Tag Archives: aip

Make Your Own Lotion (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Animal Fat)

Tallow, n., \’ta-(,)lō\ — 1) the white, nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lotions, and 2) the butter-looking runoff that smells quite a lot like French fries, made using a thoroughly gut-turning process, that leaves your hands smelling like a slaughterhouse.

Here’s a handy-dandy recipe to make your own all-natural moisturizer, plus my own experience.


-2 to 3 pounds of suet (raw fat/trimmings, purchased from a local farmer, or from a guy who performs liposuction out of the back of his van)

-5-quart Crock Pot, or other electrically heated earthenware


-2 heat-safe bowls


Step 1: Cut the suet into 1/2″ pieces or smaller. Be careful to remove any bits of meat from the fat. This will help the cooking process to have a less-potent scent.

I grabbed the biggest, sharpest knife I had. After I removed the wrapping, I set the log of cow fat on the cutting board. As I pressed the knife in, the pieces of fat began to fall apart into cheese curd-like bits. After two or three attempts to cleanly cut the suet, I realized it was useless. Even trying to use the tip of the knife to remove the meaty bits from the pure fat was frustrating.

It became apparent that I could save time and effort by simply breaking the fat into bits using my bare hands. I felt uneasy as I used my fingernails to separate small bits of meat from the gristle. At that very moment, I realized I would not make a very good serial killer.
Step 2: Cook the suet in a Crock-Pot for 90 minutes on low, or until the tallow has completely separated from the solid trimmings. This is essentially a way to render fat at home.

The first thing I did after starting to heat the suet was to wash my hands. Good lord, my fingers had a thick layer of waxy fat which smelled intensely of hoof and organ meat. (Paramedics described a similar smell when they came upon Elvis in his Graceland bathroom.) The house began to fill with the aroma of a McDonald’s, if that McDonald’s used pure animal fat for their fry grease and didn’t have a ball pit that smelled like urine.

Step 3: Use a cheese cloth to strain the tallow into a heat-safe bowl. After straining, set the remaining solids aside.

This is a two-person job for sure. One person holds the cheesecloth/bowl, and the other pours the tallow/solids and asks why in the world they were doing this in the first place.
Step 4: Enjoy the fruit of your bounty!

Apparently, the tallow soaks into your skin better than many other organic oils/lotion alternatives. You can even mix in your choice of aromatic essential oils if you don’t want to smell like French fries (but who doesn’t want that?). It will keep for up to a couple of months in the fridge, or a few weeks at room temperature (again, not unlike McDonald’s fries).

The solids are called “cracklins”. You can fry them up in a pan and top your favorite food with them – eggs, salads, chili, etc. Especially etc. They have the consistency of fried bacon fat and are actually quite delicious.

I hope this has been a chance for you to live vicariously through me. Vicarious is definitely an upgrade. Usually, I’m just a cautionary tale.


Pay Leo if You Want to Live

In an effort get healthier and be able to climb a flight of stairs before clutching my chest, I have been trying to eat more real food. Some consider this to be synonymous with the “Paleo Diet”. I am not a strict Paleo follower who will slap a quinoa salad out of your hand and insult your mother, but there are some good parts of Paleo that can point you in the right direction. Here are my own observations:

The term “Paleo Diet” is derived from the term “Paleolithic Era”, which scientists detail as “the time when man had a unibrow and pooped in the woods”. I have been slowly working Paleo meals into my diet. One meal a day, wedged between McGriddles and Taco Bell.

When I mention Paleo, people ask me, “What is Paleo?”, and “Why did you force the topic of Paleo into a discussion about the ever-increasing price of gasoline?” Mostly the latter. In layman’s terms, Paleo is described as “what you can pick or hunt”. I try to incorporate those into as many meals as possible.

Corn and other grains are mostly out because they are not simply gathered – they must be cultivated. So, I stick with what can be picked. For lunch, I had an apple, my nose, friends, and a rental car (but I had to pay extra for insurance). Things that are not Paleo are just as simple to surmise: things which you cannot simply pick. For example: legumes, family, and your seat on a Priceline flight.

Lunchmeat and other processed meats are typically off-limits because they cannot be hunted. Well, that’s not entirely true, but the kind man at the grocery store asked me to leave when I put a spear through the Oscar Meyer smoked turkey. So if you want to stick to what can be hunted for, I recommend a balanced dinner of organic chicken thighs, your car keys, and a good deal on laundry detergent.

Speaking of Paleo meats – most meat found at your local grocery store is not, in the sincerest sense of the word, Paleo. Most beef and other meat-producing animals (sheep, chickens, goats, humans, etc.) are force-fed a strict diet of corn, diet cola, and cheeseburgers. Paleo experts (cavemen in lab coats who drag their women by the hair back to their caves) recommend eating only grass-fed or free-range meats.

I stray from the pack of experts, who are busy trying to overcome a wooly mammoth, by saying there is a better meat! I’m not often at the forefront of science, as I currently have 150 leeches draining the evil spirits from my body, but I believe there is a better form of beef. I figure: if eating grass-fed cows is very Paleo, then eating cows that only eat grass-fed beef is über-Paleo!

Before you know it, I will be selling (for $1,000 a pound, mind you) beef from cows that eat only beef that eats only beef that eats only beef that eats only beef that eats only grass that somehow eats beef that eats grass. It sounds really time-consuming, hence the markup. If you want a side for your beef-fed-beef-fed-beef-fed-grass-fed beef, I will also offer beef-fed grass. But don’t worry: the grass is fed a strict diet of grass-fed beef. So it’s still Paleo.

I know this sounds very daunting, given how grocery stores carry mostly processed foods. I personally get to the Paleo items more quickly by walking up to every teen-aged employee and shouting, “EXCUSE ME. I AM ON A PALEO DIET. PLEASE POINT ME TO THE PALEO FOODS.” At this point, he or she will point in a direction best described as “away” (then dart behind some magazines). Nine times out of ten, they will point you to the exit, but that one time out of ten, they will accidentally point you to the nitrate-free bacon. Goldmine.

Some would argue that, if eating Paleo were best for you, then Paleolithic man would still be around today! To you nay-sayers, I say, “Paleolithic man is among us! Just look at your average Nickelback fan. His knuckles drag the ground like the noble ape.”

I hope this crash course on Paleo helped you on your way to good health. If it did, I can only assume it was an act of God (which is NOT covered under your Homeowner’s Policy). If it did not help, we can probably credit that to the copious amount of misinformation I have dished out here.

Stay tuned for more posts covering REAL FOOD, AIP (auto-immune protocol), recipes, tips, and entertaining reads to pass the time.