caffeine) habit that I experienced healing to an extent that made me a believer. Since I quit, my body temperature has risen, as well, so it was affecting my thyroid, as well.

These beans are not good for me.

Should you quit your coffee? I don’t know. If you’re sleeping beautifully (you’ll have to let me tell you about my Oura ring sometime!), no skin problems, stable mood, no gut or hormonal problems, then go ahead and enjoy your bitter brew. But know that it’s probably going to bite you someday if you can’t moderate the habit.

You should definitely quit kale though. Definitely.

One of Us Is Miserable

And it ain’t me.

A few weeks ago, we had some men removing some dead trees around our house. While I was walking out with one of them to look at the job, he asked how I was doing today.

“I’m a little bit groggy, but good. Quit coffee.”

“Why’d you do that?”

“It’s just not good for me at all.”

“Does everything you do have to be good for you?”

That question struck me as funny. It gave me a little insight into the thinking of a guy whose physical condition and demeanor makes me think he’s probably not doing very many things that are good for him at all. In fact, I think he’s probably having a lot of temporary fun at the expense of his future happiness. He seems to be about my age, maybe a few years older, but he already has greying hair, a big ol’ fatty-liver belly, and weathered-looking skin that makes me think an early bedtime and clean food and drink are not priorities for him. Nice guy, still has a great set of teeth.

He’d driven past while I was out running earlier in the week, and probably at this point figured out that I’m pretty heavily invested in my health. I don’t care what a random guy thinks of my lifestyle, but it made me want to explain myself to the Universe, which is about all this blog is good for.

Does everything I do have to be good for me?

Well, no. In fact, not everything I do is good for me. For instance, today is my birthday, and I will probably eat something ill-advised, but not too ill-advised, certainly not cake, right before I have a gin and tonic and go bowling with Get Along Husband. I don’t know why, but one little drink makes me much better at bowling. For that matter, it’s a magic elixir for playing piano and writing, as well. So I guess you could say it’s good for me in some small respect. Two drinks, though, and I’m nearly retarded, so it’s a self-limiting indulgence.

Since I’m in good health after a few years of intensive repairs, it’s not really much of a ding at all to my system to have a little birthday treat. But if I did things like that regularly, instead of just on my birthday, I’d eventually slide down into the same pit this guy is clearly headed for. How long would it take? How many times a month or week could I get away with such things? I don’t know. I used to joke that when I’m ninety, I’m going to take back up smoking and eating pizza. I can’t possibly have long enough to live after that for those things to really wreck me, right?

But I no longer joke that way. When I’m ninety, I expect I’ll care just as much about the way I feel as I do today at…well, I’m not twenty-nine anymore, anyway. Or even thirty-nine. Sob.

Obviously, there are people who look at the lifestyle I’ve gotten myself into and think it looks absolutely miserable. I exercise for at least forty-five minutes, four to six days a week. I have very little “entertainment food”. (Anything that is not meat is entertainment food.) I have regular bedtimes. I’m still working on no drugs, since caffeine is a drug, and I still dose that in the form of an energy gum. It doesn’t harm me the way coffee does for some reason. I consume very little alcohol. It sounds awful to some because they want comfort, self-indulgence, and entertainment all the time. Many people don’t think what I’m doing would fulfill all those “needs” of theirs.

That’s just not true! I am very satisfied with my food. I’m entertained by all sorts of non-food and drink activities. I’m pain-free. I’m having so much FUN zipping (it’s zipping for me, anyway) up and down these mountain roads, lifting heavy weights, and doing high intensity training. I feel good pretty much all the time. I’m not huffing and puffing just walking around. I don’t have pain in every joint from eating inflammatory foods. I could go on, but suffice it to say, as Owen Benjamin likes to phrase it, nobody is having more fun than me! (I know, that should be “I”, not “me”, but good grammar just doesn’t sound like as much fun, does it?)

When I first started on the long road to getting fit, I had a negative goal. I didn’t cut carbs and seed oils out of my life in order to feel good. I cut them out because I felt bad. I sometimes thought I was condemning myself to a life of no pleasure, every day, forever. I once sat and watched people eat pizza and a lone little tear trickled out of my left eye, because I missed it that much. But even without a vision of myself in good health and mental state, I still had a very compelling example before me as I watched my grandmother’s decline.

She was diagnosed with Type II diabetes many years ago, and I watched her devolve over those decades from a vibrant, hard-working, helpful (sometimes overly so, bless her heart) individual with a rock-solid will and an inordinate amount of self-confidence to a frail, sad, weak, dependent old lady with several advanced diseases, all metabolic in nature. It was sad and frustrating to stand helplessly by as doctors operated and injected and dosed her to death, when all she really needed was to stop taking the poison that had made her that way. She died last October, and instead of celebrating a long, victorious, productive life, we were mostly just relieved that she was no longer suffering. I simply did not want to live or die like that.

It didn’t have to be that way.  Her food was poison to her body and her mind, and nobody ever told her until it was too late. So far as in me lies the ability, I won’t let it be that way for myself, or for anybody else that I have any direct influence over.

Now, though, I don’t do “crazy” health things because I’m scared. I do them because I enjoy life in a way that I didn’t even know was possible before. I now have a positive reason for not eating that nasty, super-sweet birthday cake I used to think was so good: I want to feel good on my birthday! I want to have as many good birthdays as possible!

I want that so much, in fact, that there’s a good chance that, while I do fully intend to let loose a little bit today, I may come to the point of decision and not even care if I have a treat or not. I can take the ding to my temporary metabolic state. It’s hardly even a thing at this point. But I don’t have to. I can just not do that.

That is power.

And I guess that’s the point I really want to bring to my reader today, especially if you’re a food or drug or caffeine (I’m still working on that, myself) addict. You always have a choice to make, even in the middle of that bite you shouldn’t have taken. You can spit it out. You can choose to do better with the very next breath, without hating yourself, without punishing yourself, you can just decide right now:

“No, I want to feel good. I want to perform. I want to be sharp-minded. I want to be proud of myself. I don’t want to be a slave to my pleasures any more. I don’t want to become weak, demented, and helpless.”

It is not a life of misery to love the body God gave you enough to go through the emotional pain of not eating or drinking the things that you just can’t resist. It is temporary. Once you’re through it, you’re through it, and for the rest of your life your health will be as much within your control as the Lord wills.

Everything I do doesn’t have to be good for me, but everything I do does have to be a conscious and rational choice that doesn’t hinder me from getting better and better. I’m in a place where I can do that now, and it feels like super-power. I’m not special. Anybody can get here, and if anybody reading this wants personal encouragement, hit me up in the comments or by email, and I’ll cheer you on and advise you as much as I can.

Food, Food Everywhere

And not a bite to eat.

We’ve been attending a new church lately, and we’re really feeling like we’ve finally found a home. One thing I’ve found about Christians is that they’re pretty lovable, so it’s not too hard to jump right in and get to know them. There is a little bit of awkwardness because of the differences in how we live out our faith as compared to the vast majority of Christians. Nobody condemns us, of course. Quite the contrary: while they don’t join us in our convictions, they often (claim to) admire them. I feel like if they really admired the differences, they’d adopt them. But at least they’re willing to step inside our worldview long enough to relate to it. I can content myself with that.

But explanations must occasionally be made. Where many are content, or feel they are forced by circumstance, to send their children to public schools, we think that Christians are called to protect their children from Godless indoctrination, whatever the cost. While I cover my head in worship (but never my face), most regard that act as outdated and legalistic. Unlike practically every evangelical Christian in the South, we don’t believe that it is a sin, or even unwise, to drink wine at appropriate times. These last few years, I’ve had to add one more thing to the ever-growing pile of differences to be navigated in a group setting: food.

Y’all know what church food is like. It’s the Standard American Diet, but with more of everything that is wrong with it. More sugar, more flour, more seed oil, more “love” in every bite. Also, more heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in every body. I know this can’t please God, and I can’t get comfortable with it.

Of course, most churches don’t meet for a meal every single day, or even every week, so excepting my own very restricted diet and a few serious allergens that must be avoided, a meal once in a while that includes a lot of refined carbohydrates or seed oils should be something the kids can just skate past with little difficulty. But I don’t want them to learn to take poor nutrition as a fact of religious life. It just rubs me the wrong way to make egregious exceptions for the sake of fellowship. I try my best to guide the children in eating what is advantageous to their bodies, and politely declining the rest, while hopefully managing not to take ourselves too far outside the group’s comfort zone. We often don’t even have to mention it, but can just pick and choose from the available items.

But sometimes we do appear extreme. We have a gluten problem for one of my children that makes any amount of wheat beyond that found in a communion cracker a health and behavioral nightmare. I trust that eating that will not harm the child because of the nature of the Sacrament. I don’t honestly think any human digests wheat or any other grain as well as they think they do, so I keep it out of all of our diets. I very much appreciate when there are gluten-free options at the table for our family. This church has gone above and beyond to try to make our family comfortable in this and other ways.

Our family’s food culture is so different that we can’t impose our needs on the whole group. It’s funny to me. The way we eat is much simpler, from buying, to cooking, to clean-up. It’s basically a lot of meat and some fruit, with a few of what I think of as the gentler vegetables for variety. Plain fare like this should be less of a logistical problem than all of these complicated casseroles and desserts, but people just don’t want to eat that way. They want bread. They want the kinds of hyper-palatable messes I used to make in the kitchen. I can’t blame them for wanting to eat what they’ve always eaten. That stuff tastes like love, doesn’t it? But it’s not love. It’s not even food, half the time.

I can’t blame them. Nor can I join them in it on anything like a regular basis. To keep our food healthful, while still enjoying the fellowship of others, here’s what we’ve become accustomed to doing for any church or family function that includes a meal:

Eat before you go. How much you eat beforehand depends very much on the menu where you’re going. I can eat the main things at a cookout, but there’s never an acceptable dish at a covered-dish dinner. I don’t want to eat more than my expected share of the real food, either, so I still need to be not-too-hungry even when there are meat-only options. Real food does cost more. That’s part of why is it so hard to make inroads into the way people think about food. Most of the Christians I know, including myself, don’t have a lot of money to throw around. The best way around this discomfort is to be no hungrier when you go than you need to be to enjoy a little bit of the repast. I often make these protein shakes for the kids before we go so they don’t feel deprived with a lighter plate later.

Bring a dish to share. Even if it’s fully catered, nobody is going to mind if you plop down a dish or two of whatever you’re having.

Bring your own snack stuff. If I’m not able to make a dish for everyone to share, I will as discretely as possible pull my stash of meat sticks and cheese out of my purse to dole out to the kids when they find their plates a little light.

Fast and enjoy the company. You don’t have to eat, you know. Just grab a cup of coffee or water and sit down to chat. People will notice you’re not eating and ask if you want to get a plate. Practically nothing embarrasses me, so I’m taking other people’s word for it that this is uncomfortable. I just say “No thanks, I already ate.” or something like that. You don’t have to explain your crazy diet to everybody, and they’d probably rather not hear about it anyway.

Here’s what’s hard about all this, and it causes me to compromise occasionally: it makes people feel inadequate when they can’t feed you. They want to share, and you won’t let them. It’s alienating. I don’t ever want people to feel that way! So I do sometimes bend the rules and allow the kids to eat gluten-free breads and pastas where I wouldn’t dream of doing so in our home. They sometimes get to eat some candy I wouldn’t allow as a rule. As we get to know people better, they do get more comfortable with our weirdness, so the compromises aren’t habitual or permanent. Sometimes we just have to take the hit for the sake of fellowship.

We don’t eat this way to be separate or to keep ourselves above the cultural milieu, but because I truly believe it results in the very best health a person can achieve in this sick world. Ultimately, I’d like our family’s healthy way of eating to rub off on the community around us. I’d like to see everybody in my community as vigorously healthy as possible, so that they may serve the Lord even more effectively than they already do. I can’t help them with that while indulging in cake and spaghetti, so I do believe that any compromises should be strategic and short-term.

Thus far, people seem happy to allow for our quirks, but hardly anyone ever joins us in them. I’m not by nature a patient person, but I know it’s a long game we’re playing. You can’t change a culture before it’s ready to change. All you can really do is be a light to those can be made to see, while trying not to mind that the darkness doesn’t comprehend. This is as true of nutrition as it is of any other aspect of culture.

How about you? Do you have any tips for navigating a dangerous dietary landscape without making a fuss?

(None of my links are affiliate links unless otherwise noted. I usually just link to products because I like them.)

Some Food Discoveries

Happy food, sad food.

We had a birthday in the family last week, so I took the opportunity to enjoy a piece of my Cake Simulator, this time as a spice cake with peach butter cream frosting (recipes to follow shortly). I veered off my happy carnivore trail for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I wanted to make sure it tastes good, because I haven’t had this version of the Simulation.

Secondly, I accidently bought another round of Nutrisense CGM monitoring, so I had a chance to make absolutely sure this cake doesn’t spike the glucose. I did it for you. I did it for science. I did it because I’m an idiot. Don’t forget to pause your subscription, guys. It auto-renews. Since I didn’t get to do any experimenting at all during the weeks I was intending to, due to an illness, I’m not terribly sorry I have another month to play around with my sugars, though I can’t say I feel good about the expense.

And thirdly, I wanted to see if the oxalate content of tiger-nut flour is enough to trigger my bladder problems. I hadn’t had any in a while, so I couldn’t remember if that was an effect I thought I’d observed or not.

Well, the results are in.

Taste: The thing you’re most concerned with, I’m sure, since that was what I was most concerned with, is how does it taste? I’m pleased to report that it was very, very tasty. A little bit of a bitterness in the mouth afterwards due to the stevia, but while eating it, it’s the best thing ever. Just don’t drink coffee with it, because it increases that aftertaste to a disgusting degree. I can’t understand how anybody “sweetens” coffee with stevia. Blech.

Glucose acceptability:

The farthest red dot to the left is the point at which I ate the cake. I’d been fasting until that point. You can see no spike from this, so I’m pretty confident in saying you can probably have at least one (1/16 of the cake) serving without losing your keto badge for the day. The little “spike” after it was exercise-induced. Your mileage may vary, of course. I’ve seen my glucose spike from “low-carb” foods that didn’t affect Get Along Husband in the slightest, so you want to do your own testing to be sure.

And thirdly, the oxalates. Because I have a lot of scar-tissue around my bladder after all the c-sections (I think this is why, anyway), foods high in oxalate cause me to have a hard time emptying my bladder, usually first thing in the morning. I can’t drink teas or eat spinach (like anybody would want to eat spinach anyway), and many other things cause these problems. And, sadly, tiger-nut flour must have enough oxalate to trigger this dysfunction for me. I was very uncomfortable when I woke up this morning, and took a few hours to finally be back to normal. If you have oxalate troubles, skip this food.

Better be laying in them beans and rice, ammiright? Besides the cake discovery, I’ve also found a very unexpected problem for my children. Over the last few years, I’ve heavily restricted grains and seeds from my children’s diets. We will very occasionally allow organic corn products. I believe grains are detrimental when taken with any regularity. But, because prepping has been on my mind, and rice is shelf-stable for a long time, I thought I’d try re-introducing some rice to my children’s diets, to see if they tolerate it. They enjoyed it, to be sure. Very tasty stuff.

But there was a detriment. Three times I gave them rice, each time a couple of weeks to a month apart. Three times, two of my smaller children got nosebleeds that same night. Nosebleeds? Rice?

So I guess we’ll be relying on some other starchy food for calories in the event we can’t get enough animal-based foods.

One final discovery that I’m sure you’ll be interested in:

Berries are keto food, right? And apple sauce is a no-no, right? Isn’t that what the gurus all say? Well, here you go:

There are a couple of things going on here that confounded this result that you ought to be aware of before you just write off blueberries forever and start eating apple sauce. First of all, obviously, apple sauce is not conducive to ketosis. But it is a 7 on the nutrisense scale, which is better than the blueberries’ 4. These were not particularly sweet blueberries, either. Some of them were still faintly green, and I didn’t enjoy them very much. I hadn’t fasted for very long before either of these tests, but I did throw some protein in with the apple sauce, and I’m sure that blunted the spike quite a bit. I’d have probably gotten closer to the blueberries’ score without the meat sticks. (I love Nick’s Sticks, btw. Not an affiliate link. Just wanted to share.)

The point is, blueberries might not be a great keto food after all. Of course, if you’re not primarily a fat-burner for the last several years, you’re likely going to have different results. Better or worse, I cannot say.

Again, test for yourself. You can get $25 off your first month by using my referral link. I’m not giving you any medical advice, ever. I’m just showing you what happens to a 5-year keto/carnivore when she does this stuff. I’ll have a bunch of exercise-related graphs to show you soon. I may even try a few more plant foods, but the longer I’m carnivore, the less I really care to even find out. I might not bother.

And now, I have a date with my butcher to pick up another whole beef. I can’t believe how much meat these children go through, and if there are going to be food shortages, rice is clearly not an option.

Can I feed this rice to the chickens? Will they explode?

Want to discuss? Meet me on MeWe, Gab, or SG.

 

 

Using a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor)

A geeky thing you can do for your health

I’ve been wearing a continuous glucose monitor from nutrisense.io for the last couple of weeks. I’m getting ready to switch it out for a fresh one today, and thought I’d share a link with you guys. For no good reason that I can discern, glucose monitors require a doctor’s prescription most of the time, but Nutrisense provides the service without bothering your own doctor or insurance. I believe there’s a doctor involved in there somewhere, but you pay out of pocket, and it’s considered to be for educational purposes only. Certainly you could share the information you gather with your own doctor, but I honestly have so little faith in the average doctor’s understanding of nutrition and metabolism that I don’t know why you’d want to. You’re often better off taking these matters into your own hands.

There’s really no world-changing reason for me to be using a CGM at this point. I just wanted a window to my metabolism that’s a little larger than the sporadic finger-prick glucose test can give.

A couple of years ago, when I had been doing carnivore for about a year, I got three months’ worth of monitoring from Nutrisense for both myself and Get Along Husband, mostly because I wanted to see if his chronic headaches could be correlated with blood sugar excursions, but also for my own entertainment. To some extent, the headaches were correlated with high glucose, and the CGM convinced him that a high-carb diet was never going to be beneficial to his tender noggin. His general health has benefitted from that information, as well.

There’s nothing like seeing your body struggling to deal with sugar in real time to make you knock that stuff right out!

Now, I have my hba1c and other lab tests, as well as my keto-mojo and the fact that I feel good all the time, to give me all the information I really need to decide whether my carnivore diet is working for me. So I didn’t exactly need a CGM this time around. But I wanted to see a few things after a couple more years of getting 99% of my nutrition from animal products:

  1. How high was my exercise raising my glucose? A couple of years ago, I would frequently see my sugars go up into the 160s after a hard workout or a run. How am I doing with that now? Does my body still need that much sugar, or am I running on fat more than I used to?
  2. Am I metabolically inflexible? What does a meal with carbs do to my body? While my overall numbers look great in a one-time lab test, there is that nagging question of what is happening on those rare occasions that I include berries or fruit or alcohol. Would I be able to go back to eating beans and rice fairly quickly (after all, the Great Reset is being foisted upon us as we speak) without too much metabolic trouble? Am I so physiologically used to running on fat that my body is distressed when I reintroduce sugar?
  3. It is often said by ketosis skeptics that metabolic flexibility goes out the window if you stay in ketosis too much, and that completely eliminating sugar is just as bad as having too much sugar. I doubt that inflexibility goes both ways. I think you can lose your ability to run on fat far more easily than you can lose your ability to run on sugar, but I wanted to see that happening, if it is. If I need to carb-cycle, I want to know that.

While these are things I thought I already knew the answer to because I’ve studied the dickens out of the subject, I really wanted to just see it. So far, I’ve had no real surprises, but I have a couple of weeks left to go in which I’ll probably put myself through some tests that I normally wouldn’t want to do. Hopefully I’ll be able to find the time to share the results with you.

This post is getting too long for a Monday morning, so I’ll be back with some graphs in another post to tell you what I’ve learned, and what I think I’m seeing. In the meantime, whether you eat a standard American diet, or paleo, or carnivore, or just live on air and sunshine like a plant, you might also be interested to see what’s happening to your blood glucose 24/7. If so, I have a referral link that will get you $25 dollars off your first order with Nutrisense. If you sign up, I would also get $25 off my next month, but I’m not going to be doing another month, so I don’t really benefit from this deal.

The cool thing about Nutrisense is that they have dieticians and coaches on hand to help you understand what you’re seeing. You don’t have to be a geek to get a lot of good information from this service.

Let me know if you decide to do it! Want to discuss this, or anything else? Find me any time on SG, Gab, or MeWe.

 

You’re Dying! Abort the Carnivore Diet! Abort! Abort! Abort!

My life’s comedic timing is perfect.

So, I’m standing here in my kitchen. I’ve just put some suet in my beautiful new 8-quart slow cooker to render down into tallow. Since I’m here, and already coated in glorious grass-fed beef fat from stem to stern, I figure I might as well pack some gel capsules with raw beef suet as well. By the way, those are vegetarian capsules. It says so right there on the bag, as if that were a selling point. I’ll explain why and how I do this strange thing in another post. The point is, I am at this moment doing the most medically scandalous thing a body can do, short of joining Hunter in hitting one of his Daddy’s free crackpipes while consuming said raw beef suet.

Spotted in the wild

And the phone rings.

I: Hello?

She: Hello, this is Such-and-such with your doctor’s office. How are you doing today?

I: Hi there! You tell me: How am I doing today?

She: Well, we got your labs back, and your thyroid and HBA1C look great.

I, waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I already know about this shoe. It’s an old, worn out shoe: Good. And?

She: Your cholesterol doesn’t look so good. She (the doctor) says your good cholesterol is high, which is good, but your bad cholesterol is very high, which is bad. She wants you to back off on saturated fats, eat more vegetables and less meat, and get more exercise.

I, grinning and trying not to actually LOL: OK, can you give me the numbers?

See what I mean about my life’s comedic timing? Here I am, deliberately and with wanton disregard for the opinion of Man, packing pills with saturated fat, and my doctor calls me to tell me to KNOCK THAT OFF RIGHT NOW!

I won’t bore you with the rest of the call, Patient Reader, but after the kind receptionist gladly gave me my scary number, I did manage to wring the other, unimportant numbers out of her, as well. Are you ready for these numbers, my friends? Here they are:

  • Total cholesterol: 315
  • LDL (not bad, just misunderstood): 211
  • HDL (The OTHER good cholesterol): 97
  • Triglycerides: 55 (I’ve seen this as low as 37, and I feel a little cheated today. Probably elevated due to stress from rushing out early for the blood-draw. But this is still a very good trig/hdl ratio of about .56)
  • VLDL (The actually bad particle): A perfectly relaxing 7.

Now, none of this was a surprise to me, because I got my own bloodwork done in much greater detail, through Own Your Labs just a month ago. I’m way geekier about my health than my doctor is. I wanted more information than my insurance is willing to pay for, so I have a lot of other great numbers to show, off, too! I’m a textbook example of an (I do believe healthy) phenotype known as a Lean Mass Hyper-responder. I am both fit and slender, and of what is traditionally understood as a “risky” cholesterol profile. In fact, the only number that got flagged in my entire comprehensive panel was my LDL–a paltry 151 at the time, due, I think, to a cold I’d been fighting off. That’s quite low for me. Did you know those terrifying little particles are a vital part of your immune system?

While I find conventional medicine to be very useful for many things, evaluating and ameliorating heart disease risk is not one of them. Hormone replacement, trauma and acute care, and antibiotics are all things for which I am very grateful. But you don’t care about my opinion of western medicine right now, do you?

What you care about, I’m sure, is that I’m going to die of a heart attack and need to get on some statins, STAT. In fact, by the time I hit publish, the ambulance should be on its way. I just called them, to be on the safe side.

Don’t hold your breath, veggie lovers. I intend to outlive you all. 

I am not remotely interested in explaining the intricacies of lipids to a general audience. I don’t have time. Besides, you might be convinced to go carnivore, and I really don’t want you to start competing with me for meat at its current price. I’m not giving you a complete run-down, or even trying to convince you of my way of thinking about this. I will, however, give you a few clues to aid you in your quest for truth as you come to realize what many, many people are catching on to of late: The science–the actual science, and not the pharmaceutical industry’s “studies”–should at least awaken you to the possibility, that the saturated-fat-heart-disease paradigm is ass-backwards and hopelessly lost.

Saturated fat intake doesn’t appear to have much to do with LDL levels.

Saturated fat intake is not associated with all-cause mortality.

People with high LDL outlive people with low LDL.

Replacing saturated animal fats with vegetable oils is associated with higher risk of heart events, even though it does lower serum cholesterol levels. (There’s an apparent paradox between this one and the first study I listed, which I can explain, but won’t.)

That will be enough to get you started. You may also enjoy this very layperson-accessible lecture by Dr. Paul Mason about why doctors still believe such insane things about cholesterol.

My doctor wants to see me again in six months, after I’ve behaved myself with the meat and exercise for a while. (By the way, I exercise like a beast at least five days a week. I have the abs to prove it. It’s a testament to the inadequate intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship in times of telemedicine due to “covid” that she doesn’t know this. She hasn’t actually touched me in a couple of years.) If my One Number doesn’t look any better, she will try to prescribe me a statin, I’m sure. Now, I have some choices to make, and I’m not sure which direction I should go.

I could attempt to educate my doctor on the facts of the matter. I’ve wasted my time like this before, printing out reams of studies in which the doctor was (surprise!) not interested. I fired that doctor, naturally. But the gal I’m seeing right now is super-smart, and she might just be interested. Then again, she might be primarily interested in continuing to collect her paycheck, which cholesterol-hypothesis skeptics tend to have a harder time doing in this system. I could also bring to her the results of my CAC scan (the one I keep putting off) and at least convince her that my arteries at least don’t appear to be harmed yet. There are lots of things I could show to an open-minded person to get a conversation started.

Alternatively, I could ghost myself and not show up for the next lab-work, instead choosing to wait until I have another thyroid check, and evade that topic yet again. Honestly, this is my usual course of action.

Or, I could game my numbers, doing nobody much good at all, but at least getting it on the insurance record that my cholesterol numbers are “healthy”. Funnily enough, all I’d have to do is eat a bunch of carbs for a few days before my labs and I’d look like the healthiest patient you ever saw. There would be enough immediate downsides to this that I doubt I’d ever attempt it. But it would look better for insurance purposes, for sure.

What do you think I should do? We can talk about this on Gab, MeWe, or SG, my current social media hangouts.

 

What to do About Recurring Boils, AKA Hidradenitis Supprativa

Medical “science” strikes out again. (Please note that I am talking about my own personal experience, and not handing out advice. Follow me or don’t, but don’t blame or credit me for your outcome. This is about my journey, and your causes may be completely different! But what I’ve done is absolutely worth a try if you’re suffering. In case you’re not interested in my story, I’ll put the spoiler up here: stop eating grains, especially wheat, and seed oils, and maybe nightshades and dairy.)

Have you ever heard of hidradenitis suppurativa? It’s a fancy word for boils. You get them under your arms, on your buttocks, under your breasts. If you do a web search, you’ll be told that HS results from infected hair follicles, hormones, skin rubbing together, uncleanliness, or genetics. Smoking and being overweight makes it worse. It’s supposedly rare, and supposedly incurable. The advanced stages of HS often have surgeons flaying the skin off their patients to try and improve the situation. Antibiotics don’t help, because there’s no infection. People–even doctors who should know better– often erroneously attribute it to poor hygiene. It’s debilitating. It’s embarrassing, painful, and ugly, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

When I was in my early twenties, I started getting HS boils, and it was a constant bother until just a few years ago. I lived about seventeen years with these things, and it was non-stop, no remission, no matter what I tried. I was not overweight at the time that I developed the condition, and the boils persisted even when I quit smoking, so these two things, for me, seem to have little to do with it. Nothing seemed to cause it, and nothing seemed to help. I’d never had a bacterially-infected boil, nor did antibiotics ever do anything but upset my stomach. I’d had surgery suggested to me, but no way was I doing that. That sounded worse than the disease itself.

It never occurred to me that it was specific foods causing it, and no doctor ever suggested it to me.

It is purely accidental that I haven’t had a single boil in the last four years. If I hadn’t gotten gestational diabetes and then decided to live the rest of my life on a very low carb diet, I’d still be having trouble sitting down. The scars will always be with me, but I don’t even mind wearing sleeveless shirts anymore.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a particularly bad boil, and ended up in the ER with it. The doctor who was taking care of me asked, “Do you by any chance have Crohn’s disease? We see this in these patients pretty frequently.” He seemed to think that it was because of the diarrhea that accompanies that disease being an irritant to the skin. It didn’t apply to my situation, but I never forgot what he said. It was a clue. I knew even then that it wasn’t because of skin irritation or infection, but something internal, maybe autoimmune (or autoinflammatory, whatever). I now think that people with Crohn’s are at least partly food-inflamed in much the same way I was. If I knew anybody with Crohn’s, I’d evangelize them about the carnivore diet.

A while back, one of the leading internet carnivore/keto lifestyle doctors posted a video about HS, and how to deal with it, and his solution was (of course) a ketogenic diet and weight loss. When you’ve got a hammer–and a fine hammer it is!–everything’s a nail. Dr. Berry gives a confident, firm, and wrong answer.

I embedded the video because I do like his advice on diet, and you should follow it for plenty of reasons. But it’s not insulin-resistance. At least, it wasn’t for me. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Certainly, my HS did get better at the same time I went keto. Kelly Hogan tells the same story. But I think Dr. Berry is wrong about the reason for that. It’s not insulin resistance that causes HS. Getting your blood sugar under control will likely not clear up the whole mess, though it will help a little.

I’ve had HS long before I got fat, and I didn’t get better when I lost weight while still eating triggering foods. Now that I’m off the grains and seed oils, no amount of mere sugar can trigger it. I know, because I’ve experimented with it to see. I can eat honey and fruit all day long, and I’m fine. Now, insulin resistance will contribute to inflammation body-wide, just as the good doctor says, so people with HS or any other illness do need to get themselves healthy. This means you absolutely need to lose weight. Fat exacerbates the problem, the same way it exacerbates every other health problem. It does make it worse. I’m not saying to stay fat.

Do not stay fat!

But I don’t think insulin resistance causes HS. For me, HS is a severe, almost instantaneous reaction to certain foods, not insulin resistance. My approach to a ketogenic diet just happened to eliminate the foods that were causing my HS.

One great thing about adhering to a carnivore diet is that you can do controlled experiments on yourself to see what symptoms any given food might cause. I have carefully added back several different foods for the sake of seeing what I can get away with, and to my surprise, I found that, for me, grains (wheat, corn, rice, etc.) and seed oils are the only triggers for this condition. Even a tiny crumb of something made with wheat will set off bleeding, swelling, and itching in my scars. I once went to a BBQ place and there was a stray crumb from the breading of fried okra on my plate. I didn’t even swallow it! I spit it out as soon as I tasted it. Or maybe I swallowed some without realizing it. Anyway, I didn’t think anything else of it until a few hours later when the itching started. Seed oils on my meat at a restaurant will do the same as grains. It’s not even worth eating out anymore, I have to be so careful. I suspect nightshades and dairy could be a problem for some people, but they don’t seem to cause this particular symptom in me.

Whatever it is that caused my HS in the beginning (I think it was ultimately due to a medical procedure I had when I was 18), I don’t have boils now, as long as I stay away from grains and seed oils.

You can call it remission, if you like. I’m not healed. I’ll still get painful boils if I start eating those foods again. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s as good as a cure. With all due respect to the doctor, while a keto/carnivore approach that excludes grains and seed oils may help, I don’t think it’s for the reasons he gives. In fact, you might be metabolically healthy like I was for several of my first years with this disease, and be just fine with your carbs. If so, you could start by eliminating the most likely triggering foods: grains, seed oils, and possibly nightshades, and dairy.

If you have HS, I’d love to hear about your experience, and whether you’ve found foods to be your trigger, either by email or on social media. You can find me on Gab, MeWe, and SG.

How To Beat Anxiety and Depression

Gut health is mental health.

Somebody recently mentioned on a social media site that he had experienced one of those long, dark nights of the soul during which, instead of sleeping, you toss and turn and recall every single stupid or awkward thing you’ve ever said out loud. I’ve had nights like that. Worse than that, I’ve had long, waking days of the same thing. You’re just going about your business and suddenly your mind starts accusing you: I’m the dumbest person ever. How can anybody stand to be around me? I can’t believe I said that!

Not only that, but the anxious mind then takes the opportunity to run a Top 10 (if you’re lucky, it’s only ten) list of your most socially awkward moments ever.

Now, maybe it’s just a function of getting older, but I honestly no longer have any trouble believing that I actually said that, whatever “that” was. You get used to living with your foot in your mouth. You get used to it, but it’s hard to truly learn to let go, isn’t it? I know it’s not just me. Everybody says or does cringe-making things regularly. Not everybody notices it, but most do. So, then, how do they let it go so easily? My gaffes get stuck in my head like a peanut butter and banana sandwich gets stuck to the roof of your mouth!

Surprisingly, for those who suffer from this kind of anxiety, I think it has a lot to do with our guts. No, I don’t mean the socially confident are simply braver than us. I mean that there is a difference in our literal guts, our intestines, that makes the food we eat affect our brains in a unique way. You see, since I started the carnivore diet, I’ve experienced this thing referred to by carnivores who have trod this path before me as the “carnivore calm”. I haven’t had a single 2 a.m. cringing episode since I stopped eating plants!

Almost all plants (and dairy, which I’ll have to address in a separate post) have literally nerve-wracking effects for me. On those days after going carnivore that I just couldn’t resist the asparagus or whatever, I would always notice half a day or so later, I’d get some anxiety again. Not the social kind (that’s really gluten and dairy), but free-floating anxiety. I sometimes get ear worms that seem obnoxiously loud and make me want to jam a crochet hook into my ear to dig them out. I can’t ever just have a nice song that I like in my head. I get to have all of my thoughts drowned out by a 15 second loop of whatever popular atrocity I last heard while flipping through the radio stations. It’s maddening.

Enough days in a row of fiber of any kind, and I become clinically depressed.

(This seems to me a really good place to point out that, in spite of all my anxieties and depression, Jesus has made most of my adult life a productive and meaningful time in spite of all of these hindrances. He’s the real miracle-maker in my life. He gave me the spiritual wherewithal to make it through a lifetime of depression and anxiety and still be a productive and useful person, able to raise a family and work for Him in my own reclusive ways. I give Him all praise and glory for that. And then after all those years of learning to lean on Him, he led me to the physical reason for all these problems that he salved so lovingly for so many years, so that I could move on to the next step in my walk with Him. Give Him praise, people! I never knew what He was doing, but I always knew He knew what He was doing. Eliminating plants and dairy didn’t save me from anything, but it has sure has made me feel better while being saved. OK, back to the OP:)

When I eat zero fiber, I get none of these symptoms. I just hum through my day, clear-headed and happy. I handle stress like a champ. I’m actually having fun!

Carnivore didn’t change who I am. I’m still weird. I’m still introverted. I’m still making mistakes. I still stick my foot in my mouth. I still do stupid things and wonder why I didn’t know any better. But I’m able to forgive myself quickly and move on. My brain no longer stores everything I got wrong today to hate-binge on later when I’m trying to sleep. I’m no longer hindered from enjoying the world by all the negative self-talk that used to try to hold me back.

I’m just so stinking well-adjusted now!

That’s weird, isn’t it? I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a few years of experimentation to share. My depression and anxiety largely went away when I moved to a ketogenic diet, so ketones probably have a little something to do with it. Ketosis does give you a very sharp mental state.

But I also gave up wheat at the same time, and I think that really was the magic bullet for me. Gluten has a deleterious effect on my gut, and thus my brain. I know for a fact, after different experiments adding foods back, that gluten is the trigger for other physical ailments of which I’m now totally free. I probably have undiagnosed celiac disease. I don’t really care to ask a doctor to confirm it.

I have a relative who craved gluten like a drug as a kid, and would only eat foods containing gluten (not hard to pull off in this food environment) and whose mind was very much hampered by the stuff. Gluten exacerbated every stereotypical autistic, and, frighteningly, sociopathic behavior in him. It was my witnessing of this pattern that made me wonder about myself. Gluten is the mind-killer!

Gluten, fine, but how can cauliflower make me feel so bad? To tell the truth, I question this aspect of my condition frequently myself, sometimes to the point where I stop believing it entirely and eat something that’s not meat. And then I invariably find out again. A little bite of something is often no problem, but if I just decide I’m going to start having regular keto food instead of full-blown carnivore, it’s only a matter of a day or two before I start having those same old feelings of anxiety and depression, stress, the little compulsions like over-tidiness, and songs stuck in my head. It has, through some intentional experiments, but mostly mishap, become undeniable to me that it’s the food. Fiber is doing something in my gut–whether feeding the wrong bacteria, making it leaky, or something else I can’t guess–that is throwing off the chemicals in my brain. This could very well be happening to you, too.

Now, I’m sure there are causes of mental illness that don’t originate in the gut. I’m not calling carnivore a magic bullet. But for me it has been almost magical, and it might be worth a shot for you, too. If having a song stuck in a loop in your head doesn’t bother you, and that’s the only symptom you’ve got, maybe you don’t want to experiment with taking plants out of your diet. I miss the plants, to tell the truth. I’d eat them all day long if I could. I simply can’t.

I am not the only person who experiences this. There are maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of carnivores who have discovered this exact pattern in themselves. I didn’t make this up. They didn’t make this up. If you want to hear more, I recommend starting with YouTube videos from Amber O’Hearn or Georgia Ede, then let the rabbit hole suck you in from there. There’s a lot of solid evidence that the Western diet is mentally torturing a number of us.

Now, I have to go lift some weights and then we have a gingerbread house decorating party to host (no eating the houses!), so I’m going to throw this out there mostly unedited. Please forgive any typos, run-on sentences, and irrelevant asides.

Want to discuss this? Meet me on Gab, MeWe, or Social Galactic.

You’re Not Welcome

They’ve socialized my pants

Get-Along-Husband took me shopping the other night, and I bought a couple of pretty sweaters. I didn’t try them on, because the size, petite small, has always been a good fit in those brands. I brought them home, put them on, and both of them looked like I was wearing a tent. A granny-tent.

Now, I know a smart person tries everything on before bringing it home.  But I’m not a smart person. What I am, is a person who has learned to rely on labeling as a useful time-saver. This is not totally unreasonable, right? But aside from the inconvenience of having to return these and then try and find things that actually fit, this isn’t really a big deal in the long run. This is a first world problem of the type that people rightly denigrate.

But there’s another real problem of the first world that’s closely related to this. I’ve concluded after so many experiences like this over the last few years, that the first world contains very few people who are properly proportioned anymore. My former petite-smalls are now apparently designed to hide quite a bit of unsightly belly fat. They look awful. Jeans that fit me in the waist have no butt, because people are either emaciated or dumpy. It’s terrifying how unhealthy we all are.

The thing that just broke me recently is this outrage, which I photographed at Old Navy:

By “revolution”, they mean the socialist one.

I can assure you that Old Navy is not eating those extra costs. If I only require two yards of cloth to cover my body, I am the one who is expected to cough up the funds required to help cover the body of someone else who requires five yards of cloth.

We’ve gone from fat-shaming to health-shaming. It’s not even just social disapproval, but outright punition. It’s to the point where you can’t even tell people who’ve asked what they can do to maintain a healthy body without becoming a pariah for acting like you’re better than somebody else.

I stick to a diet that keeps me healthy. I’m vigilant about my physical activity. I put myself to bed at a reasonable hour. I get as much sunlight as I can, and take my Vitamin D supplements. I do a whole lot of things that contribute to my good health. It’s not an accident of genetics or socioeconomic status that I’m not a tub of lard. My good health, and my consequently well-proportioned body have not come without a cost to me. I’ve worked for that, and I’ve paid for that.

I take responsibility for my own health, and you should have to do that, too. Many of the things I do to take care of myself cost more up front than just letting things go would. But the amount I’m saving myself and the collective (thanks, socialism!) in health care and lost productivity makes my health a true net gain, financially. But, up front, I pay for this.

Now I’m being asked to subsidize people who refuse to take those steps. Some of them even desire to remain fat. And you’re a very bad person if you think there’s anything wrong with that. Not only do I have to pay extra for my health care, and in taxes for medicaid or medicare and disability; not only do I have to keep my mouth shut about your obvious problem; NOW I HAVE TO LITERALLY PAY TO  COVER YOUR FAT ^$$.

No, I’m not sorry I put it that way, dear Church Lady. I felt like channeling Karl Denninger this morning, caps and italics and ugly words and all.

You should feel bad about your poor health. How else are you going to be motivated to do anything about it? Contrary to the narrative about “healthy at any size” and “beautiful at any size”, the fact is that if you are overweight, you are sick. Probably not beautiful, either, but this is not about your looks. This is not about who you are as a person. This is not about whether I like to look at you or not. This is not about making you feel bad for other people’s entertainment.

Fat “shaming” is a lie from Satan. Your size has everything to do with your health, both physical and mental, and I do think spiritual as well. And you’re dragging the rest of us down with you.

Many people wouldn’t even care how sick other people were if they didn’t have to pay for it. I admit, the fact that I pay out the nose for my own health and then even more for other people’s is incredibly galling. It’s not just health and clothing. I also have a large family to raise, and I’m personally footing both the cost of their education and other families’ education, too. My numerous kids are going to be on the hook, not only for their own parents’ old age, but for the socialized elderly care of people who couldn’t be bothered to raise their own children.

In this now-fully socialized society, even the “capitalists”, are doing things on the socialist model. As Old Navy amply demonstrates, the more good I do, the more I end up paying because other people don’t want to.

So, you ask, did Atlas shrug? Did you boycott the stupid store, as they richly deserve?

Sigh. To tell the truth, it’s hard to find those fleece-lined leggings anywhere else, and it’s cold on that morning run, so this time, Atlas shouldered the burden. This time, as in most other areas of my life, I ate the cost of somebody else’s poor choices. Whether for lack of information, or motivation, or self-respect, or whatever the excuse, I paid more than I should have had to for the amount of goods I received so that others could slack off. As a responsible person in a society of irresponsible people, I do this daily, in a hundred chaffing little ways.

Fat acceptance–nay, fat supremacy–is killing people. And it’s making me just shy of crazy.

OK, I’m done. You can go back to your cheesecake now. Discuss on Gab, MeWe, or Social Galactic

Pemmican

How to make on-the-go carnivore nutrition:

(Pemmican) was invented by the native peoples of North America. It was widely adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade and later by Arctic and Antarctic explorers, such as Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen.

The specific ingredients used were usually whatever was available; the meat was often bison, moose, elk, or deer. Fruits such as cranberries and saskatoon berries were sometimes added. Cherries, currants, chokeberries and blueberries were also used, but almost exclusively in ceremonial and wedding pemmican.

Read more about pemmican on Infogalactic

One of the toughest things about maintaining a carnivore diet while traveling is finding food that is just meat. No seed oils, no plants? No food! I often find myself fasting when I don’t really want to, just because there’s not much out there. Yes, you can buy some McDonald’s hamburger patties in a pinch, but I hate the drive-thru, and the rest of my family doesn’t need whatever else is on that God-forsaken menu. This Feather-Indian food is a perfect emergency and travel food, and I try to keep some on hand at all times.

It’s a little bit time consuming to make, and you need some special equipment if you don’t want to spend days making it the old-fashioned way. If you do want to make it the old fashioned way, please do take pictures and send them my way. That would be not much fun at all, but knock yourself out!

Pemmican can be cooked into a stew or fried with vegetables for the picky, but I’ve never been motivated enough to try that. We eat it as a bar. It looks a bit like a brownie, but doesn’t resemble dessert in any other way.

A few tips and warning before you get started:

Grind! I’ve gotten pretty precise in the way I make my pemmican. My first batch wasn’t very good, to be honest. It was unpleasant to chew, and inconsistently textured. I needed to be pickier about my grind size. You need powder, not just tiny chunks. Be patient and keep grinding no matter how long it takes, until you have actual powder.

Sweeten: You can add honey or dried fruits to this and increase both calorie count and carbs. These additions also make it much more palatable. This is survival and on-the-go food, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

Preserve: Interestingly, while honey is an additional preservative, salt will make your pemmican go bad faster. Wait, wut? It’s true! Salt will draw moisture into your pemmican and shorten its shelf-life considerably. If you feel it needs salt, add it at the point of consumption, not in the making.

Meat: Any lean meat can be used, even ground beef. If you don’t feel like slicing meat, or only have access to ground meat, 93% or leaner ground beef can be used. I’ve done it, and it tastes pretty good, but not exactly the same. If your meat is not lean enough, you will not have a very tasty or shelf-stable result. Trim all of the fat you can from around the heart. Follow all the same instructions, except use a rolling pin to roll your ground meat between two sheets of parchment, thusly:

Then cut it into roughly 3 inch strips and follow the rest of the instructions.

Fat: You want tallow from a ruminant animal like beef or bison, so you have a high saturated fat content and room-temperature solidity. Lard and higher PUFA fats will not do the same thing. They’d taste awful, too, I’m sure. I imagine lamb tallow would also work. Is lamb tallow a thing?

Pemmican

A nutrition bar with a 1:1 ratio of meat to fat
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time8 hrs
1 hr
Total Time10 hrs
Keyword: Emergency, survival, travel
Servings: 8 bars
Author: GAHCindy

Equipment

  • Food dehydrator (or the sun, or a fire)
  • Food processor (or rocks)
  • Meat slicer (or sharp stone knife)
  • Kitchen scales (or two hands and two eyeballs for estimating)

Ingredients

  • 5 lb beef hearts Other lean meat may be used, but hearts are best.
  • 1 lb rendered beef tallow

Instructions

  • Slice beef hearts very thin using either a meat slicer (recommended) or a very sharp knife. Slightly frozen meat slices much more easily.
  • Lay slices out on food dehydrator sheets in a single layer.
  • Dehydrate for 6-8 hours at 167 degrees. Meat is done when it snaps nicely in two.
  • Using a food processor, grind the dried meat to a powder. Don't leave large pieces, as it makes the texture of the bar much less enjoyable. This takes a while, and it's loud, so cover your ears.
  • It's a good idea to get as close to a 50/50 blend of meat and fat as possible for the sake of shelf-life and flavor. Make note of the weight of both the bowl you will mix the meat in, and the saucepan in which you will melt down the beef tallow, so that you can zero out those amounts when you weigh your meat powder and tallow.
  • Add the tallow to the pan and melt it down.
  • Weigh the meat powder to determine how much fat to use. 5 lbs of meat will usually dry out to about 1 lb of powder. Then weigh out the same amount of fat and mix the two together.
  • At this point, you can flavor your pemmican if you like. Suggested additions: 1/4 cup honey, freezedried blueberries, berry powder.
  • Pour into a baking dish. I usually use a 9x13 for this amount, but you can do whatever thickness you like.
  • This will set right on the counter, or you can put it in the fridge for a few minutes to go faster. After it's set, cut it into the desired number of pieces.
  • Store individually wrapped in plastic wrap or baggies, or for longer shelf-life, in vacuum-sealed bags.

 

Have you ever tried pemmican? Made it? Let me know how you do it, or if you ever even want to, by joining me on Gab, MeWe, or Social Galactic.