The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #149 – Easy Probiotic Recipes, The Best Multivitamin Ever, and a Real Food Shopping Guide For Costco

primal-defense-probiotic-powder



5 Easy Ways to Consume More Probiotics

The only homemade probiotic in this list that I’ve made is kombucha but I’d love to try making all the others. Maybe I’ll try the kefir soda. That sounds pretty tasty.



A Primal Primer: Leaky Gut

Leaky gut has been linked to a bunch of health issues such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, asthma, autism, arthritis, depression and many others. And even if you don’t have health issues, keeping your gut in good health can only make you feel and perform better. There are some great tips in here on how to test for, prevent and fix gut permeability.



Orange Creamsicles {using coconut milk}

It’s about that time where the days are getting hot and I want popsicles and ice cream. I can’t wait to make these. Orange creamsicles were one of my favorites as a kid.



The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

Making hard-boiled eggs is frustrating. There are a lot of articles online claiming to know the best way to make hard-boiled eggs, and from my experience, those tips never seem to work. Well, the folks at Serious Eats have spent a lot of time trying to figure this one out and I think they got it. I tested it myself. I dropped cold eggs straight out of the fridge into boiling water, I let the eggs cook and then put them right back into the fridge out of the pot and let them sit overnight. They pealed almost perfectly in morning.



What Is The Best Multivitamin?

We’ve all seen the claims from the media that multivitamins are useless, but those claims are very generalized and don’t look at the whole picture. What if you could find a multivitamin that came in a capsule, you only had to take it twice a day, it has all the nutrients you need (and more), it’s vegan-friendly, it doesn’t contain nasty fillers, has no GMOS, it’s certified safe for all athletes, and all of the ingredients come from the highest quality sources. That’s a lot to ask for isn’t it? Well it exists and Ben Greenfield did all the hard work to find it. It’s sold by Thorn Research and it’s called Multi AM/PM Complex. You get two bottles of 90 pills for only $60. I’m definitely buying these.



Oil pulling for oral health: Miracle mouth cure? Or new age hippy hype?

Oil pulling is as good as mouth wash for fighting gingivitis and bad breath and there are claims that it may also help whiten teeth. All this without the toxic ingredients of common mouthwash. I still haven’t tried it, but after reading this, I plan to.



Testimonial: I Almost Gave Up

Another amazing story showing how food (not the FDA’s recommendations) can heal out bodies. This guy was overweight, had depression, extreme migraine headaches due to a brain injury, and was on a bunch of different medications. He bought Robb Wolf’s book, went paleo and fixed everything!



The Ultimate Guide to Interval Training

I like the way this infographic is laid out. It’s dissected into sections such as explaining what HIIT training is, the benefits of HIIT training, some sample workouts, and then it’s all joined back into one large useful graphic, ready to be republished on other sites. Neat!



Real Food Shopping Guide for Costco

I haven’t shopped at Costco in a couple of years. I ate fairly healthy then, but I’ve since been vegan and now paleo, and I’ve learned a lot more about healthy eating in that time. I was actually just thinking about renewing my membership and two weeks ago I started writing down a list of things that I wanted to see if they sold, but this shopping guide pretty much has it covered. Looks like I’ll be renewing!

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #148 – High Fat Healthy Meals, Tips on Eating More Offal, and Common Mistakes Athletes Make With Yoga

wild-planet-sardines



Four Fatty (But Healthy!) Power Meals to Fuel Your Day

These all sound like great meals and I plan to try each one of them, with slight changes for my own dietary preferences. I actually have a can of sardines that I’ve been trying to figure out how to use, so maybe I’ll throw them into a salad.



Soy-dairy protein blend increases muscle mass, study shows

This double-blind study took 16 healthy subjects and found that a protein blend containing soy increased amino acid delivery for an hour longer than using a single protein source (whey protein isolate). The blend contained 25% isolated soy protein, 25% whey protein isolate, and 50% caseinate.



Weight loss success: Draw Something match helps man lose 400 pounds

Brian Flemming lost 400 lbs. in only two years. That’s quite the success story! I hope he’s able to keep it off in the long run.



Studies Show Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on the Brain

Pro-marijuana advocates always say things like “marijuana has never killed anybody,” or “nobody has ever overdosed on marijuana,” which may be true, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do irreparable damage to a users brain. I hope the legalization of marijuana in states such as Colorado (where I live), doesn’t have major repercussions on future generations. Shortly after reading this post, I also came across another interesting article from a psychiatrist who claims that marijuana had destructive effects on children and adults. I’m not against marijuana, but I do question its safety.



The 7-Day Biceps Cure

The author claims that this method can add 1/4th inch to your arms in only a week and that you can continue doing your regular routine without issue. I’m in!



Tart cherry juice may help insomniacs sleep

A friend of mine mentioned this to me a couple of years ago when I was having trouble sleeping. I bought some, but it didn’t work for me. Of course that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! My sleep issues were probably related to something else that tart cherry juice couldn’t fix. I rarely have problems sleeping now so whatever my problem was, I seemed to have corrected it.



Tips and Tricks for Eating more Offal

There are a ton of articles out there that talk about the benefits of eating offal (organ meats) and tips on how to sneak it into our diets. The reason people keep writing about it is because everybody struggles with it! This is one of the best articles on this topic that I’ve read yet. Lots of tips!



Chipotle Menu Now Practically 100 Percent GMO-Free

This is great news! I was really disappointed when I found out how much of Chipotle’s menu was GMO. I even drastically cut back on how often I would eat there, and I’m addicted to Chipotle! It’s good to hear that the only thing left on the menu that might contain GMO ingredients are the corn and flour tortillas, and they’re working on new recipes to fix that.



The Best Time of Day to Do Just About Anything

Looking for a new job? Schedule interviews early in the morning to be more memorable. Want to get more out of your morning coffee? Wait until your natural morning alertness wears off (around 9:30am), and then drink your coffee. Read this article to learn why you should do cardio around 6pm, shop for groceries around 8pm, and go to sleep around 10pm.



The 5 Most Common Errors Athletes Make With Yoga

Most yoga-related content online is basic and useless. It’s recycled from all the other garbage content online. But not this article. This article is written by an expert yoga instructor who actually has a lot of knowledge about mobility and body mechanics. Give this one a read to learn why you shouldn’t use yoga as a stretching routine, why you shouldn’t do Bikram yoga, dangerous yoga poses you should avoid, and how to pick a yoga instructor that won’t give you a spine injury.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #147 – The Benefits of Resistant Starch, How to Spot Bad Science, and Going a Year Without Showering

sushi-rolls



The Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch

This is why I still eat foods like beans, white rice and white potatoes. Resistant starch improves gut health, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood glucose response, increases satiety, enhances magnesium absorption, and has several other benefits. Mark Sisson also wrote an excellent follow-up to this post with answers to readers’ questions about resistant starch.



2 Crucial Questions To Ask Yourself About Any Food You Eat

Ben Greenfield’s answer is “is it nutrient dense and is it digestible?” One example he gives is quinoa, which is often viewed negatively by paleos eaters because of its digestibility concerns but as Ben points out, the dangerous saponins can be removed simply by soaking overnight in a water and salt mixture. Beans are another food that paleos won’t eat, but I do because I love beans and I believe they are healthy with proper preparation.



Paleo Advocates Get Vegan Diets (and Saturated Fat) Wrong

Ginny Messina is a registered dietician, which means she knows more about nutritional science than most people. She also happens to be vegan and is an authority when it comes to healthy living on a vegan diet. She puts Kris Gunnars in his place in this post. The worst thing about Kris article is that he publishes data that supports his claims, but not data that doesn’t (yet that data exists).



[INFOGRAPHIC] A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science

Make sure that the health article/report/study/infographic you’re reviewing is worth reading by following these 12 guidelines.



When You Should Eat Your Carbs – Meal Timing on the Bulletproof Diet

A short video from Dave Asprey on why you shouldn’t eat oatmeal and fruit in the morning and why you should wait to eat quality carbs like white rice and sweet potatoes until dinner. Just make a cup of bulletproof coffee and you won’t crave breakfast anyway.



Lessons Learned From a Year Without Showering

I rode my bike to work about three times per week last summer. We had access to a gym with showers so it was great. We’ve since relocated to downtown Denver and the only way I can shower now is by becoming a member to an expensive gym, which I have no plans on doing. I was thinking about buying some Action Wipes but now I’m thinking about buying a biodegradable bar of soap and bathing in the river that runs along the trail. This was a very inspiring article.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #146 – Easy Bone Broth, 8 Toxic Beers You Should Avoid, and What Happens When You Stop Eating Sugar for a Year

soup-bones


Make No Bones About It – Bone Broth Is The Original Souperfood!

This is the first bone broth recipe I’ve seen that makes it look so easy that I’m finally going to try it. I don’t have room in my freezer at the moment, but I plan to remedy that issue soon 😉



monkii bars: an ultra-portable workout device by Dan Vinson and David Hunt

These are soooo cool! I really want a pair, but I can’t afford it now. Maybe when they come out though. Outdoor workouts are something I really want to do more often and these would be a perfect tool to add to an outdoor fitness routine.



The Best Exercises. Period.

This fun post lists one optimal exercise for whatever your goal is; athleticism, strength, endurance, power, to get ripped, to get “yoked,” or if you just don’t have a lot of time.



3 Exercises You Can Do In An Office Or Hotel With A “Fit10”

I heard Ben Greenfield mention the Fit10 on the Paleohacks podcast and I had to look it up. I found a video review that Ben did himself showing exactly how it works. Looks pretty cool! The inventor is Dave Hubbard and here’s the official website for the Fit10 IsoFlex device.



8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately

I don’t drink beer often, but I like to drink on occasion. Luckily for me I don’t usually drink any of the garbage listed on this page. I’ll occasionally go to a BBQ or something though and sometimes these are the only beers around. I’ll just have to politely decline next time. It’s good to see a couple of mainstream beers in the healthy alternative section though – Heineken and Amstel Light.



How to use a lemon squeezer

So it turns out I’ve been using my lemon squeezer wrong all these years! Well at least I finally know.



Berkey Water Purifiers

I saw a discussion about these water purifiers on Facebook and I’m very impressed. These things seriously purify water, even water from a lake or stream and I think they are affordable too, at about $260 for a basic home model. They also offer filters that remove fluoride and arsenic.



My Family Stopped Eating Sugar for a Year and This is What Happened

The author mentioned in this article that after removing sugar from her diet, when she did eat foods that contained sugar the foods seemed sickly sweet and gave her headaches and made her heart race. I’ve noticed this same thing with sugar, only to a smaller degree. But, on a more similar level, I’ve noticed my body having negative reactions to alcohol – I practically quit drinking alcohol about two years ago. Now when I have the occasional drink, even just half a beer, maybe 30 minutes after I’ve had my last drink I start to get bad headaches, joint pain, anxiety and lethargy. I’ve noticed this with wine, spirits, and gluten-free hard cider too. It’s just the alcohol. It’s crazy that we don’t notice the toxicity of things like alcohol or sugar until after we’ve removed them long enough for the body to heal itself.



Two-Minute Mayonnaise

This looks super-simple. I’ve tried making homemade mayo once and it didn’t work and I haven’t tried it again because I don’t want to waste all of that expensive oil that goes into it. I might, MIGHT, try this one.



Bananas are the McDonald’s of Fruit and They’re Destroying Latin America

I’m not sure what “the McDonald’s of fruit” means, but the article brings up some great points about why we shouldn’t eat bananas anymore – the bananas that most of us eat, the Cavendish, is unnaturally high in sugar, they often contain lots of pesticides, most bananas are not Rainforest Alliance certified, plantation workers work in terrible conditions, and the carbon footprint created by shipping bananas to the U.S. is enormous. I actually eat quite a bit of bananas, but I’m going to think twice from now on. I’ll look for U.S. grown varieties or Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade certified bananas.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #145 – Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs, How to Use Fridge Humidity Drawers, and the Transcendent Rep


Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Michelle Tam was on a roll on Facebook lately with tips on making and peeling hard boiled eggs, which she started by posting her own article from the Nom Nom Paleo blog. She followed up with two videos from YouTube: How to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs with a Spoon and How to Scramble Eggs Inside Their Shell



The Proper Way To Use Your Refrigerator Humidity Drawers Tips

I gave up trying to figure out my humidity drawers a long time ago. I suppose it’s time to revisit them now that I understand how they are supposed to work. The list on this page with all the fruits and veggies that go best in each drawer is really handy.



Homemade Ketchup Recipe

I’ve always wanted to make my own homemade ketchup but I just don’t use it often enough to warrant making a batch, especially since it only lasts up to three weeks. I suppose I could always try halving this recipe.


Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds

Seeds, nuts and beans are generally fairly healthy foods, but they can be damaging to your body and tough on the gut if they aren’t soaked. Here’s a handy chart you can refer to that provides soak times, sprout times, sprout length and yield for a long list of different foods.



The Transcendent Rep – YouTube

I have never felt as spiritual about lifting weights as this guy, Elliot Hulse, but I really wish I did. If you’re looking for some motivation to get you through your next workout, watch this video. I love this quote – “It’s that last rep that your body doesn’t want to do, but your mind and your spirit has already done. The body just has to line up with it.”


RAW Ice Cream Recipes

I’ve just started using an ice cream maker that my aunt gave me last year. I’ve been making the Bulletproof ice cream recipe from Dave Asprey and it’s awesome! It’s probably the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s a little expensive though, so I’m interested in trying out some other recipes. With any recipe I make, I’ll probably still had some MCT or coconut oil to add the benefits of fat.


Why Squatting Is So Important (plus Tips on How to Do It Right)

Here are a whole bunch of great reasons why everyone should squat, even people who don’t care about getting big and strong. Squat exercises will keep your body strong and healthy for as long as you do them.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #144 – Why Paleo Dieters Need Glycine and Folate, The Non-GMO Shopping Guide, and Hugelkultur Gardening

gelatin-beans-and-broccoli


Anyone Doing Paleo Without Liver, Bones, Skin, and Greens?

Now this is interesting. I’ve recently decided to go from die-hard veganism to a paleo-inspired diet. Most paleos stick to muscle meats and eggs without including organ meats, which is understandable because organ meats seem pretty gross. I think it’s really a matter of getting over your fears of eating something you’re not used to. Who was the first person to crack open an egg and eat it? That’s pretty gross, isn’t it? I can’t say much about organ meats myself because I’m newly paleo and haven’t gotten the courage yet to try them, but I used to eat menudo when I was younger so I imagine I’ll be fine once I jump back into it. Anyway, until then it looks like gelatin is a good place to get glycine and romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, beats and beans (lentils being the most tolerable) are a good source for folate. I soak my beans and prepare them myself, so I’m not too worried about negative health aspects of non-soaked beans.



Are Legumes “Paleo”? And Does It Really Matter?

Chris Kresser explains why people shouldn’t bound themselves to dietary dogma, which is common in the paleo community (and vegan or any other community). The paleo diet should be viewed as a template that we can build on and this post explains the exact reason why I’m leaving soaked beans in my diet.



Non-GMO Shopping Guide

A couple weeks ago I watched several interviews from the Super Size Me 10 Year Anniversary conference and in the interview with Jeffrey Smith, I learned about the Non-GMO Shopping Guide website, which contains information about how to avoid GMO foods when shopping. There are categories for things like baby food, dairy products, beverages, body care, breads, candy, oils, fruits, spices, meats, pet products, supplements and much more. There’s also a Non-GMO Shopping Guide iPhone app, which I’ve already downloaded. The app needs work to be more user-friendly, but it should still prove handy.



hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden beds

Hugelkultur looks like a great concept. If I had the space to test this in my backyard, I definitely would. I actually do have the space on the side of my house where my current garden sits, but I don’t have the time to do a project like this with spring already almost here. I’m going to have to stick to my old traditional garden this year. Maybe next year…



How To Clean an Oven With Baking Soda & Vinegar

I don’t like to use the self-cleaning feature of my oven because it stinks up the house like crazy and it sets of my smoke alarms. I also don’t like to use nasty toxic chemicals in my oven. Well here’s the best alternative!



DIY: Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric-Almond Milk

I don’t doubt that this is a “wonder” drink, but I hate how turmeric stains everything. I hate it so much that I just can’t bring myself to make this.



Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale Shake

I haven’t made this yet, but with a name like that, you know I’m going to. 😉



Grain-Free Flatbread (Paleo, Vegan, and AIP-friendly)

My family has a lot of March birthdays, including mine ;), and we had a big pizza party get-together. I’m not currently eating gluten, so I obviously I couldn’t partake, but I saw this recipe and thought it would make the perfect base to make my own pizza. To be honest, I didn’t really like it. It was too heavy. It seems like it would be great to use as a side to go along with pasta though, which is why I’m saving it here to use for later.


Quick and Easy Homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowls

homemade-chipotle

Chipotle has always been one of my favorite fast-food restaurants. When my wife and I decided to start eating meat again, we thought Chipotle would be a good entry food. It was ok, but not great.

The first thing we tried was the steak bowl. Their steak has a great flavor, but the meat just doesn’t seem high quality. The next time we tried a carnitas bowl. We felt the same way we did about the steak. So now when we get Chipotle, we just order the vegan option like we have for years 😉

But this got me thinking that it would be better to make my own Chipotle at home with grass-fed beef. It’s fast, it’s tasty and my ingredients are higher quality.

Let me start by saying that no, my burrito bowls don’t taste like Chipotle’s. I only used them as inspiration. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious!

Ingredients

Main Ingredients

  • Cooked rice, organic white or brown (1 cup per person)
  • Pinto beans, cooked
  • Grass-fed ground beef, 1 lb.
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

I throw two cups of rice and 4 cups of water into the rice cooker and forget about it for 30 minutes. While that’s cooking, I brown a pound of ground beef in a pan and finish that off with cumin and sea salt. I usually have beans already prepared and frozen so I just grab a container of beans, put them in a small pot and add cumin, sea salt, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder – I just toss it in, no measurements.

Toppings

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Tomato, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Shredded cheese, grass-fed and raw

Use whatever toppings you want. The above are what I usually use, minus the cheese. I just happened to have that on hand this time.

Guacamole

  • 1 avocado
  • tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. MCT oil (optional)

You can use any guacamole recipe you want, but this is usually how I make it. I only make enough for me and my wife for dinner, which is why I only use one avocado. You can make more if you want. Mash it all up until it creamy and it’s done!

Putting It All Together

This is the easy part. Put the shredded lettuce on the bottom of your plate or bowl, add rice, sprinkle with a little ground beef, add beans if you’re using them, add your toppings of choice and top with guacamole.

I love this meal. It’s fresh and tasty and it only takes about 30 minutes, which is about how long it would take for me to drive to Chipotle, wait in line and drive home.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #143

vitamin-pill-box


Why Getting Your Nutrition Only from Food is A Bad Idea

I always see health experts talking about how all we need to be healthy is whole foods, and while that may be true to some extent, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be even healthier with supplementation. This is a great article that discusses the problems with the whole foods society consumes today and why it’s necessary to supplement. It’s a great read, but would have been even better if he provided “the answer” to each bullet point, aside from taking a supplement, for example what’s the best way to get your water, or how to make sure your produce comes from farms who aren’t using soil-depleting practices. That would have made this article bulletproof 😉


Recipe: The Holy Grail of Homemade Almond Milk

Here’s another recipe that I was sure I mentioned in one of my weekly updates, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’ve made this nut milk recipe before and I liked it, so I had to search the web to find it again. I’m linking to it in my update so that I don’t forget it again 😉


7 Big Benefits of Blending, 5 Shocking But Healthy Foods You Can Safely Put In Your Blender & Does Blending Destroy Fiber?

Ben Greenfield blends egg shells and avocado seeds into his smoothies. That’s crazy! I would have never thought to blend that stuff. I have a Vitamix blender so I probably wouldn’t have any problems blending an avocado seed. I make smoothies every single day, so I’m gonna try it!


To Juice of Not to Juice. That is the Question

This article talks about why you shouldn’t purchase commercial fruit juices from the store. It also discusses juicing fruits, but I think they really should have gone in more depth about the benefits or drawbacks of juicing veggies as well. It’s good information, but I also have a problem with one of the first sentences on the page – ” in all of our six years of travel to more than 135 countries, we never witnessed a remote group of tribe that woke up and enjoyed a tall glass of juice for breakfast.” Who gives a shit!? I absolutely hate when health experts use this as an excuse for a reason why we shouldn’t be doing something. We are living in a modern world! While it might not be healthy to buy pasteurized juice, it’s quite healthy to consume homemade juices, as long as they don’t contain a bunch of fruit.


Are Any Plastics Safe? Industry Tries to Hide Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Bottles, Containers

It’s sickening that the companies who create these products spend so much money to falsely discredit research that proves how unsafe their products really are. Our only safe bet is to purchase all of our cooking and storage containers in glass or metal form.


How much omega-3 is enough? That depends on omega-6

My omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is something I’ve been concerned about for a while, but I never really actively tried to reduce the amount of omega-6 I take in. I do make sure to take supplements to increase omega-3 though.

I’m No Longer Vegan After 2 and Half Years. Here’s Why I Think Eating Meat Is Ethical

meat-and-eggs-in-checkout-line

I’ve been vegan since July 1, 2011, but as of February 4th, 2014, I’ve started including animal products back into my diet. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

I went vegan for ethical reasons, not health, which makes my decision all the more difficult.

It took a lot for me to buy meat for the first time in 2 and half years. I felt “dirty” when I was standing in the meat section looking through all the packages of meat. I felt like everyone in the store was judging me, even though I knew most of them also ate meat. I felt like I was turning my back on the vegan community and all my vegan friends. I felt terrible.

It was just as hard to take that first bite too.

I’ve been doing the research behind this article for several months and my plans to leave veganism has been in my mind for even longer than that, but I wasn’t fully ready. That is until after our baby, Illiana, was born in January.

illiana-11-days-old

My wife knew that I was considering going paleo, but we had still planned on raising a vegan child. My wife also had no plans of leaving veganism, but when she struggled to produce enough breast milk to feed Illiana, we thought a diet change might help. Not being able to produce enough milk has been the most emotionally troubling thing Michelle has ever had to deal with. She was distraught and didn’t know where else to turn. We tried all the galactagogues (natural remedies for increasing breast milk production) such as oatmeal, fenugreek, Shatavari, alfalfa pills, goats rue, and blessed thistle with no success. She has since started taking prescribed Domperidone. Needless to say, it’s been emotionally draining and quite expensive.

Food was the next step.

Health Reasons for Leaving the Vegan Diet

It’s proven that a good diet can do amazing things for the body. Dr. Katie Reid cured autism in her daughter by removing glutamate from her diet, such as from grains and pasteurized milk. Dr. Terry Wahls defeated progressive multiple sclerosis with vitamins and minerals and by replacing doctor-prescribed drugs with a paleo-inspired diet.

A healthy paleo diet can help the body fortify its defenses. It can correct hormonal issues (thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, etc.), it can prevent/correct gut damage/leaky gut syndrome, repair damaged metabolism and give your body what it needs to perform optimally. This is why we chose to move towards a paleo diet. No grains (except the occasional white rice, not brown) and no soy – just grass-fed meats, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, some organic fruit, and lots and lots of organic vegetables.

It is the benefits of a paleo diet as it pertains to hormonal balance why we felt like it could be of some help to Michelle. Hormonal issues such as PCOS and Endometriosis (PCOS can cause reduced breast milk) can be treated with proper diet.

All the health benefits of eating animal products combined contributed to my decision to change my diet. I’ve had several health problems since going vegan (although I’m not saying that a vegan diet caused those issues). I don’t know if my diet did any damage, but I want to see if a different diet could fix my health problems.

Here are some of the problems I’ve had:

  • Constant Fatigue (tired often, low energy)
  • Extreme Gas (sometimes painful)
  • Trouble Concentrating (so bad that I’ve had to visit the doctor several times)
  • Dizziness (only 2-3 times, but one time so bad that I fell)
  • Joint Pain (especially in my knees)

I’ve only been on the paleo diet for a month now and I haven’t had signs of most of the issues mentioned above, although those health problems also aren’t constant for me. They come and go, so only more time will tell if the paleo diet is working for me. The gas issue has definitely changed, though. I hardly have any gas at all now, or at least not like I did. So far, digestion issues have just gone away. It’s great.

I still believe that people can be vegan and healthy, as long as they eat good foods and supplement with things that aren’t typically found in a vegan diet, such as Vitamin K2, B12 and EPA & DHA. Vegan registered dietician, Jack Norris, has a good list of recommended supplements and Chris Kresser recently published an article about the important nutrients that are often devoid in vegan diets. I think these are both great places for vegans to start when thinking about the supplements they need to stay healthy. Being healthy is totally doable on a vegan diet, although I don’t believe vegans are as healthy as what is possible.

Do Vegans Cause More Animal Death Than Meat Eaters?

This is the question that started this whole thing. I first heard this idea from Dave Asprey who had made a claim on his blog that more animals are killed when farming soya beans and wheat via accidental tractor kills and harvesting machinery than what are killed on a local farm to feed a person for one year (one cow). That’s not to mention that wheat and soy production is a major contributor to the destruction of our topsoil.

When I first heard this, I sought out to prove him wrong. I did a ton of research but the deeper I dug, the more I started to believe that he was right.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation (paleo propaganda, I know):

“By some estimates, at least 300 animals per acre–including mice, rats, moles, groundhogs and birds–are killed for the production of vegetable and grain foods, often in gruesome ways. Only one animal per acre is killed for the production of grass-fed beef and no animal is killed for the production of grass-fed milk until the end of the life of the dairy cow.”

Although I did find an interesting comment from “Paul R.” opposing this statement on this page:

“Though I’m an enthusiastic consumer of home reared animals, I have to disagree strongly with the contention that only 1 animal per acre is killed by eating grass-fed (beef). Feed paddocks are traversed by vehicles and implements nearly as often as crop paddocks, and grass fed animals are typically fed hay or cut feeds during the winter. It is this use of machinery etc that kills the 300 animals per acre referred to on the vegetarian side, making collateral damage on both sides of the fence pretty similar.”

While Paul R. makes a great point, I don’t think the amount of hay used to feed grass-fed cows is anywhere near the same amount of wheat used for human consumption or to feed animals on industrial farms.

The big question for me here is if it’s better that I contribute to the accidental death of hundreds (maybe thousands) of animals every year or to purposely killing 1-3 animals per year.

Three deaths sound better than thousands, but is it more ethical?

The animals killed in the field have lived normal and free lives, although they might also be very young and have not lived full lives. They might be killed suddenly or perhaps have body parts chopped off causing them to bleed to death. We can’t just assume that tractor-kills result in instant and painless deaths to these little animals.

If I forgo grains and soy altogether and replace them with meat, I cause only a few deaths. Then again, these are animals that have lived very short and somewhat unnatural lives. Ethically-farmed animals are killed “humanely,” according to current standards, but their deaths are still not very humane. Or at least not as humane as I think it should be.

How to Find an Ethical and Sustainable Farm

PETA has a great article about how organic and free-range animals are often thought as humanely raised, but aren’t. What they claim in that article is true and that’s why you need to really know the farm that you’re purchasing from. Just because your food is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

Here are some questions to ask when seeking out a local, humane farm.

  • Do they debeak, dehorn, castrate, or remove testicals without painkillers?
  • Are there in extremely crowded, filthy housing conditions?
  • Are animals fattened before slaughter?
  • Do they practice forced pregnancy?
  • Are baby calves removed from their mothers? (they don’t have to be. Check out what Jordan Rubin does with Beyond Organic)
  • Do they treat infections of udders?
  • Do they practice horn and testicle removal?
  • Branding?
  • Are pig tails chopped and ears notched?
  • How are animals fed in the winter?
  • How do they handle breeding?

You might not be able to get around some of the above issues, but if you find a farm that aligns with most of your concerns, they are probably a good farm to support.

Are Grass-Fed, Natural Farms Sustainable?

joel-salatin-ethical-farmer

Joel Salatin is an expert on sustainable and ethical farming. You can look to his practices for finding a farm that you can trust. In this interview with Salatin on Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Executive podcast, Salatin discusses the problems with industrial farms, such as how they want people to think that they are self-contained, but those farms don’t show us the miles and miles of corn, soybeans, tillage destruction, and petroleum fertilizers that go into keeping those factories going. Those farms require a ridiculous amount of energy and in the end, produce nutrient deficient meat.

But with smaller sustainable farms, the farms can exceed the production of a factory farm per square foot because everything takes place right there on the farm. There is no manure to haul because animals spread it themselves. No concrete to pour because the animals stay out in the fields. Salatin’s farm has no tillage, no plowing and they plant perennials instead of annual forages in the pastures. The energy that goes into the farm happens in the beginning but once it’s in place, it only needs to be well-managed.

While there are claims that sustainable meat is a myth, most of the info is cherry-picked to support their cause. Sure, the farms that practice sustainable methods are few, but their numbers are growing as more people become aware of their benefits.

You can find local, ethical, and sustainable farms – and the restaurants and grocers who carry their items – on EatWild.com and LocalHarvest.org.

How I Plan To Be an Ethical Meat Eater

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Based on everything that I’ve read, I’ve decided that the right choice for me is to no longer be vegan. I believe that it’s the healthiest choice and that I can do it in a way that will result in less animal death than any other diet. There’s only one other diet that might compare and that’s raw vegan, but I just don’t trust that a long-term raw vegan diet is healthy.

As I mentioned earlier, I went vegan for ethical reasons. That means that since I’m eating meat again, I need to make sure that I buy the most humane and ethical meat possible – raised, treated and slaughtered.

Let me be clear that when I say “ethical” and “humane,” I do realize that when talking about animal farming, “ethical” and “humane” are a somewhat contradictory. I’ve been vegan for over two years and have been deeply immersed and involved in the vegan community the entire time. I know that there is no real humane way to farm animals, but when I say “ethical” or “humane,” I mean in the MOST humane or ethical way currently available.

My love for animals is not gone. Being an ethical vegan isn’t just about food. It’s also about fighting against the mass-production of animals for things like clothes, belts, leather, using bugs for coloring, and so on. I will never buy products made with fur or leather and I’ll continue to buy products from vegan-friendly businesses. Whether the vegan community will still accept me, it’s hard to say, but I will always fight to prevent animal suffering.

Here’s how I plan to move forward with this lifestyle choice:

  • Buy only from sustainable, ethical farms
  • Only eat meat if it comes from an ethical, humane farm
  • Eat meat from large 100% grass-fed animals (cow and buffalo)
  • Eventually purchase a whole cow, put in the freezer and use only that. No grocery store trips.
  • Minimal amount of meat (I believe that overindulgence is destroying our environment)
  • Eating eggs from pasture-raised chickens (my stance on this might change)
  • Buy organic pasture-raised turkeys for Thanksgiving
  • If I go out to eat and the meat isn’t ethical, I will eat vegan
  • Eat only wild-caught non-endangered fish
  • Consume only organic, raw dairy (maybe)

paleo-hamburgers

Just because I’m eating meat again, doesn’t mean it’s free for all. I’m not going to eat shitty meat from Taco Bell or a pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut.

If I eat any animal products they MUST be ethically-raised, otherwise I will choose to eat something vegan instead.

Sources and Additional Reading

This is everything else I read that went into my decision. There is a mixture of articles that are both for and against veganism.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #142 – Placebo Sleep, Improving Your Life 1% at a Time, and A Controversial Article About the Negativity of Vegan/Vegetarian Diets

beautiful-baby-girl

I haven’t posted an update in quite some time now, huh? I haven’t been doing much at all in the last month because I’ve been so busy with my first child, a beautiful baby girl who was born on January 22nd. I’ve been working full-time again, but from home, and I’m preparing to start transitioning back into the office next week.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and I hope I can spare the time to get back into the habit of posting these weekly updates.

For now, enjoy the few things I’ve had time to read recently.



You Can Get Placebo Sleep

If you think you got a good night of sleep, even if you didn’t, your mind will believe it and you’ll function better throughout the day. I don’t know how you could translate this to provide results in real-life, but still interesting.



American Heart Association Joins the NFL to Lie to Kids About Childhood Obesity

The “Fuel Up to Play60” campaign promotes 60 minutes of play per day to keep kids healthy and they also recommend that kids drink chocolate milk for nutrition. Did you know that chocolate milk “can contain up to double the calories of Coca-Cola along with 20% more sugar,” and that the “Fuel Up to Play60” campaign was co-founded by the National Dairy Council? When I read this post it reminded me of a recent episode of Shark Tank where Mark Cuban and Steve Tisch laughed when they heard about the Got Milk campaign claiming that chocolate milk is good for athletes. I wrote a post about that here.



This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened

A fantastic story about how just making small changes over a long period of time can have an enormous impact. You can apply this line of thinking to anything you want to do in life.



Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

I went vegan for ethical reasons, not health reasons, and I became vegan fully aware of the potential for nutrient deficiencies. I take many different supplements to combat that issue – Deva Vegan B12, Ovega-3 (DHA & EPA), Rainbow Light Men’s One Food Based Multivitamin (Calcium and many other nutrients), Vitashine D3, and Source of Life Garden Vitamin K2. The last time I had a blood workup, which was about a year ago, I came back looking great. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, I suggest getting checked out too. Vegans and vegetarians might have to take more vitamins than omnivores, but it’s not at all difficult.