Who is this Weston Price People Are Talking About?

Very simply he was a modern day hero whose work is only now getting the exposure it (and the world) deserves.

Dr. Weston A Price was a dentist who practiced in Cleveland, Ohio beginning in the 1920’s.  He was well known and respected in his day and was widely published in journals reviewed by his peers.   He served as the head of research for the National Dental Association and authored a textbook on dentistry that was used by the United States Navy.

After years of treating rampant tooth decay in his patients, Dr. Price set out to understand why cavities and poor health were so common in his patients.   More and more young people were coming into his office with narrow jaws and  palates so they did not enough room for their teeth.  He saw crowding, overbites, and underbites and these young people often had other health problems.  Dr. Price concluded that the teeth were a visual indicator of the health of the rest of the body.

In order to find the answer as to why this was happening, Price knew he had to do what no one had done before; he chose to travel the world to find people who had little or no tooth decay (a “control group” for scientific inquiry). In his travels during the 1930’s he found 14 isolated civilizations with perfect dental arches (no crooked teeth) and bone structure, excellent health, positive mental outlooks and high immunity to diseases like tuberculosis. His findings were in sharp contrast to Americans back home who had crooked teeth, cavities, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, mental illness and other health problems.  No doubt he would be shocked at the poor health our culture has today.

Dr. Price, being a highly respected researcher, meticulously documented what happened to these civilizations when they were introduced to our modern convenience foods – white flour and sugar, refined vegetable oils, pasteurized milk and canned goods. Due to the advent of the camera, he was able to take pictures to show visually the immediate damaging effects when these peoples gave up their indigenous foods and preparation methods.


Superb dental formation and nearly complete immunity to cavities was observed in Native Americans (left) who lived on the traditional foods of their culture. Those who ate processed foods (right) experienced crowded teeth and rampant decay.

For years Dr. Price completed detailed analysis of traditional and modern diets. He was able to identify the important nutrients lacking in the “civilized” American diet. In his foundational book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Price shared what he found. He offered detailed evidence of the principles of healthy living. He predicted the continued demise of civilized populations if a return to traditional eating did not occur.

Which brings us to today. Our population in this country is getting sicker and sicker, despite advice from all the “health” related organizations. Fortunately, Dr. Price’s principles are gaining exposure through the work of the PRICE POTTENGER FOUNDATION© and the WESTON A PRICE FOUNDATION© which now has nearly 600 local chapters around the world. Nutrient dense recipes are everywhere, thanks to the foundational cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon-Morell.  We have Sally to thank for starting the Weston A Price Foundation, also.  And the results are incredibly encouraging. Diseases are being healed naturally and children are again being born with excellent health and bone structure. To see where your closest chapter is located click here.

Both of the above mentioned foundations are funded without money from outside interests, therefore the information they provide is without bias or profit motive. I encourage you to consider membership in one or both of these fine organizations.

I am proud to be a founding co-leader of Nourishing the Lakeshore of West Michigan, the shoreline chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

The fact that the populations Dr. Price found had no vaccines and were in perfect health, is most certainly noteworthy.





Kvass - Super Easy Wellness Tonic

Beet kvass is an amazing liquid for digestion (and so much more). And beet kvass can literally be made in less than 10 minutes, minus the time it sits on your counter fermenting. From Nourishing Traditions we learn: “One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.” And unlike medicine from the store – absolutely no harmful side effects.

An Internet search of the benefits of beets will keep you reading for days. A search in PubMed points out the benefits of lowering blood pressure (among other things) as well as increasing exercise performance.

So we have this wondrous root vegetable which we then take and lacto-ferment. The Weston A Price Foundation is a wonderful source for information on lacto-fermented foods like beet kvass.

Every group of people Dr. Price studied consumed some fermented food in their diet. Through the ages they had paid attention to what happened to their foods when trying to store them. They learned to harness the power of nature to preserve food naturally and in the process that food became more nutrient dense with enzymes and healthy bacteria.

Before the days of refrigeration and canning, food was preserved through a process called lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is nature’s best preservative – it inhibits putrefying bacteria. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by lactic-acid producing bacteria that are present on the surface of all plants and animals.

These bacteria synthesize nutrients that are essential to us, enable us to digest nutrients that we otherwise would not be able to digest, make nutrients bio-available to us, and work with our immune systems to protect us.

The nutritive elements in our food do us no good if our bodies cannot assimilate them. Food preparation and processing should make our foods easier to digest. Unfortunately, most food processing techniques, such as canning, preserving in sugar and chemicals, pasteurizing and irradiation, all make food much more difficult to digest. When we consistently eat foods that are difficult to digest, we compromise our vitality because the body is forced to use a great deal of energy breaking the food down. People who do take the care needed to prepare food in such a way to make it easier to digest report increased energy since the body does not have to work so hard at digestion. Fermenting makes enzymes – enzymes break down our food.

More and more we see probiotics (good bacteria) and enzymes in stores and on commercials. When we ferment, we get these substances naturally.

What do you need to make kvass?
2 large or 3 medium peeled raw organic beets – chopped in chunks about 1/2 to 1″ (if you cut them smaller, you’ll have too much liquid)
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1/4 cup whey – must not be powdered
A 2 quart canning jar
Clean filtered water

Here is all you do: Put the beets, whey and salt in the jar and fill it to about an inch from the top with filtered water. Stir well and cover with a cloth and rubber band (to keep out fruit flies). That was easy. Now leave the jar at room temperature for 48-96 hours then put it in the frig. You’re done.

I have found that I personally like to do about 3 days when my house is around 70 degrees.  In Nourishing Traditions, Sally says that once you’ve consumed most of your first batch, you can refill the container with filtered water, set it back on the counter for 2 days and have another slightly less strong batch. After that, your beets are pretty well spent, so just throw them in the compost pile and start over again.

Over the years, I’ve learned to add water to the jar each time (or every other time) to refill it, put it back in the frig and just keep doing that until it tastes weaker than you like.  I’ve found I get a lot more use out of my beets when I do that.

I like to keep at least 2 batches “brewing” in the frig.  Just like kombucha, the kvass continues to ferment at cool temperatures, but much more slowly than on the counter.  I think it tastes bests when it’s been in the refrigerator for 3+ weeks.

To me, beet kvass is the simplest way to add the benefits of lacto-fermentation to our daily routine. Sauerkraut is also incredibly easy, it just takes a bit more time to prepare the cabbage.

Hopefully this will motivate you to give kvass a try. One more way for you to have real food for real health so you can be real happy.  Remember that real food is the new medicine (actually, it’s always been).




What to do with all those summer veggies - STIR FRY

Summer Stir Fry

Do you have a CSA share (community supported agriculture)? Are you growing your own veggies and want to use as much as you can while they’re fresh? I’m doing both so it’s the season to get creative.

For those of us with CSAs, you probably know what it’s like to get a vegetable you’ve never seen before. And since you’ve never seen it before, what do you do with it? STIR FRY. No matter what veggie it is, you can make it tasty in a stir fry.
Here’s one I just created. It took me 20 minutes total (besides marinating and having the rice already cooked from the day before).

To make it you’ll need:

1-2 large boneless/skinless chicken breast(s) (marinated all day in the frig with aminos {coconut or Braggs})
2 small or 1 large onion sliced thinly (unless you’d prefer more crunchy)
1 large carrot sliced 1/4″ thick
2 small summer squash sliced 1/4″ thick
2 bok choy, chopped
4-6 leaves kale, chopped
1/4 cup bacon grease (grass-fed only)
1 T sesame oil
1 T coconut oil
1 tsp organic garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 T sunflower seeds (soaked and dehydrated preferred)
Optional – 3-4 cups of cooked rice (best if it’s been soaked before cooking)

Melt bacon grease in medium heat large skillet and once melted, put in the chicken breast to sear on both sides (about 3-5 minutes each side). It’s a good idea to have a screen handy to keep the splatter to a minimum. While it’s cooking, that’s when I do the chopping, but you can have it all chopped in advance if you like.
Remove breast from pan to a plate or cutting board and throw the onions and carrots in the skillet – cover with screen. Slice up the chicken breast in about 1/2″ slices and throw in with the onions and carrots. Turn the heat down to low/medium. Stir every few minutes.

Once the chicken is back in the pan, in another skillet melt the coconut oil over medium heat then add the squash. Cook about 5 minutes then add the greens and garlic powder. Cover with a lid and let simmer over low/medium heat for about 5 minutes.

You’ll know the chicken/onion/carrot mixture is done (about 10 minutes) when you take a piece of the chicken out and cut it on a plate and it’s nice and tender. Now, put the rice and sesame oil in the big skillet and mix together. The other skillet should be about done so mix those veggies in, too. Add salt to taste and top with sunflower seeds on individual servings.

If you wonder about the rice preparation, see my Yummy Good for You Casserole.

Don’t have the veggies listed? Substitute WHATEVER veggies you have.

Don’t have the bacon grease? Substitute grass fed lard or ghee or butter. Remember, you NEED THE FAT! All healthy traditional diets had an abundance of fats.

Don’t have the sunflower seeds? Substitute almonds, sesame seeds, cashews…anything with a crunch. Watch the preparation methods, though, for maximum nutrition.

Don’t have the aminos on hand? Add a little extra salt at the end and you’ll be fine.

Want it to have a little more kick? Sprinkle in a bit of organic cayenne.

Just STIR FRY!

Wishing you a summer full of real food for real health so you can be real happy.




The Ultimate Make-at-Home Medicine


This post is dedicated to the outstanding group of health conscious individuals who attend meetings of the newly formed Nourishing the Lakeshore of West Michigan chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Sally Fallon Morell, the author of Nourishing Traditions and co-founder of the Weston A Price Foundation shares some thoughts about bone broth here.

The reason to use bone broth is 2 fold. One – it is key to good health and two, having it on hand makes preparing delicious meals in the kitchen so much easier.

Bone broth provides electrolyte minerals from bone, marrow, and cartilage (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulphur). Since minerals are extracted from natural living tissues, they are in the ideal balance and form to be easily taken in and used by the body. You could call broth the ultimate mineral supplement. It works to accelerate overall healing and supports our bones, joints, teeth, digestion and immunity. It is an ideal “prescription” for any disease and a wonderful preventative of future illness. As a mental health professional, I am excited about the prospects of better mental/emotional health due to improved digestion and assimilation.

Ramiel Nagel in his book Cure Tooth Decay says broth is one of the most potent medicines for reversing and preventing tooth decay. He recommends 1 -2 cups per day either drank by itself or used in soups, stews or sauces.

Bone broths also provide gelatin which attracts digestive juices to itself and thus helps us utilize proteins and other nutrients more completely. This is helpful for those on a tight budget (who can’t afford to buy a lot of meat)…since it allows the body to make better use of proteins.

Gelatin also prevents bad bacteria from attacking the gut wall neutralizing them so they don’t cause problems for us. There is a significant amount of research proving that gelatin can heal chronic digestive disorders (by balancing stomach acid to normal levels), Crohns Disease, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome – all of which are on the rise, especially in teens and young adults.

Who’s heard of glucosamine and chondroitin? These supplements for joint health have been proven to reduce arthritic pain and swelling…and they’re in bone broth – again in the natural form your body recognizes.

One important note: use bones with integrity, that is from animals who have grazed out in the sun eating grass and non-gmo feeds. The bones from these animals will have more minerals and little or no toxins (like arsenic) than those conventionally raised. The ideal is to know your farmer.

Chicken Stock – any birds – turkey, duck, goose:
Can be made from raw chicken, either whole or cut up into parts, or you can use the bones from a prepared chicken meal. Skin adds flavor and additional nutrients.
Recipe
In a large stockpot place:
1 whole chicken or 2-3 pounds of bones…including neck, back, wings (can be browned for flavor),
About 2T of vinegar – to about 3-4 quarts filtered water,
1 large onion, 2 carrots and 3 celery stalks (with leaves) and/or any other vegetables you have on hand – all coursely chopped,
and let sit for 30-60 minutes – this starts the process of drawing out the minerals. Bring pot to a boil and remove the “floaties” that rise to the top – don’t worry if you don’t do this. Cover and simmer 6-48 hours. 10 minutes before removing from heat, add a bunch of parsley for added minerals. Then remove the bones; you can use the meat in recipes. Throw the veggies in your compost pile.

Strain into glass bowl or jars. Put in the frig until the fat solidifies on top…scrape it off and you can save it for sautéing vegetables. Store 5 days worth of broth in the frig and the rest in pint and quart jars in the freezer. LABEL with date and type. If you want to store in plastic…make sure the broth is cool and the plastic safe. Broth keeps several months in the freezer…you’ll use it up way before that.

Beef recipe is similar…
Beef Stock – same for deer, bison and lamb
Best bones are knuckle, marrow, meaty rib, neck and tail. Again…local and grass fed is best.
Recipe
For those who are just beginning or get overwhelmed with too many details, brown some bones in a 350 degree oven for about half hour, put them in a kettle with good clean water, a chopped up onion, chopped carrots and celery and a tablespoon or 2 of raw apple cidar vinegar and let stand for an hour or two, bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 6 – 72 hours.  If you have reason to believe your gut is leaky, stick with 6 hours or less.  Glutamate is created after a lengthy simmer, so using the broth after 6 hours may be more safe for those with intestinal permeability. 

Just DO it. You can master the details later.

Here’s Sally Fallon’s recipe:
In a big pot place about 4 pounds of marrow and knuckle bones and 1-2 T Vinegar for every quart of filtered water – let this stand about an hour.
In the meantime, brown about 3 pounds of meaty rib and neck bones (in a shallow casserole pan) in the oven at 350 about 20 minutes per side. Then put them in the water . You can pour out the fat, add water to the pan and scrape it to get those yummy drippings unstuck and then pour that into the stockpot. Add your choice of veggies if you like.
Bring to a boil. Skim off floaties – this is more important with beef than chicken. Turn heat down and simmer for at least 12 and up to 72 hours. The longer it cooks, the richer the flavor. Again, the last 10 minutes, you can add parsley for extra minerals.

Remove bones, strain into glass bowl or jars, cool, remove fat. There are times when I know I’m going to use the stock for a casserole so I just leave the fat in it…as we’ve learned these are healthy for us. It all depends on your taste. Pour into storage containers and LABEL.

How can you use your broth? Anytime you are making soup, sauce or a casserole, it is a delicious healthy addition. You can also start your day with a warm cup of broth, a touch of sea salt, and that wondrous coconut oil we’ve talked about recently.

“Add”itional thoughts.
***For those who don’t want the stove on all night:
– You may use a crockpot (please be sure it is made of safe material)
– Make fish stock
***For added nutrients:
– Add egg shells, chicken feet, or heads (yes, chicken/turkey heads add healing nutrients)
– Add extra gelatin to the finished broth
***For added flavor:
– Add basil or thyme the last hour
– Add garlic
– Add miso
***For economy – re-use your bones, adding new bones with cartilege each time.

It is not advisable to buy most canned and boxed soups and broths as well as boullion cubes and powders even if they are labeled organic – they have all sorts of unwanted substances like MSG, artificial flavors and trace amounts of the material in the container in which they are packaged.

Wishing you REAL food, for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.

More reading from Sally Fallon Morrell – Broth is Beautiful.  And the book Nourishing Broth, by Sally and Kaayla Daniel, Ph.D.

 




My hometown is waking up...to the microbiome

This post is dedicated to the new fermenters along the lakeshore of beautiful West Michigan. Great job to the students from my White Lake Area Community Education classes, Nourishing the Lakeshore, Fermenting the Lakeshore held at Unity of Muskegon and health conscious shoppers at Sweetwater Local Organic Foods Market.

cindy feister peer

What is the microbiome? Very simply, it refers to the fact that 99% of the DNA in our bodies is not our own; it belongs to micro-organisms. And if you’re eating nutrient dense foods, little to no sugar and fermented foods everyday, you’ll have “good” microbes that will treat you, their host, to health and wellness. Fast foods, lots of sugar and processed carbs feed pathogenic “bad” microbes and WILL lead to illness as well as extra pounds.

A little history…In the 1990’s, the Human Genome Project, the biggest project ever undertaken in biology, focused on decoding human genetic information (Holt, 2008). There was hope to find the genetic cause and cure for every disease that affects humanity. What was discovered by 2003 was that every animal species shares the majority of genes, but that the expression of the genes can come in a multitude of ways depending on something called the epigenome. The epigenome in influenced by what we are exposed to in our lifestyle. While the genome can be likened to the hardware in a computer, the epigenome is similar to the software, which tells the hardware what to do. But there turned out to be another missing link.

Ultimately, by 2008, the Human Microbiome Project began where we realized that part of the reason a stalk of corn has more genes (32,000) than a human (25-30,000) is the fact that we are hosts to an estimated 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria work in concert with our genes to run our bodies.

NPR has an animated yet thorough introduction to this new knowledge. It is about 5 minutes long and I strongly encourage you watch it:

This research is in its very early stages. Yet if we look at the research of civilizations that did not live like we do, traditional peoples (like those found by Dr. Weston A Price), we see EVERY one of these healthy groups ate fermented foods. And they ate no processed foods whatsoever. When we learn to ferment and return to traditional eating, we, too, can experience the radiant health that is our birthright.

Today, our microbiomes are compromised all sorts of ways. Besides the losses during infancy addressed in the video above, our balance of good to “pathogenic” bacteria shifts with antibiotic use, toxins in our air, water and food, long term use of prescriptions and birth control pills as well as radiation. Without these beneficial “little critters” as I like to call them, we can’t digest and absorb nutrients to build healthy cells and this leads to nutritional deficiencies.

When we have an abundance of bad bacteria from eating processed food and drinking sodas, the “food” we eat gets broken down into toxic compounds which get absorbed into the bloodstream. From there they go to wherever we have a vulnerable area like our joints (i.e. arthritis), brain (i.e. fog, ADHD), skin (i.e. eczema, rash, acne) and our vital organs like our heart. These same bad little guys can damage the lining of our intestine and cause it to become inflamed and permeable (leaky gut), which leads to food intolerances and allergies. When this happens, we no longer are getting nutrients to build us up but instead get toxins that make us sick. And because 85% of our immune system is in our gut microbiome, if we don’t have good gut flora, our immune system goes haywire. No wonder so many people are unwell and overweight.

When people return to traditional ways, including fermenting, eating organic produce, consuming grass fed and wild animals and cutting out processed “foods”, their microbiomes can heal and do the work necessary to help return to wellness. For many, supplementing with probiotics is a sensible choice while they transition to more traditional ways. If this is something you choose to do, please make sure the product you use has integrity.

Lexi Larabee Photography

Lexi Larabee Photography

Wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.




The Keys to Traditional Eating

We are in the midst of an informational paradigm shift. Thanks to the Internet and politically incorrect non-profits like the Weston A Price Foundation© and the Price-Pottenger Foundation©, and movies like Food, Inc. and Fresh, a revolution in how we choose, prepare and consume food is on. Across the world, people are switching to organically grown and raised local produce, eggs, milk, chicken and meat. When they do, they see dramatic positive changes in their health, mood and energy levels.

Many argue it is too expensive to go this route, but when we look at the cost of “health” care for chronic disease, which is at an all time high, can we afford NOT to make these changes?

The founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon Morell lays the foundation for REAL healthy eating.