I’m one of those people who identifies themselves as a life long learner, and part of that is keeping an open mind. For that reason, I like to read, watch & listen to multiple sides of an argument. This also means that sometimes I change my mind on certain topics.
In this case, I’m talking about diet. . . . . Shocker, I know.
I’ve spent a lot of time in this space talking about the value of eating lots of veggies, and downplaying meat. While I never cut meat out of the picture completely I definitely held the belief that we should be eating less of it.
I got this idea after reading the China Study (yes I actually read it back in 2012) and watching all the food documentaries on netflix. Then there was The Blue Zones, and I’m sure I’m missing another source somewhere. But the thing that struck me as odd is that these studies never found a completely vegan culture. They simply don’t exist until a more modern era. I could not understand how researchers and doctors working on this stuff could actually conclude that veganism was the answer. None of these cultures were vegan, yet here they were touting it.
I personally concluded that if anything these cultures simply ate less meat (I should have concluded that meat is expensive and they prized it, but I digress). They also used every part of the animal, and spaced it out as long as they could (e.g. the annual butchering of lamb in Ikaria, Greece). These people weren’t even truly vegetarian. This lead me to a “part-time vegetarian” model of eating. Which worked well for me for a while.
It was during my 1st pregnancy when I had a mild case of gestational diabetes. I started my research on how to eat with the American Diabetes Association, but was flabbergasted by the diet advice they gave that seemed counter to the idea that carbs were the culprit to my raised blood sugar. It was then that I got a glucose monitor and started tracking my sugars, figuring out what I foods would spike my sugars and which ones didn’t (fun fact, my dad who is pre-diabetic had very different reactions to certain foods, totally interesting right?) When all was said and done I ended up on a high protein, high fat diet. Which got me digging some more.
Years prior I had started following Slow Down Farmstead on instagram, who exposed me to a differnt type of diet, as well as the work of Weston A. Price Foundation and Peak Human Podcast (I suggest you start with Ep. #87, then go to #61, #11, and finally #39 & #40 in that order).
I started to go down a pretty big rabbit hole. and then my husband had some complications with a kidney stone that landed him in the hospital for a few days just before our second son was born. Which sent me further down the rabbit hole of how to fix his health.
I kept coming back around to nose to tail meat eating, and whole foods. I mean the whole foods part is obvious, but there are some things I just didn’t think about, like the presence of seed oils in all our salad dressings, or that even homemade bread if not made from sourdough could be causing some issues (again peak human ep. 87 mind=blown). We started adding more meat products in. I started doing more of my own butchering and actually saving the odd bits, like livers, and hearts, tucking them into gravy, or ground meat (seriously, I’m trying but I can’t with the taste of liver). I started getting serious about making broth, and not just on a chilly Sunday, but I’m refusing to buy store bought garbage ever again. We also ordered 1/2 a pig and 1/2 a cow from local farmers (it wasn’t enough, next year we are doing whole animals).
The results were pretty unimpressive for me, but quite shocking for hubs. Currently he has no new kidney stones (they used to form ever other year), and dropped quite a few pounds. I actually gained a little weight (about 5lbs, but went down a pant size so???), and saw my sugars stabilize. I also started getting better sleep. And this may be just in my head, but I feel like my kids are better behaved (they are eating better by extension as well, but it could just be improved mood on my part).
So, all this is to say that I’m giving up the “eat plants” narrative. I’m sticking with the whole foods and nose to tail meats. What that means for this space? More meat! duh! Whose excited about that? There will still be some herbs and oils posts, because these are all parts of my life and this space is a reflection of that for sure.
Honestly, I’ve been wanting to publish a venison cook book for awhile, but couldn’t do it because it felt at odds with everything else I was posting, but now I’m so much more open to it.
At this point I’ll stop writing. I wanted to go into the consequences of this diet change on the planet, but we are already at almost 1000 words, so I suppose that will be a post for another day.
In the mean time here is a collection of some of my favorite meat recipes: