Lard is the New Black

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So, all those vegetable oils we’ve been sold for the last 30 years are now out, and saturated fats — butter, lard and coconut oil, to name a few — are in.

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Chopping up 5 lbs of pastured leaf pork fat from a local farmers market

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into the slow cooker for a few hours on low

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to render into pork lard

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straining the rendered lard into jars

I’ve been reading and listening to the science from the experts and incorporating their wisdom into the nutritional side of healing from my autoimmune condition via the autoimmune protocol (AIP) of the paleo approach. I haven’t used corn, canola or vegetable oils for eight months.

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5 lbs of pork fat rendered into 2 1/2 qts of lard

When we cook with fat, we reach for lard, beef tallow or coconut oil. Olive oil and avocado oil are healthy but not always suggested for cooking. Read more on healthy fats here.

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Wildharvesting Thistle

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Thanks to a sequence of Serendipitous Events, we now wildharvest and eat yellow thistle from the fields around our home. We learned the how-tos from a local woman who came to our home last weekend to buy our honey extractor and in the process shared some of her wildharvesting know-how with us. Somehow we had not come across her SurvivalHT youtube channel yet, like multitudes of others had.

I snapped these pictures of our thistle harvest this morning.

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I’m not sure why this is called yellow thistle, but we are pretty sure that’s the name of this variety that is prolific near us. Fortunately, they are all edible, so mis-identifying is not a concern.

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After lopping off the flower, we slice along the stalk to remove the thorny leaves

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A few harvested thistle stalks to add to the lunch menu

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Thistle chopped, looks like celery, loaded with nutrients

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Thistle mixed with chopped beets and fennel and mixed with lard

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Roasted in the oven with asparagus…

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…and served with grilled pastured pork chop

Mind Blown

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My sister sent me this link to this perspective-shifting TED talk that (indirectly) addresses the question about the sustainability of raising grazing animals–something that, as a meat-eater, I have been concerned about.

Brilliant and mind blowing. Definitely worth the time (22 mins).

My sister’s neighbor raises pastured beef commercially. In response to the video, he wrote in an email:

“We are strict adherents to managed grazing and all its principles…. We rotate our cattle through sized sections depending on weight of cattle grouping, density of forage, type of forage and height of forage. We are really creating some good soils while sequestering carbon. I will also ‘bale feed’ out in these fields to not overgraze and the animals will spread their nutrients where the soils most need them.

“We have ‘Prescribed Grazing Plans’ on all our grasslands. It’s much more work than just letting them go. But it creates better soils, forage and water. We are monitoring our weight gains (the cattle I mean) and they are doing great because the soils and forage we are creating are so good and can continue to be whether in drought or too much rain.

“It sounds corny so I never say it to anyone, but we are improving the environment, the earth while producing high protein food. I cannot tell you how proud I am of that.”

Chronicle of Healing = Chronicle of Good Food +…

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I am still following the autoimmune protocol of the paleo approach and eating well (and washing loads of dishes) even though I have not posted much lately. I just completed a 6-week online course to help me puzzle out what my immune system triggers are. I will post more about that soon.

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Grilled pastured sirloin steak, steamed garden asparagus and steamed garden swiss chard, boiled cassava (yucca root) with ghee

This is What 6 Eggs Look Like

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I’ve never eaten six eggs in one sitting, but I’m taking measures to put some weight back on, so I decided to go heavy on the eggs today at lunch. In the last seven months, I have lost 10-15 pounds without wanting to by implementing the autoimmune protocol of the Paleo Approach which promotes healing from autoimmune issues.

As part of the plan, I eat three sizable meals daily, including pastured or wild caught animal protein (often a sizable portion), healthy fats and loads of veggies and fruit. But evidently I am not eating enough. So I’m gonna change that.

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LUNCH today: 6 eggs scrambled in lard with garden cilantro, steamed garden collards and ginger, half sweet potato pan fried in lard

A Tale of Two Rheumatologists

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I’ll call them R1 and R2.

After taking my history, doing an exam, completing bloodwork and sending me for xrays and an MRI, R1 diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in August 2014.

R2 examined me and reviewed my labs and history in January 2015 and said: “You might or might not have rheumatoid arthritis.”

R1 told me that the ball-of-foot pain in my right foot indicated onset of RA.

R2 told me that the ball-of-foot pain in my right foot was biomechanical in origin.

R1 told me: “Yours is not a moderate disease.”

R2 told me:  “Your immune system is acting up” . At a subsequent appointment R2 said, “You’re healthy.”

R1 told me to begin taking DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs). R1 wanted to prescribe the mildest one.

When I told R2 that R1 wanted me to take a particular DMARD, R2 shook his/her head and said: “Oh, no.”

R1 said that diet doesn’t have any impact on disease outcomes.

R2 ordered food sensitivities testing for me.

R1 is a conventional doctor whose approach is directed toward relief of symptoms and slowing disease progression.

R2 is a functional medicine doctor whose approach is directed toward rooting out disease triggers and supporting individuals’ unique paths for healing and returning to balance.

I align with R2’s approach. Or, more aptly stated, R2’s approach aligns with mine.