Biohacking Update: 3 months on a yeast & biofilm busting protocol (& 25 months on the AIP)

BiohackingIn August, Matthew started a three-month protocol designed to tackle biofilm-protected yeast colonies his gut.

Five months later we are feeling optimistic.

The Back Story

The symptom: debilitating nausea with no apparent cause.

The nausea first occurred in October 2013 after an autumn feast of chanterelle mushrooms I had picked.

It happened again when we ate chanterelles a second time that month.

And then just kept recurring. And getting worse. Until it gradually became Matthew’s most problematic symptom.

In fact, it was the severe nausea that finally prompted Matthew to take the leap and commit to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).


After a few test runs, we both committed to the AIP long-term in December of 2013. Almost immediately, Matthew moved to an even more restrictive low-FODMAP version of the protocol to reduce his nausea.

The AIP:

Before & After

Before & After

  • Improved all of Matthew’s other symptoms, including arthritis pain, psoriasis and severe brain fog;
  • Enabled him to get off Methotrexate, a toxic medication that he had been taking for 10 years that caused its own host of nasty side effects;
  • Helped him significantly reduce prescription and non-prescription pain medication; and
  • Caused me to feel younger and more vital than I had in my adult life.

But Matthew’s nausea kept getting worse. Continue reading

Gremolata~Pesto (AIP & low-FODMAP)

Gremolata Pesto 5One good sauce.

Is all you need.

To uplift your healing protocol.

Or the haiku version:

One good sauce is all

you need, to rock (& heal)

on the AIP~


This could be your one sauce.

Like a one-love sauce, it’s universal. You can put it on everything and, in turn, it makes everything sing.

Keeping it Green~

Keeping it Green~

A gemolata is traditionally made from parsley, lemon zest & garlic. A pesto with basil, parmesan, pine nuts & olive oil.

This low-FODMAP fusion variation takes advantage of the low melting point of coconut oil to create a bright green sauce that is firm and crumbly when chilled & exultingly melty when it hits the hot components of your meal.

It omits the garlic, dairy and nuts. And uses a combination of fresh basil and spinach, making it slightly more of a food than a condiment.

Yet another way to get your greens on~.

Like both its Italian grandmothers, this combination gremolata~pesto is zesty & green.

And it makes more than you probably need for one meal, so you’ll have some leftover.

To brighten a mug of hot bone broth. Or add to salad dressing. Or crumble on top of tomorrow’s breakfast.

Quick Supper

Gremolata~Pesto is also the secret to a quick supper.

Bake or pan fry some fish. Saute some zucchini spears in turmeric. Top with your new special sauce.

Quick. Fancy. Green.

Gremolata~Pesto (AIP & low-FODMAP)

 from petra8paleoGremolata Pesto 4

  • 2 cups (packed) fresh Basil
  • 2 cups (packed) Spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (or similar)
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced Lemon Zest (from an organic Lemon)

Put the Basil Spinach, Lemon Juice and Salt in a food processor.

Heat the coconut oil slightly, until just warm and liquified & pour it over the other ingredients.

Whirl, until a crumbly puree forms, scraping down the sides with a spatula once or twice, as required.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl or glass container, add the minced Lemon Zest and stir to combine.

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for good times to come~.

Gremolata Pesto 6

Elevate your Nori Wrap

 Note: the gremolata~pesto is low-FODMAP, but not all of the foods in these photos (like avocados) are.



Biohacking Update (& a New Hypothesis)

Biohacking updateMatthew has been on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for 18 months.

17 of those have been low-FODMAP.

For the last 2 months, he’s been doing the most extreme low-FODMAP AIP variation yet: a gut-healing protocol outlined by Aglaée Jacob in her book Digestive health with Real Food.

The only carbohydrates he’s been eating for the past 9 weeks are carrots and spinach. And he drinks gallons of bone broth~.

The Results

This is the reporting part of the Scientific Method.

  • Nausea: As I mentioned in my post Dietary Treatment for SIBO, after 9 days on this new Protocol, Matthew’s unexplained and debilitating nausea went from a 7-10 on a scale of 0-10 to a 4-6. And stayed there. Two months later, his nausea is still in the 4-6 range. This reduction has enabled him to participate in life, including cooking for himself (and me), engaging in moderate exercise, and doing things around the house. But the nausea has plateaued at the 4-6 level and that is barely tolerable much of the time.
  • Brain Fog: Over the past 2 months his brain fog lifted further. He’s winning at scrabble again. For the first time in years.

A New Hypothesis

Our Functional Medicine Doctor, Dr Cline, was as perplexed as everyone else about Matthew but (unlike everyone else) he didn’t give up.

Dr Kline talked to several colleagues and has a new hypothesis: yeast colonies protected by biofilms in the gut.


Biofilms are communities of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria and yeast, that produce their own protective matrix.

Organisms inside a biofilm are highly resistant to eradication attempts and, it seems, are also capable of complex, coordinated behaviour like quorum sensing.

The hypothesis that Matthew is colonized by biofilm-protected yeast colonies in his gut comes from a re-analysis of the results of a comprehensive stool analysis that Dr Kline ordered last year.

As Matthew had been on a low-FODMAP AIP for quite some time when that test was conducted, his results were better than any Dr Kline had ever seen.

Apparently, he should have been feeling great!

But he wasn’t.

The trace amounts of yeast in each of the three tests didn’t seem consequential at the time. But the specialist Dr Kline consulted with, Dr Tom O’Bryan, thought they were. Quite.

Vratislav Šťovíček, Libuše Váchová and Zdena Palková explain: “Pathogenic yeasts can colonise various surfaces within the human body, including host tissues… and form biofilms that resist otherwise effective drug therapy. Biofilms are thus very difficult to eliminate and serve as a source of serious systemic infections.”

Apparently yeast can grow roots, called hypha, which can puncture the intestinal wall and thereby create intestinal permeability (leaky gut). So even though Matthew has been on increasingly restrictive gut healing protocol for a year & a half, if the yeast is armored inside biofilms and putting down roots, his gut is still leaky.

It makes sense~.

A New Protocol

Dr O’Bryan has recommended a 3-month protocol designed to attack the biofilms and eradicate yeast colonization, with supplemental colostrum for gut-healing.

Biohacking modes: Reporting, Current biohacking modes: Reporting, hypothesizing & designing a new experiment~

Current biohacking modes: reporting, hypothesizing & designing a new experiment~

He has also recommended an ‘Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen’ from Cyrex Laboratories to measure Matthew’s gut permeability before and after the protocol. That will enable us to get a baseline and then measure any improvement.

Dr Kline has suggested that we may want to consider a fecal microbiota transplant at the Taymount Clinic in England after that, to repopulate Matthew’s micobiome. Maybe even as soon as this winter.

We might have sell our house to finance that, but hey~.

If I want to go on losing at scrabble for the rest of my life, that might just be what we have to do…

Victorious Offal Muffins: the Uncured Remix (AIP & low-FODMAP)

Offal muffin supperI created these muffins a year ago as a way to overcome my squeamishness about eating organ meat. Since then, Victorious Muffins have become an absolute staple at our house, because:

  • They freeze beautifully & reheat quickly (even from frozen) in the oven, making them a perfect AIP ‘fast food’;
  • They provide  a regular dosage of organ meat without ever having to decide ‘today is the day I am going to prepare & eat a weeks worth of liver’ (because that day might never come);
  • They make me feel GREAT~! I specifically plan to have one for breakfast on days when I have to facilitate a challenging meeting or make an important presentation at work.

Over the past year we’ve tried all kinds:

  1. Ground elk, venison, water buffalo & lamb;
  2. Liver from ducks, lambs, cows, chickens & bison;
  3. Wild boar bacon, pork belly & wild boar belly;
  4. Various vegetable & herb combinations.

Victorious MuffinsAt the moment, Matthew is on an extreme gut-healing protocol that omits cured meats (no bacon~!) and allows very limited carbohydrates. Therefore, this version of the Victorious Offal Muffin recipe is the ‘Uncured Remix’. Unlike the original recipe, this remix is low-FODMAP & is also compliant with Matthew’s current protocol (as outlined by in her book Digestive Health with Real Food). Victorious Muffins 3

Victorious Offal Muffins: the uncured remix (AIP & low-FODMAP)

 from petra8paleoVictorious Offal Muffins

  • 2 bunches (or a 1lb bin) of spinach
  • ½ cup bone broth
  • 1 lb liver (bison, lamb, veal, chicken or duck)
  • 1 lb ground meat (lamb, beef, vension or elk)
  • 1 lb pork belly (or wild boar belly), cut in bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup fresh herbs (basil, marjoram, sage, thyme, savory), chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon Himalyan salt

Preheat oven to 350. Fill the sink with hot soapy water, as you’ll probably want to wash your food processor right away.

Line a 12-muffin tin with paper muffins cups.

Trim the root ends & wash the spinach, unless your spinach is prewashed.

In a large saucepan, cook the spinach gently in the bone broth until thoroughly wilted.

Meanwhile, puree the liver in a food processor. Transfer the pureed liver to a large mixing bowl.

Don’t worry about scraping the food processor bowl out too thoroughly: just add the wilted spinach & bone broth in & whirl briefly again.

Mix the pureed liver, the spinach & bone broth puree, and all other ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl with your hands& heap each muffin cup with this mixture. Pack it in & pile it high.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Once cooled, these muffins freeze beautifully. To reheat, just pop one or more into a hot oven while you tidy the kitchen & prepare your vegetables.

For a meal that’s low-FODMAP & compliant with ‘s gut-healing protocol, serve with Carrot Tarragon Bisque.

Dietary treatment for SIBO (low-FODMAP isn’t enough~)

MatthewMysterious debilitating undiagnosable nausea.

That keeps getting worse.

Despite more than 16 months on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). That’s what was happening to Matthew. Even though 15 of those months were low-FODMAP.

The AIP is working~

All of Matthew’s autoimmune symptoms are reversing on the AIP.

But the nausea has not been responding. It’s been worsening. Slowly. For a year.

Until this April when he was hardly eating & was almost completely incapacitated.

We determined the nausea is NOT autoimmune & will require a different treatment. So we set out to hack that.

All the specialists, including his functional medicine doctor, have poked, prodded, tested and hypothesized & come up with nothing. Then shrugged & left us alone with a deteriorating, undiagnosed, unresponsive health issue that has caused Matthew to be unable to work since December 2013.

We’ve suspected Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) for a long time.

Despite the fact that Matthew’s Gastroenterologist says SIBO doesn’t exist.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

SIBO is a condition in which beneficial bacteria become displaced in the digestive tract.

They migrate from the colon, where they are supposed to be, into the small intestine. This results in fermentation of carbohydrates in a part of the gut where fermentation is not supposed to occur, causing gas, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn &/or nausea. Symptoms range from mild to debilitating.

SIBO causes primary symptoms, but it also contributes to intestinal permeability (‘leaky gut’) which is implicated in autoimmune & other chronic health conditions.


Treatment options include specific pharmaceutical antibiotics (such as Rifaximin), herbal antibiotics or a dietary protocol that makes a low-FODMAP AIP look like a cakewalk (at least at first).

Experts seem to disagree about whether it is possible to treat SIBO through diet alone.

Registered dietician in her book Digestive Health with Real Food, indicates that diet is a viable options for treatment of SIBO. Angie Alt of Autoimmune Paleo suggests that SIBO cannot be treated with diet alone. She references Dr. Alison Siebecker’s research to support this view.

As SIBO experts Allison Siebecker & Steven Sandberg-Lewis explain, “diet alone has proven successful for infants and children, but for adults one or more of the other three treatment options are often needed to reduce bacteria quickly, particularly in cases in which diet needs to be very restricted to obtain symptomatic relief.

After combing thorough the research it remains unclear to me whether it is truly impossible to cure SIBO through diet, or if maintaining the required protocol for a sufficient length of time is considered too difficult, or too risky from a nutritional standpoint.

We have learned that Matthew’s diet definitely needs to be very restricted to obtain symptomatic relief, but nevertheless he is taking a dietary approach.

Partly because he tried to get a prescription for antibiotics to treat SIBO but was turned down by two different doctors, who cited their own ignorance about SIBO & the fact that he was in such rough shape. Neither was wiling to risk making him worse.

According to Angie Alt, it can be extremely challenging to get a prescription for antibiotics to treat SIBO here in Canada.

So, as of a month ago, Matthew is following the elimination diet outlined by in Digestive Health with Real Food. Lots of bone broth (no surprise there!), no caffeine & the only carbohydrates he is eating currently are carrots & spinach.

This is meant to be a short-term elimination diet, until symptoms have been ‘mostly absent’ for at least five consecutive days. According to

We were pretty confident that Matthew’s gut was the intransigent type, so from the beginning we figured he’d give it an 8 week trial.

He is now 5 weeks in.

At the beginning he was almost completely disabled. Unable to care for himself.

Not only was he suffering excessively, I was drowning in stress. We were back where we’d been at the worst of his autoimmune crisis: I was caring for him; keeping the household running, including all the food prep & cooking that is required on the AIP; keeping up with a demanding career (currently our only option for income); parenting; and worrying constantly about our future.

That was our baseline.

The Results

Within 9 days on this new protocol his nausea had reduced from a 7-10 (on a scale of 0-10, in which ‘0’ is no nausea and ’10’ is completely incapacitated) to a 4-6.

Petra & Matthew 2 croppedOne month in, he is still in the 4-6 range. And as he says, the difference between  a 4 and a 6 is “at 6, I’m just tending to my immediate needs whereas when I’m a 4, I can be more thoughtful and proactive about life. Over 6 and I can’t really take care of much”.

As Matthew’s spouse, I can vouch for that.

This post is part 1 of a 2-part series. Find part 2 here.

Biohacking Autoimmune~

This Monday (May 25th) is the last chance to buy the Autoimmune Protocol Wellness bundle (& get my new e-book Biohacking Autoimmune DIY~).

Click here to view more details


Hot Crispy Pork Belly with Zucchini Coins

Crispy Pork Belly with Zucchini Coins 5I was nervous about pork belly.

I don’t know why.

After decades of vegetarianism, I learned to love bacon readily enough. And pork belly is just uncured, unsmoked, unsalted, unsliced bacon.

The step from bacon to pork belly seemed serious.

Solemn. Like a rite of passage. Perhaps there’d be no going back.

Maybe there isn’t.

Truth is, what with the advent of freezers and fridges over the past 100 years, we don’t actually need to cure, smoke and salt our meat anymore.

Pork BellyWhen I decided it was time to approach pork belly, I used the same reverence techniques I employed when I first grappled with bison heart.

I also looked up 101 recipes on the internet, most of which were complicated. I tried a number of them. I fell in love with pork belly, but not necessarily with complex ways of preparing it.

So here’s my take.

As simple as possible. Delicious. Crispy. With a gorgeous side of golden-fried zucchini coins.

A fat-tastic breakfast.

And as a side benefit, you’ll garner a wee tub of rendered lard for cooking for the rest of the week.

Hot Crispy Pork Belly with Zucchini Coins (AIP & low-FODMAP)

 from petra8paleoCrispy Pork Belly with Zucchini Coins

  • 12 ounces (¾lb or 350 grams) Pork Belly
  • 2 baby zucchinis
  • A generous sprinkle of Himalayan Salt (or similar)

Slice the pork belly into rashers, about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Lay the slices in a wide frying pan on low heat and fry gently, turning every 4-5 minutes. If you have hot spots in your pan, rotate the slices so they get evenly browned.

Meanwhile, slice the zucchinis into coins, about 3/4 of an inch thick.

Once the Pork Belly is nicely browned and the pan is full of hot liquid fat, nestle the zucchini around the browning Pork Belly.

Cook the Zucchini and Pork Belly on each side for 4-5 minutes.

The Zucchini Coins should be golden brown on both sides and the Pork Belly should be crispy.

Sprinkle generously with Salt and plate.

Serve with something cleansing and astringent, like sauerkraut. And maybe a handful of berries.

Pour the remaining lard into a glass container and set it in the fridge for future use.

Victorious Muffins 4

Carrot~Tarragon Bisque (AIP & low-FODMAP)

Carrot~Tarragon BisqueThanks to the Autoimmune Protocol, I revere ordinary vegetables.

Even carrots, which previously seemed as though they didn’t require my positive regard.

I’ve found if I focus in on one vegetable, really contemplate it, including the ways I can incorporate it as food, I naturally develop a profound respect ~reverence~ for it that I didn’t have before.

That reverence changes my attitude toward the food I eat.

Why not worship food? Bless it. Devote ourselves to it.

Even a humble carrot.

I got into that kind of reverence with turnips recently.


A Bisque, traditionally, was made with seafood broth, and one could certainly use a seafood stock in this recipe. The original version also incorporated the ground mollusc shells as a thickener. And to add minerals.


I want to try that.

Carrot~Tarragon Bisque 6But this is not a bisque in that sense of the word.

This is a pureed soup. A delicious vehicle for Bone Broth.

Made with love. From carrots. And optionally garnished with spinach~lime coulis.

Carrot~Tarragon Bisque (AIP & low-FODMAP)

 from petra8paleoCarrot~Tarragon Bisque 2

  • 4 cups Carrots, (peeled, if at all hoary) & chopped
  • 3 cups Bone Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (or similar)
  • 2 teaspoons Tarragon
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

Put chopped Carrots, Bone Broth, Salt and Tarragon in a saucepan and simmer, covered, on medium-high heat until the carrots are tender.

Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a food processor, add the Coconut Oil and whirl for until fully pureed.

This might require scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl with a spatula a couple of times.

Optional: Spinach~Lime Coulis

  • 2 cups (packed) spinach leaves
  • ½ cup Bone Broth
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan Salt (or similar)
  • 2 tablespoons Lime Juice

Cook the Spinach in a saucepan with the Bone Broth and Salt until hot and completely wilted. Transfer to a food processor, add the Lime Juice and whirl until fully pureed.

To serve, swirl the bright green sauce into the tureen of brilliant orange Bisque. Alternately, add it to each bowl.

Carrot~Tarragon Bisque 5


Coconut~Poached Halibut & Turnips with Greens (AIP & low-FODMAP)

Turnips & Mahi MahiQ: What food would you drive through rain, fog & rush hour traffic for?

A: Turnips~

Even as I was crawling my car across the Bay Street bridge, posing as a commuter on my way to the grocery store to fulfill my craving for turnips with supper, I thought it was funny.

Pre-paleo I’m not sure I ever, even once, ate a turnip. But now I have a deep & abiding fondness for them.

I revere them above any other root food.

Halibut & Turnip 2They’re lovely when they’re young & fresh (they can even be sliced into salads then), and remain friendly even when they’ve been over-wintering for  awhile.

And they’re low-FODMAP, which has been a consideration at our house for over a year.

Turnips inspired this recipe.

As delicious as this dish is for supper (or breakfast), every time I make it, I dream of leftovers:

A salad of cold cooked halibut & turnips with generous amount of chopped cilantro and a dressing made from the leftover coconut milk & some lime~.

Coconut~Poached Halibut & Turnips with Greens (AIP & low-FODMAP)

 from petra8paleoHalibut & Turnip with Greens 3

  • 4 cups Turnips, chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (or similar)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped (green part only for low-FODMAP)
  • 2 large or 3 medium bunches chard
  • 1 1/2 cups no-additive coconut milk
  • 4 portions Halibut
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 2 more teaspoons Himalayan Salt (or similar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Cilantro

Place chopped Turnips, Water and 1 teaspoon Salt in a large frying pan with a lid. Turn heat to medium-high and simmer, with the lid offset slightly, until the turnips are softened and the water has evaporated.

Meanwhile, prep the green onions and chard. Use scissors to cut the thick sections of chard stem from the leaves. Chop the chard stems finely. Add the coconut oil to a second frying pan on medium heat and sizzle the chard stalks gently with the chopped green onions.

Cut the chard leaves into manageable pieces. Once the chard stalks have softened, add the leaves to the pan with the Coconut Aminos and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir to wilt.

Once the water has evaporated form the turnips, turn the heat down to medium, and add the coconut milk to the pan. Nestle the fish portions in the turnips and place the lid on tightly. Cook for 10 minutes, slightly longer if the portions are very thick.

Plate the greens first, then the Coconut-Poached Halibut & Turnips. Garnish with chopped Cilantro.

Low-FODMAP: Coconut is low-FODMAP in small quantities. Moderate consumption of the poaching liquid.


Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple~Papaya Salsa (AIP & low-FODMAP)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA How do you navigate a family reunion full of potato chips, beer, pasta (& family) when you’re on the Autoimmune Protocol? Here a couple of ideas & a recipe. ‘Cause we just successfully survived one~.

A Weird Diet called the AIP~?!

One of our strategies was a nightly salad bar with supper. All the ingredients prepped and presented for everyone to make a build-your-own salad with a choice of store-bought & homemade AIP dressings.

Picky children could pick what they liked and it was easy for Matthew to make a low-FODMAP salad without having to explain why he doesn’t eat broccoli or kale, but can eat arugula and cucumber. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another tactic was putting delicious and festive low-FODMAP AIP entrees on the menu, like this one, that had everyone raving (for days) without even knowing a thing about FODMAPs and having only the sketchiest notion that Matthew and I are on a weird diet called the AIP.

Of course, the family infilled their meals with grain and potato-based starches, but we interjected turnips and yams into that rotation occasionally, and added sauerkraut to the offerings at meals, which was mostly politely ignored.

All the more for us~!

Mahi-Mahi is a common fish in Hawai’i, so it only makes sense to pair it with papaya (currently in season) and pineapple in a fresh AIP-friendly salsa for a tropically-themed (low-FODMAP) extended family party meal.

Mahi Mahi with Pineapple~Papaya Salsa (AIP & low-FODMAP)

  • Servings: a dinner party
  • Print

  • 12 portions Mahi Mahi
  • 1 small or ½ a very large fresh Pineapple
  • 1 medium-sized Papaya
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • ½ cup green onion greens, chopped (use the white ends too, if FODMAPs are not an issue)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan salt (or similar)
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled & minced finely

Turn the grill on medium or preheat the oven to 350.

If baking, lay the Mahi Mahi portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes an inch until the fish is opaque, moist & just flakes with a fork.If grilling, lay the portions gently on the grill and cook quickly (6-10 minutes, depending on thickness), until it becomes opaque & just begins to flake. Don’t overcook this lean fish~.

Meanwhile, or (perhaps) earlier in the day, remove the rind of the pineapple with a sharp knife and cut the fresh fruit into a dice. If the pineapple is large, you may need to cut the tough centre section of the fruit even smaller, or omit it entirely. Repeat the peeling & dicing with the Papaya, removing the seeds.

Mix the diced fruit with all the remaining ingredients. The salsa can be made ahead or served right away. Serve each portion of the Mahi Mahi with a generous helping of Salsa.

Mahi Mahi is the Hawai’ian name for a fish that is also known as Dorado in Latin America, Shiira in Japan or Dolphinfish in the United States, reflecting it’s international presence. Mahi Mahi can be found in warm oceans around the world; in the Atlantic from the Caribbean to Africa, and throughout the Pacific from the Americas to Asia.

Paleolithic Mahi Mahi

Fresco_Mahi-Mahi,_Akrotiri,_GreeceThis fresco tells us that humans have probably always eaten the distinctive-looking Mahi Mahi, and that they definitely harvested them during the Minoan Bronze Age in Akrotiri on the island of Santorini (then Thera) in ancient Greece. One of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history on Thera in 1627 BCE preserved this and many other artifacts under hundreds of meters of ash.

Human activity in the fishing village of Akrotiri has been traced back to the 5th millennium BCE, when people likely still ate Mahi Mahi. Evidence indicates that humans, and their early hominid ancestors, have lived and fished on the Greek islands since the Middle Paleolithic around 128,000 BCE.  As there were no signs of  agriculture in the islands until recently (7000 years ago), I’m guessing they ate a lot of fish for those intervening millennia.

The Environmental Defense Fund has classified line or pole-caught Mahi Mahi from US waters as ‘Eco-Best’, its top ecological rating. The Natural Resources Defense Council has given it the second lowest of four categories of mercury toxicity, calling it a ‘moderate mercury’ fish.

Rendering Lard~

Lard 3Matthew has a new hobby.

He renders lard.

He goes to butcher & gets an enormous bag of pig fat (this makes our butcher happy). Enough for a couple of slow cookers full. For about $12.

He chops up the fat & slow cooks it. Freezes the fat he doesn’t use in the first round. Then we use the lard for cooking & Matthew also uses it in his other new hobby: Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) baking.

For our first 12 months on the AIP we did no baking. But suddenly, on the advent of year 2, Matthew tried a couple of recipes & now makes AIP shortbread somewhat regularly (substituting his home-rendered lard for the palm-oil shortening).

Being ketogenic, I don’t eat his shortbread much, but he says it increases his quality of life and is helping him get through the winter.

Why lard? Lauren Geersten at Empowered Sustenance offers 10 reasons.



The 11th reason is that you get cracklings as a delicious by-product of the rendering process.

And making one’s butcher happy could easily be reason #12 (never underestimate the potential benefits of a happy butcher as an element of biohacking success~).


 from petra8paleoPig fat 4

  • 2-3 lbs of pork fat
  • ¼ cup water
  • Himalayan Salt (or similar) for cracklings
Cut pig fat into small cubes (some people have it ground at the butchers).
Place cubed fat in a slow cooker with the water. Turn to low.
Stir occasionally.
Strain liquid fat through cheesecloth after approximately 2 hours & every ½ hour thereafter. Continue rendering until the cracklings are golden brown.
Refrigerate rendered lard.
Salt cracklings & eat as-is, or as a fat-tastic addition to salad, or a garnish in soup.