weston price

From bone-tired to robust

Razi Berry was extremely fatigued in her twenties. I don't mean she was just run-down or exhausted from stress or work. (We all get there sometimes.) Razi was tired at the cellular level, or what some of us call "bone-tired." In her own words, she says she was like “a wind-up doll that constantly needed winding.” She was struggling with fatigue, pain, hair loss, infertility, and more. At one point the doctors diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and they suggested she go on disability. At age 25, this was akin to a "life sentence" which Razi simply could not accept. She decided, instead, to became her own “health detective” and look for solutions to restore her health. This is when she took two steps that made all the difference.

  1. She made lifestyle changes that drastically improved her health. These included eating more animal products (including organ meats), breathing more deeply, and getting sufficient sleep.
  2. She found naturopathic medicine that turned her health trajectory around. The naturopathic approach deals with the whole person (not just certain ailments or body parts). There is a focus on the healing power of nature and finding and treating the cause of sickness, not the symptoms.

Listen to her full story on #34 "Tired of being tired" and you'll hear:

  • just how sick Razi was
  • the improvements she saw with these two steps
  • the principles of naturopathic medicine
  • specific naturopathic therapies, including hot/cold showers, and wet socks
  • the myth of “side” effects
  • how the skin is a mirror of your health
  • how Razi continues to maintain her health today
  • her most important advice on how to approach your own wellness
Razi and girls
Razi and girls

Today, Razi is the publisher of "Naturopathic Doctor News & Review" and she maintains the Naturopathic health site, while also homeschooling her daughters. She obviously has energy and health to spare. Razi will inspire you to take your own steps to move from bone-tired to robust, and brimming with health! The first step for you may just be listening to this episode!

*** 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.

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.

Learning from the traditional Maasai

In the 1930s, researcher and dentist Dr. Weston A. Price traveled around the world to find the healthiest people with the best teeth. He had seen images of such people in “National Geographic” magazine but he wondered if they actually existed. So he took a voyage, determined to find out for himself. Everywhere he went, Dr. Price noticed that those who ate their traditional diets (cheese and milk in Switzerland, seal oil in Alaska, and so on) were healthy, fertile and vibrant. And, yes, they resembled those traditional people groups featured in “National Geographic!” They had beautiful straight teeth, with very little incidence of decay. But he also found that those who had access to so-called “modern” western foods (including refined flours and sugars) suffered tooth decay and health issues. There was a clear pattern that tied wellness to diet. When Dr. Price came to Kenya, he noted that it was no exception. He met tribal people who were extremely healthy and who had broad faces with straight teeth with little evidence of cavities or infections. But among those whose diets had changed, he saw compromised health and teeth that were cavity-filled.

Dickson in Oiti

When I traveled to Kenya last year (and just last month), I wondered myself what I would find. I’m not a dentist or a researcher, but I had the next best thing going for me. I connected with Maasai community leader Dickson Ole Gisa and got to speak with him first-hand. I wondered what changes he had noted over the years and if Dr. Price's findings were playing out in his community. Indeed, Dickson had witnessed some of the very things Dr. Price recorded so many years ago. I take it back. He had not only witnessed the dietary changes and the corresponding health repercussions for his people, he had actually lived through them!

Dickson lives in Oiti, a Maasai village in Kenya, near the border of Tanzania. It is rather remote and yet he admits “The diet is changing tremendously.” When he first heard of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) and its Wise Traditions principles based on Dr. Price’s findings, it made perfect sense to him. He immediately contacted WAPF, saying, “Please send someone over. We are all getting sick. I have diabetes. My wife has asthma….” So this is how I came to connect with him, as an envoy of WAPF, as a friend, and as the Wise Traditions podcast host. In this capacity, I am now able to share with you one conversation with Dickson from my visit this past month. You will certainly be fascinated by Dickson’s stories, as I was.

In “A Maasai story,” you will learn:

  • what Dickson ate as a child (including the game his father hunted to feed his family)
  • the Maasai traditional diet
  • the allure of “foreign foods” like soda, juice, oils
  • how the changing diet is impacting the Maasai’s health
  • how pregnant women are “selective” in terms of the food they eat
  • traditions related to childbirth
  • about a special book written by the first Maasai scholar which records all of the cultural traditions of the people
  • how “civilization” and “education” are shaping Maasai dietary choices
  • the very changes Dickson's own family have made to return to traditional foods
  • how Dickson is spreading the news of Wise Traditions
  • the community’s response to WAPF principles and ideas

I have learned from Dickson, among other things, that one person can make a difference in their community. It starts in our own backyards. I want to continue to take steps to "practically apply" (as Dickson says) what I believe---in terms of food, faith, and life. If I do this, or rather, if we do this, we will certainly impact our villages, communities, and the whole world for the better! Don't you agree?

P.S. If you enjoy this episode, please share it with others. And if you want to support Dickson’s outreach and efforts to help his people regain their health through a return to nourishing traditional foods, go to westonaprice.org and click on “Get involved.” Then click on the “donate” button and give the amount of your choice to the “overseas outreach” initiative.

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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.

Chewing the fat with Chris Masterjohn

In the movie, "Little Miss Sunshine" Steve Carrell's character, Frank, pointedly yells at his niece, "Fat makes you fat." He was trying to shame the young girl into changing her order at a diner. For decades, the U.S. government was sending Americans the same message--warning us to steer clear of fat, and practically shaming us for craving it. They said it was linked to heart disease. So the public heeded the warning, but health issues--obesity, chronic conditions, and, yes, heart disease--continued to rise despite compliance with the recommendations. In recent years, the government and even the conventional medical community has begun to pivot, actually recommending that we eat fats for our well-being. But which are the best fats? And how much should we be eating?

Enter Chris Masterjohn, assistant professor of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College in New York. Chris has a  PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a brilliant person to discuss such a topic. And so we did, on the Wise Traditions podcast. Yes, we chewed the fat...about fat! Give a listen to episode #28: Fat does a body good.

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Here are some of the things you'll learn.

  • how fat helps your body run
  • moving from fear of fat toward freedom
  • how to eat to fuel your body's needs
  • how to figure out what diet (and percentage of fat) will work best for your particular body
  • what sources of fats have been eaten over the course of human history
  • how our diet has shifted away from animal fats to oils like soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, and cottonseed
  • how this shift may be the cause of many of modern diseases
  • the difference between saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats
  • the definition of essential fatty acids
  • the role of cholesterol (and what numbers could be a red flag)
  • a recommendation for a certain type of health care practitioner

Chris concluded our conversation with a surprising suggestion for what to do to achieve optimal health. (To learn more from Chris, check out "The Daily Lipid"  or follow him on social media @chrismasterjohn.)

As we wrapped up our talk, I walked away with some new insights and with a conviction that was stronger than ever:  fat does many things for us, but it most certainly does NOT make us fat, no matter what the movies (or other media) may tell us!

*** 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.

A Maasai promise: a u-turn toward traditional foods

"I know and I promise that there will be a very huge U-turn for my community. We will be turning to where we came from."  Dickson Gisa, a leader in his Maasai village, spoke these words to me in a conversation in his home just a few days ago. Dickson is the one who took the initiative to contact the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) a year or two ago. He had come across the WAPF wise traditions principles and they resonated with him to such a degree that he asked WAPF to send someone to his community because "we are all getting sick."  So WAPF honored his request and sent me and Mary Gerke, a nurse and WAPF leader from the midwest, to his remote village in Matapato, Kenya, not far from the Tanzania border. This May, I returned to Dickson's community to follow up. What a joy it was to reconnect! I had the privilege of speaking once again about the importance traditional diets, while immersed in the gracious, welcoming Maasai culture. Along the way, I even got to enjoy some of the very traditional foods they have always embraced! But, best of all, I was able to see the changes the community had already implemented, as a result of last year's visit.

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Nowhere was this more evident than in Dickson's own home. His wife, Joseline, gave up her job as a preschool teacher last year to develop a garden on their land. She grows traditional greens, kale, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, bananas, cassava, and more! Her harvest is so abundant that she has enough for her own family and then some. Members of her community come buy food to sell at market. Dickson told me that Joseline made this choice very deliberately so that their family could avoid purchasing food from the shops/grocery stores.

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At every turn, their were positive signs. The youth group, comprised of 18-30 year olds, affirmed that they wanted to continue the traditional foods "campaign." And after my presentation to the community members, the pastor stood up and suggested that all women present begin cooking traditional foods again "starting now." (Dickson told me later that when they learn of something that is good, they try to apply it to their lives right away.) On Sunday morning, the pastor spoke of incorporating wise tradition principles into their church programs, and a church elder testified, "Just like we need to change our attitude toward God, we need to change our attitude toward feeding and health."

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Apparently, Dickson is not the only one who is convinced that the wise traditions that have been handed down for generations are a God-given gift that offer life and health and promise for the future.

I can't wait for you to hear my conversation with Dickson, which I recorded with my podcast gear. I hope to publish it sometime this summer on the Wise Traditions podcast. You can listen to all episodes by simply going to the westonaprice.org website and clicking on the podcast link on the right-hand side bar. Or, better, yet,  subscribe to the Wise Traditions podcast via iTunes, Stitcher (if you have an android phone) or the RSS feed (also on the westonaprice.org site's podcast page). You will certainly be encouraged, as I have been, and you will learn a thing or two about health and wise traditions around the world!

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Hilda Labrada Gore is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). She is also the host of the WAPF-sponsored Wise Traditions podcast. She is traveling in Zimbabwe and Kenya as part of the WAPF international project initiative.

 

 

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!

Dieting is like dating bad boys

“Every diet that has been marketed to us since the beginning is just the same nasty betraying boyfriend with a different face. And when it fails, the boyfriend (a/k/a diet) looks at you and says ‘Oh, it’s your fault. There’s something wrong with you!’” I have been a foodie and a health coach for years, but this is the first time I have ever heard anyone liken dieting to dating bad boys. Adrienne Hew is like that, though. She is a nutritionist who speaks her mind and what comes out is often outlandish and provocative. Not surprisingly, she is known as the “nutrition heretic.” She is not a bespectacled preach-y uptight kind of nutritionist who wags her finger at you when you eat a morsel of some forbidden food. Nope, Adrienne is the exact opposite. She has an easy laugh, a non-judgmental spirit, and she makes you think, rather than feel like you need to slink away.

A diet like a bad boyfriend? When that idea came up during our recent podcast discussion, it got me thinking. And the more I thought about it, the more I could see the parallels between dieting and dating.

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Stage 1: Infatuation. The flirting commences. You hear about him. You google him. Butterflies are starting to take flight. You consider the possibilities. You’re excited, enticed. This one has potential to be THE one.

Stage 2: Dating. You’re holding hands. You are willing to put up with his “quirks” in the hope that it all pan out. You are telling people about him, as you pass on the bread basket at the restaurant. You are trying to convince yourself that your fatigue has to do with work and not with the relationship wearing thin (no pun intended).

Stage 3: Going steady. Reality hits like a splash of (zero-calorie!) cold water. You’re giving it a try, but this is trying you. It’s not half as fun as it seemed at the start. You feel like you’re dying. This is the opposite of what you imagined. Straight up, it is a pain, and is very unrewarding.

Stage 4: The breakup. You hate to admit it, but the time has come. It's over. This relationship is going nowhere. It was super promising at first, but the end result was that every. single. promise. was broken and now you’re left holding the bag (of low-fat “natural” chips). You’re embarrassed that it didn’t work out and secretly wonder if it was your own fault (as he said, when he walked out the door). You’re feel like if you had only tried harder, or a bit longer, maybe things would have ended differently.

Can you identify with any of this? If so, click here to listen to A fresh take on real food. Adrienne has simple, practical ideas for checking out of diet "heartbreak hotel." It's time to have a steady, wonderful relationship with food, leaving the bad boys in the dust (under the refrigerator).

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!

There's chips involved... Yeah, I feel guilty.

"There's chips involved.... Yeah, I feel guilty," Jane laughed nervously. This was Jane's reply when I asked her about her current diet. Jane is a 29 year-old professional in the city, so it's not surprising that she's pressed for time and that her diet isn't stellar. But, get this. Jane isn't American. She's a Kenyan, from the Kikuyu tribe, living and working in Nairobi. IMG_2753

Yes, professionals in Kenya face the same challenges we do here in the States. Like us, they have far too much to do and too little time to do it in. They are rushed and often grab whatever is available, convenient, or "cool" when they need energy or sustenance. It's a more hurried, harried life compared to the one in the village. And the food is very different, too.

"I have lived in both worlds," Jane said. I was intrigued and asked her questions to find out more.

  • IMG_4938on her childhood

I grew up partially in a village with my grandmother.

  • on what she ate

Mostly healthy, vegetables from the farm. Sorghum. Ugali. We would eat fermented porridge. And then we would also eat, rather drink, milk from the cow, because she used to have a cow.

  •  on her health as a child

Very healthy, because I would rarely go to the hospital. I don’t remember falling sick, as such. Maybe flu or a cough, but nothing too major. To me, it’s the lifestyle I was living at that time, as compared to now, I’m in the city.

  • on her current diet

There’s chips involved. There’s burger. Rice. Lots of rice. Lots of meat, sometimes soda. Yeah, I feel guilty. A lot of cake, unhealthy snacks, mostly.

  • comparing the health of those in the village and those in the city

I would say the city people, per se, we are not as healthy as people in the village. It is so clear when you go to visit them. Someone who’s my age, because they are working, they are walking, they are eating those greens from the farm, they are taking milk from the cow. They look much stronger than I do.

Even my mom would go like, “That tummy needs to go, obviously.” You know, because she is more active and eating healthier, I do believe, better than I do.

  • on what's "cool"

For most of us, actually, we think it’s cool to be seen somewhere at KFC or Pizza Inn. Like [with ]a big pizza or coca cola. But, no, it’s not. Like I said, I know from both worlds which one is cooler....

  • her response to our presIMG_2719entation on nourishing, traditional foods

To me it was a wake-up call. Like, yeah, the village people are not wrong. That’s the way it should be because I have seen the difference because I have lived in both worlds. In the village and now in the city. So, to me, I could relate so much so because I have seen it both ways.

It’s true. I’ve lived it. Eating the natural foods, and now where I am just walking to a fast food place and get whatever.

I don’t want to [die fast], so I have to start, like, recollecting to making decisions to go for the natural foods, for sure.


Are you like Jane, eating chips and feeling guilty? Living a fast-paced life with little space for "slow food?" You're not alone. Let's help each other to do as she suggested, and "recollect" to make decisions for the natural foods. For sure.

Soup's on: three easy peasy steps for making a winter favorite

I know why Andy Warhol used cans of Campbell's tomato soup for his pop art. It is a classic that most of us grew up on. To be honest, as a kid I thought that buying soup from the store was the only way to make it. soup

Step one: Open can.

Step two: Dump contents into pot. (Note: contents often were still in the shape of the can.)

Step three: Add water.

Step four: Heat soup.

As I grew up, my taste became more sophisticated. I started to buy Progresso soup. (No need to add water!) Then I switched to soups in boxes that had the word "organic" emblazoned on them. I felt so virtuous and smart but I was no closer to making my own soup. Then I noticed one day that the Pennsylvania farm that delivered in my area offered chicken stock. (Click here if you want to know the difference between stock and broth.) A friend of mine said that this farm's stock was like gold---chock-full of collagen, fats, minerals and important nutrients.

 

Me on farm delivery day!

So I was psyched. There's been a lot of hype about bone broth lately and I understand why. On top of being deeply nourishing and delicious, it helps fight colds, boosts the immune system, eases achy joints and leads to glowing skin and contributes to            vibrant health.

This "gold" stock would be the base for my homemade soup, instead of chicken bouillon cubes or the thin fat-free watery broth that is sold in grocery stores. Now I had to roll up my sleeves and get cooking. Little did I realize how simple it would be!

 

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Step one: Chop up whatever veggies you happen to have on hand. I've used kale, onions, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, what have you.

Step two: Toss them in the broth and simmer.

Step three: Add spices (or meats) to suit your taste on any given night. For a southwestern meal, like chicken tortilla soup, I add chicken, salsa, and paprika for a kick. (Right before serving, we add chips, avocado, and shredded cheese.) For an eastern-inspired Thai-like dish, I add chicken, coconut milk and lime or lemon juice.

We have been drinking soup this winter like there's no tomorrow. I want to keep plying us with the good stuff, so when my family tires of soups, I use the stock (in place of water) when I make rice, or I use it as a base for chili.

The finished product last week: Chicken tortilla soup a la Hilda!

I am not there yet. My goal is to make stock from the chicken itself. (If you're ready to make your own stock, check out Sally Fallon's recipe from The Nourishing Traditions cookbook!) If you've done it already, tell me all about it. Let's spur each other on in making tasty soups this winter and nourishing our families to the best of our abilities!

How a book you've never heard of changed my diet and my life

I would be in the middle of my morning workout and then it would hit me. Uh-oh. I’d start to feel suddenly weak, slightly light-headed. My blood sugar was dipping. It was if the needle on my gas tank had abruptly moved from F to E. I would pause the music so I could take a couple of bites from my power bar. Even though I'd eaten breakfast, this scene played out time and time again during my morning exercise class. I just figured I was one of those people who had to eat frequently. gas tank

But then a friend of mine told me about a way of eating based on a book called “Nourishing Traditions”. She had had some serious health concerns and she had met the author, Sally Fallon, at some kind of health fair. Sally was literally "glowing," according to my friend. She was a testament to her diet. She radiated vibrant health.

This is not Sally, but this is the image that came to mind….

At this point in my life, I hadn’t really given much thought into what I put into my body. I mean, I'd do the obvious: pick Kix over more sugary cereals for the kids, choose juice over sodas, etc. but I primarily regarded food as something to fill up the tank, nothing more.

Still, I checked out “Nourishing Traditions” and it intrigued me. Sally based this textbook/cookbook on the principles of a dentist, Weston A. Price. In the 1930s, Dr. Price took a trip around the world to find the people who had the best teeth---broad smiles, straight, uncrowded teeth and no cavities. What he discovered was that the people who had the best teeth were also the ones with the strongest constitutions. They were well, robust, healthy people. But they weren’t clumped together in one part of the world. He found people who were well all around the world---in northern climes, in Africa, on islands, etc.

What did these people groups eat? Even though their diets were varied (depending on if they lived by the water or inland, the climate, food sources, etc.) they had certain things in common:

  • The healthiest people ate the foods of their ancestors---whole, real food. They did not have “westernized” diets--highly processed/packaged with food colorings, additives and partially hydrogenated oils, refined flours, sugars, etc.
  • They all had fermented foods as part of their diet (like kimchi, sauerkraut, curtido, pickles, and so on)
  • they all ate animal foods (fish, fowl, mammals, insects, and the like), and some portion of it raw
  • they all used the bones of the animal and often used it for broth
  • their diets were high in fat, and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals

As a Christian, I value the religious traditions of those who have walked this earth before me. This book helped me to see that there were valuable lessons to be found in the diets of the past, as well. I realized that food was more than fuel to keep me going---it was designed to nourish and strengthen my body at the deepest levels, and to help it function optimally.

My breakfast "eggstravaganza" (couldn't help but take a few bites)

I started experimenting with my own diet, following some of the "Nourishing Tradition" principles. For breakfast, rather than having my usual cereal drizzled with a smidge of milk and a few berries, I began eating (and serving my family) eggs, bacon, and cheese. We would have tortillas with peanut butter, bananas, yogurt. To my surprise, no one was complaining or missing Cheerios or mini-wheats! And, lo and behold, I no longer had to interrupt my morning workout for a quick power bar snack. As a matter of fact, I was finding I could last much longer between meals without feeling the dreaded blood sugar dip. And I was feeling satiated in a way I hadn’t before. No wonder Sally was glowing!

I was sold. This little book (I call it "little" as a term of affection; it's actually quite a hefty tome!) revolutionized my relationship with food. It propelled me into the study of nutrition and the field of health coaching. For more information on "Nourishing Traditions" or  the Weston Price Foundation, go to www.westonaprice.org.

And please let me know what books you've read that have impacted your food choices and health!

nourishing traditions

Organic on a budget II: The Wallet Strikes Back

My last post was well-received and sparked plenty of conversation, so a sequel is in order. Hey, sequels (and even prequels) are "in," right? I still need to go see "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1." Speaking of hunger, let's cut to the chase and add to the list of ways to eat like a king on a pauper's salary. 1. The real "Breakfast of Champions" does not come in a box. Cereal is more expensive than meat, pound per pound! The design of cereal boxes---tall and skinny---makes them appear bigger at first glance, giving the customer the impression that they are getting more food than they actually are. In addition, the boxes are covered with claims of "fortified,""healthy," or "natural."

sugar cerealFor real natural and healthy foods, choose eggs or oatmeal instead. You will save money and get more bang for your buck. Real food is more economical and MUCH more nourishing! Eggs are a wonder food---no fortifying necessary! They are a great source of protein, omega-3s, and all B vitamins. (B vitamins are mood-boosters and B12, in particular, is known for improving memory!) To make oatmeal, you can buy organic rolled oats in bulk at most Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or MOMs. If your kids are addicted to super sweet breakfast foods (my son was always a big pop-tart fan), add honey, cream, or fruit to the oatmeal to help ease their transition to real food. (Oh and, by the way, it's best to soak your oats overnight for optimal digestion and benefit. It's not hard. Check out this link for how to's.)

2. There's no place like home. People often complain that organic or real food is too expensive but they overlook the fact that eating out is costing them an arm and a leg. Skip the fast food or pizza delivery now and then. Even cutting your daily latte ($3 over the course of one photomonth = $90) will save you enough to pay for several yummy home-cooked meals. Preparing food at home takes more time, but you'll more than make up for that with better tasting dishes and quality-control---you will know exactly what is going into your food. More importantly, you are passing on a way of living to your children. They will learn to appreciate home-cooking (the process and the end result) at your side. They are less likely to do it if they don't see you doing it. ("More is caught than taught," as they say.) NY Times columnist and author Mark Bittman was discussing this very subject on last Wednesday's broadcast of the Kojo Nnamdi show. Take a listen! He emphasized the benefits of reacquainting ourselves with the lost art of cooking.

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3. Simplify. "Isn't there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?" Charlie Brown's cry in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is a call to swap the commercial trappings of Christmas for the heart of the holiday. It's a reminder to eschew the hoopla and focus on the Christ Child. None of us needs one more thing for our home or closet. Too often our possessions possess us, rather than the other way around. We've got more than enough "stuff," really; what we truly need is to pare down, to simplify, to de-clutter. In that vein, let's look for ways to nourish our spirits this Christmas. Let's splurge on alternative gifts that make a more lasting impact---food for the homeless in our metro area, clean water for Kenyans, or encouragement for inner city youth. In the same way, food for our families is a long-term investment with a powerful impact on our well-being and health. Toys will be played with and cast aside. Clothes will become dingy and go out of style. Cloyingly sweet treats will cause stomach-aches and headaches. When possible, make the choice to forgo the material, the processed and the pricey. You and your family will find joy in the real deal.Funny-Chickens-3

4. Buy the whole bird, not just parts.  I have to admit, I'm intimidated by the act of preparing a whole chicken. Ha, ha! I'm chicken about cooking a chicken. Guess my goose is cooked. Seriously, I think it's because my family never modeled how to do this. (See number 2, the lost art of cooking.) I take comfort in the fact that I'm not the only one who is nervous about attempting something new. (I'm not the only one, right? Anyone? Bueller?) I am working toward this, though. It is clearly more economical to prepare one chicken and use its meat for 3-4 meals, than it is to prepare chicken breasts that suffice for only one meal.

5. Resources. Let's learn from those who have prepared a whole chicken, soaked oats, and who are experts at cutting a food budget or making healthy food choices. Here are a few of my favorite blogs and sites that consistently post delicious, nutritious recipes and practical tips that help me serve my family the most nourishing food possible: The Nourished Kitchen, Food Renegade, and 100 days of real food. I also recommend the Weston Price Foundation, a group founded on the principle of eating whole, real foods for optimal health. All of these sites have good things to offer. This fall, I made for the first time a delectable kuri squash soup and a sweet gluten-free coconut lemon cake---something I may never have attempted had it not been for online support.

I consider some of these steps my own personal prequel, "Cooking Real Food: Back to Basics, Part 1." Join in the "project" by contributing your own ideas and resources below!