NoFUN breakfast. Last night I could not eat all the lamb I cooked. I experienced that abrupt hunger “off switch” where between mouthfuls my body says, “do not eat another bite”. So, I don’t. I love that experience. So I ate cold, baked lamb rib cage for breakfast. And I want to write about it.
Lamb as meat
Lamb is a common meat where we live. Equal to pork in allocation of shelf space at markets and butchers. This is farmer butchered meat. So, in the photo you can see the fork tines touching a flap of meat. This is on the inside of the ribs. If you imagine the ribs as a cage this meat is on the inside. It is the diaphragm. Butchers would often trim this muscle out. It is delicious. A hard-working muscle, like the lamb heart, it is tender when baked.
There are the usual intercostal (between ribs) muscles and membranes. On the outside of the ribs, on the outside of the cage, like a budgie’s night blanket, some of the thin, flat side/back muscles were still present overlaying the ribs. These are ‘skirt’ type cuts and are often cast off as trimmings as there are membrane sheaths between the muscle layers and quite a bit of lamb fat. But this was farm butchered, so those parts were still attached.
Lamb is nice meat to eat. Some people love it.
The thing about meat on-the-bone, like ribs, is that you can eat and chew on non-meaty bits. I eat this meal with my paws (washed hands), so I can hold bones and strip tissues off the bones with my teeth and at the same time exercising my jaw. Being of viking barbarian heritage, this way of eating with hands and teeth is a traditional practice.
Around the ribs many of those thin muscles extend into ligamentous sheets. Those membranous sheets of connective tissue are full of amino acid building blocks that build collagen and keratin. If you want younger looking skin, nails and hair, get stuck into this stuff.
In the picture look at the white fat. This lamb is from the fridge. The lamb fat is hard and waxxy. It is like tallow, because that, when rendered and collected, is what tallow is. We often hear of tallow being rendered suet. And suet being the fat from around the organs of beef, in particular from around the kidneys. But suet can also come from mutton (or lamb), both are names for the edible meat version of sheep.
The exciting thing demonstrated by the ‘hard fat’ (when cooled) of this very well fed, pasture fed lamb is that it is full of long chain saturated fatty acids, such as stearic acid.
Sheep are small ruminants. They have four stomachs, in which their gut biome ferments and digests the plant material they eat into fatty acids for fuel. Those fatty acids get stored as saturated fats in the animal. Ruminants have a much higher ratio of saturated fatty acids to unsaturated fats in their tissues than non-ruminants such as chicken, fish and pigs (pork/ bacon).
Lamb and beef fat is a much better fat for human health due to the higher concentration of saturated fat, if eaten on a low-insulin, low carbohydrate diet. Just noting here that meat muscle protein can cause an insulin response (more so if accompanied with dietary carbs).
Theory of human fat cell insulin resistance
Here is the thing I would like to test on myself in FabFatFeb. There is a biological based theory that visceral fat cells become insulin resistant in a high saturated fat diet. The high saturated fats switch off fat storage as the fat cell surface enzyme lipoprotein lipase is desensitised to insulin in the blood stream. That means fat storage becomes resisted by the fat tissue cells. But lipolysis and fatty acid release from fat tissue continues. This is despite the general increased insulin sensitivity in other body tissues on a low carbohydrate diet.
High saturated fats from animal sources are found in pasture fed ruminants, cattle, lamb, sheep, bison, deer, buffalo and goats. So, I’m going to eat those for February.
It means one key restriction for me and that is no bacon for one month. I could get around that and find bacon from wild pigs, or free-range Berkshire pigs that are not fattened on grain mash or porridge, so that they have enough saturated fat to make ‘hard fat bacon’. But I will avoid supermarket bacon. Also, no (slimy fat) chicken. No big deal as I haven’t eaten chicken for months. It just fell away like the heavy cream did as I continued with carnivory. If I crave seafood, I will eat it, because I am after the ocean minerals in that food as much as the protein and fat.
Not aiming at weight loss
The health goal is to reduce visceral fat. A proxy for visceral fat is abdominal girth measurement. That will be the numbers game. Scale weight is not important in this planned exploration.