The Heart Is Not A Pump Or An Organ

A Commonly Held Believe

Would you be in a state of disbelieve since that is what we have always known to be true, have always been told, or have been led to believe? I wouldn’t blame you. It does, at least on the surface, seem very logical.  Blood comes into the heart and then it gets “pumped” out and back into our arteries.  Simple right, not quite, As Dr. Thomas Cowan elegantly covers in his book Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease. This notion that the heart acts as a pump is easily disproven, in Cowan’s opinion, when you look at how blood circulates through our blood vessels, of which there are basically three types: arteries, veins, and capillaries. This is known as circulation, which is crucial to have a basic understanding of if we are going to determine whether the heart is a pump or not.

One Man’s Idea, Led to Anothers Investigation

What led to Dr. Thomas Cowan to start investigating whether the heart was a pump or not? He encountered Rudolf Steiner’s idea that the three most important “things” for the further of evolution of humanity are: (1) That people stop working for money, (2) that people realize there is no difference between sensory and motor nerves, and (3) that the heart is not a pump. The idea that interested Cowan the most was, of course, that the heart is not a pump. Which drove him to question everything he’d learned about the heart and circulation.

A Description of Circulation

Here is Dr. Cowan’s simple but technical description of circulation:1

“When blood starts it journey through out bodies it exits the heart, it travels through the large aortic arch into the major arteries and then into the smaller arterioles until it meets the “midpoint”, the capillaries.

Capillaries are the one-layer thick transition vessels where nutrients and gases are exchanged between the blood and the cells. The capillary system is massive; if it were spread out, it would cover at least one entire football field.2

After the blood exits the capillaries, it enters the smallest venules in its trip back to the heart. From the small venules, it goes to the progressively larger veins and then finally into the largest veins like the inferior and superior vena cava that bring all of the blood from the body back to the heart and lungs. The purpose of this circulation is to bring oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the cells where it is needed and then bring the oxygen-poor, nutrient-poor blood back to the heart and lungs so that it can be replenished.”

Is the Heart A Pump?

Researchers who have examined the relative velocity of the blood at various stages of circulation3 have found that the blood moves the fastest in the large arteries and veins, where there are fewer channels. And that the blood flows the slowest in the capillaries, because there is so many of them. I like to think of them as being similar to how water moves in rivers vs streams. Here is the amazing part the blood actually stops moving in the capillaries, yes you read that right your blood comes to a complete stand still. This is necessary in order to efficiently exchange gases, nutrients, and waste products. After the blood has come to a stop, it oscillates (moves back and forth) slightly, and then begins to flow again.  If the blood stops moving at the midpoint of its journey through the blood vessels, to only then start moving again, what is the force that drives this movement? Is it possible that this force is the “pumping” of the heart? Dr. Cowan does not think this would be possible (and I agree) for the amount of force needed to get the blood flowing again, after stopping at the midpoint of circulation and needing to fight gravity to return to the heart, would have to be immense.

Our Hearts Are Strong, But Not Strong Enough (to Be A Pump)

An article, by the Rodulf Steiner Research Center, published in the 1995 issue of “Frontier Perspectives.” Which is the journal of the Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA states:4

“The heart, an organ weighing about three hundred grams, is supposed to `pump’ some eight thousand liters of blood per day at rest and much more during activity, without fatigue.  In terms of mechanical work this represents the lifting of approximately 100 pounds one mile high!  In terms of capillary flow,  the heart  is performing an even more prodigious task of `forcing’ the blood with a viscosity five times greater than that of water through millions of capillaries with diameters often smaller than the red blood cells themselves! Clearly, such claims go beyond reason and imagination.”Our hearts simply cannot contract that forcefully.

Questioning How Our Blood Circulates

Another couple questions, we could ask, that could provide a possible answer to how the blood circulates could be. Wouldn’t there have to be some pump located in the capillaries propelling blood forward and upward? Or, is there some “vital force” located in the capillaries that does this pumping. These are both legitimate questions, but one thing is clear (in my opinion): If the blood has stopped moving inside the capillaries, then any force generated by the heart would not be sufficient and thus it must arise in the capillaries. This is just a piece of the puzzle in understanding why the theory behind why the heart is not a pump and if it is not a pump what does the heart act as?




Red Meat Has No Link To Cancer And Reports Which Suggest So Are ‘Weak’

There is little evidence of health consequences of red meat and people should continue their consumption, according to new research.

Red meat has no link to cancer and reports which suggest so are ‘weak’, experts say

Experts at Dalhousie University and McMaster University, Canada, which highlighted the work of previous findings and its link to adverse risk to health, said the recommendations to cut red meat in the diet were weak and based on low-certainty evidence.

The panel said there was no ‘statistically significant or important association’ in the risk of heart disease, cancer or diabetes for those that consumed less red or processed meat.

As an example, the report showed that if 1,000 people cut out three portions of red or processed meat every week for a lifetime, there would be seven fewer deaths from cancer.

Its work chose to exclusively focus on health outcomes because environmental and animal welfare concerns were ‘very different issues that are challenging to integrate with health concerns’.

Researcher and associate professor Bradley Johnston told the national press: “Based on the research, we cannot say with any certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease.”

It said participants enjoyed eating meat, considered it an essential component of a healthy diet, and tended to be unwilling to change their meat consumption.

AHDB head of meat marketing Liam Byrne said it was heartening to see the ‘positive report’ welcomed by academics as being robust, as previous advice to cut out red meat was ‘based on assumptions’ rather than scientific research.


He said: “This is a shot in the arm for our producers, processors and butchers who have been besieged by negativity around red meat for so long, based on half-truths and ill-informed opinion.

“The study shows evidence suggesting red meat can have an adverse effect on health is weak, at best, and certainly not strong enough to confidently suggest lifestyle changes for those perceived to eat more than the recommended weekly amount of 500g.

“Sadly, we continue to see those with an alternative agenda crying foul and expressing public outrage at this report.”

The National Sheep Association (NSA) added it was ‘not surprised’ to see a new report showing there was no significant link between red meat and cancer.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “This report shows the correlation linking red meat consumption and cancer is limited and shows the evidence is inadequate to support calls for reduced consumption.”

Source: Article by Lauren Dean (


Nine Year Study Finally Explains The Relationship Between Sugar And Cancer

Every cell in the body needs sugar to survive. But cancer cells seem to require more than healthy cells do. They also seem to break sugar down faster. Cancer’s mechanism of quickly and efficiently metabolizing sugar is known as the Warburg effect.

In fact, we’ve know about the Warburg since the 1920’s when Otto Warburg and colleagues observed tumors taking up enormous amounts of glucose compared to what was seen in the surrounding tissue. Additionally, glucose was fermented to produce lactate even in the presence of oxygen, thus the term aerobic glycolysis.

It’s also recently been discovered that the sugar industry buried evidence of links between sugar and cancer and sugar and heart disease for over 50 years.

Scientists have long pondered whether this phenomenon is related to how aggressively tumors grow and how cancer cells ferment sugar rather than using the normal mechanisms that cells use to produce energy. It is this fermentation process that has now been positively linked to continually encouraging tumor growth.

According to one of the researchers, Prof. Johan Thevelein:

“Our research reveals how the hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth. Thus, it is able to explain the correlation between the strength of the Warburg effect and tumor aggressiveness. 

This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences. Our results provide a foundation for future research in this domain, which can now be performed with a much more precise and relevant focus.”

These findings are very exciting in terms of the future of cancer research. What does this mean for us now? It also suggests that diet can also play a strong role in slowing and stopping cancer and that we can take more control over our own cancer treatment and prevention.



The Underlying Causes Of Disease

We found a 5-part series which discusses the underlying causes of disease, put up by the Centre for Holistic Healthcare & Education Inc.

This series is useful to understanding more about how our body works, and how disease comes about.

  1. Toxicity
  2. Genetics, Epigenetics, & The Biology Of Belief
  3. Diet & Hidden Food Sensitivies
  4. The Microbiome
  5. Stress & The Biology Of Emotions

Source: Articles by Shawn M Persaud (


Keto Egg And Cheese Chaffle

You’ll want to save this 2 Ingredient Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle recipe to make Again and Again!! The Egg and Cheese Waffle is the latest Craze in the Keto World for a Reason. They’re really Easy to Make and are so Tasty. The Best Part is they Only have 1.6 g of Carbs per Waffle!

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle


A Chaffle is a Low Carb Waffle made with only 2 ingredients… Eggs and Cheese!  They can be made with any Type of Grated Cheese and can be made in many different Flavours. My Family Loves Sweet Cinnamon Sugar Chaffles, which uses Mozzarella and a bit of Cinnamon and Stevia. We also quite often make Pizza and Tuna Melt Chaffles too.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle


To Make a Chaffle you start by preheating  your waffle maker. Then in a small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the shredded cheese and mix until well combined. Pour the chaffle batter into 2 ungreased  waffle maker spots. Cook for approx. 6 – 8 minutes. or until golden brown.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle


The best part about the Chaffle is definitely how versatile they are. There’s so many things you can do with them. We like to use the batter to make carnivore pancakes, which my husband Loves! I often use them to make Chaffle Sandwiches. We’re always surprised at how bread like they are. Listed below are a few things we’ve made with the Chaffle batter. What Kind of Chaffles have you made? Let us know in the comments below.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle

Chaffle Sandwiches – From Steak Sammies to BLT’s…There’s no limit to the different types of sandwiches that can be made with these delicious chaffles!

Chaffle Tuna Melts – Use the chaffle as a base for the tuna melt. Mix the tuna with mayo, spread the tuna over the chaffle then cover with cheese. Melt in the oven until cheese is melted.

Cinnamon Sugar – Use mozzarella for sweet chaffles and add in a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and a 1/2 a tsp of sweetener to the batter before cooking.

Pizza Chaffles – Mix in 1 Tbsp low carb tomato sauce and 2 tbsp of diced pepperoni or you can use the chaffle as a base and put your pizza toppings on top.

Peanut Butter Chaffles – Use mozzarella cheese and add sweetener and 2 tbsp of peanut butter.

Chocolate Chaffles – Use mozzarella cheese and add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, 2 tbsp of almond flour and a little sweetener.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle


If you haven’t heard of The ketogenic diet (often called keto), it’s a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares similarities to paleo, Whole30, and Atkins. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. When in ketosis, your body switches to burning fat for its primary fuel source.

On Keto, you’re supposed to get at least 70 percent of your calories from Fat, 15 to 25 percent from Protein, and 10 percent from Carbohydrates. You should avoid all grains, legumes, root vegetables, fruit, (except berries) and sugar.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle


Have You Tried Egg and Cheese Waffle Aka “The Chaffle” Yet? If not…You really should give them a try. They’re so quick and easy to throw together, they taste Amazing and they’re naturally Gluten free, Keto and Carnivore!

If you love Low Carb Appetizers, then you’ll want to try out These 6 Ingredient Gluten Free and Keto Buffalo Chicken Taquitos. They’re an Incredibly Easy to Make Cheese Shelled Taquito That Tastes Amazing.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle

“You’ll want to save this 2 Ingredient Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle recipe to make Again and Again!! The Egg and Cheese Waffle is the latest Craze in the Keto World for a Reason. They’re really easy to make and are so tasty. The best part is they only have 1.6 g of Carbs per Waffle!”


2 Eggs

1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)


1. Preheat your waffle maker. Then in a small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the shredded cheese and mix until well combined.

2. Pour the chaffle batter into 2 ungreased  waffle maker spots. Cook for approx. 6 – 8 minutes. or until golden brown.

This recipe makes 2 regular sized Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffles or 4 mini Chaffles.

Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle


– This recipe can be made with any type of grated cheese. Typically mozzarella is used for the sweeter ones and cheddar is used when a little more flavour is desired.

– If using an older waffle iron, you may want to grease your iron a small amount before adding the batter.

– Let the Chaffles cool completely before freezing or storing in fridge.

– Reheat @ 400 F in the oven, toaster oven, air fryer or a skillet


1 Batch of Keto Egg and Cheese Chaffle = 2 Servings / 2 Chaffles

Each Serving or 1 Chaffle =

240 Calories | 17.3 g Fat | 1.6 g Carbs | 0 g Fibre | 18.7 g Protein



Grass Fed Vs Grain Fed – 10 Things You Need To Consider

Grass-fed vs. grain-fed – the answer is not as straightforward as it seems. But it can have big implications for your health… … and your wallet. 

There are tradeoffs and many factors to consider when making a decision, and there are pros and cons to both varieties.

It all comes down to one question: does it matter what our food is eating? 

Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef: What is the Difference?

Blood glucose and insulin

Grass-fed. Grass-finished. Grain-fed. Pasture-raised. Organic. Meat eaters have been hit with a deluge of new terms and very few resources to make sense of them all.

It’s cryptic. It’s sometimes even deceitful.

Well, I’m here to help you cut through the noise. Which beef is better? You’d think that the answer would be crystal clear, but it’s not. There are a number of factors to consider when determining what beef to buy. 

A lot of the confusion starts with a regulation controversy in 2016. Call it Steak-Gate. 

2016 Regulation Controversy

In 2016, the agricultural marketing service (AMS) withdrew its beef standards, leading some people to believe that the USDA no longer cared to regulate beef. Fret not – I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. 

Unlike use of the term “organic”, there’s no rigorous certification process required to use the term “grass-fed.” However, beef producers still need to apply to the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) if they want to label their beef grass-fed. This requires robust documentation to certify that the beef is actually grass-fed. 

This begs the question: what is the actual difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

Cow’s Early Life

All cows essentially start off eating the same things. After birth, calves drink their mother’s milk. Lest we forget, cow’s milk was originally made for cows… not humans. 

Insulin blocks fat burning

The mother’s first milk, or colostrum, gives young cows the nutrition they need and strengthens their immune systems. Calves that don’t feed from their mother are fed a milk replacement — think of this like Gerber’s for cows [*].

After the first few months of feeding, the majority of calves are allowed to forage on local ruffage. Both grass- and grain-fed cows feed on the shrubs around their birthplace, so early life for grass- and grain-fed cows is nearly identical. 

The difference starts when cows are 1 year old.


What it means: the cow is fed grain at some point in its life. 

Grain-fed cows are fed by their mothers and remain off the pasture until they reach 650-750 pounds.

At this point, they’re moved to a feedlot. This is where they transition to a diet of concentrated feed. Concentrated feed can mean a number of things, but it typically includes grain, corn, soy and other cereals.

There, young cows spend 3 to 4 months eating this fattening diet until they grow to over 1200 pounds. Farmers try to fatten cows up to increase meat yield as well as the intramuscular marbling that so many customers desire. Think of this stage like McDonald’s for cows.

The best way to achieve results, unfortunately, is not always by creating the best environment for cows. Some feedlots are brutal: cows are often kept in uncomfortably close quarters and fed unnatural diets. Because they are not eating a natural diet, they are prone to illness and must be fed antibiotics to keep them alive. Honestly, it sounds a lot like the US population. 

However, with that being said, there are some grain-fed farms with much better living conditions. Consumers should not just assume that grain-fed means terrible. 


What it means: the cow is fed 100% grass for its entire life.  

Grass-fed cows, on the other hand, continue to forage on pasture for their entire lives. 

Providers hoping to use the “grass-fed” label need to document the agricultural processes they use and provide evidence that the cow has been fed 100% grass for its whole life. 

After the AMS backed out from certifying grass-fed beef in 2016, the USDA no longer inspects beef facilities in person. Instead, they require four signed documents to verify the grass-fed diet. This has prompted some skepticism that farmers are indeed following the best practices, but given that the FSIS requires signed affidavits, I personally trust the USDA certification.

Standard american diet causes weight gain

There is some public confusion surrounding the difference between the terms “grass-fed” and “grass-finished.” Many people are under the impression that “grass-fed” can apply to cows that are fed grass in their early life but grains at the end. 

However, according to the USDA, beef that earns the official grass-fed label must come from cows that are 100% grass-fed throughout their lives. The USDA also allows for partial grass-fed claims, i.e. an “80% grass-fed” label. However, if you see 100% grass-fed or just grass-fed, you can trust that the cow was fed a more natural diet for its entire life. 

The below is directly from the USDA. Now, I know some of us here don’t trust the government much. But in this department, the distrust may be going a bit far.

Insulin resistance is related to all chronic disease

If farms want to take an extra step beyond the USDA guidelines, they can pay an independent third party such as American Grass Fed to review their claims. 

Whereas grain-fed cattle go to market after approximately 15 months of life, grass-fed cattle take longer to reach maturity and typically go to market after 20-24 months. This means that raising grass-fed cattle requires more time and investment [*]

However, keep in mind that grass-fed does not mean the same thing as organic. 


What it means: the organic designation is more about what the cow doesn’t do than what it does.

“Organic” means that the cow was raised on certified organic land without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMOs. The animals must also have year-round outdoor access and be fed a diet free of hormones or antibiotics. 

Organic cows are much healthier, but it’s possible for a cow to be grass-fed and not organic or vice versa. This is a special label you need to look out for. 

Meat cannot be marketed as organic unless it’s certified by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. 

10 Factors You Need to Consider When Choose Grass Fed vs Grain Fed Beef

Low insulin speeds up metabolism

Now that we’ve cut through some of the noise around these terms, which meat should you choose? 

The answer is not so straightforward.

When it comes to a diet high in animal sourced-products, such as a carnivorous or ketogenic diet, the answer is even more nuanced. 

#1 Ethical 

From a moral perspective, the answer is clear. Cows living in their natural circumstances and eating their natural diets are much happier and healthier. 

They are allowed to roam freely, exercise more, and eat the foods they were made to eat. 

Living on a well-managed farm is key. Technically, a cow can be grass-fed and still live in a feedlot. That’s why I look for grass-fed organic beef from cows raised on well-managed farms that I trust. 

Verdict: Grass-fed organic

#2 Cost

Grass-fed and organic beef tend to cost much more, namely because they take up more space and live longer. Picture adult kids still living rent-free with Mom and Dad –  these cows cost a lot more to their farmers. 

It’s possible to find grass-fed beef that’s fairly close to grain-fed in price — especially if you buy in bulk — but on average it will cost anywhere from 50% to 100% more. 

Fructose causes insulin resistance

Verdict: Grain-Fed

#3 Taste

What the cow eats changes the meat’s taste in a number of ways. Diet influences the flavor and biochemical richness of foods. 

Laboratory analyses can distinguish between a number of compounds in the flavor profile of beef based on what the cow eats. For instance, tannins in a cow’s diet can change the meat’s flavor by reducing bacteria that produces “off flavors”. 

Some studies show adding garlic or essential oils from juniper, rosemary, or clove to the diets of lambs and calves improves the flavor of their meat [*].

When it comes to tenderness, grain-fed is the winner. The longer that cattle eat grain, the more tender their meat becomes [*] [*].

The same is true when it comes to fat. One of the goals of grain-fed production is to fatten cows, so grain-fed cows tend to offer much more marbling and fat. 

Unfortunately for us, health doesn’t equate to taste. A healthy cow is not exploding with fat, just like a healthy human. Nonetheless, fat does improve the flavor profile.For cows, at least – can’t vouch for humans here.

When it comes to eating the fat of the animal directly, my opinion is that grass-fed fat itself tastes much better. Frankly, it’s like comparing dessert to cardboard. 

That said, most Americans are raised on grain-fed beef. In taste panels, grain-fed beef tends to come out victorious [*].

So if you’re choosing a ribeye just for taste, grain-fed most likely wins. With that being said, there are some people who think grass-fed tastes much better. 

Verdict: Grain-fed 

#4 Vitamins and Minerals

You are what you eat. The same holds true for cows: what they eat changes their nutrition profile. 

Ruminants are magical creatures in that they can ferment cellulose,a substance that’s indigestible to humans. They are the world’s greatest machine, taking in garbage and turning it into ribeye. How cool is that? 

The rumen, or the cow’s first of several stomachs, extracts nutrition from the grass that they can use. Not only are they creating a new form of energy for themselves, but for humans too.It also increases the bioavailability of minerals it extracts from the soil. 

Vegetable antinutrients cause insulin resistance

The verdict is clear: the closer a ruminant’s diet to its natural diet,  the more it forages on a nutrient-rich environment — the more nutrients it will have. 

However – and this is a big however – the differences are much smaller than people make them out to be. 

Let’s briefly discuss.

Studies show that grass-fed beef tends to contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin K2 than grain-fed beef. However, the levels of these vitamins in both forms of beef pale in comparison to those of other animal proteins. Liver, for instance, has 275 times more Vitamin A than steak. Grass-fed fats like suet and tallow are superior sources of vitamin E, while liver and ghee can provide more K12.

Takeaway: red meat, regardless of feeding regimen, is highly nutrient dense. Grass-fed fat is higher in nutrient concentration, but grain-fed beef tends to have more fat. Since fat stores many of these nutrients, this may even things out. 

Therefore, grass-fed beef likely has a better general nutrition profile – but as I’ll describe below, if you’re eating other nutritious foods, it doesn’t matter. 

Verdict: Doesn’t matter for muscle meat and beef. Grass fed organs and fats have more nutrients.

#5 Antibiotics

To increase their size and improve flavor, grain-fed cows are fattened up beyond what’s natural or healthy for a living thing. After all, if they were fed like normal animals, they’d only grow to a normal size. Better for the cow, less ideal for the rancher’s wallet.

When you feed cows an unnatural diet, it raises the acidity of their rumen. Combine that with insufficient exercise and tight, sometimes unsanitary living quarters – not exactly the picture of perfect health. The cows get sick and farmers have to ply them with antibiotics  [*]. 

Some sources suggest over 70% of the antibiotics in the US are given to animals. In fact, over 30 million pounds of antibiotics were given to American livestock in 2011.

The question is, do these antibiotics hang around? 

It is against the law to sell meat containing antibiotics. In fact, less than 0.5% of all meat tested in 2018 contained detectable antibiotic levels. If antibiotics are detected, the meat is discarded.

When an animal is treated with antibiotics, there are strict federal guidelines regulating how long providers must wait before selling the animal’s meat. 

All in all, do not fear antibiotics in your meat, regardless of whether it’s grain-fed, organic or grass-fed. 

Verdict: Don’t worry about antibiotics

#6 Hormones

Okay, so we’re safe from our cows’ antibiotics. But what about hormones? Farmers often use hormones to make cows grow larger and faster, and technically both grain-fed and grass-fed cows can be fed hormones. 

However, grain-fed cows tend to contain more. The good news is, unlike kale, ruminants are actually able to expel a substantial amount of these hormones. Ruminants are like athletes who dodge everything you throw at them. Kale is like the worst dodgeball player on the team. 

Compared to other foods in your diet, beef contains relatively low hormone levels. 

This study below showed that if hormones are present at all, they tend to concentrate in the fat [*].

If you’re worried about hormones in your food, stick to grass-fed fats. But don’t fret the meat. 

Verdict: Lean, grain-fed beef is most likely not an issue. Opt for grass-fed, organic fats. 

#7 Pesticides

One of the most damaging substances in the human diet is the pesticides often hiding in our plant foods. Two pesticides are major concerns: glyphosate and atrazine.

Both grass-fed and grain-fed cows may consume these pesticides. Glyphosate is linked to cancer. Atrazine, which is sprayed on corn feed, can induce chemical castration in frogs. While this doesn’t necessarily suggest the same results for humans, I don’t see people lining up to volunteer to find out.

Here is where ruminants shine – unlike something like kale, which has no choice but to drown in the pesticides it’s exposed to, the ruminant digestion system can expel glyphosate. According to this study, there is no evidence that the glyphosate cows consume bioaccumulates in the cow’s meat [*].

Unfortunately, there are no credible studies regarding atrazine. However, given the fact that it’s fat soluble, it shouldn’t be a concern with lean meat. 

Verdict: Lean, grain-fed beef is most likely not an issue. Opt for grass-fed, organic fats. 

#8 Omega-3 vs. Omega-6 Ratios

“You should eat grass-fed beef because it’s higher in omega-3s.” I hear this all the time.

But from an omega-3/omega-6 perspective, it’s not necessary. Grass-fed beef is indeed higher in omega-3s, but the absolute differences are miniscule. If you’re really concerned about omega-3s, you shouldn’t be getting them from beef anyway. You need salmon roe, bone marrow and fish instead.  

Omega-6s are higher in beef too, but the absolute numbers are again miniscule, especially compared to other foods in most people’s diets. 

The omega-6 quantity in beef is dwarfed by the amount in the other foods in most people’s diets. By cutting out foods like tofu, walnuts and soybean oil, your omega-3/omega-6 ratio will be better than 99% of the population.

Verdict: Doesn’t matter. Your choice.

#9 CLA

Conjugated linoleic acid is another way ruminants rule. 

Ruminants take the unstable fatty linoleic acids from plant foods and are able to transform them into CLA. This is nature’s magic. Ruminant fats are one of the richest sources of CLA.

CLA has a number of benefits:

  • The CLA in beef tallow may protect against metastatic breast tumors. Relatively low levels of CLA are required for mice to experience these benefits. In this study, mammary tumor growth was suppressed when researchers replaced vegetable fat with beef tallow.
  • Additionally, studies in rats have shown that a 10% beef tallow diet suppresses colon cancer [*]
  • Weight loss
  • Insulin sensitivity

There is more CLA in grass-fed beef fat than grain-fed beef, but it’s concentrated in the fat once again. Therefore, especially for lean beef, this doesn’t matter. 

Verdict: Grain-fed muscle meat is fine. Eat grass-fed fats for CLA.

#10 Environment

No tease here… There’s a clear winner, and it’s grass-fed. 

Properly raised cows not only have minimal negative effect on the environment, but they can actually improve it. Cattle that roam and graze freely can increase the carbon-carrying capacity of the soil by restoring critical nutrients to depleted soil. Whereas monoculture crops (including corn and soybeans grown to feed grain-fed cattle) destroy topsoil and increase greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, holistically grazed cattle can actually help soil sequester more carbon, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. 

That’s right – eating the right beef can actually help reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

Show me fake meat that can do that. 

In this regard, responsible ruminant agriculture is pivotal for the future of the human race.

Verdict: Grass-fed

My Verdict: How I Do It

Beef is just one part of the carnivore food pyramid. If you’re eating a properly formulated carnivore diet, your choice of grass-fed or grain-fed beef matters much less from a health perspective. 


Most nutrients that are higher in grass-fed beef are stored in the fat. If any toxins bioaccumulate, they do in the fat too. So when it comes to muscle meat, the contents are extremely similar. 

However,, when consuming direct fat (like bone marrow or beef tallow) and beef liver, you should eat grass-fed.

Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat-soluble and thus are largely stored in the fat of the animal. 

Grass-fed fats are higher in CLA, saturated fat and omega-3s. Grass-fed beef tallow is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. 

Additionally, Vitamin A retinol is converted from the carotenoids in plant matter, but most of it is stored in the liver, not the muscle meat. Therefore, to ensure adequate vitamin A retinol levels, I recommend eating grass-fed beef liver.

All in all, here’s my recommendation: buy what you can afford. 

If you can afford buying grass-fed versions of everything, do it. Support a local farmer. Help the environment. Vote with your dollars to help ensure cows are raised humanely.

But if you can’t, do not worry about it. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Ruminants are magical creatures, and grain-fed beef is one of the healthiest foods in the world. 

However, if you stick to grain-fed beef, I advise you to still opt for grass-fed fats and organ meats. 

Where to Buy Grass-Fed Beef?

So you want to pony up the money for grass-fed? Where should you go? 

Because of the spike in interest, there is now a wide variety of places to buy grass-fed ruminant products.

Your local grocery store should have grass-fed beef, but you can also go to online retailers such as US Wellness Meats, Slankers and White Oak Pastures.

Additionally, you can use the site to source meat directly from a local farmer.


Hopefully, I’ve helped crack the cryptic code around grass-fed and grain-fed beef.



The Brain Needs Animal Fat

Source: nexusplexus / 123RF Stock Photo

When you think of animal fat, what comes to mind? Unsightly blobs of cellulite? Artery-clogging strips of gristle to be trimmed off your steak and tossed into the trash? Or a sophisticated substance that contains within it the secret to human intelligence?

Fun facts about fat

We think of fat as bad—the less of it we eat, and the less of it we carry on our bodies, the better—but this isn’t the right way to think about it. Fat is not just for insulation and energy storage, it’s also for nutrient absorption, cell signaling, immune function, and many other critical processes. Many people think the main difference between plant and animal fats is that animal-sourced foods contain more saturated fat, but here are a few fun, fatty facts that may surprise you:

  • All whole plant and animal foods naturally contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • Some plant foods are higher in saturated fat than animal foods, with coconut oil topping the charts at 90 percent saturated fat. That’s more than twice the saturated fat found in beef fat (tallow).
  • The primary type of fat found in pork is a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) called oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil.

For decades now, we’ve been told to avoid saturated fats—particularly those from animal foods—and to consume “heart-healthy,” cholesterol-free fats from plant foods such as seeds, nuts, and olives. Public health officials say these plant fats are important because they contain two essential PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that the human body can’t manufacture: 

  • The essential dietary omega-3 PUFA is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA for short)
  • The essential dietary omega-6 PUFA is called linoleic acid (LA for short)

What often goes unsaid is that both ALA and LA are found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods, so it is rather easy to obtain both of these PUFAs regardless of your dietary preferences, so long as you include enough fat in your diet.

But here’s the rub: Our bodies really aren’t looking for ALA and LA; they’re looking for something better. ALA and LA are considered “parent” omegas, because they are used to manufacture the omegas we actually need: EPA, DHA, and ARA—none of which exist in plant foods.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 PUFA that serves primarily anti-inflammatory and healing functions. 

ARA (arachidonic acid) is an omega-6 often thought of as a “bad” fatty acid, because it promotes inflammation and is only found in animal foods (and algae). Yet ARA shoulders countless other responsibilities, and even promotes healing. Arachidonic acid recently stepped into my office for a long-overdue therapy session [links to my Psychology Today post entitled Do You Have Arachiphobia?, which takes you inside the tortured mind of this beneficial molecule and explains why there’s no need to fear consuming it. article continues after advertisement

But what about DHA? So glad you asked…

Introducing DHA

Our brains are extremely rich in fat. About two-thirds of the human brain is fat, and a full 20 percent of that fat is a very special omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA.

DHA is an ancient molecule so useful to us and our fellow vertebrates (creatures with backbones) that it has remained unchanged for more than 500 million years of evolution. What makes this particular PUFA so irreplaceable?

DHA’s job description is a lengthy one. Among many other functions, DHA participates in the formation of myelin, the white matter that insulates our brain circuits. It also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which keeps the brain safe from unwanted outside influences.

Perhaps most importantly, DHA is critical to the development of the human cortex—the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking. Without DHA, the highly sophisticated connections necessary for sustained attentiondecision-making, and complex problem-solving do not form properly. It has been hypothesized that without DHA, consciousness and symbolic thinking—hallmarks of the human race—would be impossible.

     DHA plays a “unique and indispensable role” in the “neural signaling essential for higher intelligence.” —Simon Dyall PhD, Lipid Research Scientist Bournemouth University, UKarticle continues after advertisement

Professor Michael Crawford, a pioneering British scientist who has been studying essential fatty acids for 50 years, theorizes that DHA’s special configuration lends it unique quantum mechanical properties that allow it to buffer electron flow. This may explain why we find it in places throughout the brain and body where electricity is important: synapses where brain cell signaling takes place; mitochondria, where the electron transport chain is busy turning food into stored energy; and the retina of the eye, where photons of sunlight are transformed into electrical information. 

This is a truly miraculous molecule. Plants don’t have it, because plants don’t need it.

Baby, have we got a molecule for you…

The most rapid phase of development of the infant cortex takes place between the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy and age 2. If enough DHA isn’t available to the baby during this critical 27-month window, it is unclear whether the consequences can be completely undone. In fact we do see lower levels of DHA in people diagnosed with psychiatricdisorders, including those which manifest early in life, such as autisticspectrum disorders and ADHD.

     “Similar to children and adolescents born preterm, patients with ADHD, mood disorders, and psychotic disorders also exhibit decreased frontal white matter tract integrity and reduced functional connectivity within cortical networks. Together these findings support the hypothesis that perinatal deficits in DHA accrual may contribute to diminished cortical circuit development observed in major psychiatric disorders.” [McNamara RK 2015]article continues after advertisement

Plant foods contain absolutely no DHA

For those who choose vegan diets, it is important to know that plant foods contain no DHA. The omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods like flax, walnut, and chia is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Unfortunately, it appears to be rather difficult for the adult human body to make DHA out of ALA, with most studies finding a conversion rate of less than 10 percent:

 Georgia Ede
Source: Georgia Ede

Note that quite a few studies find a conversion rate of 0 percent

Whether this pathway can generate adequate amounts of DHA in all adults under all circumstances continues to be a topic of debate. Some scientists have advocated that DHA, rather than ALA, should be officially considered the essential omega-3 fatty acid. Even vocal advocates of plant-based diets, such as the authors of the recent EAT-Lancet report, acknowledge that it is unclear how much ALA one needs to consume to fulfill DHA requirements.

Indeed, it appears that the fewer animal foods we eat, the lower our DHA levels tend to be:article continues after advertisement

 Georgia Ede
Source: Georgia Ede

However, when it comes to children younger than 2 years old, the science is clear that this conversion pathway cannot and should not be relied upon to keep pace with the DHA demands of the rapidly growing body and brain. Therefore, most experts agree that caretakers should provide infants and very young children with dietary or supplemental sources of DHA, as ALA alone is not sufficient to support healthy infant development.

DHA status and intake recommendations are based on blood levels, not brain levels. Unfortunately there is no way to measure brain DHA levels in living human beings, and it’s unclear whether blood levels reflect brain levels.

Bearing this in mind, it has been estimated that as many as 80 percent of Americans have suboptimal blood levels of DHA.

DHA: Don’t leave home without it

Include animal-sourced foods in your diet if you can

The USDA has not established specific DHA intake targets for the general population; instead it recommends everyone consume at least eight ounces of seafood per week. The easiest way to obtain DHA is to include some fatty fish in your diet, but as you can see from the table below, there are other options.   

Data from USDA National Nutrient Database 2016.
Source: Data from USDA National Nutrient Database 2016.

Minimize consumption of vegetable oils

Nearly all processed foods, prepared hot foods, packaged snacks, and convenience foods are made with refined vegetable oils, such as soybean or sunflower oil. Most vegetable oils are extremely, unnaturally high in LA (linoleic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid that reduces the production and effectiveness of DHA within your body. Excess linoleic acid can tilt your immune system too far towards inflammation and away from healing, so there are many reasons to minimize your consumption of vegetable oils. Your best plant oil choices are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or red palm oil. If you must include refined vegetable oil, canola oil and palm kernel oil are low in linoleic acid. Lowering your vegetable oil intake can increase the availability of DHA in your body, decreasing your need for dietary and/or supplemental DHA. The presence of high amounts of linoleic acid in the typical modern diet may help to explain why so many people appear to have low DHA levels despite the fact that most people do include animal foods in their diet already.

If you choose a plant-based diet, supplement properly

Thankfully, vegetarian and vegan-friendly DHA supplements extracted from algae are available. [Algae are neither plants nor animals . . . discuss!] These supplements are more expensive and contain lower concentrations of DHA than fish or krill oil supplements (meaning higher doses are recommended), but may be important for maintaining healthy DHA levels, particularly in mothers and babies during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Directly consuming seaweed and other forms of edible algae instead of taking algae oil extracts is unreliable, because it’s unclear whether the DHA within these fibrous foods can be released and absorbed by the human body; in other words, the DHA in edible algae may not be bioavailable. All baby formula in the U.S. is supplemented with DHA already, in an effort to mirror human mother’s milk, which naturally contains DHA. If weaning your child before age 2, be sure to include DHA in your child’s diet as food or supplements.

If you have psychiatric symptoms, consider supplementation

There have been numerous clinical trials of omega-3 supplements in the management of psychiatric disorders. You may be surprised to hear that most of these studies have generated only weak or mixed results. There are many possible reasons for this, not the least of which may be that the amount of linoleic acid in the diet was not taken into consideration. In other words, taking a decent dose of omega-3s without also lowering your linoleic acid consumption (by avoiding vegetable oils) may not be very helpful. However, supplementation is widely viewed as safe, and some studies noted modest benefits at doses of (combined EPA+DHA) of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day, particularly for people with depression

Unanswered questions

I titled this post “The Brain Needs Animal Fat,” because although DHA does exist in algae, algae are not plants, and we don’t know if we can access the DHA within edible algae without special extraction methods. Prior to the manufacturing of algae-derived supplements (which only became available recently), the only pre-formed DHA naturally bioavailable to everyone would have come from animal foods. For those who choose a vegan diet, I fully support and recommend algae-based supplements. 

It is difficult to be sure precisely how much DHA we need, and both conversion rates and availability can vary significantly depending on age, gendergenetics, and dietary composition.

There are many questions left unanswered that go beyond the scope of this post and may deserve a follow-up post. For example, if most land animals are extremely low in DHA, does that mean everyone needs to eat seafood? Are wild land animal foods higher in DHA than standard land animal foods we find in the grocery store? How do adults choosing plant-based diets know whether they can rely on their ALA conversion pathway? Could eliminating processed foods and vegetable oils completely eliminate the apparent requirement for animal-sourced DHA (or algae oil supplementation)? Does eating a low-carbohydrate diet affect the conversion rate from ALA to DHA? Should you get tested for omega-3 deficiencies, and if so, how? Are there any disadvantages to obtaining DHA from supplements as opposed to obtaining them from animal foods?

The bottom line about DHA

Until next time, minimizing refined vegetable oils and other processed foods, and either including some animal foods in the diet or supplementing appropriately, seem to be reasonable options that likely minimize our risk. 

One thing is clear. DHA is a wondrous fatty acid that the human body cannot function without, and it deserves our admiration and respect. While it is important for all of us, when it comes to building the brains of the future, it is precious and irreplaceable.

Source: Article by Georgia Ede, MD (


Why Does Inflammation Seem To Underlie All Sickness?

It’s a culprit in diseases ranging from arthritis to depression

Illustration: Kieran Blakey

Writing in 1889, the Swiss pathologist Ernst Ziegler observed that“a brief and precise definition of inflammation is altogether impossible.” Even back then, experts like Ziegler recognized that inflammation manifests in different ways, and that its activity can be both helpful and harmful.

Doctors today have a better understanding of inflammation and its role in illness. But their best attempts to define inflammation still lack the precision Ziegler found elusive more than a century ago.

According to the authors of a 2015 British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) study, inflammation is the immune system’s primary weapon in the “elimination of toxic agents and the repair of damaged tissues.” But when inflammation persists or switches on inappropriately, they write, it can act as a foe rather than a friend. Hardly a week goes by in which researchers fail to discover new links between inappropriate inflammation and a common disease or disorder.

Just last week, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study that found the brains of children with autism spectrum disorder contain an overabundance of inflammation-stimulating proteins. The presence of these proteins suggests a novel “connection” between inflammation and ASD, the authors of that study write. And it seems like, wherever doctors look, they find these sorts of connections. From Alzheimer’s and heart disease, to arthritis, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders, elevated or out-of-whack inflammation is a common thread that ties together these seemingly unrelated ailments. Likewise, research has linked overabundant inflammation to mental health conditions, including depression and bipolar disorder.

To understand how and why inflammation seems to underlie such disparate forms of human conditions, it’s important to recognize that the term “inflammation” refers to a vast array of biological processes. “Inflammation is a broad term for many different types of immune-related responses,” says Dr. Jason Ken Hou, an associate professor and director of inflammatory bowel disease research at Baylor College of Medicine. Basically, inflammation is the body’s response “to anything that’s bad,” he says.

From Alzheimer’s and heart disease to arthritis, cancer and gastrointestinal disorders, elevated or out-of-whack inflammation is a common thread that ties together these seemingly unrelated ailments.

One type of inflammation, Hou explains, is designed to battle harmful bacteria or parasites. “If there’s an infection or an invading virus or bacteria, the body generates inflammation that destroys the invading agents,” he says. Meanwhile, there’s another type of inflammation that signals the body is recovering from injury. When the body is wounded, inflammation floods the injured area with cells and “cell-derived components” that repair, replace, or dispose of damaged tissue, says Valter Longo, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California.

When a person’s immune system is working as it should, these and other forms of inflammation are transitory; they flare up in response to a legitimate threat or injury, and they settle down when that threat or injury has been addressed. But there are countless ways in which the immune system’s many inflammatory processes can go haywire.

In some cases, “inflammation that is normally designed to kill harmful viruses and bacteria can become misguided and start doing damage to healthy cells,” Longo explains. This form of inappropriate inflammation is present in people with autoimmune disorders such as Celiac disease and lupus, and there’s evidence that something similar may be going on in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, he says. Some inflammation may be normal. But too much of it for too long can still be harmful. This seems to be the case when it comes to persistent inflammation caused by chronic stress or injuries.

There’s evidence that imbalances in immune-system activity can lead to harmful or out-of-control forms of inflammation. Hou explains that one branch of the immune system deploys inflammation in an effort to protect the body from parasites, while a separate branch uses inflammation to attack harmful bacteria or microorganisms. “The body likes to balance these, so when one is turned on, the other is turned down or off,” he says.

But if one of these branches becomes over- or under-active, the resulting imbalance can cause problems. This sort of imbalance may help explain why rates of some autoimmune disorders have skyrocketed in recent years. “In modern western societies, we’ve almost totally reduced exposure to worms and parasitic infections, and so as that part of the immune system is not used, the other part may be becoming hyperactive,” he explains.

In one form or another, inflammation is the immune system’s go-to weapon against almost anything it perceives to be a threat to the human body or brain. When a person is free of disease, inflammation has done its job. But when problems arise, it makes sense that inflammation would somehow be implicated. Because inflammation is so closely tied to the immune system, any behavior outside the norm is bound to cause illness. For now scientists are still exploring the ways it changes the body, for better and for worse.

Source: Article by Markham Heid (