raw milk

Health secrets from a centenarian

Three years ago, on my birthday in mid-August, I found myself in a remote Maasai village, about three hours from Nairobi. There was no need for cake or ice cream or balloons. I received the most FANTASTIC present, first thing. I was given the opportunity to sit at the feet of a 100+ year old man and hear about his life. Dickson, my Maasai host, introduced me to Sankau Ole Sirote. He seemed weathered, but well. Sankau gave me permission to interview him, recording our exchange on my phone. I could hardly wait! What had his eyes seen, over the course of those many decades? And what secrets might I learn (and pass on to my readers and friends) about how to live a healthy, long life?

Sankau, resting, outside his friend's home

Sankau, resting, outside his friend's home

I was also eager to see for myself if the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) principles would hold water. Did a diet of traditional, unprocessed foods sustain this man to 100 years of age and beyond?

Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

  • what he did as a child and youth

“When I was young, there was no school by that time. So my life was just to go and handle the cattle. That was my daily activity. Getting the cows, and going hunting."

  • on hunting

“When we were morans [young warriors in training], we would really hunt lion, and rhino, elephant, buffalos. We would hunt for fun, not really to eat the meat of the lion or the elephant or the rhino. We would just hunt for fun.

One time we also went hunting, and...[a] companion of mine was attacked by a lion and killed. So I...came back to help the family, to raise the children of my departed friend."

Rhino mama and her baby
Rhino mama and her baby
  • what he would eat as a child

“When we were children...our diets were milk, fat, meat, and also sometimes honey. There was a lot of rain. Wild fruits were available and the milk was plenty. And the cows also were healthy. So everything, when we were young, everything was just healthy."

  • regarding his health today

"I'm getting old because of my eyes and in the morning sometimes I have joint aches. It's just age."

  • regarding his health across the years

No surgeries? "No." No medicine? "No." Any shots? "Recently, because of this hand. It is swelling, so I got an injection. Because of the swelling."

  • regarding the community's health in the past

“There was no one who was sick. We were all very healthy.”

  • regarding the community's health today

“There are so many changes. People are getting sick. There are diseases which…there are many, many diseases, which I cannot even describe. There are a lot of diseases coming, but before, as I said, there were no diseases.

During my days, there were no injections but right now every time, they just say the people need to be vaccinated because a disease is coming, people need to be injected. But when I was a young man I never had an injection.”

  • what people are eating today

“Even food they have changed. Because you have to buy food. Everything you have to buy from the shop so… And during my time you would depend on what is coming from the livestock. But now you have to go and buy."

  • how his diet has changed

"I started having tea in 1916."

  • what he recommends eating for good health

"If you start with milk exclusive, or cream made from milk, just that. That is it. Up to 7 years [of age]. Children were breastfed up to 5 years. Everything [we ate] was from the cow: milk, blood."

  • about his family

"I have more than 17 children. And 5 grandchildren. They are good, good health. I have three brothers. They are still alive. I have one sister. She is still alive."

  • about wealth, cattle and goats

"My sons have taken them."

Goats (but these are not the ones taken from Sankau!)
Goats (but these are not the ones taken from Sankau!)
  • final thoughts

"I am also thankful to God that I have had that opportunity to do good while I have been in this world. I am alive because of God. God formed me in the womb."

There you have it! To me, it's crystal clear that Sankau's traditional diet has contributed to his good health and longevity. And as I see it, the secrets to a healthy life from this centenarian include eating plenty of raw milk (and cream), taking opportunities to do good, and giving thanks to God. What do you see?

***

Hilda Labrada Gore is a podcast professional who helps holistic health practitioners launch their own shows! She is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast, sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation for wise traditions in food, farming, and the healing arts. She is an integrative nutrition health coach, a fitness professional, and the DC Metro Regional Director for Body & Soul Fitness. She lives in D.C. with her husband, Mitch, their children, and their cat and dog.

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.

Raw milk is rawesome! (See if you agree, as I make my case!)

By now, you've heard of the growing interest in raw milk. Or maybe you haven’t. You may be perfectly happy with milk from the store. And when you hear a comment or report on the radio, you dismiss it out of hand. Turn the page. Turn off the radio. Who are the nut jobs who are into that stuff? Haven’t they heard of the outbreaks of sickness and deaths in the U.S. that led to the pasteurization of milk? Don't raw milk proponents know that raw milk is dangerous and full of bacteria? IMG_5835

On behalf of all the nut jobs out there, let me answer these questions. The answers are: yes and no. Yes, we know when and why pasteurization began, and no, we’re not worried. We know that raw milk is full of bacteria, but we believe that a lot of that bacteria is good for us, in the same way that bacteria in yogurt and other “super foods” is good for us. We don't believe raw milk is any more dangerous than other real foods.

Let me address this last concern first. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that nearly half of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. from 1998 to 2008 were linked to fruits, nuts, leafy greens, and other vegetables. People are not steering clear of these foods today. My point? Any food can be mishandled and become a carrier of pathogens (bad bacteria). Rather than being afraid of food, we need to look to find ways to make sure we get it from the safest, cleanest source.

In fact, this is why pasteurization was applied to milk in the first place. There was an interest in making our milk “safe” or "safer." People were becoming sick because they were drinking milk from cows kept in poor sanitary conditions. But rather than changing the conditions of the cows, the idea was to pasteurize (or heat up) the milk to eliminate the pathogens. Unbeknownst to us, pasteurization changed the milk drastically--from a living product to a dead one. Pasteurization killed the bad bacteria, indeed. But it also got rid of the good stuff at the same time. It resulted in a product with a good long shelf life, but that wasn't good for our lives. Despite ads to the contrary, this milk doesn't do a body good.

In contrast, raw milk, from healthy cows in good conditions, is an amazing healthy food, teaming with good bacteria (and pathogen-fighting bacteria that “kills” any bad guys that crop up). Even the Mayo clinic in the 1930s had a program for using milk to kill a variety of ills, called "the milk cure." Yes, doctors once considered raw milk good and healing, when produced in sanitary conditions.

I equate milk pasteurization with meat irradiation. In 2000, the USDA passed a regulation allowing for meat to be irradiated to avoid spoilage and to keep it "safer" for consumers. Why wasn't it safe from the get-go? Unsanitary slaughterhouse practices were causing feces (and bad bacteria) to splash onto the meat. Rather than correcting the problem at its root (the slaughterhouse), they opted to blast our beef and poultry with radiation.

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Personally, I trust whole, real foods, more than I trust what others tell me is best. And I also listen to others' experience. More and more people struggle with digesting "safe" pasteurized dairy products. While those drinking raw milk and eating raw cheeses are finding healing.

Listen to this week's podcast episode with Charlotte Smith for one example. (Click here or go to Stitcher or westonaprice.org.) As a young mom, she was looking for a cure for her children's eczema. She came upon raw milk and became so convinced of its beneficial impact that she started a micro dairy (three cows only). I have to say, hers is a very mooooving story! (I couldn't resist the pun!)

You may find yourself completely unswayed by the above. Rawesome. I urge you to keep your eyes and ears open. Apply your own skills of observation to the situation (and to your own body, should you decide to try it out). I am eager to hear what you conclude!