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April Carnivore Contest, Homemade Mayo, and Vegetable Oil 411

Posted Sep 07 2008 7:57pm
Well the March Kitchen Clean Contest at the Bus is over - I managed half the month totally clean, with slip-ups either being artificial sweeteners, dark chocolate or - once or twice - rice.

On to bigger and better!

This contest is the best one yet, in my opinion. According to Dean, pack leader over on the Bus, the April Carnivore Contest serves the following purpose: help people find out what they can and can't give up in their pursuit of a more natural and healthy diet, based on what we evolved on. If you can go all the way with this thing, you're lucky. It's not really about that, though. I mean it can be, if that's your thing. But, it's really more about focusing on something harder, so we'll get our minds off what we're "giving up" in our diet, and instead see what we're "adding to" our natural diet. I can begin to really appreciate how just a cup of coffee can be seen as a treat, and how I don't need to eat ice cream or pie for that mental fix. When I am focused on keeping veggies out of my diet, I'm not thinking about donuts. Haven't thought about those in months. If "slipping up" is eating some almonds or drinking some cream or eating a tomato, then we're doing pretty damn good, now aren't we?!

Agreed! Whether you think that vegetation is harmful, unnecessary or vital, these contests really help keep you focused on adding natural, good whole foods to your diet. Plus - they're fun!

The rules will be following for the month of April are:

All foods should be as natural, fresh, and whole as possible. Animal fat should be kept high, 60-80% of calories, and carbs should be kept as low as possible. The cleaner one eats and the closer they get to an exclusive raw animal diet, the more points they can rack up. The goal is not to be perfect, but to see how close you can get to our ancestor's diet.

* any part of any animal (including processed meat)
* eggs
* VLC dairy
* VLC vegetation (includes nuts)
* olive/nut oil
* VLC condiments, seasoning, salt, AS
* VLC beverages

To get any points you MUST eat only what's Allowedand remain under 20g carbs.

If you had something not allowedor went over 20g carbs you are out for the day, you get zero points.

Add up your points each day. You can get up to5 points per day.

One point for each, for having:
- only allowed items + under 20g carbs
- no alcohol + no AS
- no vegetation + no oil
- no processed meat + no dairy (butter is not counted as dairy)
- some raw animal part / raw egg

So, for instance, if you had no vegetation and no oil during the day, you would get ONE point for abstaining from those items... or if you had no alcohol and no AS, you would get ONE point for not having those things... or if you had no dairy and no processed meat that day, there's another ONE point.

You can get up toFIVE points per day.

For me, I'll be avoiding cheese. I've developed eczema under my nose, and I suspect it's cheese-related. I will include heavy cream for now. Coconut milk falls under vegetation/oil, and will be counted as such.

I am aiming for 100 points total out of a possible 150.

So does no-cheese leave me out of the Oopsie club? Nope! I've made mayo, and will be experimenting with mayo-oopsies throughout the month. Making mayo is so, so easy - just oil and egg, and whatever seasonings you care to add. I followed Ray Audette's recipe in Neanderthin:

1 whole egg
1/2 t dry mustard
1/4 sea salt
1/4t pepper
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 cup light olive oil (I subbed walnut oil, bc I didn't have any olive, and didn't need the whole cup)

Put everything but the oil in a blender and whizz. Take the plastic stopper out, and slowly drizzle oil in. That's it! Simple and fast. One minute, you've got liquidy, oily crud whirling about; then, all of a sudden, it transforms into thick, white mayo before your very eyes. Now that I've done it, I don't know why I'd ever buy mayo again. Tastes much better than store-bought, and you can control what's in it. Homemade mayo lasts about a week in the fridge - store-bought can sit in there for ages, even though it's made with oils (usually canola or soybean) that are not known for their stability or long shelf life. Something to think about.

Even so, nut oils (like other polyunsaturated oils or PUFAs) are too high in omega 6 linoleic acid compared to omega 3, and are best used sparingly. Too much omega 6 can interfere with the production of important prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that contribute to functions such as the dilation and constriction of blood vessels, control of blood pressure, and modulation of inflammation) and result in blood clots, inflammation, high blood pressure, GI tract irritation, depressed immune function, sterility, cell proliferation (an increase in the number of cells through cell division and growth) and weight gain. When omega 3 linoleic acid is in balance with omega 6, prostaglandin production is balanced as well.

Unfortunately, most commercial vegetable oils are way out of whack. Traditionally, PUFA consumption came from the small amounts in nuts, seeds, green veggies, fish, olive oil and animal fats (nope, animal fat is not 100% saturated), as well as legumes and grains if eaten. The vast majority of fatty acids in the diet were saturated and monounsaturated, and came from animal sources (lard, tallow, then butter etc), tropical oils (coconut, palm) and olive oil. These fats began a slow decline in the early decades of the 1900's (as heart disease started singing "I'm Coming Out" and strutting around in glittery dresses), with the invention of glorious plastic foods like margarine, but we didn't start chugging massive quantities of PUFAs until the 1950's.

By 1950, heart disease had taken the lead role in "Cause Of Death" and was (literally) killing audiences nation-wide. Margarine and vegetable oils had by then practically replaced natural fats like butter and lard. The connection should have been obvious. It was obvious. Instead, we got the lipid hypothesis, kicked off by a study on rabbits eating cholesterol (scroll up to the first paragraph). By the 1990's, consumption of vegetable oils had jumped from less than 2g per day to 30g, per person. Butter had plummeted to about 5g per day, and use of lard and tallow had dropped by two-thirds. We all know what happened to heart disease rates - they kept pace, despite the claims that foods made from soybean, canola, corn and safflower oils, among others, were "heart healthy" and animal fats were suitable only for the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who don't have to worry about clogged arteries, the lucky bastards.

Of course then we learned about the dangers of trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and now we can buy trans fat free margarine and other veggie oil containing processed foods. Problem solved? Nope. In addition to the whole prostaglandin issue, studies have shown numerous problems resulting from PUFA consumption. A 1994 study published in The Lancet showed that almost three quarters of the fat in artery clogs is...wait for it...polyunsaturated. For more depth than I can go into here, I highly recommend reading everything Mary Enig has ever written on the subject of fats, starting here and here.

So yes, I intend to make my own mayo but I will focus on keeping animal fats in the lead role. We evolved eating them. We thrived eating them. We wouldn't be here, loving our hearts with Becel margarine, if it weren't for animal fats. Seems pretty simple to me. A high (animal) fat diet has made me feel better than I've ever felt, and these contests at the Bus serve as constant reminders of that. Even knowing what I know, sometimes I need all the reminders I can get!
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