We briefly touched on the Paleo topic in a few earlier blog posts but we are excited to share this Guest Post from someone local with real world Paleo experience.  We met Beth when she and her family visited the farm earlier this year to buy some of our pasture grazed beef.


By Beth Kohl

I had read about the paleo diet. I thought if you give up dairy, legumes, grains, sugar, and alcohol, what is left? Starvation?  I quickly dismissed it as anything more than a gimmick. I kept looking for the “Easy Button” for my health. I’d always been told any diet that eliminates entire food groups would lack nutrients and could not last, the “goal”, is always balance.  I had tried several diets, but I could not get away from strong cravings for sugar. I felt like a drug addict. When it came to candy and sweets, I would have a little and end up binging like crazy.

I needed to lose weight.  I had high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low energy, acne, depression, anxiety, restless legs, border line pre-diabetes, GERD, and an autoimmune disorder. My doctor was ready to put me on medications for several of these issues. I woke up 20 plus times a night and I had the sleep study to prove it.  Every morning I woke feeling like a truck hit me and I had a headache 80% of the time. A good day was no migraine. My normally good to low blood pressure had been creeping up to questionable level. I power napped every single day.  On the plus side, I exercised. I worked out for over 2 years with the guidance of a trainer; I had added a lot of muscle but had not lost weight.paleo

A few years after first hearing about Paleo, in desperation, I gave in and tried a popular diet “Whole 30”. This is an elimination diet that you stop eating dairy, legumes, grains, sugar, and alcohol. Giving up those items is the bulk of paleo rules. The first few weeks were not great, I felt tired as my body adjusted to all the changes. When I reintroduced dairy and wheat, I found (to my shock) that my body had a bad reaction. I was sick to my stomach, could not think clearly, I felt awful.  I decided to follow paleo but I had no guidance and Thanksgiving and Christmas completely derailed me.

Earlier this year, I talked with my doctor and decided to restart paleo, then return to the doctor in 12 weeks and get blood work again. Curious to see what, if anything, changed. I floundered the first 4 weeks with no diet change. With 8 weeks left, I added a dietician who specializes in paleo, to give me guidance.  Amy, really helped me to figure out what works and does not work for me. She has given me accountability, encouragement, and resources.

There are misconceptions and a few controversies regarding what paleo is, is not, and should be.   I only know how I eat and that it is considered paleo. My breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks consist of a variety of vegetables and fruits, quality protein, and quality fat.

I say “quality” before each food group because I’ve found that what happens to my food before I eat it is very important.  “You are what you eat” resonates with every paleo I’ve met, talked to, and every book I’ve read.  Whenever possible, I look for vegetables that are organically grown and non-GMO. I buy grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, lambs, and pigs, because they produce better quality meats, fats, and eggs. Fats include animal fats from pasture raised animals, ghee (clarified, grass-fed, butter), extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, tree nuts, and avocados. I get to have a variety of meats, fats, fruits and veggies, but always REAL, minimally processed food.

It is not as hard as it sounds. Now, a few months in, I can prepare a meal ultra-fast or something if I am having guests over. The best part is, no one knows that they are eating paleo, because it is just real food.  I can also go out and enjoy a meal in a restaurant. I have planned times where I eat items outside of the plan, but always avoid wheat and store-bought dairy, because they bother me, although I know many who use raw dairy with no problems.  I do not prepare separate meals for my family, and I have an extremely picky son. This is a way that I believe I can live for the rest of my life.

I tried many versions of low-fat and low carb diets all have been miserable failures. Now, I am eating a diet much like my grandmother did when she was young: real, nutritious food. I am eating a nutrient rich variety and not paying attention to calories.  I am not feeling deprived either.paleo

So, after 8 weeks of eating saturated fats, beef, eggs almost daily, bacon, and other “taboo” foods, watching portions, but without counting calories, what was the outcome?  These results are documented by my doctor: 16 lbs. lost, Blood pressure is low/normal, cholesterol is 30 points lower , and triglycerides cut in half, glucose and A1C (blood sugar) completely normal. I have found relief for depression and anxiety.  I no longer have cystic acne, restless legs are nominal, and I sleep soundly and rarely wake up during sleeping hours. I wake up each morning before my alarm goes off and I feel prepared to start the day. Headaches are rare for me now. The daily cravings for sweets are gone. I have energy for the whole day without my daily naps.

I know if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  This is not without price. The tradeoff of not eating certain foods may seem huge to some, but it is worth it to me. I’m convinced that the “gimmick” has been the best thing that ever happened to my health. I am not alone. My doctor had diabetic patients try this way of eating. Less than 2 months, the diabetics following the plan had normal glucose levels, that is HUGE. Guess who else started to eat this way? My doctor and his wife.

My scale is still moving in the right direction, but I’m not nearly as concerned by my weight as I one was, because I feel good. I might be paying a bit more for food these days, but I am paying WAY less in medical and pharmacy bills. I feel better than I have in years.  I do not know if it is for everyone, but I would urge anyone who has questions to investigate it for themselves.

I’d be happy to answer questions where I can, but I’m still a novice. If you want expert advice, I’d recommend you follow the links below.  Here is a link to my dietitian’s blog.  [http://robbwolf.com/author/amy-kubal/].

[www.robbwolf.com/]  [www.meljoulwan.com/]  [www.whole30.com/]  [www.chriskresser.com]


Wow, that is a powerful testimony!   Our thanks to Beth for sharing her experience.  If you would like to connect with Beth please drop us an email.  In addition to the links listed above, we would note that the Weston A Price Foundation recently aired a podcast with Chris Kresser, author of “The Paleo Cure”.  In the podcast Chris points out that there are people groups that have adapted to raw dairy very well through the years.  I (Doug) credits raw milk as one of the foods that helped cure my chronic Acid Reflux condition.  Probably the most important things we can do to achieve health is eliminate processed foods, start shopping the “edges” of grocery stores and then begin your journey to source local food from your neighborhood farmers.  Thanks again Beth for sharing!

Photo Credits: http://morguefile.com/creative/CTrillo/1/all & http://morguefile.com/creative/maxkopi

We are excited to share another Guest Blog post!  We met Miranda at the recent NE Sustainable Ag Society Meeting.  Enjoy Miranda’s guest post:


WAPF Local Chapters

http://www.westonaprice.org/

By Miranda Sherman

My name is Miranda Sherman and I am the Weston A. Price Chapter leader for Omaha.  The who-do-what you say?  Here’s a brief summary on Weston A. Price and what we do.  Weston A. Price was a dentist in the 1930’s who set out to discover why his patients were starting to have crowded teeth, lots of cavities, and overall poor dental health.  This was something new in his practice that hadn’t been prevalent in the early 1900’s.  He strongly suspected that it had to do with what people were eating and over the next few decades, he proved this to be true!  When we eat a diet full of healthy fat, good proteins (think grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken) and organic fruits and vegetables, we will have strong bones, healthy tissue, and lots of energy.  Modern foods-that is anything processed or that comes in a box- doesn’t nourish our bodies.  It is “dead food”.  Real food is food that comes from a farmer who is passionate about their organic practices (whether they are officially an “organic” farm or not. (Like Doug’s beef!)

Take for example, the case of honey.  Did you know that those cute little honey bears at the grocery store rarely contain honey?  Did you know that there is no regulation on how honey is labeled?  You see, there is no regulation that says that a food manufacturer must obtain honey from bees to call a product honey.  Most honeys are produced in China and made with high fructose corn syrup and dyed yellow with honey “flavor” added.  When tested, they reveal there is no actual real honey in these cute little bears.  How do you know that what you are buying is actually honey?  As a Weston A. Price Chapter leader, I seek out great farms and ranches, ask them questions, and determine if what they are producing will be the best product for you.  Every Weston A. Price Chapter leader maintains a Farm List and we will give this to you free of charge.  We want you to know your farmer.  We want you to know that the honey you buy is in fact honey!

As a Chapter Leader and Health Educator, I teach all over the community helping others find this great way of eating.  It healed me personally after decades of miserable auto-immune disease, anxiety and depression.  I feel absolutely amazing now and want to tell everyone about how I came to heal.  If you would like more information on my upcoming class schedule, my book, or have me speak to your group, I am more than happy to do so.  I can be reached at 402-637-8929 or sparkysherman@msn.com.

Weston A. Price is a non-profit organization that hopes to educate consumers on what great food really looks like and how it can heal you and/ or keep you and your family healthy. If you would like, you can become a member and your membership will support this organization’s research efforts.  You will receive the quarterly journal packed full of scientific information as to why certain foods feed our bodies and how you can gain the most from your food.  There are free videos to watch on the website and so much more.  For more information on this amazing organization, visit www.westonaprice.org

Here’s to you and your health!!

Warmly,

Miranda Sherman

Author, Educator, Nutritional Therapist, Weston A. Price Chapter Leader / Omaha


We just completed Miranda’s new book “The Mighty Fork : Healing Your Mind and Body with Food“.  It is an excellent easy read no matter where you are on the road to good health by eating healthy food.  For our readers in the Lincoln area, Gus Panstgl is the local WAPF Chapter Leader.  He maintains an active Lincoln WAPF Chapter Facebook closed group – check it out and ask to join!

We are really excited about the post below.  I recently had the opportunity to meet Daniel and Allyson of Lovegrass Beef.  Daniel has a passion for prairies!  Enjoy Daniel’s guest post:


Prairie Gains

By Daniel Frank – Lovegrass Beef

With spring finally here, and plants just beginning to green up, it’s time to get geared up for prescribed burning season.  March 19th to 27th was the seventh annual Training Exchange (TREX) at the Niobrara Valley Preserve, near Johnstown, Nebraska. This is a chance for people around the United States and beyond to knock the rust off, and get back in the burning game. People come to learn, to teach, to get more experience, and also just to help the Preserve burn the acres they have planned.

Maybe I should start by talking about the benefits of prescribed burning. Controlled burns help suppress unwanted woody plants, such as eastern red cedar. They help reduce excess plant buildup in areas that weren’t grazed or hayed, allowing new growth to catch sunlight and flourish. If timed correctly, prescribed fire can also help suppress exotic species like Kentucky bluegrass and Smooth brome. Prairie ecosystems around the world evolved with the presence of fire, and with responsible prescribed burning we can maintain healthy ecosystems that can support a wide variety of life.

This was my second time attending TREX, and like the first year, I had a blast. I learned from the people around me, and I was able to use the knowledge I’d gained from the first year.

test prescribed fire

The test fire is lit, conditions look good, and the firing progresses.

I am a big proponent of prescribed burning. I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of putting controlled fire on the ground. My major goal is to maintain a healthy, native, diverse prairie ecosystem. Fire is not the only major force that acts to shape our grassland ecosystems. There are three main forces that shape prairies: fire, grazing, and drought. We have little control over the moisture we receive year to year, so we can focus our management on the other two forces.

The Great Plains evolved with the presence of bison. They would move around the country grazing grasses and some forbs, being pushed by the weather, the quantity of forages, and the time of year. Though bison are not a dominant presence anymore, cattle are a pretty good substitute. With proper management, they are an excellent tool to manage the land. Without grazing, pastures can become overgrown, and some species can be choked out. When cattle graze some areas more than others, plant species respond and their composition changes. This is how rangeland becomes a mosaic of plant communities.

Purple coneflower

Echinacea angustifolia, Purple coneflower. Photo by Allyson Dather.

This brings me to raising cattle on grass. I sell grassfed beef because I believe that ruminant animals which evolved to eat grasses and forbs, should be able to eat that diet exclusively. I am trying to reduce the inputs required to raise market animals. At the same time, the cattle raised on grass are leaner, and are healthier for people to consume. As I already mentioned, grazing is necessary to maintain a healthy prairie. Using cattle as management tools while simultaneously producing a healthy, delicious type of meat is a win-win.

My partner, Allyson Dather, and I started selling grassfed beef under the name Lovegrass Beef in 2015. Sometimes we laugh about how cheesy the name sounds, but it was picked for a couple reasons. Here in the Sandhills we have a lot of Sand Lovegrass (Eragrostis trichodes), and Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis). These are native warm season grasses with showy seedheads, and the presence of Sand Lovegrass can be indicative of good range management. The other reason we picked the name is because since our cattle are grassfed, they sure ought to love grass!

Cattle grazing Nebraska Sandhills

Cattle grazing native rangeland in late summer/early fall 2013. Photo by Allyson Dather.

Here at our ranch, we are starting to move our operation to becoming more environmentally aware. We have applied for cost-share programs to plant cropland back to rangeland. Hopefully in a few years we can sell the center-pivot irrigation systems after the native plants have a solid foothold. We will be using these pastures to graze cattle during the summer mostly. I’m hoping to be able to create a burn plan for our ranch, where we can defer grazing of certain pastures, and use fire to hold back any invasive plants. We have a 70 acre burn planned for this spring, where we will be putting fire on our land for the first time in probably 100 years. I’m excited to watch the burn in action, and very excited to see the results. 


Thanks Daniel!  “Lovegrass Beef”, I laughed also the first time I saw that name, awesome!  If you would like to comment or connect with Daniel and Allyson, please visit their Facebook page!