Local company fuels national diet trend

John Wood and Kenneth Suter look over cattle.

A diet that traces back thousands of years is catching on like wildfire across the country.

A Tri-state company is helping to fuel that trend.

The Paleo Diet, also known as the caveman diet, comprises meat, fruit, vegetables and roots - whatever cavemen could gather.

The diet excludes the conveniences of modern day agriculture.

The premise is to eat a natural diet with no added hormones, antibiotics, grains or preservatives.

Lewis County farmer John Wood founded U.S. Wellness Meats based in Monticello, Mo. with three other men almost 13-years-ago. Little did they know they'd one day supply grass-fed beef to the New York Jets and consumers in all 50 states.

"Back in the days of the cave man, there was no health care measures other than just good nutrition, so they learned early on that a good diet is very important," Wood said. "It's all back to you are what you eat, and our animals eat right so you can, too. "

Kenneth Suter, who also helped found U.S. Wellness Meats, has been farming for 40 years.

"We were very surprised by the flavor, texture, the marbling and the meat that makes it more tender," he said.

Wood said the Paleo movement started picking up steam about 3- or 4-years-ago. U.S. Wellness Meats has evolved to provide a number of high-protein products including grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and salmon to name a few.

"There's a whole school of MD's, PhD's, athletic people who are learning if you eat really high protein/high-fat diets, and eliminate a lot of starches and eliminate the sugars, athletes will perform better," Wood said. "In 1900, diabetes in this country was less than 2 percent of the population. The Mayo Clinic didn't even discuss heart disease, and cancer was really, really rare. But if you look back pre-1900, we were eating a Paleo diet. We ate a high-protein, high-fat diet. The 1970s, we were told fat is bad. In my personal opinion, as the fat intake went down in this country, Alzheimer's started to skyrocket, and we've just been misinformed."

"I think school children with the epidemic of ADHD and all these sort of issues, I think it's strictly a diet problem and if you get back to our ancestral health, what our ancestors consumed, I think you'll solve a lot of the nation's ills," Wood said.

But Wood is quick to add that his farming method isn't the only way. He said he thinks the country has to have a commodity model, which will feed the majority of the people.

"But those folks who are interested in taking themselves up one level on the health ladder, what I call, this is a niche," Wood said.

Wood and Suter said their cattle are moved daily, making sure they always have a fresh batch of grass to eat.

If you would like to try any of the Paleo products offered by U.S. Wellness Meats, just enter promo code "winter13" when ordering to receive a 15 percent discount on orders under 40 pounds.