by Mark Sisson: 8
Ways to Reduce Your Chemical Load
plan to herald the birth of an early Jewish radical, celebrate your
Pan-African heritage and tradition, stimulate the lagging economy,
perform feats of strength around the Festivus pole, observe the
lighting of the menorah, or participate in Saturnalia, Yule, Modranect,
or any of the other winter solstice celebrations, the latter half
of December is generally devoted to gift-giving and gift-receiving.
Or maybe you’re not religious at all and just use the season
as an excuse to let friends and loved ones know how much they mean
to you. That works just as well. Whatever your motivations for giving
gifts, it’s important that they be meaningful to the recipient
– that they reflect an understanding of what makes them tick.
And so, since Primal living tends to be infectious, I imagine you
need some good gift ideas for the meat-eating, barefooted, weight-lifting,
lard-rendering grain-abstainers in your life. We do this every year,
and it tends to serve two purposes: help people give Primal gifts
and raise awareness of products that deserve to be seen. Today,
I’ll try to do the same.
5.0 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer
upright freezers get higher marks, but they are more than double
the price of chest freezers. I have this exact
model myself and, though it can’t handle an entire steer,
it’s big enough to house a whole lamb, a couple goats, half
a pig, and a quarter cow (not all at once, of course) and small
enough to fit even a studio apartment.
been talking about finally doing that cowpooling thing for the last
year and you like them well enough to spend 150 bucks, spring for
the chest freezer to help them on their way.
Give the Grok
in your life a real avenue toward subsistence: a hunting course.
No, I’m not referring to those big game hunting expeditions
where you pay money to shoot a placid, fattened kudu on some Texas
acreage; I mean really learning to hunt from people who do it the
right way. It looked like a blast when John
Durant and Melissa McEwen did it, right? Well, chances are that
your area also offers hunting courses. Just do a search for “hunting
field courses [your location]” and go from there. You can even
get specific by throwing in a modifier; “deer,” “boar,”
and “geese” work well to narrow things down.
I hate relying
on others to come up with good sausage. Most of the sausage I come
across in the wild is bland and uninspired; having my own meat grinder
allows me to make my own and play around with different spices.
Bonus: meat grinders are perfect for blending in organ meats without
alerting picky eaters. Bonus #2: meat grinders are perfect for making
food patties. Electric
grinders are the easiest to use and require little to no labor,
but they generally can’t handle bone and gristle (unless you
spring for a really expensive one); hand crank grinders are tougher
to use, but they can handle just about anything you can throw at
them, provided you include some elbow grease.
A Food Dehydrator
Dry your own
jerky. Make your own pemmican. Ditch the store-bought, overpriced,
sugar-coated berries and rancid nuts and dry your own for trail
dehydrators are incredible tools, and any Primal eater would
be glad to have one. Excalibur makes the best in the business, from
the top shelf 9-tray version to the starter 4-tray version. Cheaper
dehydrators are out there, and you can even make
your own, but we like the Excalibur for its temperature control
system and reliability. I’ve used cheap dehydrators that cooked
the jerky, rather than dried it, and if I was going to do that I’d
just use my oven.
A lot of people
probably read my posts on fermented
food and sauerkraut,
thought to themselves, “Hmm, that sounds pretty cool,”
and did nothing else. Fermentation is easy to do, but the hardest
part is having enough suitable fermentation vessels in your kitchen.
Mason jars used to be standard in kitchens (back when people actually
canned things). Not anymore though. Sandor Katz recommends using
devoted ceramic fermentation crocks, maybe from Harsch
or from TSM,
which are expensive but worth it if your giftee is serious about
fermentation. Cheaper but still viable options include mason jars;
Ikea has some very affordable glassware that works well. Might as
well include the tome on fermentation, Sandor Katz’s Wild
Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.
20-inch Chef’s Knife
knives, the type that sous-chefs and kitchen staff use day in
and day out. They may not be pretty, they may not be impressive,
but they get the job done, well enough that Bon Appetit dubbed
their chef’s knife the “best $20 chef’s knife.”
If you live in the LA area, you can buy these at Surfas in Culver
City, or you can just order them online. I have several (since they’re
so cheap) and can vouch for them.
sauces, and protein drinks without getting an extra container dirty,
dealing with potholders. This
stick blender is metal, so there's no chance of leaching plastic
compounds into your hot food. It may not be as powerful as a VitaMix
blender, but it's a lot less expensive. Instead of forking over
the cash for a single VitaMix for one person, you can treat several
to the stick blender. I love my VitaMix, but I use the stick blender
about as often.