The First Step to Better Health – Bacon Fat*

*from grass fed pigs…and organic evco

This post is dedicated to the incredible activist film maker Chris Bedford who introduced me to the sad and insidious world of food politics. He guided me – and thousands of others – to the possibilities for making our world sustainable. Today’s blog is controversial…Chris always loved controversy.

My family's favorite fat


Fats? Seriously? We’re supposed to avoid them, right? They clog our arteries and make us unhealthy. Especially animal fats. NOT!

Many people ask me what the first step toward better health is – I say switch out your fat. In my studies and travels I’ve met a growing number of very healthy people who understand the dire importance of good fats in the diet. But I’ve found the majority of people who live in my beautiful corner of the world, the Lakeshore of West Michigan, don’t have a clue. So I write this for them. The rest of you, nod your head and say “yup”.

Our bodies need fats. And saturated fats, those dreaded rascals that the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society have been warning us against for decades, are in EVERY cell in your body. Our heart, nerves, hormones and brain need them everyday. Has the advice we’ve been getting all these years shown a dramatic decline in cancer and heart disease? Let’s be honest…No.

Lipids and cholesterol = healthy cell membranes

That’s because our cells are starving. Look at any anatomy book and you’ll find that saturated fats and cholesterol form a key part of the outer edge (membrane) of all the cells that make up YOU.

So we have been encouraged to swap out animal fat with vegetable oils that aren’t healthy at the cellular level. Our poor cell membranes don’t get what they need to stay pliable and do their jobs in relation to the cells around them (cell signalling). After years of consumption of these liquid vegetable oils we end up with problems all over the body – immune system disruption, heart disease, memory issues, cancer and more. Yes, other lifestyle factors contribute to these concerns also, but why increase your risk? Dr. Mary Enig, the world renowned expert on the biochemical structure and effect of fats in the body discusses the issue at length in this interview, if you want to know more (and you REALLY should). No, you won’t see this on television or in the mass media because there’s no money in it. At least not for big business. But the truth is coming out, thanks to organizations like the Price Pottenger Foundation and the Weston A Price Foundation and the Internet (as long as we remain uncensored).

Well done Dr. Enig!! How sad that so many young people’s eyes were damaged because the advice we were given was flat out wrong. How long is it going to take to get this truth into the mainstream?

We must be aware of the QUALITY of the fats we eat. The fats from a grassfed cow are going to be healthy and the fats from a feed-lot cow eating GMO grains grown with pesticides and then filled with antibiotics and hormones are going to be VERY different. The organic extra virgin coconut oil that our cells thrive on and that can be safely heated to high temperatures is miles ahead of the rancid refined vegetable oil on the grocery store shelves that gets further damaged when we cook with it.

We’ve been sick long enough. It’s time for a change. The very first step I recommend is get rid of those truly dangerous fats and start adding in the coconut oil and fats that come from critters raised outside naturally. By the way, grass fed bacon grease is one of THE most tasty ways to add flavor to your casseroles and stir-frys.

We’ll talk about the superfood cod liver oil some other day.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy




Eat Red Meat!*

* from grass fed cows – local farms if you can

I just got done listening to an interview with Dr. James Carlson about the importance of red meat and saturated fat in the diet and how the recent study that came out from Harvard is fraught with poor research and advice. That report says any level of red meat consumption increases the rate of mortality. I strongly encourage you to take a listen at red-meat-bane-or-boon.

Dr. Carlson is the author of a book entitled Genocide: How Your Doctor’s Dietary Ignorance Will Kill You. Think about that title, please, because it speaks a sad and deadly truth. Dr. Carlson specializes in treating patients with heart disease, diabetes and obesity and does so by encouraging his patients to eat more red meat and animal products and reduce their consumption of whole grains and fruits. He says he sees “wonderful health benefits” when they change their diet in this way.

Because I know how busy everyone is and how inundated we are with SO much information, I felt compelled to note some of the highlights of the interview. This is very very important information that is contrary to the mainstream ill-advice the media is perpetuating.

The above mentioned “study” is based on questionnaires filled out by people from memory. Inferences were then drawn from those results. Lifestyle factors (confounding factors) like smoking, drinking, BMI and being sedentary were not adequately considered. No differentiation in the source of the meat was made. So corn fed, hormone and antibiotic laden factory cows were put in the same catagory as beef from cows raised in the sunshine on pasture. There is a difference. We are what we eat and the cows are what they eat.

Dr. Carlson points out in the interview the importance of cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet for proper nervous and circulatory system function. As a biochemist, he stresses that the danger comes not from eating cholesterol but from when our body creates cholesterol out of glucose and fructose. In the modern U.S. diet, this means processed food – and items like whole grains, pasta, rice and fruit. These products contain an overabundance of carbohydrates that break down to simple sugars which form the cholesterol that causes deadly plaque in the arteries. When his patients back off on carbs, their critical lab numbers (i.e. blood sugar and blood pressure) improve. He also contends that he has seen HDL increase more with the consumption of good saturated fats than with exercise.

Denise Minger’s analysis of the Harvard study was discussed. I encourage you to look further into her critical, well written examination of the faulty research.

Carlson’s “take home” from the interview is to be VERY cautious about the advice from this study. He ends by saying if you’re obese and have issues with diabetes and heart disease, grass fed red meat is the way to go (and back off whole grains and fruit)…based on his clinical practice of over 20 years.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research and come up with your own conclusions.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy




Rethinking the Food Pyramid…

Did you know that after the USDA released the Food Pyramid in 1992 the rate of obesity skyrocketed? That’s what happens when you encourage people to consume 6-11 servings a day of grain products without mention of product quality. And yes, there was a major link to the grain lobby. At the same time, the tip of the pyramid made the recommendation to use fats sparingly…no regard for the difference between good and bad fats. No mention of the fact that all our hormones are made from cholesterol.

The pyramid evolved and we were encouraged to eat less grains, make them whole, consume more fruits and veggies, but still eat “lowfat” milk and protein sources. We now have a “plate” as a guide – it’s better but does not address the need for high quality fat consumption (so necessary DAILY for cell and brain health) or the processing of grains/nuts/seeds in a manner so our body can better use their nutrients. The issues of pesticide residues, dangers of genetically modified organisms, concern about antibiotics and hormones in our animal products are not mentioned. These issues are real and are negatively effecting our health with every bite.

With so much mis-information out there, are you feeling overwhelmed? Feeling misled? Please don’t despair. The movement to get back to REAL nutrient dense food is growing exponentially. We will get there one step at a time. Pick a place to start this month. How about finding a local market in your area where you can meet the REAL farmer who grows your food. Or pick one vegetable or fruit in your diet and promise yourself you will only buy it if it’s grown organically.

One positive effort by the USDA is the program Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. This is a step in the right direction to deal with the issues mentioned above. Here in Muskegon County, we are fortunate to have a source for local and organic food called Sweetwater Local Foods Market.

Take that first step.
Just start…

Until next time, wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.

Update January 2014 – Denise Minger has now published an amazing book I highly recommend Death By Food Pyramid.