Wine-Braised Pork with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes


Food and Wine Strikes Again.

This was our protein center piece of last nights paleo inspired thanksgiving dinner

Legendary chef Jacques Pépin sears pork shoulder to make a terrific crust, then braises it slowly with stock, wine, chestnuts and sweet potatoes until it’s meltingly tender.

  1. One 4-pound boneless pork shoulder
  2. 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  3. Pepper
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  7. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  8. 5 parsley sprigs, plus chopped parsley for garnish
  9. 3 thyme sprigs
  10. 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  11. 1 pound vacuum-packed roasted peeled chestnuts (3 cups)
  1. Season the pork with the 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Heat a large cast-iron casserole over moderately high heat. Add the pork, fat side down, and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook until all 
of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook over moderate heat until the pork is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes longer.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the casserole and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, wine and parsley and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning once, until the pork is just tender, 2 1/2 hours. Add the sweet potatoes and chestnuts, cover and cook until the pork and sweet potatoes are very tender, 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sweet potatoes and chestnuts to a platter. Strain the jus into a bowl and degrease with a spoon; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Slice the pork and arrange it on top of the vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve with the jus.
MAKE AHEAD The braised pork can be refrigerated overnight and reheated before serving.


Medium-bodied Côtes du Rhône is rich enough to go with this pork and has enough fruit to go with sweet potatoes.


Benefits of Fasting


Why Fast?

Thousands of people have restored their health through therapeutic fasting. For some it is a last effort to health after many years of discomfort and distress. The good news is that the majority of people who undergo a supervised fast experience true healing as well as physical, psychological and mental rejuvenation.

Fasting – A Healing Experience

The bodies of animals and humans have evolved a mechanism that allows survival without feeding. This fasting period has benefits for a certain period of time and negative effects if the fast is prolonged to starvation past the resistance of the body. A wounded animal will instinctively roll in a ball and abstain from food while healing. During the fast the body’s repair and healing mechanisms are enhanced. At our center we have observed skin and conjunctive tissue diseases heal rapidly during the course of a 21 or 30 day fast. Dr. Baylac has witnessed various forms of gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune illnesses disappear and the body restored to its normal function.

The benefits of fasting:

  • Improvement of the digestive system: regular bowel movements and better digestion, restitution of the sense of hunger and satiety, shrinking of the stomach and reduced need for food
  • Increased acuity of the senses: enhanced taste, smell and vision
  • Healthier blood: When viewed on the microscope, clumps of red blood cells are dissolved, damaged red blood cells are eliminated, and only normal shape healthy red blood cells are left
  • Reduce blood pressure and blood glucose
  • Loss of extra fat
  • Mental clarity
  • Higher level of energy

These benefits are due to the process of detoxification undertaken by the body while it is taking a break from digesting food. Our bodies become toxic as a result of living in a toxic world, overeating processed, chemically loaded foods. As the toxic load increases the organs of elimination cannot perform their function and we become sluggish, fatigued, depressed and sick. Detoxification is needed.

A Rebirth for Mind and Spirit

Healing a medical condition is not the only reason to fast. Fasting can also be an important tool to support a spiritual quest. Fasting is an ancient spiritual practice. The process of fasting withdraws the energy from the physical and emotional bodies facilitating the transition from doing to being. Fasting takes us to our truth, allows old wounds to heal, addictions to fade, and our ego to die to be reborn into our spirit.

Fasting Brings the Ultimate Rest

Fasting provides a framework in which change is effortless and comes from the deep self.

Fasting Allows for Powerful Detoxification of the Body

The body relies on food to produce energy to sustain life. It takes energy to walk, sit, talk, exercise and work. If we reduce our activity level it still takes energy to open our eyes, lie down, move the body and keep every cell of our body alive. When no food is consumed, the body breaks down its own tissues for energy. It breaks down mostly fat, but also some muscle tissue. While these tissues are broken down, the toxins that they store are released, therefore the health benefit of fasting. Read about >>detoxification

Side Effects of Fasting

  • Loss of energy indicates that bed rest must be observed during a fast to minimize the breakdown of muscle mass
  • The longer the fast the longer the recovery time
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Must slow down to adjust to the decrease of energy
  • Interiorization process.
  • Decreased body temperature
  • May bring up suppressed issues and emotions
  • Very acidic urine pH from the breakdown of fat into ketones
  • Dehydration
  • Eventual loss of bowel movements after a few days

Who Should Fast?

Fasting is beneficial to everyone in this toxic world to the exception of pregnant women or lactating women, severe liver disease, AIDS, advanced cancer, renal insufficiency or been on birth control pills. Fasting will take care of a cold or an infection faster than any medication. Fasting is good to prevent illness and maintain good health. Fasting like calorie restriction increases longevity.

Medical Use of Fasting

Water fasting is useful for many gastro intestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel, or any condition presenting with diarrhea or constipation, GERD, pancreatitis, or H. pylori infection. Water fasting is also recommended for people who are seeking spiritual growth.

Water fasting provides the ultimate rest and repair of the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system and the brain and resets these systems.

The water fast is preceded by an elimination diet and juices. Read how to prepare for a prolonged fast. It is followed by a food reintroduction diet with raw foods. The food reintroduction phase consists of eating one food at the time with mindfulness.  Contact your local naturopath or go to gorgenaturalmedicine.com to schedule with Dr. Walker



“I was already obsessed with the possibility of success”

Words by David Coggins Photograph by the Weaver House


Fishing is a curious pursuit. You set yourself up for failure again and again, though the embarrassment comes in different forms and still manages to surprise you. Of course there’s always a remote chance of success, but take a photo when that happens or nobody will believe you. All of which is to say that anglers remain improbable optimists at heart.

We hope against hope that this time it will be different. We try our luck against the odds, but we also have to deal with the metaphors: There’s the one that got away, of course. But don’t worry, there’s always another fish in the sea. Or maybe it goes back to obsession and Moby Dick. But the metaphors are often too much: Sometimes a fish is just a fish.

My first saltwater quarry was not fish at all, but crab. As young kids we visited my grandparents’ house on a canal in south Texas. My sister and I would run downstairs first thing each morning to haul out the crab trap that hung off the dock. It was a big chicken-wire cube with openings at each end and a cylinder in the center full of some gnarly chicken meat my grandmom stuck in it.

The crabs entered through the openings, fell down to the bottom and couldn’t climb out. We never understood the physics of the thing (or why crabs like chicken), but we loved to see their blue shells when we pulled the trap out of the water, even though we were frightened of their claws and the strange way their color shifted in the sun like gasoline. When crabs were served at dinner, my sister and I abstained: We didn’t even like crabs—we held out for fried shrimp. But the catch was the thing. The anticipation gives you a high, kind of like scratching off a lottery ticket.

That may not qualify as fishing; the trap does all the work and you just show up to check on it. But I was already obsessed with the possibility of success. When I got older, I’d hang a lure over the edge of the dock, and then catch an ugly gray catfish if I was lucky. They have sharp barbels that look like whiskers, and I’d stare at these prehistoric faces before I made my Uncle Bill unhook them and throw them back in the water.

Just fishing was enough. But as you learn more you expect more, and you rarely get the results you feel you deserve. The remarkable thing about fishing is its incredible capacity, despite your experience, to make you feel like a novice. The more you know, the more you realize you have to learn. Wait, is that another metaphor?

When you’re young, you’re happy for any action and every fish looks big. These days I don’t troll for catfish in Texas—I fly-fish for trout in Montana—but the impulse is the same. You like the mystery of what’s happening beneath the surface and the first sight of the fish when it comes out of the water. It’s enough to make you comfortable with failure, because you know your luck can change with the next cast.


Espen Haagensen

I haven’t got it yet, but I’m hunting it and fighting for it, I want something serious, something fresh—something with soul in it! Onward, onward.” – vincent van gogh


Who’s Better at Baby Talk, Mom or Dad?


In the latest research on how babies first pick up language, it turns out that gender makes a difference.

Reporting in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Betty Vohr and her colleagues decided to look at how both moms and dads talk to their young babies. Much research has focused on how mothers engage infants, even before they can speak, but fewer studies have focused on the male side of the equation.

Taking advantage of a small recording device called LENA, which they attached to the babies on a vest for 16 hours, Vohr’s team analyzed all of the verbal interactions a group of 33 babies had (none of the babies were born premature). The recordings occurred just after they were born, while the infants were still in the hospital, and again at 44 weeks and seven months. The last two sessions were recorded on days when both the babies’ parents…

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Pillars of Health


Eat food from farmers markets.
Drink good tea each morning.
Read books that make you feel.
Paint, even if you’re awful.
Write, even when you have nothing to say.
Sit in the fresh air outside.
Go on hikes.
Swim in lakes and wade in streams.
Sleep as long as you need.
Work hard at what you love.
Work hard at what you hate.

Love unconditionally and wholeheartedly.”

-How to Stay Healthy