Posts tagged ‘Paleo’

November 29, 2011

Is Bacon Actually BETTER For You?

This post also appears at Steve’s Original, where I serve as Nutrition Advisor!

You may be interested to know that before I could begin this post, I had to run to the kitchen and fry up some bacon for a snack. When it comes to well-being, I’m not at 100% until I’ve had a bit of cured pork belly.

Bacon seems to be an item that Paleo/Primal folk regard as a bit of an indulgence. A won’t-make-me-healthier, won’t-make-me-less-healthy, tastes-so-good kind of indulgence. I’ve heard it described as Meat Candy. I’ve wrapped 10 things in it.

I also think most of us are sick of talking about it. We’re tired of debating the relative merits and downfalls of bacon and all the hand-wringing and artificial debate that surrounds it. I get it.

But I ran across a very interesting study in my quarterly journal from the Weston A. Price foundation, and I just had to share.

In the pilot study, the Foundation designed a live-blood analysis intended to evaluate the effects on live blood after consuming various forms of pork (with the addition of lamb as a sort of evaluative control).

Quote: “The blood is the tissue most easily monitored…that shows rapid changes in response to nutrients.” Translation: The blood’ll tell ya if you’re doin’ it right.

The goal: to understand whether “traditional” methods of processing pork – methods like marinating, salt-processing and smoking (read: BACON-izing) were actually affecting the human blood, and how. Traditional cultures have often regarded pork differently than other meats – in some belief systems, it has been considered “taboo” to eat pork. Many cultures who did eat pork employed techniques of marinating and salt processing. Is there some ancient wisdom behind these ideas? To paraphrase Chris Masterjohn, PhD candidate in Nutritional Sciences with a concentration in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition at the University of Connecticut: when we don’t know something, or if the science is debatable, it’s wise to learn from the wisdom of traditional peoples.

The study used unmarinated pastured pork chop (no salt processing); vinegar-marinated pork chop (no salt processing), uncured pastured prosciutto (marinated, also using the added technique of salt processing); uncured pastured bacon (marinated, also using the added technique of salt processing); and unmarinated pastured lamb chop.

The result: Blood showed marked platelet aggregation (considered an adverse change) in unmarinated, unsalted pork. While I cannot reproduce the images contained in the journal, the blood change looks something like this

(on the left, prior to eating unmarinated pork; on the right, platelet aggregation 5 hours after eating unmarinated pork). Left is normal, right is definitely NOT.

Blood showed virtually NO aggregation after eating marinated, salt-processed pork (prociutto and bacon). The study’s conclusions as they appear in the Fall 2011 issue of the Wise Traditions quarterly journal (Volume 12, Number 3):

“The results suggest that unmarinated cooked pastured pork may be unique in producing these coagulation effects on the blood, which also appeared quite rapidly, in less than ten minutes after blood draw, and did not clear up during an hour of observing the blood under the microscope.

“The early blood coagulation and clotting observed after consuming cooked unmarinated pork are adverse changes in the blood…associated with increased systemic biochemical inflammation as well as the possible formation of blood clots in the body…

“The processing of pork in customary ways by salts and acidic marinades makes pork safe for consumption…traditional processing of pork also seems to prevent the inflammatory and blood clotting effects as observed here through live blood analysis, although we do not know why. We speculate that raw pork contains a toxin, unidentified to date, and that heat alone from cooking cannot destroy it, but that fermentation with salt, and also acid plus heat, do so.

The lesson? Bacon is probably the best type of pork you could eat. I’d call that a MAJOR win.

The caveat? It’s got to be good bacon, from pastured pigs raised humanely in a natural environment. There’s really no getting around the fact that meats are healthier when raised under these ethics, but based on the speculated “toxin” in pork, it may be most important to prioritize the purchase of quality pork products. You can find a farmer at

And while you’re buying your pastured pork, you may want to sport a t-shirt that proclaims what we already knew: Bacon is the new Black.

November 17, 2011


Weston A. Price. Weston A. Price. You’re probably wondering if I ever stop talking about Weston A. Price.

Look. I have three readers. One is my grandmother. (Hi Gammy!) The other two are spam-bots who leave me awesome comments:

What I’m saying is, I can write about whatever I want. And we may be purchasing a new mattress.

Sos’ you three readers can be sure you know what I’m talking about, here are a few of my word vomits posts on Weston A. Price:

From this blog:

Paleo/Primal + Weston A. PriceWAP Me Pretty.Paleo + Weston A. Price: Dietary Domination

From my professional website:

Fermented Beverages: A New Post-Workout Strategy?Nutrition for Athletes, Part 1 and Part 2Super Saturated Fats

From another professional website, Steve’s Original, where I serve as Nutrition Advisor: (at this point, you can surmise that I either spend more time typing than I do being a normal human being; or I simply plagiarize. A lot.)

Farms, Activism, and CrossFit (caution: sound), Paleo Plus: All About Dairy, Part 1Paleo Plus: All About Dairy, Part 2Paleo Plus: Broth

So yeah. I love Weston A. Price. But I don’t love it alone. There are four of us in this Ancestral Health bed: Myself, Weston, and the 2 “P’s” – Paleo and Primal. (So I guess there are, like, several million people in my bed. I may need a shower.)

We’re all targeting our own health and the health of the planet from an ancestral perspective, and together there’s a synergy that’s unfathomable. Collecting the best from each camp is like having a dinner of grass-fed steak wrapped in bacon, topped with crabmeat and a pat of raw butter. YEOWZA!

So I attended the 2012 WAP conference in Dallas last weekend (appropriately entitled “Mythbusters!” and I did a recap today for Steve’s Original – find it here.

A few of the more important tidbits I gleaned from a weekend filled with Science, Braunschweiger and Hero worship:

Science. Braunschweiger. Hero Worship. #Nerdgasm.

1) Vitamin D3 supplementation may be counter-active. I’ll follow the work of MIT researcher Stephanie Seneff, PhD for more on this topic; until then, I may save up for a light box. Also, thanks to Stephanie, I more fully understand the action of sulfur within the body.

Her last lecture, “How Statins Really Work Explains Why They Don’t Really Work,” truly incensed me – to think how many fathers, grandfathers and loved ones are literally dying or losing all quality of life because of Statins absolutely kills me. As Stephanie said (paraphrased), “I would never encourage someone to lower their cholesterol. Cholesterol is doing what it’s doing for a reason.” 

This post from Butter Believer articulates my rage.

2) Arachidonic Acid isn’t the “bad guy” that Barry Sears makes it out to be. Yes, we want to avoid excess Omega 6 from “industrial oils” and processed foods (See Paleo 2.0, scroll to “Excess Linoleic Acid”) but, according to Chris Masterjohn, Arachidonic Acid actually has some really important functions in the body. So enjoy those damn egg yolks and chicken skins, or you’ll answer to my limp fish iron fist.

3) My heroes are actually regular people. I had the privilege of hanging briefly with Chris Masterjohn (most of that time was spent apologizing for a grossly inappropriate Tweet – #Headsmack), eating dinner with a table of Movers & Shakers including Paul Jaminet (to whom I said the word “Awesomest” – #DoubleHeadsmack) and Denise Minger (who, if she noticed my totally awkward, Tourette’s-like “fangirl” behavior, treated me totally normally) and talking the future of the ancestral movement with Kimberly Hartke. It was like introducing Tween Liz to Devon Sawa, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and the BackStreet Boys all at once. I may have lost control of all bodily functions.

4) New friends are awesome. Laura of AncestralizeMe, a future RD and Paleo-oriented WAP VIP, is definitely too smart and pretty to be hangin’ out with a Hippie Blogger like myself. Despite the disparity in coolness, we became attached at the hip and terrorized that conference quite handily. There are some MAJOR Ancestral Health projects in the works, including a call for Weston Price-oriented athletes! Nicole of Sweet Mesquite Acres and Hannah of Kombucha Kamp were so nice and a pleasure to chat with and learn from. Kombucha project forthcoming!

I’m still getting through all the reviews from the weekend, but I’d love to hear from anyone else who was there! What were your favorite tidbits? Do you see the Weston Price, Paleo and Primal movements merging?

October 13, 2011

Paleo (Good) News, Part 4

I THINK this is part 4…In any event, I hadn’t seen it before!

More good words on the Paleo way of life, along with some of my favorite nerd luminaries (Cordain & Lustig…swoon!)

Click to view!

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October 11, 2011

Paleo (Good) News: Part 2

Part two of what’s shaping up to be a very fearless look at the true impact of Paleo living in the modern world! Click to view…

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October 11, 2011

Chris Kresser on the Balanced Bites Podcast!

I’m going to take a moment to stop the celebratory jumping, cheering, crying, and booty-shaking to announce the following:

The Balanced Bites Podcast (more on that here) is proud to announce that Chris Kresser is our first SHGCG! (Super Health Genius Celebrity Guest!)

(Well, the more professional half of the ‘cast isn’t calling him that. But let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?)

Chris Kresser, SHGCG, L. Ac., is one of my favorite source for ancestral health wisdom and thoughtful, well-referenced articles on what it takes to be healthy in the modern world. He’s writing a series on the ins & outs of natural childbirth as well, which I highly recommend.

On Wednesday the 19th Chris Kresser will be joining us on the Balanced Bites podcast to discuss digestive health.

Topics covered will include:

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Gut pathogens
  • Maintaining healthy gut flora
  • The best nutritional approaches for gut healing

Leave your questions in the comments section HERE before the end of the day on Thursday (October 13th).

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