Over the past year, I have been curious with cost effective, nutritious local ingredients that go beyond the typical mainstream do’s and don’ts of food consumption for individuals in their 50s and beyond. I’ve always been a proponent of healthy living through balance and mindfulness and most of my research takes me away from mainstream do’s and don’ts. As I am in my 50s, it became important to me to become more sophisticated and refined in the ingredients I was consuming rather than a follow-the-crowd nonsensical approach. As my research took me deeper and deeper, I found that as we age, we lose many of our amino acids, which are our building blocks to good health, a strong immune system and good digestion. I was dealing with advanced osteoarthritis and figured there had to be a way to reawaken my body’s natural way of rejuvenating and repairing itself. If not to fully recover, than to at least halt the degeneration. And so, off I went.  

I shop local and look for farmers that produce organically, consciously and sustainably. I am a flexitarian who enjoys grass-fed/grass-finished beef when my body is in the mood. I have, however, moved away from eating muscle over recent years to eating bone marrow and offal. In particular, heart and liver of grass-fed beef. The offal is filled with nutrients, minerals and vitamins that you simply don’t get in beef muscle, and they are more easily digestible. I can order a small beef heart from my local farm, ArcAcres, and slice it up, while partially frozen, into ready-to-cook meal-size portions for my freezer. It’s great! Same with the liver. I order a package and can get 6-8 healthy portions for a fraction of what I would pay with a larger grocery chain, with better, local and sustainable quality. It’s been a long time since I’ve shopped at a major grocery store, simply because I found a more nutritious and cost-effective alternative than mass produced ingredients and shopping.  

Lately, I’ve been curious about tallow. Once again, grass-fed/grass-finished tallow from my local supplier ArcAcres, is the perfect cooking fat. Rich in nutrients and vitamins such as A,D, E, K and omega 3 and 6, I wanted to experiment with tallow for my skin.

The best tallow, of course, is the fat that is all around the organs. Why feed only the inside of the body? Why not feed the largest organ on the body… The skin!  

For the skin (and also for cooking), it’s important that the tallow be purified. I used a slow cooker on low with about 6-8 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of Himalayan salt. I let it simmer for about 1.5 days for the first round, to give time for the fat to melt. Then I strain with a cheese cloth into a big bowl and place in the fridge. Once it has hardened, I take it out of the bowl, turn it over and scrap the impurities from the bottom of the tallow. Then, I repeat the process once more for the cooking tallow, and a third time for the making of tallow skin balm. However, tallow could be the new bacon. If you’re single like me, you may want to stop at the 2nd stage of purification and retain some of that beef smell. You’ll walk around smelling like a succulent Porterhouse steak! The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… Or so my mother told me!

After the 3rd stage of purification and bottom scrapping, I then chop up the tallow and whip it with a hand blender until it is velvety soft and creamy. You can add olive oil, coconut oil, or seabuckhorn oil, argan oil… Whatever you’re little heart desires! Scents like lavender or sandalwood are also spectacular.

When applying on the skin, it doesn’t take much. I usually rub a little bit between my hands to heat up the balm before rubbing it on my skin, especially at night before I go to bed. I like to drench my body with tallow. For rough areas like feet and hands, I apply the tallow and then wear little gloves or sockets to lock in the process.

I hope you enjoyed this! I love playing with natural ingredients. My kitchen is my apothecary. Feel free to leave me a question or comment. And remember to have fun with this and anything you do.