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.

The biggest health blindspot

An unexpected benefit from my recent trip to Africa was the jet lag I experienced once I got home. Jet lag, a benefit? Yup. Here's how I see it. I usually go to bed between midnight and one a.m. But, suddenly, post-trip, I found myself crawling into bed, completely wiped around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. I was glad because I found myself in a new rhythm, a la Benjamin "early-to-bed-early-to-rise" Franklin. It felt good. I was also pleased because I had been reminded that sleep-deprivation can be the biggest health mistake many of us make. It's detrimental to our well-being to get insufficient sleep, but even the most avowed foodies and health conscious people often don't take sleep very seriously. Most of us think nothing of burning the midnight oil. On the contrary, we see overwork and little rest as a badge of productivity and efficiency, a point of pride. We couldn't be more mistaken. Overlooking the importance of sleep is a huge health blindspot.

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A recent interview with Sandra Van Gilder, a physical therapist and trainer from California, woke me up (so to speak) to the importance of sleep. As a young woman, Sandra had suffered with back pain, sciatica, swollen knees, and more. As a busy young mom, she struggled with vestibular migraines. These conditions gave her a fresh perspective on how to approach wellness and inform her work today. She talked at length with me about sleep and movement.

Sleep

  • how modifying your lifestyle can help you avoid sickness (e.g. more hydration, less caffeine, improved nutrition, more sleep)
  • how lifestyle changes can also help you manage stress and avoid migraines
  • how morning grogginess and brain fog can be evidence that you are not getting enough sleep
  • how to prepare for a good night's sleep (including gentle stretching, epsom salt baths, reducing artificial light before bed and more)
  • the benefits of melatonin: a major antioxidant that protects against cancer
  • why you crave carbohydrates when you're sleep-deprived
  • how sufficient sleep helps with portion control
  • how to avoid having to refuel yourself every hour, when you're exhausted
  • how getting outside helps your body get in touch with your circadian rhythm
  • the role of healthy fats in relation to your overall health (and sleep patterns)

Movement

  • why the usual recommendations of rest following an injury can lead to aggravation (emotional and physical)
  • why variety of movement is critical
  • the importance of knowing your physical goals
  • how a whole body approach helps your body function properly
  • novel ways to treat low back pain

I'm feeling more refreshed and rested these days. I like it! I hope the jet lag pattern sticks. For Sandra's part, since she has changed her sleep patterns, her migraines disappeared. And though she once had joint pain and back issues that made it difficult to even run around the track a single time, she is now in terrific shape and has even run a half marathon, pain-free!

Sandra is as busy as you and I are, and yet she has made some amazing strides, not only in her own health, but for others' health, as well. Listen to our episode #26 of Wise Traditions here: The myths and truths of sleep and exercise. Or visit her Move Method website (where she offers a free video series).

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.

 

 

How holistic management is saving the planet

Hypothetical scenario: you arrive at my home and the living room is a wreck. (This is very plausible, by the way.) Picture it totally trashed. Sofa springs are jutting out, dirty plates are crawling with ants, toys are strewn everywhere. You hear that I have ten children (not so plausible, but go with it for a moment) and you nod understandingly, “Ah. That’s the problem. This woman has too many children. That’s why the living room is a mess.” Most people would come to that conclusion, as well. But not Allan Savory. He would not blame the children. He would blame the management of the children. In other words, the children are not actually responsible for the mess; large families do not necessarily have to live in chaos. The responsibility falls on me to train my children properly so that they don’t mess up our living environment. This is a simple illustration to explain the concept of “holistic management.”

Before heading to Zimbabwe to meet with wildlife biologist, author, and speaker Allan Savory, I picked up his tome “Holistic Management.” When I say “tome,” I’m not kidding. Let's just say that this book is the opposite of a light summer read. The point I’m trying to make is that I was struggling to grasp what holistic management really meant. I knew it had to do with saving the earth by restoring its grasslands (about 70% have been degraded), but beyond that, I couldn't quite "get it."

But I knew this much: Allan did get it and does get it. His Savory Institute has hubs all around the world committed to this concept. It goes beyond permaculture techniques (though these are good) and organic fields (also good). And it’s having fantastic results with land and communities that are revitalizing, growing, and thriving.

Allan came to this holistic approach to the land after much trial and error. Decades ago, he thought (as many scientists did at the time) that animals were causing land degradation and that reducing their numbers would resuscitate the land. So they killed thousands of elephants in Africa. We’re talking significant numbers—to the tune of 40,000 elephants. And then, to their dismay, they discovered that they were wrong. The land did not improve.

Allan had the humility and wisdom to go back to square one to determine the root of the problem. (Some scientists did not do this, by the way, and they are still culling animals!) Anyway, Allan dug deep and found that we actually need more animals (not less), since they have a critical role in revitalizing land. Animals disturb the ground with their hooves, and leave urine and manure to fertilize it, and thus help stimulate new growth. So the crux of the problem with land degradation (also known as “desertification”), again, is not the animals themselves, but, rather, how they are managed.

Allan and me in grass

I’ve seen the fruit of this holistic approach first hand this week at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management. Allan took me around the land and showed me “before” pictures (taken at fixed points) that I could easily contrast with the “after” landscape before me. The health and recovery of the land was obvious. I was eager to learn more. Over the course of several days, I peppered him with questions about this approach. asked about the response from the environmental and scientific communities, and much more. I met some of his staff members and community members in Zimbabwe who have seen holistic management successes in their villages and towns. In the process, I gained a greater understanding of holistic management for land, livestock, and even my day-to-day life.

Of course I plan on posting my conversations with Allan on the Wise Traditions podcast this summer! If you just can't wait, though, check out savory.global. Holistic management, I am convinced, is critical for the future of our planet!

*****

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 (on iTunes, Stitcher, and westonaprice.org). She is traveling in Zimbabwe and Kenya as part of the WAPF international project initiative.

 

A taboo, proverb, tradition & song in Zimbabwe

"The program sort of links up very, very well with indigenous knowledge systems. The idea of conserving the environment is not a new phenomenon; it's not a new idea. Our forefathers actually had some songs which were so emphatic on environmental conservation. They actually had some proverbs that had a lot to do with environmental conservation. They also had taboos which were so emphatic on conserving certain aspects [of the environment]." John and me

I have been in all sorts of fascinating conversations with people since arriving here in Zimbabwe. But this one caught me by surprise--especially when the person I was speaking to broke into song! It all went down when I was interviewing John Nyilika, a training coordinator for the Africa Centre for Holistic Management. He pointed out how holistic land and livestock management relies on and honors traditional knowledge. The moment he began to speak of ancestral wisdom, my "wise traditions" ears perked up.

Here are some of the ancient truths he shared.

A taboo - It was said that it was taboo when you find two kudus in locked horns and fighting, it was actually taboo to kill both. You were only supposed to kill one. The idea was to make sure that the remaining one would remain in touch with all of the cows, female kudus, around. That taboo ensures conservation.

A proverb - We have traditional healers and they use some roots. The traditional healer will actually tell you to get to a certain tree--say, a marula tree. You just dig the root of the tree and just get a small [piece], say, about 15 centimeters of the root, and cut it off. And if you want to be healed by that root, please make sure to cover up that area and you don't have to look back. After covering up, don't look back and go away. Cover it up and go away. That aspect of covering up was to ensure that the tree would continue growing.

A tradition - If you needed a bark from a certain tree it was suggested that you get to the eastern side [of the tree.] You look for a tree which does't have any scar. Just get to the eastern side, and just get a palm-sized bark from the eastern side. And you also go to the northern side, just get another palm-sized one, you see? And you leave the tree. [This] was to avoid ring-barking the tree and killing the tree. And looking for a tree which doesn't have a scar was to make sure that you don't continue using the same tree, [to avoid that] at the end of the day, the tree would die.

A song - There were also some songs. There were also some weeding and harvesting songs that have a lot to do with environmental conservation. This song which I will sing is on conservation. It can also be turned into a wedding song, but the words can also be used for environmental conservation. "Londolozani, londolozani, londolozani’mvelo londolozani …." In short, it actually says we should not cut trees indiscriminately. We should not burn the forest, and so on. We should conserve our environment. And as people, you know, they will be rejoicing, drinking beer, and singing these songs, and dancing--at the same time, the children will also be hearing these songs. Initially it was just a wedding song, then they put these words to the song to enhance conservation ideas. To "lundulose" means to keep very well and even it goes [applies] to the bride and the bridegroom: you must not abuse her, treat her very well, treat him well.

These certainly sound like wise traditions to me. How about to you?

*****

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 (on iTunes, Stitcher, and westonaprice.org). She is traveling in Zimbabwe and Kenya as part of the WAPF international project initiative.

 

 

 

Wise Traditions in Zimbabwe and Kenya

Of course, there are wise traditions all around the world. But I'm particularly thrilled right now about Zimbabwe and Kenya, because I have the awesome privilege of traveling there to get to see and know them, first-hand! It all started a couple of years ago when the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) launched an international project initiative. Last August, WAPF sent two volunteers (including yours truly) to travel to Kenya, to teach WAPF principles and to learn from the people there. IMG_2719

 

We connected with fitness groups, with Rotarians, with the Permaculture Research Institute, with schools. The people we met--from professionals in Nairobi, to students, to Masaai villagers--were all very receptive to our message. It was wonderful to be able to say "Don't eat the way we (Americans) eat. Eat the way you have always eaten!" It was wonderful, fascinating, and fantastic! (You might be able to sense my enthusiasm just now!)

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Now, on this return trip, we go to water the seeds we've planted. I plan on connecting with one woman (a teacher whom I met last year) who is considering starting our first WAPF chapter in Nairobi!. Other groups have invited us to speak again. They want to hear more! Dickson Gisa, the Maasai warrior who asked if WAPF would come to his village in Matapato in the first place, will be hosting us in his home, once again. As a leader in his community, Dickson has had many opportunities to continue sharing this life-giving information about the health benefits of traditional diets. We are going to give him tools and support to do so.

And where does Zimbabwe come in? Before we even get to Kenya, we are going to spend one week at Allan Savory's Africa Centre for Holistic Management. We will get to see the excellent training that the facility provides. People from all around the globe come to the centre to gain a better understanding of how people, economies, and the environment interact and to learn how to better manage the resources we each have, for a sustainable future for the planet.

I am very excited about all of this, as you can well imagine. But what makes me even happier this time around is that YOU can join me on this trip! I am the host on the WAPF-sponsored Wise Traditions podcast. So I am better able to use technology to keep you abreast of al we are doing, so that you can engage, almost in real time, wherever you are! I will do my best to post pictures on @westonaprice instagram account, and to tweet on the @westonaprice twitter account and, possibly (fingers crossed) to use mixlr for a couple of live broadcasts. (Mixlr is the live audio stream app that is on the westonaprice.org podcast page.)

Even if you somehow miss those (or if do), you may be able to go to the "show reel" section of mixlr to hear past live broadcasts. And you most definitely will be able to hear the people I interview on the Wise Traditions podcast later this summer. You will get to hear Allan Savory, wildlife biologist and land management specialist, and Dickson Gisa, our Maasai friend, and many others who have wise traditions to share with us. (To access the podcast, go to the westonaprice.org website's podcast page. Or just get it on iTunes or Stitcher.)

 

Can't wait for the days ahead! I am sending this blog post from the Heathrow airport right now! Kuaheri, rafiki!

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?

Would you trash your friend's house?

I live in a modest row house in DC, but, this weekend, I am living in the lap of luxury. I have a friend who owns a beautiful house in Virginia and she is hosting a bunch of us for the weekend. Did I say it was a house? Correction. It's actually a mansion. It is a gorgeous 8-bedroom, 5-bath, custom-built place with a glorious deck, king-sized beds, jacuzzi-jet tubs, and more. It's one...big..."WOW!" IMG_1384

And the funny thing is, my friend isn't even home just now. She is a gracious hostess who is willing to let folks use her place as something of a retreat center, even when she's out of town.

But what if the group of us who are here this weekend decided not only to use her home, but to abuse it? What if we decided that we were going to do whatever the heck we felt like with it, and began carelessly trashing it?! I'm talking about more than just leaving dishes in the sink. What if we dragged chairs across the hardwood floor, broke the garbage disposal, pushed the deck furniture over the railing, etc.?

How ungrateful! How short-sighted! How thoughtless and stupid we would be!

 

This thought crossed my mind today because it is Earth Day. The Earth is a home that is also on loan to us. It is not ours, but we have been entrusted with it. The idea is to use it, yes, but not to abuse it. We want it to last for the long haul, for our children and grandchildren, and all the greats after that!

I see this as a calling of sorts, since the book of Genesis says: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' Ruling is a responsibility, and it is to be carried out with justice and compassion.

What does this look like for you? In what ways are you caring for the earth (and the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and the cattle....)?  I am still learning what this looks like for me. What do I do with the resources at my disposal? Do I toss things when they break or repair them? Do I recycle? I know that each and every choice I make can impact the earth.

Happily, I get glimpses of what good stewardship looks like when I see those who choose to garden, those who live less wastefully, and those who care for the land and the animals in ethical ways. In particular, just now, I am thinking of farmer Joel Salatin. In the podcast episode "The marvelous pigness of pigs," he talks about our God-given responsibility to care for the land and animals. His ethics inform his farming practices. How do mine shape how I live and the earth I live on? Something to ponder today and in the days to come.

 

 

 

 

Three steps to make a dream come true

The title of this blogpost was not click bait. I am dead serious. I actually DO have three steps that can help you make a dream come true. Notice that I did not say three "EASY" steps. But they are steps nonetheless. I'm no Zig Ziegler but I have experienced some "dream-come-true" moments in my life and I would love to share how I got there with you. I took these steps. You can take them, too. And you can see your dream(s) become a reality. Ready? Then, read on!

  1. Dream. Step one, you actually need to dream. What do you want, personally, professionally? What do you envision for yourself, your family, your community, the world? Take the dream as far as you want. The Bible says "Without vision, the people perish." I know some people that are indeed the "walking dead." They look like people; they go through the motions of life, but they are like zombies, because they are dead on the inside. Part of the reason why is because they no longer dream. IMG_6220 I made this dream board the other day, to help me picture the kind of life I want to lead, the kind of impact I want to make. Write down your dreams, or illustrate them. Find a way to visualize them, however it best suits you. Something special happens when you make the intangible tangible. For example, I wrote down "Kenya 2015" in a journal a few years back. I didn't know how I would get there; I just knew that I wanted to go. I was dreaming. And then it happened! The Weston A. Price Foundation sent me there to tell people about traditional diets in August of last year. I never expected this turn of events when I scribbled "Kenya 2015" down. But it came to be.
  2. Deem. You need to regard what you want as attainable. Deem it so, or deem it possible. George Michael sang "You gotta have faith." It's about believing it can happen or that you can do it. I know of a cancer treatment clinic that will not accept patients who do not believe the treatment will work. Sound crazy? They simply recognize that belief is a part of the healing process. In the same way, belief plays a pivotal role in realizing your dream. Believe in God. Believe in yourself. Believe it can happen...yes, in your wildest dreams. I was considering becoming a podcaster when a 16 year-old friend of mine told me he was starting a podcast. I literally thought, "If he can do it, I can do it." I believed. I bought equipment and read some books. I began interviewing people. In a span of less than 6 months, I launched it and now my podcast has had over 50,000 downloads. (My 16 year-old friend never followed through on his podcast.)
  3. Do. The first two are wonderful but are not enough to achieve your dream. (Maybe this is why my young friend's podcast never launched?) This last step is a critical piece of the puzzle. You can't just dream or believe without putting in the hard work. This is why I didn't have the word "easy" in my title. You have to DO something. You need to set tangible, measurable goals and implement them to reach your dreams. I have been saying for years that I want to write a book. This is a dream in progress. On the plus side, I am meeting my goal of writing regularly. I have done so for over 6 years now. But other mid-range goals have fallen by the way side. It's time to pick them up again. Otherwise the epitaph on my tombstone may read: "She was going to write a book...one day." I do not want REFUSE to let that be the case. So I have recently found a friend who is going to hold me accountable (read: kick my butt and make sure I take tangible steps) to get at least an e-book completed this. calendar. year. Yes, I am putting it out there. You read it here first.

Some dreams I've dreamed have turned into reality; some are still in process. To achieve them, as you can see, does not require magic or charisma. It's not about manifesting something or tapping into some big dark secret only available to those "in tune with the universe."

It's about dreaming, deeming, and doing. Tell me what are you dreams? Take the first step in making them tangible and write them in the comments below!

 

When it comes to your health, it's smart to ask questions

This is a blog post full of questions. Which is funny because so far I have only made a statement. Or two. Or three. But, just wait, they're coming.... I recently interviewed Leslie Manookian, the writer and producer of the award-winning documentary "The Greater Good." Leslie was at the peak of her career as a business executive on Wall Street when she began asking herself some serious questions about the direction of her life, and about conventional medicine. You see, her health began to fail, and it led to her to start questioning her assumptions about all of the above and eventually led her to start questioning vaccines.

In today's group-think mindset, this is anathema. But I promise you, this woman is no fringe, anti-science loony. She's smart. She has an MBA from the University of Chicago, a BA from Middlebury College, and M.L.C.Hom from Lakeland College of Homeopathy. She began investigating homeopathy when conventional medicine could no longer help her. It benefited her so much that she decided to study it. In so doing, she began learning about the risks and unintended consequences of vaccines.

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Our conversation got me asking some questions of my own.

Why is the vaccine schedule so intense for infants (25 doses by 15 months of age)? 

Could this schedule have anything to do with the rise of ADD, allergies, autism and other chronic conditions?

Why do vaccines include metals (mercury, aluminum) and adjuncts that disrupt our body and brain functions?

If vaccines are as safe as they are purported to be, why do the vaccine manufacturers need blanket immunity from any prosecution or economic liability?

Didn't a CDC whistleblower confess that he (and others) scrubbed the data, to make it appear that there was not a link between vaccines and autism? If so, why the cover-up? And where is the public outcry in response?

What other options do we have to protect people from life-threatening or crippling diseases?

And, finally, why are all people who ask questions about vaccines labeled as lunatics?

It seems to me that when it comes to your health (or your children's health), it is smart to ask questions.

Listen to Leslie's story on this podcast episode, Vaccines: what's all the fuss about? and see if it doesn't prompt you to formulate questions of your own. And if you're not willing to listen to it, I challenge you to ask yourself why.

 

 

 

 

Sustainability is no joke

  April Fool's Day is a great day to talk about the word "sustainable." I see it everywhere I turn these days; it's laughable. I fully expect the gas station tomorrow to have a sign up saying "Fill up here: sustainable gas from organic oil wells!" It has been overused to the point where it's unclear what it's even referring to anymore. (This is ironic since the definition includes "allowing for continual reuse.")

But sustainability is no joke. The idea is to live in such a way that you can keep at it. To treat this earth in such a way that it can last a long time. To care for your belongings in such a way that you get the most out of them. In effect, to tread lightly so that you can keep treading.

I interviewed farmer Jesse Straight from Whiffletree Farm (in Warrenton Virginia) about his take on the term. I loved his answer!

“Sustainable farming is beneficial to all of the parties involved. It’s beneficial to the animals’ health, the land’s health, the eaters’ health. It’s beneficial to the farmer in terms of giving them a noble and sustainable way to live and to support their family and it’s beneficial to the community.”

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I don't have a farm but Jesse inspired me with his response. (To be further inspired, listen to his podcast interview: Straight talk from a farmer.)

I want to live sustainably, according to his definition, don't you? I want to live so as to benefit everyone around me (including me)! I want to be ready for continual re-use! How can I be an asset at home, at work, at church, in the neighborhood, the city, and the world? It's a big list, a tall order. The only way to be of any use, anywhere, is to find balance in my own life first. A hectic pace, a frantic lifestyle will lead to my being worn out and unable to live a life in the plus column, that much I know.

So like a runner in a marathon, I try to pace myself so that I can best meet the day's demands. I eat well and exercise often. I pray, sing, and connect frequently with friends and family. I keep my house clean (more or less) and make decent meals for us and our guests. These activities keep me afloat and are generally a part of what sustains me. But there are other areas of my life that threaten to drag me down and wear me out. I tend to work at a rather constant pace, so I have to discipline myself to turn off the computer an hour before bed. I struggle to hit the hay before the clock strikes midnight. And I know I need more time outside to get refreshed and re-energized.

My short-term sustainability goals almost certainly looks different than Jesse's (and probably yours) but our long-term goal is the same. We want to be well, balancing our work and play, rest and service, so that we can benefit the lives we touch. Instead of being labeled "good for nothing," we are all aiming to be good for something!

What does a sustainable life look like for you? And what do you need to work on, to get there?

 

The reckless gardener

My friend is a crazy amateur gardener. I call her crazy because she just plants things and hopes they grow. We're talking no prep, no plan, no fuss, no muss. Sound weird? Let me explain. A couple of springs ago, Jessica and her boyfriend worked hard to have the perfect garden. They designed an elaborate grid to plant their seeds. (He's in the military so he's all about plans. I imagine, once sprouted, he fully expected all of the veggies to stand at attention when he walks by. But I digress.) Let's just say that Jessica and her boyfriend were as ready as they could possibly be for this undertaking. They were super pleased with their plans. The day came and they executed everything to perfection...only to have all their efforts go to waste because of a spring rain the next day. It washed everything away (on to a neighboring plot in their community garden). You can imagine how frustrated they were at this turn of events. So the following spring, Jessica decided to take things into her own less-organized and less-militaristic hands. Jessica's boyfriend was away (he's in the military, as I said) so, unsupervised, Jessica showed her true stripes. In a fit of reckless and random abandon, she scattered her seeds without any grid or forethought.

At first I thought this was very strange until a friend told me recently that a lazy gardener is the best gardener! Jessica's philosophy is in keeping with a whole no-till movement! Who knew? And believe it or not, it is working. Many summers and falls, I have reaped the benefit of J.'s random gardening method: enjoying copious amounts of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and more.

Whatever you think of her gardening style, Jessica is to be admired for her grit. She would never call herself a gardener. She's the first to admit she didn't know the first thing about gardening, actually, but she didn't let fear of the unfamiliar or failure in the past hold her back. She dove in, muddy feet first.

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My daughter dove into gardening at UVA. She, too, didn't know much about it, but by her fourth year, she ended up being a leader for the community garden they had on grounds.

Another friend of mine, Celeste Longacre (gotta love her name), has been gardening/preserving/canning/freezing veggies for over 35 years. Listen for her approach on gardening in my podcast episode entitled (appropriately) "In the garden."

These three are all my heroes! Personally I'm still growing as a gardener. (See what I did there?) Do you garden? Are you a planner (like Jessica's boyfriend) or are you more the reckless sort (like Jessica herself)?  Tell me in the comments below!

Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die

  This truism applies to our relationship with food and health, as well. Everybody wants to be healthy, but nobody wants to change what they're eating. So, yes, it's true: people want to have their cake and eat it too.

I get it. Habits are hard to break. Certain treats feel like rewards after a long week at the office or at home! But everything worthwhile requires some effort and sacrifice. I see the same students in my Body & Soul exercise classes week after week. They could be doing anything else: sleeping in, gardening, taking care of errands, you name it. But they show up time and again, sacrificing other things to commit themselves to movement.  And their bodies are the better for it.

Maybe it seems easier with exercise because everyone knows it is good for you. There is agreement. But with food, how do you decide which diet is best?

Here's something most every diet agrees on (at least those that are not trying to sell you special powders or products).  Ultra-processed foods are to be avoided. What do I mean by ultra-processed? These are foods that are de-natured and refined, foods whose nutritional content has been stripped or changed so that it no longer nourishes us as it would have in its original form. Just this past week, the University of Sao Paolo and Tufts University released a study that indicated that 50% of the American diet is made up of such foods. And these processed foods make up 90% of the sugar intake of Americans. No wonder we are sick and tired!

Some people call this "clean eating" because you are getting away from the junk that is sold as food. To step away from these processed foods, we've got to shop the perimeter of the supermarket. Let's fill our carts with food without labels. We can find this kind of food at farmer's markets, too. Or we can get farm deliveries or join a buying club. Maybe it's time to garden. For our health, though, we must begin to do whatever we can to avoid these overly manipulated foods and oils with extra additives, preservatives, colorings, flavorings, and sugar.

It will take effort, so in a sense it may feel like you are dying at first. But soon you will reap the reward of "health heaven." Trust me. Heaven is for real.

P.S. If you're ready to take the plunge but need more inspiration and how-to's, listen to this podcast episode "No refined or denatured foods" with Sally Fallon Morell, the head of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

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It's all about kombucha

This is how I feel right now. It's all about kombucha. I am absolutely crazyabout it. It is my go-to drink. I have blogged about it from time to time and have gotten a fair number of friends hooked on it, too. It is not a drug (ha, ha) but rather a fizzy, tasty drink with health benefits (so I guess in some senses it acts like a drug)! Kombucha is a fermented drink, born from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Its roots go back about 2000 years, but it is VERY 2016. You can buy it at a store in a glass 16-oz. container (at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and even Safeway), or you can try brewing your own at home! Here’s my attempt. I’m just starting out. Don't judge.

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Last fall I had the privilege of meeting Hannah Crum, the "Kombucha Mamma," at the Wise Traditions conference in Anaheim, California. There, I got the chance to pick her brain to learn more about this alluring drink known as the "immortal health elixir!" She told me about its history, benefits, and how to get started making my own!

If you want to learn what all the hype is about, listen to this 30-minute interview, the Kombucha Craze. Or just go out and buy a bottle. Once you try it, you’ll understand why so many are raving about it. Still unsure about trying it? Check out some of its healing properties below!

K- Kicks cancer – Studies have shown that glucaric acid (found in kombucha) has cancer-fighting properties.

O – Oh, the weight you’ll lose! Kombucha speeds your metabolism and improves gut health.

M– Makes your immune system strong. It is rich in anti-oxidents which boost immune systems and help prevent colds, flus, etc.

B – Boosts your energy with enzymes and vitamins; brings balance to your gut's bacteria.

U – Unique nutrients such as acetic acid, enzymes, and polyphenols improve your body's functioning.

C– Cleanses and assists with detoxing the body, through gluconic acid and probiotics.

H – Helps the digestive system (populating your gut with needed probiotics).

A – Arthritis can be warded off and joint pain eased by the glucosamines in the drink.

So join the KOMBUCHA craze! And drink a toast to your health with this unusual but uber-beneficial all-natural fermented drink!

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Hilda Labrada Gore, a long-time DC resident, is an Integrative Nutrition health coach and fitness professional. She is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Google Play Music, tunein, and at westonaprice.org. Basically, you can find it wherever you get your podcasts!

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).

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!

 

 

 

 

Six step simple squash soup! (A yummy tongue-twister of a dish)

True confessions. I used to be intimidated by squash. Its shape is weird. I didn't know what it tasted like. I never ate it growing up. Then I bought some butternut squash soup at Whole Foods and I liked it. A lot. Then my friends made it. I liked it even more. Finally, my daughters made it. It was delectable. I finally decided to go for it myself, before my cat got into the act!

Step one. Grab the squash and stick it in the oven at 350°. That's it. No fuss, no muss.

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Step two: Let it cook long enough so that it looks mushy (about 20-30 min). Then peel it by hand.

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Step three: Sauté onions, peppers, carrots---whatever you have on hand, really---in butter or coconut oil or your favorite saturated fat. :)

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Step four: Add broth.

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Step five: Start cutting off chunks of the squash. Get rid of some of the stringiness in the middle (but set aside the seeds for toasting and enjoying at a later time, if you want).

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Step six: Toss the 3-4" chunks in the pot and blend it all up with a hand blender.

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That's all there is to it! Once you've got the basics down, you can spice it up (literally) with paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, coconut milk, whatever you like! But it's perfectly yummy this plain and simple way, as well!

Let me know if you give it a whirl! Here's to making intimidating vegetable-itis a thing of the past!