nutrient-dense

How to navigate food (and life) transitions

How to navigate food (and life) transitions

“How do you get your family to accept a real food diet when all they want are chicken nuggets?” “My kid is a picky eater. He eats cereal three times a day. What do I do?” “I want to eat ‘healthy’ but I crave a sugary snack every afternoon (and evening, if I’m honest)!”

The struggle is real! You are now convinced of the basics: that eating a healthy diet means eating more real, whole foods, and less of the food-like processed stuff that comes in packages! Bravo! But how do you go from the head to the heart (or should I say to the mouth)? 

Spark Notes for "Improving your health 101"

Spark Notes for "Improving your health 101"

Jodi Ledley had debilitating migraines. Once she learned to avoid MSG (and other excitotoxins like it), she found herself on the path to healing. For years, she's eaten only at home. There, she has been able to control the quality of the food and avoid the additives that caused the neurological disruption that triggered her migraines. 

Sticky tip: Chipotle is one of the few fast/casual places Jodi found where you can enjoy a meal that is MSG- and GMO-free! (By the way, I don’t have stock in that company, so I do not benefit from your eating there! But Jodi mentioned it, so I thought I'd pass the tip along.)

The "x" factors that impact your health

The "x" factors that impact your health

For vibrant health, we must attend to our spirit/mind/emotions—what I call the “x” factors that impact our wellbeing.  To nourish this part of us, we need to do things that fill us, lift us up, bring contentment or make us feel vibrant and alive.

That moment when you invite yourself over to your farmer's for dinner....

So, yeah, I did that. I’ve been the customer of a farmer in Pennsylvania for over 10 years and it suddenly struck me that it was high time we met. Well, that’s only part of the truth. I have indeed been ordering food from his farm—amazing meat, the best eggs with the most orange yolks, cheeses that are textured and tasty, and MUCH more—for a long while, but what motivated me was that I got wind of the fact that a fellow customer had dined at Peter’s house and I was just plain jealous. On our private Facebook group, she talked about how they ate a lovely meal and sang songs afterwards and I was as green as moss. I wanted to do that, too! I was encouraged by our farm liaison to reach out to Peter to arrange for a visit, so I did. I called him and asked if my husband and I could join them for dinner. Then the game of phone tag began. My farmer, Peter, is Amish and the Amish live simple lives, eschewing technology for the most part, so the telephone at their place is off in a separate building. So I called and left a message, making my request. And then he called me back and left me a message. Then I called back and left his adult son, Samuel, a message and then Samuel called me back and left me a message. And so on.

Eventually we connected “live” and it was a study of the different cultures we live in, though we are only a few hours apart. I would make a comment like “We can’t wait to meet you!” and then…pause….pause…pause….pause “It will be fun,” one would reply. I was rushed and citified. They were calm and country. I knew the visit would rock my world.

When the day came, as we pulled up, we saw two little boys hand-cranking ice cream. Peter greeted us and explained that the boys were his grandsons and that they were making it special for us and that it takes 1000 cranks till it’s done. We were humbled and touched immediately.

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They took us to meet their cattle up on a nearby hill. Most of them were lying down. Samuel explained that when cows are content, they lie down. These certainly seemed to be at peace. We went to see the chickens. They were beautiful, clucking happily, pecking away at bugs and microbes and what not.

After the brief tour, they ushered us into their home. There, we were blown away. Peter’s wife, Sarah, presented us with a spread fit for royalty. Let me back up here and explain that earlier, in one of our phone tag messages, Peter said that Sarah wanted to know what we would like to eat. She could serve chicken, pork, beef, or fish. In reply, I left a message saying something like “We like everything!” Imagine my shock and surprise, then, when they set before us literally EVERYTHING! The meal included: peaches with cottage cheese, pork chops and sauerkraut, beef and potatoes, gravy, chicken and honey mustard sauce, peas and carrots, salad, pickles and cheese! And kombucha to drink. Oh, and rolls and butter. And, of course, the ice cream and apple pudding for dessert.

I couldn’t help but wonder if something was lost in the translation between my saying we liked everything and their thinking we wanted everything. I came to find out later, to my relief, that they often treat guests to multiple course meals like that. Regardless, we were moved by their gracious hospitality. Samuel had to leave the table (before dessert) to feed the animals. When he came back, he and his parents let me interview them (though they are generally private people--which is one reason I am not using their real names). So I pulled out my recording equipment and we got started. It was a halting interview, to be honest, since they were unaccustomed both with microphones and answering questions on the spot. But it still offered small glimpses of how they shifted to organic farming (the first in their community to do so), and the health and business struggles they’d faced over the years.

Afterwards, we did indeed end our evening with a song. I was so grateful for the life-giving service they do all of us with their work on the farm. It was wonderful to raise our voices as one. Food brought us together; sharing a meal and singing together solidified the bond. As we prepared to leave, they said, with concern in their voice, “You’ll be getting home around 9 p.m.!” We understood why they were worried when we found out that their day begins at 4:15 a.m. Our 9 p.m. was equivalent to their midnight!

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All told, we were on the farm for some 4-5 hours but that brief time gave me invaluable insight on the important work of the farmer, the timeless (and often thankless) work of managing the land and animals to provide for the life and health of countless others. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever met your farmer and what your experience was like. And also let me know if you’d like me to post the interview as a podcast sometime. It wasn’t a perfect recording, but it was a perfectly amazing evening.

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Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and fitness professional. She is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation and is the Wise Traditions podcast host. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music and at westonaprice.org.

Surprises at the Wise Traditions conference (a/k/a you won't believe what happens next!)

I couldn’t resist using this clichéd click-bait subtitle because my experience at the conference was indeed just. like. that. It was one unexpected moment after another. You can watch an online health summit, the next wellness webinar or cooking tutorial on YouTube, but none of it compares to the actual experience of connecting LIVE with health experts and fellow foodies. The speakers get you thinking as you attend their presentations, and then you turn around and they join you for lunch! Between sessions, a fellow attendee points out a website that helps you find the dehydrator you were looking for. Your roommate tells you about her latest health hack. Each day you are empowered, encouraged, and energized. I hail from Washington, DC, a town better known for its political leanings than its alternative health tendencies. I was like a plant thirsty for some rain. I didn’t have to wait long before I was soaking it all in. Shortly after I arrived, I ran into speaker and gardener Celeste Longacre. (Don’t you just love her name?!) She invited me to her hotel room to demonstrate how to make beet kvaas. I drink it regularly but had never made it before. We hardly entered the room before she had started chopping up that beet like a Samurai swordsman! It was something to behold. My mind was blown. And then my heart was touched when she gave me garlic that she had grown from her very own garden. The conference was just kicking off and I’d already gotten a private kvaas demo and some swag!

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On day two, I connected with Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mama. She told me that earlier that morning, she had gone for a walk down by the river. From a distance, she spotted some random guy who was barefoot and bare-chested (a rare sight in the month of November); he was walking along playing some flute-like instrument. Curious, she walked closer…and then it dawned on her. This was not just some random guy. It was fitness guru Ben Greenfield, a fellow speaker at the Wise Traditions conference!

We laughed, partially because it was so unexpected for her to encounter Ben like that, but also because the conference was just overflowing with these kinds of surprising moments. The Weston A. Price Foundation brings together all sorts of creative, intelligent, interesting people—each committed to finding good health through natural and alternative means. There was genuine connection and joy at every turn. And there was also as much to be gleaned from the one-on-one connections as there was from the seminars.

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Hollywood producer Del Bigtree, of the movie “Vaxxed,” screened his movie at the conference and gave a post-screening presentation. He talked about how he got involved in the project and had been moved by the importance of the subject (the CDC's manipulation of study results) and its implications for our health and the health of our children. He had hitherto not quite realized the influence of the pharmaceutical companies on the media and consequently the public's access to critical health information. He is passionate about getting the movie wider distribution, not because he is particularly “anti-vax” but because he believes the public has the right to make informed decisions when it comes to vaccinations. Though he had been traveling around the country, he had never been among a group quite like ours. We were receptive, curious, and supportive. And we also challenged him to think about the role good nutrition could play in preserving our health.

That’s another thing I love about “Wise Traditions foodies” (as I like to call the WAPF-ers). They don’t just take in information—they process it; they ask tough questions. Many have taken their health into their own hands and are naturally skeptical of any medical theory. They take everything with a grain of (sea) salt.

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So, to me, this is what the Wise Traditions conference is about: learning, growing, laughter, food, questioning, and, yes, surprises. Count me in for next year. Actually, scratch that. Count me in for the rest of my life!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and fitness professional. She is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation and is the Wise Traditions podcast host. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music and at westonaprice.org.

What the heck is ghee? (And why you should try it.)

A friend of mine eats ghee with every meal. I used to feel sorry for her, considering ghee to be nothing more than a poor substitute for butter. I knew next to nothing about it, truth be told, but was somehow under the impression that she had been simply swept up in some new foodie trend. Little did I know that ghee is simply the fat part of butter (i.e., clarified butter) and that it has been made and consumed for thousands of years, particularly in India and Asia! Its health benefits are well-documented in ancient Sanskrit textbooks, and more and more people are rediscovering its benefits today. It is replete with vitamin A which benefits, among other things, our eyesight, and it has other properties that are rejuvenating, increase our longevity, and strength and immunity. Not only is it beneficial but it also is a vehicle, helping other nutrients get assimilated more easily into our body.

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Sandeep Agarwal is from India, where ghee is used liberally. He is an expert on the subject. His great-great-grandfather even started a ghee business in 1889. But living in the U.S., he had bought into the U.S. public health recommendations that saturated fat was to be avoided, so he shunned ghee and other fatty foods. But when his young son began to struggle with a health crisis, Sandeep began searching for an answer to resolve his health. This is when he came upon the Weston A. Price Foundation. And when he began applying the Wise Traditions principles to his family’s diet, he saw his son’s health improve and that’s when he began to realize that he needed to get back to his own roots.

Today he embraces ghee…and fat…and raw milk, along with other organic, natural foods and spices. He is a graduate of David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies’ two-year herbalist training program and one-year graduate program. He has spoken at Ayurvedic conferences in the USA and India. He is passionate about helping everyone to learn about the benefits of eating organic, healing, natural, traditional foods.

Listen to our conversation “On fat, raw milk, & ghee,” and you will learn:

  • the changes he made to his family’s diet that improved his son’s health
  • the process for making ghee
  • the benefits of ghee
  • the chemical composition of butter and of ghee, and how they compare
  • why ghee is a good choice for people with dairy sensitivities and for those on the GAPS diet
  • what the ancient texts say about raw milk and other healing practices
  • about Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing science which is 5000 years old and about its textbooks (written in Sanskrit)
  • the concept of ojaf (immunity) in ayurvedic tradition
  • how and why he and his wife started their PureIndianFoods business
  • how ghee is a top food recommended for immunity-boosting
  • why he believes ghee is growing in popularity as a “fat of choice”

If none of this convinces you to try ghee, you just need to give your tastebuds the treat! I’ve bought this huge tub and started cooking with it like there’s no tomorrow. (But, of course, there will be a tomorrow, thanks to ghee’s longevity-enhancing properties.)

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and at westonaprice.org). She is also the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Get to know Hilda and her approach to health by visiting her website chispainc.com.

Nutrient density: the best way to fuel your body

I was once one of those people who needed to eat every few hours. If I didn't, I would feel suddenly weak and dizzy, as if I were an iphone whose battery precipitously dropped from 83% to 2%. Mid-workout, I would grab an energy bar to power up again. In my worst moments, I would become shaky and sweaty, like someone detoxing from alcohol. It wasn't a pretty picture. I eventually stumbled upon the term “hypoglycemia” and determined that I simply needed to eat more frequently. It never occurred to me to look closely at what exactly I was eating. What was the composition of my diet exactly and could it have been a factor in my condition? In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist and a researcher, became curious about what contributed to good health. Thankfully, he did carefully examine and compare various diets to determine the factors at play in the best diets. He looked at the nutritional content of traditional foods and compared it with the so-called modern foods of his time (those sold at shops and comprised of refined flours, sugars, etc.) He found that traditional diets had 4x the minerals and water-soluble vitamins and 10x the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K. The bottom line? Modern diets often were (and still are) woefully inadequate in critical nutrients.

Whether we currently have any health concerns or not, it’s clearly time to ask ourselves some important questions, starting with: what the heck are we eating?! Are we simply satisfying our hunger with whatever happens to be close to our “pie hole,” or are we looking to build our bodies in better ways? I don’t mean “build” in a muscle-building fat-burning machine way, although some may have that goal. I mean, are we giving our bodies the fuel they need to thrive? Better nutrition translates into more energy, less fatigue. There’s easier brain function/more brain power, greater ease of movement/strength to take on physical tasks. Do you want this for yourself, for your family? Who doesn't, right?!

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Sally Fallon Morell takes Dr. Price’s findings and helps us figure out how to apply them in the day-to-day. She seriously sheds light on how to get the biggest bang for your buck out of every bite. (I may be mixing metaphors here, but you get what I'm saying!) Click here to listen to episode #30 entitled “Nutrient density.” In it, Sally touches on:

- how even those who think they’re eating “healthy” may still not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need - the foods that offer the fat-soluble vitamins that are critical for our brain and body function (in organ meats, fish eggs, egg yolks, cheese, for example) - the symptoms of fat-soluble vitamin-deficiency (including depression and anxiety) - the dangers of a diet high in lean proteins (without sufficient fat) - the fats that are implicated in heart disease (hint: not the saturated fats) - how vitamins A, D, and K are a triumvirate: how they work together and should be in balance - why she questions the USDA’s definition of “nutrient density” (Hint: they call vegetables nutrient dense, but they count it per calorie, and many vegetables are low in calories. This means that you’d have to eat copious amounts of broccoli, for example, to get the same amount of vitamins or minerals you’d get from a spoonful of liver.) - how Dr. Price, through improved nutrition, improved the health and behavior of  some orphans - how to tweak your diet to improve not only your physical health but your mental health; how to increase optimism - the one simple thing you can do to make a noticeable difference in your health, even if you do nothing else

I'm convinced that nutrient density (principle #3) is key to wellness. (For the entire list of "characteristics of traditional diets" click here.) I've been tweaking my diet over the years to align with the Wise Traditions diet and guess what?! All symptoms of hypoglycemia have resolved. Better still, I have no serious health concerns. I have sustained energy for the physical and mental tasks I want to complete. My body and mind feel strong and good.

What about you? Are you willing to try some of the foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins? What can you add to your diet to help your body thrive? Please comment below if you take even one small step in the nutrient-dense direction. I'm eager to hear what difference it makes for you!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher and at westonaprice.org). She is also the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

The Biggest Loser...but in real life!

On the t.v. show "The Biggest Loser," people lose drastic amounts of weight in dramatic fashion, only to gain it back when they are off the air and the cameras are gone. Dramatic is the right word for it. It is a t.v. show, made to entertain. Those who produce it are interested in ratings, certainly not in the health of the participants. They "help" them lose weight, all right, but in all the wrong ways for all of the wrong reasons. But contestants sign up to be on the show, nonetheless, grasping at the slim hope that they might become slim, in actuality. It's easy to understand their desperation. Richard Morris could certainly relate. For him, walking to work was akin to hiking Mount Everest. He would huff and puff and sweat up a storm and it was only a few blocks away from his place in New York City! He was in terrible shape. No surprise. The man weighed over 400 lbs. Dieting? Hed been there, done that....in his own words, "a million and one" times. The only thing they were good for was packing on the pounds (after some initial unsustainable weight loss).

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Richard was pre-diabetic and struggling with asthma and high blood pressure. Every day he woke up asking himself, "Is today the day I die?"

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This is Richard today. Yes, as you can ascertain, he has undergone a complete transformation! He is in excellent shape, as are his wife and two daughters. He works a job and runs a family farm. And in his spare time, he runs spartan races!

Be inspired by his story in this half-hour episode entitled A life unburdened.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Richard gained so much weight in the first place
  • The role his family's poverty played in their food choices when he was growing up
  • What diets he tried and why they failed him
  • Richard's a-ha moment that led him to leave dieting behind
  • What first steps he took to rid his home of processed foods
  • What foods they bought (and where they bought them) as they switched to eating real food
  • What happened when he flirted (briefly) with the idea of eating the old way
  • How the Weston A. Price Foundation resources played a part in his transformation
  • The role of cooking in his life
  • How his daughter's early puberty was reversed through real food
  •  How he got into obstacle course racing

Links & Resources

About Richard Morris

Richard Morris worked in IT, but now lives a life that is drastically different. Richard lives in Virginia, running his farm, running spartan races and running in the human race, in brave and new ways!

If you enjoy the podcast episode, please share it on FB or Twitter. And leave Wise Traditions a review on iTunes which gives important stories like Richard's a broader platform!

The power of a Mama Bear

"Never underestimate the power of a Mama Bear defending her cub." Joel Salatin said something to this effect when I interviewed him recently. He was talking about the strength and determination of a mother looking out for her child. I know moms like this. Two days ago, I spoke with a mom friend of mine who was calling out her teen for lying. That took guts: a willingness to confront her child, impose repercussions and then deal with the fallout. Today I was on the phone with a mom whose elementary-aged daughter was home with a tummy ache. This took patience: she had spent the morning tending to her and the afternoon (and the days ahead) will probably hold more of the same.

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When I was a kid, my own mom worked several jobs at one time to make ends meet for our family.

I love these women. They, and countless others, are true Mama Bears. They are willing to do whatever it takes to provide and protect their little ones. They are fierce, passionate, seeking out whatever is needed for their children need to grow to be strong and healthy.

Tressie Taylor is just this kind of mom. Her son, Omar, was diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum when he was around two years old. Tressie wasn't satisfied with the end goal of the recommended behavioral therapy so she went into "bear mode." She sought out options, determined to find something better for Omar. She discovered a two-pronged approach to healing for her son: a nutrient-dense Wise Traditions diet and a chelation protocol established by Dr. Andy Cutler. (Chelation escorts metals out of the body, and Dr. Cutler's protocol is the safest method out there.)

Today, Omar has lost his diagnosis. And Tressie is a Mama Bear for hundreds of children (not just her own). To hear more of her amazing story, click here.

I'm inspired by women who fight fiercely for what they believe in. Do you know any Mama Bears? How are you exercising your own Mama Bear power?

The inside scoop on wellness

Starting the Wise Traditions podcast has been an adventure. I knew I wanted to help spread the message of the benefits of whole, real, nutrient-dense foods. That, after all, is the mission of the Weston A. Price Foundation, the group sponsoring the podcast. Their goal is to educate the public about healthy traditions and the science behind the foods that have helped cultures survive and thrive through millennia. DSC_0006

What I didn’t bargain for was that I would be getting an education in the process, myself. I loved sitting down with the authors, doctors, scientists, farmers, etc., who came on the show. Each individual was well spoken, entertaining, and brilliant. I was getting something out of every single conversation.

And then it dawned on me—I wasn't just educating John Q. Public, out there “somewhere,” in the distance—I was, in fact, educating myself! Below are some of the truths I’ve gleaned, after months of sitting at the feet of top health and wellness experts. I consider these truths to be the “inside scoop” on wellness.

  1. Outset. I’m just at the outset; they are waaaay down the pike! Yup, I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. Oh, I studied to be a health coach, and I am a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, all right. But these people have spent decades in their field (sometimes, yes, literally in a field!) so they have a really good idea of what’s best for our bodies, in theory and in practice.
  2. Opposing views. Even the experts say we shouldn’t trust the experts. Almost every guest on the show has urged me (and the listener) to keep seeking, keep reading, keep educating myself. (It was a farmer who gave me the longest list of recommended books!) I have taken their challenge seriously. In fact, I am purposely seeking out opposing views to those shared by my guests, to discover the truth, as best I can, for myself.
  3. Overwhelmed. Our bodies are overwhelmed. Incidences of cancer, chronic diseases, mental illness, and the like, are on the rise. (I didn’t need them to tell me this. I could see that for myself, just by reading the headlines.) What I did learn from them is that our world is increasingly toxic and that there are ways to help our bodies cope.
  4. Organic is best. Processed, artificial, man-made, imitation, preservative-laden foodstuffs (that pass for food in our supermarkets) are part of the toxic soup that our bodies cannot process. These foodstuffs are cheaper, but remember this: bargain foods are no bargain for our bodies. They mess with our physical and mental capabilities.

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  5. Opt out. Opting out of the commercial, big-box, packaged food industry is a great place to start. Each guest has emphasized the importance of turning toward a more, natural, real food diet. Avoid the chains (supermarket, fast food, restaurants) that literally encumber us. While you are still free to move, take steps off the regular food grid. Look for real food whenever possible. Connect with farmers. Learn to grow or, at least, cook your own food. It's critical for your health and the health of your loved ones.

Oh, the things I’ve learned! Have you been learning, too? Comment below so we can educate each other! I look forward to more great conversations, both on and off the air.

I met a farmer!

I'm a city girl with a country heart. It's been a cool transformation over the past 7-10 years. Most of you know my story. I exercised a lot and gave very little thought to what I ate. Then I started to realize that rather than just throwing anything down the hatch, it might behoove me to fuel my body with real food. So I started a quest to find nourishing, nutrient-dense foods for me and my family. It led me to the Weston A. Price Foundation, whose focus on real, whole foods made a lot of sense to me. Things didn't change overnight in our household. But gradually, little by little, real foods made their way into our home. We started eating eggs and yogurt for breakfast instead of cereal. We chose real fruit over Del Monte Fruit Cups; quesadillas over cheese-flavored tortilla chips.

As we made these changes it slowly dawned on me that real food came from real people growing and raising it. And what's so fun is that in recent years,  I've had the wonderful opportunity to meet the people growing the food. When I'm with them,  I feel like a starry-eyed fan, and if I didn't have sufficient self-control, I would indeed pull out a sharpie and ask for an autograph. Unlike Hollywood stars, these guys don't entertain, they provide genuine sustenance for the masses! They are worthy of adulation, truly!

Me and Jesse

Last October, I connected with Jesse Straight, the lead farmer at Whiffletree Farms in Warrenton, Virginia. Jesse is a young farmer who graduated from UVA (where my daughter went to school.) He had no plans to become a farmer, but he picked up a book by Wendell Barry that changed the course of his life. He decided to farm and he never looked back.

In November, I had the privilege of meeting Will Winter, a farmer and advocate for holistic health for animals and people! He told me that he used to be a vegetarian because he saw a disconnect between caring for animals and going home and eating them. Now he is a consultant for Thousand Hills Cattle Company and he is the owner of Lucky Pig Farms!

And in just a couple of weeks, I am going to meet Joel Salatin, farmer extraordinaire of Polyface Farm and the author of "Folks, this ain't normal!" Joel challenges the way we look at  our food, animals, the government, and, of course, each other.

If I sound like I'm ga-ga over farmers and name-dropping  a bit, well...I am. I admire their hard work and the food I have the privilege of enjoying thanks to them and others like them. Are you intrigued by their lives? Do you want to learn more about the adventures of raising and growing food? Come meet Jesse at a get-together at my house, here in DC, on Saturday, Jan. 23. (Comment below and I can give you details.) Can't make that date? Get to know these gentlemen through my podcast! My talk with Will Winter just aired (and you can hear from Jesse and Joel in future episodes). Soon you'll be ga-ga, too, and boasting (or blogging) "I met a farmer!"

One more present for you...

Just when you thought you had everything unwrapped, there’s one more present for you: the Wise Traditions podcast! WAPF favicon

The podcast is wrapped up in brown paper (and tied up with string) on its way to us all in just a few days! If we could track it with an app, it would appear as saying "shipped." Now we're awaiting delivery from the iTunes truck!

This podcast is going to be a wonderful topper to all the gifts you received this past holiday season. And it's going to be one that you will come back to again and again. You are simply, absolutely,  unequivocally going to LOVE it!

You'll get three episodes right off the bat---an interview with the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon Morell. She talks about the foundation's core principles and why they are so committed to educating the public about the healthy traditions of our ancestors.  We also talk to farmer and veterinarian Will Winter. He has a brilliant mind, and a straight-forward way of talking that makes the most complicated matters related to life and health (and climate change) sound simple! And finally, we talk to Dr. Tom Cowan, a holistic doctor who wraps up the interview by saying "Don't believe me. Don't believe anybody!" Talk about unconventional!

All three of these episodes will be available as soon as the podcast arrives and, thereafter, 30-minute podcast episodes will be released once a week. You will be able to find them on iTunes (search for "Wise Traditions" under "Podcasts") and on the westonaprice.org website (click on "New! Podcast" on the side bar). Each episode will be entertaining, informative, and helpful. And, of course, you will be able to share them at the click of a mouse.

I simply can’t WAIT for you to check out these episodes and all those that follow. The minute they go "live" you will know. I will post about it here and you will see social media light up with excerpts, pictures, and more!

Hooray for an extra little present that is one-size-fits-all! And here's to a happy and healthy 2016 for all of us!

What nourishment can do in a world of terror, mass shootings, and suicide

With the latest headlines coursing through my mind, how could I possibly continue to merrily write posts about food and farmers and health? Am I just sticking my head in the sand (or in the fridge) when I write about such things, when chaos abounds in our world right now? I know of a young 16 year-old in Maryland who recently took her own life. There were mass shootings this past week in Georgia and California. And, in Paris, Nigeria, and too many countries to count, people are reeling from recent terrorist attacks. Many respond to the sadness and turmoil by calling for legislative change and stricter gun control laws, advocating for help for the mentally ill, and reaching out with thoughts and prayers. All of these reactions are fitting and appropriate (despite blog posts to the contrary). But how does nutrition fit into this scene? Is a health blog relevant at all? Is it simply entertainment? What part can nourishment play in this world of terror, mass shootings and suicide?

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I submit that it is part of the solution, not a sidebar, not a pleasant indulgent distraction nor a pie-in-the-sky hope.  I see promoting nourishment as a critical preventative piece of the puzzle.

When we are truly nourished, I mean, all the way deep down to our bones, we are content, satisfied, tranquil, peaceful. We can respond to aggravations and irritations around us with equanimity. We are less likely to be flustered, worried, anxious, and unhappy.

Notice that I said "less likely." Of course, I'm not suggesting that we will never be disgruntled or worried; I'm simply saying that true nourishment brings us a settled, grounded feeling most of the time. Think about the term "hangry." It comes from that irritated, agitated state that leads us to react poorly when we've gone too long between meals. You've been there. I've been there. We lash out at the slightest provocation; we feel "off" and on edge.

Now imagine a person feeling that way most of the time. (I'm not talking about the hungry in developing countries right now. Clearly, they are underfed and often malnourished, simply hungry and not "hangry." It is important to look for ways to make sure they are nourished, of course.) Right now, today, I'm addressing those here in the U.S., who are overfed and undernourished.

The person who is undernourished, is chronically "hangry," i.e. irritable, volatile, and more likely to be aggressive and dangerous. I'm not making this up. I heard an NPR program about a school in inner city Chicago that had major behavioral and discipline problems. They changed nothing but the food available at lunch time and behavioral issues diminished significantly.

Certainly nutrient-dense food can change our mood and disposition. But what about the person who is mentally unstable or depressed--can it help them, too? Studies have shown that a changed diet can be as effective as medication, if not more so. And, of course, nourishment of the spirit is as critical as nourishment for the body. Sharing a meal around a table meets our deepest needs for community and connection. Seeking help and hope from faith and friends goes far in giving us a sense of purpose and contentment.

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All this to say, we must pay attention not only to what is happening "out there" but to what is happening "in here," inside ourselves. How are we being nourished on the deepest levels? Are we being nourished on the deepest levels?

With all of the insanity swirling around us, let us not discount the role of nourishment--physical and spiritual--in addressing this world's turmoil, and our very own. The fix may be much closer to home than we realize. It may even be as close as our kitchen table.

 

 

The two things you absolutely MUST have on your Thanksgiving menu

I do like pie, I'm not going to lie! But in all likelihood pie is already on your menu---maybe even several varieties! So, I'm going to suggest a couple of things that you may not have thought of just yet. How did I settle on the two items you should add to your table? As I trained to become a health coach, I studied 100 different diets. As a fitness professional, I have read countless periodicals, journals, and magazines, all of which feature studies and all kinds of information exploring the effects of various foods on our bodies. And just last week I attended the Wise Traditions conference in California, where I learned more about the most nutrient-dense and nourishing foods.

All of this to say, I'm not just pulling these ideas out of thin air. I've boiled all of that info down to just two MUST-HAVEs to add to this year's Thanksgiving feast. Cranberry relish and stuffing! Just kidding. The two are listed below.

First, something FRESH! You are as alive as the food you eat. Think of the difference between being at a live concert and listening to a cd. Eating food from the supermarket is the cd--shiny and attractive but tasteless and difficult to digest. Eating food from a farm or your garden is the live concert--delighting and stimulating your tastebuds...and your whole body!

By the way, when I say fresh I don't mean something labeled "fresh" or a product with a cow drawn on the label or a cutesy illustration of a farm. I mean something that doesn't come in a package, food that you did not buy in a brick and mortar store. I'm not saying everything on your menu needs to be this fresh. But what if at least one menu item were that fresh?

You can get fresh food from your own garden if you have one or from a local farmers market. If you don't know of one, just google it or go to farmmatch.com. I bet there's one within a 10-minute drive or walk from your home!

Once you buy your one fresh item, get cooking, but keep it simple. There's no need to gussy up your ingredient by making it into a casserole or putting marshmallows on it. Farm fresh foods--like the sweet potatoes we had for dinner last night--don't need a lot of adornment. We just stuck them in the oven for an hour or so and slathered butter on them and they were absolutely delectable.

Note that this was only the initial butter I slathered on!

One of my daughters takes hers completely naked---the sweet potato, that is! The freshness is the condiment that takes them over the top. Of course if you want to get fancy, you may. You could make sweet potato gnocchi. Be my guest. Or better yet, invite me over and I'll be your guest.

The second must-have menu item is something FERMENTED. The Standard American Diet (also known as S.A.D.) doesn't often include fermented foods, but most all other diets around the world do! The bacteria and enzymes from fermented foods enhance your digestion, boost your immune system, and help you avoid chronic disease. At Thanksgiving, we're most interested in the first benefit on that list: aiding digestion. In other words, it'll be easier for your system to handle all the food coming its way, if you eat something fermented.

So what should it be? The choices are practically endless! Try pickled green beans, just plain pickles, krauts, kimchi, kalechi. Warning: you can't just buy something at your local grocery store and assume it's been fermented. (Even pickles aren't always pickled; they may just be cucumbers sitting in vinegar.) So be on the lookout for brands that indicate that they are fermented like Bubbie's pickles and sauerkraut. You can find brands like this one at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or Moms Organic Markets.

Serving suggestion for the pickled beets

Or go local with fermented foods (see point number one). Number 1 Sons has some amazing fermented foods that have made me fall in love with veggies in a whole new way---like okra and green beans. They sell their vast array of foods at many area farmers markets in the DC metro area.

So that's it: fresh and fermented foods. Were you surprised by these two suggestions? Did you already have these kinds of foods on your menu? If not, go for it! Yes, serve the usual suspects: turkey, stuffing, green beans, and mashies. But add a dash of life and spice by adding the fresh and fermented foods to the mix! Your family and friends will love you and thank you for it! And so will your body!

Drum roll, please!

FullSizeRender-3 As you can tell, I am thrilled to be at the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) conference in Anaheim right now!  This is the group that sent me to Kenya last summer. I love the emphasis they have! The WAPF folks are the ones who talk about:

  • eating real, whole foods like our ancestors did
  • avoiding packaged, processed foods full of artificial flavorings, colorings, and        partially-hydrogenated oils
  • enjoying natural fats (praise the lard)
  • including in your day-to-day meals fermented foods like pickles, curtido, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha
  • sipping bone broths
  • drinking raw(some) milk

These are foods that have nourished people for millennia. They keep our bodies functioning at their optimal level, strengthening the immune system, and helping us avoid all sorts of diseases and chronic issues. The WAPF principles (learning from the wisdom of generations past) are not a diet, per se. Thank goodness, because I shudder when I think of diets. Especially when I think about how the first three letters of the word are d-i-e. Nope, the principles just point to delicious, sustaining, life-giving, health-preserving foods. It's not about deprivation, but about what you can eat. And what you CAN eat just happens to taste AMAZING. Yes, I am gushing (though, it's actually more like drooling right now!)

Check out the pics below for a glimpse of what it's been like here at the conference this week!

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Kelp facial (don't ask)

This could make showering more fun than ever!

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Our bag of "swag" had salt and roasted sesame seeds in it!

Foodies know this woman as the "Food Renegade"

Sandrine Love just wrote a children's book about Weston Price and his discoveries

The Foundation has asked me to host their weekly podcast come January! I'm so excited! It's going to be called Wise Traditions and it will feature conversations with nutrition experts, doctors, authors, and regular people like you and me who have seen improvements in their life and health since incorporating the WAPF principles.

Already at the conference, I've had the privilege of speaking with Charlotte Smith, a woman whose son had eczema. She sought out raw milk for his healing (and it worked, by the way). Now she owns her own  micro dairy in Oregon! I spoke with Dr. Cowan, a holistic physician, who advocates healthy skepticism when it comes to our health information. "Don't believe anybody. Don't believe me," he added.  And I spoke with Sandra Van Gilder, a woman who pursued a career in physical therapy because she felt like an 80 year-old when she was in her 20's due to exercise injuries and inflammation. Now she can move about and run without hindrances.

I'm so eager to tell you about our conversations, but I think it'd be better if you hear what they have to say for yourselves! So, stay tuned for details on how to access and subscribe to the podcast! This is going to be simply a fabulous opportunity to learn, in brief 30-minute segments, how to make changes that will benefit you for a lifetime!

This is Hilda Labrada Gore, signing off, on behalf of the Wise Traditions podcast. Eat well, be well!

Must-see event of the summer!

I left Nairobi last night, around 10:30 p.m, arriving in Amsterdam this morning at 8:00 a.m.  It is now 2:00 p.m. and I am sitting at a gate in the Detroit airport, where I am currently grounded due to mechanical difficulties (not mine, the plane's). Groggy from a lack of sleep and the time change, and unduly Influenced by over 16 hours of flight time and the many movies and trailers I took in during that time, I began wondering what my Kenya trip might sound like if conveyed in "movie trailer" format. [Cue the basso profundo voice of the announcer...] IMG_0039

Destiny brings two strangers together to share a life-or-death message about the link between diet and health. Against all odds, these two American women, Mary and Hilda, who had never before met in person, were chosen to take this quest to Kenya, where, decades earlier, Dr. Weston A. Price himself made startling discoveries about nutrient-dense traditional diets. Armed only with a small, outdated projector, a power point presentation on a laptop, and a limited command of Swahili, Hilda and Mary avert dangers and embrace adventures on their 2 1/2 week quest, criss-crossing the country.

Laugh as they encounter traffic in Nairobi that makes the D.C. area's jams look like a breeze!

Chuckle as they mix English with their attempts at speaking Swahili, saying "How are you-ni?"

 

IMG_2888Marvel as they meet with groups as diverse as Maasai villagers, teachers at a private school in Nairobi, members of a Rotary club, rural soap-makers, and fitness buffs in a local Body & Soul exercise classes.

Initial reviews are overwhelmingly positive:

"I agree 110% with everything these ladies have said. My only question is 'Why are we so few here?'" - Dr. Peter

"I have been eating fermented uji every morning for breakfast, since hearing  your talk." - Judith

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"Thank you for getting us back to health. It was a life-changing talk. Keep it up." - Wanja

 See for yourselves: Did everyone agree with the message of these unusual (and unusually short) American women? Will Kenyans truly return to the nourishing foods of their ancestors, or will they find it too difficult in the end, choosing instead to eat the readily-available, convenient Western foods? It boils down to this: were Hilda and Mary successful on their quest?  Or was their trip in vain? Stay tuned for answers to these questions and for more trip highlights in the days ahead. Weston A. Price principles coming soon to a blog near you!

Boost your mood with food!

Every morning, I spring out of bed, ready to embrace the day. My feet don't hit the floor so much as lightly touch down as I traipse to the kitchen to make a delicious breakfast. When I get there, in a fit of inspiration, I decide to make my family omelettes with freshly baked sourdough on the side. I've got a perpetual smile on my face, kind of like Jim Carrey's character in the Truman Show.

This is the stuff of fiction, indeed. Most days I do not traipse down to the kitchen, it's more of a sleepy shuffle. Nor do I whip up omelettes (though that does sound yummy).  Like everyone, I have my emotional ups and downs. That said, I do feel like, more often than not, I am in a good mood. What accounts for my sunny outlook? It's not that I have the disposition of the children on "Barney."  Nor is life always smooth sailing. And though I'm certain that faith and positive relationships help, that is not the whole picture.

I believe good food makes a difference in my mood, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Studies (including this one from the Mayo clinic) have consistently shown a connection between what we eat and how we feel, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, as well! The example that made the biggest impression on me, in my studies with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, were of schools with serious behavioral issues who saw a turn around when the cafeteria began offering fresher, healthier food. Nothing. else. at the school changed. Just the food.

Maybe you don't have behavioral issues of your own. Fantastic! But perhaps you could still benefit from a more positive disposition. If so, here are some foods sure to boost your mood!

Eggs  - Those omelettes weren't a bad idea, after all! Eggs were vilified for a while there, but thank goodness people are rediscovering this perfect little food, in a travel-friendly case (the shell). They contain vitamin D, a sure-fire mood boeggoster.

Wild-caught fish - Sally Fallon, the author of Nourishing Traditions, calls fish "the health food par excellence." Fish is an excellent source of vitamins A and D. And they are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, that naturally lift our spirits. Studies show that those who eat fish on the regular are less likely to struggle with depression or heart disease. Don't like "fishy-smelling" or "fishy-tasting" fish? Try tilapia or salmon with lemon.

Saturated fats - Go ahead and indulge in butter, coconut oil or even lard! Our bodies actually need saturated fats for proper cell function, to help our bones absorb calcium and to avoid heart disease. Give them a try and see if you don't start to see the world in a more positive slant. Lard is another wonderful source of vitamin D, by the way. (And if the idea of lard makes you shudder, hear the back story from this piece on NPR about how and why it got a bad rap.)

Liver and organ meats - In Mexico, they sell brain tacos. Olé! No kidding! Why do we have to travel abroad to try "variety meats?" These meats are replete with vitamins that our bodies need. Liver, in particular, among other things offers mood-boosting vitamins B12, A, D, E, and K. Chris Kresser calls liver "nature's most potent superfood." For those of us who are unaccustomed to such exotic foods, I suggest trying liverwurst as a "gateway" organ meat; it has a more mild taste than some others. Use it to start exploring these nutrient-dense and beneficial foods.

Yogurt - Last, but not least, this tasty, versatile food is the LBD (little black dress) of mood-boosting foods. It's always appropriate, for any occasion!  It's also a surprising source of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been fingered as the source of some fatigue and depression. Lift your spirit by the spoonful!

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Let me know if you currently eat any of the above, or if you're willing to give any new foods a try. I'm absolutely positive that you will become more absolutely positive by doing so!

 

 

Microgreens: proving that good things come in small packages

"Good things come in small packages," my third grade teacher told me. She was always trying to make me feel better about being one of the smallest kids in my class. "Yeah, but so does poison," my adult friends have since teased. Snide remarks aside, I've recently discovered that among the MANY good things that come in small packages is a tiny green     superfood known as microgreens! Farmer Ed and some of my WAPF chapter friends

Here is how I first came across them. I was shopping at Whole Foods one day and they were passing out samples. Depending on my level of hunger when I go shopping, I either scrounge around for the familiar black bowls and sampling tables, or I simply walk on by. On this particular day, my level was high, so I made a beeline for the table stocked with these baby sunflower greens. They looked more substantial than sprouts I'd seen in the past and they tasted delicious. I was intrigued enough to keep their flier and contact the farmer a few weeks later.

The next thing I knew the farmer came to my house! When he walked in the door, I began fawning all over him as if he were the King of Genovia. The farmer, Ed Huling, came to my home because I was hosting a Weston Price chapter meeting. During the gathering, he told us his back story. He was having health struggles some years ago that led him to ask himself, "What if what I'm eating is impacting my health?" It was a simple question that was about to change his life. He began to choose more carefully what he was putting in his body--opting for organic and nutrient-dense food. These changes led to other questions such as "What if the quality of the soil a plant is grown in affects its nutrient content?" With the approval and supervision of the U.S.           Department of Agriculture, he began to conduct experiments to see if his premise was correct. He grew some crops in soil that was organic and full of minerals. Other crops he grew in depleted, inorganic soil. What he found was that, yes, indeed, the soil that was rich in minerals produced more flavorful and more nutritious crops.

Microgreens in their nutrient-rich soil

As he regained his health, Ed realized that he wanted to put wheels on what he discovered. And so he became an organic farmer, establishing"new day farms" in Bealton, Virginia, in 2002. His objective was to use mineral-rich soil to grow crops with peak nutrient density and exceptional flavor for his customers. His crop of choice? Microgreens---baby greens less than 2 weeks old! The very thing I tried that day in Whole Foods. Yes, I thought they were yummy at the time, but I was also taken by their nutritional density. They contain 4 to 40 times the concentration of nutrients as the full-grown plant (according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2012). So (warning: farm pun ahead) we can reap the benefit of one pound of beets, for example, by eating a small, single serving of beet microgreens! These mini-plants are just teeming with good stuff: vitamins C, E, K, beta-carotene, phytonutrients and antioxidants!

Add a few tomatoes, vinegar and oil...and voila, a fantastic, nutritious side to any meal!

I'm convinced that if Popeye had known about these babies back in the day, he wouldn't have needed to carry around his clunky cans of spinach! For more info on microgreens, see this recent article on the npr website. And to learn more about those cultivated on new day farms, and where you can buy them,      follow @newdayfarms on Twitter. Or check out their Facebook page.

These microgreens are local, delicious, nutritious, and organic. And tiny. Yup, my third grade teacher was right.