In a recent post, Want Real Health? Real Food Is the Key, we defined “real health” and made the connection between real health and real food. Today we offer you some specific guidelines on how to choose real foods, not fake foods.
The guidelines offered herein are based on the findings of Weston Price. Weston Price was a dentist who traveled the world in the 1920’s and 30’s in search of the dietary practices of those native peoples with perfect teeth and mouth formations. He concluded that the health of the mouth is a window into the health of the rest of the body and that the key to good dental health is a real food diet. Though certain specifics of native diets differed one from the other, there were many common characteristics and it is those we are posting today. More information is available at http://www.westonaprice.org/.
Eat whole, natural foods. The first rule is to eat actual “food”, NOT processed chemicals masquerading as food “products.” Real FOODS should be as close to the form in which nature provides them as possible. Example 1: if you want whipped cream, make the real thing. Don’t eat “whipped topping product” made with chemicals instead of food. Example 2: Buy fresh organic fruits and vegetables not canned or frozen. Example 3: Eat eggs from pastured chickens, NOT conventional eggs from cooped chickens, NOT egg white products without the yoke, NOT imitation egg products. Nature knows what is doing when it comes to food; man simply does not when it comes to chemical products. Your body KNOWS the difference and you will eventually pay the price if you don’t realize this. Learn how to select and and prepare whole natural foods with the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.
Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do. Carlton Fredericks used to say “Shelf life or your life.” Foods that spoil are real and alive. Foods with long shelf life are dead, full of chemical preservatives and low in any actual nutrition. Your body builds cells, tissues, organs etc. with nutrients, not preservatives and chemicals.
Eat naturally-raised meat including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats and eggs. Naturally rasied meats contain NO antibiotics, NO growth hormones, have a superior Omega3-6 profile and thus are anti-inflammatory, higher nutrient content, better flavor. Mass produced animals carry real risks and fewer benefits. Their bodies are literally flooded with a lifetime of stress hormones which end up in YOU! The photo heading this post is of free range turkeys living and eating the beautiful way nature intended. Which, come to think of it, is what we should be doing.
Eat whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses and fresh and sour cream. Nature designed cows to eat grass, not grain and corn. The nutritional profile of dairy products from grass vs. grain/corn fed beef is very different. So is the profile of raw vs. pastuerized. Those native peoples Weston Price studied consumed raw dairy products and they did so safely and lived long, healthy lives; the option of a longer, healthier lives is available to you, too! More on real, raw milk, here.
Use only traditional fats and oils including butter, beef tallow, pork lard and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame oil and the tropical oils – palm and my favorite, coconut oil. Fat is back and it’s hot! But not just any fat. The fats the government and the “experts” told us to eat a few years ago — hydrogenated, processed vegetable, etc. are dangerous and in the opinion of many, not fit for human consumption. Now the government is on the anti-hydrogenated bandwagon but they are not quite up to speed on the safety AND BENEFITS of animal fats. Click on the link earlier in this entry to learn a LOT more about truly healthy fats. Still worried about fat? Here is something to think about: Saturated fat causes less, carbohydrate causes more heart disease in women. (With thanks to Dr. Ann Childers on Twitter for the link).
One word of caution when cooking with fats; some are more resistant to heat-induced damage than others. Saturated fats, as a class, are the most stable under heat and the most stable of them all is coconut oil. The least stable and therefore most nutritionally dangerous fats to cook with are the omega 6 vegetable polyunsaturates like safflower and sunflower which, because of all their double bonds, break down under heat into toxic substances like free radicals and trans fatty acids you and your body do not want! The monounsaturates like olive oil are more heat stable than the polyunsaturates but your best bet for cooking is still the saturated fats.
One additional heads-up: though flax oil is a popular “health oil,” there is recent evidence that 1; the human body does not have the ability to convert it for proper use; and 2. it is estrogenic.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups, or lightly steamed. Fiber, phytonutrients, cholorphyll, energy from nature. Not syrupy canned fruits, not dead canned vegetables, not overcooked vegetables, not pesticide-laden salads with chemical dressings, (make your own salad dressing!) And then there is juicing. Juiced organic veggies can be a powerful health builder!
Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. Whole grains NOT white bread, NOT enriched bleached flour. Enriched means the grain has been processed wherein the nutrients are removed but then a few inferior synthetic substitute nutrients are added back in. Such products are a chemical-ized brew of non-nutrients your body doesn’t want and cannot use. Whole grains ALREADY contain the nutrients your body needs and wants. Sprouting enhances this nutrient profile NATURALLY. Sprouting also neutralizes phytic acid — a protective substance nature puts in the plant for its own good. But when it gets in our bodies it prevents the uptake by us of the minerals we need. Look for raw nuts and soak them yourselves to neutralize the phytic acid. Directions for soaking are in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook linked above.
Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis. Your digestive tract requires a healthy balance of good flora which fight off pathogens, produce B vitamins your body needs for so many functions, and help in the proper digestion and assimilation of your (REAL) foods. Good flora are a huge boon to your health and energy.
Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces. The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook — just to give you an idea of how wonderful the information it provides — has a wonderful section on stocks and their dietary value. I am going to quote at length: “Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth…Stock is also of great value because it supplies hydrophilic colloids (which) attract digestive juices for rapid and effective digestion” (p. 116). My mentor Rheo Blair said over and over again, “it’s not what you eat, it’s what you digest and assimilate.” By that he meant that all the good food in the world wasn’t going to help you if you don’t effectively digest and assimilate it. Meat stocks are an important aid in doing so.
Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation. I am not convinced that a daily cup of coffee is a bad thing; but I said A CUP not 10! Herb teas can be a wonderful adjunct helping to gently tone your organs and calm your nerves.
Use filtered water for cooking and drinking. Public water sources contain more of those bad chemicals the governments says are OK and nature says you DONT WANT. Drink only the pure stuff folks. And drink plenty of it.
Use unrefined Celtic seasalt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation. Salt is not “bad” as the government and University busybodies would have us believe. We NEED a certain amount of sodium in our bodies for the proper functioning of our cells. We don’t want too MUCH salt BUT we also do not want too LITTLE salt. What we do want is a good balance of SALT and POTASSIUM and if we are eating according to the guidelines presented herein we will be getting a healthy dose of Potassium which many people don’t get in their daily diets. ALSO if you are eating according to these guidelines you will NOT be getting too much sodium because naturally occurring real foods don’t contain excessive amounts of sodium. Then, having said that, if you want a saltier taste in a given dish, feel free to add some celtic sea salt which contains an abundance of naturally occurring minerals. Ordinary white table salt does NOT contain these minerals; don’t use it! By the way, did you know that your adrenals need a certain amount of sodium especially in times of stress? Stressed adrenals sometimes need a little extra sodium. This won’t be a problem if you are already getting plenty of potassium.
Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and expeller expressed flax oil. All three of these ingredients have wonderful health-building properties. Most store-bought salad dressings are full of chemicals and sugar masquerading as food. We have already discussed that… Apple cider vinegar is, in my opinion, a wonder food. It helps the body in many, many ways. Books have been written about it. If you have a daily organic salad with ACV as part of your dressing you can’t HELP but get healthier!
Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder. Your body does not want too much sugar in ANY form. Your adrenals don’t; your liver doesn’t. Dietary sugars can be a huge burden to the body; go easy. When eating them however, the advantage of using natural sweeteners is they contain useful nutrients the body needs , minerals, for example. When your body processes sugars, it requires, among other things, B complex vitamins to do the job. Plain white sugar or processed added fructose is nutrient free but uses the B complex vitamins already in your body giving you a net loss in these vital nutrients anytime you consume added processed sugars of any kind. The more sugars you consume, the greater your deficiency in the B vitamins.
I leave you with three non-dietary suggestions critical to achieving real health:
1. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light; and 2. think positive thoughts and minimize stress; and 3. practice forgiveness. All the good food in the world isn’t enough if you don’t practice these and practice them so they become habits. Good food, rest AND excercise, good thoughts. The three corners of the Real Health Pyramid.
The following books will facilitate your further study of this important subject. The more information you have, the more you can do for your own health and that of your loved ones!
This post is part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.com
Copyright © 2009 Charles Welling
All rights reserved.
Subscribe and never miss a post! Subscribe in a reader …Email: Subscribe by Email Did you find something interesting here today? Please stop by our Comment box and share your thoughts before you leave!