Why Do I Eat That Way?

by Ellen

Friends can look pretty horrified when I take out the whole milk, slather butter on my bread and liberally pour heavy cream in my coffee.  I’ve been caught soaking my oats before cooking them and using sprouted wheat flour in my waffles.  On the other hand, I pooh-pooh so-called “healthy” vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, and safflower and have turned up my nose at soy milk.

Where do I get my crazy ideas about nutrition?

I certainly am not turning to the USDA Food Pyramid for guidance.  And, I’m not in the majority.  But, I am part of a growing awareness of where our food comes from, what’s in it and how it really affects our bodies.  I don’t mean to sound snobby: I certainly had no idea a few  years ago that vegetable oils and low fat dairy products could be harming my family’s health.  They’re supposed to be good for us, right?

It’s only through really digging that I’ve come to believe that science shows our ancestors had it right.  The reduced-fat, engineered, and highly-processed foods of the modern diet are causing our demise!

I don’t blame people for being skeptical of my beliefs when I eat so differently from what is recommended by the Powers that Be (the AMA, USDA, The American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the vast majority of American doctors.)  Most of us are still taught that low fat is best, high fiber is key, and saturated fats are bad, bad, bad.  I beg to differ.

Where to learn more

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how they can learn more.   While I could easily supply a stack of books and dozens of links to excellent blogs, I know that people are generally quite busy.   So, after much agonizing, I’ve decided to recommend two books, two blogs, two websites and two movies that are well worth perusing!

2 Books:

Real Food: What to Eat and Why, by Nina Planck.

This is a fantastic overview of real, whole foods and why they are essential to good health.  Nina Planck writes for everyone, showing the science to back up how ancient foods are sustaining and essential, while modern, industrialized foods (like high fructose corn syrup) are to blame for modern disease of man.  This is a straightforward book, with easy-to-implement dietary changes.

Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

This is the book that “traditional foodies” use on a daily basis.  It’s a cookbook full of recipes using ingredients that are prepared in traditional ways — such as nuts that have been soaked and dried or lacto-fermented vegetables. But, don’t worry: Even if you’re not yet ready to soak, sprout and ferment, the introduction contains a great summary of the different food groups, vitamins and minerals and how they’ve been co-opted  into what is considered “politically correct” nutrition.  The recipes also serve as a reminder of how far we’ve come from traditional ways of preparing foods.  You’ll find great tips and facts in the margins of the recipe sections.

Two Movies:

Food, Inc.

If there’s one food movie you should see, this is it!  It’s a horrifying look at agribusiness in the United States.  Topics covered include the inhumane treatment of animals used for meat and their unnatural diets, which result in diseases for the animals and the humans eating them.  See how “seed saving” by farmers can be a criminal offense.  Learn why it’s cheaper to buy junk food than to purchase vegetables.  You’ll never see your food the same way again.

Fat Head

Fat Head was made in response to Super Size Me, a movie where Morgan Spurlock ate at McDonald’s for a month while watching his weight balloon and his health plummet.  Fat Head spends the first half of the movie trying to show that Spurlock had it wrong: You can eat at McDonald’s and lose weight, if you choose wisely.  The second part of the movie is of much more value — it’s full of interviews with doctors and researchers about the science that debunks our current notions of what’s healthy and what’s not.  This is the movie I show to relatives who want to understand why I go against current diet recommendations.

2 Blogs:

This was tough.  There are so many excellent blogs out there spreading the word about real food and real nutrition.  So, I decided to fall back on the two websites that first caught my attention.  For me, they’re the classics.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop.  This is a fantastic blog by a super nice person!  Kelly is kind, thoughtful, welcoming and smart as she teaches us why we should eat real food.  You’ll find loads of good recipes here, too.  Be sure to check out Kelly’s post on milk.

Cheeseslave.  Another amazing, patient, dedicated and really nice blogger, Ann Marie at Cheeseslave does an incredible amount of research to explain why foods prepared from traditional ingredients are essential to good health.  Anyone who loves cheese and cream so much can’t be wrong, in my book!  Check out her new weekly podcasts.

2 Websites:

The Weston A. Price Foundation
Weston A Price was a dentist who traveled the world studying the diets, health and teeth of traditional societies.  He found that although traditional diets varied greatly, the people who followed them were in excellent health and had remarkably good teeth and bone structure.  (Okay, I’m sneaking another book recommendation in here:  Dr. Price published his findings in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a comprehensive look at the traditional diets of healthy people worldwide.)

Mercola.com While Dr. Mercola sells a lot of products (he claims all proceeds go directly back into research for his website) he does offer up a constant stream of useful nuggets of health information.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but he definitely gets me thinking.  I subscribe to his newsletter.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays, hosted at Cheeseslave.com today.

Note:  You may notice that I often link to books and products that I recommend.  You can read more about how that works here.

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Wendy March 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Great sources! I’m also a huge fan of Jonny Bowden. He really knows his stuff, stays current in nutrition research and often cites Sally Fallon ‘-)

BodyEarth March 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Thank you, Wendy. I appreciate the Jonny Bowden tip, too!

Peggy March 3, 2010 at 9:42 am

It can be really unnerving to stare down a five-foot-nothing mother-in-law and hear about my husband’s grandfather who died of heart disease in his 40’s and his father who had a quad bypass in his 50’s as I serve her 50-year-old son a plate of (grassfed) red meat with a (pastured) butter sauce poured over. This way of eating is not for the timid, for sure!

You’ve picked the cream of the crop resources there!

Anita March 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

Great stuff for helping others!
I love this youtube video exposing McDonald’s fries- yuk! ☛http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSHaZIOk9nY&feature=related
Show all the junk-food-addicted teenagers you know.☺
The Weston A Price site has brochures you can print out & give to friends, explaining about cholesterol, why butter is better, CLO is the way to go, real milk, trans fats, etc. Really helpful to me.

emily March 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

hi fellow cream and butter eater! i like your list here. i havent watched fat head yet, but i eat lower-carb and low/no grains and really am feelin’ good, and looking thin! it’s funny to see the general response to eating fat. but i have lost 10lbs in about 2 months eating more fat and less carbs. so the proof is in the pudding right? or in the butter…

chanelle March 3, 2010 at 11:14 am

This is almost exactly the same as my list would be. I’d add Good calories, bad calories by Gary Taube and I’ve never watched Fat head. But it’s a great list! I may have to see what I can do about watching that!

BodyEarth March 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Disgusting video, Anita — thanks! What is with those fries?!

You’re brave, Peggy :-) It’s great that your husband agrees with you; sounds like you feed him really good stuff.

Chanelle, I love “Good Calories, Bad Calories!” It was hard to leave that one out.

Wow! You’re doing so well, Emily! It’s amazing how the weight can come off so quickly. It really makes those low-fat, high-carb diet bars look bad.

Raine March 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Hi Ellen – It’s so great to see more and more people proclaiming the virtues of eating real fats, and lots of them! It’s very difficult to get people away from the Food Pyramid and low-fat philosophy way of eating, but I think the more people who blog about this way of life and the tremendous benefits of eating food the way we were intended to do so, it will start to make sense and catch on. I think people can only take so much blathering “science” from studies and data funded by Big Pharma and Agribusiness anyway. Sooner or later they will see right through it all.

Funny, you’d think farmers would want to promote fat as it’s one of the things they grow on their farms – but no, it’s the industrially-produced, genetically-modified, chemical, and hormone-infested variety. Don’t you know, it’s what keeps the pharmaceutical industry going and the doctor’s offices full!

BodyEarth March 10, 2010 at 6:53 pm

How about pork, “the other white meat,” that’s been engineered to be lower in fat (and flavor)?!

Psychic Lunch March 10, 2010 at 11:54 am

A few things still surprise me: How we ever GOT this way, and how people are still buying into all the marketing tactics. But, that all just goes to show that “money” is a huge factor in our daily lives.

I still haven’t read/watched a few of these resources, so thanks a bunch for posting them!

BodyEarth March 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Psychic Lunch,
The marketing is insidious! I get so angry at the advertising aimed at children, with all the gimmicks intended to rope them in. How can anyone allow the sale of fake foods to children?
People genuinely want to be healthy. They believe that chocolate-flavored Special K is going to get them there.

Farmer Chef March 19, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Hi, Ellen,
I’m a chef who married a farmer(who raises clean food). I grew up with horrible nutrition, but about ten years ago I learned about Weston Price. I’m happy to be raising my kids with traditional, healthy foods.

This is my first visit to your blog. I sold a free range chicken to a guy today who said his sister had a a blog called bodyearth, so I thought I’d check it out.

Keep up the good work of letting people know that popular myths about nutrition are empty promises. I look forward to visiting your blog again.

BodyEarth March 20, 2010 at 8:12 am

Thanks so much for your comment, FarmerChef! I know my brother and sister-in-law love The Lamb’s Quarter.
It’s wonderful that you can use you knowledge of traditional, nourishing foods to cook for others.

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