How To Properly Feed A Human: BTS

So in the last few blog posts we've talked about how to eat healthy and ways to make healthier food choices for unhealthy foods by buying versions that contain less crap (DBS.) We've also talked about swapping out unhealthy versions of foods for ones that are much better for you (SOS.) These are all excellent strategies for planning ahead for unforeseen "hiccups" and you don't feel like cooking, or for when you or your kids want a snack. Anytime you can stock less bad "S" in your fridge, do it.

Today's topic: boost that shit (BTS.) This ties in nicely with SOS because now it allows you to really boost the nutritional content at mealtimes -often times without picky eaters ever knowing. Let's get right to it.

Exemplo 1: Liver and heart are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, and I highly recommend eating them at least once a week. Most people -especially kids- don't care for liver. It has a taste you either love or hate (I've loved it since I was a kid.) Heart, however is like filet mignon. The heart is a muscle (yes, it's also an organ, but it's made of muscle tissue) As such, it's incredibly tender and tastes like steak. There's really no need to be squeamish about it. Let these be some of the first solid foods your kids transition to from breast milk, and they'll be much more likely to eat it on a regular basis as they grow up. 

My favorite way to eat them is lightly seared in a cast-iron skillet with grass-fed butter and a pinch of Real salt (or Celtic or Himalayan is good too.) Cooked up with a handful of onions and some aioli on the side or a splash of quality balsamic vinegar...sooo good. I'm also a huge fan of patè, head cheese, liverwurst, and braunschweiger. If that's not your thing, then utilize the principles of BTS to work it in once or twice a week. How?

Burgers. Start with pastured pork, lamb, bison, or beef (or a mix.) Chop up a little liver and heart and mix it in, and I promise no kid (or adult) will ever know it's there. You may have to experiment to get the proportions right. While you're at it, mix in one or two pastured egg yolks for even more nutrition. Serve it on a bed of organic greens (skip the bun,) with grass-fed cheese or goat cheese, pastured bacon, avocado, grilled onions and tomato, homemade fermented pickles, and a side of aioli (homemade garlic mayo made with olive oil and pastured egg yolks.) Hell, for funsies add another pastured egg cooked in grass-fed butter on top of it all. I'm a professional. Trust me.

BTS with organ meats also works for meatloaf, meatballs, or making sausage (which was kind of the point of making sausage once upon a time - to use up all the nutritious dirty bits of the animal that people were too squeamish to eat on their own.)

The important thing is to be judicious in purchasing quality, pastured organ meats just like any other cut of meat. Whole Foods can be a good source, as can online sources (US Wellness Meats is a good one.) If you happen to be friends with someone who hunts, ask them to save you the heart and liver if they don't already eat it themselves and it hasn't been blown to pieces by the shot. This is how I fill my freezer with organ meats -from wild game hunting. 

Organ meats are nature's multivitamins. One 4-6 oz serving of liver is enough to meet your weekly needs for pre-formed vitamin A (the kind your body needs, and especially helpful if you have skin problems,) B12, and copper. It's also high in other B vitamin like folate (B9,) iron, copper, zinc, biotin, and choline. Heart is also really high in many of these nutrients, but it's also the best source of CoQ10. If you have heart problems or are taking statins, you need CoQ10. CoQ10 is used in the electron transport chain for energy production and prevention of oxidative stress. (Interestingly, statins deplete this nutrient, which ends up exacerbating musculature problems -especially the heart.)

Exemplo 2: Like organs meats, pastured eggs are also superfoods. They contain high amounts of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,and K, B12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, beta carotene, choline, omega 3 fatty acids, and of course -protein (the highest quality of any other food.) They're also a great source of the VERY important nutrient cholesterol. Yeah, cholesterol. I'll write about cholesterol in another post, because it's too long to go into here, but you've been lied to for the last several decades about cholesterol...it's a dietary requirement. If you're on a low or no cholesterol diet, there's probably a very good chance you're also suffering from hormonal issues, inflammation, and mental health problems like depression. FYI, cholesterol is only found in animal products...there are no plant sources, so vegans -beware.

Pastured egg yolks are perfect for mixing into all kinds of stuff to boost nutrition: guacamole, smoothies, popsicles, salad dressings, homemade nut milks, tuna salad, mac and cheese, and coffee (yes, coffee. I do 3 a day in mine.)

For the record, I don't usually consider mac and cheese a healthy food. But I've had a lot of parents ask about tips for feeding their kids, and mac and cheese seems to be a staple kid food. However, if you use gluten free noodles (or spaghetti squash or "noodles" made from zucchini,) grass-fed butter and cheese, and raw pastured egg yolks, suddenly you have a game changer. BTS even more by adding chopped broccoli or spinach. In fact, one of our favorite pasta dishes is carbonara: bacon or prosciutto or smoked, wild salmon, (or meatless) with sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, peas, and organic baby kale, spinach, and chard, with two or three raw egg yolks per person and grass-fed butter and cheese stirred in -basically mac and cheese, but boosted.

See how DBS, SOS, and BTS can dramatically alter the nutritional profile of the foods your kids like to eat, without having to give them up completely?

To find sources of locally raised meats, eggs, and other agricultural products, go to http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html.

Exemplo 3: Smoothies and popsicles. What kid doesn't like smoothies or popsicles? Here's a great way to BTS out of something that's normally just a big serving of sugar. Start with organic frozen berries or bananas (or both.) Add either homemade nut milk, raw milk, or grass-fed yogurt (if you don't have dairy issues, obv.) You can also use cold-pressed juices like pomegranate, green tea, or herbal teas. Now BTS with some of the following: organic greens, raw egg yolks, small frozen pieces of heart or liver, coconut oil, avocado, raw cacao powder or nibs, almond butter, cashew butter, and a tiny bit of organic, raw honey or liquid stevia (personally I can't stand stevia) to sweeten. 

BTS to the next level with things like collagen powder, grass-fed whey powder, grass-fed colostrum, mushroom powders, green powders, vegetable powders, turmeric, cinnamon...the list is endless, but I think you get the point. Just try not to go overboard, because remember -if it's going to be consumed, it also needs to taste good. Get this one down right, because the look on your kid's face when you offer him a popsicle everyday will be priceless.

Of course, it goes without saying that I heartily recommend a nutrient-dense diet that incorporates a metric crap ton of organic vegetables of all colors -particularly all dark greens, broccoli, beets, onions, and garlic, along with good quality fats and protein from animals who were raised in a quality environment (or wild) and ate a species-appropriate diet -at all times. For reasons outside the scope of this post, I'm not going to go into things like starches and grains. These are things I counsel my clients on based on their individual health issues and goals.

Diets can be negotiable...nutrition is not. If you're a grown-ass adult, you should be eating like one. Otherwise, spare everyone the stunned looks of bewilderment when you're diagnosed with heart-disease or diabetes...or any other number of dietary related diseases. After decades of shoveling toxic garbage down your cake-hole, what did you think was going to happen? 

Every time you put the stabby end of a fork into your mouth, you're making a decision about the quality and longevity of your life. As I've said many times before, the foods you eat are broken down and woven into your physiological matrix. Your food literally becomes you. Make sure you incorporate clean, quality, nutrient dense, real food into your diet on a regular basis. For the times when it's a little more difficult, as long as you adhere to the principles and practices of DBS, SOS, and BTS, you'll be solid gold.

Have any questions or comments about DBS, SOS, or BTS? Fire away.

Hasta luego, freaks.


How To Properly Feed A Human: SOS

Top o' the mornin', lab rats!

So yesterday we talked about DBS. If you didn't read it, make sure you do so that you're up to speed. In it I discussed ways to mitigate damage to your health by omitting unnecessary ingredients in foods that aren't good for you, in order to make them not as bad for you. Some of you may know this as "polishing a turd." In retrospect, DBS should be labeled DBSS (Don't Buy Shitty Shit,) because you're still buying shit -it's just not as shitty. Whatever.

DBS, along with what I'm going to talk about today, is part of my 80/20 rule -wherein making sure that 80 percent of your ACTIONS (not just food) are beneficial to your health, leaving room for the other 20 percent to be less so, but intentionally still good for you. As I said before, it can be too easy to fall back on old, destructive eating habits should life suddenly get a little messy or inconvenient. In the same way that you can't blow up a whale unless you have some explosives, you can't blow up your health if you don't have unhealthy food laying around. No dynamite in the fridge, 'k? 

Moving on to today's profound wisdom: SOS -or- Swap Out Shit.

This is different from DBS in that we're looking to get rid of the "S" altogether. We want to take something that you already eat that's no so good for you, and swap it out for something that is. In most cases it'll be the same thing, just better. In other cases it'll be something altogether different. Consider it an "upgrade" to a better life. A lot of these will be much easier to discern -mostly because they will only contain the primary ingredient and maybe only one or two other ingredients. Chief among them: foods that came from animals that were grass-fed, pastured, wild or wild caught.


Why do these things matter? I'm glad I asked.

First and foremost, the animal itself typically had a better life and death. I think it's important to have reverence for all life, especially one that was taken so that you could consume it's flesh for nourishment. Show some gratitude. More importantly -teach your kids to show gratitude. Raising an animal in its natural habitat (or as close to it as possible) while it ate a species appropriate diet produces a healthier, happier animal. This is good for the animal, and good for you, too. Without going into too much detail, factory farmed meats are cruel and disgusting on so many levels. If it was all I had to choose from, I would be a vegetarian and supplement carefully. There's just no way I could participate in that system. Lucky for me where I live, I can hunt and I also have access to properly pastured animals, including my own.

If you're going to consume animal products -and basic physiology tells us that animal products are a necessary part of a species appropriate diet, without question (don't worry vegans, I'm not calling you out...I support your compassion for living things)- I believe that it's incumbent on you to become aware of the nitty-gritty details about how your food is raised. As long as we keep our heads stuck in the sand, lest we become repulsed -and heaven forbid, risk becoming more enlightened- these abhorrent practices will not stop. The animals will continue to suffer, as will your health, and the health of the only planet we have to live on. I HIGHLY recommend reading this interview with Michael Pollan. It's well worth the time, and it may quite possibly change your life and the lives of your children. In fact, if you read this interview, and you DON'T feel repulsed enough to make a change, there's a very strong chance that you and I will never be friends. Knowledge is power.

So this is kind of where the Paleo diet shines, in that it stresses clean eating of animal products. I'm not a huge strict follower of any one diet, because most diets seem silly to me. Eat real food designed to nourish a human body and brain. I'm all for experimentation on the individual to determine his or her own N=1 when it comes to eating. My parameters are that the diet should be 1) species appropriate, 2) nutrient dense, 3) not inflammatory. Meet those three things, then tweak it to suit your own needs and demands. More on that later. 


So what foods am I talking about? Instead of butter made from regular, grain-fed dairy (or margarine -made from Fabio's tears,) buy grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is a popular brand. Costco sells it in a 3-pack for about $9 here.) Grass-fed butter is a healthy saturated fat. It's anti-inflammatory, high in butyric acid, a good source of vitamins A, E, & K, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), arachidonic acid, and cholesterol (your body needs it to produce hormones and fight inflammation.) Same goes for cheeses. Look for cheeses made from grass-milk or pastured. In fact, let's just include raw, grass-fed milk here too -if you have access to it. Skip the pasteurized, homogenized, grain-fed, pus. If you can't get raw, make your own nut milk. Here's my recipe. If you're buying nut milk, make your own. Instead of eggs from giant factory farms, look for "pastured" -not "pasteurized"- make sure it says "pastured." "Cage-free" and "free-range" don't really mean anything good. It's mostly marketing b.s. Same goes for "vegetarian-fed." Chickens aren't vegetarians. They're related to T-Rex. Seriously.

Stop buying corn-fed, diseased beef (did you read Michael Pollan's interview i linked to above?) Buy grass-fed (really, grass-finished.) That goes for all meats. You want them pastured. Fish? Skip farmed, and buy wild or wild-caught. Can't afford it? A can of wild sockeye salmon is like $3-4. Incidentally, if you buy canned fish, (sardines, tuna, oysters) make sure it's packed either in olive oil or water. Most are in cottonseed oil or soybean oil...super no bueno. Like factory farmed beef, factory farmed fish is disgusting and horrible for the aquatic environment. The one caveat here is farmed oysters and mussels. Those are perfectly fine.


Since a lot of parents have asked...hot dogs, yes or no? Look, it's pretty well known that chefs like to eat all the naughty bits that gross most people out. We know where the good stuff is and usually selfishly reserve it for ourselves. So with that said, I don't care if a hot dog has lips and assholes in it. Making use of the animal -nose to tail- isn't just respectful and economical, it's healthier. My son's first solid food was grass-fed lamb heart, liver, and raw pastured egg yolk...foods he still eats today. However, I am concerned about all the other nasty preservatives, chemicals, and colorings, as well as the fact that most are made from diseased, grain fed animals. Good news: organic, grass-fed hot dogs exist, without all the "SS." Same goes for things like liverwurst, patè, and blood sausage. Mmmm...hello you beautiful, nutrient dense bastard.


Vegetable oils. Ditch 'em or anything made with them. Instead, use ONLY olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, duck fat, tallow or lard rendered from properly raised animals. This may run counter to everything you've been taught by "them," but "they" also used to say that smoking was good for you, so screw "them."

Soda? No. Kombucha? Yes. You're welcome. Pickles? Look for naturally fermented ones -i.e. no vinegar on the label- just water, salt, and spices (Bubbies is a good brand -@Whole Foods.) Mayonnaise? Skip the soybean oil and make your own. It's basically just an emulsion of olive oil and egg yolk (and salt, lemon, & water.) Swap out the olive oil for butter, and you've just made one of my favorite superfoods -hollandaise sauce. Peanut butter? Almond butter. Iceberg lettuce? Organic spring mix. Maple "flavored" syrup? Real maple syrup. Refined sugar? Raw honey. Hershey's chocolate? Organic dark chocolate. 

Then of course, there's organic. Honestly though, "organic" is kind of pissing me off because it's starting to mean less and less. Big agriculture and the food industry are getting away with some pretty nefarious shit with organic products these days. All that said, I'll still pay a little extra and hope that I'm not getting hosed, because the health benefits are so worth it. Most of the time. With produce, check out the "Clean 15" (okay to not buy organic) and the "Dirty Dozen" (buy organic.) 

One more quick thing worth mentioning: if you have access to farmer's markets or community supported agriculture (CSA,) take the time to check them out. It's nice to meet and develop relationships with the people who grow your food. The Weston A. Price foundation is a great resource for finding local growers and ranchers in your area that are producing a lot of what I'm talking about. Also, make friends with a hunter or fisherman or learn to hunt or fish. The best way to rebel against a corrupt system that favors profit over compassion and common sense is to participate in it as little as possible and support those who do it right. Learn to operate independent of it. Again, knowledge is power. Why do you think society is being dumbed down at every turn? Control of power.

So here ya go...DBS and SOS. Are there more foods to SOS? Sure, but this is a good start for now. If you want to add to the list, comment below. Simply changing the foods you put in your basket can drastically improve your health and the health of the people you feed. Make it a habit to do these things every time you buy groceries, and you'll be doing yourself and your family a huge favor. The best part? I haven't told you to really eliminate anything...yet. Just make better choices with the bad stuff you're already buying. It really is that simple.

Focker, out.

Next up on How To Properly Feed A Human: Nutrient-dense foods and BTS

how to properly feed a human: DBS

So...I'll try to make this short and sweet...(yeah, right.)

Eating healthy isn't just about what you put into your body, it's also about what you don't put into your body. I know...no shit, Sherlock -right? I mean, it goes without saying that if you want a healthy body, then don't build it out of soda pop and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls (no lie, my lunch nearly everyday in 8th grade...don't tell my mom. Incidentally, I spontaneously and mysteriously threw up a lot that year.) We know these things have no place in a healthy diet, and they should be eliminated completely. We know this.

Now I know it's not realistic to expect someone to completely change the way they eat after three or four or six decades of eating crap. Unless of course, they just suffered some major life-threatening trauma/diagnosis that scared the piss out of them -but really...is that what it's going to take to get YOU to eat like a grown adult? Sadly, for some people the answer to that is yes. But usually by then it's too late. The damage has been done. You can't blow an engine and expect to fix it simply by changing the oil.

It's. Too. Late.

Had you changed the oil 30,000 miles ago like you were supposed to, or paid attention to the strange noises coming from under the hood and the poor performance and gas mileage, you might not have ended up stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck at 3 a.m. Yes, I'm saying that putting tape over the "check engine" light is a horrible strategy for automobile maintenance.

Like a car, your body is fantastic machine, capable of doing amazing things -provided you give it the right fuel. But humans are also "cursed" with free will, and that can lead to some pretty poor decision making sometimes. So how can we mitigate a lot of the damage done to our health by the irrational parts of our brain -especially when we're craving something...dirty?

First, understand that your brain is taking marching orders from either the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), or the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest.) When the PNS is in charge, the prefrontal cortex is online, and you're straight-up-stone-cold-cherry-chillin'. Not only are you able to relax and make more rational decisions or think more clearly, your digestive system is also properly engaged to do it's job correctly.

The SNS engages parts of the brain that favor survival over anything else, and it's in charge whenever you're stressed. It's going to make you do some pretty silly things because it wants you to stay alive. Except instead of battling bears and tigers, we go to war with strangers on FB over politics and have 9-5 jobs we hate...or kids bouncing off the walls because they've eaten nothing but sugar and excitotoxins all day long. Or all of the above.

Hello stress eating.

You see what I'm getting at. Getting a grip on our stressors is a fundamental part of healthier eating, because we need our rational, thinking brain to be in charge. But not just when you're eating, because eating presumes that you've already BOUGHT the things you're about to eat. This means that your thinking brain needs to be in charge when you go grocery shopping too, so don't buy food when you're stressed or emotional or high AF.

Now getting a grip on your stressors is a post or two in and of itself. I can usually help with external stressors, but really -that's more in your own wheelhouse. I tend to focus on ameliorating the internal stressors via lab testing, as well as teaching you how to modify your lifestyle and habits to heal your body and eliminate those internal stressors. But for now, let's assume you're in the right frame of mind to grocery shop. Ready to have your mind blown?

Don't. Buy. Shit. (aka DBS.)

As long as you DBS, you won't bring it home and eat it or feed it to your kids. Revolutionary, right? 

Before we continue, I want to be clear moving forward: this post is about "healthier unhealthy foods," because I know most of you aren't going to give up things like ketchup or peanut butter or ice cream right off the bat...if ever. That's okay. We'll talk about "healthy foods" and "healthy food swaps" in upcoming posts. DBS will apply across the board, with everything you buy -not just food. You're in charge, right? DBS.

Moving on.

Did you know that for nearly every unhealthy food out there, there also happens to be a healthier unhealthy version of it? You can buy ketchup without high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. You can buy organic peanut butter without hydrogenated oils and sugar. Instead of Häagen Dazs, there's coconut milk ice cream. Bread. BBQ sauce. Peanut butter cups. Cookies. Cigarettes. Vodka.

None of these things are good for you -even the healthier versions- and I can't stress enough that you would be better off without them. But the healthier versions are a hell of a lot better for you than their unhealthy counterpart by virtue of what you're NOT putting in your body...BPA, MSG, parabens, food colorings, preservatives, those things have no place in ANY human body -young or old. You're still usually getting a healthy dose of sugar or starches or whatever, so I emphasize -these things are still not good for you to consume on a regular basis. But humans being human beings, we like to live dangerously.

Yes, sometimes these things can be a tiny bit more expensive, but not more expensive than replacing your engine. Next time you're at the grocery store, remember to DBS. Take a little more time to seek out a better version of the things you know aren't any good for you. They're there. If you have questions, ask me. I'll do my best to help you find a healthier unhealthy version of what you're looking for. Eventually, the plan will be to gently wean you off these things and on to a more healthy, whole food diet, without ever missing the crap.

But for now, DBS.

Of course, this also means you need to learn how to read a label. Empower yourself with the knowledge of what's in your food so that you can make a more educated decision about what to buy. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE AN INFORMED CONSUMER. If you think the food industry actually cares about your health and well being, then I have a vaccine to sell you. 

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a couple of great apps you can download for free, so that when you go shopping you can scan the bar code and get more info on that product, as well as a better option. EWG's Food Scores app deals with food, and their Healthy Living app deals with food, cleaning supplies, and body care products. We'll be addressing cleaning supplies and body care products in future posts, so you can just stick with the Food Scores app for now, if you want.

That's it for now, punks. Sorry I started out this post with a lie. I'll try to make them shorter. (No I won't. That's a lie too.) #sorrynotsorry