If our great-grandparents were to see the food choices that line our grocery stores shelves, they wouldn't recognize many of the products once they left the produce aisle. From powdered coffee creamer to hot dogs, to diet cola and nacho-flavored potato chips, families in the US are bombarded with thousands of chemically processed foods.
What did we get in return? Fats (perhaps most disturbingly) are chemically altered and hydrogenated, turning them into dangerous poisons animals are mass produced in inhumane warehouses; are fed poor diets and get injected with god knows what; grains and vegetables are grown in sterile, pesticide-laden soils; refined, devitalized sugar and flour is in everything; we're offered and forced everything from hydrogenated fats to high-fructose corn syrup to MSG to plastic sugars. And guess what? This is the sickest, fattest time Americans live in. Heart disease, cancer, obesity, degenerative diseases, are at an all-time high.
If the processed foods are making us sick, how to we turn back the clock? Sally Fallon offers an answer in her cookbook that focuses on native peoples and their nutrient-rich diets. Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, teaches the diet essentials of many traditional people who ate a tremendous variety of different diets. Even within the variety, there are certain key elements in common among the Native people:
- they ate nutrient-dense foods
- they prepared foods in ways that maximized nutrients and digestibility
- they ate at least some animal foods, and particularly valued certain animal foods such as liver and organ meats, raw butter from cows grazing on green grass, etc.
- they discovered the value of lacto-fermentation and ate many foods fermented
- they ate some of their animal foods raw
- they ate properly prepared whole grains and seeds (soaked, sprouted, fermented, etc.) to minimize anti-nutrients and increase digestibility
Americans consume far too much of one kind of EFA (omega-6 EFAs found in most polyunsaturated vegetable oils) but not enough of another kind of EFA (omega-3 EFAs found in fish, fish oils, eggs from properly fed chickens, dark green vegetables and herbs, and oils from certain seeds such as flax and chia, nuts such as walnuts and in small amounts in all whole grains.) (Am J Clin Nutr 1991 54:438-63)
Consider making the switch to a diet rich in animal fats that contains the protective factors in old fashioned foodstuffs like cod liver oil, liver and eggs. I put a big emphasis on foods high in A, D and K: pastured butter, egg yolks, liver, seafood, fish eggs frequently, cream, and meat. Of course I eat vegetables and fruit and properly prepared whole grains. Fat is not the enemy to good health. The human body needs fat just to function properly, let alone to have optimal health. Milk, butter, meat and eggs are far better for you than you're being told by the medical profession and by the government.
Remember, food is insurance for your body. Protect your health by starting with these simple steps to change your diet, and improve your life.