My best friend is so sick she lives in a tent.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Ferments are everywhere these days! Go to any farmers market and you will see booths selling everything from pickles to kimchi. People are starting to brew their own kombucha and pickle their carrots, turnips, and beets. Why are these foods suddenly trendy, when they have been a part of traditional diets around the globe for hundreds and thousands of years? Once again, science is backing up the wisdom of the past. There has been a shift in understanding about our bodies. Where once it was thought that the gut was sterile, science now points to it being a veritable wonderland of microbes and bacteria. Our health depends on maintaining a proper balance of intestinal flora. And lacto-fermented foods are a wonderful source of enzymes and good bacteria! This knowledge has sent people rushing back to eating fermented foods, since fermentation not only preserves the food, but also improves its nutritional content and the bio-availability of its nutrients.
Take cabbage, for example. It is a source of vitamin C. When it is fermented and turned into sauerkraut, the level of vitamin C is tenfold higher. It's been found that just 2 ounces of home-fermented sauerkraut has more probiotics than a bottle of 100-count probiotic capsules!
This is why Sally Fallon Morell, the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, calls lacto-ferments the SUPER raw food! Across the board, fermentation enhances the very life of the food. It pre-digests the food, in a manner of speaking, and increases vitamin levels. Anti-nutrients are neutralized or partially neutralized. Minerals are released. Ferments boost the immune system, protect against disease, and aid digestion. In sum, it is a beautiful, marvelous process that works with nature to preserve not only the food, but also our health!
For all of these reasons, including lacto-fermented foods is principle #5 of the Wise Traditions diet. Listen to Sally expound on the benefits of (and the traditions behind) these foods here, in the episode Principle #5 Lacto-fermented Foods.
– how lacto-fermented foods are nearly universal in traditional diets – the two types of fermentation – how sauerkraut is made – the role of salt in the fermentation process – how fermentation may have come about – the wisdom of traditional cultures and the scientific reasons behind fermentation – what specific fermented foods are enjoyed in various parts of the world – just why Sally considers ferments “super” raw foods – the story of one woman with IBS and how fermented food helped her – how to tell the difference between fermented foods and those simply steeped in vinegar – how fermentation can boost levels of vitamin C, minerals, B vitamins – how lacto-fermented drinks are also a good source of enzymes and bacteria (and serves as an alternative to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages) – how these foods inoculate the gut, in essence, with good bacteria needed to resist disease – how these foods are protective against cancer – how the fermented foods shore up the “biofilm” that lines the intestinal tract – how to eat the right balance of fermented food – how these foods replace enzymes lost during cooking and help with the digestion of fat
You will certainly want to begin including some of these foods in your diet, once you understand how beneficial (and delicious) they are! You may even be inspired to try your own hand at preparing them--becoming an alchemist in your own kitchen! Whatever you do, here's to relishing this SUPER raw food!
*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google play, 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.