April 18, 2014

The Down & Dirty: Part 3

Did I bare my soul enough in parts one and two of this series? My apologies for the sob stories and wallow-fests those turned out to be, but I wanted to set the stage appropriately for what’s to come. And you’ll be happy to know—assuming you’re still here reading, which is iffy thanks to those semi-pathetic ramblings—that from here on out, it’s about the good stuff. And the reason I can better appreciate the good stuff now is because I experienced the bad. So all was not for naught. If having firsthand experience with some pretty awful feelings has given me a desire to more deeply study and more fully understand human physiology, then I can only be grateful. (Easier to do in hindsight!) I’d like to think that having “been there” also makes me a better and more empathetic practitioner.

So yeah, about being a practitioner. Now that I know what I know, I want to share it with people. Does that make me sound preachy? Do I sound like a born again something-or-other who goes around knocking on doors, hocking books, and inviting people to my church of the rejected “Eat Less Move More” movement? I don’t mean to. But in a way, I can see where preachers and proselytizers are coming from. When you feel like you have THE ANSWER (or at least an answer, and a pretty darn good one, at that), you can’t help wanting to share it with everyone you see. (In my defense, the difference between me and the doorbell-ringers is that I don’t come uninvited.)

Here’s why it’s hard for me to keep what I’ve learned to myself:

April 14, 2014

Awesome Cuts of Meat You're (Probably) Not Eating: Beef Tongue!

I know what you’re thinking.



Amy, first you told us to eat beef shanks—including the super-scary bone marrow that comes with them. As if that wasn’t enough, then you told us to cook chicken livers. LIVERS, for crying out loud! But thisthis might be too much.

Are you actually, seriously, with a straight-face, telling us to eat TONGUE?!

Yes. Yes, I am.

WARNING: This post contains graphic, hardcore, XXX pictures of cow tongues. If you have a gentle stomach or are under 18 years of age, please stop reading now. 

April 7, 2014

Vitamin J: A Missing Link?

Warning: This post might ruffle some feathers. It’s a bit speculative on my part, but I’ve had some things running through my mind a lot lately and I’d like to get them down “on paper” here and see if any of them resonate with my readers. (All four of you.) It’s a little metaphysical, and maybe even a little “woo-woo.” It’s not about biochemistry or physiology. (Well, in a way, but not predominantly.) It’s about things that affect our health that we can’t measure.

This post is born of something I’ve come to realize after digging very deep into my own feelings, and also things I’ve observed in clients—particularly the ones with “stubborn cases”—the people who are seemingly doing everything right but aren’t getting to where they want to be. Their diets are spot-on. They get enough exercise. They don’t feel particularly stressed out. So why can’t they drop those last ten pounds? Or why do they still have trouble sleeping?

April 1, 2014

Financial Food Facts at the Farm

In some of the posts in my series on food labels, I’ve pointed out how expensive processed foods are. Manufacturers generally start with raw materials that are extremely inexpensive for them (thanks to our tax dollars, which subsidize corn, wheat, and soy), and after tinkering with these simple inputs—usually by adding sugar, corn syrup, and artificial colorings and transforming them into things like cereal, granola bars, protein shakes and bars, and the like—they jack up the price by multiple orders of magnitude. In other words, like I showed in the oatmeal post, they start with an input that they can sell for less than a dollar a pound, and after adding a ton of sugar and some spices, they turn around and charge over twelve dollars.

People who are unfamiliar with buying and preparing whole, unprocessed foods often use the excuse that foods like meat, pork, poultry, and seafood are too expensive. This can be especially true if we’re talking about very good quality foods, from animals that were raised humanely, on species-appropriate diets. (As I’ve pointed out in the past, this means cows eating grass or dried hay; chickens and hens eating grain-based feed but also pecking around in the grass for the grubs, worms, and insects that make egg yolks so nutritious; and pigs foraging for just about anything they can cram down their little piggy pieholes.) I would argue that compared to commodity crop-based processed foods, regular ol’ conventional meat, dairy, and other foods you can find at the supermarket are not expensive at all. I’ve seen red meat and pork chops on sale for as little as $2.99/pound, and boneless skinless chicken breasts regularly go on sale for $1.99/pound. (Not that you’re eating those, right? Talk about boring, bland, and blah.)

But for people making a transition to “the real deal” in terms of grassfed meats, pastured poultry and all that jazz, the prices aren’t quite that low. That said, they’re not as high as you might think, either. 

March 27, 2014

The Down & Dirty: Part 2

In the words of Kermit the Frog, Hi-Ho! In the intro to this series, I explained that it’s time to get up close and personal. And if Kermit thinks it’s not easy being green, he has no idea how not easy it was being an overweight teenage girl or young woman in the United States circa the 1990s and early 2000s. (And I suspect it hasn’t gotten any easier in the decade-plus that’s passed since then.)

So in today’s post, I’ll continue laying the groundwork that will support the heartfelt posts to come later—the ones about how the human body really works, and why calorie counting, fat gram slashing, and eating less and moving more are a one-way ticket to a black hole of frustration just waiting to suck you and your best intentions right in and never let you out. (Okay, to be honest, watching calories, exercising more, and all that jazz aren’t completely useless, but they’re not the end-all be-all they’ve been cracked up to be. More on that when we get into the science. For now, I’m still spilling my guts.)

Okay, here we go. Lemme just open up this vein and we’ll get started

March 24, 2014

Book Review: Eat the Yolks

“Processed food, conventional wisdom, and calorie restriction wage war on health and hormonal balance.” 
                                                                   Liz Wolfe, Eat the Yolks

It seems you can’t turn around these days without a new book being released by someone in the Paleo, Primal, and real food worlds. Mostly, this is a good thing, but I do wonder if the market isn’t going to be saturated at some point—and honestly, we might already be there. Many of the books that have come out in the past couple of years explain the exact same things, just using slightly different words and with different colored packaging. This doesn’t mean these books aren’t valuable, or that whoever decides to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) doesn’t have a right to contribute to the conversation. It just means that we get a lot of repetition. Same thing, different day.

The good news is, there are also books coming out that step outside those lines and bring something slightly different to the table. Eat the Yolks, by Liz Wolfe, is one of them.