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.
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 milk. They 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)
–Chronic ringworm infection
–Severe cystic acne on face and back
–Chronic constipation/diarrhea/bloating/digestive pains
–Frequent colds and flu
–Severe depression and mood swings
–Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
–Chronic swollen lymph nodes
–Aches and pains of unexplained origin
–Dry skin and lips
–Inability to tolerate bright light/sun in my eyes
–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 by Dr. Weston Price
Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon