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.