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  • Toban Wiebe 7:09 pm on March 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    Simple, Cheap, Efficient Paleo Eating 

    Perhaps I’m just weird, but I always find paleo recipes to be way too fancy for me. I like simple foods; quantity over quality; calories over flavor. I don’t like eating out because the portions are way too small and fancy—all I want is a big, hefty pile of healthy calories to shove into my belly. I’m one of those people who wishes there was a simple pill with all the nutrients we need, so I could save time on making food. I eat a dead simple paleo diet that is very efficient and I love it. The added benefit is that it fits right into the simple foods framework.

    Here’s what I do: I eat two big meals a day to get my calories. There is very little variety in my meals: most meals are a big bowl of mashed potatoes soaked with lard and a serving of meat. This is a very efficient setup for me: I peel a few potatoes, put them in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes, and mash them up with lard (which also cools them down to a tolerable level). Meanwhile, the meat cooks in the frying pan. I’ll also eat some fruit in the morning and after meals to clear my palette.

    While this monotonous diet may seem unpleasant, the trick is to use “the best sauce”: hunger! By eating two meals a day and not snacking in between, I work up a good appetite before each meal, and I always look forward to eating. It’s amazing how good that hunger sauce tastes! After several months I sometimes get tired of my staple meal (I’m still going strong on my potato regimen after 6 months) and find a new one, usually by experimentation.

    The benefits of this simple regimen are:

    • Healthy, simple, paleo foods
    • Cheap staple foods like potatoes and lard can make paleo eating far more affordable than the SAD
    • Efficiency: cut way down on food prep time and cleanup
    • Ali 8:19 pm on March 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I totally agree about the 2x day schedule (and that it generates less dishes). Some meat, some veggies. Saute, slow-cook, or grill. Done.

    • Jim Jozwiak 4:27 am on March 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I add raw omega-3 egg yolks for some choline,
      baking chocolate for more zinc,
      aged cheddar for Vitamin K2, almonds for more Vite E, and espresso for various nutrients and a fabulous caffeine jolt. Maybe not paleo, but not too far off.

  • Toban Wiebe 5:31 am on December 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    How to eat paleo on the cheap 

    Richard Nikoley recently discussed the need for paleo to be cheap in order for it to become mainstream. He courageously says what we’re all thinking, blasting “the apologetically motivated faux emphasis on f–king vegetables in the Paleo community” and forcefully insisting that “a proper diet is a meat based diet.” Richard is right: eating lots of fancy organic vegetables is going to make your diet ridiculously expensive, and it’s not going to make you healthier. Vegetables have practically zero calories in them, so they don’t fill you up—they just run up your grocery bill. They’re not even that healthy when compared to animal foods. Following the Faileo Diet is not only difficult but expensive.

    A real paleo regimen is heavy on fat, and plant foods play a minor role. Now, good paleo-quality meat is indeed expensive, but good paleo-quality fats are very cheap: I get pastured, organic pig fat for $2/lb and render it into lard, my staple source of calories. You can find cheap paleo meats as well: I often get bison hearts and livers for $1.50/lb. I get them ground so I can conveniently cook up a portion, and because ground meats can soak up more lard.

    To get an idea of real food costs, you have to look at the cost per calorie, not the cost per weight that stores put on the price tags. Consider the real costs of a few foods. (Note that this only accounts for calories, it doesn’t take into account the value of micronutrients or the quality of the food. I intentionally excluded meat because you eat meat for structural protein, not for the calories):

    • vegetables: 250-350 kcal/$
    • fruits: 300-400 kcal/$
    • potatoes, yams: 700-1000 kcal/$
    • coconut milk: 800 kcal/$
    • conventional butter or cream: 1000 kcal/$
    • paleo-quality lard: 1600 kcal/$
    • sugar: 4000 kcal/$
    • flour: 6000 kcal/$
    • canola oil: 7000 kcal/$

    As you can see, trying to fill up on fruits and veggies is a waste of money. Eating nutrient dense foods is the way to keep paleo costs reasonable: fill up on cheap fats and use starchy vegetables as fat vehicles. Potatoes and yams can soak up wonderful amounts of fat. The fact is, budget paleo is high fat paleo.

    Note also how cheap the 3 primary agents of disease are (sugar, grains, seed oil)… damn the government subsidies for those poisonous foods, and its regulations on healthy foods!

    I eat a simple paleo diet pretty affordably: cheaper cuts of grass-fed beef and bison, cheap pork (organic, but grain-fed) from a local farmer, lots of lard, carrots/potatoes/yams/canned salmon as fat vehicles, some vegetables to cook up with ground beef, salsa for flavor, fruits eaten with coconut milk. I don’t like to spend time cooking so my meals are pretty plain (but paleo foods are tasty anyways). My focus is utilitarian: I like easy meals that efficiently nourish me. I never follow recipes—I just improvise with what’s on hand, probably just as paleo people did.

    • Richard Nikoley 1:45 am on December 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great addition to the conversation, Toban. Just tweeted it.

    • Richard Mohorovich 1:12 pm on April 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Good morning, I have a friend who goes to UFM for comp sci. I feel if he had access to lard and the bison offal meats you have access to it would greatly benefit his health. And heck I could mission it up there myself I possibly take advantage of such resources. Care to share your sources for the lard and bison offal meats? haha whole foods is killing me with $10/lbs for ground bison.

      • Toban Wiebe 2:45 pm on June 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hey Richard, sorry about slow reply (better late than never). I have just found local farmers for my animal products (try searching with eatwild.com). I get my pork fat from this guy: McDonald Farm

  • Toban Wiebe 1:13 am on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   


    Steven Pinker on the irrational fear of genetically modified foods (from The Blank Slate, pp.  229-30):

    Genetically modified foods are no more dangerous than “natural” foods because they are not fundamentally different from natural foods. Virtually every animal and vegetable sold in a health-food store has been “genetically modified” for millennia by selective breeding and hybridization…. Plants are Darwinian creatures with no particular desire to be eaten, so they did not go out of their way to be tasty, healthy, or easy for us to grow and harvest. On the contrary: they did go out of their way to deter us from eating them, by evolving irritants, toxins, and bitter-tasting compounds. So there is nothing especially safe about natural foods….

    A blanket fear of all artificial and genetically modified foods is patently irrational on health grounds, and it could make food more expensive and hence less available to the poor.

    • Amir 3:10 am on September 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What are your personal thoughts on GMO food as a libertarian and Paleo?

      • Toban Wiebe 2:05 am on October 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        As a libertarian, I’m fine with GMO: anybody should be free to modify genes. As a paleo, I’m suspicious of deviations from what we’re adapted to evolutionarily, but I think the complete rejection of GMO is crazy. There’s probably a lot of scope for GMO to be beneficial. After all, breeding is a form of genetic modification.

  • Toban Wiebe 2:10 pm on September 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    Latex foam mattress 

    Mark Sisson, in a recent post about bedding, wrote: “In the last couple of sleep posts, commenters praised latex mattresses. Since I’m inclined to trust my readership, especially when they reach a consensus, I would suggest checking out latex mattresses if you need a change.”

    I second that. I’ve been sleeping on a latex foam mattress for 4 years. I’ve been quite pleased with it. It’s very comfortable.  One of the big benefits is that they don’t wear out—mine’s still like new. I’ve also been using a latex foam pillow, which has also been great, though it took some time getting used to.

  • Toban Wiebe 4:01 am on June 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    Fat ‘Rots 2.0 

    I’ve refined my fat ‘rot production process to make them a better fat vehicle. Now I run a big batch of carrots (5-10 lbs) through the blender and then cook the mush. I keep it in the fridge, but they would probably freeze fine if you wanted to do a huge batch. To eat, I heat up some fat then stir in some ‘rots (and spice with cumin). This is a super convenient way to get a large amount of paleo calories.

    Blending the carrots to mush, as opposed to grating them, makes them a much better fat vehicle (the fat : carrot ratio is much higher). I suppose it’s because the surface area is greatly increased, so they soak up a lot more fat. I’m still pretty impressed at how much fat they soak up. And if I really want to stretch the ‘rots, I can eat them quite soupy.

    The 'rot bucket

    • Ven Karri 1:42 am on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Toban, what are the other low carb vegetables that we can use as fat vehicles. I ruled out potatoes (any kind) and carrots are super heavy on the stomach due to their fiber content. I am thinking acorn squash. But, please let me know any better fat vehicles.

  • Toban Wiebe 10:17 pm on May 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    Paleo teeth 

    The evolutionary logic has been successfully applied to ditching soaps, so why not toothpaste? I ditched the paste in November 2009 to test my prediction that a paleo eater’s teeth will be perfectly healthy without it. I still floss and brush nightly, but only with water. I had a checkup at the dentist recently and, as predicted, my teeth were excellent. Before paleo, I would get a cavity once in a while. Now, after 6 months without using toothpaste, the dentist said my teeth were very nice with no signs of cavities (I didn’t have the heart to tell her what I was doing though). She even commented that there was no need for the fluoride treatment (I would have turned it down anyways). The only thing keeping me from dental perfection was some “moderate” calculus buildup on the inside of my bottom front teeth (which are right in front of the salivary glands). So I needed some “scaling” for that. I don’t know if that’s even a problem. In any case, they’ve always done scaling so it’s not something that toothpaste prevented.

    This confirms the evolutionary argument that wild humans will have healthy teeth. Cavities are another disease of civilization and will vanish under paleolithic nutrition. I conclude that toothpaste and fluoride, while they may protect against the damage caused by conventional nutrition, are wholly unnecessary for paleos.

    Update (Nov. 29, 2010): Just saw the dentist again, she said the same as last time. So no paste for 1 year now without any problems!

    • Puzzled 8:52 pm on June 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      My god, calculus buildup? That sounds very serious. I for one don’t want integrals and derivatives on my teeth.

      • Toban 12:38 am on June 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Don’t worry, the calculus buildup has its limits!

  • Toban Wiebe 4:29 am on March 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    How to Eat Lard 

    You may have been wondering how I eat all that lard. Well, I actually go through it surprisingly fast, thanks to a dish I lovingly call “fat ‘rots”. That’s all it is—fat and carrots. I steam some grated/blended carrots in a little water (until it mostly boils dry). Then I melt lard into them… a lot of it.

    That's not ice cream!

    I decided to weigh it for the shot, and it turns out I’m eating about 100g of lard per bowl of fat ‘rots. That’s 900 fat calories! Talk about a nourishing dish!

    Dosage: 100g of lard

    I usually scoop some lard into my bowl (using an ice cream scoop!) and cover it with piping hot carrots to melt it. You can spice it for flavor—cinnamon is good, but my favorite is cumin: it makes lard taste so good.

    Delicious fat 'rots: fat-soaked carrots

    Fat ‘rots are my staple meal. They’re simple and convenient: quick and easy to prepare, using 2 cheap ingredients (I buy ground pork fat for $2/lb; it renders down to 80% of initial weight). The carrots provide almost no calories, they’re just a fat vehicle. One bowl is truly filling. I only eat twice a day, and a bowl of fat ‘rots plus a piece of meat is totally satiating. Another good fat dish is “fat yams”: mashed yams soaked in fat. They’re delicious, especially with a generous dose of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. They’re much starchier than carrots though, so be careful if you’re trying to minimize carbs. Canned salmon also deserves a mention—drain off the water, mash it up, and it can soak up puddles of lard.

    Be sure to check out Melissa’s awesome Faileo Diet post about fatty, nourishing meals.

    Update: ‘Fat Rots 2.0 is out. This new version makes a more efficient fat vehicle and is more convenient.
    • Jolly 9:25 pm on June 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      That looks *delicious* I will have to try this soon! Are you eating organic pork fat, or conventional?

    • Puzzled 8:54 pm on June 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Can beef fat be treated the same way to get beef lard?

      • Toban 12:41 am on June 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        All animal fat will render down into liquid fat. Beef lard is known as tallow. Lard is preferable because it has a lower freezing point (though it comes at the cost of having a higher proportion of PUFA). I ran out of lard and rendered down a bit of bison fat. The stuff is like candle wax, you need to eat it on hot food or it starts hardening up (not a pleasant sensation inside your mouth). Whereas lard is scoopable, the bison tallow was rock hard in the fridge (I had to literally crack pieces off).

  • Toban Wiebe 12:02 am on February 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paleo   

    How to Render Lard 

    Lard is such a great food for paleo nutrition, and accounts for the bulk of my caloric intake. I just got 60 lbs of pig fat (pastured and organic) so I decided to make a how-to. I took these photos while rendering the last little bit (I previously had rendered two huge batches—4 gallons each—in a big water bath canner.)

    First of all, use ground fat. It renders so much faster and more efficiently and cuts out all the work of chopping. If it’s frozen, let it thaw in the fridge. Then, stick it in a suitable vessel and put it in the oven at 250 F.

    Putting it in the oven

    After one hour it’s mostly done (if it isn’t ground it can take several times as long). I ladled most of it out into a pot to cool, strained through a steel mesh strainer to catch bits of cracklings. Others say to strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth, but since I don’t use the lard for baking, it doesn’t matter to me if its not 100% pure. Then I put the rest back in the oven to finish the cracklings.

    After one hour

    After another hour it’s done. The cracklings are nice and brown, so I strained the lard…

    After the second hour

    …leaving some tasty cracklings.


    That’s it. Keep the lard refrigerated, or freeze it for longer term storage.

    The complete haul from 60 lbs of fat: ~8 gallons.
    • Olivia 7:50 am on April 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Vanilla lard. Yum 😀

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