Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pictures of Paleo Dieters

Paleo dieters

Heath Putnam Farms donated a bunch of food to WOD Fest. We fed the volunteers and some competitors.

The food was paleo. Mike Porter, the guy behind WOD Fest and WOD Club, prepared some fresh ham and cheeks. We also served slices of cured Mangalitsa loin (aka "loin bacon"), roasted sweet potatoes and watermelon slices.[1]

People particularly liked the Mangalitsa. They hadn't eaten it before; the first time is usually amazing. Now we've got photos showing people eating the stuff for the first time.

Child eating Mangalitsa for the first time.

I asked people if they were paleo. Many said yes.[2] I took photos, shown below, of the self-reported paleo dieters.

Many of the self-reported paleo dieters, particularly the guys, said they eat high-fat and low-carb.[3]

Athletes need a lot of calories, so when they eat low-carb, they necessarily eat high-fat. CrossFitters who eat paleo and low-carb show that it is possible to eat a lot of fat - an amount of fat that most Americans consider excessive - and be fit.[4]

So below are some photos of paleo dieters, many of them who consume what typical Americans would consider ridiculous amounts of fat.

Besides the free roasted Mangalitsa ham and lard-poached cheeks which they ate on the spot, I gave out some free lard and lardo to take home. Many of them are pictured eating the Mangalitsa or holding Mangalitsa products like lard and lardo:

Eating fatty roasted Mangalitsa ham

Eating sweet potatoes

[1] Mike put a rub on the ham and slow-roasted it. Then he sliced it up. The day of the event we reheated it in an electric skillet. He confited the cheeks in Mangalitsa lard. We served that out of crock pots. People loved Mike's cooking. He emailed me later:
I wanted to thank you for coming out to the WOD event yesterday and your meat was a hit. Everyone who ate it loved it. Thanks a lot and look forward to doing it again next year.

[2] All the paleo dieters I asked said they knew of Robb Wolf. Many said they listened to his podcast.

[3] One person, pictured above, explained that since switching from a standard American diet to a paleo diet, she went from 230 pounds to 155 pounds. Another woman is 40 pounds lighter.

[4] One of the athletes explained that since going paleo and low-carb (and high-fat), his triglyceride levels and blood pressure improved.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Local Food, Local Business Leaders

President Obama in Guttenberg. Photo from Telegraph Herald.

I've written on this blog about the dishonesty of the food business. People who sell food lie to consumers. Consumers want the lies; it helps them to feel better about themselves.

The lies get particularly egregious when it concerns things that people can't detect with their senses. E.g. was this pig fed antibiotics during its life? Did the meat in my ham or bacon get produced indoors or outdoors? Did the farmer that sold me the meat even raise the pig?

My knowledge of how Mangalitsa pork is produced in the USA, and how it gets sold, and what people say about it has given me special insight: people lie a lot. They pretty much lie whenever it will benefit them and they think they can get away with it.

I find this phenomenon fascinating.

I was reminded of this because a guy who raises pigs for me got to see the Presidential motorcade.* The President visited his town and the press wrote about it. They wrote things that he considered misleading, and he told me about it.

I should be clear: this blog is apolitical. It is mostly about Mangalitsa pork. I'm mentioning this single incident because it provides a great opportunity to see how "local" is often a fiction, and how the press goes along with it. You can see how people desperately want to believe in "local".

So the President goes to the restaurant in Guttenberg, Iowa and met with some businessmen. The press took photos and the stories went out. The photo is from the above meeting. Here's two articles about the event - but you can find hundreds like them across the web:

Please note the word "local". You could easily read that and figure he met with Guttenberg feed and fertilizer dealers, or the guy from a nearby dairy. He must have gone to Guttenberg to meet with Guttenberg businessmen, right? Why else would you go all the way out to Guttenberg, Iowa? Guttenberg isn't the middle of nowhere, but it might as well be, if you live in Washington, DC.

"Local" businessman drives 253 miles to eat at "local" restaurant.

Well, as it turns out, the closest "local business leader" was 59 minutes away. A bunch of them were from halfway across Iowa. You can see that if you look at the map, and see where Guttenberg is in relation to the towns listed. I've put, after the towns, the travel time to Guttenberg in parentheses:
Mid-morning, the president was joined at Rausch's Cafe in Guttenberg by five Iowa business owners representing the IT and agriculture industries. At the breakfast was Michael Sexton of ManureWorks LLC in Rockwell City (3 hours 34 minutes), Joel Althoff of Infrastructure Technology Solutions in Monticello (1 hour), Kenneth Hach of Anemometry Specialists in Alta (4 hours, 22 minutes), Eric Unruh and Fern Unruh of Rolling Hills Greenhouse in West Union (59 minutes).
The closest people came from about an hour outside of Guttenberg. It wouldn't surprise me if the Guttenbergers feel slighted. If only they'd invited one token local, from 5-10 minutes away, you could use the word local without qualification.

In reality, business leaders drive halfway across the state of Iowa to meet with the president in a "local" restaurant. The press takes the photos of the meeting and the story goes out. Most readers just look at the photo and quickly forget the whole thing. Everyone is happy.

This phenomenon happens over and over again. The more you know a topic, the more you spot this phenomenon.

In my own case, I know that "local food" is a lot different than what people imagine, and that it is because want to be deceived. That's why things are this way.

My recommendation about what to eat, given the dishonesty of the food business hasn't changed: eat what tastes good. Don't pay more for food just because someone tells you they were produced in a "better" way. Only pay more for stuff that actually performs better, in some way that you can measure.

* It started with him standing by the side of the road when the President's motorcade came through. As usual, the President was protected by the Secret Service. When they drove through town in the motorcade, they had some of their guns pointed at the crowd, ready to shoot. He didn't like having guns pointed at him; he got nervous.

He's wondering if Bush's or Clinton's motorcades typically rolled with rifles pointed at spectators. He saw Bush Jr, Clinton, Bush Sr and Reagan's motorcades in Iowa, and those of Al Gore, but he never saw them pointing guns at spectators.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WOD Fest Planning

WOD Fest's Mike Porter with our Mangalitsa products.

I met with Mike Porter and supplied him with the products for this Saturday's WOD Fest.

He's got belly, ham, cheeks and bacon*. He'll use some of the excess fat to prepare tubers and other vegetables. WOD Fest Volunteers and judges will eat excellently.

Before I met with Mike, I met with Aaron Matson of Bellingham's Copper Hog. Aaron uses our Mangalitsa, both at the Copper Hog and events like the recent Burning Beast.

I asked Aaron how Mike should go about things. He quickly laid out a cooking plan, which will hopefully allow Mike to do well while keeping stress low.

Eating Mangalitsa lardo while planning global domination.

I like meeting people who make things happen; not many people are able to put their stamp on the world. The neatest thing about being in the Mangalitsa business is meeting innovators.

* cured loin. Typical bacon would be cured pork belly.

Lard Customer

Athlete B holding five pounds of lard.

Here's a photo of an amateur endurance athlete* who lives on Mangalitsa lard and other animal fats, including butter.

Let's call him B.

His diet, exercise and physical stats have been constant for at least several months: he weighs 145# and is 5'10". He eats protein - typically eggs, fatty fish or meat - with every meal. He eats no grains at all: no wheat, rice, rye, barley, etc. His carbs are sweet potatoes and potatoes, which he eats pretty much every day.** He runs aproximately 50 miles a week.

He's a big fan of Robb Wolf and Kurt Harris.

Unlike the typical paleo eaters I know, he's not doing CrossFit or resistance training. Nevertheless, he's fit, eating lots and lots of Mangalitsa fat, healthy and happy.

* Here's another one - a real beast.

** Eating his carbs that way allows him to get carbs without eating gluten. He says self-experimentation has taught him that he does best without grains.

Monday, August 15, 2011

WOD Fest - Seattle August 20

Jake Platt, owner of 3 Seattle-area CrossFit gyms,
enjoying Mangalitsa lardo.

Besides foodies, paleo/primal eaters (like Jake Platt, pictured above) love Mangalitsa. As I've explained before in this blog, to save the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa breed, we need extra-healthy and attractive people eating lots of Mangalitsa fat.

Hence, CrossFitters may ultimately help to save Mangalitsa pigs in the USA: many of look great and eat paleo/primal. In general, even if they don't eat paleo, they will eat fatty meat.*

Therefore, Heath Putnam Farms will be providing Mangalitsa to WOD Fest Seattle.

As the WODFest site explains:
WODFest is a CrossFit competition for all levels; test your metal against the best of the best in the Firebreather division, or if you do Prescribed weights compete in the RXed division, and if your a Master (35+ every 5 years) compete against athletes your own age in the Masters division(s).
Besides jowl bacon (for cooking up some starch, likely sweet potatoes), there'll be Mangalitsa belly and some meatier cuts.

Meal planning was interesting: we've got to feed a lot of people. I figure sweet potatoes or yams are the obvious way to leverage fatty stuff like jowl bacon, because Mangalitsa fat plus carbs is a winner. People on a paleo diet typically vacuum that stuff up.

Mike Porter (WOD Fest organizer) is a bit dubious about the belly, but my experience (see the video below) says it will get eaten. Of course, any lean Mangalitsa is going to get eaten; with Mangalitsa pigs, there's never enough lean meat, because its quality is off the chart.

Here's some paleo eaters enjoying a Mangalitsa belly:

*Vegetarian girls who do yoga, even if they look good in yoga pants, aren't going to save the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa breed. We need thriving people who love high-quality animal fat.

George House & Mangalitsa Pizza

I met with George House of Csarda Haz. He was in Seattle.

I said we could go to Monsoon and get Mangalitsa neck, or to Serious Pie, where some of the pizzas might have cured Mangalitsa products on them.*

He chose Serious Pie, so we met there and got the soft egg and guanciale pizza. It was great. We had a lot of fun.

Csarda Haz was my first customer for breeding stock. They've grown their pigs out and had their first litters.

The put some videos up on YouTube, which I've embedded:

The pigs sure are fun to watch.

I'm looking forward to visiting Csarda Haz when they've got products and tasting them.

*When I go to Serious Pie, I ask the chef which pizzas have Mangalitsa products. In the past I've asked the servers, but sometimes they don't know, or they say different things than what the chefs say. That's just how things are.