or, my road to finding traditional foods.
I spent several of the years of the 2000s modifying my overall approach to eating. That is a topic for its own post, which will be coming soon. For several of those years, I would periodically debate internally about staying an omnivore or becoming vegetarian. My motivations then were a mix of wanting to keep my weight down and also best utilizing food in general. I often felt like only eating the muscle meat of the animals and ignoring the organs was a waste of good animals. At that time I did not eat any organ meat and was somewhat repulsed by the idea because my attempts to eat liver as a kid failed miserably. I didn’t even know the specifics of the nutritional benefits in eating organs, only that in the majority of the world it was common practice.
Note that in all that time I never heard of traditional foods.
By 2008, I was near my goal weight and the feeling like I should soon make a decision about how I should continue my eating habits. Some time during the year I got a chance to view the first issue of Hex magazine in pdf format. One of the first articles in the issue was an interview with Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions and founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Here was someone talking about meat as a nutritious food choice, the benefits of organ meats, eggs (which I’ve always loved and have never understood people wanting to only eat the whites), and raw milk. At the time it was a bit of information overload and completely contradictory to contemporary food advice, so I wasn’t sure how to take it. But I couldn’t forget about it, and some brief poking around Amazon turned up both Nourishing Traditions and a book called Real Food: What To Eat and Why by Nina Planck. I put the latter on my wish list for Yule, along with some books by Michael Pollan. Hoping for the Pollan, instead I got the Planck as a gift. Curiosity got me to start reading the book on Christmas Day.
I was HOOKED. Here was a woman talking about FOOD, whose own quest through eating from her parents farm but wanting brightly colored birthday cake, to vegetarianism, to coming back to discovering the benefits of eating animals and plants. Further, she wasn’t putting her emphasis on getting thin, but instead actual health. Not being sick, physically or mentally, having high amounts of energy, how to combine foods to get the most nutritional benefits from them. Like dark leafy greens with butter or olive oil, consuming food high in fat-soluble vitamins A and D with fat that the body can easily utilize in order to USE those necessary vitamins.
Within a week and a half I was convinced. This was the way I wanted to eat from that moment on.
The past year has been rather interesting as well as delicious. My reading of food labels has become even more vigilant, even though before I was consuming a minimal amount of processed food. The biggest changes have been these:
*I now eat liver, and in fact periodically have cravings for leverpastej. (Liver pate for those of you who don’t know Swedish.)
*I will not eat anything with soy in it, unless the soy has been fermented.
*I drink raw milk.
*I don’t drink juice.
*While I do still eat a fair amount of bread, I only eat sourdough whole wheat bread made from my own traditional sourdough started. No commercial yeast.
*My consumption of sweets has dropped even further.
*I take fermented cod liver oil daily.
There is still a lot more I would like to implement in my eating plan (like eventually cutting down the grain consumption, eating more plants, upping my probiotic consumption), but I am doing a lot better with my health than ever. I rarely get sick now, my minor arthritis issues have faded to almost nothing, my allergies and asthma bother me less, and my energy level feels the best it has even been. Oh, and for those who wonder about such things, my weight has dropped slightly but has also stayed quite stable, and with minimal effort.
I wonder what it will be like to look back on this post in a year and see how much change will happen in the interim.
This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday.