Flow Charts!

I’ve been wanting to do some of these for a while now, and just decided that today is the day for them. So buckle up, it’s bout to get flowy.

Okay, first off, here’s an awesome flow chart drawn up by Robb Wolf.

Click it for a larger image. This is pretty much the answer to all your questions.

Also, here’s another couple of flow charts that are more about asking questions than answering them. I don’t think there’s any 100% consensus on this stuff yet, just some different hypotheses with varying levels of support. Hopefully we will do some science to this issue and get it figured out.

This is sort of the “accepted causation” flow of how people get the metabolic syndrome. You eat too much, don’t move enough, you put on weight because your calories in are greater than your calories out. The increased adipose tissue causes insulin resistance, which eventually blossoms into full-on diabetes, and then you are on the fast track to heart disease, cancer and strokes. Also, amputations. Sometimes people skip a step, but they’re outliers and they don’t matter. These are the skinny folks with type 2 diabetes. If excess body fat causes diabetes, why do you have skinny people with diabetes? Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

Okay, here’s another flow:

Under this model, overconsumption of carbohydrates is what’s screwing you over in the first place. Specifically fructose, and specifically refined fructose in the form of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. That junk is processed in your liver and forms lipid droplets which gives you non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and bunches of other problems. If you want to know how this works, here are some great sources: Sugar: The Bitter Truth, Is Sugar Toxic?, Sugar 101 Essentially, sugar is bad, mostly because of fructose. A lot of cultures eat significant amounts of starch (which breaks down only into glucose) but not much sugar, and they don’t have obesity and diabetes problems. They also don’t have the rates of heart disease that Americans do. A healthy person, relatively lean, with good insulin sensitivity, can eat a fair amount of starch without much negative effect. In fact, if you’re a very active person, eating some starch is probably very good for you, as it repletes your glycogen stores.  For the average, overweight American looking to slim down, starch needs to be reduced, which is why you see so much success with low-carb diets and overweight people. It gives their pancreas a rest and they get to rebuild some insulin sensitivity.

So there you go. Two competing models of what causes insulin resistance, both of which with some scientific backing. The biggest confusion comes when you throw epigenetics into the mix. Epigenetics is what happens when your environment interacts with your genes. Some people are just wired up to be leaner than others, and they can stay lean even if they’re insulin resistant.  So maybe the real word we’re looking for here is “contribute” rather than “cause.” Because there are people who can eat cakes and pies and candies all day and not gain weight or develop diabetes or anything else. They’re just genetically lucky. There are some people who seem destined to be thick, no matter what they do. Some people are genetically inclined to be addicted to alcohol. Does that mean that their genes will make them alcoholics even if they never drink? Obviously not. It’s all about predisposition and how your choices interact with your genes. You do have some measure of control, you just have to determine what you can get away with before you start flipping unfortunate switches in your body.

There’s also another possibility and that is that it’s a combination of all of these things. Maybe you start eating too much sugar which starts a little bit of insulin resistance, which then starts fat to piling up on your booty. The fat then sends some hormonal signals telling your body to keep it up with the insulin resistance. Maybe? I don’t know. It seems plausible, right? Hormones are really the big culprit here. To steal an analogy from Taubes (again) your hormones are what make you grow taller, and they inspire hunger so you’ll eat enough to fuel that growth. Why should we assume that our hormones govern that growth but have nothing to do with our girth growth? It’s not like eating too much makes some people taller, right? Kids aren’t growing because they’re eating so much, they’re eating so much because they’re growing. So I think it’s silly to discount the role of hormones in weight gain. It seems like they have to have something to do with it. Since hormones control feelings of hunger and satiety, that’s as good a mechanism as any to get you to stuff your gob.

Okay, so hopefully that made sense or clarified something or made you think or all of the above.

That’s probably enough for now. I had some other ideas, but they’re best saved for another post. So there you go. Some flow charts. Fun, right? Don’t act like you don’t love it.

Maximum Nutritional Density

First thing first: Did I mention I weighed in at 210.4 lbs the other day? Because I did. And that’s 35 pounds gone. Booyah. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled rant.

So this is something I hear a lot: “What about all the nutrients that are in grains that you’re missing out on?” To that I say “Have you ever actually read…at all?” People are so programmed to believe that “healthy whole grains” are the best foundation for a good diet, that they don’t actually ever really look at the labels. Let’s do some comparisons.

Here are the rules. We’re comparing nutritional density per calorie, and we’re using fitday.com as our source. Also, we’re using whatever their definitions are for the foods. You can pretty much bank on the meats being CAFO and the plants being non-organic. So take that into account. Also, we’re only looking at the actual micronutrients for the foods, so vitamins and minerals are all that matter. If butter has more vitamin C in it than oranges (I don’t think this is the case) then it doesn’t much matter, nutrient-wise, whether the calories come from fat or carbs. I’m also going to try to use whole foods, rather than anything processed or prepared (as much as possible). We’re not comparing steak (a natural product) to vitamin-enriched whole wheat tortilla and “chreeze” quesadilla (a lab-grown horror show), because one of them is not even actually food. Make sense? Let’s roll.

Bacon vs. Brown Rice (100 calories)

Bacon (Baked) (18.5 g)/Brown Rice (91 g)

  • Vitamin A – 2.0 mcg/0.0 mcg – Winner: Bacon
  • Vitamin B6 – .065 mg/.13 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Vitamin B12 – .23 mcg/0.0 mcg – Winner: Bacon
  • Vitamin C – 0 mg/0 mg – Tie
  • Vitamin D – 0 mg/0 mg – Tie
  • Vitamin E – .057 mg/.027 mg – Winner: Bacon
  • Calcium – 2.0 mg/9.2 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Cholesterol – 20.4 mg/0.0 mg – Winner: Bacon?
  • Copper – .03 mg/.091 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Iron – .27 mg/.38 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Magnesium – 6.1 mg/38.8 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Manganese – .0041 mg/.82 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Niacin – 2.1 mg/1.4 mg – Winner: Bacon
  • Pant. Acid – .22 mg/.26 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Phosphorous – 98.6 mg/75 mg – Winner: Bacon
  • Potassium – 104.5 mg/38.9 mg – Winner: Bacon
  • Riboflavin – .049 mg/.023 mg – Winner: Bacon
  • Selenium – 11.5 mcg/8.9 mcg – Winner: Bacon
  • Sodium – 427.4 mg/273.8 mg – Winner: Bacon?
  • Thiamin – .075 mg/.087 mg – Winner: Brown Rice
  • Zinc – .65 mg/.57 mg – Winner: Bacon

Bacon: 8 (10?)/ Brown Rice: 7

So, that’s kind of interesting, right? I’m interested. I’d better be, because I just spent far longer doing that than I anticipated. The question marks indicate where people might disagree on the winner. Those aren’t included in the total. Personally, I think cholesterol and salt are plenty fine and are important for a lot of our bodily processes, so I’m inclined to count them as wins for bacon. If you disagree, then the contest ends at 8/7. Anyway, it’s a close thing, and obviously nobody eats just bacon or just brown rice all day, but there’s a lot more nutrition in bacon than most of us realize. We’re conditioned to believe that meat is pretty much fat and protein, but that your vitamins and minerals come from veggies, fruits, and grains. That’s why they’re at the bottom of the food pyramid, right? Speaking of which, let’s compare our veggies to grains and see who packs more punch.

Broccoli vs. Whole Wheat Flour (100 calories)

Broccoli (Raw) (294 g)/Whole Wheat Flour (Raw) (29.5 g)

  • Vitamin A – 91.1 mcg/0.0 mcg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Vitamin B6 – .51 mg/.1 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Vitamin B12 – 0 mcg/0 mcg – Tie
  • Vitamin C – 262.2 mg/0 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Vitamin D – 0 mg/0 mg – Tie
  • Vitamin E – 2.3 mg/.24 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Calcium – 138.2 mg/10 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Cholesterol – 0 mg/0 mg – Tie
  • Copper – .14 mg/.11 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Iron – 2.1 mg/1.1 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Magnesium – 61.7 mg/40.7 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Manganese – .62 mg/1.1 mg – Winner: Whole Wheat Flour
  • Niacin – 1.9 mg/1.9 mg – Tie
  • Pant. Acid – 1.7 mg/.3 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Phosphorous – 194 mg/102.1 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Potassium – 929 mg/119.5 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Riboflavin – .34 mg/.063 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Selenium – 7.4 mcg/20.9 mcg – Winner: Whole Wheat Flour
  • Sodium – 97 mg/1.5 mg – Winner: Broccoli?
  • Thiamin – .21 mg/.13 mg – Winner: Broccoli
  • Zinc – 1.2 mg/.86 mg – Winner: Broccoli

Broccoli: 14 (15?)/Whole Wheat Flour: 2

Okay, that was a thorough drubbing. And in case you think I’m cherry picking my foods, feel free to go look for yourself. Meats and veggies consistently beat out grains overall on nutritional density. Probably not every comparison you can make, but in the majority of cases, you’ll see most meats and veggies beating out most grains and starches. If you look at the amounts of each food, too, you’ll notice that the more refined a grain is, the more calorically dense it is. Meats, because of the fat content, will generally have a higher caloric density than veggies, so veggies provide a lot of the bulk. Since feeling full is about a combination of what you eat and how much you eat, meat and veggies together pack a big whollop for your appetite. The fat and protein from the meat also gives the meal staying power, and has less of a spiking effect on blood sugar, so you aren’t likely to get as hungry between meals.

Just for kicks, let’s do another one, comparing animal protein to vegetable protein sources and see where that gets us.

Whole Egg vs. Tofu

Whole Egg (Raw) (69.9 g)/Tofu (Raw) (69 g)

  • Vitamin A – 97.9 mcg/5.5 mcg – Winner: Egg
  • Vitamin B6 – .1 mg/.063 mg – Winner: Egg
  • Vitamin B12 – 0.9 mcg/0 mcg – Winner: Egg
  • Vitamin C – 0 mg/0.14 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Vitamin D – 0.61 mg/0 mg – Winner: Egg
  • Vitamin E – .68 mg/0 mg – Winner: Egg
  • Calcium – 37 mg/471.3 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Cholesterol – 295.7 mg/0 mg – Winner: Egg?
  • Copper – .071 mg/.26 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Iron – 1.3 mg/1.8 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Magnesium – 8.4 mg/40 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Manganese – .027 mg/.81 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Niacin – .049 mg/.26 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Pant. Acid – 1.0 mg/.092 mg – Winner: Egg
  • Phosphorous – 133.5 mg/131.1 mg – Winner: Egg
  • Potassium – 93.7 mg/163.5 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Riboflavin – .33 mg/.07 mg – Winner: Egg
  • Selenium – 22.2 mcg/12 mcg – Winner: Egg
  • Sodium – 97.9 mg/9.7 mg – Winner: Egg?
  • Thiamin – .048 mg/.11 mg – Winner: Tofu
  • Zinc – .78 mg/1.1 mg – Winner: Tofu

Egg: 9 (11?)/Tofu: 10

Another close one, that depends on how you view cholesterol and sodium.  The cool thing for these two is that they’re almost exactly the same amount of food for 100 calories, so it’s a pretty fair match both by calories and by weight. So this one is a toss up, nutritionally. Whichever you prefer, I guess. I like my eggs, so I’m sticking with that. If tofu is your thing, it’s actually pretty nutritious, so I can’t fault it on that front.

Anything else? Oh yeah, you’ll probably want to cook some of these things.

I compared butter with margarine and they come up pretty similar as far as micronutrients go, but we all know that margarine has trans fats in it (which are universally recognized as being bad) while butter (especially grassfed) has some really great fats in it, like CLA and butyric acid. Margarine also isn’t that much lower in total calories per serving, and I think most of us prefer the taste and texture of real butter enough, that even a slightly smaller amount of it would be more satisfying than the caloric equivalent amount of margarine. So I’m going to take that as a moot point without actually writing all of it down. Butter wins, I’d say.

What do we learn from this? For one, I’ve left out some of the leaner meats, like chicken breasts and strip steak. I’ve intentionally gone with things that I eat regularly on a fat-heavy diet, and things that people might think aren’t all that nutritious (excepting broccoli, but I’ll get to that). Do I eat lean meats? Of course. I also eat bacon and butter and broccoli and eggs. If I were trying to eat a nutritious, low-fat diet, I would probably eat whole wheat flour, tofu and brown rice, too. So I’m hoping that this is a fair-ish comparison. I’m sure it isn’t, but that’s what I’m hoping for. If I had more patience, I’d do a full day’s eating in fitday under a paleo paradigm and under the USDA/AHA/ADA recommended servings and all and see what falls out. I’m pretty sure I know how it would go, but I might do that at some point just for fun.

Also, what about broccoli? The point of that is to show that it doesn’t take that much in the way of dark green veggies to completely blow the nutritional value of grains out of the water. Anyone who says you’re missing out on vitamins, minerals, fiber or anything else because you’re not eating grains can suck your spinach salad. If they want to argue that you’re missing out on the experience of eating grains, that’s a different discussion, and each person has to decide how important health is to them when weighed against enjoying certain foods. I used to love grains and starches, but I really like 35 fewer pounds of ass a whole lot more. It’s an easy choice for me, obviously. For others, maybe not so much. But if you’re interested in trying a grain-free diet, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re missing out on nutrients because of it. They’re uninformed or misinformed, and they’re trying to take you down with them.

Okay, I think that about covers it. If you start poking around, you’ll see that calorie-for-calorie, a diet that focuses on meats and veggies will beat the pants off a diet based on grains and starches in the nutritional bowl game. Plus, it tastes great and keeps you full for longer. So there you go. Winner all around. Thanks for reading!

Just another quick one

Sorry for not posting more, everyone. Work has been crazy and we’re really working hard on the house right now. Trying to get hardwood floors into all the upstairs bedrooms by this weekend, if possible! Anyway, I’m still reading a little, just not writing as much as I’d like.

Just found this site today, while reading Tabues’ newest blog post. Dr. Peter Attia’s War on Insulin

Fascinating stuff, of course, but most of it is just a slightly different version of things I’ve read before. At this point, I don’t think there’s any completely new information on the low-carb gig out there for me. Everyone just has a slightly different way of saying things, or maybe a little more depth in one area as opposed to another. I’m still enjoying all of it, though, and Peter Attia has a really great balance of clarity and depth.

So, read a few of these when you have a chance:

About Me

Sugar 101

How Can I Lose Weight?

Also, check out the videos here. Very cool stuff, explained clearly for the layman, but without dumbing down.

I’m trying very hard to start digging into the more technical side of all of this stuff, and people like Dr. Attia are helping a great deal. I don’t have a background in science or biology, and a lot of the nitty gritty just makes my eyes glaze over. I’m trying to learn it, though, because I think knowing how these things work makes it easy to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. There’s also just so much great science being done on all of these issues. There are studies being done right now to see how a ketogenic diet can help with alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the rest. Not just anecdotal evidence anymore, but actual clinical trials. Someday soon, maybe a low-carb diet will be a viable, recognized prescription for these problems like it already is for epilepsy. We’re also seeing that a grain-free, dairy-free diet is becoming more of a standard treatment for autism. How much longer before we start realizing that these diets are beneficial for everyone, and the positive effects are just more visible in folks with these issues, not necessarily only effective for them? I’m hoping not much longer. I’ll keep reading and writing and trying to spread the good word.

A couple posts I have in mind: Fructose is the devil, Flow Chart of Metabolic Derangement, Paleo/Low-Carb Breakfasts

Hopefully soon, everyone!

Quick Post

Hey folks! Busy day today so I won’t have time to write up the post I had planned, but I still wanted to leave you with some goodies.

First, I weighed in yesterday and came in at 212.0 lbs. Woot! Finally got my carbs back in line after the holidays and the weight started coming off again. I’m still getting tons of comments about how thin and young I’m looking these days, which are intensely motivating to a guy like me (this machine runs on praise). I’m also noticing that I look and feel positively ludicrous in many of my old clothes. Not just “This is a little loose,” but “This looks like it wasn’t purchased for me, but rather maybe someone with Kuato hanging out in their torsonic region.” Thankfully, I’ve managed to find enough new pants I like that I can get away with wearing fat pants only once or twice a week. They’re silly, but a man does what he must. Also, I’ve been doing my very low-intensity body weight exercises a lot more regularly of late, and even swung my kettlbell yesterday. I’m very much feeling it in my thighs today, which makes me want to keep doing it at least once or twice a week. I’ve cleared enough space on my side of the garage to go in there in the morning and pound out something intense in just a few minutes in the morning. Once we get even more cleared, I’m putting the rowing machine in there and then ya’ll better watch out. I really enjoy rowing, our house just never really allowed for the machine to have a permanent home so I haven’t been able to do very much.

Okay, now for the goodies.

Sprouts Gluten Free Jubilee – Sprouts, one of the natural food groceries we have in CO, is having a special sale on all their gluten-free products. 25% off all of it! Awesome, right? Also, they have a really fantastic gluten-free guide that is very much worth reading and keeping for future reference. Definitely check them out.

Also, this is an article I read yesterday by my boy Taubes (we’re on a last-name basis now): Is Sugar Toxic? It’s pretty long and dense, and it starts out referencing a talk called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” by Robert Lustig, MD which I know I’ve linked here before (I found a short version that I also really like if you don’t have a spare 90 minutes: Sugar: The Bitter Truth – Short Version). It’s a great talk on its own, but Taubes expands and provides context that is really compelling (even more compelling than the original video which was got my my wife and I off of soda a few years back). Anyway, I want to talk a lot more about this, because I think it’s really fantastic information, and I don’t think enough attention is being paid to the conclusions that can be drawn from it. Nothing is set in stone, of course, and more research is always good, but this seems like more of a revolutionary proposal than I think people realize. I could be all the way wrong on it, but I’ll at least lay out what I think and try to provide support so you can decide for yourselves. It’s looking to be a big post, so it may have to be tomorrow or even next week. I’ve got big plans, but not plans within plans because I’m not some filthy Harkonnen.

More Taubes, because I’m a total fanboy (Robb Wolf, Tom Naughton, Mark Sisson, now Taubes, too? I’m like a fanboy slut.). This is a really interesting interview, wherein Taubes recommends 5 books on nutrition. Fascinating stuff. Read through to the end, because he explains the Japanese diet in a way that I think makes a lot of sense. It’s actually where I found the link to the other article of his I linked above, and it’s one that really makes a lot of sense to me. Also very cool is that the woman interviewing Taubes agrees to try an Atkins-style diet, and is blogging her results here: In Which I Follow Gary Taubes’ Atkins-style Diet She’s already having success, but her experiences in the early stages will probably mirror those of many people trying a low-carb diet for the first time.

Okay, that should keep you busy for a while. Enjoy! (P.S. Only in my world is a 700-word entry ‘just a quick post.’ I swear, it’s like I have a disease.)

Our very first hard-hitting journalistic exposé!

Or the opposite of that. Whichever is easier for me, really.

So last night, I ran through King Soopers to pick up some eggs. I think I mentioned before that they have some pastured dairy there, but couldn’t remember the brand. I looked again and it’s called Simple Truth. They also have the same brand available for several types of eggs, all labeled as being cage free and organic. I hadn’t seen it before, so I was curious. They say their milk is pastured, which was why I bought it. I’ve now had a chance to do a little more research, and here’s what I found out about it.

Simple Truth is the Kroger store brand, but it’s sort of their premium, natural brand. They basically consolidated a couple of store brands (Kroger is the main company, but they are behind King Soopers in CO and a bunch of others across the country) to create this one brand that will be sold in all stores with the same name and packaging. Details are here.

So what does that mean? Not a ton, actually. The list of ingredients you won’t find in items with this brand is pretty impressive and awesome, and makes me think that they’re probably a great way to go for an inexpensive organic. But what does that say about their eggs and dairy products? Not enough, in my book. They say cage free and pastured and all, but there’s no way to verify, since store brands are notoriously unwilling to disclose their sources. So, if you remember the lists I posted a while back of how various egg and dairy producers rank for humane, ethical treatment of the animals (which translates into healthier food for you, even if you’re not a big animal lover) you won’t find any great info on these. So it’s a bit of a mystery, unfortunately. I would love to support Kroger’s choice to offer these natural, organic products, but part of their responsibility with that is to be transparent enough that the conscientious consumer can get the information to make an informed decision. I’ve looked around and can’t find any information online confirming how their farms treat the animals producing these products. Are they likely better than the straight-up cheapo store brand stuff? Almost definitely. Are they better than Organic Valley? I doubt it. They’re cheaper, though, so if you’re on a super tight budget and can’t afford the Rolls-Royce of eggs (Vital Farms, in my neck of the woods) and don’t want to spring for the Cadillac (I’d put Organic Valley in this category) but you’re not happy with the Yugo (This analogy is falling apart faster than I can write it) then maybe they’re a good option. I’m especially curious about their dairy being actually pastured, because that would be awesome. Organic doesn’t always mean pastured, and to me, that’s kind of the gold standard of cow treatment. If they really are sourcing milk from pastured cows, then I’ll happily buy it to support them, because that’s awesome. Just not sure how to confirm it, unfortunately. I’ll keep poking and if I find anything, I’ll post it here.

Thanks for reading!

Even more links and a re-hash of a previous recipe

I spent most of the day yesterday chasing links down the rabbit hole and finding more articles and videos and websites that I really wanted to share. So here’s what I found.

The Low-Carb Megathread – Read this. It’s awesome.

Cook Like Your Grandmother - Haven’t tried these yet, but they sound pretty great. I’ll definitely be making some of these recipes, especially this one: No Crust Pizza

Exposing the Cholesterol Myth – Learn how cholesterol actually works, so you don’t worry about eating eggs.

The Battle of the Diets – Someone actually compares a number of popular diets as lived by a bunch of people over the course of a year. Low-carb Atkins (not even as low carb as Atkins suggests) produced better or equal results as any of the others. Very interesting stuff. If you’re coming at it from a Paleo perspective, there’s so much here that you’ll just want to holler at him about, but still, he did an interesting study and reported it honestly. You may recognize him from “Science for Smart People” as the vegetarian Tom mentions as being a good scientist.

How Bad Science and Big Business Created the Obesity Epidemic – Another scientific history of nutrition, with a lot of great detail and science. You’ll recognize a lot of the same history that you saw in Fat Head and other places, but there’s much more depth here, and it goes back much farther.

In the Face of Contradictory Evidence – A point-by-point refutation of the USDA’s recommended diet.

Pancreatic Cancer, Processed Meat and a Load of Bologna – If you’ve been seeing the headline that bacon and sausage increase your risk of pancreatic cancer by almost 20%, you need to read this. There’s a lot of bad science out there, and even more bad science reporting.

Okay, that’s more than enough to keep you busy for now. Last night, I re-made my Zuppa Toscana, and (as promised) I actually took pictures of the process. So here’s another run through the recipe, this time with visual aids. I’ll try to keep it short, but you know how I get.

Start with some sausage. I’m really loving this Beeler’s stuff, so we got more and used it again. You want a pound of sausage, and if you’re using links you’ll need to slice the casing and peel it off. It’s super easy, so don’t go nuts trying to find bulk sausage.

I actually shook a little red pepper into the mix this time, but didn’t really notice a difference. I’m a little tempted to try it with some spicier sausage next time, just to give it a bit more kick. It’s very good, but I’d like a little more presence to it in a perfect world.

Cook it over medium high heat until it gets all brown. This will take a little while, so you can prep the next step while it’s working.

Bacon, and lots of it. I think the original recipe called for 4 strips, but this is 7, because that’s what I had in my fridge. And BACON. Cut it into pieces maybe 1/2″ wide. Smaller is better, but I’m not super patient with a knife so I leave mine pretty big.

Once your sausage is browned, put it into a different bowl, to be saved for later. Lower the heat to medium and put in the bacon. You want to cook it until it’s crispy, which can take a while. In the meantime, let’s get working on the next step.

I got my new super slicer and busted it out to cut up my onions. It’s badass, and as I get a better feel for it i think I’ll be able to do a ton with it. It got me very consistent slices of onion in no time flat. I’m super pleased already, and I’m still a noob. Anyway, I cut up about half an onion. If you like onions a lot, you could do a full one and I think the soup would still taste great. I may add more next time.

Just a couple little garlic chunks. I tried to cut these up really finely with the knife and it was a bit of a failure. My knife skills are just very limited, especially when trying to cut consistently on small bits. Anyway, it worked out just fine. Just get them pretty small and put them with your onions.

When your bacon gets crispy, add the onions and garlic. Cook them until the onions get soft and translucent. While that’s going, try very hard not to go into a “Damn, that smells amazing” trance, and you can prep the last few things you need.

Cut up your potatoes. I used four small-ish potatoes this time, and it was a good amount. I used my super slicer again to get nice, consistent slices, then broke them into quarters with the knife. Booyah.

Get some stock. I use two of these containers, and it’s great. Once your onions are cooked, you can add the stock and bring all of it to a boil on high heat. Once it’s boiling, you can add the potatoes and continue boiling at high or medium high. You want those to cook through, which can take some time. The smaller your chunks, the less time it’ll take. While that’s boiling, prep your kale.

Just rinse it off in the sink, then tear it into smallish chunks. Again, don’t put anything in your soup that’s bigger than what you would want to manage with a spoon. I used more kale this time, because it’s tasty and healthy and so hard to find anything else to do with. So I used maybe half a bunch (still don’t like that unit of measure) torn into small pieces.

When your potatoes are done, pour the cooked sausage and 8 oz of this magic bovine nectar into the pot.

That’s the ticket. Now, stir it up and let it warm up again. The sausage will have gone a bit tepid and the cream came out of the fridge, and you want the whole thing back to warmness.

Once that happens, add your kale and stir it in.

That’s a lot of kale, but as it soaks and cooks it gets a lot less dominant.

Take the pot off the heat, put the lid on, and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. That will give the kale time to soak and soften, which will make the whole thing much better. Now, ladle some up into a bowl and top with some shredded parmesan or whatever.

That’s it exactly. Now try not to eat the entire giant batch in one sitting.

Repeat once a week or however long it takes you to get through a batch. This is seriously good soup. Hearty, meaty, delicious, and it just gets better as leftovers. It’s like the perfect food. I’m not even super worried about the potatoes in it. If you wanted, you could skin them first and avoid the potentially irritating stuff, but I haven’t had any problems with it whatsoever. Not saying I’m going to be making potatoes a cornerstone of my diet, but they’re not the devil if you do them in reasonable quantities.

Okay, that’s it. Thanks for reading!

More links, and a recipe!

Hey guys! Well I had a busy weekend. Made my famous gluten-free lasagna again (recipe to follow) and did a lot of work on the house. I had a little time to read a bit more in Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes and it’s still just great. It follows the video very closely, which is to be expected, but it offers that reflective quality that keeps me reading nonfiction.

So, what else? Well, I have some cool links for you. I don’t know if you Facebook, but if you do there’s a lot of cool stuff on there. I like it because you get a couple cool links or videos or articles or recipes or whatever just popping up on your feed all day. I could go find them, for sure, but it’s often stuff I wouldn’t have looked for but find interesting anyway.

The Wahls Foundation – This is Dr. Wahls’ Facebook page. She posts some of her videos, and lots of other good stuff. She also has a Youtube channel with a bunch of short videos that have great quick tips.

The Weston A Price Foundation – Weston A. Price was a dentist who traveled the world in the early 20th century and made observations about how various cultures ate and what effects diet had on health. Fascinating stuff, for sure. They’re a great resource these days for recipes, articles, etc. You may recognize the name from Fat Head, which is where I first heard of them. They have an introductory brochure that has a ton of great info in it, and tons of other resources. This is their FB page: WAPF

Denver’s Diet Doctor – If you’re in Denver, this is a great resource. I haven’t actually been to him for a visit yet, but that’s because I’m a big slacker. I’ll be calling to make an appointment shortly. Dr. Gerber is low-carb/paleo friendly and prefers to prevent disease using quality nutrition and lifestyle choices rather than medication. That’s exactly what I want in a doc, personally. His FB feed has great links to other Denver resources, which is how I’ve found some others that I’m liking. This is his main website: Denver’s Diet Doctor

Low Carb Doctors – Great resource if you’re looking for a doctor who is friendly to your low-carb lifestyle! There’s another site called the Paleo Physicians Network, but there aren’t all that many people on there, especially in the Denver area.

Against the Grain Nutrition -Another resource for information on going grain free, whether you have diagnosed celiac disease or just don’t want to eat grains because they make you feel gross.

US Wellness Meats – Good online source for grassfed meats. I haven’t shopped with them yet, but I definitely will be doing so.

Also, this blog post (Food is for Fuel) led me to this article (The Low-Carb Megathread) which is what initially got him to try a low-carb diet. There is a ton of information in there, with a lot of links to great scientific papers, videos, articles, etc. It’s a hell of a primer and a resource, so I recommend it very highly. I’m still reading through, as it’s long, but it’s already clarifying and expanding a lot of things for me. Great stuff!

That should keep you all busy for now, hopefully. Now, for the lasagna recipe. Keep in mind that this isn’t paleo by any stretch, it’s just gluten free. It’s got rice, nightshades and loads of dairy in it. I wouldn’t eat it every day, but it makes for a fantastic meal you can make to share with your non-paleo friends that everyone can enjoy with minimal upset.To make it more paleo you could use zucchini slices or other substitutes for the noodles, but I haven’t actually tried that so I can’t speak to how it’ll turn out.

Time to get everything together. First, this is a very layery lasagna, so you’ll need an appropriate dish. I have a glass baking dish that’s maybe 9×9 and 3-4″ deep, with a glass lid. It’s perfect, but it took some work to find it. If you’re using a wider, shallower dish, you’ll have to use fewer layers. Po you.

For noodles, I like Tinkyada’s brown rice lasagna noodles. They’ve got  good texture, and taste just like wheat-ful lasagna noodles. I also like a couple of different marinara sauces. Barilla’s is great, but can be hard to find. Costco also has a basic marinara that’s pretty good. You’ll also want some ricotta (8 oz) and some mozzarella (16 oz). You need one egg, a pound of ground beef or bulk sausage and some pepperoni slices. The more organic stuff you can get, the better. You can find humanely-raised pepperoni at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods pretty easily, and you can also find good quality cheese there. I found some fresh mozzarella at Costco, too. I don’t think it’s pastured, but it’s certainly higher quality than what I’d get at King Soopers. It also costs a lot less, because you have to grate it yourself and grating mozzarella is a giant pain in the ass. I did it, and the lasagna was delicious, but I think I need to chill my cheese before grating. Wobbly doesn’t make for easy grating. You may also want some parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the lasagna, if that’s your thing.

Okay, first, get to boiling the noodles. Salt the water, but don’t put oil in it. Oiling your noodles will make you go blind.

At the same time, take your meat and put it into a sauce pan with a lid. You just want to break it up and brown it. I usually hit it with some garlic salt at this point, too.

Now that those things are rolling, mix 8 oz of ricotta with 8 oz of shredded mozzarella and one egg. Just stir it up real good. Grate the other half of your mozzarella into a bowl for later. Take your pepperonis, and get them ready, if necessary. I use about 10 of the deli-sized slices cut into quarters, but you can use the smaller ones, too.

Open up one of the jars of sauce (You’re using sauce in jars, right? Because if you’re making sauce from scratch this blog is too remedial for you.) and pour half of it into the now-brown ground beef, then turn the heat to low or warm and put the lid on. That will just sit for a little.

Preheat your oven to 375º.

Pour like half of the remaining sauce into the bottom of the dish before you lay down your first layer of noodles. You can do more, but you just want enough down there to soak into the bottom noodles and give them some flavor. Okay, now put down your first layer of noodles. Chances are good that they’re not going to fit, because they’re too long. You can cut off about 1/3 of the noodle and use the two pieces to make one full stretch on each layer. That’s what i do with my dish anyway, and it works well. Okay, so now you have the base laid out. Put down about half of your cheese mixture, and spread it out. Then put a layer of pepperoni on top of it. More noodles. Now half of your ground beef/sauce mixture. More noodles. More cheese/pepperoni. Noodles. Beef. Noodles. Now, you top the whole thing with the remaining sauce and then spread the rest of your shredded mozzarella on top. Cool? You should have an intensely layery lasagna with tons of goodness in it.

Cover it with foil and put into the oven for 30 minutes. Take the foil off and cook for another 15 minutes. Take it out and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so everything can set up a bit. Cut into pieces (Yeah, right. Serve this beast in bowls, because it’s messy) and serve with a side of Lactaid tablets for the people who are afflicted. It’s a lot of cheese, for sure. Using pastured and raw cheeses will help with that a great deal, in my experience, but probably won’t solve the issue entirely, depending on your lactose tolerance.

There you go. Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.