March 27 2011

Weekend Link Love – Edition 136

By Mark Sisson

Remember when cops raided (guns drawn) that raw dairy co-op in Venice, CA last year? Residents of Sedgwick, Maine, should be careful; they just unanimously passed a “food sovereignty” ordinance that allows unfettered commerce between local food producers and buyers. Sounds like terrorism to me!

Move over, Primal Toad. Primal Yak celebrates her one-year anniversary of going Primal! (Toad, we still love you.)

Grass needs cows as much as cows need grass, apparently. Who knew? Don Matesz over at Primal Wisdom highlights the work of Allan Savory, who’s been restoring desertified grasslands to their former verdant glory by reintroducing roving hordes of those farting death machines of ecological destruction: cud-chewing cattle.

The Great Fitness Experiment wonders whether organics are really worth it. What do you think?

If you love ghee, coconut oil, and free stuff, check out the Pure Indian Foods giveaway at Three New Leaves. Leave a comment and possibly obtain a free jar of “artery-clogging” saturated fat!

“Knowing it in your gut” might have a physiological basis after all.

I may have given it a quick once-over, but everyone’s favorite IF expert Martin Berkhan provides a truly comprehensive analysis of the latest IF study. It’s kind of his thing, so check it out.

Should vegans and omnivores join forces against CAFOs? Melissa McEwen doesn’t think it would work. I’ve seen Trekkies and Star Wars fans try to come to terms, and I’m inclined to agree.

Recipe Corner

  • It’s been pretty cold (I know, I know – LA “cold,” but still) and I’m in the mood for something warm. Bison chili masala, anyone?
  • Get some bacon slices, a few andouille sausages, an onion or two, take it home, throw it in a pot, add some broth? Baby, you’ve got a cajun stew going! Does Carl Weathers run the Crankin’ Kitchen?

Time Capsule

One year ago (March 13 – March 20)

Comment of the Week

  • Horse: “eaten in the place of beef … a little sweeter … but in other respects much like it”
  • Cat: “something between rabbit and squirrel, with a flavor all its own”
  • Donkey: “delicious — in color like mutton, firm and savory”
  • Kittens: “either smothered in onions or in a ragout they are excellent”
  • Rat: “excellent — something between frog and rabbit”
  • Spaniel: “something like lamb, but I felt like a cannibal”

Daily News correspondent Henry Labouchère, giving his opinions on various meats after the German siege on Paris in 1870 forced residents to rely on non-traditional sources (hat tip to reader Mel).

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32 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 136”

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  1. I think I could eat a rat. I might eat a horse or a donkey if I was starving … but a kitten, cat, or a spaniel … “meat is murder, tasty tasty murder” no longer applies …

  2. The purpose of USDA meat inspection is to prevent us from buying directly from the farmers. My neighbor was arrested prosecuted, and fined for the crime of providing farm fresh high quality organic beef and pork for sale.

  3. Great news out of Sedgewick Maine! Nullification of Federal laws like this are going to start showing up everywhere.

  4. Wow, thanks for the link, Mark!

    Also happy to hear about the food sovereignty ordinance. Hoping to be able to get some raw milk without wearing a cloak.

  5. Man, I WISH Carl Weathers ran the crankin’ kitchen with me! Great AD reference, and thanks a bunch for the link love : )

  6. WOW! Thank you for linking to Don’s blog. The “meat is medicine” T immediately caught my eye. I don’t know which T-shirt to buy now!

    Congrats to Primal Yak on her 1 year anniversary. That reminds me that my 1 year is on April 5!! I will be celebrating my visiting my bro in Chicago that weekend and hope to meet a few primal folks.

    Then its off to Primal Con on Thursday!!!! Life is great.

    I am really enjoying Three New Leaves as well. Great blog about the primal lifestyle and minimalism. I never knew it existed until today!

  7. Sadly, I think you are right that the people in Sedgwick need to be careful after having passed a food sovereignty ordinance. It seems like there are way too many corporate and government entities profiting for the poor American diet to allow people to try to think for themselves and make better choices. Oh well, all we can do is keep trying!

  8. … this is my response to yet another inane discussion about organics being “worth” it…

    sorry – as a small organic grower – i am **very bored** with this post subject –

    you want the earth to continue to be ruined – croplands laid to waste?? cool – then buy conventional.

    you want any number of poisons and toxins allowed on your food? good- go for it.

    GMO’s? go for it –

    don’t trust your store?? then what the h*ll are you doing shopping there?? get into a CSA or local farmers market and buy direct

    SHEESH!! this argument is just plain urbanite-ignorant.

    1. and PLEEESE stop whining about the costs – you are only whining cause you are used to the price of horribly produced factory farm food. buy one less cell phone subscription and buy some decent organic local food.

    2. Ravi- I understand your irritation with the organic value argument, but don’t be so hasty. The truth is that there is no real way to know exactly what is going in our mouths unless we grow or kill it ourselves. Have you ever read the USDA’s National Organic Program regulations? There are holes big enough for several semi trucks to drive through. Did you know that Wal-Mart now sells organic eggs? That’s great– they are less expensive, and maybe Wal-Mart will pave the way, right? Or maybe not. I have no idea where the eggs are really coming from, and each state has its own organic certification requirements. So a local whole food store or CSA should do the trick, right? Well the only organic cucmbers at my whole food store are from Mexico. With three kids and two jobs, I haven’t had the chance to check out the organic requirements of the Mexican government (do you sense my frustration?). So the question of whether or not something is “worth it” just because it’s organic goes much deeper than it may appear. It’s about sustainable agriculture. Here in Montana, many ranchers have given up going orgnaic- not because it can’t be done, but because it doesn’t make any sense anyway. Instead, there are some areas that are creating their own sustainable agriculture alliaces/groups that encourage members and residents of the community to buy locally and educate themselves as to where and how food is grown. I do not expect to eat locally grown fruit in the middle of December here in Montana. In fact, there are a lot of things we don’t eat because of where we live– and I think that’s okay. At least I know that what I do eat is supported by local farmers and ranchers (myself included). I don’t trust my local health food store or any other label unless I’ve done a little research on the origin of the food item (that includes all of the vendors at the farmers markets). So for someone who lives in a city without the benefits of knowing a local farmer, I think the question as to whether or not an organic label is of any value, is indeed a very good question. I have faith that CW will start recognizing these things, and that the billions of dollars being pumped into big-Ag will diminish just as soon as we, as citizens, start getting rid of big-government (too political? lol)!

      1. I agree. The main issue is that organic and sustainable do not always go hand in hand. Organic pesticides (most states allow this: have about the same carcinogenicity as synthetic ones, and unless you ask the farmer you don’t know whether they’re organic, use mulch, companion plants sort of folks, or use organic sprays folks.

        On the synthetic side, there are pesticides being developed that break down quickly enough that by the time the produce reaches the supermarket the residue is reduced to the point that you don’t need to worry about it. “In addition, some pesticides, such as those used post-harvest are designed to stay on particular crops. In contrast, other pesticides break down so that no residues are left by the time the crop is harvested.”

        For me, quality and taste are the ultimate arbiters. I hold that no matter what your allegiance — organic, synthetic, permaculture, whatever — consistent good quality can only come from someone who cares about what they’re doing. And if they care about it, they’re going to make sure that they can continue doing it. You can also be sure that they’re fairly compensated for it too: it’s hard to care about your livelihood when you’re paid beans.

      2. Good comment, Sara.
        Personally, I have begun to be much more careful about my food source in the last couple of years. For me, organic meats are less of an issue than whether they are pasture-raised. When the big boys got on the organic bandwagon, they pushed to have the rules include their large-scale practices… so, “organic” doesn’t mean what it used to.
        I read any articles that I find about the best fruits and vegetables to buy organic – and they usually make a lot of sense.
        But, the biggest thing for me is to find local sources for as much of my food as I can. I’m fortunate to have a large garden and greenhouse, plus I raise meat chickens and lambs… on pasture, of course, and with as much locally sourced feed as I can for the chickens.
        I’m very concerned about how regulatory bodies are interfering with peoples’ free choice for sourcing their food.

      3. yes to almost all your points – but i am hardly being hasty – there are CSA’s and REAL farmers markets all over this country – and available to urbanites as well – perhaps with a little serious looking and evaluation.

        as far as being “aware” of the shortcomings of the USDA Organics – did i not mention I AM A SMALL ORGANIC GROWER! of OF COURSE i know the absurdities of that distinction and it’s shortcomings – and if you are still gullable to believe ‘ORGANICALLY GROWN IN MEXICO’, i have a bridge to sell you…

        here’s the BIG POINT – if you continue to argue “if organics are worth it” you are MISSING THE POINT.

        they are – NOW go out and do the legwork and home work to find out who is honestly organic AND PLEASE STOP MOANING ABOUT IT –

        how long would you look for, read up on, study the specs of, AND test drive the next new car you will buy (or whatever)??

        then realize that the same task lies ahead of you if you wish to have good organic fare on your plate and not support the conventional ag that is KILLING THE PLANET AND IT’S INHABITANTS!
        please wake up people and stop depending on some corporate entity (the grocery store).

        GET OUT THERE AND FORAGE (like the hunter-gatherers you all like to fantasize that you are) FOR THE BEST FOOD YOU CAN FIND!

        1. You really sound like an ignorant hick. With words like “urbanites”?


          Pay me lots of money “AND PLEASE STOP MOANING ABOUT IT”

        2. “…like the hunter-gatherers you all fantasize that you are…” Are you not following PB? Why are you on this site?
          Organics are not worth it.

        3. I have to agree with Ravi here (and am a little offended at the “ignorant hick” comment). If you aren’t willing to do a little legwork to find locally sourced food, then don’t complain too much about being sold a bridge or two when making your food purchases from large corporations. I know sure as hell not to take food labels for face-value, and that big agribusiness is perfectly willing to twist the value of a labeling system (how many of you believe that foods labeled “heart healthy” truly are?).

          I spend a fair amount of time working to source farm-direct local foods. I pay a bit more per pound for my foods than I would buying at a grocery store, but I also know that I’m supporting local agriculture, and that my food is “fair wage”. No exploited immigrant labor, here.

          It may be true that big-agra is exploiting the organic label for fun and profit, but I assure you, your small, local farmer is not buying any yachts with their extra 30c/lb carrots.

          For the record, I mostly don’t bother with “organics” bought from big-chain grocery stores. There are also some crops and some treatments that aren’t as objectionable, which I don’t mind buying conventionally produced. It’s all about doing your homework and voting with your wallet over the issues that matter to you most.

          I spend a little extra time and cash feeding myself from local farms. I also know that more of my food-buying buck is going to keep my home county healthy both economically and ecologically–and that the “organic” food I buy truly is.

        4. And what’s wrong with the word “urbanites”? Do you prefer the extra few syllables of “people living in urban areas”?

          Ravi’s right. Even most “people living in urban areas” have access to truly earth-friendly, locally-produced foods. Check out eatwild DOT com and the Slow Food Network. It’s not as convenient as a quick stop at the local Kroger’s, but I assure you, it’s worth it (Hazlenut-fed, orchard-raised pork, anyone?).

        5. thanks for the intelligent support and comments Mixie – strong opinions strongly expressed always separate the wheat form the chaff – (or in this primal thread, the evolved thinking humans from the monkey-brains who just discovered meat)

          anything good in this life takes a bit of work – finding the best food (and paying for it) is no exception.

          Lemme give the intelligent people (and the ignoramuses) a little example:

          1) i had a army caterpillar problem this spring – buying HIGHLY TOXIC conventional control – 1/2 gallon (good for years of applications in our small greenhouse) $9.95, kills immediately one application, have to vacate greenhouse for 2 days – eat produce sprayed with that and you have it not only on the surface but systematically in the plant as well- yum!

          2) Same caterpillar problem in our greenhouse using organic controls but NOT OMRI approved $28 – takes several applications, you lose some produce, but it’s NON-TOXIC, natural bacteria control – eat produce with this the next day – no problem.

          3) Same caterpillar problem using OMRI approved Organic Controls, i used ALL of what i purchased to arrest the problem and lost several rows of greens anyway (takes 4 days to work) – cost for event: $56 – BUT eat any of what i sprayed the next day – NO PROBLEM.

          so all you dissenters out there – what would you rather pay for and eat?

          as they say – Choose Your Poison…

          (Michael and Annie are welcome to eat conventional if they wish – will improve the gene pool…)

        6. I hope that doctors, dentists, nurses and heck – even plumbers and electricians (which can take forever to get hold of here) – don’t start feeling obliged to ‘GET OUT THERE AND FORAGE’ any time soon.

          DIVISION OF LABOR exists for a reason – some of us are good at gardening, some aren’t. And should a heart surgeon who has spent ten years studying be wasting his time on a hoe when he could be saving lives? it sounds like something out of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Yes, lets get all those lazy artists, teachers and intellectuals out doing Real Work….

  9. Organics may be worth it – if you commit to long term. It’s not like eating an organic carrot every second week is going to do much now is it..

  10. It is fairly easy to get all of the vegetable nutrients one needs through conventional produce (at least in Alberta) so long as one is willing to eat greens. Now fats and animal products are a different story all-together. Definitely worth it for pasture-fed.

  11. Agree with LaBouchere regarding horse – had horse sushi in Japan last June – yes, raw horse – delicious – better/sweeter than beef.

  12. I get a bit frustrated with the “organics aren’t worth it because I can’t get local stuff all year round and if I buy imported it’s just as bad for the environment and who really knows what goes on at an “organic” farm in Chile anyway” argument. I grew up in the Yukon. We ate home-grown, organic produce ALL YEAR LONG. OMG! How in the world…? It’s a simple little secret: we had a freezer, and a root cellar/cold room. Dun dun duuuuuun. Yes, with the miracle of modern technology that is the chest freezer, you can take produce picked from your yard or the farmer’s market at the height of its nutritive value and yumminess and with an only modest output of effort (blanching. it’s not hard) stash that yumminess away in convenient single-dinner serving sizes for the remainder of the year. If you have more space and a root cellar or cold room is possible (in our house it was basically a heavily insulated closet with a window that opened to the outside) then you can easily store root vegetables all winter.

    Contrary to popular opinion, back in the days before supermarkets, people didn’t die of scurvy or food-related boredom in the winter. They stored stuff. I’m sure even our paleolithic ancestors stashed things like nuts and dried meats at the back of the cave. It’s only in the last fifty years that the concept of being able to buy all food, all year round has become feasible – but everyone acts like it’s the only possible way to function now.

    1. I have never said that organics are not “worth” buying, nor did I ever say that my family does not store (i.e. freeze, dry, etc.) food so that we may have our homegrown garden food all year round. I buy organic, but I also do the research behind it, and it does cost me more money but I think it’s worth it. What I AM saying is that we SHOULD question the value of any food we purchase. The article posted in the Huffington Post was pinning organic vs. non-organic, not one type of farmer/state/country organic label against another type of organic label, which is what this conversation has turned into. It’s nice that you had the opportunity to have a chest freezer, spend time storing nuts and reseraching your food. Unfortunately, not everyone has the chance to do so, and saying that they should but are too lazy or ignorant is why many people look at Primal and paleo eating as elitest. I didn’t have a deep freeze until I BOUGHT my first house. Very few people living in large cities have chest freezers or root cellars in their apartments– at least I never did. And in between college classes and two jobs, I rarely had time to go check out a local CSA. Believe me, I’m all for following through with a lot of your ideas, Sarah, but wouldn’t it be awesome if this kind of living became mainstream? Isn’t that what we SHOULD want? I want a government that doesn’t attempt to pull the wool over my eyes with labels and pyramds and all that crap. If we can’t all have the half acre garden, goats, chickens and cows that we would all love to have; and if cities continue to destroy community gardens to put up new buildings, then we need to go about this another way. For many consumers, organic labeling has become an easy out that feels good. But those of us who follow things more closely know that the government is simply massaging public interest by creating labels that make consumers feel like they are “doing the right thing.” I don’t want my neighbor to buy at the whole foods store because it makes her feel like she’s a better citizen or that she may save herself from having cancer. I want her to do it because she is confident at what she’s buying is healthy, as local as possible, and promotes sustainable farming and ranching in our community. Unfortunately, none of this type of education is easy, which is why for now all we can do is convince the general public that they can just go to something dot com and freeze it, can it, dry it, etc. The real issue is getting people to pull their heads out of the sand and THINK. You’re right, there is a way, Sarah, but you’d be surprised to find out how very few people know that they have options.

  13. Primal Yak, congrats.
    I like your blog, but the animal pictured is not a yak, it is a Highland Cow, source of some of the best beef for the primal diet.
    Tasty, tasty Highand beef . . .
    Just sayin’ . . .