Okay, so I’m on a new kick lately. I’ve jumped on the health foods bandwagon, and have become engrossed in studying the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
I know. I’m way late to the party. But cut me some slack… one learning curve at a time, right? I’ve heard a ton about this book from many nutrition junkies, but to be completely honest, when I read other bloggers talking about lacto-fermentation and sprouting grains, my eyes totally glossed over. I guess I just wasn’t ready to commit the necessary brain cells it takes to really understand why we should learn these practices.
And really, until I read this book, I honestly thought we ate a relatively healthy diet. Whole wheat homemade bread (freshly ground), home grown organic produce, fresh milk, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef… what more could there be?
Evidently, we’re a seriously healthy-diet challenged society. Even when we think we’re doing good, we’re so bad.
If you haven’t read Nourishing Traditions yet, please do. It’s fascinating stuff. It’s actually a cookbook, but it’s packed with tons of information on how to eat a truly well balanced, nourishing diet. Sally quotes studies by Dr. Weston Price, who went around the world documenting the diets and health of indigenous tribes and traditional peoples living in remote villages.
What he found was quite sobering. To sum it all up, as societies have become more affluent and “westernized”, we’ve lost touch with what real food is and how to properly prepare it. No matter what part of the world Dr. Price studied, he found that all of these remote tribes had some basic eating habits in common. Although their food sources varied, traditional tribes were all hunters and gatherers who lived off of the land and ate what they could find or cultivate themselves. Their diets included:
- Roots and berries
- Only grass-fed meat
- Tons of leafy greens
- Fresh, raw milk
- Butter, cheese
- Yogurt and Kefir (full of live cultures)
- Sourdough bread
- Fermented foods
- Sprouted grains and soaked grains
- Organ meat
- Animal fats
- Bone broth and marrow
Dr. Price noted the superior dental health, and overall well being of these traditional cultures compared to modern society, and attributed their wellness to their primitive diets. You’ll notice some things they did not include in their diets: anything artificial, processed sugar, white flour or grains that haven’t been sprouted, soaked or fermented first, and obviously they didn’t eat anything they couldn’t pick, hunt, or culture themselves.
As I read what Sally had to say about the way our ancestors ate compared to the junk that we are accepting as “food” nowadays, I realized we’ve strayed so far from these paleo diets. We don’t eat fermented food. We don’t eat organ meat. We rarely eat deep-water seafood. I know we don’t eat enough leafy greens. And I’ve never in my life sprouted or soaked my grains, which she explains is incredibly important to do in order that our bodies are able to absorb the nutrients we should be getting from the foods we eat (this is a whole other fascinating topic in and of itself).
Alongside the book Nourishing Traditions, I also read Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel, which pretty much goes hand in hand with Sally’s book, and at times quotes it word-for-word. It too is an incredibly fascinating and convicting read. Also highly recommended.
After hours of absorbing the information from these books, I’m excited to make a few major changes to the way my family eats. Among these, I’d like to begin doing the following…
- Learn to cook with (and enjoy!) organ meat.
- Use homemade bone broth more often.
- Start incorporating fermented foods into our diets.
- Take fermented cod liver oil daily for healthier teeth and overall health.
- Use coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and tallow instead of shortening and vegetable oil.
- Eventually eliminate processed sugar from our diets, and only sweeten with molasses, maple syrup, honey, fresh stevia, and other truly natural sweeteners.
- Eat fish more often.
- Eat more dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach.
- Begin making sourdough.
- Start soaking and/or sprouting our grains before cooking them.
- Experiment with different grains other than wheat.
- Start culturing ALL of our dairy products.
These are going to mean some big changes for our family, but they can come over a period of time. I’ve already started experimenting with beef liver, sprouting quinoa, soaking oatmeal, and taking a 1/2 tsp of fermented cod liver oil in the morning. I’m excited to start taking more steps toward a healthier future.
Have you read Nourishing Traditions or Cure Tooth Decay? How do your eating habits line up with what I’ve shared about traditional paleo (hunter-gatherer) diets? Do you think you could make some of these changes?
(These are NOT affiliate links, by the way. I receive no compensation for recommending these books. I’m merely providing the links for your convenience. Just so ya know.)
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.