May 1, 2008

Is Nourishing Traditions a Fad?

I've been coming across a lot of websites and blogs lately where the women talk of nutrition and namely, that they eat according to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This is exciting to me because I personally think it is the healthiest way to eat. How great that more and more people are discovering the principles in this book.

But there are others out there that sort of cast disdain at the book. I don't know if it's because of all that they read about other people cooking and all the work involved, if they actually read the book itself and just didn't agree or what. In this day of information, it can be really confusing about what is right. There are so many different healthy ways of eating, and I'm sure that they are good- and it's hard to know what to do.

For instance, I love Dr. Schulze and his products, but he is totally vegan and thinks all animal products are evil. He is extremely healthy and knowledgeable and that style of eating apparently suits him. Then you have the low carb people still going that eat tons of animal products, so it's confusing when so many people claim great health on opposite diets.

The main thing about NT, is exposing common myths about our health. The American Heart Association and the one for diabetics have pushed low fat/no fat, no cholesterol etc. for years and years now. You would think, that if so many people were eating this way, that there would be a lot less people with heart disease now. Nope. Heart disease still continues to plague our nation and cause 40% of deaths. We have been brainwashed into thinking that saturated fat clogs arteries and so you would think that we must be eating more and more saturated fats that before. "During the period of years from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83 % to 62% and butter consumption from 18lbs per year to 4lbs per year. "(quote from Nourishing Tradtions p. 5) Hmm, things don't quite match up there do they? Less animal fats, more heart disease, more animal products, less heart disease, hmmm.

Here are some more examples of saturated fats being healthy:

"Mother's milk provides a higher proportion of cholesterol than almost any other food. It also contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat. Both cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children, especially the development of the brain. Yet, the American Heart Association is now recommending a low fat diet for children. "

"...Let us consider the French. Anyone who has eaten his way across France has observed that the French diet is loaded with saturated fat in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream liver, meats and rich pates. Yet the French have a lower rate of coronary heart disease than many other western countries. In the United States, 315 of every 100, 000 middle aged men die of heart attacks each year; in France the rate is 145 per 100,000. In the Gascony region, where goose and duck liver form a staple in the diet, this rate is a remarkable low 80 per 100,000...this was dubbed the French Paradox."

"The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors in herent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour;mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins A, C and D needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals..."

Nourishing Traditions is based on information gathered by a man named Dr. Weston Price, who traveled the world over into the most remote people groups to find if they had cavities. He found that not only did they not have many cavities, but that their health was excellent. He then began learning about their diets and noticing that those who ate traditional foods, foods that were local and prepared the way their ancestors did, were in great health. Those who had gone to more civilized areas where 'white man's ' food was available had poorer health, cavities and usually missing teeth. It makes a lot more sense to me to follow something that generations of people have done and lived a good quality of life. Yes, it does take a bit more time and planning, but is that really a bad thing? Our world is so fast paced, it gets old real quick. At home we have the choice to slow things down a bit and we benefit greatly from it.

I have to include one more passage from the book. I might have to compromise some things regarding food by what is available to me, but I will never, ever buy margarine again or white bleached flour. This is why:

Hydrogenation: This the process that turns polyunsaturates, normally liquid at room temperature, into fats that are solid at room temperature- margarine and shortening. To produce them manufacturers begin with the cheapest oils-soy, corn, cottonseed or canola, already rancid from the extraction process- and mix them with tiny metal particles- usually nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is then subjected to a hydrogen gas in a high pressure, high-temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the mixture to give it a better consistency; the oil is yet again subjected to high temperatures when it is steam-cleaned. (what??) This removes its unpleasant odor. Margarine's natural color, and unappetizing gray, is removed by bleach. Dyes and strong flavors must then be added to make it resemble butter. Finally, the mixture is compressed and packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as a health food.
Partially hydrogenated margarines and shortenings are even worse for you than the highly refined vegetable oils from which they are made because of chemical changes that occur during the hydrogenation process. Under high temperatures, the nickel catalyst causes the hydrogen atoms to change position on the fatty acid chain to bend slightly and creating a concentration of electrons at the site of the double bond...With the hydrogenation , one hydrogen atom of the pair is moved to the other side so that the molecules straightens...called the trans formation, rarely found in nature...unfortunately your digestive system does not recognize them (as toxins) as such. Instead of eliminating them, your body incorporates trans fats into the cell membranes as if they were cis fats- your cells actually become hydrogenated! "

Horror of horrors!! It may be cheaper than butter, but your life isn't cheap. I also said I wouldn't buy bleached white flour, since we all know that it is completely devoid of nutrients and wreaks havoc with sugar levels.

So, in light of all this info, I am not 'jumping on a bandwagon' with this book. For one I've been reading and using it for over two years now. Am I gorgeous and skinny? No. But, I have not been in-the-bed sick for like two years. (I do attribute a lot of that to faith in God's promises in Psalms 91 too) My children are rarely ill and are usually over it quickly if they do get ill. Do I feel great and full of vibrant health? Not all the time, but I feel 10 times better now than I did last year. It takes awhile, things are not instantaneous like we want them to be. Do I do everything in the book? Absolutely not. I do what I can and trust the Lord for the rest.

However, it is a worthwhile endeavor to read the book. Very enlightening and inspiring. Mine is getting sort of worn now, but at least it's being used.


Mrs.KAOS said...

I love Nourishing Traditions, I have been reading it and can't wait until I can start trying out some of the recipes. And I think it's science is good to; my healthy and still kickin' grandparents have eaten like this there entire lives, and they are now in their late 80's.

missmessy said...

I just started following nourishing traditions in January of this year. I have noticed a huge improvement in my health. Seasonal allergy season came and went and I didn't take a single sudafed, that was a huge improvement for me because I was on 3 different prescription drugs for severe allergies, and now i really had about 3 days of sneeziness and that was it! I also have more energy, my mind feels more clear and focused, I haven't been sick yet (even when the kids went back to school this fall), and I am thoroughly enjoying food again. Isn't fat delicious?