Most of us Westerners have poor levels of omega-3 in our diets, with the bulk of our fats coming in the form of harmful omega-6′s – these have been demonstrated to promote cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. There are two major sources of omega-6 fat, vegetable oils (except palm, coconut, olive, avocado, walnut and butter) being one and the other being grain-fed meats . Conversely, ruminant animals – cows and sheep – that are fed on grass, i.e. what they are supposed to eat, have a much higher omega-3:6 ratio and are much better for you. The same goes for farmed versus wild-caught fish, the omega-3:6 ratios are way higher as well as a whole host of other micronutrients.
Of course rearing animals the natural way is expensive. You need more land and more time, grass-fed cows take longer to mature and the meat is less fatty also, so they weigh less and thus don’t bring as much revenue – well perhaps not strictly true, as pasture-fed meat will tend to be sold for a higher price to specialist markets. I buy my meat from a local butcher – their animals graze in the fields and you can see with in the fat on the beef, which is firstly much lower than grain-fed, but also with more of a yellow tinge as opposed to white.
Grain-fed left, pature-fed right – photo courtesy of http://habee.hubpages.com
Brains are also a great source of omega-3′s, but most of us baulk at the idea of eating them, despite them being highly prized by our ancestors. Of course the mad-cow epidemic in the UK didn’t give them a good press either and cow brain, along with spinal chord, eyes and a few other items are forbidden for use in the human food chain in the UK (that doesn’t stop a nice bit of anus in your burger or sausage of course…)
Here’s an interesting meal that I ate yesterday:
Some interesting things here… Firstly there’s some wild-caught, Pacific, smoked sockeye salmon. I get this from Sequoia and amazingly it’s just €7 for a pack of 200g – that’s almost half the price of the bio smoked salmon in Delhaize which is from aqua-culture, so inferior anyway. The taste and texture is totally different from the farmed varieties – it’s much firmer, almost chewy in fact, less fatty and much deeper red in colour.
The meat is a mixture of brain and tongue in gelatin. Sounds a nit yukky, but tastes great and of course is packed with DHA, zinc and B vitamins. There’s the ever ubiquitous salad with avocado and 5ml each of avocado, olive and linseed (flax) oil.
The, what’s that, rice? How come, where’s my low-carb stance gone? In fact I’ve been reading a new book recently – The Perfect Health Diet – and the authors, Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet, make a very compelling case to consume 400 calories per day of what they term “safe starches” (glutinous white rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, taro etc.), so I’m trying this out to see how it goes. Their basic theory is that the brain and nervous system need a certain level of glucose (or ketones) to function – between 400 and 600 calories. Now this can be manufactured in the liver on a low carb diet, but they posit that this puts unnecessary stress on the liver and it better to take this level of carbs to make this up and spread throughout the day from the right sources it shouldn’t mess with the blood sugar too much and cause too much insulin secretion.
Another suggestion from the Jaminet’s is to eat 30g of coconut oil per day for the short-chain fats – this causes generation of ketones on the liver which leads to fat-burning and general good health.
And on a similar vein, here’s today’s breakfast: tongue and brains again, three scrambled eggs (omega-3 enriched), fresh strawberries & blueberries, and 30g of golden linseeds soaked overnight in water with a dash of lime juice.
And I’ve a bag of beef bones to boil up for the marrow too. Not something I’ve ever eaten before, but incredible nutritious and apparently very tasty too.
My fourth intermittent fast tomorrow, I look forward to these now!