Jumping On The ‘Nourishing Traditions’ Bandwagon


nourishing traditions

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
  • Seaweed
  • Fresh, raw milk
  • Butter, cheese
  • Yogurt and Kefir (full of live cultures)
  • Sourdough bread
  • Fermented foods
  • Sprouted grains and soaked grains
  • Organ meat
  • Seafood
  • 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.

cure tooth decay book

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…

  • Β 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?

Β (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.)

26 thoughts on “Jumping On The ‘Nourishing Traditions’ Bandwagon”

  1. I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes recently and although my doctor says that it is not necessary for me to cut sugar from my diet completely but I want to avoid it to become healthy again and reverse my prediabetes. I am not sure if natural sweeteners like fruit pulps or juices do any good or not. Any thoughts on this would be really helpful. Thanks

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  2. Over this last year, I’ve been working my way towards a more ‘traditional’ diet too, and it’s been great! So happy to see you are too. My whole family and I take fermented cod liver oil and I believe I’ve found the most painless way to take it. If you have any of the syringes that come with tylenol use that, if not, get yourself one. I simply just fill the syringe with the FCLO, shoot it in the very back of my mouth, and then chase it with cold water. Works great and the kids don’t mind taking it one bit. πŸ™‚ I hope this method helps you!

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  3. I found NT when my oldest children were 4 & 2, they are now 13 & 11. My son had horrible asthma/environmental allergies and my daughter always had a snotty nose and was on profilactic antibiotics for constant ear infections. We began by switching to raw dairy, (mostly) soaked whole grains, and a before breakfast supplement cocktail of Cod liver oil (not fermented), vit. C (with bioflavonoids), and an supplement called Laryx to strengthen their immune system. We began all of this in the springtime (when my son’s issues were the worst). My daughter’s “cold” cleared up, for the first time in her life (!), that winter no one got sick, and the following spring my son had NO asthma or allergies (the previous spring I had to give him 3-4 nebulizer treatments each day and he would vomit at times because he couldn’t breathe). Over the course of that year I got our family to almost a complete NT diet, which we followed pretty hard core for several years. We’ve since sort of “fallen off the bandwagon”; once the children went to school (in 3rd and 1st grades) it became very difficult to maintain due to the influence of junk foods. Also, as more children have come and my son has become a teenager, my budget can’t afford a completely NT diet so I’ve made compermises, however our health has remained strong and the common sense wisdom of NT sticks with me. I do the best I can without obsessing about the bits that I can’t control or afford. The most surprising thing to me is how easy it was to transition my family (we had been a totally SAD!).

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  4. also let me know or write a post in the future on what natural sweeteners you like the best. We are trying to stop sugar all together but it is hard. πŸ™‚ I am liking honey a lot though.and am looking into other natural sweeteners. It is just nice to see what others are doing and like. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

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  5. This was great to read Kendra! We have been heading down this journey for the past year. It all started with my 6 year old getting bad headaches and I started doing a lot of research and found so much in food that was not so good for you. :-0 We started changing things with each shopping trip. The first was cooking a lot more from scratch and I mean everything!! Gram crackers and all. lol Then we stared only using butter and olive oil and coconut oil. ( And I have to say coconut oil is wonderful on popcorn!!) Adding lots of greens in our diets and I even add Greens in our fruit smoothies. These are little changes and We would love to go all out. But just the little things we have done we have seen God do such great things including helping with my daughters headaches. I am going to be getting these two books to help further our journey. πŸ™‚ So thank you for this post. I do have to ask, this might be silly to ask but.. can you get liver oil in a capsule like fish oil and stuff, or do you have to buy liver? Blessings,Jillian

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    • Hi Jillian,

      Great question! I got my fermented cod liver oil at http://codliveroilshop.com/. Be sure that if you buy it, you get the Green Pasture’s brand, ’cause they’re not all created equally. I decided to get the plain liquid ’cause it was cheaper than the capsules. Totally should have gotten the capsules! This stuff is horrid, lol. I almost lost my breakfast the first time I tried it. Somebody recommended I chase it with orange juice, and that’s worked well for me. Next time around, I’m getting the capsules!

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  6. I am with you Kendra. I thought the same things but checked the book out at the library anyway. I love this book. I had no idea it was that good. I ended up buying it and haven’t looked back. Still converting the family, but it just takes time.

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  7. Welcome to the party. Come on in, the water’s fiiiiine. If you don’t already, I highly recommend checking out gnowfglins.com. Wardee does some amazing e-classes that really break everything down so simply. Congrats on this decision, absolutely the best one we’ve made.

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  8. I think you are a good example to America. Your cutting back of processed food will cut down on cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Keep up the good work

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  9. Funny but I found myself in the same boat! Thinking we were eating healthy because it was a fresh from the farm, whole grain diet… I thought all that “fermenting stuff” was for the die hards! As I have been reading more and more about this “Nourishing Traditions” plan, I too have been very interested! Thus, another Johnny-Come-Lately”, that book is currently waiting in my Amazon cart as well πŸ™‚

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  10. I discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation website about 4 1/2 years ago, when I was researching vaccinations. This, of course, led me to Nourishing Traditions. It was so overwhelming at first, but slowly we’ve made significant changes. My oldest son was 2 months old at the time, and I was determined to have grass fed and pastured meat and eggs, and raw milk by the time he he started solid foods. I was successful. πŸ™‚ I’ve had my ups and downs keeping up with soaking, sprouting and sourdough. We do take fermented cod liver oil daily and I’ve got a lot of ferments in my fridge. My husband and sons love kombucha. I make it regularly.

    We rarely go to the doctor these days, because our health has improved significantly, and we don’t vaccinate, so no “well baby” visits.

    I completely credit the NT diet for the health of my second son, who quite unexpectedly was born by emergency c-section at 29 weeks! Despite his early arrival, he was in the 95th percentile for weight at 29 weeks (3.1 pounds). He cried at birth and required no assistance for breathing. He was in the NICU for 56 days because he was so small, but he had no real problems. I was able to pump and give him only breast milk for 3 months. When I could no longer breast feed, I started him on the WAPF raw milk formula. He thrived. He is now 2 years old, and you would never know his history. He is a healthy, happy child with no delays whatsoever.

    We’re certainly not perfect in eating NT, but our diets are better than most. I’ve let some things go that I’d like to start doing again. Overall though, I’m very happy with our nutrition and our health. You’re on a great path to health for your family!

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  11. If you get a chance, read Weston A Price’s book – it’s got so much information, and tons and tons of photos from his travels. It really is a neat book, even if it takes you a few weeks to read through it (I have to put it down and digest the info, then pick it back up).

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  12. I have slacked some lately, but for the most part, since my son’s kidney disease diagnosis, we have been eating like this. We have slipped and have gotten some more processed stuff in the house lately. I have, this past week, been more diligent in what foods are coming in and have really laid the law down about no fast food. He has maintained remission and I feel much is due to his diet. I have also begun growing a mama scoby again and hope to start brewing a batch later this week! I hope to replace soda with this. I am also trying to get some kefir grains to work with and will start making yogurt too soon. I already replaced my white sugar with dehydrated cane juice, honey, and stevia. I could go on and on about the changes we have made! When we eat like this it also helps relieve some of my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms too!

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  13. I have NT but haven’t read the other book yet. I have read some of Dr Price’s book, very fascinating read! I wish everyone would read it. (I checked it out from the library, but want my own copy now.)

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  14. I’m so glad you’re doing this! I started learning about and eating a more paleo centered diet this time last year. The results were shocking. I have Crohn’s disease and my symptoms went into complete remission almost immediately. I lost 25 lbs. in 3 months, my blood sugar stabilized so there was no more crash between meals, my skin got healthier, and I noticed a lessening of fibromyalgia symptoms which may have been better had I not started backsliding a bit. Even though I fell off the wagon (an arm and both legs at least), I had made permanent changes in my diet that kept my Crohn’s symptoms in check and the weight off. I study a lot from http://www.wellnessmama.com. It was her article about why grains are bad for us that got the ball rolling for me. It made too much sense to ignore. I’ve recently started oil pulling for oral health.

    Good luck!!

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