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Seven Reasons Why You Should Eat Lard

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Contrary to popular belief, lard has many health benefits. Check out these 7 reasons why you should eat lard.©Depositphotos.com/bykofoto

I’ll never forget the day I said the L word in front of my mother. 

Back when I was living home on Long Island for a few years I was actually getting a weekly farm share from Amish country. 

It was so incredible.  A real food lovers dream.  

I’d hop online to place my weekly order and at the tip of my fingertips was all sorts of pastured meats, fermented vegetables, kefir, real butter and yogurt, bones, chicken feet, stocks, etc.  I’ve never seen anything like it since.

However, this way of eating was, let’s just say, different to my family.

One week my mother asked me what I was getting in my weekly share and I wasn’t thinking when I uttered the L word.  It just slipped out.

It was kinda like that scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie says the F bomb.

Time slowed down as the L word was coming out of my mouth.

Laaaaaaaaa…

There was this little voice in my head that was saying, “What are you doing? Don’t say it!” 

But my mind couldn’t catch up to my mouth. 

….rrrrrrrrrrrrrdddd.

Lard.

Remember that other scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie’s mom calls his friend’s mom to tell her that Ralphie learned the F bomb from her son?  Remember her reaction?

My Mom’s reaction was kinda like that.

WHAT? WHHHAAAAAAT? WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!!!

After she calmed down and stopped accusing me of clogging my arteries, I tried to explain why that was not going to happen.  Of course, it fell on deaf ears.

Now you may not react as strongly to the idea of eating lard as my mother but  chances are, you may have some similar misconceptions and fears about eating lard.  It’s not exactly something that your doctor is promoting.

But contrary to popular belief, lard is an incredible healthy fat.

Let me explain more.  Here’s 7 reasons why you should eat lard.

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #1: Lard is high in vitamin D.

In fact, it’s the second richest dietary source of vitamin D next to cod liver oil. Lard from pastured pigs contains anywhere from 500 – 1000 IU vitamin D per tablespoon based on the pig’s diet and exposure to sunlight.  This is why finding lard from pastured pigs is essential (see #5 below).

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #2:  It’s heart-healthy from a conventional point of view.

The conventional viewpoint says to emphasize monounsaturated fats for heart health.  “But isn’t lard an animal fat and thus saturated?” you say.  Nope.  Lard is actually classified as a monounsaturated fat.  It’s true.   It’s about 48% monounsaturated fat, 40% saturated fat and 12% polyunsaturated fats.

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #3:  It’s heart-healthy from a non-conventional point of view.

As you can see from the ratios above, lard also contains saturated fat.  And cholesterol.  Gasp!

Well, contrary to popular belief, heart disease is NOT caused by saturated fat and cholesterol.  In fact, saturated fat and cholesterol from healthy sources can PREVENT heart disease.   If you want a simple understanding of the underlying cause of heart disease, this heart surgeon explains it well.

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #4: Lard is an excellent fat for cooking.

Before we were all conditioned to believe lard is unhealthy, it was used for centuries as a cooking fat because it’s very stable at high heat.  Your grandmother probably used it liberally.

Unlike more saturated fats like tallow and coconut oil, lard’s combination of monounsaturated and saturated fats makes it a perfect fat for baking as it gives things like pie crusts, cookies, biscuits and pastries a very light, flaky and soft texture.

But lard also has a high smoke point too (about 370 degrees Fahrenheit) and is thus excellent for frying as well.

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #5: Lard connects you to local farms.

You can’t get good quality lard in stores.  You have to seek out a good source of pig fat and render it yourself. Before you roll your eyes about that (though you probably did already), consider #6 and #7 below.

And because you have to source it from local farms, lard leaves less of a carbon footprint than more popular cooking fats like coconut oil and olive oil.  I don’t know about you but there are no coconut or olive trees where I live.  Lots of farmers raising pigs though.

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #6: Lard is economical.

I paid $5 for about a pound or two of leaf lard at my local farmers market and rendered that into about 12 ounces of lard.

Compare that to a bottle of good quality, first-pressed extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil at your local health food store.

Why You Should Eat Lard Reason #7:  Lard is SO EASY to make!

You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to make.  All you need is some pig fat and a pot.  Really, that’s it.

Lots of traditional food cookbooks include little tidbits of information on rendering and using lard, but I’ve never seen an entire book devoted just to lard.

That is until I found, Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient.

Contrary to popular belief, lard has many health benefits. Check out these 7 reasons why you should eat lard.

I was so excited to see this book that I ordered it right away.

It’s the only book I could find that’s completely devoted to using lard in all of the recipes.  How cool is that?!  Just don’t show your doctor (or perhaps, your mother).

With chapters on breads and biscuits, vegetables, main dishes, cookies and brownies, pies, cakes and desserts, you’ll never need to google “how do I use lard” ever again. 

You can get read all the five star reviews, read a preview and order it here on Amazon.

Now I’d like to hear from you. 

Are you new to cooking with lard?  Is it still a four letter word in your family?  Any tips you’d like to share for lard-using newbies?

Please share in the comments below.

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Contrary to popular belief, lard has many health benefits. Check out these 7 reasons why you should eat lard.

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Comments

  1. Craig, I agree with everything you’ve said. But I just.can’t.do.it. The sight of it just makes me so nauseous, and the texture….I get the same reaction when I scoop coconut oil out of the jar!! Maybe there should be a “rehab” center for people who think that creamy white fat is gross, lol!!

  2. Many people eschew pork for religious reasons. Is there an alternative to lard that you would recommend? For example, my grandmothers cooked with chicken fat. Is that unhealthy?

  3. We started using lard after raising pastured, heritage hogs. I love it. Honestly, I think lard was framed in an orchestrated propaganda campaign for vegetable shortening. I never made great pie crusts until using lard, and don’t get me started about french fries made in lard. I am a convert.My style of cooking has changed so much since moving to the farm. It’s not about fancy recipes now. It’s all about wholesome, simple ingredients and focusing on their flavors.

  4. The only lard that I can locate is in the supermarket in the Latino foods area. It says it contains hydrogenated lard and some kind of preservative. Is it still safe to use?

    • Hi Lorene, definitely not! Hydrogenation produces trans fats which are definitely not good to consume.

    • I wouldn’t. It needs to be humanly raised grass fed in order have the health benefits. Hydrogenated means trans fats which mean free radicals that cause accelerated aging and increased cell mutation leading to many health issues.

  5. Luella Malone says:

    I have rendered down Lard from our home raised pigs for years made bread cooked with it its great makes the best pie crusts you,ll ever have just saying use the crumbles after rendering down the lard in baking is the best ever use it to grease my pans cast iron and cake pans ect our hamburger from our home raised beef is so lean have to add some lard to it for cooking My Husband and I was lucky enough to be raised on a farm and had parent and grandparents wisdom,We donot butcher our own but my butcher say Ma Malone saves everything but squeal smiles just sayin We have our hocks smoked also bacon and hams nothing better

  6. Love lard! I’m so lucky that I’ve access to a fantastic supply directly from free range-chemical free pigs. I keep other types of oils/fats such as coconut and ghee but lard is always my go to. It just lets the food your cooking with shine. However, one of my favourite uses has to be as a moisturiser. Little bit left on the spoon? Rub it into your hands….better than anything you can buy!

  7. Yes I like the way Lard makes the pie crusts’ totally awesome & cornbread (oh gosh, bacon drippings too) & in pancakes & yes, even my rice (Like most PR’s like it.) I Never make things “Swimming” in it, I more or less use it Sparingly the way you would use “Seasme” seed Oil.

  8. I started collecting my bacon drippings this past summer. I am getting the bacon from a local organic pig farmer at market and I remember my family (also pig farmers)always did way back when. Anyhow I really don’t fry much so I’vee barely used it but I am so into real food that this article encourages me. I will definitely keep it in mind for pie crust since we are in pot pie season 😉

  9. wendy vonbaltzer says:

    I remember when i first got out on my own you would see lard in the stores, but now its all crisco or shortening, but not lard, and certainly never in my adult lifetime the quality you mentioned. am in process of buying a little just shy of two acres to homestead here in south carolina and both me and my daughter are looking forward to raising a couple of piglets a yr, and i like to fry in lard. then again i am highly allergic to garlic, now commonly praised highly for health benefits. so i rather follow the beat of my own drummer when it comes to what i eat or put into my body. thank you for your article

  10. I am a dr. And certified clinical nutritionist. This articl,on lard is 100% correct.
    The most frustrating part of giving this info. Is having it criticized by the uninformed especially since the cholesterol hoax was dispelled over 35 years ago, but still not totally abandoned. These are many such pieces of misinformation still being perpetrated on the public.

  11. I will be glad to volunteer my expertise to people interested in this kind of information.,I have no relation with the sponsor but will gladly do what I can to help straighten out the tremendous amount of out right lies used to sell poor nutrition.
    Sincerely,
    Dan L. White (Dr, Ms, phd)! ( FB. : Dan l white)

  12. we raise our own hogs and eat only organic grass feed/finished beef and wild game.
    We are what we eat and we have continually emphasized to people to support your local farmers, grow your own and stop eating factory farmed, gmo’ed crap!
    thank you for another fantastic article that we will share with many other like minded folks.

    livin’ HARD & dyin’ FREE is not easy but it is our choice!

  13. I remember as a child my parents, and our neighbor’s, always kept a can on the stove top for the old lard they had cooked with. It smelled interesting and excited my curiosity about it. If given opportunity I had a spoon in it stirring it around, checking out the bits I found congealed in it; something about it fascinated me… funny memory, I loved playing in that stuff.

  14. This is great! I have been making a traditional New Mexico Christmas cookie recipe the last 2 years and the first time I made it I was so appalled that it called for lard! The only other time I’d seen it used in a recipe was for tortillas, the only time I’d seen anyone else in my family use lard. I also made the cookies gluten-free and they turned out WONDERFUL! My family said they could not even tell the difference! Now I have discovered that I have a dairy allergy as well and I have been leaning hard on things like coconut oil and vegan butter and crisco for baking. However, I’ve always been slightly put-off by the vegan butters even though I think they taste good. Now that I’ve read your article and some of the ones you linked to, I want to use up my vegan butter and switch to lard! I have been making progress toward a refined-sugar-free lifestyle and all of this just makes sense. Now I just need to kill my sweet tooth! Thanks again for the info. I now have a good list of books to read on the topic.

  15. My grandmother always cooked with lard or duck fat and is still alive at age 101. When I was a kid we used to fry pieces of lard until crunchy and eat them as a snack. Today I couldn’t think of anything more gross haha!
    My next comment is a bit critical….why promote lard as an aid in cooking pastries, cakes, biscuits, cookies, brownies etc which are known promoters of arterial inflammation, high blood sugar and other diseases…wouldn’t it be a bit counter productive?

  16. I bought some fat from a butcher mid last year and rendered it down to make my own lard. I used some of it but stopped because I became afraid that I was clogging my arteries. However, the reason I wanted to use lard initially was because I began thinking about people years ago, the fact that animal fat was the fat of choice for cooking back then, and many of those people lived to ripe old ages in spite of the foods they ate, meats, eggs, whole milk and the likes. So, I’m grateful to have come across this article. I still have a tub left that I kept in the freezer and I’m going to start using it again!

  17. Teresa says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m rendering some lard right now. Can’t wait to make a pie!

  18. What’s even better, these can be substituted for your meals.
    When you keep eating a fixed amount of calories, your body will auto-adjust to burn just that amount,
    nothing more, nothing less. Despite the fact that weight problems
    has grown to be not unusual, it’s not healthful.

  19. Thank you for the article about Lard . I lived in Europe for a long time and Doctors tell you there that lard is the best for frying due to the size of the fat molecule. Things you fry DO NOT absorb it, like they do with frying oil! In fact, there was a very famous clinic for stomach and liver problems near by, and they fed their patients fried steaks, french fries and lots of other things….ALL FRIED IN LARD!!! I now live in SW Florida and unfortunately there are not many people raising pigs here. But I do have a butcher shop where I can buy the fat or , on occasion, buy their rendered Lard.

    My Grandmother (from Alabama) used to say ” There’s not much that Lard can’t do”!

  20. I agree with you about Lard. It is the last food I have incorporated into my diet. I have been studying nutrition (for myself) for about 4 years now and have realised how much rubbish we eat these days. I have cut out processed foods and now only eat meat, fish, vegetables, the odd pieces of fruit and a liberal amount of eggs. I cut out milk which I personally think is a bad food and added butter instead of margarines and spreads. Even some butters are not what they claim to be. It’s taken me a while to add lard back into my diet but I know it’s a healthy option. The last thing I need to sort out is bread. I really need to start making my own so I can control exactly what goes in there. Maybe I should cut it out completely but what is butter without a thick, crusty slice of fresh bread?

  21. I’ve had to sneak around to eat lard after leaving the farm years ago. There is such a bad stigmatism about it. My dad grew up eating lard sandwiches and he’s fine. After having seven heart attacks and a triple bypass I quit eating a lot of things and have gone back to what my grandparents were eating. I love lard fried taco’s and burrito’s. I make my own bread, pies, bacon, etc from scratch so that I know what I’m eating instead of the store bought stuff…nothing canned or pre-packaged, high in salt, etc… and I feel better after eating it ! My homemade bacon (top round from tenderloin) is low in salt (pre-soak before frying) and there is so little fat that I have to add some lard to get it going lol. As with all things moderation is a good practice.

  22. I love lard. I use it to grease everything for cooking.

    • Lard for making pie crust is really good. Pie crust from the stores is crusty and doesn’t taste as good when you make your own and use lard.

  23. Cassi R. Jones says:

    I love your article and using pastured lard! It’s amazing for sautéing vegetables and for making delicious, flaky pie crusts. I’ve never rendered my own before, but I’m tempted to try in the future.

  24. Lard is amazing, affordable, utilitarian and versatile. I live in PA Amish country and am fortunate enough to purchase it from local organic Amish farmers. PS all Amish is not equal and its wise to know your farmers and examine their practices. Fats hold onto toxins so its important to source your ingredients with judgement. My family also thinks I am nuts, but after 10 years now of eating a Nourishing Traditions style diet ans not having seen a traditional doctor since leaving my industrial diet, they are starting to ask questions. Criso is a pathetic commercial poision that unfortunately has replaced a timeless nourishing food.

  25. I use lard. Where I live unfortunately we don’t have any Amish markets or Amish shares. So I have to buy it from the store (it’s hard, they never have it!) Maybe we do have those markets and shares but I’ve asked and asked around and looked online….nothing.

    But I digress. I use lard. I don’t use it every day, or all the time. I cook A LOT but I never bake. Ever. So I use the crap out of some olive oil. ALL. THE. TIME. And when I fry I use lard. BECAUSE WHY WOULDNT YOU?! My fried chicken comes out amazing. Yet when I tell people they flip out. My parents flip out. My brothers wig out.
    I try to explain but nope.
    I love the way it looks, and feels and it’s so white and pretty!

  26. Do you think lard is high in Vitamin D because pigs don’t have a heavy coat of hair covering their skin? So, like humans, their skin can generate a lot of Vitamin D? Also, do you think our modern Vitamin D deficiency arises from not having lard as part of our diets anymore. It seems that in times past, people frequently had hogs–ate the garbage from the table–and then produced a lot of meat and Vitamin D rich fat to tide them over through the winter?

    • Hi Mary, I’m not sure if that’s why lard is a good source of vitamin D. Maybe! As for our lack of vitamin D, there’s certainly many factors at play. Overall poor nutrition and lack of good sunlight (the main source of vitamin D) are certainly the big ones.

      • preben hansen says:

        in denmark we eat what we call krydderfedt, translated melted lard to boiling point, add a bunch of finely chopped onion, maybe some pepper-seasoning salt- then boil til onion turn nice and dark brown, makes an awesome sandwich spread, in fact my favorite.

Trackbacks

  1. […] lard at home is so easy it’s unbelievable.  In my last post I gave you seven reasons you should eat lard but in this post I’m going to show you how to make it.  Because chances are, making lard at […]

  2. […] lard at home is so easy it’s unbelievable.  In my last post I gave you seven reasons you should eat lard but in this post I’m going to show you how to make it.  Because chances are, making lard at […]

  3. render lard says:

    […] news that lard (from pastured pigs) is a great source of vitamin D. Or maybe you read this post on Seven Reasons You SHOULD Eat Lard. Or maybe like me, you bought a local pastured pig from a nearby farmer and it came with 3 big bags […]

  4. […] butchers counter or from the farm are things like pig fat (making your own lard is REALLY easy and very good for you), bones, which make wonderful, nutrient dense broth and […]

  5. […] used are lard and coconut oil.  Yes, I said lard.  If you’re new to traditional fats, click here to read why lard is a healthy fat and click here to learn how to render lard at […]

  6. […] to cod liver oil, lard is the second richest source of Vitamin D. (source 1, source 2) According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, one tablespoon of lard […]

  7. Oh Lardy! says:

    […] moons ago I read a post about the 7 reasons why you should consume lard. This was before I had ever heard of Weston A Price or the myth of cholesterol. Yet… […]

  8. […] Also, don’t be tempted to skim off the fat that will render from the braised pork shoulder – it is key to the rich flavor and fat from pasture raised pork is a great source of vitamin D and healthy fats. […]

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