The War on Meat has begun. Every day, new missives come out against meat for its supposed impact on human health, the climate, the environment. Lone Star ticks across the country are triggering red meat allergies, hot new companies are making meat “replacements” out of lab-grown cells, pea protein slurries, and bug pureé. Politicians are talking about meat taxes and respected medical journals are publishing anti-meat research. None of these are good reasons to stop eating meat, nor are they legitimate meat replacements, nor will they successfully get humans to stop eating the food they’ve eaten for millions of years, but part of the fight against these campaigns comes down to you and what kind of meat you purchase and consume.
And in the off chance meat is banned or severely curtailed sometime in the future, they can’t sever a connection between you and a local farmer or another small beef producer. If someone wants to sell a cow to you, and you want to buy that cow, it’s going to be awful hard to stop it. They might be able to exert some control at grocery stores, but they won’t be able to stop a consumer from buying one-on-one from a local producer.
Diet & Nutrition, Recent Articles
Because humans were hunter-gatherers for hundreds of thousands of years, we evolved to use and favor the diverse plant and rich meat intake of our hunting and foraging history. Farming and its core crops (e.g. grains), by contrast, only came on the scene approximately 10,000 years ago and took at least 8000 of those years to spread across the world. Our evolutionary roots—and residual genetic expectations—favor the nutritional practices of our hunter-gatherer legacy. (For more on the history of the paleo diet, click here.)
The “paleo diet” today looks to the dietary model of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and translates those eating practices to the modern age for the purpose of optimum health.
The paleo diet favors nutrient-dense whole foods and eschews processed food products. Let’s look at the wide variety of flavorful (and healthy) choices within a paleo protocol as well as some basic principles for what to eat and what to avoid. For a PDF print-out of this list, click here.
Carbs, Dairy, Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Fermented Foods, Grains, Protein, Resistant Starch
All-meat diets are growing in popularity. There are the cryptocurrency carnivores. There’s the daughter of the ascendant Jordan B. Peterson, Mikhaila Peterson, who’s using a carnivorous diet to stave off a severe autoimmune disease that almost killed her as a child. The most prominent carnivore these days, Dr. Shawn Baker (who appears to eat only grilled ribeyes (at home) and burger patties (on the go), recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and Robb Wolf’s podcast, and is always breaking world records on the rower. Tons of other folks are eating steak and little else—and loving it. There are Facebook groups and subreddits and Twitter subcultures devoted to carnivorous dieting.
What do I think?
Diet & Nutrition, Protein
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions about grass-feeding several of you raised in last week’s comment section. First, is there a difference between grass-fed and grass-finished?What is the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished? Next, is it true that lamb is by definition grass-fed? Are there actually lamb feedlots, or can we be certain that the lamb we eat lived a fairly decent, grassy life? And finally, what about grass-fed eggs? Does such a thing even exist? After all, when most of us think about happy egg producers, i.e. fowl, are they munching away on their fair share of freshly sprouted greens?
Let’s find out:
Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Protein
By now, you’re convinced of the general overall superiority of grass-fed, pasture-raised meat. If you come at it from the nutrition angle, grass-fed wins across the board. If you’re more concerned with the ethics of animal husbandry, grass-fed animals live overall better lives than animals in concentrated feedlots. If you worry about the use of antibiotics in agriculture and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, grass-fed animals receive less medication (and sometimes none). Whatever your inclination, animals who range free and nibble their biologically appropriate diet of various grasses tend to be happier, healthier, and produce more nutrient-dense meat, milk, and fat. It’s objectively “better.” Even an honest vegan will admit that.
But the stuff is expensive. I have the luxury of buying and eating solely grass-fed, pasture-raised meat and dairy, but not everyone can. Most folks have to choose. They have to pick their battles. Today’s post will help you choose wisely.
Dairy, Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Protein
No, you yourself can’t save the world. You personally won’t make a dent in the climate, or the amount of plastic in the ocean, or the number of cute baby seals that are bludgeoned to death. But collectively, we can. The choices we make, the things we value, the food we eat, the way our food is raised, who we buy our food from, and how we conduct our day-to-day lives in attempted harmony with our Primal natures really does seem to mesh well with the environment. Multiply those small personal choices by millions of readers (and their dollars) and you get real change.
I’m not putting any extra pressure on you. These are things you’re already doing, by and large. These are the ways going Primal can actually help, not harm, the environment.
With bone broth bars popping up in cities, broth-based cookbooks appearing on Amazon, and grass-fed bone broth now available for order online, hot bone water is experiencing a renaissance. And not just among Primal devotees. Dr. Oz is recommending it as a coffee replacement and Kobe Bryant uses it to support his aging body. The renewed popularity has brought an endless string of questions from readers, and today I’m going to answer some of them. Is bone broth truly a miracle food? Yes, but maybe not for the reason you suspect. Should you make deer bone broth? Yes, with a caveat. Does adding vinegar to your water really increase the mineral content of your broth? Probably not as much as you think. Do beef brisket bones work? Yes. And finally, what are the best parts from each animal for making broth? I give a slightly more detailed answer than “All of them.”
Diet & Nutrition, Protein
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions from readers. First up, are there any specific nutrient deficiencies that can contribute to fatigue? Which minerals and vitamins should you shore up when experiencing malaise? Next, what’s the deal with anxiety? Does it serve an evolutionary purpose, or is it just a pathological condition? Third, is there a place for conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation in a healthy diet and lifestyle? I dig into the studies to help you decide. And finally, what plant-derived oils beside just avocado oil are good to use when staying Primal?
Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Supplements
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got three questions and three answers. First up is a question from Casey, whose father is losing strength and muscle despite maintaining an active lifestyle. What can he do — dietarily and otherwise — to staunch and reverse the losses? Next, Australian cattle farmers are increasingly turning to sprouted grain as a replacement for standard grain feed. How does it compare to pasture feeding? Are there nutritional differences between sprouted and regular grain fodder? And finally, what do we make of the recent study showing negative effects in cyclists who ate a high-pistachio diet for two weeks? Should we rethink our stance on pistachios — and nuts in general?
Diet & Nutrition, Fitness, Lift Heavy Things, Protein
You’re at the store, and you want to get some beef. You’ve been keeping up with the word on the street, so you’re aware of the importance of the cow’s diet. You look around for grass-fed beef, but have zero success. They do, however, have “vegetarian-fed” beef, which sounds nice. I mean, who wants their beef eating animal parts? And aren’t vegetarians pretty healthy? Why, I bet vegetarian-fed cows are even healthier! Eh, not so fast. What does it really mean? Anything? Labels can be tricky. Usually are, in fact, by design. And sneakiness works.
So – do these labels actually tell us anything we didn’t already know? Let’s find out the answer to this and other reader questions.
Diet & Nutrition, Supplements