Tag Archives: Paleo

A taco-stuffed sweet potato? Another great recipe from Paleohacks

The great recipe team at Paleohacks has shared another tasty dish with Roam. This Mexican-inspired recipe features sweet potatoes stuffed with taco meat and topped with homemade guacamole for a single serving meal everyone will love!

Ditch the tortilla and stuff your favorite taco fixings inside tender roasted sweet potatoes for a filling and guilt-free meal.

Tacos are a dinner staple that everyone can agree on. However, when following a Paleo lifestyle, tortillas can be difficult to replace. Traditional tortillas and other grain-filled foods can cause bloating, which is why sweet potatoes are such a great alternative. Plus, they’re big enough to stuff with drool-worthy toppings for a fun twist on taco night.

Grass-fed ground beef carries the smoky taco spices, like cumin, onion powder, and chili powder. A little tomato paste adds to the tangy zip. And as we all know, no taco is complete without a scoop of creamy guacamole. This one is kept simple with chopped onion, cilantro, and jalapeños so you can mash it together while the meat sizzles on the stove.

stuffed sweet potatoes

Get started by greasing the sweet potatoes with avocado oil, which helps to lightly crisp up the skins. Bake for one hour, then let the sweet potatoes cool at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

Meanwhile, heat ground beef in a skillet until browned, then stir in dry seasonings, tomato paste, and a little water. Cook about five minutes more.

While the taco meat cooks, make the guacamole by mashing an avocado until just slightly chunky. Add red onion, cilantro, sea salt, and jalapeños.

When everything’s ready, slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise and fill it up with taco meat. Top with a scoop of guacamole and finish with freshly diced tomatoes. Enjoy it while it’s hot!

stuffed sweet potatoes

Other great toppings to include:

  • Pickled jalapeño
  • Diced mango
  • Sliced radishes
  • Chopped bell pepper 

Tip: Try baking up a few additional sweet potatoes so you can have these decadent sweet potato brownies for dessert!

Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potato 

Prep time- 10 minutes

Cook time- 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total time- 1 hour, 25 minutes

Serves- 4 


Parchment paper

Baking sheet



Small bowl 


stuffed sweet potatoes

4 sweet potatoes

1 T avocado oil

1 lb ground beef

1 T ground cumin

2 t chili powder

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t onion powder

1/4 t cayenne pepper

2 T tomato paste

1/4 cup water

1 medium ripe avocado

2 T red onion, chopped

1 T cilantro

1 T minced jalapeños

1/4 t sea salt

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Grease the outsides of the sweet potatoes with avocado oil and set on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, then let cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, using a spatula to break up the meat. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in dry seasonings, tomato paste, and water until thoroughly combined. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

5. While the taco meat cooks, prepare the topping: Mash an avocado in a small bowl. Add the chopped red onion, cilantro, jalapeños, and sea salt. Stir well.

6. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them down the center lengthwise. Stuff with the taco meat, then add a scoop of the guacamole and diced tomatoes and serve.

If you liked this recipe, then you’ll love this sweet potato cheeseburger casserole recipe that you can make with just one pan.



The Carnivore Diet: What is it, and is it right for you

Imagine a diet consisting of meat and potatoes, sans the potatoes.

While some of you are probably thinking, “Sign me up!” others are left wondering, “…You call this a diet?”

The Carnivore Diet is exactly what the name implies — a diet consisting of only meat; no vegetables, fruit, nuts, or any other plant foods. While it’s gained quite a bit of attention this past year, scientific research to support its health benefits is still limited. Those who follow it swear by it, claiming it leads to weight loss and a host of other health benefits.

The Carnivore Diet: What is it?

Picture what a true carnivore’s diet entails, and you have the answer to your question. A carnivore diet for humans means meal after meal consisting entirely of meat and animal products. No plant matter whatsoever.

Yes, you read that correctly. Enjoy all the ribeye steaks and bacon you want, but anything grown—not raised—from the ground is off-limits.

While a salad-free diet might sound enticing to some, others wonder how it could possibly provide the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that humans need to grow and thrive.

The Carnivore Diet was relatively unheard of until late last year (there was a 10X spike in searches for the diet from October through December). Shawn Baker, an orthopedic surgeon and world record holder in master’s rowing, gained quite a bit of attention for his zero-carb way of life. Baker followed a strict, carnivore meal plan (mostly red meat) for an entire year. As a result, his strength and performance in the gym soared.

Often confused with Keto and other low-carb diets, the Carnivore Diet is distinct because it only contains animal products:

  • Meat (mostly red meat)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Other animal-derived products (butter, organ meats, bone broth)

The philosophy behind the Carnivore Diet states that humans need only protein, vitamins, and minerals to survive. However, those last two—vitamins and minerals—can actually come from animal sources (more on this later).


The benefits of a zero-carb diet

So what are the health benefits of an all-meat, no-plants lifestyle? Following a strict carnivore meal plan cuts out all unnecessary sugar and carbs. Though scientists told us for decades that saturated fats were linked to heart disease and other ailments, new studies show that other foods might bear some responsibility.

Similar studies show that low-carb diets lead to faster, more-prolonged weight loss than low-fat diets. Contradicting studies from the ‘70s, low-carb diets actually help lower cholesterol which can improve heart health.

When eating only meat, individuals report increased strength and muscle mass. This is usually credited to the unsurpassable protein intake — often topping 200 grams in a single day.

It’s not just about the sheer quantity of protein, either. Meat and eggs are considered “complete proteins,” containing all nine essential amino acids. While there are twenty amino acids available for consumption, “essential” refers to those the human body can’t produce on its own. Plant-based protein sources like lentils and nuts contain a few, you’ll only find all nine within carnivorous sources.  

“But what about fiber, vitamins, and minerals?!” you ask. A carnivore diet contains much more than we’re led to believe. Red meat, in particular, contains B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and other minerals. Chicken and other types of poultry contain high amounts of phosphorus, choline, and B vitamins.

Results of the Carnivore Diet

Many individuals transitioning to the zero-carb approach started with a more moderate, low-carb diet — think Keto or Paleo. After experiencing decreased inflammation, better cognition, and a slick digestive system (yes, we went there); they thought, “Why not take it one step further?”

At Meat Healsa site Dr. Baker references frequently on social media—individuals share their personal stories and successes after switching to a carnivore meal plan. Eating an all-meat diet has people raving about their results, including fat loss, top-notch blood work, and improved symptoms related to a variety of diseases.

One woman claims following the Carnivore Diet helped cure her constipation, as well as bloating, water retention, and skin issues. Another man reports eating a diet of all animals and no plants completely cleared his acne (a constant issue, even at thirty years of age). One jaw-dropping story—126 pounds down in six months—by a man who saw little success with a ketogenic diet, states he no longer needs his diabetes medication.

Is the Carnivore Diet just another name for Keto?

All carnivore diets are ketogenic by nature, but not all keto diets qualify as the Carnivore Diet. Make sense?

An individual following a strict, carnivore diet plan would—undoubtedly—enter ketosis. Both Keto and the Carnivore Diet include meat, eggs, fish, and small amounts of dairy. Followers of both diets report on the seemingly limitless physical and mental health benefits. The similarities, however, appear to end there.

Keto follows a low-carb (but not a zero-carb) approach. Iron Man competitor Ben Greenfield claims to eat 100-150 grams of carbs—even 200g on a high-mileage day—and stays in ketosis. Keto also encourages the consumption of low-carb plants, such as leafy greens and other vegetables (fruits, due to their high sugar content, are typically avoided). Plant-based protein sources and cooking fats such as coconut oil, brazil nuts, and coconut milk are highly encouraged.

So….Is it right for you?

That’s for you to decide. You certainly won’t see some of us giving up our avocados and kale anytime soon.

When switching to any diet, it all depends on how you feel. Many individuals report unprecedented health benefits when transitioning to Paleo, while others had to take it one step further—say AIP or Keto—to experience the full benefits.

Almost any diet can be beneficial, just as any diet can be detrimental. Take the popular gluten-free diet, which so many people swear by as a solution to health issues ranging from pain and inflammation to hyperactivity and concentration problems. Despite the potential health benefits of a gluten-free diet, not all gluten-free foods are healthy and there are plenty of gluten-free items on the grocery shelf that don’t belong in our carts (like cheese puffs, for instance).

It boils down to this: The quality of your food choices matters. Particularly if you’re limiting your plate to only one-or-two food groups, then ensure you’re maximizing the nutrients you get from those foods. If you decide to opt for an all-meat diet, then ensure the cuts of meat you consume are of the utmost quality. Grass-fed meats and pasture-raised eggs will take you further than their lower quality equivalents. Plus, unlike other carnivores, your dinner can be delivered right to your doorstep.

What about you? What are your thoughts on the Carnivore Diet?

Would you ever try eating all animals, no plants, for thirty days or more? Do you know anyone who’s tried it? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Paul Hermann and Unsplash

A chat with Cassy Joy Garcia, the force behind Fed and Fit

Cassy Joy Garcia is a truly inspirational entrepreneur. 

Talking with her recently, Cassy’s exuberance and passion for Fed and Fit —the healthy eating and mindset project she founded — and more importantly, life in general, was apparent within moments of starting our discussion.

Cassy has been blogging about living a happy, healthy life since 2011. In her early twenties, the Texas A&M University graduate dealt with consistent joint pain, fatigue, and anxiety. Figuring that a change in her diet, and the type of foods she was eating, might make a difference, she not only started learning about nutrition but began writing about her experiences as well. 

Shifting to a grain-free, dairy-free, artificial ingredient-free lifestyle, what she describes as “Paleo before I knew that Paleo was a thing,” Cassy felt better, lost weight, and had more energy. She started writing about her experiences to share what she had learned with family and friends. That has evolved into Fed and Fit, a company built around Cassy’s nutrition and lifestyle advice, recipes, a book, podcasts, and a massive community of like-minded souls.

I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy our conversation (which happened in the last weeks of Cassy’s pregnancy) and I can only hope that the joy she has for Fed and Fit, and helping others comes through in our talk. 

ButcherBox: Cassy, great to chat. Can you tell our readers about how Fed and Fit came to be?

Cassy Joy Garcia: I’m a  certified nutrition consultant, but I started my blog before that happened. About eight or nine years ago. I started to try some sort of a Paleo-type diet. I had dieted for years before that with no real success and then started a “real-foods-type” of a protocol. This is kind of before Paleo is the thing it is today, so that’s not what I called it.I just thought that it made a lot of sense nutrition science-wise as far as being anti-inflammatory, and it worked.

After about nine months I wanted to figure out how to turn it from a diet into a real-life solution because I had felt so great for the first time in my life.

Prior to this breakthrough, in my early twenties, I had some joint pain that was pretty debilitating and was always kind of sleepy. But you know, when you live with these sort of chronic conditions you don’t realize that they’re optional. So when those started to clear up is when I really realized that I wanted to keep eating that way, so I started to get creative in the kitchen and came up with different recipes instead of just eating grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every night.

I guess a major milestone came about nine months later when I really realized how far I had come and after eating mostly real foods, eliminating grains, eliminating artificial sweeteners, eliminating all the unhealthy fats, and also incorporating a mixed fitness program that had a lot of strength training in it. I had gone down a grand total of five dress sizes, from about a 10-12 to about a 2-4, but I hadn’t lost really a lot of weight because I built a lot of muscle over that time. My joint pain was gone and I had more energy than ever; I was sleeping better, too. All that wonderful stuff! And I had friends and family who were asking me what I was doing, and what I was eating, and so, the easiest way for me to share that was on a website.

So I started a website and it just blossomed from there. I had folks who started to find the website and ask really great questions as time went on, and so, in order to answer their great questions, I went back to school to get better answers. That’s when I became a nutritional consultant through Bowman College.

From that point, I could work with folks one-on-one. When my docket of clients was full —you know my dance card was essentially too full to take on any more clients — I turned that into an online program, that I called the Fed and Fit project.

BB: Which led to a book, right?

CJG: Eventually, I took the program and combined with about almost 200 new recipes which turned into my first book. Published through Victory Belt, Fed & Fit came out in the fall of 2016. Its got a copy of the program in there, of course.

Things with Fed and Fit just kept growing. The online program is a bit more robust now. Also, I got involved in not just food, but in a larger education piece.

It’s not just about giving somebody a really great casserole recipe, it’s about educating them on why these ingredients are important and why it can really make a big difference to cook from home more often than not.

Now I operate from the standpoint that knowledge is power. I think that when we know better we do better, not only in relation world around us and how to make an impact on folks weight loss goals — because that’s usually what draws people in first — but also in terms of the impact we can have on just the health of the of the earth overall and our pocketbooks long-term when it comes to medical costs. There’s also the impacts we’re having long-term on the health of our family and our loved ones, so I’ve gotten into some more lifestyle coaching with Fed and Fit.

Now we talk about safer skincare ingredients and the sourcing of that. We dive into that a bit more in the podcast.  It’s just kind of taken off. We’ve been able to build a very nice small team of nutrition consultants and therapy practitioners at Fed and Fit, and we’re just working to bring good content out.

BB: What was the experience of writing the book like? Was that something you’d thought you’d do for a long time?

CJG: You know it was definitely a goal of mine. I feel like I’m an educator at heart, and I had a lot of things that I wanted to teach.

A book really just made a lot of sense. It was a really good and concise place to write my ideas in one spot. Writing a book definitely became a goal of mine when I realized professionally that Fed and Fit was my path. 

What I learned from the process was that it is best not to rush into it. I really took my time with that book, and I probably could have published a book years before, but I decided to wait until I really felt like I was answering a need. 

Also, writing a book is a lot of work and takes a lot of patience. But then again, there’s no substitute for really hard work and doing the research and taking your time. Additionally, it was important to make sure I was asking my audience for their thoughts throughout the process. Ask what would serve them well and what kind of information they were looking for.


BB: What has been surprising, looking back, on building a business around the blog posts, the book, the podcasts, and more?

CJG: I think one of the things that I like to tell folks who think that they want to become a full-time blogger is that there are no shortcuts. I think that especially when it comes to starting a program and writing a book and really figuring out how to serve people, you have to be out there. You have to listen to what questions are being asked, and there’s no shortcut for that.

There’s no shortcut for listening to questions that your readers are asking and doing the research, trying to bring them better content, and then, sometimes, going back to the drawing board. Also, when you write constantly, you are in an always in edit/draft/publish mode. I think that that’s really important to understand, that and knowing that you can’t just come out with a program, take an Instagram class, and in turn a blog into a business overnight.

You have to really be serving people and figure out what it is that they’re looking for.

BB: What’s next for you and Fed and Fit?

CJG: That’s a good question. You know, we’re chatting in January, so we have all these new folks enrolled in the Fed and Fit project in January. They’re just some of the most excited and engaged people, and so it’s a lot of fun to work with folks who understand that the point of the project is not to just be another diet.

It’s great to constantly be learning what works for your body and working with people to have those “A-ha” moments when they realize they don’t have to be shackled to a dieting program the rest of their lives. It is really rewarding. 

I also really love the lifestyle piece. I’m kind of moving my blog content in a direction that is not just some recipes and some nutrition science facts but more towards how to make good decisions in our everyday life. I like talking more about the products we’re using in our homes to clean, the products we’re using on our bodies, and how we’re making those decisions. We like to present that information in a way that it allows folks to make those decisions for themselves. It’s a really fun riddle to solve.

I’ve always loved getting into the lifestyle stuff in the podcast because that just jives really well with my personality.

BB: How has your pregnancy impacted some of the content and work you are doing with Fed and Fit?

CJG: On a personal note, the pregnancy definitely brings to mind that I’m not just eating these nutrients for me but that I’m eating them for the two of us. So the priority has been on, for example, pastured beef and making sure I’m getting in those organ meats. So that perspective has definitely shifted and solidified in a sense. Even though it’s always been a priority.

I definitely think that Fed and Fit is also going to continue to grow as our family grows in terms of content. It’s a balancing act between the decisions we’re making in the home, and then what we publish on the blog. It has been a pretty fun adventure, but yeah, we will have more baby and family columns coming out in the future.

BB: That’s fantastic, good luck. Shifting a bit, when and how did first learn about grass-fed beef?

CJG: Oh, man, it was so long ago. I really don’t remember where I first learned about it.

I try to tell folks considering where to invest their grocery dollars is that one of the best investments you can make on your grocery bill is in really high-quality proteins and high-quality fats. If you’re looking for a place to really splurge that it would be there because of the benefits of pastured proteins — truly grass-fed and grass-finished proteins.

It can have such a tremendous positive impact on our health when you think about the fats and the absence of hormones and antibiotics that conventional cattle and other livestock are fed. I really try to prioritize those healthy proteins above all.

BB: What differences do you notice between grass-fed v. grain-fed meat?

CJG: I think that as with any industry, someone is going to muddy the waters with marketing, so it’s on us as consumers have to be more and more diligent about making sure we’re getting exactly what we want. When we go to the grocery store, and we pick up something that says grass-fed beef, and it’s cheaper than the other grass-fed beef sitting next to it, you have to realize that there’s a chance that it’s not actually grass-fed, grass-finished. 

I think it is important for consumers to also be really vigilant about knowing and doing research on the companies that you are sourcing your products from.

I love ButcherBox because I trust the sourcing process that you guys go through. And I trust you to recommend the best to my readers.

We need to make sure that we’re going with companies that are going the extra mile for us. So while it’s okay to get some of those proteins from the grocery store, it’s better to go through a real-life cow share with somebody or a rancher that you know and trust or a company, like ButcherBox that has gone the extra mile to source those proteins.

BB: What else should we look for from Fed and Fit in 2018?

CJG: So we’ve got some big things coming out this year.

Number one will be a new podcast kind of unrelated to Fed and Fit. We’re going to call it “The Joy Report,” and we’re just going to share what it seems like people are really hungry for: Positivity and good news. We’re gonna share really fun stories that we get from around the world, so, we’ll probably have that coming out sometime this spring.

I am also working on some sort of a casserole business. We want to make it so that folks will be able to actually order a casserole and have it delivered to them.

Lastly, there may be the potential for another book in the works.

BB: Wow, that’s a lot! Cassy, it has been great meeting you and hearing about Fed and Fit. Most importantly, good luck with the soon-to-arrive baby! 

CJG: Thank you!

BB: To learn more about Fed and Fit, check out Cassy’s website. Also, you should definitely check out the podcast and the Fed & Fit book.


Jessica Beacom and Stacie Hassing.

Jessica Beacom and Stacie Hassing – A chat with the Real Food Dietitians

Jessica Beacom and Stacie Hassing, are the Real Food Dietitians, registered dietitian nutritionists who have built an incredibly resource-full platform to share their nutrition insights as well as healthy recipes for everyday life.

They hold Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics degrees. Jess received hers from Montana State University-Bozeman, and Stacie’s is from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Jessica has been involved in nutrition for more than 15 years and has long been an advocate optimal health can be derived from following a real food diet. Stacie, who lives in Minnesota, loves being able to help people develop a healthy, more mindful relationship with real foods.

ButcherBox had the chance to catch up with Jessica and Stacie recently to find out some of the stories behind the founding of The Real Food Dietitians and their relationships with food, diets, and, most importantly, high-quality meat.

ButcherBox: How did you first connect and what has it been like growing The Real Food Dietitians together?

Jessica Beacom: We met in June 2014 in New York City at an online business conference — that, interestingly, we both almost didn’t attend at the last minute.

We were both working in private practice at the time and decided to be ‘accountability’ partners for projects we were both working on. It wasn’t until six months later that we had our first phone call and we decided to collaborate on a 10-12 recipe eBook that we could use as a lead magnet for each of our websites.

Well, that little project turned into a 96-page, full-color book and program. We run our business via Google Drive, email, phone, and text, with quarterly ‘work-cations’ at each other’s house or a conference, etc.

BB: Your role as registered dietitian nutritionists informs a lot of your eating choices and the advice and recipes you share with others, how did you end up going down that career road in the first place? When did you first realize the importance of being selective with the foods you consume?

JB: I’ll be honest, I never planned to get a degree in anything other than skiing, whitewater kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits but somehow I ended up in a freshman nutrition course in the fall of 1996 and instantly knew it was my jam.

I became fascinated by the connection between eating healthy food and my physical performance; I’m a huge biochemistry nerd, so it just felt like the right career. In the days since finishing my internship at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, I’ve worked in public health, clinical/acute care, long-term care, outpatient diabetes counseling, and, finally, a private practice where I specialized in food sensitivities, digestive disorders, and autoimmunity.

Though I saw the connection between healthy eating and physical performance early on, it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition in 2007 that I was able to discover the true power of healthy eating.

Through testing, trial, error, and more trial and error with my diet, I have successfully put my autoimmune disease into full remission, and I’m now the healthiest, strongest, and fittest I’ve ever been my entire adult life. Clearly, food can be powerful medicine!

Stacie Hassing: My interest in nutrition was sparked during my involvement in high school sports. In fact, early in my junior year, I was already making plans to study becoming a dietitian in college. (That or a meteorologist.)

Having a ‘sensitive’ stomach most of my life and being involved in sports in both high school and college helped me to realize the importance of nourishing my body with the foods that make me feel and perform my best. It also helped me understand how individuality is important for both diet and nutrition.

Throughout my career as a dietitian, I have personally made some changes to my food choices. I have moved away from calorie counting and low-fat dieting and now today focus on eating wholesome and real foods in a balanced manner — food that is minimally-processed and nutrient-dense. My journey to a ‘real food’ diet began when I set out on a mission to heal my ‘sensitive’ stomach and break away from being an obsessive calorie counter. Thanks to the Whole30 I broke free of the obsessive dieting mentality — I can clearly remember the first time I ate a whole egg!

The power of nutrition and how it can make an incredible impact on one’s health and quality of life is simply amazing to experience firsthand. I’m so happy not only with my choice to become a registered dietitian, but also to be able to share my passion through The Real Food Dietitians blog.

BB: Which diets do you think are best for most people and why?

JB and SH: We don’t believe that there is any singularly ‘best’ diet for most people because everybody is not designed to eat every food. Nutrition is very individual, and we encourage paying close attention to how the food you are choosing to eat makes you feel physically and mentally. We’re a great example of that because while our own diets are the same in many ways, they are also quite different.

JB: I tend to eat more Paleo and stick to the lower end of the spectrum regarding carbs (except for recovery on heavy lifting days or endurance activities). The Whole30 program was my ‘gateway’ to autoimmune Paleo and then ultimately Paleo in general. I have a few non-Paleo splurges from time to time, like Jackson’s Honest Tortilla Chips and white rice/rice noodles. But I am now quite aware, after over five years of tinkering with my diet and observing how I feel, that there are foods that I just don’t feel great eating, so I tend to avoid them.

SH: Like Jess, the Whole30 program was the start of my journey to discovering the foods that work best for me as well as breaking away from the world of calorie counting, fat-free yogurt, egg whites, and Snackwells.

I made the change over three years ago, and since then I have been able to add more flexibility to my diet by adding full-fat dairy and a few gluten-free grains here and there, all while focusing on foods that are wholesome and nourishing and make me feel my best.

Bottom line? The best diet is the one that makes you feel your best!

BB: What has been most surprising to you about the response to The Real Food Dietitians?

JB: Honestly, we wake up every day with an immense sense of gratitude — and surprise — for how far we’ve come in just under two years. Like any job worth doing, there are times when the excitement and passion we have for this gives way to the overwhelming feelings that are part of the grind. But seeing our Instagram inbox filled each day with messages thanking us for what we do makes it all worthwhile.

BB: Any inclination to ever not eat meat, steak, etc.?

JB: I dabbled in vegetarianism/veganism in college and during my internship as a way to lose weight and later on as a way to try to arrest the debilitating symptoms of my autoimmune disease. However, I never really felt good eating that way.

I later came to realize that I actually felt worse going full vegan because all of the grains, legumes, and soy were actually contributing to the worsening of my autoimmune condition. I now find that red meat is my favorite because it’s naturally high in iron and is, for me, the most satisfying.

SH: While I’ve never followed a vegetarian or vegan diet, there was once a time when I avoided eating red meat altogether for fear that it would increase my risk of heart disease and cancer.

Educating myself about the nutrients found in red meat and the importance of high-quality meat has removed that fear. Now, I am very particular about where the meat that I eat comes from, making sure it’s from a quality source. With all of the controversial information on the web regarding meat, it’s no wonder so many are confused like I once was.

BB: What is your take on grass-fed beef?

JB: I firmly believe that grass-fed and grass-finished beef is not only a healthier meat to eat, but it’s also better for the planet from a sustainability perspective.

I first learned about the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed meat in college when conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was first identified as a type of fat with anti-inflammatory properties. I even did a radio spot on behalf of the Montana Cattlewomen’s Association, talking about the benefits of grass-fed meat.

Before that though, I was lucky enough to have grown up with a dad and brother that hunted and fished for much of what we ate. When I pressed about why we didn’t buy beef from the store like ‘normal families,’ my dad always replied, “The animals we eat have eaten what they’re meant to eat — so that makes them healthier.” I don’t think he had any scientific data to back that claim up but rather, was following the lead of his ancestors. Smart guy.

Later in life, after I found that veganism wasn’t the diet for me, I took it upon myself to learn and experience as much as I could about how meat, poultry, and seafood are raised here in the U.S.

I’ve visited large family farms thanks to family friends who let me see the inside of their conventional operations, I’ve traveled to Chile to see the destruction caused by salmon farming, and I’ve volunteered on small family farms who do things ‘the old-fashioned way.’ I also raise free-range birds for eggs and meat.

I’ve also seen both sides of the coin when it comes to processing animals and have learned to process them myself in a more humane way. I didn’t have to do any of this; I wanted to do it. I also wanted to become fully informed about the choices I make when I go grocery shopping each week.

BB: What have you noticed about eating grass-fed meat versus grain-fed?

SH: In the kitchen, we’ve noticed that grass-fed meat tastes richer; it’s leaner, and it has less shrinkage when cooked compared to grain-fed meat.

BB: What do you value most when making decisions about the foods you eat and feed your family?

JB: For my family, I choose organically-grown produce (local when possible) whenever I can and source raw dairy products from a local farmer.

As for meat and poultry, we try to make bulk purchases from local farmers, but sometimes that doesn’t always work out. That’s when it’s great to have ButcherBox as an option. I can get the quality and convenience I want with just the click of a button.


Mark Sisson on living a well-balanced, healthy, and active life

Mark Sisson is not only a leading voice on how to eat healthy foods and maintain peak athletic performance, but he is the embodiment of what better living is really all about.

At age 63, Mark is able to balance family, business, pleasure, and an active lifestyle better than anyone we’ve ever met. And he doesn’t run just any business, he manages an entire multimedia and retail operation that includes books, blogs, restaurants, online stores, publishing, and coaching. What’s more, he does all that and still has time to play ultimate Frisbee each week, spend time with his family, and workout or paddleboard when the calling comes.

Mark is a truly incredible person, and we were lucky to catch up with him and to ask him about how he evolved from a champion runner to the face of a massive life-changing organization.

ButcherBox: Mark, great to catch up. Can you talk about the progression of your running career to being an advocate for eating healthy foods to improve performance?

Mark Sisson: In my early running career, I ran track at Williams College and later went on to finish 5th in the USA Marathon Championship. I qualified for the 1980 US Olympic Marathon Trials but had to miss that “career goal” race due to issues with overtraining and a highly inflammatory diet. I was disheartened, to say the least. I was competing at the highest caliber class, but issues like arthritis, IBS, tendonitis (the list goes on) were inhibiting my competitive career.

After losing both health and vitality through the training regimen and the highly inflammatory diet, I vowed that I would find a way to be as fit, strong, and healthy as possible, with the least amount of pain, suffering, and sacrifice required.

After extensive research and years of experimenting, I regained my health and enjoyment of life by simply changing how I ate. That was a huge epiphany: Food was 80% of the solution to ALL my health issues.

BB: What led you to write The Primal Blueprint?

MS: I was so blown away by the dramatic shifts in my own health that came from simply rethinking my food choices, that I started to wonder how many tens or hundreds of millions of others might be suffering the same fate.

I started blogging in 2006 at Mark’s Daily Apple about my life’s transformation with this incredible new way of eating and living. Since then, millions of people have followed the advice in my blog and seen remarkable transformations themselves. The response led me to take the lessons I had learned and shared on my blog and organize them in a comprehensive book, The Primal Blueprint. Later, I went on to put those same (and new) findings into the book Primal Endurance, which details the changes I made to my training and fitness regimen.

BB: What has been most surprising, looking back, about the reactions to your books and blog posts?

MS: Beyond the millions of readers, tens of thousands of testimonials, thousands of before and after pics, I guess I am most surprised (pleasantly) by the number of health professionals who have reached out and told me that they have completely changed the way they treat patients.

I would also add that the immediate traction our Primal Kitchen® products received right out of the blocks was a testament to the demand for clean foods that I and a number of other bloggers have espoused for over a decade now.

BB: What is your take on grass-fed meats?

MS: Not only am I in favor of consuming grass-fed meats, I firmly believe farming grass-fed animals represent one of the only ways to effectively reclaim barren and/or desertified land and generate enough new topsoil to be able to grow healthy vegetables. It’s critical to our ability to feed more people. (Vegetarians, too!)


BB: What were some of the realizations that made you feel that way about grass-fed?

MS: The fatty acid profile is superior in grass-fed meats. Also, grass-fed animals are generally living in better conditions, consuming the foods for which they are evolutionarily suited; as such, they are generally free from antibiotics and added hormones.  The #1 realization came while eating one of the best grass-fed steaks I ever had in one of my ButcherBox deliveries!

BB: What have you noticed about eating grass-fed meat versus grain-fed?

MS: Probably the weird fact that I feel more satisfied with less meat eating grass-fed versus grain-fed. I like that since I have a tendency to overdo a nice big steak.

BB:  What do you value most when making decisions about the foods you eat?

MS: First and foremost, it has to taste great. I don’t put anything in my mouth that doesn’t taste fabulous—no matter how “healthy” you tell me it is. Having said that, the ingredients must all be nutritious and “clean.” No bad oils, nasty artificial flavors, sweeteners, refined carbs, etc.

BB: When did you discover the idea of a paleo or (neo-paleo) diet?

MS: As a young kid, I actually remember gravitating towards a few food options, like soup made from full chicken (or bone broth as we know it today) and, without knowing it then, other foods that were nourishing what my body craved.

But, my primal instincts really began to ignite in high school and as a pre-med student at Williams College when I could read and learn as much as I could about anatomy, biology, anthropology, food systems and so on. I was fascinated by evolution and decided early in my career to use evolution as the lens through which I would evaluate most of my diet and lifestyle choices.

BB: What is it like to run a business built around books and a blog focused on healthy eating and athletic performance?

MS: It’s a dream come true, actually, to have a business based entirely on my passions for eating healthful and great-tasting food, having fun staying fit, and educating people on how to regain excellent health.

BB: How do you separate yourself from the noise in the healthy food and diet industry?

MS: That’s difficult at times. There are so many companies that are trying to enter the “better for you” space in food. But we keep upping the ante with each of our endeavors. Our Primal Kitchen Restaurants are designed to offer clean eating fast casual breakfast,

There are so many companies that are trying to enter the “better for you” space in food. But we keep upping the ante with each of our endeavors. Our Primal Kitchen Restaurants are designed to offer clean eating fast casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There our emphasis is on tasty “curated” signature dishes — versus the proliferation of “protein bowl with side” concepts. The idea was to have a place anyone and everyone of any eating style could go to and get a great-tasting meal based on clean, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low or no sugars.

Our Primal Kitchen food company is centered around making healthy sauces, dressings, and snacks. We recognized that once you get rid of grains, sugars, and industrial seed oils, you are left with a relatively small list of clean food ingredients available on a regular basis — such as meat, fish, fowl, eggs nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruit.

What makes the difference, and what keeps eating healthy exciting, is what you put on the food—the herbs, spices, sauces, dressings, etc. The response to these products has been overwhelmingly positive and made us one of the fastest growing food companies in the US last year.

BB: Wow. Some really amazing insight Mark. Thank you for the time to talk! Make sure you check out Mark’s books, blog, and the Primal Kitchen restaurants and store. If you want to read more about Mark, check out Outside Magazine’s great profile of him last year.

Also, look out for The Keto Reset Diet, Mark’s book coming out on October 3rd.