Part 50 - Fredrik the Sami Reindeer Herder Live From the Arctic Circle
Live, from the arctic circle, please welcome Fredrik Prost. This is such an interesting episode. One day I’m watching epic nature shows from NatGeo about a group of people subsisting in the freezing arctic tundra on nothing but reindeer and fish, the next day I’m talking to one of them.
He originally contacted me to politely correct me on something I mentioned in a post on Instagram that I read in a study about his people. The study claimed that sometimes the reindeer were too lean for them to get enough fat to eat. That’s not the case he said. They boil the heads to get all that good fat from the brain, eat the bone marrow, and even eat the hooves. There’s always enough fat on an animal.
We talked about this and so much more. He told me how his people are being affected by anti-meat activists. He told me about his parents early demise due to (in his mind and mine) the bread and sugar they began eating and going away from their native diet. He told me about their lost traditions and the ones they keep. He told me about the steady decline in lifespan and healthspan that drops markedly over each generation.
This is one of those rare treats where we get a window into another world. I don’t know if any other one of his people have given a podcast interview and he told me he plans to not ever do one again. Please stay tuned for this one to the very end, it’s a good one...
But first, I want to have some real talk about my grass finished meat on http://nosetotail.org
I know it’s a bit more expensive to eat grass finished, really well-raised meat. I’m having trouble affording it myself. I mean, I don’t even eat all my own product. Like I’ve said many times, there’s no money in well-raised meat. There’s just no profit margin. I should be just selling some keto snack bar or supplement and might be able to afford grass finished meat and ultra sustainable wild caught seafood for every single meal.
This is just the price it takes to get animals from calves to slaughter to your door. If you go to costco and see frozen ground beef patties with a label saying grass fed for a couple more dollars than conventional beef, I’d be highly suspect. All cows are grass fed for much of their life so some of these labels can be very deceiving. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Even when I go to my local farmers market where they drive the meat straight from their farm in a bunch of coolers, it still costs $20/lb at best for a ribeye.
So anyway, support your local farmer. If you don’t know of any or prefer to just click a few buttons online you can support a small Texas ranch and myself by ordering from http://NoseToTail.org
Thanks so much, I really appreciate all the people who have ordered so far. It’s a dream of mine to help supply good meat to people and support American ranchers.
I’ll also thrown in the Food Lies film here, which is still available for preorder on Indiegogo.
You can also support me on Patreon at http://patreon.com/peakhuman
I’ve got some fun news - I’ve been asked to speak at a big food industry conference called Foodscape in Chicago at the end of September. I mention it in this episode. I’m going to do a presentation on why meat is a healthy part of our diet and actually beneficial for the environment. Then a vegan lady will giver her side, then we’ll have a friendly debate with a 3rd person who represents a vegan fake meat company. This is my dream come true! Most of the giant food companies will be there including Impossible Foods. I really hope to reach people in the audience and hopefully even in these big organizations and have them hear the other side. It will be interesting if they accept some of these counterarguments, or it is just about the money.
Well that’s all folks, as the cartoons used to say, here’s Fredrik sharing his words of wisdom from the North.
- Fredrik Prost lives in the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden
- Where he lives is very remote, it’s 100 miles to the nearest town
- Every summer he herds reindeers
- It is a traditional way of living for the Saami to follow the reindeer
- That’s all they eat for months at a time
- Brian wrote a post about the Saami eating fish for fat because the reindeer was too lean but Fredrik reached out to correct him saying the reindeer are not too lean in fact it’s the fish are very lean
- Reindeer in the end of September are very fat
- In summer, they go out in the Tundra to follow the herds and mark the calves
- One herd can take up to 24 hours and they eat dried meat and traditionally would live in teepees they carry with them
- His parents did it traditionally carrying the teepees around with them but now they stay in more of a camp
- Herding has changed with modernization and civilization
- Environmentalists affected the use, trade, and sell of seal skin
- Herding starts around 6pm depending on how many herds there are and how far away they are and can take all night to funnel them into a pen
- By around 5-6am they will be calm and grazing on pasture in the large pen all day and they will start again the next day
- Fredrik describes how they find and follow the herd
- Herding goes on for about a month
- When he isn’t herding reindeer, Fredrik makes handicraft (knives, sculptures, cups, etc.)
- He always knew health is determined by food and lifestyle even when no one was talking about it
- He tries to eat as traditionally as he can
- Indigenous groups don’t experience these modern diseases
- When indigenous populations start eating a westernized diet that’s when their health fails
- His dad died at 96, and just two weeks before he was still able to ski 20km to go see a neighbor
- “Live strong and healthy and drop dead”
- Saami health is declining with each generation
- We are dying now younger and frail and weak vs dying strong at an older age
- His parents lost their health when they adopted the dietary recommendations like eating whole grains, no limits on sugar, low saturated fat, etc.
- This generation was also the same generation that started losing their teeth
- If your teeth are rotting it’s probably a good indication of the wrong diet
- Both his parents died at a young age from dementia and heart disease
- The older traditional people used to tell them that vegetables were bad and they would make them sick
- The Saami traditional diet is 90% meat but in the summer they eat berries and some fermented leaves
- The idea of carbohydrates in the summer to fatten up for winter
- Learning from bears: bears will eat reindeer calves in the spring and will eat salmon in the summer, in the fall they will eat tons of berries to fatten up for hibernation, this is the same for humans
- Saami people and genetics
- APOE4 is common among Saami people
- Saami people have a certain polymorphism in that helps them digest and take energy more effectively from animal foods (28% of Saami people have this compared to only 2.3 % in Chinese)
- The Saami eat nose to tail
- The intestines are made into sausages, using the tougher meat on the animal
- They eat eggs from a special type of bird that lives in the lakes
- They eat a lot of fish and fish roe too
- They eat berries in the summer until fall
- Traditional story about the Saami people making a deal with the reindeer, promising them a quick and painless death in exchange for their meat and milk
- Animals in nature die horrible deaths from other animals
- Fredrik is trying to prevent the Saami organizations from partnering with EAT Lancet and promote plant-based diets
- Gunhild Stordalen (from EAT Lancet) says she is an environmentalist but Saami are environmentalists by birth
- The environment and preserving the land and animals
- The “overkill” or “over hunted” hypothesis doesn’t make sense to Fredrik he has even done the calculations to show it is illogical
- It’s not worth the time to forage and gather all these low-calorie foods when there are large animals around
- A good analogy is if you are going to eat the same amount of meat from birds than you could from one moose the amount of time that goes into getting the birds is enormous, it is so much more effective to go after the moose
- There is a problem with the anti-meat activists, people don’t understand how this could affect the Saami people
- It’s always the people in the city that are trying to “be better than nature”
- It’s the people that are working with nature that should be making these policies
- Reindeer and moose turn leaves and pine needles into meat… you can’t grow crops there
Find Frendrik’s amazing knives and other work http://www.fredrikprost.com