June 5, 2011
Pesky paleo? I actually mean pesce-paleo.
I eat like a predator … like one of these:
… around a year ago I took a step in a rather odd direction, the actual reason for which was two-fold. I gave up meat, for the most part. For a paleo, that is a very odd direction indeed, but I did it anyway and yet I remained a paleo eater; a predator.
The first reason was I was bored. Simple as that. I grew up a vegetarian, later having fish brought into my diet. Going paleo meant "meat, meat and more meat" which got so dull for me, an inventive and interested cook who very much likes all the aesthetics of food: the look, the smell, the combination, the shapes, the colours and naturally, the flavours, enhanced by each ingredient on the plate. I am more inventive, more natural and more at home with fish.
Second, I watched a video over on Don Matesz' website in a thread entitled 'Humane Slaughter'. It was a video of the stun, the kill and the slaughter of a cow. I really thank Don for that because it sent me in a direction quite the contrary to his intention – when challenged emotionally, it is always best to seek out fact. The expression on the cow's face as the captive bolt fires into her brain, her wide eyes and "what did you just do?" question as her tongue lolls around. Actually, the video was a very good example of a well slaughtered animal; quick, efficient and each man going about his role and function professionally and with reverence.
As paleo eaters, we invest a lot of time seeking out the best raised meat – we are ethical consumers. So, why be blind to the slaughter? Where I live, we have religious meat available all around. I do not know enough about religious slaughter, but I do know that it is preferred to stun the animal rather than irreversibly render the animal insensible with a captive bolt. That animal can, and often does, come round prior to slaughter and often witnesses the animal before being killed and slaughtered.
I am not averse to religious slaughter, because a well placed knife nicking the artery and the brain bleeding out so quickly that the animal becomes insensible without pain is a good thing. Mechanised religious slaughter is quite another.
I want to eat meat that has been raised well and slaughtered well. Luckily, meat can be traced. The farm and the slaughterhouse can be looked up for all meat sold here in the UK. I did have the notion of finding local farms and abattoirs which I would be happy to eat meat from, but didn't quite get around to it beyond a couple of steaks here and there. I simply sat back on my instincts and carried on with seafood. Largely.
I write a food weblog called Living in the Ice Age. You can google it – I won't link because often you can find something else really interesting when you search. Likewise, Don's post that I mentioned above could lead you on an interesting journey, so go hunt …
Anyway, I write my food weblog which is chock-full of ideas and inspiration about how to eat pesce-paleo: fish paleo. Yes, you'll find meat dishes in there where I've bought good meat, or meat which I've simply swallowed my moral principles because we were hungry and short of money, and a bargain was to be had, or for organs, the side-product of meat which I think is a crime to bypass. Organs are the prize!
Go on, then … here's a picture:
… a rather highbrow yoghurt marinated salmon curry.
… more like it! Fish over sea veggies. Yum!
Am I rambling yet? I do have more to say, and there is a point …
Most recently, I have been looking at what we eat and wondering whether I can still apply the term "paleo" to it. Of course I can. This is not a cop-out, but paleo man … today … would, I believe, eat like me.
I eat local, seasonal, organic and pastured. SLOP for short.
I do eat potatoes and do eat dairy. Paleo? No.
I am in no way intolerant to dairy and like around 30% of the world (mostly Northern Europeans), happily consume it the best I can get: fatty, fermented and A2 type, largely from goat and sheep. I have an evolutionary advantage and I'm running with it.
Am I still paleo? Yes.
I started looking around again and found both WAPF and Ray Peat. Interesting takes, but in the end I stick closer to paleo and will call what I do paleo because of those fundamental differences. Paleo feels right. Paleo makes me feel right.
… and so, to my point.
I've been on walkabout having grown in knowledge from learned paleo authors and now I'm checking back in. Here. Only here, because J brought me one thing that no other paleo author has: eat like a predator.
Eat like a predator is a principle. You don't need a list of approved ingredients and banned products, you need no shopping matrix and you certainly don't need to plan. Get some meat (fish, in my case), whatever veggies are available, good fats, eggs and you have a bounty. Let nature decide your plate through the seasons and let localism deliver you the best you can get where you live.
I have a few other principles, which I think I've written about here before, but if not … here they are:
- The Hunter/Gatherer Principle - can the food be hunted and gathered in the wild? This links into the local and organic principles I have always held. This guides us towards nutritious food.
- The Raw Principle - can the food be eaten raw? This is not to say that it should be, although something more like can it kill you even when it is dead? is perhaps a more useful a way of putting it. I think that's one from Kurt Harris. Anyway, this guards us against toxins.
- The Predator Principle - is the food for grazing prey? 'Eat Like a Predator' shows us how to eat food which will form meals, and to fast in between. Prey graze their way through the day while predators hunt, eat and fast. This protects us from snacking.
- The Ingredient/Description Principle - does the ingredients list more than the description of the food?
Put another way, the Hunter/Gatherer Principle leads us to food. The Raw Principle tells us if it is fit to eat, while the Predator Principle shows us whether is it ideal. Those three are then fully modernised by the Ingredient/Description Principle which helps us to make a decision about food which comes in unnatural packaging.
From a cook who planned, invested time in learning technique, applying technique and putting out really fly dishes to my family, paleo has taught me to let go … to let nature give me a bounty and guided by these principles find greatness in the simplicity that it brings. Let go.
Personal note to J – thank you.
January 5, 2013
I love seafood and that salmon curry looks amazing.
I know what you mean about the ethics of slaughter and I buy my ruminant meat from a small place that only does Halal slaughtering. It is a fruit growing orchard that keeps a few cows, goats, and sheep to eat the undergrowth and the tree trimmings and any fruit not pretty enough for market. So the meat they sell is kind of a side business for them.
So I end up with seafood and eggs making up a large part of my diet with some meat too. I also buy some things from US Wellness Meats like pemmican, beef sticks, liverwurst, etc. for when I am feeling too lazy to cook.
When you talk about the raw principle, I think we are better adapted to eating raw seafood than raw meat. Unless it is nicely ground up steak tartare or thinly sliced carpaccio, it's just too darn tough to sink our teeth into as the guy in the Gnolls Credo found out when Gryka offered him the bloody haunch. So, until we invented knives, grinders, and cooking, I think primitive humans would have gotten a lot of their food out of the sea.
June 5, 2011
Thanks, Paleobird. The salmon recipe is on the website.
Reading Cordain's thoughts on food timing, he postulates that paleo man would have eaten one good meal a day, in the evening after hunting, bulked by what could be gathered. Any "break fast" would simply be leftovers, although I would guess that scavengers would have carried off anything that the tribe had left by that point. He also thinks that the hunters would have eaten during the day, picking up whatever was highly available as they worked.
I wonder what?
Eggs? Yes. Fish? I would think so. Relatively easy to catch/grab when crossing a stream or river.
And, so an experiment …
We've gone down to one good meal a day. Breakfast is skipped (for me), my wife has yoghurt and some blueberries. Lunch is a protein and salad meal: fish and lettuce with an egg. Dinner is the main meal, protein and fat, and some carb – I have less carb than the Mrs, but more fish. We seem to work well like that.
I absolutely adore raw fish, but rarely get chance to eat it. Our new kitten (17 weeks old now) has been raised, since he came to us, on protein and fat, often raw fish; unlike our older two (15 years old) which were raised conventionally on tins of "cat food" – 4% meat, protein bulked with fish slurry, rusk as filler … horrible stuff, but they really don't take to raw fish. The kitten does – he loves it. Lucky beggar! I can get about 3 kilos of mixed fish for £1 from our local Chippy, all tail ends and trimmings that are not suitable even for fish cakes, but it's all good, fresh fish.
I should seek out more sashimi grade fish from one of our local fishmongers. Meanwhile, lightly fried, gently poached or quickly steamed is absolutely perfect for minimal cooking and maximum flavour, and goodness.
Interesting observations with the kitten …
I recall commenting once on a picture of a dog who had managed to get to a table laid out with burger buns, plates of salad and a plate of burgers. The dog went for the burgers! I think my comment was, "follow the predator … he knows where the real food is".
Along with feeding the kitten well, I've encouraged him to engage in begging and scavenging, and as such he does pop up on the table when we're eating. He has a canny knack of seeing what he wants to grab from one side of the table, jumping across onto laps and popping up, snatching and running off!
What does he grab? Fish. Simple as.
What else has he grabbed? Fried egg … the whole thing, bigger than his head, ran off with it and licked all the butter off, then licked at the yolk.
What else has he had a go at? Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, butter (he loves butter), cream, goat milk, yet passes up the offer of cow milk, even A2 type cow milk.
Offer veggies to him, he sniffs and sits down unimpressed. Any hint of meat or fish and he's jumping, climbing legs, wowing and pawing. I offered him chewing gum once, which he sniffed, ears back and ran away … real mint, he loves smelling.
Interesting observations …
I know "beware of studies on rats" since rats are not humans, but watching the kitten does give me some confidence that we're eating the right things, except, perhaps the chewing gum.
Taking the strict regimen of 'The Paleo Diet' as a starting point, achieving goals and fully understanding the principles of paleo as distinct from simply low-carb diets or gluten-free diets, we move beyond paleo into what we all still call "paleo" but has adjustments for certain food categories that we are not intolerant of, such as dairy or nightshades, or have an activity requirement for, like more simple carbs.
I've been interested to read articles from the WAPF and from Ray Peat, both of which I have had good take-outs from. From WAPF, I am still not tempted into grains, even ancient or traditionally prepared grains, but dairy, yes, so long as it's not modern dairy: pasteurised and homogenised; I go for raw, fatty, fermented and A2. From Ray Peat, I think lessening meat intake is a good lesson. Paleo eaters can go mad on the stuff and often, it's simply too much. Ease off. Muscle meats should be put aside in favour of organs and fattier cuts. Some fruit was an interesting one for me since I really don't eat fruit other than wild berries in season. I have started to work in oranges and grapefruits which work very nicely indeed with some white fish, like sea bass and halibut, watermelon, again with white fish like cod and works very nicely griddled! Grapefruit and salmon are perfect partners. The sugar thing, though … gummy bears (what would the kitten do?) … no thanks, although the notion of boosting gelatine was a sound reminder to look for the fattier cuts over lean muscle meats and to fully enjoy my Panna Cotta.
September 24, 2012
Funny you should mention that lean muscle meats should be put aside in favor of organ and fatty meat cuts as that's what I have naturally gravitated towards. Over half of my meat consumption is various grass fed organ meats from either lamb or beef and if I'm getting muscle meats it's the ribeyes and chuck eyes or other fatty cuts. In fact I won't buy lean muscle meats anymore or ground beef.
February 22, 2010
That's some beautiful food, and some excellent pictures of it! If I hadn't just eaten sushi it'd make me hungry for fish.
I like your articulations of your principles, and I know you remember mine: "Eat food you could pick, dig, or spear. Mostly spear." Fish are totally spearable...as a child, I remember catching fish with our hands in the little brooks around my friend's house -- though we never brought them home because our parents were far too suburban to cook them up.
It's instructive to remember that while people ate a wider variety of the foods available to them in the Paleolithic, they didn't have the ability to cherry-pick from foods imported from all around the world as we do today. They would eat whatever was available locally, in the seasons when it was available...which meant very different things to different tribes living in different areas. Especially for cultures that lived near productive rivers and estuaries, why bother chasing around dangerous animals when you can catch delicious fish and gather shellfish with spears, nets, a bone hook, or even just your hands?
Sometimes I think I would make a good bear. Salmon and wild berries? Two of my favorite foods...Animals are useful to watch, because their judgment isn't clouded by knowing what's supposed to be "good for them".
A postscript/word of warning: I don't take Ray Peat seriously, because he's said several things I know to be trivially false -- including the justification for the foundation of his entire approach! That being said, I agree that there are solid nutritional reasons to eat less muscle meat and more nutrient-dense bone broths and offal -- but they have nothing to do with tryptophan poisoning, or whatever his latest sciency-sounding jeremiad is.
June 5, 2011
I just watched a really cool programme on TV about the bears of north America.
Grizzly through to Polar. Polar bears evolved out of Grizzly bears and have become quite fixated on seals. They eat seals. Grizzlies, on the other hand, are phenomenally intelligent, remembering seasons, locations and remaining largely omnivorous.
They'll eat tubers, they'll eat berries, they'll eat salmon … but they put themselves where the food is. They remember, and they pass on to their young.
"This is where the food is … now" …
Polars, they are incredible. I remain absolutely in total respect for Polar bears. They have one source of food on the ice: seals. As the seasons change, they swim to shore. Up to a hundred miles.
Grizzlies, meanwhile, are enjoying roots or berries … or salmon … or ground hogs, or ants, honey, whatever … depending upon where they are and what time of year it is.
Grizzlies – the ultimate predator. Any time, any place, any where … they've got it sussed.
June 5, 2011
… and in response to your postscript above, J. I know.
Oh, and doesn't tryptophan give you cool dreams? And, are dreams not simply a means of good health while we sleep? I'll eat the chicken, then, thank you.
Yes, I'm am most firmly an adherent to your principle of: "Eat food you could pick, dig, or spear. Mostly spear." … and you'll recall my "Eat like your Grandmother" notion; she ate bone broths … from chicken bones. Yummy tryptophan in a bowl.
Sweet dreams, pal …
Meanwhile, my practical activity to "eat more gelatine" is .. JELLY! Jelly and Panna Cotta.
Red grape juice … because we can fool ourselves all we like about red wine being "good", but it's the grapes, not the alcohol, which is good. Red grape juice and sufficient gelatine (from pig, for me) to set. Next day, pour on Panna Cotta: cream set with gelatine, vanilla essence and sometimes a touch of honey. Half jelly, half Panna Cotta in a glass … long spoon … huge fun!
That, or just the red grape jelly with berries from the freezer dropped in.
Our man Raymond would be happy …
Blackberry season coming up, and we've got a bounty just about to blow in the garden, along the tracks and around the fields where we walk. Love it! Blackberry Jelly?
January 5, 2013
I agree about one main meal a day. That seems to be where I have ended up naturally. It's not holding myself back from the fridge, I'm honestly not hungry more than once a day.
That is too funny about your kitten. I agree that pets can teach us a lot. My dog and I often share the same food. He gets the more gristle-y bits and the skin and bones but we often share the kill together as a pack.
About Ray Peat. He really needs to be denounced for the snake oil salesman that he is. He has a couple of good ideas like eating liver, gelatin, and shellfish. I think it's cute when peatarians act as if he invented those things.
So, If he's right about those things does that make him a genius and all his work correct? Hardly. This became a big controversy over at MDA and I gave up and quit that place entirely. There are petarians there advising diabetic people and people with sugar triggered binge eating disorders to simply eat lots of sugar and all their problems will go away.
This is beyond benign nuttery. His advice is going to get someone killed one of these days. Mark, ever the crowd pleaser, refused to take a stand and defend the basic core of Primal. So, I bailed too. That place has lost any credibility it once had.
Mexican Coca Cola is not a health food.
June 5, 2011
I've long held the belief that there is no absolute thing as wasted time … unless it's the 'JFK' film with Kevin Costner in (Dear Lord! I'll never get that time back), be it a course you go on (or are "put" on by work), something you read, someone you talk to …
… and so, I refused to come away from Dr Peat empty-handed. He's clearly a learned fellow, but my gut instinct tells me he's joining the dots in the wrong order and coming up with a different picture. I took my take-away, and that was less muscle meat and don't forget gelatine. His love for dairy is not forsaken here either, but I'm sure I've said, I err on the side of fatty and fermented, goat, sheep and A2 cow.
Let's see what the kitten thinks …
Red grape juice jelly with Panna Cotta set on top … pig gelatine.
I'm re-reading Mark Sissons' 'The Primal Blueprint' at the moment. I really like his approach and he's just so chilled out and balanced about … well, practically everything. Paleo can get rather heated at times, but Mark just lays out his thoughts so clearly and considered. I'm sure there's more in the book that I missed the first time around.
Oh, I meant to say … reading Dr Peat, I had to look up Mexican Coca Cola. Over here, we just call it Coca Cola – it's make with cane sugar over here, although we do get "Diet" and "Max" variants with artificial sweeteners. I've never had a thing for soft drinks (soda) so that one flew over my head.
Carry on Paleo …
February 22, 2010
Trivia fact: the hand bones of a bear look much like those of a human. Occasionally hikers find them and think they found human remains!
The more research I do, the more I realize the Primal Blueprint got it pretty much correct. People can argue all they want about the carb curve -- but the PB is a solid starting point for general health, and it's not intended to diagnose a laundry list of specific problems or delve into the mysteries of the various types of metabolic dysfunction.
Did you know that cats can't taste sweetness? I bet you could feed him panna cotta atop plain gelatin and he'd still eat it...let me know if you ever do the experiment.
Ray Peat himself is at least wrong in an interesting way. It's his followers that rub me the wrong way...any time I see someone like Andr*w K*m lecturing about mitochondrial energy production, I want to stab my eyes out with a fork. It's like listening to one of those "creation scientists" yammer on: the words all sound like science, but they're either wrong or gibberish.
January 5, 2013
A lot of his followers are yammering on on MDA about mitochondrial energy production and sucking a lot of unsuspecting newcomers to that forum right down the rabbit hole with them. You're right that the basics of the Primal Blueprint are a very sound starting point and they allow for enough individual variation on things such as carb intake to be flexible enough for just about any person.
What gets me to stabbing my eyes out with forks is when the Peat heads claim that the whole concept of ancestral health is nonsense. They try to take it down to this reductionistic world view, eat <X food> to provide <X nutrient> as if human nutrition were a chemical formula. That may have something to do with Peat being a retired chemistry teacher. (He has a PhD but he is not a medical doctor yet claims the Dr Peat title when giving out advice. More evidence of snake oily-ness, IMO)
January 5, 2013
Primal has the basic principle of "If you can kill it, pick it or dig it up with a stick, it is food.
Paul and I have come up with the, "If our canine/feline companions will eat it too, it is food", rule.
Holds pretty true. My dog loves blueberries.
June 5, 2011
Somehow, I missed your last post PaleoBird. Apologies.
Indeed, I think it is well worth watching predatory animals, but remember that they are pets and learn from us. Getting a kitten or a puppy and keenly observing their natural instincts, then trusting them to show the way is great fun ...
It is 'Eat Like a Predator'.
Oh, J ... my kitten's face in that glass is not me feeding him. That was my dessert - a nice glass of red grape juice jelly with panna cotta. I put it down and that little beggar got his face in there and licked away before I could get a spoon and sit down. Instinct. He'd had a good portion, so I just left him to it and got my camera. I'd made a few, so got myself a fresh one.
I've not punished this cat or pushed him away for not understanding human oddities - I've encouraged him to beg and steal. He just jumps up on the table when we're eating and mithers us for anything going. He's a huge laugh! Annoying, sometimes, but you can't ... you just can't discourage an animal into not being itself. It's a lesson that we humans are so sadly ignoring.
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