On a scale of 1 (major qualms) to 5 (enjoyed every moment), I rate it: FIVE STARS
I must admit that when this highly-recommended book came in the mail, I quickly flipped through it and began to be very disgusted that I’d purchased it—there was all sorts of talk about how you should be eating fat, organ meats, milk/dairy and even lard. I set it aside with the intent of shipping it back to Amazon, but a day later decided to give it one more try.
This cookbook-meets-nutrition, of sorts, was claiming that some of the foods that I had been taught all my life were bad for me were supposedly good for me? I had grown up thinking that butter, fat, dairy, and more recently that meat products (via the raw food movement) were problematic to the human digestion system. Not to mention I have an intolerance to milk and dairy products and have been drinking alternatives like almond and rice milk for years now. Animal fat is good for you? That paradigm shift wasn’t yet ready to take place, but my interest was peaked when I noticed the emphasis on nutrient-dense foods and the importance, and health benefits, of soaking and sprouting all of our grains, legumes and nuts/seeds, and the physical/mental degeneration that follows if we do not. I had been familiar with sprouting from my years being into raw food, but I hadn’t learned about the ancient practice of soaking grains to remove phytates (phytic acid blocks the absorption of critical nutrients). This book is an absolute light in the dark on some issues that I’d had with some of the other popular diets out there such as the Macrobiotic diet, the Blood Type diet, Alkaline diet, and Fit For Life diet (aka natural hygiene).
The first 71 pages is a great intro to nutrition. Throughout the cookbook recipes, studies are quoted relating to each food category. Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. are also a big proponent of coconut oil—as am I. Their book Eat Fat, Lose Fat promotes the consumption of healthy fats, especially coconut oil—its on my long list of nutrition reads. Foods included in a traditional diet can be found late in this post under “What To Eat.”
Nourishing Traditions is based off of the research done by Dr. Weston A. Price, a Cleveland dentist, that has been called the “Charles Darwin of Nutrition” who traveled the world during the 1930′s to observe tribes of primitive people that consisted on non-modernized foods. He found that while their diets were each quite different, they all incorporated animal proteins and fats and dairy in their diets along with unrefined whole vegetation and the use of lacto-fermentation for preserving and enhancing the enzymes and nutrients in their food. All of the 14 primitive groups he studied were free of chronic disease, mental illness and tooth decay. He compared these isolated peoples to those that had left their tribe to be “civilized” and the poor effects that lifestyle had on them. He published his research in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
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Dr. Price discovered an additional fat soluble vitamin that he called “Activator X” and which was also referred to by others as the Price Factor or X Factor, and is now believed to be vitamin K2. It is a powerful catalyst which, like vitamins A and D, helps the body absorb and utilize minerals. It was present in the diets of all the healthy population groups he studied but unfortunately has almost completely disappeared from the modern western diet. Sources include organ meats from cows eating green grass, fish eggs and shellfish. Butter can be an especially rich source of Activator X/vitamin K2 when it comes from cows eating rapidly growing grass in the Spring and Fall seasons. It disappears in cows fed cottonseed meal or high protein soy-based feeds. Fortunately, Activator X/vitamin K2 is not destroyed by pasteurization.
There are so many new (to me), intriguing things about nutrition to be found in this book (2 inches thick!), which has made me dive even deeper into researching this exciting subject matter. There will be more posts to come on topics from this book—from raw milk to phytates and vitamin K2. I highly recommend it! But you don’t have to take my word for it…
A wealth of health topics can be found at the Weston A. Price Foundation website.
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Take the Beginners Tour
WHAT TO EAT
- Proteins — organic, pasture-raised meats
- Fats — raw and cultured butter, cream, lard and fat from pasture-fed animals; extra virgin olive oil; unrefined flax seed oil in small amounts; coconut and palm oil
- Dairy — raw, whole milk and cultured dairy products from traditional breeds of pasture-fed animals
- Carbohydrates — organic whole grain products that are soaked and or sprouted to remove phytates; sprouted grain bread and soaked or sprouted cereal grains; soaked and fermented legumes including lentils, beans, and chickpeas; sprouted or soaked nuts and seeds; fresh fruits and vegetables, both raw and cooked; fermented vegetables
- Beverages — filtered, high-mineral water; lacto-fermented drinks made from grain or fruit; meat stocks and vegetable broths
- Condiments — unrefined sea salt; raw vinegar; spices in moderation; fresh herbs; naturally fermented soy sauce and fish sauce
SAMPLE MENU + RECIPES
See this menu example of someone living the nourishing traditions lifestyle (scroll down the forum thread a few posts to find a couple of lengthy posts by username Hibou with sample menus and task lists of how to keep up with the food preparation required for eating nutrient dense foods).
Nourishing Traditions gives this advice for those venturing into bringing more nourishing foods into their eating habits,
Throw away all boxed breakfast cereals—the flakes, shapes and puffed grains produced by the extrusion process. Start your day with soaked oatmeal or other grain, whole grain dishes such as pancakes or muffins, eggs, fish, nut milks, broth or homemade soup.
Aim for a diet that is 50% raw or enzyme-enhanced. Raw foods include vegetables, fruits, meats, fats and milk products.”
A good rule to start your evening meal with a dish containing enzymes—either a salad with homemade dressing, raw meat or fish, or soup containing cultured cream. If your next course includes a sauce made from gelatin-rich stock, easy digestion and a peaceful night’s sleep will be assured.
If the meal you serve consists entirely of cooked foods, then a lacto-fermented condiment is a must.
When preparing a meal, always think ahead to what must be done for the next two meals; put grains and pulses to soak and meats to marinate, as necessary.
Watch this video on phytic acid and when you should soak your grains.
I will not list them all, but here are a few kitchen tools that are suggested to have handy when incorporating more nourishing foods into your diet:
Stockpot, stainless steel cookware (not aluminum or Teflon, more on that later), cast iron skillet, blender, wide-mouth mason jar (for soaking, sprouting and fermenting), food processor, grain mill and roller, juicer.
*It is recommended that the following should NOT be found in the kitchens of conscientious cooks:
Microwave Oven — studies have shown that they have negative effects on fats and proteins and that baby milk should especially never be microwaved, as it alters the amino acids and can be toxic to the liver and nervous system.
Pressure Cooker — food is cooked too quickly using this tool at temperatures above the boiling point. Grains and legumes should be slow cooked.
COMING SOON: follow the feud between the Weston A. Price Foundation and its plant-based contender, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study.
See next month’s Media Club Reviews