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Reflections on Lard - and vitamins A, D, E & K

Posted by: Trevor

August 8, 2012

For the past year, we've been eating a considerable amount of lard. By considerable, I mean nearly every day. Usually for breakfast.

Most of the lard we eat is used in the frying pan, alongside our own eggs and sausages.

Yes, it tastes good. But I've been particularly intrigued by lard because of its purported health benefits. Lard (from outdoor pigs raised on pasture) is supposed to be a "superfood" because of its phenomenal monounsaturated fat profile and high vitamin A/D content.

As a sidenote, I should point out that the details on lard's nutritional profile are still fairly obscure --- not too much research is out there. Plus, most of the research that's been done on lard is for barn-raised confinement pigs, whose lard is utterly different from outdoor pastured pigs raised in the sun.

Our pigs have acres to run around --- here they appear to be flying.

However, the data does point to a "vitamin A-like factor" in lard. And as for the vitamin D content of lard from outdoor pigs, there seems to be a good amount of documentation to suggest it's very high. But what does all this mean?

Well, to me, it's all very interesting but a bit academic. I'm not a scientist. Rather, I just think it makes sense that if you eat good food from animals which live the way they were designed to, you should experience health benefits. So have we experienced any?

Well, we've always been pretty healthy, even before we started to farm. But since we've become lard aficionados, I've noticed two small things which I think are telling. First, the disappearance of white spots on my fingernails (the kind you get when you bash them by accident). Since my youth, I've always had them, even when I haven't bashed them. But for the past year I haven't. Is it the lard? My opinion is a definite maybe.

Second, and more important, I don't seem to sunburn anymore. This one is downright surprising to me. Often on the farm, I'm out in the sun for long periods. I used to burn quite easily, whereas now, I might get a little bit reddish but no pain and no real burn --- even when I've been out in the middle of the field under a blazing summer sun for hours.

"OK," maybe you're thinking. "You're getting older and your skin is just getting more leathery and cardboard'ish." Could be. But the interesting thing is that the children don't seem to burn like they used to either --- even though they are very fair.

Is all this because of lard? Just my hunch. I'd be interested in hearing from others about their lard experiences.

But back to the data. The thing about vitamins A, D, E & K is that they're all fat-soluble. In order to absorb these vitamins in your digestive tract, you need to ingest them with fat. Plus, researchers are telling us that most of the population is dangerously deficient in vitamins D and K. So it seems to me, if I'm ingesting a fair amount of healthy fats each day, then I should have all the ammo I need to absorb whatever nutrients I'm getting in the foods I eat.

All those green plants are food for the pigs. The nutrients get stored in their fat.

It makes me wonder if our efforts to eat healthy foods are somewhat in vain if we're not eating healthy fats alongside them. Thankfully, I can attest that since we've been eating lard, we're getting plenty of good fat. And, when we combine the lard with pastured fried eggs and grass-only beef sausages, we're multiplying our nutritious fat intake dramatically. Plus, it's all wonderfully delicious.

If you haven't added healthy lard from outdoor pigs to your diet yet, now's your chance.

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