Greetings, fellow Fat Heads!

Tom’s been working out the logistics of the updated version of Fat Head and traveling, so I thought I’d pop in to say “hi” before the end of the year, and wish you all the best as we move into 2013 and whatever cliffs we end up falling off of or into.

Tom and Chareva got into Springfield the weekend before Christmas, which happened to work out for a trip to Linda Logan’s farm. Linda is who I’ve been getting my raw milk from, and three of her cows just had calves about a month ago. I’d arranged to bring the grandkids out to see them, so the timing was perfect for Tom and Chareva and the girls to come, too.

Here’s what milk looks like in the original container…

We picked one of the only really cold, windy days so far this year, so we’re all pretty bundled up. That’s Linda on the back of the truck pitching hay to her “girls.”

There’s one less cow than there had been the week before. Linda had a Hereford steer that had finally gotten too big to not send off to the processors. She didn’t want a whole cow, and we had some friends who’d been wanting to split half a cow. So I’ll be putting real grassfed beef in our freezer in a couple of days. I think I’ve also found a source to buy a calf this spring that Linda will pasture for us. It doesn’t get any more local than that. I’m trying to come up with a good name if we get one. Maybe “Roulade.”

Linda’s been reading up on my hero Joel Salatin and Management Intensive Grazing and is planning on getting more into the rotational grazing model. She’s also talking about maybe pasturing some pigs, so I’ve been trying to figure out where to source some Mangalitsa pigs (which I unfortunately heard of due to new Michigan DNR regulations on feral pigs that they’re using to put a family farm operation out of business).

After seeing the cows, the two grandkids and Tom’s girls spent some time and energy chasing Linda’s free ranging chickens around the grounds, and administering copious belly-rubs to the dogs, who would’ve preferred we left all the girls there.

When we went into the house to get our milk and eggs, Linda had something else to show the kids. One of her Coca Maran chickens had hatched three chicks the week before. It was pretty cold weather for chicks, and one of them hadn’t made it, but they’d brought the other two into the garage and they came around pretty well. We spent the next fifteen minutes satisfying all four girls that they’d all got to hold the chicks the same amount of time.

It was a great way to get the kids out of the house for the whole morning, get some fresh air, spend some family time together, and pick up some of the groceries at the same time! Here’s our haul — milk (“creamy milk” according to the grankids), yoghurt, and eggs.

That’s my idea of shopping.

Again, very best wishes for the new year. Let’s keep getting healthier, pester our friends in moderation, and celebrate progress (I’m seeing more celebs talking about carbs being the problem). If this is a cheat day for you, have one for me.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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22 Responses to “The Older Brother takes the family shopping”
  1. Suzanne says:

    and Happy 2013 to you and yours. It’s always good to read your posts.

    Suzanne

  2. Clyde says:

    Happiness is family, friends and good food. Continued good health and happiness to the Naughton clan and everyone in 2013!

  3. TonyNZ says:

    If your friend wants any advice on the rotational grazing in terms of creating a feed budget or anything I’d be happy to help. Switching to a properly managed rotation could increase milk output by upwards of 30% at essentially no added cost or input (other than a bit of temporary fencing and brain power.

    Thanks. I’ll pass that along.

  4. Kathy says:

    I like it when you pop in on the Younger Brother’s blog now and then. Happy New Year to all the Naughton clan!

  5. Lobstah says:

    Happy New Year to all here. 2012 was lots of fun, many changes for us at home, and we’re looking forward to more changes this year, as we are getting ready to put our now “too big” house on the market and move into smaller digs closer to the coast in the North East.
    I’ve also been “off my feed” so to speak, for the past 2 weeks. I suspect I may not be the only one? ;)
    That being said, back to it now. But I have a question for all fellow FHers. I have my annual physical coming up in 2wks. My question is, what tests should I ask my Dr. to perform/authorize? I’m 59, have lost roughly 35lbs, and should add another 5 to that before the physical what with getting my diet back in line. My BP is 120ish over 80ish, so he’s quite likely to take a look at everything and send me on my way, but that’s not what I’m looking for.
    I recall in Don’t Die Early, he recommended getting a calcification arterial test done, but what other tests should I get done so that I can keep track of the things that WE know matter, as opposed to what THEY “think” matter?

    Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions, I hope everyone has a great year!

    Jim

  6. Elenor says:

    “I’m trying to come up with a good name if we get one.”

    I once knew a very nice (and then delicious!) cow named “Roastie”!

    Happy New Year, Older Brother, to you and yours!

  7. P says:

    Lobstah,

    Instead of standard lipid panel, take NMR. NMR will give you much more granular details about you cholesterol numbers, most importantly on the LDL particle number and size.

  8. Walter B says:

    Miss Steak or Mr. Hamburger? Cowabunga? Dinner?


    Not bad. As long as they’re food themed. Don’t want the kids to complain about eating something with a name that sounds like a family pet.

  9. Darren Doyle says:

    > Tom’s been working out the logistics of the updated version of Fat Head

    Any chance that it might grow into a Fathead 2? There’s probably enough material (even new material) to make a whole second film. Now, making it entertaining… that’s your job, right?


    It’s going to have some updated material on how Tom eats now and his results now that he’s three plus years in. He edited out some of the stuff that was appealing but not accurate (i.e., kids obesity being caused by less activity, vs. our current understanding of it being the other way around).

    There’s literally hours and days worth of work in each minute you see on the screen, and Tom’s stated several times that he wouldn’t ever self-finance another project of that magnitude. All of you fellow Fat Head fans have made it a success, but that’s a huge financial bet that he’d frankly be crazy to make again. Fortunately for us, he was younger and more naive when he set out to make Fat Head!

    Cheers

  10. emi11n says:

    My boss got a blind calf cheap that he raised to slaughter. We all thought he should call it “T-bone”! He was very proud of the big stack of meat he brought home from the processor. If only I had a chest freezer…


    Just got our 1/4 in our freezer. If someone gave me a popsicle, I wouldn’t have anywhere to keep it!

  11. Martha says:

    Back when I was a kid, my grandfather’s cow had a set of male and female twins (yes, all you farm folks, they were both fully functioning gender-wise, and I know how rare that is. UT A & M sent out a team to try to figure out why the female wasn’t a freemartin). The whole point is that they were both a solid reddish brown with a few pale spots, so we named them – “Pork and Beans”. Most farm kids know which animals are pets and which are destined to be dinner.


    Ha! I’m thinking of the grandkids, who are “city girls.” I’d like them to see how food is raised, but not get too attached.

  12. Kathy says:

    I’m a big-hearted fool when it comes to animals (people – not so much) so my take on the “pet” cow may be off, but here’s my thought……………

    Spending a lot of time with the animal so they bond with it is more of a problem than the name. Meet “Fluffy the cow” once and its no big deal when the cow leaves and a freezer-load of meat arrives. If they get to know the animal – with or without a name – it will be harder to eat him/her.


    Good point. Contact would only be occasional
    .

  13. Lobstah says:

    I raised heritage turkeys for a few years. Lots of fun, and not too bad to take to slaughter, as you don’t get REAL attached to them because they really don’t make much eye contact.
    And there’s no comparison in flavor between a Blue Slate or Red Bourbon compared to one of the freaks you buy at a grocery store.

    Jim


    Linda says her sister is wanting her to add some turkeys to the operation. She’s mulling it over, but says they can put up a bigger fight than a chicken!

  14. Larry AJ says:

    Go to this web site to learn all you want to know about Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing. http://SugarMtnFarm.com/
    It has a lot of posts about pasturing pigs on forage (grass, etc.) and the site owner, Walter Jeffries, answers most of the questions posted as “replies” to his posts.

    There are lots of good photos of his pigs – of ALL sizes starting from newborn to 4 and more years old. Also the pictures of his livestock guardian dogs are wonderful.


    Thanks — I’ll check it out.

  15. Lobstah says:

    Never saw a turkey “fight”…other than when they play keep-away with each other over any type of food that’s red. Chunks of apples or tomatoes provide entertainment aplenty ;) They were great fun, and I’d still be raising them if I had the time, but job changes got in the way of that, at least for now. Much easier to keep than chickens…don’t need a closed in coop, just a “hoop house” which you can build for about $50, that provides some cover from rain and snow.

    Jim

  16. Hi, Lobstah!

    Glad to see that you read Don’t Die Early! Thanks!

    As you observe, I’m a big fan of coronary calcium scanning, especially for men over age 40 and women over age 50. This replaces speculating through indirect indicators with an actual measurement of how much plaque a person has in his coronary arteries. Much of the decisions regarding further testing will be a product of the coronary calcium scan. For example, a 59 like yourself who has a zero calcium score may still be compelled to have an NMR to better understand the health of his lipids but with zero evidence of cardiac plaque, that NMR is now more of a curiosity than a vital indicator. After all, if you haven’t amassed any cardiac plaque in 59 years, that’s a huge indicator right there. For the same 59 year old with a very high calcium score, however, the NMR suddenly has much greater implications and will become a very useful tool in helping to reduce (and reverse) plaque formation. A repeat scan in a year or two will tell the latter person whether that plaque is still growing and needs to be aggressively managed or whether it’s the product of a misspent youth and has been stable for years. While any plaque is worrisome, plaque that’s been there for years and has stabilized due to a better lifestyle free of inflammation is less risky than plaque in a body that’s rife with stress, inflammation, and grossly elevated glucose and insulin levels.

    I think thyroid hormones and testosterone levels are important for guys our age, too. The thyroid is very sensitive to dietary and environmental factors. Testosterone levels drop as we age and there are a variety of implications (disease and lifestyle) from a dramatically reduce testosterone level. When examining the thyroid, many doctors just look at TSH, which is close to worthless. I always ask for T3, free T3, and free T4 to get a better picture than just TSH alone.

    Adding a fasting insulin level can tell more than testing fasting glucose level alone because it gives an indication of one’s insulin resistance. For all its imperfection, an A1C will give a rough idea of how well you’ve been controlling your blood glucose, fasting and postprandially.

    If you’re concerned about inflammation, some of the inflammatory markers may be useful, too, like hsCRP (though hsCRP is very fickle and can spike if you’re inflamed for other reasons, e.g., you’re fighting a cold or have pulled a muscle recently). Lp-PLA2 is another useful inflammatory marker.

    All of this is in the context of your specific condition, too. If you have zero evidence of inflammatory diseases, you may just want to run hsCRP and Lp-PLA2 out of curiosity (and bragging rights). If you have and use a glucose meter and already know that your fasting glucose is great and your postprandial glucose levels are wonderful, then you already know more than standard lab testing will tell you: that you’re not living a diabetes-promoting lifestyle.

    The flaws in mainstream testing and advice occur on two fronts: using indirect indicators and treating a disease that doesn’t exist (e.g., “your cholesterol is “too high,” says the doctor. “I want you to take this statin so you don’t have a heart attack but I’m never actually going to check you for evidence of coronary artery disease.”) while ignoring diseases that do exist (e.g., never checking for the presence of coronary plaque, ignoring dangerously high postprandial glucose levels and other evidence that a patient is speeding towards becoming an insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetic, or believing that just because your hormone levels are no worse than your age-categorized peers that they’re optimal).

    Personally, I would rest easy if I had evidence of a zero coronary calcium score, verification of effective glucose control (either home testing or lab), knowledge that I had minimal inflammation, and verification that my hormone levels were optimal. Those four things are foundation for most of the things that plague us as we age.

  17. Lobstah says:

    Thanks very much for the response and your input!

    Other than asking my doctor, which I’ll do next week, what’s the easiest way to locate a facility for the calcium screening? Do I just call several hospitals and/or cardiology labs?

    As for the other blood tests, are these things that I can just ask my doctor to add to the blood work I’ll be going in for this Friday?

    Again, thanks for all the help. It feels really good to start to take some control over these aspects of my health. My mother passed due to breast cancer when she was 38, my father had a massive heart attack when he was 48, and my sister died of bone cancer when she was 51, so I’ve already beat the lifespan of all family members. I’ve long had a suspicion that part of this was due to living in a paper mill town in Maine. I left there when I was 11, so may have escaped some of the more serious impacts of mill towns in the 60s/70s.

    Jim

    I’ll let Rocky answer this since it’s addressed to him, but he spells all that out in his book:

    http://tinyurl.com/a8c8pz2

  18. Finding a facility for a coronary calcium scan can be easy or frustratingly difficult, depending upon your location. In the Dallas/Austin area, for example, I’ve found locations that do so without a prescription for $49 to $149. Other parts of the country have similar deals (I’ve seen them in the Atlanta and Seattle areas). I speculate that cardiology practices will use a calcium scan as a loss leader, hoping to pick up new patients or scan facilities will book them during what would otherwise be scanner idle times. I’d start with a Google search for “coronary calcium scan” or “heartscan,” coupled with your geographic location. Be sure and don’t confuse this with a contrast-enhanced CT angiography, which is the same scan, only with a contrast dye injected into your arm.

    The other tests are ones that your doctor should be able to order. Whether you’ll get pushback from your doctor or whether your insurance company will pay (if you have insurance) is another matter. There are also online options (privatemdlabs.com, directlabs.com, and their ilk) where you can order tests directly, should that work better for you.

    -Rocky.

  19. Lobstah says:

    Thanks, Rocky.
    I called one cardiology facility this afternoon. When I finally got them to understand what test I was interested in, the response from the nurse was “Oh…well that’s really new. And you would need a prescription as the test costs thousands of dollars.” I explained that friend of mine in a city not too far away had had the test performed for $400, she said she’d never heard of that, and didn’t understand why I’d want the test anyway, if my doctor hadn’t requested it for diagnostic reasons. Fairly funny conversation, actually. I explained that my understanding was that most “indicators” wouldn’t really “indicate” unless I had a blockage in excess of roughly 80%, and wouldn’t you think it would be good to know that you had a 60% blockage?…or even 70%? She said no, because the DOCTOR wouldn’t take any action unless it was over 85% anyway.

    I thanked her for her time and her information ;) Tomorrow, I’ll take up the search again.

    Jim

    The doctor doesn’t take action until you have 15% of your capacity left?!!

    Head. Bang. On. Desk.

  20. Lobstah says:

    Tom,
    I know. She was completely mystified that someone would pay for any test out of their own pocket that a doctor hadn’t requested. Completely foreign concept. One of the many many things wrong with out healthcare system. It’s as if you weren’t supposed to check your own oil in the engine in your car, and the “authorities” only “authorize” adding oil when the oil level is down 80%…which by then, of course, your motor is basically destroyed.
    She had clearly never heard of such a thing.

    It is amazing.

    Jim

  21. Lobstah says:

    Btw…my deepest apologies for hijacking the thread…wasn’t my intent…feel free to purge, and I’ll try to keep myself in check.

    Jim

    No worries. The comments section is meant to be a useful forum as well.

  22. None of this surprises me.

    When researching calcium scanning options for a friend in Seattle, I found a facility whose web site said that they will not perform coronary calcium scanning on “anyone with existing coronary artery disease.”

    In other words, we have this great tool for precisely quantifying coronary artery plaque but we won’t use it on anyone who we know to have coronary artery plaque.

    This is no different than the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes: If your fasting glucose is 110 mg/dL and your postprandial glucose is 200 or more, you’re “at risk” or “pre-diabetic.”

    Coming up next: “If you have a fetus in you, you may be pregnant.”

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