Have you heard that lard is bad for you?
Well, today I want to give you some knowledge to give you a few things to consider about lard.
This topic has hit home for me lately because my husband and I have always tried to follow what the doctors have told us. But just a few weeks ago my husband ended up at the doctor, and they feared he was getting ready to have a heart attack.
We went through all of the processes and when at the cardiologist, we got advice that rocked our world. Everything that we had ever been told had been proven wrong.
We are now on a full fat, no sugar, no carbohydrates diet, which was the total opposite of what we’ve done our whole life.
And oddly enough, we feel great!
So before you follow the stable trend of no/low fat any longer, hear these few interesting facts about lard and why it could be a great substance to add to your diet.
1. Lard Is Easy On Your Wallet (And Your Body)
We all have this perception that cheap foods are not good for your body. Take ramen noodles for example.
But it's not the case for lard.
Lard packs a lot of health benefits without punching your wallet.
That is a rarity nowadays.
We wonder why so much of America is overweight. It is because you can get a burger in a drive-thru for .99 cents but a side salad is almost $2.00. A pack of Ramen noodles is .25 cents but apples are over a $1.00 a pound.
That is a topic for another day.
Lard, on the other hand, can be raised and made yourself or be purchased for much less than grass-fed butter, usually.
By the way, if you don't know it yet, lard comes from pigs. You should be able to get around 15-20 pounds of lard from a 250-pound pig. Yes, you have to raise the pig and feed it for 9 months. But it is still cheaper than buying a lot of the ‘not so healthy’ stuff at the store by the time you calculate the lard and meat you’d get from the pig.
Okay, so lard is cheap. But how is it good for your body?
Let's talk about it starting #2.
2. Lard Is A Fat You Can Count On
What I’m trying to say here is that lard is a stable fat.
It isn’t one of those fats that get broken down super easy.
They call those fats—fats that break down really quickly in an unhealthy form—oxidized fats. When you have oxidized fats they cause free radicals. Free radicals then turn into cell damage.
This is all going back to ingesting things our bodies weren’t meant to ingest. This leads to inflammation and just about every disease we know of today stems from inflammation.
Lard breaks down properly because it's more stable. This gives our bodies what they need instead of the junk that causes inflammation.
Which in turn means you actually have a healthier body.
3. Lard Is No Heart-breaker
Lard is actually good for your heart.
I know, that seems pretty unbelievable, right?
Hearing this news now, I think of all of the good, old school, homemade fried chicken I’ve passed up in my life because of it being fried in lard.
Where was this news when I needed it?
In actuality, lard is a close second to olive oil. They have about the same amount of monosaturated fats in them.
We've been told that saturated fat is what leads to heart disease. It is actually an increase in triglycerides that causes heart disease. And a low-fat diet is what increases your triglycerides. So because lard is high in the right kinds of saturated fats, it makes it good for your heart.
In my whole life, we always thought we were doing right by choosing the low-fat or no-fat options, but truly it was only harming our hearts.
Who would’ve guessed?
4. Lard Is Great For Your Hormones
I told you earlier about my husband, but I want to share something personal with you about me too.
I grew up following the low-fat, no-fat diets.
Sounds like no big deal, right?
Well, there were some pretty high consequences. This is just my educated guess, from my own studies, but I think there is a link between low-fat, no-fat, vitamin D deficiency and the hormonal problems that have developed in so many women today.
I was diagnosed with PCOS about 8 years ago. For those that aren’t familiar, it is a hormone imbalance. It increases your risk for a lot of different diseases such as cancer and heart disease but the biggest hindrance is infertility you are often faced with.
Infertility and the struggles I faced during that time is what led me to do so much research. I realized then how much our bodies need fat and vitamin D in order for hormones to function properly.
Our adrenal systems do so much in our bodies. Problems with it can lead to not only PCOS and infertility but also fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism.
To end this section on a good note, I am so happy to report that I have two great boys I was able to take in and raise as my own, and I also have been fortunate enough to have a biological child as well.
So I guess all is well that ends well, but I don’t starve my body of the fats that it needs any longer. Fats and vitamin D go hand in hand, and your body needs both.
Lard can help you with that.
5. Lard Is Your Natural Bodyguard
There are so many people in the world today trying to live a totally natural, toxin-free lifestyle. You can do so much to rid your body of toxins.
To be honest, I’m not nearly as natural and toxin-free as I want to be.
It is hard work avoiding so much in a toxin-filled world.
But there is one thing you can do to help with the fight against toxins: use lard. Lard will help pull harmful metals from your body like cadmium, aluminum, and strontium.
I wasn’t all that familiar with the impact so many metals had on our bodies. But after a little research, I decided that I don’t want too many of these metals in my body. Just to serve as an example, you can find aluminum in things like foil, canned goods, and even processed cheeses.
It has the chance to build up in our body.
This has been studied, and scientists are finding links between the build-up of aluminum in our brains to diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
So if you are trying to live a toxin-free lifestyle, lard can help you in the fight.
6. Lard Is Great In The Kitchen
Did you know you can make some of the tastiest treats with lard included in your recipes? Yes, anything from sweet to savory can be yours with just a little addition of lard.
A really fun fact about cooking with lard is that it isn’t unhealthy like our minds have been trained to believe. We usually would think, “Well, it’s full of all of that fat so it must be greasy and really horrible for us!”
Well, it's not.
We’ve already discussed a lot of health benefits that lard packs with it. But did you know that when you cook or fry with lard that the food actually retains less of the grease?
So the food will come out less greasy and in turn, you will ingest less of the grease which is good news for you and your health.
There you have it!
The next time you are considering baking or frying, consider adding a little lard in the mix.
7. Lard Soaks Up The Vitamin D
As I mentioned a few points back, our bodies need fat and vitamin D to function properly.
Well, we are in luck.
If you eat lard from a pastured hog then your lard will be high in vitamin D. It only works if the hog has been raised out in the pasture.
Why, you might ask? Because pigs are super vitamin D suckers. Their bodies are able to absorb it directly through the skin just like us.
So if they are grass fed then you know you have the right kind of lard. It can usually be purchased from local farmers or at local Farmer’s Markets.
You can absorb vitamin D through plant-based items as well. Mushrooms have the highest amount of vitamin D in them in comparison to most other plants. However, you’d have to eat 50 mushrooms to equal the vitamin D in just 1 tablespoon of lard.
That is pretty impressive!
8. Lard Is Both Sustainable And Local
Finances change and so do opportunities to get items that aren’t native to your area.
Well, you really don’t have to worry too much about either of those scenarios when talking about lard. Why?
Because pigs can be raised just about anywhere. If you raise them yourself, then money should never really be able to hinder you from having what you need. (Besides the feed but if you have pasture then you really shouldn’t have to worry much about that either.)
So lard should always be accessible to you.
You can’t say that about grass-fed butter or olive oil.
Olive oil is not local to my area. I have to pay a rather high price to have it. So I use it sparingly.
And because the restraints are so stern on dairy producers, it is very expensive to buy grass fed butter locally and almost as expensive from the local store.
This means lard is just about your only shot at an affordable, sustainable, local option for fat that is great to cook with and offers benefits that your body actually needs.
9. Lard Is Natural And Overall Healthy
We’ve basically hit on this periodically throughout this whole post. But lard is natural because it is nothing more than rendered pig fat.
You can’t get much more ‘natural’ than that.
But let me tell you about all of the fascinatingly healthy facts about lard that I honestly wasn’t even aware of until I started researching this post.
First, lard is a healthy source of cholesterol.
Say what?!? I know, all of those years we’ve steered clear of cholesterol because we thought it was going to clog our arteries when in reality, it helps reduce stress on our bodies.
Let me give you all of the details about cholesterol and our bodies:
Our bodies produce cholesterol when dealing with stress or inflammation. It is a natural healing mechanism. The human body is amazing, isn’t it?
Anyway, when our bodies are under stress or dealing with inflammation our cholesterol numbers will rise. However, lard will naturally give our bodies cholesterol so our bodies won’t have to make it during these stressful times.
Your body can do it with lard because it is good cholesterol. So instead of putting more stress on the body, it actually helps take some stress off.
Pretty neat, huh?
Second, lard is better for us than butter. Lard only has a quarter of the saturated fat that butter has, but it brings two times more of the amount of monosaturated fat to the table than butter.
Lard is also lower in omega-6 fatty acids. They are known to produce inflammation in the body and as discussed earlier almost every illness we know of boils down to inflammation.
Lastly, because lard is natural it does not go through the hydrogenation process. Items like Crisco and margarine go through this process which creates a plant-based fat and converts it to a solid.
The hydrogenation process creates trans-fatty acids which increase the LDL (or bad cholesterol) and lowers the HDL (or good cholesterol.)
Natural is the way to go. But you probably already knew that.
Finally, here's a cool infographic about lard: