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Posts tagged ‘Paleo’

Bone Broth and it’s Aftermath

I was listening to an episode of Ben Greenfield’s fitness, and he was interviewing Lance Roth, a purveyor of commercially prepared bone broth. Here’s the link if you’d like to listen. I have heard of bone broth before, and I like the idea, even though there is little or no proven benefit. Eating collagen has no proven effect on skin, your body breaks it down to individual amino acids, but hey, we need those amino acids.

Before I get all nerdy on you and debate whether this is even worth doing, it led to some unexpected results that I’d like to share.  I cooked the carcass for 24 hours in the crockpot, along with some carrots and celery that were past their prime. Lance suggests putting vinegar in to leach more of the calcium out of the bones, but I forgot to add it. In spite of that, when I took the carcass out and deboned it, the bones were so soft they crushed in between my fingers. I started squeezing all the bones with the same results. I finished separating the meat, bones and broth. Then I took what I would normally thrown out and put it in the blender.

pureed chicken bones and skin

You can make a smoothie out of anything, right?

It created a smooth slurry. I tasted it, it wouldn’t win awards, but it was definitely edible. I had already decided before starting the blender that  whatever it turned out like, at least the dogs would benefit.

So now I have cooked chicken, bone broth, and… Chicken paste? Bone and skin pâté? For those that are into “nose to tail”, this is perfect. I only had to throw out the equivalent of the humerus and femur, they didn’t soften as much. Unless I can come up with a recipe I could use this in, it’ll probably benefit the dogs alone.

So, how does this experiment measure up in food fad terms? Paleo- a yes, our ancestors wouldn’t waste a thing. Vegan and vegetarian, obviously no. Raw foodists, again nope. “Gut health”? Yes, long slow cooking makes food easier to digest. If you are looking for low fat, both the skin and marrow are fatty, so this isn’t for you. It is dairy and gluten free. The “nose to tail” movement that believes in making meat eating more sustainable by eating every bit of a creature would be all over this.

So what do you think? Would you eat it? Have you heard of anyone doing so? Is there any benefit? Do those benefits outweigh the drawbacks? Have any recipes? Have a crossed a line that shouldn’t have been crossed?

It’s Not 99%, That’s for Sure

close up of a cows nose

mmm, nummy.

Have you heard about “nose to tail”? That is another movement to change how we eat. It is really simple, in theory. If you are going to eat meat, you should eat all of it, and not waste it. In our modern culture, this is rather silly, in that few of us will butcher and process our own meat.  In light of what we now know about good nutrition, it isn’t even sound, since that is why our forebearers made all that yummy, yet unhealthy sausage, to use up the less appetizing bits. The idea behind this is the idea that there are so many of us, and it takes so much land to raise meat, that getting us to use every bit is better ecologically.

Learning about this made me think about all the different movements out there to get us to eat healthier, help the earth, prevent global warming, or in some way live a more mindful life. I don’t think we need to go to the extremes that some movements promote.

We don’t even agree on what we need to do. I do think we all agree on recycling, unless the energy it takes to recycle creates to much carbon. We agree on using less, unless the economy suffers. We agree on using renewable resources, unless that renewable resource is controversal, like ethanol. Oh, but we do agree on green energy, unless they are putting a wind farm in your neighborhood. Sigh.

I have a friend who is convinced if she can get us all to go vegan, the world would be a better place. I don’t know that she’s wrong, We’ll never try it to find out. I won’t even do it. Do I think that eating less meat is a good thing? Of course. Meat should be the side dish, not the veggies. I had some shrimp tacos at Red Lobster that were out of this world. I gorged myself and probably ate 10 shrimp. The rest was veggies and bread. However, I live with a raving carnivore. I have gotten him to eat smaller portions, and occasionally have chicken, fish,soup or something other than straight red meat at a meal, but he still thinks two hamburgers is a serving. The funny thing is, there is a significant portion of the health community that would see bread as the problem, not meat.

My chiropractor just gave my husband some info on the paleo diet. I have a bunch of clients going gluten free.  I applaud people for taking steps to control their health, I just wonder why everything has to be so extreme. Just eating healthy is extreme enough. Put down the crueller and have fruit and oatmeal for breakfast. Have the Southwest Salad instead of the Big Mac. Have a small coffee with one cream and sugar instead of the latte, frappe whatever. Have pudding for desert instead of ice cream. Better yet, have a yogurt parfait, with homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce. Ok, that’s it, I’m outta here. There’s some of that in the fridge calling my name. I put some in my salad this morning and it was really good.

What’s the Plan?

It’s all calories

Having said that, many people find it easier to cut calories by following some sort of plan. I’m all for that-would you try to get somewhere without a map? Plus, you need to figure out how to best “spend” those calories, to get the most nutrition and pleasure from them. But which plan? And why? There are plenty to choose from, and they are contradictory. There’s paleo, low carb, Atkins, vegan or vegetarian, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Mediterranean and DASH diets, just to name some of the popular ones.

Not all plans are equal

Remember the Donner party? They were following someone’s instructions, and look where that got them. Most popular eating plans will get you to lose weight. My question is, how do they transition you to maintenance, and how nutritionally sound are they?

“Eliminate these foods and you’ll lose weight”

For some reason, people love the idea of cutting out certain foods and they’ll magically lose weight. I just read this article about Tom Arnold’s weight loss, and it was teased with “He immediately cut these two foods”. However, there was a “rest of the story”:

To ensure that he was healthy for his son, he admitted to immediately dropping cake and bread from his diet. He also told the mag that he eliminated the six-egg omelet extravaganza with six turkey sausage links and oatmeal that he had been eating for breakfast as well as the extra-large meat pizza with breadsticks dipped in cheese that he had been consuming for dinner.

He had to also stop eating so much. You don’t have to eliminate bread, but eating too much of it will make you gain weight. You could eat the healthiest foods in the world, but if you eat mass quantities, you’ll still be heavy.

So what’s the plan?

There are guidelines for choosing a plan. Anything that bans basic food groups is suspect in my book. While many of these types of plans are very effective in weight loss, they fail in transition, since people just go back to eating the banned foods and gain the weight back. Unless you are a dietician, once you ban a whole food group, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies.

How healthy are the foods they allow? Some popular plans sell foods, and often they are chemical cocktails. I’m a big fan of weight watchers in general, but their prepackaged foods are a nightmare of chemicals and fake food. Any diet that says potato chips are ok is also a loser.

Could you stay on this diet for the rest of your life? Real diets should just be eating what you can eat all the time, just less. If the diet you are looking at isn’t the way you want to eat for the rest of your life, keep looking.

So, how about you? Are you “on a diet”? Is this the way you want to eat the rest of your life? Can you hardly wait to “get back to normal”? Let me know. Let’s start a conversation.

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