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Overview of Real Food

Animal Protein:

Meat from grass fed animals (beef, pork, lamb, bison, goat, game animals) contains high quality protein that is efficiently assimilated because these meats also contain the correct proportions of fatty acids (see below).  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) animals are fed on grains, fatten quickly, and contain the wrong ratios of lipids.  Lean meats are dry, tasteless, and cannot be properly used by our bodies without their accompanying fat.

We were never meant to eat only the muscles of animals.  Organ meats contain far more nutrients and may be cheaper than muscle meats.  Liver is an excellent food and contrary to popular notion does not store toxins.  It is not a filter but a chemical detoxifier, meaning that it breaks down toxins and excretes them.

Chickens and turkeys that graze on pasture and eat grass and bugs have tastier meat (more dark meat and less dry tasteless white meat), the correct ratio of fats and produce eggs with bright yellow-orange yolk containing lots of vitamin A and omega 3 fats.  Fat ratios are much better in pastured eggs.

Fish, especially cold water fish, are excellent choices for their omega 3 fats and excellent quality protein.  Eat the whole fish when possible and include raw fish (sushi, sashimi) when possible.  Fish roe is also an excellent source of nutrients.

Fresh raw milk is an excellent food and may be tolerated by some people who cannot properly digest pasteurized milk.  Pasteurization was sorely needed at the time that it was developed because of the abominable conditions in the dairies, especially in crowded cities.  And it probably still is on factory farms where the cows are prone to all sorts of ailments from the crowded conditions and unnatural grain based diet.  But milk from a traditional farm that raises its cows on pasture and uses modern milking equipment is perfectly safe and provides a living food with its enzymes intact.  The taste is incomparable.  If you cannot get raw milk, use raw cheese, yogurt, or kefir, in which the organisms that ferment the milk are beneficial for gut health.  Go for the full-fat varieties, especially from Jersey or Guernsey cows.  Nature does not take food apart.  The fat helps digest and assimilate the protein.

Plant protein:

Legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds, and such grains as quinoa provide protein but the amino acids are not in the correct ratios for health.  However plant proteins complement animal, but they provide a lot of carbohydrates with the protein.  Be very wary of soy.  It is not a substitute for meat in any sense of the word and has major problems (anti-nutrients and estrogen mimics).  Eat only fermented soy products (traditional soy sauce, natto, tempeh, miso, and fermented tofu).

Carbohydrates:

Most people eat far more carbohydrate than their bodies were designed to handle.  There are cultures that eat no carbohydrate and are healthy and free of chronic disease.  However, small amounts of carbohydrates from whole, properly prepared foods are beneficial because they come packaged with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  We should be eating fresh locally grown vegetables and fruits in season, frozen or home canned out of season.  Some vegetables should be fermented (kim chee, sauerkraut, pickles) to provide beneficial bacteria.  Grains should be eaten in moderation and preferably whole, such as brown rice, wheat berries, and steel cut oats.  These benefit from soaking in an acid medium before boiling to break down phytates and enhance mineral availability.  Sprouting grains has the same effect.  Traditional sourdough bread, or bread made from freshly ground grain by the old fashioned slow proofed method is easier to digest and provides more nutrients than modern rapid rise bread.  High starch vegetables (potatoes, corn, yams) should be eaten in moderation, as should natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, and the minimally processed cane sugars rapadura and sucanat.

Fats and oils:

Contrary to the accepted paradigm that saturated fat will clog your arteries and cause heart disease, people have been eating animal fats for millennia and heart disease is a recent problem.  The healthiest fats are the whole food variety—butter, lard (which has the same amount of monounsaturated fat as olive oil) beef tallow, chicken and duck fat, and olive, coconut and palm oils.

Fatty meat from grass fed animals contain fewer saturated and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and more monounsaturated and omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.  Feedlot (CAFO) animals fed on corn and soybeans have more saturated fat and almost no omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.  Pastured animals and butter from pastured cows contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a very beneficial fat.

Cod liver oil is a special fat that is a concentrated source of vitamins A and D and also supplies the long chain omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

Bone broth:

Broth or stock made by boiling bones in an acid medium for many hours is an exceptionally rich source of minerals.