Is a full-fat diet better for your health?

After spending most of my teenage years and twenties as a vegetarian, I surprise myself a bit when I look at what I eat these days.  I think I would have fallen off my rocker if I’d had a glimpse into the future and see what I eat now.  My fat-phobic self would have likely been rather disgusted.  But that one-upon-a-time version of myself has been put to rest.

My staples are pastured meat, full-fat raw dairy, cream, eggs, butter,  lard, fermented foods, coconut products and fermented cod liver oil (and a few vegetables and fruits here and there–I really could use more) every day.  Every single day of my life for the past few years, this is what I’ve lived on, with variations in the theme as I’ve learned and adapted.

I might have been less disgusted and converted sooner had I known that the diet I follow these days would heal my severe acne, cure my depression, strengthen my weak immune system, smooth those darn flaky heels and remove my need for moisturizer, and best of all, give me nails that are as strong as nails and are bright white and smooth at the tips (nails are a good indicator of overall health, in case you didn’t know).

But I was younger then. And more arrogant and idealistic and cared more about the lives of chickens than my own body.

Teenage arrogance aside, nobody ever told me about this diet.  My parents tried their darndest to uphold the traditional wisdom they knew from their childhoods (which was a good bulk of the diet I follow now)–and we had cod liver oil, liver, rye bread, homemade yogurt and whole milk cheese for as long as they could make us eat it.  But eventually I succumbed.  I gave in to our cultural obsession with unhealthy eating and sold my body to grain and sugar and skim milk. Thanks for trying, mom and dad.  I appreciate your efforts, even if it’s a bit overdue.

“Look back.”

Looking back in time is the solution to all of our food woes.  I mean, like 100 years ago or more.

100 years ago, nobody  ate cold breakfast cereal or commercial skim milkThey didn’t eat Smart Balance or soybean oil or modified corn starch, because it did not exist. They ate real food.  They did not have type II diabetes or heart disease or attention deficit disorder. Most of them produced the food themselves, took it from the earth and ate it. Some of them ate too much white flour and sugar and their teeth rotted out–but learn from those who didn’t. We have something to learn from these people.  We have something to learn from looking back.

A dentist by the name of Weston Price traveled the world and studied remote cultures and their traditional foods.  He compared their health and physical structure to their counterparts who had moved into modern culture and began eating “white man’s food”.  The results were incredible, and the pictures speak for themselves. Take a look (scroll down a bit).  This traditional wisdom is what my diet is based upon; it makes sense to me.  It is what has sustained humankind since the beginning of time.

Ailments I’ve overcome in the past few years through this diet (and other non-drug therapies where applicable):

–Adrenal fatigue (not completely, but still working on it)

–Hypoglycemia

–Chronic ringworm infection

–Severe cystic acne on face and back

–Chronic constipation/diarrhea/bloating/digestive pains

–Environmental allergies

–Frequent colds and flu

–Severe depression and mood swings

–Nightmares and other sleep disturbances

–Chronic swollen lymph nodes

–Chronic tonsillitis

–Aches and pains of unexplained origin

–Peeling heels

–Brittle nails

–Dry skin and lips

–Inability to tolerate bright light/sun in my eyes

–Migraine headaches

–Severe PMS and menstrual cramps

–Excess belly fat (there’s still some there, mind you, only less)

–Inability to cook anything that doesn’t come out of a box

This diet is a work in progress.  And there is more to healing than diet; it all comes together when the time is right and when your heart is open. I have been learning and adapting for a long time, making changes as I was ready to make them.  My next step is to incorporate liver into our diets and begin taking butter oil.  I want to get more serious about daily yoga practice and meditation and live my days more mindfully. I want to make my own sourdough bread from home-ground rye.  I’d also like to have an ongoing supply of fermented mayo and fermented vegetables going.  One thing at a time.

I do not worry about my cholesterol levels.  The lipid hypothesis is flawed, but mainstream media hasn’t taken hold and most people are still in the dark.  Heart disease is caused by chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation has a variety of causes, a few of which are high-glycemic diet, vegetable oils, and trans-fatty acids. This is the reason that people who follow low-fat diets still take Lipitor and their health continues to degenerate–even though they think they are doing the best thing.

In case you may be wondering about weight gain: on a diet like this, maintaining weight is easy (unless you eat gobs of nuts, avocados, grains, sweeteners, and/or olive oil–avoid doing this!) High blood glucose levels and toxins in the body cause obesity.  Eating traditional foods will make you feel full, healthy, calm, satisfied, and best of all, thin.

Essential internet reading for understanding traditional diets:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects

Weston Price Foundation

Nourishing Our Children

Politically Incorrect Nutrition

Recommended books:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston Price

Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Today was an awesome day. Yesterday was pretty great, too.

Today was an awesome day.  Yesterday was pretty great, too.

Though I am still stewing a bit over my getting fired because of being insulted by an insult, I am working hard to move past it and embrace all that is good in my life (and there is so much to embrace).  Sometimes I just need a little reminder.

Watching documentaries about real people in difficult situations is always helpful when I’m feeling sorry for myself.  My current personal favorite is the show “30 Days“, which we’ve been watching on Netflix.  Watching the episode about life in Navajo Nation got me back into gear pretty quickly.  We live like royalty compared to most people in the world.

Because I want to remember the past two very awesome days, I will record them here so I won’t forget.  We have good days and bad days, and in looking back, it seems that the good days outnumber the bad.  I am grateful for that.

Yesterday morning we had breakfast at the Seward Cafe, one of our favorite crunchy joints in town.  Even though it’s not the cleanest or neatest venue, we feel right at home there–amongst dreadlocks, B.O., and organic, home-cooked food.

After stopping at the neighborhood playground where we get to experience being minorities in a Somali community for a while (a very good thing), we headed down the block to shop at the co-op, which turned out to be the highlight of our day.  Not because the co-op is awesome (which it is), but because a special performer was playing in the cafe that morning: a virtuoso of Spanish guitar.  Coincidentally, this has been Mia’s favorite instrument as of late and she’s been asking to learn it.

Said Mia of the music: “This makes me feel so ALIVE!”  She watched and listened intently in the cafe while I roamed the store and filled the cart.

Because I am too shy to approach people, I asked Alan to chat with the musician and figure him out.  I could tell he was someone special–something about him and the way he played was extraordinary.

Turns out, he has a studio and teaches kids as young as 2. Turns out, Mia wants to have lessons with him.

Turns out, he is extraordinary, too.  Said he of Mia: “I knew right when she walked in that she’s got it.  The way she watches and listens and follows along, she’s got it.  Is she creative?”  Alan: “Yes.” Him: “Of course.”

That touched me deeply.  Here is someone who sees the light in Mia that I have always seen–and a stranger, even.  Someone who doesn’t need to ask her questions about what grade she’s in, if she likes being a big sister, if she likes her long hair–and then be put off and uncomfortable with her shyness and lack of interest in talking about nothingness.  Here is someone who “gets” her without exchanging a word.  That is simply extraordinary.

The best thing about homeschooling is that we can choose our people.  We can choose who teaches, influences, and guides us.  We’re inevitably taught, influenced, and guided by all the people we meet, the places we see, the experiences we dive into.  But there is a magic in finding that divine match: the person who appreciates and understands and respects our own path.

Tonight, Mia auditioned for a choir she’s been determined to join.  At first I was hesitant because it’s more of a time and financial commitment than we’ve ever taken on.  I tried my hand at compromising with her.  Would she join the home-schooler’s choir? No.  Would she take singing lessons? No.  She knew confidently and with complete certainty that this was the choir she had to be a part of.  So I went with her gut; I trusted her.  This is, after all, her path.

She walked confidently into the audition room and asked us to wait outside.  We did.  She and the choir director came out shortly thereafter and Mia was immediately asked to join the choir.  Rarely, said the director, can a child her age sing the way she can.  Again, someone who saw that light in Mia.  It was a spectacular feeling, and I was certain that we’d made the right choice.  Mia knows best. I learned that again today.

The choir performs several times a year.  They have made CD recordings and had performances on public radio.  The directors are a part of a professional vocal ensemble that is known nationwide, and they are incredible.  I think this is going to be a life-altering experience for Mia.  I am humbled and honored to be a part of it.

There is a magic in living the life you want to live, no matter what your age; there is a magic in doing what makes you feel alive.