Bones & Fat

Back a month or so ago I posted about Jennifer McLagan's book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient.


I've been going through it and, well, it's just fabulous. It's really reminiscent of a sort of "tragedy" where it's the virtuous and the good who are vilified which, is bad enough in itself. But to add insult, this all comes at the injustice of elevating the completely fraudulent to undeserved lofty heights.

Now think about that. Here we have wonderful, nutritious foods with literally millions of years of evolutionary credentials, not to mention the visceral pleasure almost anyone in their right mind gets from eating them when handled and prepared properly. …And they get tossed aside by self-important minions — those arrogant and obstinate, but ultimately woefully ignorant.

And they have blood on their hands, as far as I'm concerned; and I'm never going to let anyone forget it. They have, through their arrogant ignorance and disregard for human evolution and its unassailable logic, condemned millions upon millions to moribund lives of physical unattractiveness, gross obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and the list goes on. And as we have seen the statistics get worse, year after year in the very face of their changing advice, do we ever get humility, or is it just more authoritarian arrogance? "You eat too much. You don't exercise enough. You haven't been listening to us and you're not properly following our diktats."

And the bulk of nutritionists are just as bad, or worse. Most of them are just shills, hawking the latest BS "advice" to eat more whole grains and less fat — especially animal fats. Can you guess why? Not to step on any sensitivities out there,Fat_mclagan
but it rather reminds me of the Christian foundational doctrine of Original Sin, the whole point of which is to pit man against his very nature so that he always — systemically — falls short of the mark. And guess who's coming to the "rescue?" See, failure is baked right into the cake. Virtually No one succeeds under the current dietary guidelines short of becoming the nutritional equivalent of a monk or a nun who practices his or her flagellation three times daily, to correspond to three squares.

They have relentlessly pursued an agenda — at the urging of huge producers of grain and vegetable oils, who unsurprisingly fund many of the "studies" — to vilify Real Food and supplant it with Frankenfood. And though grains have been around for 10,000 years, vegetable oils — of the sort that require solvents to extract — have only been around for maybe 100 years or so. Then, add to that the astronomical increase in the use of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup and the plethora of derivative crap in every conceivably packaged combination now being consumed by the American public, and increasingly the rest of the world.

And while obesity and diabetes skyrocket — now even in children — in the very face of the advice from these self-serving "authorities," many of whom get their paychecks out of your taxes, you are still being told to cut the fat.

Fat is king, folks. In terms of evolutionary logic, it has to be. Pound for pound, fat has more than twice the energy of either protein or carbohydrate, and thus, must have had to be treasured above all by our primitive ancestors. Next were the organs, and only then, the muscle meat. And, paradoxically, eating a high fat diet will tend to lean you out, and eating a high carbohydrate diet will tend to fatten you up. But what we see in the modern processed-food world is high carbs in the form of processed grains and processed sugars, often also fairly high in fat from heavily processed vegetable oils. And this is at the cost of protein, critical in the restoration and repair of lean tissue. The result? Everyone's getting fatter and fatter. The only good news there is that adding the weight increases lean mass too (so you can carry it), and generally keeps the bones strong. For some of the skinny people it's actually worse. Often, they have been losing lean mass while filling in the void with fat tissue. They are "skinny fat." Above all else, animal fat is what has made me so successful in losing fat and improving my blood work – my wife's too.

Well, this is going on and my original intent before I got going on the rant was to alert you to the fact that Jennifer McLagan, author of both wonderful books you see above, has a food blog. It's not "paleo," but it ain't really far off. And anyway, if I'm going to cheat now and then, I can't think of a better way to do it. Here's a suggestion if you've got an hour to kill. Check the right sidebar of her blog for the archives, and beginning with August when she began, click on each month in succession, which will scroll up all her posts for that month. Can't say I read each one, but I skimmed them all in the very least, and there's a lot of great stuff and a lot of great photos. Be sure to read her interesting bio. I liked this bit at the end:

Now based in Toronto. Jennifer survives life in the frozen north by escaping with her husband, as often as possible, to Paris. On either side of the Atlantic, she maintains a friendly relationship with her butchers, who put aside their best bones and fat for her.

Quit dying on crap, people. Live. Eat in luxury. Dump the notion that the eating of animals is the original sin of nutrition, which only serves to make you feel guilty and defeated each time you give in and so enjoy that grilled ribeye smothered in rich, sweet, garlicky butter. If you didn't feel guilty for so enjoying what's so natural, you could quickly replace all the crap with actual good food. Once you go through the withdrawals (and you will), you can emerge into a world where food is fun and makes you feel genuinely good. It'll make you look a lot better, too.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Monica on November 11, 2008 at 14:11


    I very much enjoyed this post as I sat here eating my lunch of uncured corned beef and chicken and pork liver pate. Thanks for keeping it real.

  2. phil on November 12, 2008 at 06:15

    Congratulations on all your success with losing weight and getting healthier. A few questions for you:
    Today's meat production does not even approximately resemble the meat ate by our ancestors. How do you choose what kind of meat to eat? And if everyone in the world switched to a mostly meat diet, what would be the adverse side effects?
    Personally, I am disgusted with our unnatural forms of meat production and have switched to a more plant based diet. I still eat plenty of meat (maybe once a day) and eat more fats than ever before, both animal and natural vegetable (which I consider pressed olive oil and coconut oil for now). I can't consider my own diet without thinking about the whole ecological system around me.
    I really appreciate the book advice, both look pretty interesting.

  3. phil on November 12, 2008 at 08:31

    PS – In order to provide some facts to the above discussion point, I would like to bring up this point for those concerned about anthropogenic climate change. "The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases is generated by livestock production, more than by transportation."

  4. threecollie on November 12, 2008 at 11:26

    Keep coming across your blog on BE. This post particularly caught my eye because I think that you and the author of the book are exactly right. Thanks for a good post.

  5. Patrik on November 12, 2008 at 13:39

    [Today's meat production does not even approximately resemble the meat ate by our ancestors. How do you choose what kind of meat to eat? And if everyone in the world switched to a mostly meat diet, what would be the adverse side effects?]


    I know your question is aimed at Richard, but I thought I would interject. While modern domesticated meat is different from/inferior to wild meats eaten by our ancestors, 'adverse side' effects of the world switching to a high-fat, meat based diet would include a massive reduction in diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and general dis-ease.

    Perhaps cancer too.

  6. Patrik on November 12, 2008 at 13:41

    Anthropogenic climate change is a hoax promoted by the neo-social nuts of the green religion.

  7. phil on November 12, 2008 at 14:44

    To all who responded, thanks for your opinions. I still think the prudent thing to do is to be concerned with climate change. But you can believe what you want.

    I'm also concerned that its not possible to feed 6 billion people with a high meat diet. It takes approximately 10 calories of plant matter to create 1 calorie of meat. This is why most environmentalists espouse eating lower on the food chain.

    I guess I am just worried that if everyone switched to a high meat diet that there would be many types of ecological destruction, not just climate change. Our agricultural system would have to expand many fold and deal with the consequences of animal husbandry.

    1 person changing may have positive effects on his/her life, but what happens if everyone changes? Remember, there are always unintended side effects of any decision.

  8. Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2008 at 14:50


    "I guess I am just worried that if everyone switched to a high meat diet…"

    That's a truly far-fetched thing to worry about, Phil. On the other hand, it's a question that does hold some curiosity with me, if only in the hypothetical. One day soon I'll probably start looking into it.

  9. Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2008 at 15:11
  10. Matt on November 12, 2008 at 10:30

    I just ran across another book, "The Queen of Fats", at Susan Allport's site:

    I found that via a post at the Science Friday blog…

    …which is itself an interesting post because it mentions a plant commonly considered a weed that "contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant."

    After looking at the wikipedia image of that weed, turns out I've had that stuff growing like mad in my garden for years.

  11. Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2008 at 14:25


    "I can't consider my own diet without thinking about the whole ecological system around me."

    Wow. That's a lot to think about just to eat. Good luck with that. I'm usually thinking about my belly, but I'm kinda a selfish slob that way.

    Re anthropogenic global warming, I'm highly skeptical of the anthropogenic part. I believe the oceans and decaying forrest matter account for most of it, man accounts for only 5%, and the total concentration in the atmosphere is .03-.04% — two to three hundredths of a percent.

    It's a cause-effect reversal. CO2 lags temperature on the order of 800 years. The Earth has generally been warming up since the last ice age, and as a result of that _cause_ (the SUN, anyone — Occam's razor?), higher levels of CO2 are released, especially from the oceans as they heat up. There is, incidentally, more dissolved CO2 in oceans than in the totality of the atmosphere. Considering volume difference, that's one whole hell of a lot of CO2.

    Worst of all, the models (like the hockey stick) rely on a premise that ONLY A COMPLETE IDIOT would accept: positive feedback. Nature is dominated by negative feedbacks.

    Anyway, I'm nobody's fool. Not going to be the fool of the fatophobs nor the greenies. If you look closely, the science is fallaciously done the same way, with confirmation bias ad nauseum.

    A couple of good references for a more skeptical approach to the whole thing:

    I predicted about two years ago that the whole AGW thing had reached it's high point. That corresponds to the publicized LIE that AGW is now scientific consensus. I still think I'm right. In another couple of decades, if that long, AGW will be a total laughing stock, as it surely should be.

    It's not science. It's scientism, i.e., it's the same old saw, man as inherently evil, that religions have been peddling to fools for eons.

  12. phil on November 14, 2008 at 08:33

    Not everyone has to switch for there to be tremendous impact. Meat production and consumption has been rising over the last 20 years with many detrimental effects. Unfortunately, people have not been getting healthier in the 1st world. Maybe a very high meat diet is the healthiest option for many people, but it could ruin the planet if we continue to produce meat in the same manner.

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