Brain Tanning & Diet

Brent Ladd laddb at
Wed Aug 30 10:05:39 EDT 2000

I second you Penny.
This is synchronistic, as I was just getting ready to send a post about
brain tanning. I made my income while living wild and free by brain
tanning deer skins and furs.  I think this is an excellent and
sustainable way of providing clothing, tools, materials from any
livestock or wild species or road kill (but careful of the many harmful
bacteria of road kills). It does take some work and commitment to learn
the skill of brain tanning.

I definitely think that permaculture sites having livestock should find
ways of using the whole animal, if and when it dies. Brain tanning the
skin is a natural and monetary free (or income producing if you sell it)
manner of recycling the energy on your site and preventing waste.

For anyone interested I have produced a 2.5 hour video on the ancient
art of brain tanning skins, furs, and hair-on hides.  This is a very
detailed video that walks through several different methods unique to
turning green hides (deer, raccoon, coyote, and buffalo are shown)  into
beautiful all natural leather. I also recommend hands-on training.

For any near Indiana, I will  be demonstrating brain tanning and other
First Technologies at the Potawatami Festival in Attica, IN Sept 16-18.

Penny,  I also second your comments on diet.  I read Weston Price's
research while living in the woods doing my own hunter-gatherer
lifestyle.  I saw Sally Fallon speak last year on this topic.  She has
brought Price's research up to date, however, I have not been successful
with many of her  recipes. Thanks for pointing out that diet is not
black and white, but many shades of color. When hunting -gathering for
my living my diet was mostly stews of many wild plants, mushrooms,
tubers along with deer meat or other animal meat.  I also ate most all
the animal, eyes, kidneys, heart, liver (but never ever make mistake of
throwing a beaver liver into your stew!).  Drank mostly teas of spruce,
strawberry leaf, nettle, and other plants year round.  I was very
healthy in a very cold climate while living out of a birch bark hut.
When I came back to Indiana I eventually added modern foods to my diet
and have been for the worse.

What initially  drew me to permaculture was the idea of emulating
natural systems, yet doing it on one acre (more or less), rather than my
hunter-gatherer experience of needing miles of territory to procure my

Say hello to Carter Draves at Heartwood for me.  Carter introduced me to
Permaculture back in 1993 when no one around here had ever heard the

For any interested in the video resource contact me:

Brent Ladd
705 Kerber Road
West Lafayette, IN 47906
laddb at

PINC wrote:

> Hi Everyone,
> Many of you are too far away to think about coming but I wanted to
> share what we're up to. Maybe you might want to organize something of
> this nature in your area.
> Where we live there is an abundance of deer. I see them dead and
> rotting on the side of the road from automobile-kill. Many folks have
> them invading the gardens because the mountain lion and grizzly bear
> are all but extinct ( the mountain lion population is returning). In
> many areas the car is the only predator. What happens if you
> accidentally hit a deer or other large mammal? Do you know what to do?
> Is it honorable to pull it off to the side of the road and let it rot
> for all to witness?
> We are hosting a deer buckskin brain tanning workshop. This workshop
> will also teach you how to:
> Gut & skin a deer
> Select bones for tools & jewelry
> Pit roast venison
> Use Antlers
> Everyone will be able to go home with their own brain tanned buckskin
> and/or tools and jewelry. (We are purchasing deerskin, not killing a
> deer for every participant.
> Date is Oct. 1-6
> Instructors: Levon Durr & Marty Falkenstein, two very knowledgeable &
> sensitive permaculturists.
> Location: Heartwood Institute, Garberville, California USA about 4
> hours north of San Francisco
> Fee: $550 includes camping and meals
> If you or anyone you know is interested in this workshop you can
> contact:
> Permaculture Institute of Northern California
> PO Box 341
> Pt. Reyes Station, CA 94956
> (415) 663-9090
> pinc at
> I was inspired to organize this workshop because, I eat meat. I want
> to learn how to have the greatest connection with what I eat and
> ultimately not purchase the meat that I eat.
> Research shows:
> 1. There are no indigenous vegetarian diets
> 2. Animal protein is essential for many people
> 3. The longest lived cultures in the world eat lots of fat, dairy and
> meat.
> The resources for this info is a book called Nourishing Traditions by
> Sally Fallon & Mary Enig, PhD. (We sell the book, if you can't find
> it) and also the Weston A. Price Foundation website is
> Weston Price was a dentist who visited many indigenous cultures
> untainted by "western" diets in the 1920's. He traveled throughout
> Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe & the far north. He found less
> than 1% tooth decay! He created a theory, based on his observation,
> that healthy teeth reflected overall health. He also determined that
> the indigenous diet provided people with a jawbone structure that can
> support ALL of our teeth with no need of wisdom teeth removal or
> braces. The introduction of sugar and refined carbohydrates (not fat
> and dairy, as many people have been taught) have resulted in narrower
> jaws, and nasal passages. The other inspiration for this inquiry was
> the fact that in the US fat consumption has gone way down but heart
> disease has increased! The research does not support the conclusion.
> Stress, sugar and refined carbs have a much greater role in heart
> disease, food intolerances, allergies, immune deficiencies and many
> other maladies than they are given credit for.
> We don't intend to disavow vegan and vegetarian diets, as we all need
> the support and freedom to eat what we feel is good for us without
> being made wrong by others. This research also supports eating whole
> foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and other UNPROCESSED foods.
> Many of us who are drawn to eating meat, either don't think about it,
> feel bad and don't think about it, or rationalize it in someway
> because we may want to be politically correct and know we need animal
> protein to be healthy, even though the diet dictocrats say otherwise.
> Peace
> Penny
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Brent Ladd, MS
Environmental Assessment Coordinator, Purdue Extension
Purdue University
1146 ABE
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1146
laddb at

Safe Water for the Future Web Site:

"When a man loses sight of his past he loses the ability to look forward
intelligently." - Anonymous

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