Tried an elimination diet yet?
You’ve likely heard a lot of buzz around the carnivore diet, it’s come up a few times on this show.
The way I think about elimination diets, is that you’re fasting from certain food categories.
When you give yourself a break, all of a sudden your immune system can calm down and do the exact work that it needs to do to keep you safe—instead of causing all sorts of problems for you or attacking your own body, in the case of autoimmune conditions.
You don’t want your health to be getting low at this point, with everything that we’re up against.
So, let’s add to your bag of tricks today—Dr. Paul Saladino is joining us on the show.
Dr. Saladino is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, he hosts the Fundamental Health podcast, and just released his brand new book, The Carnivore Code.
On today’s show, we’re covering…
- The benefits of elimination diets
- Nutrient density of eating nose-to-tail
- How to source good quality meats, eggs and bones
- Voting with your fork and wallet
- Cost and practicality of the Carnivore Diet
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with the Doc.
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Dr. Paul Saladino: Vegan to Carnivore & How to Heal the Planet
Abel: Alright, folks, Dr. Paul Saladino is author of The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet.
Dr. Saladino is board certified in psychiatry and completed residency at the University of Washington. He also is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine.
He maintains a private practice in San Diego, California and sees clients from all over the world virtually.
Welcome to the show, Dr. Saladino.
Thanks for having me on. It’s so good to be here.
Abel: Right on. We’ve had a lot of questions recently about the carnivore diet and I’ve actually made some friends out of haters online, and partially joined the carnivore community, which has been really entertaining.
So I’ll just start by saying, I didn’t know what to think when I first I came across it, but the more I learned and the more people I talk to who are actively practicing the Carnivore Code, as you call it, the more it’s just a very dialed-in elimination diet that many people have not yet tried or experienced.
And a lot of people are getting some massive benefits from it.
So why don’t we just start right there and give a little bit of background for the people who might not be familiar with you and your work?
Yeah, so it can be thought of as an elimination diet, but as the subtitle of my book suggests, I would also see it as a recapitulation, another way that we might think that our ancestors were eating a lot of the time.
And so I see it as a therapeutic elimination diet and also as an ancestrally consistent diet.
I think that you and I are both super interested in ancestral ideas.
I think the concept of trying to understand what our ancestors were eating and how that might create discordance or congruence with our current genetics and environment and lead to health or disease, that’s just such an interesting realm to play in.
And to think, what were we eating? What time of year was it? Where were our ancestors? What was the latitude?
Which foods made up the majority of their diet? And what role did plants play, what role did animals play? That’s how I think about it.
And that’s kind of how I got started with this, was from ancestral ideas.
I’ve always been interested in paleolithic diets. Well, not always. I actually was a vegan for a while, about 13, 14 years ago.
Abel: We all went through that phase I think.
I know, we all had a vegan phase.
Abel: Especially paleo folks.
We all had a vegan phase. When I was a vegan, I lost 30 pounds of muscle. I’m about 170 pounds right now, so I was 140 pounds.
Abel: Oh my gosh.
At the time I was a distance runner, so I felt like that was great. I’m super skinny.
I looked just like a long distance runner, but what I didn’t know was that wasn’t what my body wanted to do.
And the vegan plant-based diet did not work well for me, but after that I started doing a paleo diet and felt better.
But throughout my life I’ve had asthma and eczema personally, and they have been pretty darn severe at times, they’ve been pretty significant.
I had it on my elbows, my knees, my lower back. At times it got so bad that I would need antibiotics or topical corticosteroids.
I became septic one time.
Yeah, it was pretty bad. In medical school, I did a lot of Jujitsu so the eczema got really bad.
So, I did a vegan diet maybe 13 years ago, and then did a Paleo diet and the eczema got a little better, but never went away.
Throughout residency, throughout medical school, I continued to have pretty bad flares and that was the impetus for me to cut things out of my diet sequentially to think,
“Okay, my elimination diet is not strict enough,” because I’ve always had this suspicion that food is the greatest lever in health and disease.
Food is the greatest lever in health and disease. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
And that if I’m having an autoimmune issue personally, or if someone else is having an autoimmune issue, I think that food is the first thing we have to look at.
Certainly, it could be gastro-intestinal dysbiosis or other things could trigger auto-immunity.
But by and large, food is a huge trigger, and it can be all sorts of food.
And as I was doing a Paleo diet, I just kept taking things out.
So I would take out oxalates, I would take out histamines, I would take out silicates, I would take out lectins, and then I would take out night shades.
And I did it all cumulatively, so eventually it got to be almost a carnivore diet.
It got to be, I was eating some avocado, which does have silicates, but some avocado and romaine lettuce and meat.
And I was thinking, well, maybe I should just go, just completely cut out everything.
At that time, which was about two years ago, one of my friends told me they’d heard Jordan Peters on Joe Rogan’s podcast talking about a carnivore diet.
And they said, “Maybe you should just do a carnivore diet. Or what do you think about a carnivore diet in general?”
At that time I was at the end of my residency, this friend of mine also has autoimmune disease.
And much like you, my first response was,
“That’s crazy. That’s crazy. We know that plants have beneficial compounds.”
I had training in functional medicine.
That paradigm holds plants up as sacred and therapeutic and, as we’ll maybe talk about later in this podcast, I think there’s a real difference between using plants as food and plants as medicine.
There’s a real difference between using plants as food and plants as medicine. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
Abel: That’s a good point.
Yeah, we know that so many of the molecules we use in Western medicine are derived from plants.
So, I’m not denying that plant molecules can have efficacy or physiologic value or create physiologic change.
I’m not denying that plant molecules can cause physiologic changes in the human body, but to use them as food every day was something that I started to call into question.
And again, in the beginning I thought, “This is crazy.”
The paradigm is clear. Plants are valuable. Fiber is valuable.
The more I thought about it, the more I looked into the research, a lot of those notions started to crumble and that was where I got super fascinated.
So, I’ve been doing a carnivore diet myself for the last year and a half, pretty strictly.
Carnivore… or Carnivore-ish?
So, for the last year and a half, I’ve basically eaten no plants, and I’ll define a carnivore diet for people so they know what we’re talking about here.
We’ve hinted at it. It’s all animal foods. All animal foods, no plant products.
Now, there are variations of a carnivore diet that I talk about in my book.
And I think that perhaps one of the more useful variations of a carnivore diet might be something that we can consider carnivore-ish.
And carnivore-ish means that we realized that animal foods are the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet.
They are the source of the vast majority of our minerals and vitamins.
In fact, we can get everything we need to thrive from animal foods.
We can get everything we need to thrive from animal foods. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
And if we’re going to eat plants for variety, entertainment, color or texture, we think about them on a spectrum of plant toxicity.
In the book I talk about my ideas for a spectrum of plant toxicity, but the concept remains, and this is kind of a radical concept, that plants can be toxic to humans.
And so some people, a lot of people feel very good when they cut them out completely or cut out the ones that might be most offensive.
And so I was trying to cut out the ones that were most offensive, it didn’t seem to work for me with my eczema.
And then I went carnivore, and wouldn’t you know it, within two or three weeks, the eczema is completely gone.
I’ve had no recurrence in the last year and a half, whereas previously I was getting eczema every month or so and at times it would be quite severe.
Surprisingly, I also experienced pretty significant psychological benefits.
I was in residency at the University of Washington, it wasn’t an easy time in my life, but I also didn’t feel like I was necessarily depressed or anxious.
When I cut off the plants, I just felt better psychologically.
It was like I saw the world through a different lens, the mental clarity was striking and I just felt more positive.
I’ve joked about this on previous podcasts, that the meter that determined how likely I was to honk at somebody in traffic went way down.
I just felt way more chill and I thought, “There’s something to this. What is going on here?”
Could it be that some of those plant compounds, those plant toxins which we might talk about today, was just triggering a little bit of inflammation to my brain or just pissing off my immune system a little bit and that created some kind of anxiety, some kind of stress in my psyche.
And when I removed it, I thought, “Wow this is a pretty interesting thing. I feel really good.”
So, I’ve been on the diet for about a year and a half. I’ve gotten super interested in it.
I have gone down lots of scientific research rabbit holes because, as I’m sure many of the listeners are now thinking, there are lots of traditional paradigms, there’s a lot of traditional dogma around nutrition that eating in this way challenges.
And it’s been fun to explore all those and write the book and interview lots of people on my podcast as well.
Plants As Survival Foods
Abel: Yeah, and the idea that plants can be damaging shouldn’t be alien to anyone who’s familiar with ancestral eating, of course, because you’re looking at wheat gluten and gleatin and plants that have been manipulated by man and machine.
They’re nothing like what we would have been eating when you turn back the clock hundreds or certainly thousands of years.
And so when you look at what would have been most sought after as food, it sounds like from your work, what you’re saying is, “We were hunters by choice and gatherers more by necessity, during times of survival.”
Exactly, and in the book I advanced that postulate. I advance that hypothesis.
Plants, I suggest, are survival food, they always have been.
We see that pattern frequently in hunter gatherer tribes.
They were primarily hunters, gatherers by necessity or in starvation or unsuccessful hunting situations.
And the other thing I’ll note is that there are many plants in the plant kingdom that are frankly toxic, that are eaten by humans without any modification.
You bring up a great example of wheat, and ancestral wheat maybe is less toxic for people.
It’s now been hybridized, there’s more gleatin, there’s more of these immunogenic proteins in weed.
But there are many plants, Cassava is a great example, eaten by people throughout South America.
Highly toxic, and it’s a tuber, it’s a ‘root vegetable’ that has cyanogenic glycosides in it.
Specifically, it has Linamarin, which becomes hydrocyanic acid when it combines with Linamarase.
And so, humans in some ways have probably changed plants to make them more toxic or more immunogenic, in the case of wheat.
But there are many plants that in their native form, many parts of them are quite toxic to humans.
And if we look at the way ancestral peoples eat plants, in those situations where they are forced to or where they use them as an adjunct to animal foods, they often do many things to process them and detoxify them.
This is probably one of the origins or one of the greatest utilities for processes like fermentation.
It breaks down many of the toxins and plants and makes them less toxic for humans, so we can get some of the calories out.
And we can dig into all that.
Startling Effects of the Neolithic Revolution
Abel: Yeah. So one thing I was thinking reading through your book was how much of that makes sense, but also how difficult it would be, especially before refrigeration, to feed families and communities on just a stockpile of meat foods.
That would be difficult. But maybe there were some solutions that they had back then, that we’re not aware of now.
But also, it just seems that most of these plants are, yes, processed to make them more tolerable for human consumption, but mostly they’re easier to store, especially for large communities, especially once we started getting into agriculture.
It makes sense that would be a leading driver of culture, evolution, and everything in-between, really.
And I talk about that in my book. Chapter two is about the Neolithic Revolution, and Gerald Diamond has written about that extensively.
One of the points I make in the book is that, if you look at the health or the presumed health of hunter-gatherers or our ancestral humans at the advent of the agriculture at the Neolithic Revolution 12 to 13,000 years ago, you see some pretty striking changes based on what we can extrapolate looking at skeletons.
And again, it looks pretty clear that we went from being reasonably healthy, as healthy as hunter gatherer tribe could be, to many of the bone lesions suggesting tuberculosis.
I talk about psoriatic hyperkeratosis which is expansion of the sponge form bone in the skull and eye sockets.
There are many lesions in the bone suggesting fracture and infection, which double or triple in incidents after the Neolithic Revolution.
So, it’s pretty clear. We also got much shorter when we’re looking at femur length as a proxy for overall height of both men and women with that transition.
So, it’s pretty darn clear that moving from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which is going to be varied throughout the world, to agriculture, just resulted in extreme deficits, decline in our health.
And as I talk about it in the book, in 19 of 21 cultures studied with that transition, there were clear changes in the skeletal structure and the infection rates.
And Gerald Diamond has called it the worst mistake in human history, and he calls it the “cult of the seed.”
I’d have to agree with him in many ways, it really took a toll on our health.
And most people can realize that, but this concept is clear looking at ancestral peoples.
Plants have toxins. I don’t know why we’ve forgotten that.
And if we’re going to eat plants we need to realize there’s a spectrum of plant toxicity and these toxins may be affecting us negatively.
Abel: When you started experimenting yourself, were you able to find that some plant foods in particular were really hurting you and others were only kind of, or was it really just kind of a blanket thing, where it only got better once you eliminated all of the plants?
I think that the value of an elimination diet is, for humans, the way our immune system works is pretty complex, right?
For people, it’s not like you eat a tomato and you get a rash 20 minutes later, for a lot of people, right?
You can eat a tomato or you can eat wheat and generate antibodies that last for 21 days or more, 60 days.
For people with celiac disease, which is the medical diagnosis associated with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance, leading to regression of small intestinal villi, they can have wheat once or twice a month and still have immunologic activation for the entire month, right?
So when we’re trying to sort things like this out, there can be delayed reactions to food, it could be 24 or 48-72 hours.
How could a human ever sort out, “Oh, I ate an avocado yesterday and now 24 hours later, I’m having this rash. Is it the avocado, is it my detergent?”
That’s the value of elimination diet. It’s science, we all become scientists.
We all have to try and tease out what is triggering these immune symptoms that I’m having?
And the best way to do that is to eliminate as many variables as possible.
And what’s so cool about a carnivore diet is that if you construct it properly, and I talk about this in the book, eating nose to tail, eating enough fat, getting enough protein, getting the minerals and vitamins you need from organ meats and bone broths and bone marrow.
You can eat that way long term.
We know that our ancestors have done this. I’ve done this long-term.
Many have done this, so it’s totally safe and doable and many people end up surprisingly having great results and thriving when they do this.
But it’s an easy way that’s very healthy to eliminate all the foods or many of the foods that might be triggering.
Someone may then add back in as they like for whatever intention they have, starting with the foods that are least toxic, when we’re thinking about some broad spectrum of plant toxicity.
Nose to Tail: Why You Need Organ Meat
Abel: So eating nose-to-tail is something, unfortunately, I feel like to some degree has been lost in the shuffle.
As time has gone on and all these kind of new trends come and go, and all of that, especially the transition from paleo being the popular one to keto being the popular one.
I think a lot of people lost sight of the nose-to-tail, eating organ meats. You might argue, the more difficult parts to implement in your own life only because it’s novel for most people.
They haven’t really experienced eating organ meats before, and it can be difficult to source for some people depending on where you’re at.
Especially getting a really clean sourced meat, which is so important.
But let’s just go back into that, why is it important to eat these organ meats and prioritize them? Especially, when you’re eating a lot of muscle meats?
Yeah, lots of reasons here. The first reason is in terms of nutrient adequacy.
This is one of the more fascinating things that I’ve dug into as I’ve researched a carnivore diet.
Muscle meat is what we’re used to seeing. We go to the butcher shop, they have the steaks cut really nicely.
A lot of the fat’s been cut off the steak and that’s what we’re expecting it to look like.
But if people have been hunting or they’ve seen what a cow looks like as we’re processing it or a buffalo, there’s some fat that gets cut off and there’s a lot of organs that aren’t being eaten.
It’s very rare that you go to a butcher shop or your grocery store and see liver or heart.
As humans that makes us kind of squeamish, but that’s just westernized humans.
Abel: Westerners. Yeah, I was going to say.
In other cultures, it’s very common and it’s fun because the more that I meet people from other cultures, they say,
“Oh I ate brains growing up,” or “I ate heart growing up,” or “I love liver,” or, “My mom would make a stew out of kidneys and liver and spleen, and it was a normal thing growing up.”
And people that I know from South America or Asia or the Middle East or all sorts of different countries that are not the United States will often say,
“Yeah, we ate these foods growing up. My mom loves these foods.”
And a lot of ethnic markets will display these foods.
You can go to an ethnic market and probably find liver or spleen or pancreas or thymus, sweet breads easily, maybe even brain.
They’ll have whole heads of animals which are quite rich in fat and connective tissue.
And in many cultures, they’ll just boil the whole head or cook the whole head in the ground.
And this is where it gets to be so interesting for me because it pushes up against our conditioning as humans, and that I think is fun.
That’s when we start to grow, it’s when we start to grow and expand, right?
Abel: I agree with you.
When people realize, when we realize, the way that our conditioning is limiting our perspective on the world, we’re growing.
And so the organ meat thing is pushing against these boundaries for a lot of people, and it’s really, really valuable.
But from a nutritional perspective, muscle meat is very nutritious, but it doesn’t seem to have everything that we believe humans need to thrive.
Now, some in the carnivore community debate this.
And I’m good friends with Sean Baker, and he and I have this running debate about the need for organ meats, but unless we accept that somehow eating ribeyes or meat every day changes all of the human nutritional requirements that we know about, where are we going to get enough folate?
Where are we going to get enough riboflavin?
And where are we going to get enough biotin?
And where are we going to get copper?
Where are we going to get calcium?
And so these are the critiques of a carnivore diet.
If you look at people critiquing the carnivore diet in the mainstream, I think the mainstream believes that it’s just eating steak every day all day or eating steak and eggs all day, every day.
And that, there is a critique of that way of eating a carnivore diet, that is valid in some ways to say, “Hey, you could get nutritional deficiencies.”
But what’s so fascinating to me is that if you look at the way our ancestors ate meat, if you look at the way indigenous people eat meat, they eat the whole animal.
Both out of respect, out of necessity, and probably some sort of ancestral wisdom that,
“Hey, there are different nutrients partitioned throughout the animal.”
So, let’s break it down.
Muscle meat, pretty good source of, obviously, protein, creatine, niacin, B12, zinc, iron.
Okay, what’s it missing? Again, if we just incorporate liver, liver is a great source of folate, liver is a very rich source of riboflavin, which is vitamin B2.
And just if we touch on riboflavin for a moment. Heart and liver are great sources of riboflavin. Kidney is a pretty good source, too.
But you’re not going to get enough riboflavin eating muscle meat.
A lot of people are not going to get enough riboflavin. And a lot of the people I work with who have come from a position of eating only muscle meat have low levels of folate in their blood.
And then, the listeners may be aware of the connections between folate and MTHFR in the folate cycle when we see homocysteine rise.
Riboflavin also plays a very key role in that cycle by being a part of an allosteric activator of MTHFR.
Meaning that if we have enough riboflavin, then the binding site for MTHFR works well. If we don’t have enough riboflavin, MTHFR doesn’t work very well.
And many people listening may have polymorphisms in MTHFR. For those people especially, myself included. I’m 67C] T homozygous.
Abel: Yeah, cool. Part of the club.
Yeah, I don’t need to supplement with L-methylfolate. I just make sure to get 2-3 milligrams of riboflavin in my diet everyday.
That’s really hard to do if you’re only eating muscle meat.
So, this is the fascinating thing is that when we eat the whole animal, there are all these nutrients in different parts of the animal that really start to complete the picture, and you can really get every vitamin and mineral that a human needs to thrive if you eat an animal nose to tail.
You can really get every vitamin and mineral that a human needs to thrive if you eat an animal nose to tail. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
There’s calcium in bones, there’s calcium in bone meal, there’s calcium in bone marrow.
We can make stock out of the bones and pull some calcium out of that.
We know that indigenous cultures would eat small bones and the ends of bones and that helps to balance our acid-base equations in the body.
When we’re thinking about the balance of protein and minerals, the minerals are alkalizing and so we need to probably get enough calcium.
So, if people are not doing dairy, which is one of the things I recommend they avoid, at least in the beginning of a carnivore diet as it’s triggering them, a great source of calcium is from the bones.
And whether we’re making stock or using small bones and eating them like the end of a chicken bone or something or eating bone meal, there are sources of calcium.
There’s also vitamin C in animals, and a lot of people are not aware of this because the USDA hasn’t measured it.
But there are reproduced research studies showing that vitamin C is in animal meat. It’s also in liver, it’s also in kidney, it’s also in thymus.
Now, the rabbit hole surrounding the question of how much vitamin C we need to be optimal is a deep one and we don’t have to go down it today.
I’ve done conversations with Chris Masterjohn and James DiNicolantonio in my podcast, which is Fundamental Health, surrounding this.
I’ll just say to the listeners that in the interventional studies, humans appear to need about 10 milligrams of vitamin C a day.
10 milligrams, to avoid scurvy.
There are studies from the 1930s and 1940s with conscientious objectors, which show this very clearly.
Now, then we say, “Okay, so that’s how much we need to avoid scurvy. How much do we need to be optimal?”
I don’t think anyone knows.
There’s a pretty interesting interventional study that I talk about in my book in which people who are eating a small amount of vegetables per week, like three servings, where they took that group and they kept their diet the same.
And in a separate group, they increased the amount of fruits and vegetables per day significantly so that the intervention group had more than a pound of fruits and vegetables per day and 300 milliliters of fruit juice per day.
And what they estimated was that the intervention group went from an average of 70 milligrams of vitamin C a day to 270 milligrams of vitamin C a day and you could see that their blood levels of vitamin C increased about 30%.
But there are two parts of the study that are quite interesting.
The first part is that despite a 30% increase in their vitamin C blood levels and an increase in a diet from 70 to 270, there were no changes in oxidative stress or DNA damage markers in those people or inflammatory markers.
So, that’s quite interesting, saying, “Maybe 70 milligrams of vitamin C is all people need. Is there a threshold? Maybe we only need 30.”
We definitely want to make sure that our antioxidant systems are balanced and vitamin C serves a crucial role in regenerating glutathione within a cell in aqueous layer, and then it also regenerates vitamin E in the membrane.
And so, there are ways to measure this, but I think that my suspicion is that humans may not need as much vitamin C as we are told that we need.
I don’t necessarily have much trouble with people supplementing per se but there are some conflicting questions about whether too much could be harmful.
What we’ve tend to learn about humans is that we’re a delicate balance and if we just go throwing a ton of exogenous supplements in our body, we can imbalance things.
Vitamin C breaks down into oxalate, and that could be harmful for people.
So it’s not clear what the sweet spot is, but in that interventional study, these people at 70 milligrams of vitamin C and the people at 270 milligrams had the exact same antioxidant stress DNA damage parameters suggesting where’s the benefit to that increase?
And it’s pretty easy to get 70 milligrams or thereabouts from eating animals if you eat them nose to tail.
Liver, kidney, heart, spleen, pancreas, thymus, these are all much richer sources of vitamin C. Muscle meat has some.
So, anyway, that’s my tangent about nutrients.
We just try and get all the nutrients we need, and we can get them all from eating animals nose to tail. It’s quite fascinating.
How To Eat Organ Meats
Abel: And why are we so squeamish though, especially as Westerners?
What do you think drives that and how do you get over that hurdle?
I think it’s conditioning. I went hunting recently in Western Texas with some friends and it’s so good to be out there in the wilderness.
And I was hunting deer and I was able to get a deer with my bow.
And there were a lot of people in the hunt that were successful, so we would butcher the animal.
And as we were butchering our animal, we wanted to eat the organs.
So, we ate a lot of the organs right there out of respect for the animal, but also just for our nutrition and not to waste anything.
And in that situation, it just seemed obvious, like I’m going to eat the liver, I’m going to eat the heart. It’s food.
I did an interview with Paul Check recently, and he said, “You’re just not hungry enough.”
Abel: That’s a really good point.
When people say they don’t want to eat organ meats. If you are in the wilderness, you would eat it. You would overcome the conditioning.
You’re just not hungry enough, right?
And so you think, our ancestors, there’s no way they’re going to waste a liver. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.
Liver is cherished, often eaten raw, just divided amongst the tribe as a treasure when they are able to obtain an animal.
And it’s just full of nutrients.You just need that stuff.
And I think that they realize that, how the value of it, and we’ve become so separated from that.
So it’s conditioning. And I think that it’s hard to overcome that conditioning unless we have a real intention to.
I’d love to do this experiment at some point in the future. Just throw everybody in the woods and make them hunt and really see what it’s like.
And I think that a lot of people, if the only food you’re getting is food that you’ve hunted, you will eat the organs very quickly.
And I think you’ll overcome the conditioning and certainly probably begin to like them because, I don’t know what your experience was eating organ meats is, but I’ve grown to really appreciate them.
It’s taken a little while because I had 40 years of not eating organs and then started eating organ meats.
Abel: Yeah, yeah, as far as organ meats are concerned, you brought up a great point where if you’ve never gotten hungry enough to experience craving an organ meat, your brain has never made that connection.
But, okay, imagine this, you get hungry enough. Finally, you’re, “Okay. I’m going to eat this organ that’s here.”
“Wow, this did something for me.”
As you’re eating it, it’s one of the rare foods, organ meats in particular, that I feel in my brain like seconds later.
Not every time, but sometimes. Probably when I really need what’s in there.
And I’ve had this from seafood, I’ve had it from ruminants and other animals like that.
But once your brain makes that connection, you do start to appreciate what these organ foods are and what role they may have played, what major role they probably played in our cultures when you look back.
Absolutely, and I have so many friends that I’ve introduced to liver who have told me they get a buzz.
Abel: Yeah, it’s a buzz.
It’s a buzz, and I eat the majority of my meat cooked, but a lot of my organs, I will eat raw.
I eat a lot of raw liver, I freeze it, I try and get it from really good sources.
The Importance of Sourcing the Best Quality Meat
You touched on sourcing, and we can talk about that too. The importance of sourcing.
Abel: Let’s do that.
But I’ll eat a lot of my liver raw, so I’ll thaw it and I’ll eat it raw.
When I give it to people who haven’t had it, they’re originally squeamish, but a lot of them say, “Wow I feel something. I feel something.”
And of course, this is just anecdotal evidence, it’s not scientific, but there’s a lot of this, this N is not a small number here.
And a lot of people have this subjective experience, and it’s quite fascinating, and I think that it’s just, it’s probably the bio-availability of so many rich things in liver, etcetera, with the organ meats. Yeah.
Abel: But it should be said, they have different tastes, like liver to me is really kind of like bitter.
Whereas kidney has more of a urine thing going on. Heart is different, more like liver than kidney, I think.
But each of these becomes a delicacy, which is appreciated for its idiosyncrasies, once you really get into it.
Maybe we can talk about that a little.
Yeah, I guess it depends where you’re getting the liver from. Are you eating a cooked or are you eating it raw?
And which animal, right?
Abel: I usually eat it cooked, but sometimes raw.
Yeah, and so one of the things I’ve noticed is that when I’m getting liver, so I like to source my meats from regenerative farms.
And hopefully, we can touch on this.
I’m so interested in the way that raising animals can increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, I think that’s crucial to the persistence of humans on the planet.
But there are a lot of these farms out there, White Oak Pastures you may be familiar with in Georgia. Belcampo, in Northern California.
Roam Ranch is in Texas, they’re raising Buffalo, such good people.
And when I eat organs from these places, I’m like, “Oh this tastes different.”
I don’t know what it is. They just look different. They’re darker. Liver actually tastes sweet to me now. It doesn’t taste bitter at all.
Abel: It’s a good point, yeah, if you get the good stuff, like nice and fresh, it can have a totally different taste.
It’s like fish that way. Organs are kind of like fish that way, aren’t they?
And that’s how I would encourage people to think about organ meats, is like sashimi.
We’re used to eating raw fish.
And again, as a physician, I can’t tell people across the board that eating raw food is going to be safe. Any food can potentially be contaminated.
But many people listening to this podcast will enjoy sashimi salmon or sashimi fish, raw fish.
And I think of organ meats as organ sashimi. It’s just raw organs.
I’m going to get the best source I can, just like you would at a sushi bar, you want the really good stuff if you’re going to eat it raw.
And I like to savor the flavor and how different it is than what I’m used to.
And the textures are different too. It’s challenging for people. And there are ways to gradually kind of inch toward this.
There are now desiccated organ supplements that are out on the market. Ancestral Supplements is a great company, things like this.
People can get the pills, and then I try to walk people, just gingerly push them toward it.
“Well, try a little bit of frozen liver or just a little bit of raw liver.”
Or a lot of companies have caught on to the fact that people want to eat organ meats, but they’re not so hip to it.
They’re grinding organ meats into hamburgers, and so you can get Paleo grinds.
Abel: That’s awesome.
You can get these grinds. So you’re cooking the organs, which is great, and they’re going into a hamburger.
It’s going to taste a little different, but a lot of times, it’s just something great.
There’s also, people are making more of these liverwursts now, that you can get liver and heart and they’re pretty darn flavorful.
So, there’s lots of ways to do it.
Abel: Yeah, it’s worth getting into and experimenting with.
And one thing that I’ve noticed after doing this for a while, is sometimes kids are the ones who are most into it.
The parents are afraid for the kids, they’re like,
“I don’t know if my kid should eat liver” or whatever, but the kids are like, “Yes, this is amazing. I love eating brains!”
I mean, brains are delicious.
Abel: They can be. Yeah.
Brains are fantastic and I’ve only eaten brains raw.
I’ve had lamb brain and cow brain.
Once you can get over the fact, and I think this is actually a very interesting point and looking at organ meats is almost like a mirror to our mortality.
This is pretty philosophical.
But the first time I saw a lamb brain I thought, “Woah there’s one of those in here.”
It’s just, I think we become so separated from meat. We don’t see meat as an animal, which is a real tragic thing.
Abel: I agree.
This maybe one of the things that’s hard for people about organ meats is that it’s hard to deny that came from an animal when you’re looking at an organ.
And a brain is a brain. You know it’s a brain.
A liver can look like a blob of brown stuff. And a lot of us aren’t familiar with the way a pancreas or thymus looks or a spleen.
But a kidney is a kidney. And you’re like, “Whoa, that’s a kidney. That’s an actual organ from an animal.”
I see it, it’s almost like a mirror of my mortality.
And I like that because it engenders respect in me and appreciation for the sanctity of life. Basically, for how appreciative I should be for how lucky I am to be able to eat this very good food.
This is the food that I think is going to nourish me the most.
Jeez, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that.
I should be a good human. I am lucky, I am privileged, I am blessed to be able to eat this very good food.
That’s the way I approach hunting and that’s why I wanted to do more of it.
That people may say hunting animals is cruel.
And I think, well it’s actually part of the cycle of life, and when I hunt an animal and kill it, gosh, there is such a bond there.
Without getting too woo woo. When I took this deer on the recent hunting trip, and I shot it with my bow, and then I’m looking at the deer I killed, I just think, “Wow.”
And this happens every time I take an animal when I’m hunting.
The first thought is, “May I honor this animal’s life by living well in my own.”
And that is something that rarely happens when I walk into the grocery store and buy a steak out of the butcher counter.
So, the separation from the life that is becoming a part of mine, it’s tragic, and I want to know that, I want to know what I’m eating.
I don’t think that it’s wrong for humans to kill animals.
But I do think it’s tragic that we don’t appreciate what that means to us and the way that they’re nourishing us, and I think it could be a reflection of our own mortality and can really be a call to live in a certain way as a good human.
So, that may be a little bit philosophical for people, but that’s sort of the way I think about it.
Do we look at a lion and think, “That lion is cruel for eating a zebra.”
No, that’s the cycle of life. We’re all a part of it.
And guess what? Fungus is going to digest you and me.
I am going to be lunch for fungus when I am dead and gone from this Earth. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
Or maybe I’ll be lunch for a fish if they dump my ashes in the ocean somewhere.
So, at some point, I will be a part of that cycle as well, and that’s okay.
And we all get a time on the earth when we are alive to do things, hopefully the best things that we can, and I think that we need to nourish ourselves as well as possible and also be appreciative of the foods that we use to do that.
Abel: Yeah, I agree. There’s something deeply humbling about holding a heart in your hands or a brain in your hands.
It’s like, wow, there was only one of these.
Or even when we go to the farmer’s market and sometimes we’ll get chicken feet because it makes such great broth and it’ll be a whole bunch of feet.
I’m like, “Wow, that was a lot of chickens.”
Usually, you can get a great deal because no one wants the chicken feet.
I know, right? But they do make great broth.
Abel: That’s actually a good point that we should bring up about organs is, depending on where you’re at and supply and demand, a lot of times you can get the organs for cheap.
You bring this up in your book.
Sometimes you get them on the house because, while there is only one or two of some of these organs, a lot of people in the western world just really don’t care and don’t want them.
So, the butchers and the farmers are sometimes looking to offload them.
Yeah. There’s a lot of organs that go to waste, and that’s something that I think is quite tragic.
I mean, hopefully, they’re getting fed to dogs and nourishing our pet animals, our companion animals.
But a lot of organs go into animal food, which is great for those animals, but they could be feeding a lot of humans in good ways too.
And that’s a question that comes up a lot for people.
Yeah. Is, “How do I get a carnivore diet on a budget?”
And I think well, and I outline in this in the book, I think that for most people, you don’t need to get more than one gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is, that’s a decent amount of protein.
I’m about 170 pounds now, so that’s about a pound and three-quarters of meat per day.
But I don’t think that there’s a whole lot of benefit to people my size eating three to four pounds of muscle meat per day.
And this seems to work for me. The fat of the animal, I think has unique nutrients as well.
Again, it’s something we have not been taught to think of as food for humans. But butchers will often give you fat, right?
So, you can eat enough protein, they will give you fat, and organs are dirt cheap.
So, it’s not that people need to spend $20 a pound on four pounds of ribeye per day, that’s astronomical, that’s not doable for people.
Or that people need to be eating three pounds of muscle meat per day, which is often the most expensive part, unless you’re eating ground beef.
If you put in a couple of ounces of organ meats and a couple of ounces of fat into your diet, I think those are uniquely valuable.
They have unique nutrients.
Especially in the fat, there are fat soluble nutrients: Vitamin K2, vitamin E.
Sometimes people suggest that the carnivore diet is vitamin E deficient, which is just ludicrous because in myself and all my clients vitamin E levels are through the roof from eating good grass-fed animal fat.
So, animal fat is uniquely valuable.
And organs and fat are super cheap, and then if we can cow share or work with a local farmer, we can usually get the meat pretty darn affordable.
We don’t always have to eat the ribeye or the tenderloin.
Just this morning, I had chuck roast.
And you can cut a chuck roast into a steak and a lot of times you can get grass-fed for this chuck roast for less than $10 a pound.
So, almost the price of ground beef.
Abel: And then excuse me, and then before we lose sight of the organ meat thing, it doesn’t always have to be kidneys and hearts.
You can also go for fish row or caviar, you can look at oysters.
Abel: Even eggs, kind of these foods that are nose to tail self-contained.
And so if you still are a little bit squeamish, don’t feel like you have to be completely left out either.
There are other ways of going about this too.
Yes, I love that point. And I think you’re so right, that eggs of animals are nose to tail a way, like an egg yolk is pretty darn nutritious.
And eating steak and egg yolks, you can do way worse than that. That’s a pretty good diet.
I think you’re going to be better with liver, but eggs provide a great adjunct to muscle meat.
A lot of people react immunologically to egg whites. I recommend in the book trying to avoid them.
Maybe just the yolk. See how you react to that.
Some people even react to egg yolk. So I just want to give people lots of options.
But you’re right, seafood is a great source.
Shellfish, that’s basically nose to tail, you’re eating a whole muscle, a whole oyster.
And I want to make sure that people understand when I’m talking about a carnivore diet, it doesn’t just include ruminants.
It doesn’t just include red meat, it could include pork, chicken, turkey, fish, whatever works best.
I do suggest people include red meat as a big part of their diet, because I just think it’s so nutritious and I have not seen people be as successful on exclusively pescatarian carnivore diets.
And the sad fact of the matter here is that so much seafood is highly polluted.
And so I would be worried about over-consuming seafood really of any type.
Maybe sardines, they’re so small, they’re pretty good. But if you look at it, even shellfish, though they’re quite nutritious, they’re benthic, they’re at the bottom of the ocean, and cadmium levels are fairly high in shellfish.
And that’s not to say that shellfish are bad, just that we have polluted the earth and we’re kind of in this uncomfortable predicament where we’re left saying,
“What are the cleanest foods left on the earth?”
And my opinion is this, that is ruminants. Those are ungulates, those cows and sheep and buffalo and land grazing animals.
Seafood is very nutritious, but a lot of seafood does have bio-accumulation of heavy metals.
People should be aware of that if they’re making it a large part of their diet.
So that’s just kind of a sad thing, that’s just where we’ve come to as humans.
Regenerative Farming: Healthy Animals & Healthy Planet
Abel: Yeah, making sure your food is clean applies to whatever the source is, plant or animal.
But let’s dig into that a little more because it’s another thing that gets lost in the shuffle, is the importance of staying away from feedlot industrial beef and other meat foods, seafoods as well.
Farm raised, it’s not the type of farm that you’re thinking about, it’s nasty stuff, these animals are not eating what they naturally should be and all sorts of problems happen.
When you eat sick animals, that sickness can transfer to you.
And as you were saying that the toxins that are present in some of the seafood can also be present, in the fat, especially, of these feedlot-sick animals.
Antibiotics, heavy metals, all sorts of stuff.
So let’s talk about that a little bit and remind people why it’s important, and in fact, sustainable to eat from these more natural ways of raising animals in eating meat.
Well, I think people will be able to understand this really quickly, because this whole discussion is about what is an ancestrally appropriate human diet? Right?
So, if we’re thinking about what is our ancestrally appropriate diet, let’s eat animals that are eating as close to their ancestrally appropriate diet as possible.
And anyone who has eaten a steak from White Oak Pastures or Belcampo and compared it to a feedlot steak, you’re going to understand this, it’s totally different.
And if you see the way the animals are raised, it’s totally different.
With our human eyes we can’t see the microscopic changes, but just at a basic level, if you see the way the animals are raised, if you see the health of the animal and you taste the meat, you will notice how different these are.
One of the things that I talk about in the book, I think it’s in the Frequently Asked Questions part at the back of the book, is the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed meat.
And this is something I’m getting more and more passionate about these days.
So, “grass feeding” generally means that an animal is finished on grass, grass-fed, grass-finished.
There’s a lot of labeling now, it’s getting to be a little bit tricky for people.
But most cows spend 85% of their life eating grass.
In the last 15%, they go on to a feedlot where they’re fed grains, they can also be fed plastic chips and incinerator waste and cookies and candy and all kinds of junk food.
Abel: All these things have actually been documented, that’s the sickening part. But anyway, keep going.
Yeah. And they’re fed grains that can be moldy, the grains can have mycotoxins, the grains can be sprayed with Atrazine, which is a xenoestrogen.
The grains can be sprayed with glyphosate or 2,4-D.
So, my concern is not so much that grain-fed meat is “less nutritious” or has less vitamins and minerals than grass-fed meat. That’s been an argument.
They have the same amounts of most things, right? In terms of vitamins and minerals, which is probably close.
Grass-fed meat has been shown to have a little more vitamin E, a little more vitamin C, a little more glutathione.
What I worry about with grain-fed meat, and you enumerated this very well, is all the extra stuff that it has that are kind of toxic, right?
What about bio-accumulation of fat-soluble pesticides, like Atrazine? What about antibiotics? What about glyphosate in the muscle?
Because glyphosate is water soluble.
And just beyond that, why are we supporting this type of agriculture with our dollars?
I think everyone can understand that what we do, our biggest vote, is not what’s going to happen in November this year.
Our biggest vote is the way we spend our money every single day.
Our biggest vote is not what’s going to happen in November this year, our biggest vote is the way we spend our money every single day. @CarnivoreMD #sustainability Click To Tweet
And this hits close to home, right?
This hits people right in the pocket, right in the wallet.
I think this is one of the places where we as Americans, perhaps that’s all I can speak to, I think we’ve lost sight of this.
I think that humans don’t realize how much power they have with the dollar that is in their wallet. We are incredibly powerful.
If someone feels powerless or that they can’t affect positive change, think about what you’re spending your money on.
And though grass-finished meat may be a little more expensive, that I think will nourish you, your family, and it will give a political message to people that this is what humans want.
Look at what’s happened with organic food now, right?
Consumers demand it, it happens, farmers have to comply.
Unfortunately, just like with organic food and the labeling practices, and once people realize there’s profit here, the labeling becomes diluted.
The labeling around grass-fed meat is also becoming diluted.
And that’s kind of a segue into what really good meat is about and really good regenerative agriculture.
Ideally, you want to get your meat from a farm that you know or that you know is actually finishing their cows on real grass or hay.
There is something called greenwashing now, where people can label meat as grass-fed or grass finished by feeding them grass seed pellets.
Right? So, a grass seed pellet is not the same as a cow eating grass.
Cows are not supposed to eat grass seeds. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
So, I was talking with Anya from Belcampo recently, I was at the restaurant and she was comparing their fatty acid profiles of their beef to fatty profiles of a neighboring farm that’s also ‘grass-fed’.
And they’re completely different because Del Campo finishes their beef on real green grass and this other farmer is finishing them on grass seed.
And what you see are completely different omega-3 to omega-6 ratios in the fat.
That’s a whole another rabbit hole.
So, this is the key is that when we think about where our meat is coming from.
We want to get it from the best source possible. We want to use as much of our resources as we can to support that.
Again, I don’t want to sound elitist, and I want people to do what’s sustainable for them financially, but I think there are lots of affordable ways to get really grass-fed meat.
The last piece of this equation is perhaps one of the most interesting parts, and it’s the sustainability and the ethos of doing this work.
And we’ve touched it on a little bit, so let’s dive into it.
When we raise cows in this way, we are recapitulating, we are re-imagining the way the buffalo and hundreds of millions of animals moved across the Western Plains for thousands of years before humans got here, wild Native Americans were here, and before we killed all the buffalo and turned the Midwest into farming land.
Abel: And we didn’t kill like 100 buffalo.
The numbers of these ruminants that used to be here…
Abel: Yeah, enormous. Anyway, keep going. That’s worth noting because some of the arguments that happen now are pretty ridiculous.
Right, right, exactly. We’ll get into that too, but estimates were that there were 200-250 million ruminants in the United States before humans arrived or the Native Americans were here.
250 million, and that’s 100 million buffalo and 150 million deer, elk, antelope, pronghorn, etcetera.
They moved across the western US grazing on land.
They eat the grass down to the edge, but they don’t eat it to the roots, they don’t kill the grass.
They impact the land, they poop and pee on the land, and then they move on, and they move away.
And then what happens? Within a few weeks, that grass has grown back like gangbusters.
It’s green, it’s flourishing because it has natural fertilizer. People may realize this.
If they’ve done gardening, they know that the best fertilizer is poop.
Whether it’s worm poop, horse poop, cow poop, whatever.
Human poop has been used by indigenous cultures. It’s called night soil. Poop is fantastic.
Abel: That’s a euphemism right there.
Poop is the best fertilizer. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
And so, when ruminant animals are on the land, they turn the soil over gently.
They don’t till it and cut it, they turn the soil over gently and they poop and that organic matter gets in the soil, and the soil organic content goes up.
And then they move, and they graze somewhere else, and then they come.
This is the practice that regenerative agriculture, that real grass feeding seeks to mirror.
And in order to do this, you have to have multiple paddocks of land and you move the animals around.
And this is what’s so cool, both Belcampo and White Oak and many farms that are now doing this.
We can show that when we raise cattle this way, or buffalo, the amount of organic matter in the soil increases, and that is important for multiple reasons.
It’s important because the more organic matter in the soil, the more plants can grow.
The more plants that can grow, the more animals that can be there to eat the plants.
And the more plants that are growing healthfully, the more carbon from the atmosphere can be sequestered into their root systems.
So, farms like White Oak Pastures and Belcampo, when we do these complex environmental life cycle analyses, it looks like they are carbon-negative.
Meaning that for every amount of methane that the cow burps, a similar amount of carbon dioxide is sequestered down into the soil, and that’s the way it’s always been in an animal ecosystem.
This is the carbon cycle and this is what people miss when they’re talking about greenhouse gas emissions from animals versus greenhouse gas emissions from cars.
These are apples and oranges.
But if we’re just talking about the greenhouse gas emissions from animals, they are part of what’s called the carbon cycle.
Ruminant animals and termites, and natural bogs, natural wetlands, all emit methane and have been for billions of years on this planet.
The Earth has always had greenhouse gases in this atmosphere.
That’s why the surface of the Earth is an average temperature of whatever it is now, 60, 70 degrees, who knows.
Maybe not in Colorado this time of the year.
Abel: Maybe not. But the sun is strong
Right. Without greenhouse gases, it’s estimated that the surface of the Earth will be 32 degrees everywhere. We’d be an ice planet.
So, they have a role and they are probably instrumental in the development of life on this planet as we know it.
Now, there are some pretty compelling hypothesis that since the advent of human industrialization, we are adding carbon to that greenhouse gas mixture.
Well, where is that carbon coming from?
People want to point to the ruminants, but that’s really false.
Look, there are more ruminants on the planet now than there used to be and there may be more methane coming from those ruminants, but that is not the major contributor to greenhouse gas.
There have always been millions and millions of ruminants on this planet burping methane.
Not farting, burping methane. The methane goes into the atmosphere, becomes carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide gets fixed into the ground, into carbohydrates, which the animals then eat. It’s the same carbon atom.
If we could radioactively label that carbon atom, we would see the same atom circulating.
And so, what happens when we burn fossil fuel?
That is carbon that is in the ground that we are combusting and we are liberating carbon from the ground into the atmosphere.
That is new carbon and that’s completely different.
And so, if you look at the amount of methane emissions in the United States, they really have not increased significantly since 1850.
It’s a very small number when we’re looking at that, but we are putting more carbon in the atmosphere. Where is it coming from?
It’s coming from transportation, it’s coming from industry, it’s coming from burning of coal because that’s new carbon that’s not participating in the carbon cycle.
I don’t like how people point a finger at cows, it’s a misunderstanding.
And so, you can look at EPA data, and I present this data in the book, from 2016.
If you look at the amount of methane coming out of a cow and compare that to the amount of carbon dioxide coming out of a tailpipe, cows produce 1.8% of the greenhouse gases annually in the United States and transportation produces 30%, 3-0%.
Plant agriculture produces four point something percent.
So, all livestock in the United States, beyond cattle, produce, I think 4% and plant agriculture produces a little more like 4.2 or something.
So, it’s crazy to think about this.
Now, these arguments get a little bit nuanced when we’re talking about life cycle versus “tail pipe” but if we are comparing tail pipe to tail pipe or ruminant methane burps to what comes out of a car, in the United States, we’re looking at 1.8 versus 30%.
This gets misleading because people will often use FAO data from 2016 which compared global livestock. Right?
So now we’re not looking in the United States. We’re comparing global livestock numbers, all livestock globally, and they did a life cycle analysis.
So, if people have seen quotations that cows produce as much greenhouse gas as cars, this is very misleading and it’s probably based on this 2016 FAO report, which looked at a life-cycle analysis of cows, meaning how much they burp, how much carbon is used to move them around the paddock by driving a car, how much carbon is used to build the factory that processes them, etcetera, etcetera.
That’s a life cycle of how much carbon footprint of an animal is.
And they compared the life cycle of a cow to just what’s coming out of the tailpipe of a car, so they’re comparing apples to oranges.
And they’re saying, “Look, ruminant animals produce 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions, and globally transportation is 15%. ”
So the people will say, “Cows produce as much as transportation,” and that’s false.
Because no one has ever done a life-cycle analysis of transportation, and they don’t want it to be done.
This is just tailpipe, it’s not tailpipe to tailpipe. This is apples to oranges.
If we did a life-cycle analysis of transportation, who knows how much carbon would be coming out, right?
Abel: How about the military?
Yeah, right. How much carbon is produced when you make a plane?
How much carbon is produced when you put down a road?
How much carbon is produced to make a car? How much carbon is produced to recycle a car?
So, these type of estimates have never been done that I’m aware of.
If there are any in the environmental space listening to this and they know of any life-cycle analyses for transportation, please let me know.
The other thing I’ll say is this, and this is just a little bit conspiratorial, but it’s true.
Who are the lobbyists in Congress and Washington funding this focus on cows?
It’s transportation and industry, it’s airlines. And why are they funding it?
Because they want to say, “Hey, look over there.”
Abel: They’re the polluters.
They’re the polluters, they’re the polluters.
So, yes, there are more ruminants on the planet now than there were.
Yes, there is slightly more methane coming from cows and ruminants, yes.
What is the greatest contributor to methane? Is termites. Should we eliminate all the termites on the planet? No.
Abel: We’re working on it.
Yeah, right. Methane from animals that is part of the carbon cycle is not the problem, in my opinion, nor many others.
Elon Musk had a great tweet about this.
Going vegan, going plant-based, will not save the environment, it will not change the current rate of carbon accumulation, and in fact, it will cause a complete ecosystems collapse, because if we eliminate ruminants what will fertilize the soil?
And this brings us back to regenerative agriculture.
There’s a farm in Texas called Roam Ranch, they’re raising buffalo.
I got to stand two feet in an open pasture from a 1300-pound buffalo, and I was like, “Oh, this might be the last thing I do.”
Abel: It’s humbling, right?
“Maybe no more podcasts for me. I hope I do live through this so I can release this book.”
“He was great then he got trampled by a buffalo.”
But you can see what they’re doing. They’re revitalizing this land in Roam Ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas.
And this land has been destroyed because Europeans came in and they killed all the buffalo and they took buffalo off the land and they did monocrop agriculture.
When we till the soil, when we bring a knife through the soil, it not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, which is something that plant-based advocates never admit to or talk about.
The most carbon is stored in the soil, that’s where plants fix it. That’s what we were talking about.
When we bring a knife through the soil, all that carbon is released and it erodes the topsoil, the organic matter in the topsoil dies and we get runoff.
So, Europeans came into places like Fredericksburg, Texas, they kill all the buffalo, they raise crops, and they destroy the land.
So, the land in Fredericksburg has been grazed by Roam now for three years, and they’re increasing the amount of organic matter every year, but it’s a long process, but it’s being rehabilitated.
But that land was basically destroyed by agriculture.
White Oak Pastures has been doing this for 20 years. And Will Harris there has been able to take his land from 0.5 to more than 5% organic matter.
When you go to the farm… You should come to the farm in May, we’re doing an event at the farm in White Oak.
Abel: Oh, cool.
He’s got a soil sample from his neighbor’s pasture, which is 35 feet across the fence line and his pasture, and you can see the dirt.
His dirt is dark, dark brown, dark brown, it’s like dark chocolate brown. His neighbor’s dirt is very light brown.
And one has 0.5, his neighbor’s, and his has more than 5% organic matter.
This to me is the incontrovertible argument for regenerative agriculture.
You are creating soil. And you can do whatever you want with that soil.
You can grow plants for humans in a bio-dynamic way or you can grow grass and raise animals in the most sustainable way.
But they are sequestering carbon in the soil, they are creating more organic matter in the soil, and you can see it.
But that’s what regenerative agriculture does, is it returns nutrients to the land.
At White Oak they also do this amazing thing. When they butcher the cows, there are some things they can’t sell. They grind it up and they put it back on the land.
They use it as natural compost.
So, Will Harris is the largest producer of compost in the state of Georgia, and he puts every single bit of it back on to the land.
It all goes back into their land, just the way it would have been.
When millions of buffalo die, they die on the land, their calcium goes into the Earth.
This is the cycle of life, it goes back into the Earth, and that is what the Earth needs.
So, I’ve just gotten so excited about this, and people can tell because I’m ranting now.
I think there is no greater metric for the persistence of the human race than soil organic matter.
We need dark dirt. If we don’t have dark dirt, we are going to die.
And the way to get dark dirt is to create ecosystems with plants and animals together, not to do monocrop.
Let animals pee and poop on the land, and that is what regenerative is about. @CarnivoreMD Click To Tweet
And that’s what’s so cool about supporting a type of agriculture is that we get better food, it’s healthier for us, and the animals are healthier, and it’s really the right thing to do for the planet because that’s a very important conversation.
Abel: Yeah. And it’s worth saying too that a lot of these industrial vegan fake meat companies and all of that are not friendly to the environment, whatsoever.
So, instead of bickering amongst ourselves about our differences, I think it’s important that we little people get together and try to agree about some things, mostly that our shared enemy is industry.
It’s industry and all of these money-grabbing tax-free giant corporations that are abusing its people and making us sick.
Those are the ones who are paying lobbyists to get us to fight.
So, let’s get organized for a second and let our differences go, I think.
And then we can kind of take on the big enemy, because it’s a big one. We’ve been fighting for a long time.
Couldn’t agree with you more. And that goes back to voting with your dollars.
I would challenge the listeners of this podcast to think about, you go to the grocery store, what companies are you “buying stock in” with all of your purchases?
Is it Nestle? Is it Conagra? Is at Cargill? Is it Bayer? Is in Monsanto? Do you want to do that?
Look, I’m not going to tell anyone how to spend their money or what’s with your life.
But there’s this great proverb. You probably heard this one.
It’s this image from Native American culture of 2 wolves fighting.
And one is all the good that’s in a human and one is all the bad that’s in a human.
And there’s an Indian brave and he asks a wise man like, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
And he says, “The one you feed.”
So, we all have this sort of turmoil within us between good and evil, these two wolves that are fighting.
And I think that that’s really happening within our culture.
I don’t believe that humans are intrinsically bad, but I think there are a lot of people that have lost sight of true good action as humans, and they become focused on money.
And so, what do we feed? Who are we supporting?
Because we have our dollars, there are… Look at the GDP of this country, where does it go and they want…
It’s just kind of like social media. Where does your attention go? What are you feeding?
Are you feeding things that are eroding us or are we feeding things that are moving things in the right direction?
And that, I think, I want people to really understand. We have so much power, and it’s in your wallet.
Where to Find Dr. Paul Saladino
Abel: Yeah. I dig it. Well, I can’t believe it but we burned through the time. So before we go, Paul, please tell folks where they can find your work and what you’re working on.
Yeah. I got all kinds of good stuff happening.
So my book, The Carnivore Code is probably going to be out when this podcast comes out. It’s available on Amazon.
You can go to thecarnivorecodebook.com. My website is carnivoremd.com. And I’m on all the socials @carnivoremd.
I’ve got a podcast which is Fundamental Health. Hopefully, I’ll get you on it soon.
And, yeah, we’ll have to do another one because we didn’t really get to dig into plant toxins or heart disease or cholesterol.
There’s so many pieces to this. I detail it all in my book.
So, if people want to know more about the carnivore diet and plant toxins and how to eat a carnivore diet, it’s all in there and I’m so stoked to share it.
Abel: Right on. Paul, I appreciate your work. Thanks so much for coming on.
Thanks, man. It’s great to be here.
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What did you think of this episode with Dr. Paul Saladino? Have you tried an elimination diet? What did you notice? Drop a comment below!