Why I do what I do!

You all know that I’m a REAL FOOD blogger, and many of you also know that I’m a co-leader of the Houston-Galveston chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation, but most of you don’t know exactly WHY I’m doing this – what motivated me.  I read a story on the Food Renegade blog that may help explain why.  Read Gutsy’s story and you will understand.  Be sure to scroll down below the recipe to read her story.  Our modern civilization has so left our children behind with our legacy of poor diet and inadequate health care.  I didn’t cause our diet problems, but now that I know better, how can I not want to help spread the word?

How it all got started

Several years ago my son became very sick while away at college.  The doctors had no idea what was wrong so he did his own research.  He looked through the internet and bought books to read.  He thought his illness might be related to his diet so tried many experiments from eating everything all raw to practically starving himself.  He lost a semester of college, but he eventually got well and returned to complete his degree.  I don’t know if any of the information he found actually helped him to get well.  He may have gotten well mostly because he was young and not too unhealthy.  We never found out what was wrong, but it hasn’t recurred.

What he left behind

The most important result of my son’s illness (other than his healing) was that he left behind a certain book when he went back to college–Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price.  I read it and it has completely changed my life!

What I learned from Dr. Price’s book

Dr. Price’s nutrition research and the photographs in his book proved to me without a doubt that I am one of the “after” people. Dr. Price was a dentist and researcher who spent about ten years in the 1930s on a magnificent quest to find healthy people still eating their indigenous diet.  He visited most of the world’s continents and did find the people he was looking for.  He found several healthy groups of people who were still eating their traditional diets and had not converted to modernized foods.  He took lots of photographs and many samples of the foods they were eating.  He found that their traditional diets were ten times higher than modern diets [of the 1930s] in fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), four times higher in water soluble vitamins (B complex, C, etc.), up to 28 times higher in magnesium, and two to eight times higher in calcium and phosphorus.  The ratios are probably much worse today.  All of the “before” healthy people ate some animal foods and none of them ate sugar or any refined or denatured foods, such as white flour or refined vegetable oils.  The native peoples that had converted to a modernized diet, the “after” people, had extensive tooth decay and skeletal deformities.

How do I know I’m one of the “after” people?  Here are just a few of the reasons: I had to have extensive orthodontics as a teenager and had my wisdom teeth removed in my twenties.  In addition, I still have two molars that are impacted and not fully functional.  I have myopia and astigmatism and must wear corrective lenses, probably because my facial structure was too narrow to allow room for the eyes to fully develop.  Dr. Price’s photographs are so compelling that no matter how many times I see them, I am still amazed at how obvious are the effects that diet and nutrition have on our health AND our appearance.  His research is THAT important!

Why my generation was lucky

Yet, even with all my problems, I feel lucky in my childhood nutrition.  Why?  First, I’m probably only the second generation, maybe just the first, from the farm where the food was more likely to be real and healthy.  I have almost no allergies and seem to be able to eat a wide variety of properly prepared foods, including grains, without any problems. But health degenerates with every generation that continues to eat a nutrient-deficient diet.  See Pottenger’s Cats.  Even after my mother’s family moved to the city/suburbs when she was nine, my grandfather had a backyard vegetable/fruit garden and raised chickens.  However, by the time I was born after World War II, our family had started to eat more and more modern foods just like most other families in the city.  A lot of our food was fake, for example, we always ate margarine instead of butter, white bread instead of whole grain, shortening instead of lard or tallow, processed cheese instead of real cheese, boxed cereal instead of cooked cereal, and so on and on.  As my grandparents got older, they ate more frozen and processed foods.  My father died when I was two, so my mother taught school to support us and she didn’t have much time to cook.  She cooked a lot of hamburger and frozen broccoli, but, you know, even at that, our food was almost certainly much, much better than what is commonly available in most grocery stores today.  It was way before the age of the CAFOs.  Yes, our milk was pasteurized and homogenized, but it came from a local dairy and grassfed cows, and our grocery store meat was almost certainly from pastured animals.  Even our grocery store vegetables and fruits were mostly local, certainly none were from South America or New Zealand.

The third generation

My children, who are all grown now, are at least second or third generation on the modern, ‘Western’ diet, and I didn’t know about Dr. Price’s research and the kinds of foods that are necessary for healthy children when I was pregnant.  I tried to be very careful with my diet; I avoided caffeine, ate fresh cooked foods and organic vegetables when available (not often then), and whole grains, but I just didn’t know that low-fat wasn’t healthy and that I needed eggs and organ meats.  I nursed all three of my children for 18 months or more, but still all my children have needed orthodontics, have had their wisdom teeth removed, and need vision correction.  So far, however, they don’t seem to be in worse health than I was at their ages.

What I did

Now I know the whys–why my teeth were crooked, why I need to wear glasses, why my children have health and weight problems.  Now that I know why, how can I not want to tell others about it?  This knowledge is just so important!  After reading Nutritional and Physical Degeneration, I found the Weston A. Price Foundation, a group dedicated to teaching about health and nutrition based on Dr. Price’s research and follow-on research in diet and nutrition.  I really feel at home with these people.  They are my family now.  There was no active Weston A. Price Foundation chapter in Houston then, so my husband and I started a chapter.  We are looking for more ways to reach out to our community and have just set up a Meetup group, Houston Real Food Nutrition.  I began blogging here at Real Food Houston almost two years ago because I saw another way to reach more people.  The internet is the up-to-date way to reach people with the information that can change their lives as it has mine.  And now we also use Facebook and Twitter (@RealFoodHouston) and are looking for more ways to reach out.

What I’m doing now

I have just begun a nine-month training program with the Nutritional Therapy Association to become a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Although I’ve been reading lots of books on health and nutrition and doing internet research (some of which goes into posts or my newsletter), I wanted more intensive training to be able to help others be healthier and eat more nutritious food.  I chose this course of study because it is based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, who both made significant discoveries about the impact of diet and nutrition on our health.  For a few months, I may not have as much time to write posts or do research for my newsletter, but I’m planning to keep up as much as possible.  Maybe I can write short posts about some of the subjects we are studying.

There are so many things I want to do to spread the word about nutrition and good health that I now have no chance of ever having any ‘idle’ time.  Once upon a time, before my retirement, I wondered what in the world I would do with my time.  Now I know that there will not really be any ‘retirement’ for me, and I am elated. There is no better way to spend ‘retirement’ than with a second career doing something so important.

Update October 24, 2013:  There have been some significant changes in the last few months.  I was forced to withdraw from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner training last spring just before the mid-term.  Hearing problems that began over twenty years ago caused by a reaction to prescription medication got worse, and I was unable to listen to all the audios and videos that are required to complete the course. I haven’t been posting as much and haven’t added this update until now because of my disappointment; however, I am now moving forward with lots of wonderful work still to do with our Houston-Galveston WAPF chapter and much more to write about on Real Food Houston.  I will always be an enthusiastic supporter of the work of the Nutritional Therapy Association.  I have one friend currently enrolled in the NTP course and have talked to others who are interested in taking it.

This post is shared on Monday Mania 10/1/2012, Weekend Gourmet, October 1, 2012, Real Food Wednesday, 10/3/2012, Fill Those Jars Friday, October 5, 2012, and Freaky Friday 10/5/2012.

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10 Responses to Why I do what I do!

  1. Very good article Carolyn. Sharing.

  2. Lisa Coker says:

    You have chosen a great way to spend your very active “retirement” time. Keep up the good work. You are making a difference. Thanks for all you do.

  3. Che~ says:

    Looking forward to seeing your posts and becoming familiar with your sharing! I am saving to take the Nutritional Therapy Program also! Can’t wait to hear your responses! Best of wishes!

  4. I feel like you. My journey started only 4 short months ago, but my life has changed 100% for the better.
    I had 2 boys in 18 months and was a total emotional mess. When my youngest was around 18 months old, I realized my first born – Weston – was not quite right. My younger, Eli, was functioning at the same, if not higher level. Weston would always cover his ears with the softest of sounds, or not ever want to be cuddled, would only take freezing cold showers, constipated all the time (didn’t have natural BM until 7 months), irritated all the time, whining all the time, never wanted to wear clothes, screamed every night during sleep, was a mess every morning (took like 30 minutes to get in OK mood), played by himself in all social settings, would only let Mom hold him – nobody else.
    Anyway, all of those behaviors are gone – thanks to eliminating GMOs. Even his speech has improved! (I think from lack of inflamed nerve endings in his tongue.) Everyone who knows Weston is in disbelief and so happy for us for the complete turn-around in only 4 months.
    I see these preschoolers with corndogs and lunchables and I just want to shake the mother and say, “what the hell are you thinking?” All too often, these are the children who are sick from school, have broken bones, or are constantly getting into trouble.
    Now that I know what I know about our food, I want everyone to benefit from this discovery/realization. I wish someone would have told me before Weston had to endure that year of misery. Now, the house is a happier place filled with love and laughter, and NO GMOs!

    • Carolyn says:

      I am so glad you found a way to help your children by eliminating GMOs. You do help others by sharing your story here and you can also post about GMOs on Facebook and forward information that will help others learn about health and real food. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s amazing how much and how quickly eating a healthy diet can help.

  5. Jen says:

    This is so interesting! I love hearing about how people woke up to real food. It’s not always easy to come around to real food practices in our society filled with fake processed junk that people have been deceived in to thinking is real. It really does take an open mind. Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. Amy Law says:

    Excellent writing and well though out! I suffered from extremely poor vision, a very small mouth, malformed pelvic bones, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Infamatory Breast desease before “cleaning” up my diet. I still have joint and bone issues, weight and metabolism problems, but changing my diet has greatly improved the Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome. So much so that after 12 years of infertility treatments, I had two babies within 18 months!! It was the coconut diet that led me on the path of clean eating and changed my health for the better. I really appreciate your work, Carolyn! Please share the jems you learn, and I wish you success with your studies! I feel honored to know you and consider you a friend!

  7. What a beautiful story, Carolyn! I love that you’re looking for a great way to share your new-found knowledge with others. I’ll be interested to hear how you like that program. I know of a few people who are planning to attend. I toy with the idea myself, but still figuring out where my focus will be! ;-)

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