Bacon seems to be an unlikely “healthy food” to eat when in fact it can be healthy depending on the source (if sugar-free and with no additives). How to source pork is the same as how to source beef, the topic of my previous post. Since pigs consume pretty much anything, sourcing pork is very important, especially because pigs are highly reactive to mold toxins in food.
That being said, well-sourced pork is perfectly fine to eat when eating primal/paleo and even keto diets. In the book Keto Answers, written by Anthony Gustin and Chris Irvin, they give a list of keto-approved pork products as listed below:
Bacon doesn’t contain a whole lot of nutrients but is fine to eat every now and then, which I happily do without feeling guilty anymore. If you want to have pork rinds as a snack, the brand EPIC is a great option. And the links I shared in my previous post to find good-quality beef are valid for pork too. How about a nice bacon and eggs?
Asprey, Dave. The Bulletproof Diet : Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, and Upgrade Your Life. New York, Rodale Books, 2014, p. 172-73.
Gustin, Anthony, and Chris Irvin. Keto Answers : Simplifying Everything You Need to Know about the World’s Most Confusing Diet. Middletown, De, Four Pillar Health, 2019, pp. 151-52.
Vegetables are at the base of the Primal Blueprint food pyramid and meat comes in second, along with fish, fowl, and eggs. As a complete protein, meat from animals that are raised similarly to how they live in the wild is going to be healthy meat to consume and give us an array of nutrients that animals from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) are deficient in. Just like humans, if animals are not given a diet that works along with their ancestral roots, they are going to be sick and filled with systemic inflammation.
Cows are ruminants that should be eating things like grass, clovers, and shrubs. Cows in most CAFOs (the beef found in supermarkets) are fed grains, corn, soy-based products, garbage, plastic, stale junk food, candy, and bits of dead CAFO sick animals. As you know, you are what you eat, but also, “You are what what you eat eats too,” as Michael Pollan puts it in In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. CAFO cows are also given antibiotics (so that they don’t die before slaughter due to their horrendous living environment) and growth hormones (to increase their weight).
So what are the other options?
With the understanding that it is always better to buy local, pastured and 100 percent grass-fed (also called grass-fed and grass-finished, as opposed to grass-fed and grain-finished) is the way to go. Next would be making sure it is USDA-certified organic. The extra cost is worth bypassing CAFO meat, and if you have to eat the latter avoid consuming any fat on it as this is where some of the meat toxins are stored, not in the liver.
As a side note regarding the liver, which I really enjoy eating and is full of nutrients (organ meats should never be thrown away!), the liver is not a filter that holds on to the toxins. In a May 2019 newsletter, nutrition expert Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D., explains that “The liver does not filter toxins. Instead, the liver modifies them to make them less toxic, and to make them easier to excrete. This leads to their elimination in the feces and urine, not their retention in the liver.” This is what makes the liver a great nutritious meat to consume rather than being something to avoid!
Even with pastured and 100 percent grass-fed meat, certified organic or not, always ask exactly how the animals have been treated. To find local farms, two sites can be helpful: EatWild.com and LocalHarvest.com.
As we vote with our dollars, buying better quality meat is definitively at the top of the list for improving our own health, improving the health and wellbeing of the animals we consume, and helping to promote sustainable practices that will better our environment.
Asprey, Dave. The Bulletproof Diet : Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, and Upgrade Your Life. New York, Rodale Books, 2014, p. 174.
Gustin, Anthony, and Chris Irvin. Keto Answers : Simplifying Everything You Need to Know about the World’s Most Confusing Diet. Middletown, De, Four Pillar Health, 2019, pp. 145–50.
Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food : An Eater’s Manifesto. The Penguin Press, 2008, p. 167.
Sisson, Mark. The Primal Blueprint : 21-Day Total Body Transformation. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2016, pp. 106–7.
In order to step into the primal/paleo lifestyle (if going cold turkey is not your thing), progressively eliminating one unwanted food after another is perfectly fine. It’s all about taking one small step at a time to not feel overwhelmed by something that could otherwise seem too big of a challenge to tackle. As you know, the primal/paleo lifestyle comprises more than just choosing better quality foods, but after making sure you get adequate sleep, food is probably what matters most.
For example, maybe the first thing to eliminate can be drinking soda and only soda. After a few days or a few weeks of adjusting to that, then not buying fast food at all can be the second thing to implement.
After another few days or weeks, maybe the next step can be stopping the use of the traditional vegetable oils (like the high polyunsaturated ones and partially hydrogenated trans fats) and switching instead to using healthy fats like the ones mentioned in my blog post, What are Ketones? As explained by Dr. Dinicolantonio and Dr. Mercola in Super Fuel, our cell membranes are mostly made out of fats and that is one main reason why choosing the types of fat we consume is so critical. If we choose fats that can easily be oxidized then they are not going to give us healthy cell membranes. And of course, our whole body is made out of cells. Switching the types of fats we buy is actually an easy switch to make as cooking with new fats is not going to drastically alter the taste of what we are eating. It might go fairly unnoticed. Also, the brand Primal Kitchen, which I get regularly, offers an array of healthy condiments that can make things even easier.
One more thing to get rid of, as a start on your primal journey, are refined sugars such as: all the traditional sweets, processed or not, sugary drinks and juices, and bars of all sorts filled with a high amount of sugar. Here again, not everything has to be cut off at once. Always implement the step by step approach. There are a lot of paleo/primal-approved dessert recipes online now that can be made by simply picking better-quality ingredients.
These are the steps that I think are best to tackle first, even if you don’t want to go primal/paleo all the way (by getting rid of the grains, legumes, and certain dairy products). The order of these steps can be rearranged. It’s all about whatever you think is the best next step for you!
Dinicolantonio, James, and Joseph Mercola. Super Fuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock theSecrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health. Carlsbad, California, Hay House Inc, 2018, pp. 117-9.
The Hip Hinge entails making sure, whenever we sit down and/or get up, as well as whenever we need to pick up and lift something, that we bend at the level of the hips, keeping the back super straight. This might seem like common sense, but if we don’t pay attention to how we’re moving, the back can easily be taxed. It is also important, especially if we lift something, to engage the abs and other core muscles before lifting the item.
Sitting down and getting up is pretty much like doing a small squat (the squat is one of the 4 Primal Essential Movements, along with pushups, pullups, and plank). You want to slightly activate the core muscles, keep your weight on your heels, but still be able to grip with the toes. Also be sure that you engage the glutes especially when you get up. The hardest part in the beginning of this transition is just to remind ourselves of this technique, whenever we have to sit or lift things.
Of course, the more we practice something, the more it gets ingrained as a habit, as explained in my first blog post. After a while, practicing the hip hinge will become second nature and it will not feel like a chore.