Dear Mark: Beef Suet, Lowered HR, Alcohol, and Long Easy Runs

In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer a question about the nutritional viability of beef suet, which so many people assume is waste. Then, I address an extremely common occurrence around these parts: the discovery of one’s newfound ability to maintain a low heart rate at higher energy outputs. Next I cover a question about alcohol, or, to be more specific, I give my two cents on what a reader can do who just can’t seem to give up beer. And finally, I address a reader’s concern that his much-beloved long, easy runs are doing damage to him over the long term.

Let’s go:

Hi Mark,

My name is Joshua Roper. I have been doing the Primal Blueprint for a few months now and it has been great! I have discovered all kinds of new things about myself, including my insatiable desire for fat. I just cannot get enough of it for the budget I have. I live near a Hunter Cattle farm in Statesboro GA, which sells grassfed beef, and they also sell suet and various bones. I love their meat, but I can’t afford fatty cuts, and the cheaper cuts aren’t fatty enough to cover my fat needs. So I was thinking about suet. The fat on a roast or steak is the tastiest part to me and there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it, so why not just buy straight fat? Yet, I am not sure if it is healthy fat or how to eat it. I couldn’t find anything in the forums about it. I was wondering if it is good to eat? If so, how do I prepare it? I don’t know if I feel comfortable eating it raw. Should I try to get animal fat elsewhere, like bone marrow? I am a full time college student (Dual Math/Physics major) with a lean physique and a fast metabolism, but cursed with a $75 a week food budget. My constant thinking about eating fat is making it hard to think about other things, like math problems. Any help or insight into this strange new food source would be appreciated.


I actually wrote a post awhile explaining the merits of edible animal fats, including but not limited to beef suet. A followup post even showed you how to render raw suet into tallow – a helpful, useful cooking fat (because trying to eat raw suet is pretty gross).

Suet is mostly palmitic acid (a saturated fat), stearic acid (a saturated fat) and oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat, the same one found in olive oil). Polyunsaturated fats are found in paltry amounts, though since your source is grass-fed, it will be slightly higher in omega-3s than suet from grain-fed cattle.

Suet isn’t particularly nutrient-dense, but you may find that your suet takes on a distinctive yellowish hue; this is a sign of significant carotenoids in the diet, which cattle dining on fresh grass will tend to pass on in their fat to the consumer. Best of all, suet is relatively inexpensive, making it a fantastic way to add calories to your diet on a college food budget. If you can get bone marrow, I would definitely opt for that, too. There’s no official word on the micronutrient content of marrow, but it’s delicious. Also, it has a flavor that’s somehow “different” than just straight beef fat, which, along with the fact that bone marrow performs many important tasks including the rebuilding of bone and connective tissue, leads me to think that it contains compounds of considerable nutritional value beyond just the fat calories.

By all means, Joshua, eat the suet!

Hi Mark and crew! I’ve noticed that when I’m eating strictly Primal my heart rate is lower when running. I usually run on a treadmill in my basement and I’ve noticed about 5-8 BPM difference at the same speed/incline. Any reason why?



One of the main advantages of eating higher-fat, lower-carb is the improved aerobic efficiency. That is, when you’re able to access and mobilize stored and dietary fat for energy – rather than having inefficient fat-burning machinery and relying on carbs for all your athletic activity – you can suddenly go for longer runs while staying in the aerobic energy pathway. This is known as the aerobic base, or the cut off point after which you’ll start burning carbs for more than 50% of your energy. If you’re more reliant on carbs, you’re going to hit that point where glycogen begins providing the bulk of your energy sooner and at a higher heart rate.

Matt, you’ve simply expanded your aerobic base, which means you’re getting fitter. This is partly a consequence of your training and partly a consequence of eating more and better fat. Best of all, it also means you’re becoming (more) fat-adapted. Congratulations!

Peter Attia had a similar performance boost after going ketogenic, an experience he describes in excruciating detail. See if anything he wrote sounds familiar to you, and keep up the good work.

I have been on the Primal for 5 months. Still love my beer. Still drink too much. ANY ANSWERS?



Obviously, you could cut back on the drink. But assuming you’re not going to do that and just want some healthier options, I’ll give you some ideas.

Stick to wine. Wine tastes great, goes well with food, contains ample levels of antioxidants, and you can even improve the healthfulness of your food by cooking with red wine (which contains more antioxidant compounds than white wine). Oh, and it’s gluten-free.

Stick to spirits. As long as you don’t pair them with sweet mixers, spirits are low-carb and also have some antioxidant activity, particularly those aged in wood barrels (like Scotch). Robb Wolf’s signature drink, the NorCal Margarita, consists of good tequila, fresh lime juice, and soda/sparkling water. I can vouch that it’s a really good drink, but you have to use decent tequila.

Stick to gluten-free beer. I know how much beer means to some people; I still love it myself and occasionally sneak one. Thankfully, though, gluten-free options are getting better and better (and more widely available). See if you can find any of the offerings listed in this list of the best and worst gluten-free beers. It’s interesting that the top-rated beer was made with barley that had the gluten extracted from it. And hey, beer also reduces the formation of potentially carcinogenic compounds during cooking.

Whatever you choose to drink, think about establishing a good preloading regimen. I wrote a short article on how to avoid a hangover some time ago, and the folks at Highbrow Paleo did a two part series on reducing alcohol toxicity that went into even more detail. Read part one and part two. One of the Worker Bees swears by his regimen:

  • Before – Two cups of strong, high antioxidant green tea, 1,000-1,500 mg of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), 200 mg magnesium glycinate, a cup of gelatinous bone broth with black pepper and turmeric powder mixed in (or powdered gelatin broth if you don’t have any real broth), and a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil.
  • During – Water, preferably mineral.
  • After – Sparkling mineral water with juice from two lemons, a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, half a teaspoon of trace mineral drops. One whole banana with salty almond butter smeared on it.

And, of course, if by “too much” you really mean too much, please seek the help of a medical professional.

Good luck!

Mark, as a former distance runner, I am sure you’re familiar with the feelings of well-being and elation sometimes produced by running. Although I adhere to a mostly Primal Blueprint diet and lift heavy weights 3x a week, I also really enjoy to run. I don’t push myself for speed, and I incorporate plenty of walking. In fact, when I run, I never feel out of breath and I maintain a low intensity throughout. I find that after these runs I feel very peaceful and calm, and my legs don’t feel dead. You know that the “long run” (slow, aiming for greater distance) is the primary form of training for the distance runner. Does such light, long-distance training elevate cortisol that much beyond walking for the fit individual? Again, I am not aiming for a “cardio zone” or anything, just taking a nice slow run of up to 12 miles and enjoying nature. Could this really be harmful?


Let’s see.

You’re doing it in nature. As shown in the post on forest bathing, simply spending time in nature has the tendency to lower cortisol levels, or at least normalize them. These lowered levels are accompanied by lower blood pressure, low pulse rate, and greater parasympathetic nerve activity. In other words, spending time in nature has a de-stressing effect.

You’re maintaining a low intensity and not pushing yourself for speed. I’ve always maintained that it’s the constant pushing of race-pace intensity over long distances that constitutes chronic cardio. It doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re doing.

You’re never out of breath. Again, this is an indication that you’re not going too hard for too long. You should be able to maintain a conversation, even if there’s no one to talk to.

You feel peaceful and calm afterward with plenty of pep in your step. These are not the subjective mood markers commonly reported by people with elevated cortisol.

You incorporate plenty of walking. Walking not only breaks up the potentially stressful running; it even reduces subjective reports and objective measurements of stress in older adults (who are likely far more out of shape than you).

You really enjoy it.

I think you have your answer, Sam. Keep it up.

Thanks for reading this one, guys. Send along any other questions you might have. Grok on!

TAGS:  dear mark

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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90 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Beef Suet, Lowered HR, Alcohol, and Long Easy Runs”

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  1. I’m not a big drinker, but when I do want to have a splurge, I drink hard cider. Crispin makes a tasty, dry version, that’s not too sweet.

    1. Me too — but I feel guilty because cider seems very sweet (compared, say, to bitter). Is it?

      1. I love Crispin Extra Dry. It’s very low in sugar. I think it’s about 8-10 grams per bottle.

        1. I myself would like to hear more about the primality and preferability of hard cider. I’ve been drinking quite a variety.

          1. I just saw this “Choose your booze” post from 2009, which is antagonistic to cider as it has 10 – 15 g carbs per serving.

    2. I just bought some Crispin a couple of weeks ago but it’s been sitting in my fridge unopened because I’ve been on an elimination diet. I just finished so I can’t wait to give it a try. Up till now, my fave cider has been a local BC one called lonetree. Very dry, awesome stuff.

  2. Can someone explain how burning fat rather than sugar affects your heart rate? What’s the mechanism?

    1. It doesn’t. Instead it is the other way around. At low levels of exertion (and low heart rates) the body doesn’t need that much energy and can burn fat. At higher levels of exertion it needs to start tapping into carbohydrate stores.

      So your level of exertion changes what fuel you burn, not the fuel you burn changing your heart rate.

    2. I imagine it’s because the conversion of glycogen to ATP requires more oxygen than the conversion of fat to ATP, hence the heart (and lungs) must pump faster to get more oxygen to the cells to support the reaction. Just an educated guess.

      1. I think it is the other way around, fat has a lower respiratory quotient than carbohydrate (it needs more oxygen per gram to burn) and this difference isn’t fully compensated for by fat’s higher energy density.

        1. You’re right Tim. It’s that at a higher heart rate, the muscles need more energy per unit time, and the only way to provide this energy faster is to switch more to the glycogen-burning pathways. Even faster (short sprint) and you’re in the ATP-PC pathway. Slow walking or jogging burns primarily fat, because it is more efficient for your body and can support a low-heart rate. The more you up-regulate your fat metabolism and thus your ability to access fat for energy, the higher your heart rate has to be to cause a higher conversion to primarily glycolytic sugar-burning for energy. More aerobic (slow) vs more anaerobic (fast) vs all anaerobic (ATP, because even glucose-burning is too slow to support your heart and muscles’ exertion). Hope that helps.

  3. I like to write about exercise, especially weight lifting and gaining muscle. In doing research I have come across another important reason to avoid drinking beer other than just the gluten and the alcohol. The hops used to make beer are a strong phytoestrogen, which means your body sees beer as estrogen. In fact drinking beer is recommended to women suffering from hot flashes during menopause. Drinking beer actually lowers your testosterone, so if you are trying to gain muscle and keep up your sex drive, lay off the beer. So much for beer being a manly drink!

    1. Although hop levels vary greatly depending on beer style. Some beers have almost no hops.

      1. But perhaps this could be prevented. Oysters, garlic, some peanuts, figs, meat, and cheese before and after drinking? (all testosterone increasing foods)

        1. Wouldn’t you still be better off eating those without the beer?

        2. Actually depending on how much you’re drinking, there’s not a real negative effect on testosterone. Martin Berkhan wrote an article about the effect of alcohol and in the section on its affect on hormones, specifically testosterone, he cited a study following men and women who drank 3 beers a day everyday for three weeks. Men’s testosterone levels only decreased by 6.8% and women’s didn’t decrease at all. So unless you’re drinking everyday or binging on 10+ beers in one sitting, there’s no serious testosterone loss to worry about. It’s a pretty interesting read if you have the time 🙂

        3. That’s nice to hear, Ashly. I have a beer hidden in a metal bottle on the library table right now.

    2. Of course, that depends on the phytoestrogen levels in the beer itself, which can vary greatly- many of the compounds in hops are very volatile, all hop varieties have differing levels of these compounds. Also, as MarkA mentioned, hop amounts can be vastly different depending on the style of beer- a strong IPA might use 4oz of hops per 5 gallons, while something like a stout might use hardly any.

    3. But heathered beer is more yummy anyway. Problem solved.
      *is totally allergic to hops, and so utterly biased* 😉

      1. That’s the tricky part, I have such fear of cortisol that it is a vicious cycle, more and more cortisol, I feel like I am drowning in it.

        I think that if I could stop worrying about cortisol for even a few minutes my mind would be at ease, but the fear of cortisol is constant and all-consuming.

        Sometimes I lay awake in bed at 2 am worrying about the cortisol that I am producing. Should I get up? Should I stay in bed? It is all too much for me.

  4. It’s true about the joy of easy, happy runs. I did one yesterday. I walk a lot during it, and take off on some sprints. I play. Skip, trot backwards. My body has the urges to run and play, and it seems to want to do it for a while. Last year I did hurt myself grimly pushing past the point of fun, so yeah, there’s my answer, too. 🙂

    1. As mush as I love my squats….I think running is the most basic form of physical exertion. Running is a very primal movement. The reason it is so demonized in many circles is that we have modernized running with external goals such as body composition or winning races which has gotten us away from primal running

      1. Yes. When I was on a running group forum, people seemed to consult everything but their own bods. Nobody trusts the feedback from the agent actually carrying out the work, do we? Rather, we outsource the decision-making as to how far to run and how hard to some spoiled MBA (an idiot brain who read some theory and now has announced it as policy) and don’t leave it to the poor working stiff–the body itself. 🙂 That’s the modern (feudal and beyond) way!

        1. I agree. When I was in a running club I could see that some people were getting quite obsessed and often succumbed to injury in the pursuit of personal best times. When training for a marathon I only ever ran 2-3 times a week, usually through woods and paths and with only one long (gentle) run, which was apparently ‘nowhere near enough’. Needless to say, I was fine.
          I’m not suggesting running is good for everyone but I like the simplicity and once you can run >and< hold a conversation, it's social and fun.

  5. On the alcohol front what about a cider drink like Strongbow? Are they any better than beer?

    1. I imagine Strongbow would be a disaster from a paleo POV because it’s so sweet. You have only to look at people who drink it in any volume, they are like barrels. When I drink cider I try to find an extra one about 8% ABV. You only need a couple!

    2. No gluten, but you have to be careful about sugar content- Woodchuck and Angry Orchard both have something around 21 grams of sugar per bottle. The best option for drier cider I’ve found is JK’s Scrumpy. It’s a bit pricey, but comes in 22oz bottles!

    3. Unfortunately Strongbow is made from concentrate, so the ingredients are basically apple concentrate, glucose syrup and water. This is the case with many ‘big company’ ciders such as Bulmers, Magners and Tooheys

      I love my cider, however the sugar content makes me feel bloated and sleepy..when i do indulge it’s with a ‘pure’ cider i.e. not made from concentrate and no sugar added. These are often made by boutique companies. In Australia brands that use no concentrate are ‘Dirty Granny’, ‘Lobo Cider’ ‘Adelaide Hills Cider’ and James Squire cider…there may be others too..

      Although these days for me it’s mostly wine, sparkling wine and vodka, soda and (fresh) lime 🙂

  6. As natural as I like to be, I just can’t give up my wine. I’m glad every time I see more evidence that it’s a better choice. I guess that would mean that more is better, right?

  7. Mead (or “honey wine”) is also a great alternative to beer. Relatively easy to make your own too!

    1. I bet blueberry alcohol would be quite good.
      If I ever get the chance to consider that an affordable luxury I’ll probably try fermenting some blueberry juice.

  8. So with regards to beer. Does the fermentation process render the glutens less harmful? I know red wine is a better choice, and not looking for permission as I enjoy beer and will contine to indulge in a responsible manner. But just curious if the fermentation process makes it a “less bad” bad thing, break down the gluten a bit. Kind of like a true sourdough bread being a less harmful bread. I just find that beer bothers me less than when I cheat with other sources of gluten.

    1. That would be interesting, since the grains are ground, cooked, and removed from the wort before the alcohol is produced. Plus, the yeast aren’t dosed with sugar until the bottling process (usually, it depends on the recipe).

      Yep, I like beer, but I like making it more! 🙂

    2. I have been wondering the same thing! (And also don’t react badly to beer like I do with other wheat products.)

      1. Gots me half a bottle of Glen Morangie from five years ago sitting in the dark recesses of my closet. Still waiting for an occasion to ‘ave a wee dram/finish it. Maybe I’m subconsciously waiting for a primal kid to share it with. Might be waiting a while. S’not getting any worse though. Mmm.

  9. I love a long slow run, too. I went for 2 hours yesterday, which is fairly long for me. When I was done I felt like I hadn’t done anything but I felt happy and energetic. I actually forgot I had gone running for two hours by the end of the day.

    As for the fat question, you can roast the bones and eat the marrow with a spoon. But suet? I think you might have to render tallow out of it to make it useful. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s just an additional step.

    I suppose maybe you could just mix in a bit of suet into ground beef. I might be more inclined to ask the butcher to grind some very fatty pork to mix in with ground beef. A chunk of pork belly slow-cooked in the crock pot makes for a fatty and tasty meal (or two or three) too.

    1. Glad to see this comment on long slow runs! I do mine with built-in, timed walk breaks (a la Jeff Galloway) and enjoy them a lot. I’m an older runner and these help me a lot. Agree also on getting outside – I just HATE running on a treadmill.

  10. Joshua – have you tried Bulletproof Coffee? That might help you get the fat you’re craving! Just a thought.

  11. @Joshua
    I’m also a Hunter Cattle customer! I’ve gotten suet from them in the past and it’s good. Like Mark said, you definitely want to render it first. You can use it like butter to top veggies, cook your eggs in it, make pemmican, lots of good stuff.

    Hunter Cattle also usually has marrow bones on hand. And if you are on a budget, they do have beef tongue, beef heart, and liver, all of which are delicious! Feel free to email or message me on the forum.

  12. With the help of your guide to booze I switched from beer to wine (or whiskey, rarely) a while ago and it’s wasn’t even a challenge. Just have to get out of the groove of beer, I think.

  13. I live in Belgium, near a warehouse that sells 1000 different craft beers (changed regularly) for 1 euro per bottle. Since I eat 100% primal, I figure 1 beer per week won’t do any harm!!

    1. The other great thing about many Belgian beers is that they are fermented with many organisms in addition (or even instead of) standard brewer’s yeast. Some of the sour Belgian beers like lambic beers or oud bruins have beneficial microflora that help balance the negative effects.
      My wife is gluten intolerant but generally has no problem with most Belgian beers.
      Recent studies have also shown that dark beers have some of the same beneficial micro-nutrients found in red wine.
      My main concern with beer is that it contains a lot of carbs – and the alcohol converts to sugar as well. On a day that I have beer, I try not to eat any other carbs at all so that my total intake is not too high.

      1. Lambics are my favorite style of beer. I love the sour punch they give (similar to Brettanomyces).

        I might have one beer a week. Most weeks though, I go without alcohol.

  14. Very timely on the alcohol front, I’ve been experimenting for the last month with cold substitutes for when red wine or a spirit isn’t what I’m looking for and my two suggestions would be…1) Samuel Smith’s Organic Apple Cider and 2) A chilled German Riesling. This cider is not too sweet possibly because the organic apples are not grown for added sugar and you can find many Rieslings on the dryer side. Carbs are around 12g for 12oz of each.

  15. Turmeric has recently been demonstrated to regenerate damaged liver tissue.
    I have a small amount left from an organic bottle I bought a while ago so before and after I do anything that’s going to stress my liver I make sure to eat some.

    1. And blackstrap molasses if I’ve got any. It’s about 65% sugar but high in minerals and I’m pretty sure it’s somewhat medicinal, at certain times. It’s a good energy sustainer for when you don’t want too much food digesting.

  16. Real hard cider should be just the fermented juice of apples, so no additional sugar is added. Although some taste sweet because of the apples, most aren’t really any higher in calories than beer. There are drier varieties, and some truly special artisan ciders made by small companies in Europe and the US that are naturally fermented using only the yeasts and microflora present on the apple skins.

  17. In his new book, The Fat Switch, Dr Richard Johnson MD, University of Colorado says beer’s brewer’s yeast increases uric acid production. Their lab research indicates foods (fructose esp.) increases cellular uric acid which then down regulates/hampers mitochondria production of ATP leading to insulin and leptin resistance and metabolic syndrome. According to Johnson this evolutionary purpose for mechanism is for the animal to put on fat for lean months. So it’s the brewer’s yeast causing the beer belly. Lite beer drinkers still get beer bellies. Wine, not containing brewer’s yeast, doesn’t cause a wine belly.

  18. Maybe if I was rich or a more active thief I’d take enormous amounts of supplements when drinking. It so happens I’m low on dough and walking on eggshells with the law these days. Out of greens too. Might have to live the old-fashioned way for a while..

  19. One thing I have never given up is my distance running because I enjoy it so much. I have been concerned about whether what I do is considered “chronic cardio” but haven’t been able to bring myself to give up an activity that I have enjoyed for a few years. There’s nothing like a nice slow run on a beautiful day! I do long slow distance one day a week, and easy runs with some Tabata sprints 2 days a week. I also do 3 days of heavy lifting, pullups, box jumps, etc.

    1. If it makes you happy and you suffer no ill-effects from it, don’t stop.

  20. I gotta admit I love good Micro-brews. Im just really intolerant to wheat. I used to on the special occasion have a beer here and there and deal with the congestion and stuffyness it brought on. Finally I just made the decision that I dont drink beer anymore thank you Robb Wolfs and your NorCal Margaritas!

    1. I love me some microbrews, too, and I get the congestion and stuffiness. I always feel like I have a head cold after drinking.

  21. Hi Mark, I have been eating primal for a year and I am just not losing weight. I didn’t buy grass fed beef. Do you think that is the reason why? Also do you have any stories about people who failed to success with the primal lifestyle due to consuming grain fed beef but then saw progress once they switched to grass fed? I have done many Google searches on this topic and I can’t find the answer that I’m looking for.

    1. I’m not Mark, but due to my financial situation, I’ve never been able to purchase grass fed/pastured anything. I follow Primal as best I can otherwise. While it is certainly preferable to eat clean, healthy animals, it’s probably not the reason you’re not losing weight.

      I’m no expert by any means, but maybe you should go to a doctor. If you’re overweight/obese and not losing, something more serious might be going on.

      Then again, are you REALLY overweight? Maybe you don’t have as much body fat as you think?

    2. I share your grief in that I too have not lost weight, but have lost fat and gained muscle. At the end of the day you need to check a couple of things, it eventually does boil down to quantity of food..we arrive at a balance that the body is comfortable with..if you think you are overweight, and you may be still insulin/leptin resistant it is worth a try to shake them up a bit with a leptin reset regime, or upping something like lifting less and cycling more at an aerobic pace to burn more fat…remember fat is an organ in its own right and will be sending feed me signals to the brain especially after a work out. Cortisol too will reinforce the message if you are not sleeping well. Good luck.

      1. I don’t buy grassfed either. Back in July, several commenters suggested eliminating dairy to kickstart weight loss. I wasn’t eating a lot of dairy to begin with, but I gave it a try and it worked. I’ve lost 13 pounds in three months.

    3. Grass-fed isn’t the issue. I went Primal 3 years ago and didn’t start eating grass-fed until this past year.

      Some people have said, along with eating too much dairy, that too many nuts stall their weight loss. I don’t know if it’s a calories thing or if it’s the nuts themselves, but maybe you’re eating too many nuts.

      Also, portions do count. If I’m eating all caveman-tons of meat, I’ll gain weight. If I’m sticking to lots of veggies with just modest portions of meat, my weight stays lower.

    4. There’s more CLA in grass-fed anything and that was a supplement that was part of my regiment to boost my metabolism after too much soy-protein gave me hypothyroid symptoms.
      Otherwise, you’re probably eating too much protein and carbs. Journal your eating.

  22. I ran a half-marathon with a friend a week ago. My whole goal was to get him to the finish line. That meant that we chatted for the first five miles, then I kept up my end of the conversation for the next four miles, and then he was going so slowly that I would run ahead a bit, stop and wait, cheer him on, run ahead, rinse, repeat. He and I agreed that I would stick with him until the last mile or so, and about 1.5 miles from the finish, he gave me the go-ahead to meet him at the finish line. I didn’t sprint, just went at my “happy pace” and finished feeling awesome. My husband was like, “Did you even break a sweat?”

    Yesterday, I volunteered to work at an aid station at a 50K trail run. Everyone I worked with were trail runners who just got together occasionally to run portions of the trail and ended the “season” with a 50K of all the major trails. They have tons of fun — the aid station was done up with all kinds of Halloween stuff and the volunteers were in costumes. Nature, socializing, playing… Sounds pretty primal, even if it takes place over the course of 30+ miles!

    I NEVER had any desire to run a half or a full marathon, but doing with a friend, doing at an easy pace instead of race pace, and doing it while communing with nature (I heard the view from the top of the bluff with the fall colors in all their glory was amazing after 12 miles) sounds like fun!

  23. I am ploughing my way through the “it starts with food” book, and have to report that all forms of alcohol fails the test, so as an empty calorie, adictive, psychoactive, metabolistic saboteur it has to be regarded as “bad” or certainly not something to do often. Can you limit the dose, skip a day to give the body a rest, beer has the same “leaky gut” outcome that bread does, so in the 80/20 pricipal try doing beer only 1 day 4 and then only have one. I try and keep to a wine on the weekend rule, but fail sometimes, no biggie, but lets not pretend it is good for us. Self delusion should not be encouraged.

  24. I’ll be sticking to the wine form now on. No more vodies for me = cRazzy drUnk every single time 🙁

  25. I’ll be sticking to the wine form now on. No more vodies for me = cRazzy drUnk every single time!!!! 🙁

    1. “You’re repeatin’ yourself! That’s ok, drunk people can’t help that, a chemical reaction happenin’ in your brain causes you to forget what you’re sayin’!” – The Streets

  26. I’ve started rendering my own tallow too. Although I always find the easy way. I just put huge chunks of beef fat in the slow cooker (pretty much clean of any red stuff), and squeezed the chunks to “wring out” the fat with a pair of tongs. After I had almost all liquid I poured it through a paper towel lined strainer into jars. Viola! I now make sweet potato (or regular potato) fries in a flash for my hungry kiddos (peeled potatoes of coarse).


    You don’t need to render it unless you want to use it specifically as a cooking fat.

    Best way to ingest suet: cut it up into large chunks, along with any veggies or meat you’d like to fry with it. Put suet chunks in pan, heat. Some fat will render out of them and grease the pan, but most of it will remain in the chunks (called cracklins). Add veggies, any spices, stir till satisfied. Heap it all onto a plate. The suet chunks themselves are simultaneously soft with a little crunch and infinitely satisfying.

    Raw isn’t that bad either, when I’m working on the farm I’ve usually got some on hand for a snack. Requires a particular technique of chewing a bite to mush and swallowing it whole, though.

    Lastly, it’s loaded with A, D, and K. Official word is indeed available, just look around for it.

  28. Interesting thread! I agree that animal fat is good, that gluten is bad, that people can have trouble losing weight on a Paleo Diet (it’s the carbs–I have to eat a low-carb Paleo diet to prevent weight gain), and that wine is probably healthier than beer, because fruits are better than grains.

    FYI our enzymes can only process 7 grams of pure alcohol (ethanol) per hour, which is about one drink (one beer, one 1.5 oz shot, or 5 oz of wine) every 2 hours. If your tolerance is average, and you drink more than one drink every 2 hours, your enzymes will become overwhelmed. Alcohol will then spill over into an emergency backup detoxification system, hijacking critical anti-oxidant molecules needed for normal body function. This throws off your internal oxidant/anti-oxidant balance, tipping it into oxidation mode. Alcohol is, therefore, a “pro-oxidant.” Oxidation damages healthy DNA, which is the first step on the road to cancer. Alcohol is a known carcinogen, raising the risk of many types of cancer. Bottoms up!

  29. Joshua: The more saturated the oil, the longer it keeps. I’m fond of springing for a gallon of coconut oil which keeps very well (I’ve been using tropical traditions over the years, but now there appears to be cold-processed coconut oil at costco and at trader joe’s for some reasonable prices, at last). I have a jar near my stove with a spoon for throwing dollops into the pan; just like a lard/tallow jar. Coconut oil also makes for a good skin conditioner, a mouthwash (oil pulling) and can be used for savory or sweet applications. I adore grassfed ghee but it’s quite expensive — but maybe you could put the word out to relatives that you want some gourmet cooking oils/fats for Christmas then maybe you can build a stock to last the year in that way, too.

    So my poor-good-eats food staples are farm fresh eggs scrambled in a big dollop of fat: with no additives to the scrambled eggs it will absorb all the fat making for a very rich product that lasts me the day. Costco also has cheap heavy cream which I can flavor with coffee and grey salt to make for a snack or breakfast. I’ve also started to grow microgreens, since it’s fall, but will keep it up indoors for the winter too. Occasional walnuts make for a terrific fat snack too. Coconut oil, chocolate AND walnuts? Mmmm.

  30. Tos: are you sure you’re fat burning? I see caffeine & alcohol cravings as an extension of sugar cravings. Up your fat consumption – experiment or analyze if you’re over or under consuming protein. I don’t think the appetite is “wrong” perhaps you’re missing some B vitamins or are low on minerals that are dinging present in small amounts in whatever beer you’re drinking so you’re over consuming to satisfy that nutrient need. Or it’s a mix of all of the above. Yeast seems to be tied to cravings too; that could be a signal for you to cut all yeast foods and its food (sugar).

    Going on a cold-turkey protocol and concentrating on high quality foods including fermented foods could only benefit you and hopefully provide clarity, as many other people have suggested.

    Though in general, eating the highest best-quality of everything in the diet has a way of making cravings disappear and satisfying the appetite. So if you’re going to drink beer, try getting an organic unfiltered crafted beer with the idea of getting something that’s as nutritious as possible. Frankenwheat & stomach-exploding-GMOs aside, beer was a great invention and was a starvation-preventing food group for many peoples as many other fermented foods have been. Some grains have quite the impressive mineral profiles.

  31. Anyone else find it strange that Joshua is crack g that much fat? Could it be a symptom of some other issue or deficiency or something?

    Also, I definitely don’t consider $75 to be a small weekly food budget. You can stretch that a long way. And the lean cuts should actually be cheaper than the fatty ones. What about eating nose to tail cuts that are “unpopular”? Offal is full of fatty goodness.

    As for other great fat sources: butter (or ghee), coconut oil, definitely bone marrow, bone broths, bacon.. It’s good to vary fat sources too.

      1. Nice.
        Reminds me of this one time I had tinnitus (on the side of a busy road, of all places), felt powerful and fairly good for about 10 minutes, then peered through the curtains of a motel room wondering if the cars pulling in were under cover cops and couldn’t fall asleep for hours, while my companion crawled around on the floor picking up pieces of lint and carpet, and some stranger kept coming over from the next room and talking really fast.
        What did I have to lose, it was two days before I was going to rehab.

  32. On drinking …

    There is a little-known book out there called How To Stop Drinking, by Alan Carr. He recommends that you continue drinking as you read his book. By the time you’re finished, he claims, you won’t want to anymore.

    The book has worked for many people, including those I’ve recommended it to. It contains a very persuasive argument against drinking. I won’t attempt to recap it here. You have to read it for yourself.

    Carr calls his way “the easy way” to stop drinking, because once you finish the book, you won’t want to drink anymore – so there’s no need for willpower or discipline. (We don’t have to try not to do what we don’t want to do anyway.)

    All other ways, Carr writes, are the hard way, because they require us to summon willpower and discipline.

    Another thought I have is this: A lot of people tell themselves they drink because they “enjoy it.” I believe there’s a difference between pleasure and enjoyment, and that drinking falls into the pleasure category.

    I don’t make any judgment one way or the other about people who drink. But I think there’s a distinct upside to recognizing the difference between pleasure and enjoyment – so we can be clear and truthful with ourselves on why we do the various things we do.

    I’ve blogged about the difference, if anyone’s interested.

  33. Joshua,
    You can always add grass fed butter to a meal if you need reasonably priced fat. If you buy directly from a local dairy, it’s really cheap. Coconut oil is good too, but expensive.


  35. My mom and trainer are both really big into the PB like myself. But being a distance athlete in high school, I still really enjoy a long run every now and again. But both of them make fun of me for it and try to get me to by saying it lowers testosterone levels. But I just can’t see it when I do my runs they’re low and slow and fantastic and I finish with more energy than when I started. If I don’t feel quite right in the morning when I wake up I’ll go for a slow run and come back feeling great the rest of the day.