Nourishing Our Children – Learn How to Help Your Family to be Healthier and Better Nourished

Houston Real Food Nutrition will present the Nourishing Our Children video series on October 18th at 3 pm.  There will be refreshments about midway through the series and plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Let’s help our children (and ourselves) to be healthier!  Come to the meeting to learn to distinguish between Real Food and food-like substances.  Join us for an enjoyable and educational session.


The series includes 12 sections plus an introduction.

1.   Dr. Price’s Research
2.   Malnourished
3.   Nutritional Principles
4.   Vitamins A and D
5.   Traditional Fats an Oils
6.   Milk
7.   The Ploy of Soy
8.   Water
9.   Excitotoxins and Extrusion
10. Healthy Meals
11. Motivation and First Steps
12. Community Resources

For location, directions, and to RSVP, go to Houston Real Food Nutrition, Nourishing Our Children.

Houston WAPF chapter leaders Carolyn Biggerstaff, Brice Biggerstaff, and Gina Malewicz are hosting this presentation.

Posted in Babies, Dairy, Diet, Dr. Weston A. Price, Eggs, Fats, Fluoride, Health, Houston Real Food Nutrition, Nutrition, Raw Milk, Real Food, Soy, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the number one superfood? Can the NuVal nutrition score help us find healthy foods?

Liver with onionsWouldn’t it be great if we could glance at a food on the grocery shelves and know how nutritious it was?  We could then spend our food budget on those foods that would give us the most benefit.  There is a new system that claims to help us do just that, but does it?

Recently @NuValTexas followed @RealFoodHouston on Twitter.  I hadn’t heard of NuVal before, but I was curious because their Twitter site claimed it was “dedicated to building a better #Texas.”  When someone new follows you don’t you look to see who they are and what they are saying?

NuVal, which calls itself Easy Texas Nutrition on Twitter, says “With NuVal nutrition scores, you can quickly, easily compare brands as you shop and buy better nutrition choices.”  Sounds great, doesn’t it!  We all know that most people need help determining which foods are more nutritious to get better value for their food dollar.

I wanted to know If NuVal delivers on its promise.

According to NuVal’s website, their system “scores food on a scale of 1-100. The higher the NuVal Score, the better the nutrition.”  They use a “sophisticated scientific algorithm” to calculate the socres. [source]

Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it!  How convenient!  How helpful!  They plan to have the NuVal nutrition score posted on grocery store shelves by each item.  Kroger, as a pilot project, is the only name I recognize on their list of grocery chains that use the NuVal system, but they say more will be added in the next year.

How does NuVal calculate its ratings?  The website says that their system considers “30-plus nutrients and nutrition factors – the good (protein, calcium, vitamins) and the not-so-good (sugar, sodium, cholesterol). And then it boils it down into a simple, easy-to-use number; a number you can trust to make better decisions about nutrition in just a few seconds.”  [source]

The first significant clue that NuVal’s rating system may not be accurate is their including cholesterol in a list of “not-so-good” factors.  We know, and now science backs it up, that cholesterol is very good for us, in fact essential for our health! It doesn’t cause heart disease, and it is especially necessary for brain function. [source]  For more information about the benefits of cholesterol, you can read articles and books by Chris Masterjohn PhD, Mary Enig PhD, or Uffe Ravnskov MD.  Look at Real Food Houston’s recommended reading list for some of their books.

What foods should we find at the top of a list of nutrient-dense foods?  Foods are nutrient-dense when they contain lots of fat soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, plus protein and minerals.  My first choice for a nutrient-dense food would probably be liver, followed by eggs and whole milk.

Why choose liver as the number one superfood?  Look how liver stacks up against apples, carrots, and even red meat:

Nutrients in LiverThe only nutrient not higher in liver than all the others is zinc, which is slightly higher in red meat, but in every other nutrient listed, liver is way ahead.  Red meat is much higher in all nutrients than apples and carrots, but it can’t touch the amount of nutrition in liver.  One of the best sources on the nutrition in liver is Chris Masterjohn’s article on liver and cod liver oil.   But you can read more here and here and here about the nutrition in liver.

Now let’s look at what foods get a 100 score from NuVal.  Here’s a sample chart:

NuVal Nutrition ScoresI don’t see see liver anywhere.   For more NuVal scores, look here – no liver though.  Top scores are awarded to farmed fish (93 – Atlantic salmon) and soymilk (91 – Silk Soymilk).  Soymilk is not a healthy, nutritious food!  Read Soy Alert to learn about the problems with soy. Although broccoli, blueberries, and spinach are good plant foods, they can’t possibly be more nutritious than liver!

But look what we do find with a NuVal score of 100–skim milk!  Now, there is NO WAY that skim milk should be rated as 100, a perfect nutritious food.  Skim milk is a heavily processed product that has had all its fat (and, therefore, all of its fat soluble vitamins) removed.  Plus skim milk is almost always doctored with additives to make it look and taste better.  Real skim milk is somewhat bluish and watery looking and doesn’t taste very good. Read here and here about problems with skim milk.  Skim milk has also been associated with excessive weight gain in children.

And look how far down the list NuVal rates eggs–a score of 56!  It looks like they still believe the myth that cholesterol causes heart disease and eggs should be avoided.  Putting 85% lean ground beef at 38 seems to be another victim of the cholesterol myth.  Read here about why eggs are among our healthiest foods.  Read here and here and here for the real truth about cholesterol.


NuVal will NOT help people choose the most nutritious foods and the best foods for their food budget.  It will almost certainly encourage some people to buy less healthy foods.  NuVal will not help much to improve people’s health.  NuVal is too far behind the research curve and is not using the latest information about nutrition.

After looking through NuVal’s website and nutrition rating system, I feel sure that they will not like many tweets from @RealFoodHouston.

Photo credit: Liver with Onions

Posted in Cholesterol, Dairy, Diet, Eggs, Food on a budget, Health, Nutrition, Pastured Eggs, Real Food | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

We Need Better Bugs! The Importance of a Healthy Microbiome

A new study says that we take our microbiome wherever we go, from house to house, from hotel to hotel. Our personal microbiome can even be used to identify us, like fingerprints or DNA.

However, maybe the most important news in today’s Houston Chronicle (repeated in many other news sources) article about is a quotation from Dr. Lisa Helbling Chadwick of the National Institutes of Health. Although she was not involved with the study, she says that the results are important because it evaluated healthy people (sounds like Dr. Weston A. Price’s research, doesn’t it?) and begins to show “what’s normal in a regular home.” But here is the quotation I found so amazing:

Instead of relying on killing bugs to stop the spread of infection, maybe we need to cultivate better bugs. [emphasis added]

Wow! She proposes we “cultivate better bugs”! Mainstream health and government organizations (the FDA with its “kill step” for example) have consistently been recommending, even mandating, killing all bacteria. For decades, the medical industry has way overprescribed antibiotics that kill all bacteria, not just bad bacteria, and have recommended heavy use of sanitizers and sterilizers. Are these organizations finally waking up to the importance of encouraging healthy bacteria?

Mango ChutneyAlthough, if they admit the need at all, the medical industry will probably respond by recommending probiotic pills, they are not the best way to ensure a healthy personal microbiome.  A better way is to include beneficial bacteria in your diet by eating fermented vegetables and fruits, sourdough bread, cultured cheeses, kefir, yogurt, and other similarly prepared traditional foods.  All traditional cultures included fermented foods in their diets, even back to neolithic times. [source]  In fact, almost all foods can be fermented–vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, beans, grains, and beverages.  The jars in the photo are homemade lacto-fermented mango chutney.

Here’s how important our diet is to our microbiome: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s research team tested fermented vegetables and found that “one serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic! So clearly, you’re far better off using fermented foods.” [source]

For more information about healthy bacteria and fermented foods:

Fermented Foods Contain 100 TIMES More Probiotics than a Supplement
Gut and Psychology Syndrome

Posted in Antibiotics, Dr. Weston A. Price, Ferments, Health, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On the Real Food News Front – 8/8/14

Mug of bone broth and newspaperI haven’t had time to publish any new posts this week, but I didn’t want to skip writing about the latest news.  Breakfast today was a cup of bone broth (by now, you should not be surprised!) and a banana cocoa smoothie. Today’s smoothie was made with raw milk, frozen bananas, raw cacao, and egg yolks from local pastured hens.

We have another meeting of Houston Real Food Nutrition to announce!  I am so excited that interest in nutrition to improve health is growing so much here in Texas that we have had to add a second session about the topic Dr. Price’s research and principles of a nourishing traditional diet.

To help our members who don’t live in Houston, Amy Robison and I are going to Wharton to do an encore presentation on August 24th.  I’ve been told that people are coming to Wharton from Yoakum and San Antonio to hear that one.  Medina Farm is hosting the Wharton meeting and is offering some wonderful prizes for attendees–a dozen yard eggs, a quart of raw goat milk, and maybe some fresh feta cheese!  Medina Farm has created a Facebook event page for the meeting.

The first meeting about traditional diets is on August 16th. I hope you can come to one of them!

Also don’t forget on Sunday, August 10th, Grant Wilson of Gramen Farm will talk about raw milk and local organic produce at the grand opening of the MainStreet American farmers market.

You can check out and sign up for any future meetings at Houston Real Food Nutrition.

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund fundraiserAnother reminder–today, August 8th, is the last day to donate to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and get a Donor Gift.

I am a member of the FTCLDF and urge all of you who care about healthy food, food rights, or the defense of our small family farms to join and also to donate to the fundraiser if you can.

For a $100 donation, you can choose one of these super gifts:

Any of these are great gifts!  Notice that Nourishing Broth (which I want for sure) is brand new, to be published in September.

Here’s some of what the FTCLDF does for us:

When you donate to the Farm-to-Consumer

 Legal Defense Fund, you will:

  • Protect your food rights because FTCLDF defends access to nutrient-dense foods from pasture-based farms.
  • Shoulder the heavy burden of expensive court cases for the few farmer members, like Christian Zook, who are unfortunate enough to get into legal battles.
  • Keep FTCLDF membership costs low and affordable–membership fees that haven’t budged since FTCLDF’s formation in 2007.
  • Protect private buying clubs
  • Protect backyard gardening rights

But to get one of those great donor gifts, you need to donate today!

Houston Food News! Check out the garden for growing food at the new Houston restaurant Coltivare (by the owners of Revival Market)!  You can also read about other city-supported gardens in food deserts.  [source]

You can get dinner and a movie this year for Houston Restaurant Weeks at the Alamo Drafthouse (probably not much Real Food though).  A $5 donation will go to the Houston Food Bank.

The Rise of IndependenceIn other Houston news (and no, it’s not related to food!) you might want to watch the shuttle Independence being lifted atop the Boeing 747 carrier aircraft August 14th at 8 am. The combined height of both aircraft will be about that of an eight-story building. The public is invited to attend, but if you can’t be there, you can watch The Rise of Independence live. I worked in the space program for many years and still find it exciting to know that we will be able to tour the inside of both the shuttle orbiter and the carrier when the exhibit is completed in 2015.

Now for other nutrition and health news . . .

I read a great article about climate change that I want to share with you.  For some time, I have been convinced that the only way we can heal our earth is to stop poisoning it.  Instead we need to nurture our soil, our animals, as well as ourselves. We have been treating living animals, plants, and people as inanimate objects for too long.   Read more about We Can Reverse Climate Change by the Way We Grow Food.

Another study is showing that epigenetic changes in one generation can be passed down to future generations.  A study of rats found that stress during pregnancy influenced the outcome of pregnancies in the grandchildren even when the parent had not been stressed.  Environment does matter, and environment includes what we eat, what we breathe, what we absorb through the skin, and the stresses we live with.  Have you read Pottenger’s Cats?

An interesting article on GreenMedInfo tells about natural treatments for canker sores in the mouth.  I used to have those painful sores but rarely have them since I changed my diet and quit using toothpaste containing sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, both of which irritate the mouth.  If you are still troubled with canker sores (and more women than men have them, for unknown reasons), there are treatments with fewer side effects, including honey and vitamin B12,  than the antiseptics, corticosteroids, or antibiotics commonly prescribed.  Although the article also recommends avoiding dairy, I still drink raw milk and eat cheese.

The number of farmers markets in the U.S. has increased 76% since 2008, [source] and the USDA has developed a database, USDA National Farmers Market Directory, to help you find one in your area.  To find farmers markets in the Houston area, go to the Farmers’ Markets page on

There’s good and bad news about GMOs–good:  India has put GMO crop trials on hold, but bad: it looks like the USDA will approve new varieties of GMO soybeans and corn that are engineered to resist a combination of poisons, glyphosate and dicamba.  The new soybeans will allow even more poisons to be sprayed on our food crops.

If you are trying to stay away from GMOs by buying organic foods, the growing popularity of organic foods (and higher prices and profit margins) has attracted Big Food.  Pressure is being applied to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to reduce restrictions and weakening the standards.  Will we lose the benefit of the NOSB?  [source]

For mental heath, you might want to garden more often.  There apparently is a microbe in the soil that influences serotonin production which will make us feel better.  [source]

More bad news about the side effects of statins:

According to a new study published in Clinical Endocrinology, women who use statins have a 43% increased risk of thyroid cancer.  Men have a 28% increased risk. [source]  The benefits for women for taking statins is very small, and they have not been found to prevent heart attack.  Read my post about women and statins, Warning! Women in danger of being overprescribed statins!

Another study found that taking statins increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 57%, and the risk increased the longer the patient took statins.  [source]

If you still think you need to lower your cholesterol level, read about this study that cholesterol levels are significantly low in kidney failure patients than in controls.  Those who died from kidney failure had even lower cholesterol levels (all types) than those who survived.  [source]  We need cholesterol to be healthy!

Now here is a selection of delicious, nutritious recipes from other Real Food bloggers to help keep you healthy and happy!

Cheesy Einkorn BiscuitsBaking with the Ancient Grain Einkorn
Einkorn is an ancient wheat that is a rich source of the beta carotene lutein and the forms of vitamin E–tocotrienols and tocopherols. Since it can need special handling to produce superior baked foods, here are some excellent tips.  The article has Einkorn recipes for Cheesy Biscuits, Coconut Vanilla Cookies, and Beer Cheese Bread.

Ruskty cast iron skilletsReclaim your rust pitted cast iron
This is not exactly a recipe, but if you have cast iron skillets, griddles, or pans that have rusted, you can save them.  Check out this method, which seems fairly simple.  If you try it, let us know if it worked.  And there’s another article on the potato cleaning tip.

No Bake Pumpkin Pie CookiesNo Bake Pumpkin Pie Cookies- No GMOs, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and No Refined Sugars
These pumpkin cookies require no cooking, are full of nutrients, and their sweetness comes from medjool dates.

Cauliflower Mac' and CheeseCauliflower Mac’ and Cheese
This Mac and Cheese is gluten-free, grain-free, and easy to fix.


Water Kefir or Kombucha Ice Cream FloatRefreshing Water Kefir (or Kombucha) Ice Cream Float
A substitute for soda and still delicious when used with Real Ice Cream

Posted in Access to Good Food, Access to Real Food, Books, Cholesterol, Dairy, Diet, Dr. Weston A. Price, Events, Farmers Markets, Food Freedom, Food Rights, Gluten-free, GMOs, Grain Free, Health, Houston Real Food Nutrition, Nutrition, Organic Food, Raw Milk, Real Food, Restaurants, Sustainable Farming, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the Real Food News Front — 08-1-14

Mug of bone broth and newspaperI know it’s Friday, but this week I have been so busy with the activities of the Houston-Galveston chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation that I am a little behind with the news.  For breakfast this morning while drinking my cup of bone broth and reading my local newspaper, I had a cherry smoothie made with local goat milk kefir, egg yolks from pastured chickens, organic cherries, and a little stevia. Delicious, nourishing, and probiotic too.

Modern vs. Traditional Facial Structure Photo Copyright © Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation®, All Rights Reserved,

We have added some new events to our Meetup, Houston Real Food Nutrition.

The next meeting of our WAPF chapter will discuss the research of Weston A. Price and the Principles of a Nourishing Traditional Diet.  The photo at right shows the difference between the modern versus traditional facial structure. If you missed Sally Fallon Morrell’s talk at the recent Houston Regional Wise Traditions Conference or just want to refresh your memory and ask some questions, come join us.  We will also have some giveaways during the meeting.  I hope you will join our Meetup group, Houston Real Food Nutrition.  It doesn’t cost anything to join and you will be notified of all meetings and events.

Another event we’ve added to the schedule is the opening of the Farmers Market at MainStreet in Spring August 10th.  Grant Wilson of Gramen Farm will talk about the benefits of raw dairy and local organic produce.

Armed RegulatorsThe Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance issued an alert that was so disturbing that I did some research into the arming of the USDA (yes, that is the Department of Agriculture with the guns!) and the recent raids on family farms.   Read about what’s happening and what you can do . . .


Now for other nutrition and health news . . .

Houston Restaurant Weeks begins today and benefits the Houston Food Bank.  It’s a worthwhile effort even though I wish our food bank provided truly healthy fresh food instead of so much dead and processed food in cans and packages.  Read my post about how one food bank found a way to provide fresh produce for its customers, Food Banks CAN Provide Healthy and Nutritious Food!

The Haven closed yesterday! Chef Randy Evans had operated the award-winning farm-to-table restaurant for five years. The location is being sold to the owner of The Union Kitchen.  We are sad to have to remove it from our Real Food Restaurants list.

Raw milk news:  While the U.S. government raids our raw milk dairies, much of Europe can buy their nutritious raw milk from vending machines, and soon the U.K will be able to as well.  Their Food Standards Agency (FSA) is expected to approve the measure soon.

GMO news:

  • Although the U.S. government and industry have welcomed GMOs with regulations prohibiting their ban, the European Union is moving toward more strict controls of GMOs.  An EU proposal would allow member states to ban or restrict GMOs within their borders.
  • In the U.S., we can avoid GMO foods by choosing organic and apparently more and more families are making that choice.
  • One of the reasons GMO foods are not good for us is that the poison (glyphosate/Roundup) sprayed on many GMO crops kills beneficial bacteria in the gut while leaving the pathogenic bacteria (e.g., salmonella and botulism) unaffected.
  • In apparent desperation, Food and biotech companies spent $9 million lobbying Congress on issues that mentioned GMO labeling in the first quarter of this year, almost the amount spent in all of last year. [emphasis added] [source]

News about poisons and toxins:

Here’s the good news first:

  • The EPA has denied the emergency application of Texas farmers to use a toxic pesticide on 3 million acres of cotton. Allowing the spraying of propazine, which is highly water soluble, on so many acres of farm land would have greatly increased the risk of contamination of water supplies.
  • Also good, Federal wildlife refuges in the northwest will phase out the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to the decline of pollinating bees and wild birds.

Now for the bad news:

  • A study at Skinner Lab , Washington State University, found that exposure to the pesticide methoxychlor in one generation led to “adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity” in later generations even though exposure to the pesticide did not continue.  Methoxychlor was banned in the U.S. in 2003, but it is still used in other countries.
  • Pesticide residues have been found in almost 63% of bread samples in the UK. Most alarming is that the percentage was only 28% in 2001. Would there be less pesticide in our bread in the U.S.? I don’t think so.
  • A new study from the University of California in Davis has strengthened the link between prenatal pesticide exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. “Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay.”  The pesticides studied include “organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates.”

In environmental news:  A study has found that we need our grazing animals! Botanists at Trinity College in Dublin were surprised when a study found that allowing deer in forest ecosystems actually increased the biodiversity of the plant life.  It had been thought that removing the deer from the forests would help encourage plant survival.

News that can affect our health:

  • Research gives us evidence that our lifestyle or the environment we live in can switch off certain genes and trigger tumors, without mutating the DNA itself. The good news is that these changes may be reversible.  “All cells contain the same DNA, but individual genes in any cell can be switched on or off by the addition or subtraction of a methyl group – a process known as epigenetic methylation.”
  • The oligosaccharides in human milk were long thought to be useless since babies didn’t have the enzymes necessary to digest them; however, new research shows that these biomolecules nurture the good bacteria in the gut which helps protect the infant from infection and inflammation.
  • Environment has a strong influence on a baby’s health!  A team of researchers evaluated almost 40,000 live births and found that the mother’s access to green spaces—parks, community gardens or even cemeteries–was strongly associated with birth weight of the baby.  Mothers who lived in low-income areas with little green space gave birth to the lowest birth weights.
  • Researchers have found a link between eating meat from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) animals and Alzheimer’s through an infectious protein called TDP-43.
  • The research is accumulating to overturn the myth that saturated fat is bad for you.  Dr. Mercola discusses the latest studies that find no correlation between eating saturated fats and heart disease.  It’s time to let the myth die peacefully.
  • Don’t stop taking your niacin just because of the recent news reports slamming it. The study has been misrepresented.  The study actually involved the drug laropiprant, itself a questionable drug, and the study results say little about the effectiveness or side effects from taking niacin.

Now for a selection of delicious, nutritious recipes from other Real Food bloggers to help keep you healthy and happy!

Whole-Grain, No-Knead Sourdough BreadOur Daily Bread: Whole-Grain, No-Knead Sourdough
Tips and hints to make nutritious sourdough bread with a minimum of effort. From the Nourished Kitchen


Vanilla Pudding Pops with Magic ShellVanilla Pudding Pops with Homemade Magic Shell
These pops are made with cream, milk, and egg yolks and are coated with a chocolate/coconut oil shell.  From Deliciously Organic


Summer Popsicles5 Nourishing Summertime Popsicles :: Great For Teething Babies, Busy Toddlers, & Kids of All Ages!
These summer pops are made with fruit, milk or coconut milk, gelatin, and egg yolks. Refreshing and nourishing!



Grain-free zucchini browniesRecipe: Grain Free Zucchini Walnut Brownie (GAPS, Paleo)
These GAPS and paleo brownies are made with almond flour and coconut flour.  The zucchini gives them moisture.  From Real Food Forager

Posted in Access to Good Food, Dairy, Diet, Dr. Weston A. Price, Events, Farmers Markets, Food Freedom, Food Rights, Health, Heart Disease, Houston Real Food Nutrition, Local Farming, Nutrition, Organic Food, Pastured Eggs, Pesticides, Poisons, Raw Milk, Real Food, Research, Restaurants, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, I am disturbed! Why is the USDA arming itself with submachine guns?

Armed raiderWhy would a regulatory agency like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) need submachine guns?

Although it doesn’t say why the guns are wanted, the USDA has issued this solicitation request:

Added: May 07, 2014 2:03 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical [sic] acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts [sic] trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe [sic] or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation. [source]

The USDA never says how many guns or how much ammo they want to buy, but they do say that “OIG Special Agents are authorized to make arrests, execute warrants, and carry firearms.” The first listed activity that they investigate is “fraud in farm programs.”  [source]  They need armed enforcers for that?

Why am I skeptical? Maybe I’ve heard about too many raids on farm families or elaborate investigations on raw dairy farmers.

Could it be that they expect to make more raids on family farms?

Farm Raids

MDARD Raid in Michigan

A recent example of unexplained (and unnecessary) raids was the confiscation and dumping of $5,000 worth of raw milk, butter, cream, and eggs from a Michigan co-op by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).  There were many other ways the MDARD could have handled this situation. “They could have given her [Jenny Samuelson, co-op owner] a citation, listed the charges against her, held a hearing where she and the owners of the food could have attempted to answer the charges, and then levied a fine if she was found to be in violation.”  But no, the MDARD gave no warning!  They just raided and “disposed of” thousands of dollars of fresh, healthy food, which had already been paid for by the herdshare and co-op members.  [source]  I do not know if the MDARD raiders were armed, but the trend seems to be for such raids to be conducted at gunpoint.

Destruction of 100 dozen eggs one by oneHere’s an interesting piece of the Michigan raid story–the MDARD required that each egg of the 100 dozen eggs be broken during the dumping. [source]  Wow, and as others have pointed out, this was all done within “one of the most economically depressed states in the union.”  [source]


I haven’t heard yet of any peaceful farmers shooting back when they were subjected to armed raids on their family farms, and small children were often witnesses to the raids.  (see Farmaggedon)  Is the danger during these raids greater for the raiders or for the farm families?

Pennsylvania Amish Farmer

Other raids include the FDA’s year-long sting and raid on Pennsylvania Amish dairy farmer Dan Alllgyer [read more] which included “U.S. marshals and a state police trooper.”  The FDA said it was just an “inspection”, not a raid.  If so, why did they need U.S. marshals and police troopers?

There have been other farm raids.  FARFA mentions the California raid on the Rawesome food co-op in 2010.  It was a private co-op for members only, and there had never been any complaint against them.

Dangers of Armed Regulatory Agents

FARFA explains some of the dangers that could result:

If agency officials face a situation in which armed backup is truly called for, they can go through the proper procedures to have support from the Department of Justice. Having in-house SWAT teams and armed personnel makes it too easy to turn a non-hazardous situation into an armed raid that abuses the rights of our citizens. Bureaucrats aren’t hired or properly trained for dangerous law enforcement situations. Moreover, it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to provide weapons to each individual agency.  [emphasis added] [source]

Who Is Concerned?

one of the most economically depressed states in the union – See more at:
in one of the most economically depressed states in the union. – See more at:

in one of the most economically depressed states in the union. – See more at:

in one of the most economically depressed states in the union. – See more at:

Fortunately, I am not the only one who is concerned with the arming of our regulatory agencies.  The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) says that “While the actual number of armed raids has been low, the fear and distrust that they have created in the local foods community has been widespread and damaging. For example, the 2010 raid on a local food co-op in southern California, in which the FDA participated, is still reverberating through the raw milk community.”

What We Can Do

Even more important, there are Congressmen who also see the dangers and have introduced HR 4934, the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act.

The bill does three things:

  1. Repeals the arrest and firearm authority granted to Offices of Inspectors General in the 2002 Homeland Security Act.
  2. Prohibits federal agencies, other than those traditionally tasked with enforcing federal law — such as the FBI and U.S. Marshals — from purchasing machine guns, grenades, and other weaponry regulated under the National Firearms Act.
  3. Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to write a complete report detailing all federal agencies with specialized units that receive special tactical or military-style training and that respond to high-risk situations that fall outside the capabilities of regular law enforcement officers. [source]

We can help pass this bill by contacting our U.S. Representative (find out who) and urge him/her to support the bill.

You can support FARFA, an organization which is very active for our food rights and the protection of the family farm.

You can also join the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.  The Fund is active in the defense of our food rights, defends family farms and protects consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods. I am a member!

Click here to find out more about the bill and who the current co-sponsors are.

Read more about the farm raids and H.R. 4934 at FARFA’s website.

Photo credits:  the egg disposal photo is courtesy of High Hill Dairy, the raw milk farm that supplied the raw milk for the co-op.  The armed raider is courtesy of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Posted in Access to Good Food, Access to Real Food, Co-ops, Dairy, Food Freedom, Food Rights, Health, Health Freedom, Raw Milk, Real Food | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Learn About Dr. Weston A. Price’s Research and the Principles of Traditional Diets

Photo Copyright © Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation®, All Rights Reserved,

Photo Copyright © Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation®, All Rights Reserved,

I am happy to announce that the next meeting of Houston Real Food Nutrition on August 16th will be a discussion about the research of Dr. Weston A. Price and the Principles of Nourishing Traditional Diets.

Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist and nutrition researcher who studied and analyzed the diets of isolated groups of people who were still eating their traditional diets.  To find such groups was still possible in the 1930’s when he traveled but would probably not be done today.

The topic is An Overview of the Nutrition Research of Dr. Weston A. Price and The Principles of Nourishing Traditional Diets. Amy Robison and I will be leading the discussion. We are both co-leaders of the Houston-Galveston Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF).

Sally Fallon Morrell, president of the WAPF, gave a much more extensive talk on this subject at the recent Houston Regional Wise Traditions Conference in March. If you missed her presentation or want to refresh your knowledge, please join us.  However, if you ever get a chance to hear her talk about traditional diets, don’t miss it.  She is an excellent speaker and her knowledge on the subject is phenomenal.

At our meeting we will show a short video about Dr. Price’s research followed by a slide show and discussion of the underlying characteristics of nourishing traditional diets.

Modern vs. Traditional Facial Structure

Modern vs. Traditional Facial Structure
Photo Copyright © Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation®, All Rights Reserved,

Here are some of the things you will learn about traditional diets which could improve your family’s health:

–The kinds of foods that are necessary for a nutrient-dense diet

–The kinds of foods that should be avoided for the best health

–Which nutrients are essential

–The benefits of cooked versus raw foods

–How to prepare foods to make them more nutritious

and much more. . .

There will be giveaways and plenty of time for questions and answers both during and after the presentation. The meeting should last about 1-1/2 to 2 hours depending on the number of questions.

Join us for a great time, win prizes, all while learning how you and your family can improve your health through better nutrition!

There will be handouts providing sources for more information about Dr. Price’s research and traditional diets.

For more information about the time and location of the meeting, please go to Houston Real Food Nutrition.  We appreciate your RSVP through the group so that we can know how many are planning to attend.

We hope to see you there!

Posted in Dr. Weston A. Price, Health, Houston Real Food Nutrition, Nutrition, Real Food, Research, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

On the Real Food News Front – 07-24-14

Houston Chronicle and mugGood morning! It’s Thursday news time at Real Food Houston. I’ve had my cup of homemade chicken broth and a banana cocoa smoothie for breakfast (today with raw milk and 2 egg yolks), followed by a cup of Dandy Blend with just a little raw milk and stevia.

Here’s what’s been happening on Real Food Houston. . .

CAFO CowsCheap food isn’t really cheap!  You can’t avoid the cost, it just gets transferred somewhere else.  Read my post about why the cost of food in the U.S. has dropped so much and the price we’re paying for it.

Whole pig saw 2Valerie Stegemoeller has written a guest post about a class she attended in hog butchering.  She’s a new homesteader at Stegesaurus Farm and also a co-leader of the Houston-Galveston Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Cutting up meat is an art we’ve almost lost but is essential to the small farm and homesteader.

Pot of pinto beans cooked with ham hockI love home cooked beans and have posted my version of Nourishing Traditions Basic Beans.  Beans, and other legumes, are not only nutritious, but they can also really help the food budget.  Just a little meat goes a long way in a big pot of beans.

They are also so versatile!  They can be served plain with some shredded cheese or made into refried beans to go with Mexican food or made into chili.  I keep some jars of beans in the freezer all the time.

Now for the news . . .

  • Don’t forget the fermentation workshop and demo this Saturday at The Last Organic Outpost. The workshop begins at Noon. Bring water and a chair. The weather man says it will be HOT this weekend!
  • In one of the most important but also most depressing news stories this week, “The Michigan Department of Agriculture . . . forced Joe and Brenda Golimbieski, the owners of Hill High Dairy and Jenny Samuelson, the owner of My Family Co-op, to dump out 248 gallons of milk, to break 100 dozen eggs, and to destroy an undisclosed amount of fresh cream, butter and cheese.” Although the farm is a co-op, the MDA insisted they were selling food without a license. Read more . . .
  • David Gumpert, author of The Complete Patient blog talks says about the MDA raid that “The government-sponsored dump of nearly $5,000 of milk, eggs, butter, and cream . . . carried a very clear and powerful political message to all Americans: We control your food and we don’t like you buying your food outside the corporate food system.”  Sad and disturbing too!.  Will we ultimately lose the right to choose our own food from healthy sources?  Will the government force us to eat processed junk food?
  • If you want to know who, besides local and federal governments, controls food, 10 food companies own almost all of our food.  The 10 are PepsiCo, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Associated British Foods, Mondēlez (formerly Kraft Foods), Mars, Danone, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Nestle.  There’s a link to a super graphic that shows the brands that these companies own.  For example, Nestle owns S. Pelligrino and Perrier waters and Coca Cola owns Dasani and Honest Tea.  Definitely eye-opening!
  • Alison Cook, food critic for the Houston Chronicle, tells us that a new Indian restaurant scheduled to open in September will use organic spices and avoid color additives. All that is certainly good news but what about the rest of the food? Will the meats be CAFO or pastured? Will the veggies and fruits be poisoned or organic? Isn’t it sad that such a small improvement in food quality is the best Houston restaurant news can offer! At least the article addresses food quality.  Usually restaurant critics and reviewers, including Alison Cook, only talk about the appearance, feel, and taste of food, never the quality of nutrition. (See my post Food writers – what they don’t talk about!)
  • We’ve heard a lot about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but now there’s also fungicide-resistant fungus.  New research from British and Dutch scientists show that the fungus Aspergillus, commonly found in soil and other organic material and which attacks the lungs, has apparently become resistant to fungicides like the triazoles, which are freely used in agriculture.  Breathing aspergillus is especially harmful to people with damaged lungs or weak immune systems such as from asthma or cystic fibrosis.
  • In nutrition news:
    • Although quinoa is not a traditional food in my part of the country, I want to give it a try after reading Authority Nutrition’s 11 Proven Health Benefits of Quinoa (No. 1 is My Favorite).  It is high in protein (contains all the essential amino acids) and other nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, folate, and quercetin.  It is gluten-free and mild flavored.
    • The difference between folate and folic acid is important to women before and during pregnancy because it “helps to prevent neural tube defects in the growing fetus.”  “Folate is the naturally occurring version of vitamin B9, whereas folic acid is the synthetic form used in supplements. While both versions do help to prevent neural tube defects, only folate crosses the placenta.” [emphasis added]
    • Watermelon not only tastes super good and sweet, but it has health benefits not widely known. Read Dr. Mercola’s 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Watermelon.  Watermelon has more lycopene than tomato and contains citruline which may reduce blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.
  • Organic foods are good for you!  A new study, a meta analysis of 323 peer-reviewed studies, found that “switching to organic food provides as many additional antioxidants as eating between one and two extra portions of fruits and vegetables per day.”  Read more . . . and more . . .   The Cornucopia Institute is concerned that the growing popularity of organic foods, the “Walmarting of organics,” will lower organic quality, weaken standards, and hurt small farms.
  • Real Food Forager has some good tips to avoid the poison fluoride that is often added to municipal water.  I had always wondered about how to prevent adding fluoride to backyard garden plants.  Her recommendation is to water the roots where there is less uptake of fluoride rather than the leaves plants where uptake is greater.  She also has suggestions for detoxifying fluoride.
  • Looking for high protein foods is currently “in” for over half of adults.  Cereal manufacturers are taking advantage of the fad to boost falling sales by adding GMO soy to their products.  For example, Cheerios Protein is labeled “high protein” which comes from added soy and lentils, and they are not organic.  To offset the unpleasant taste of the soy, there are 9 grams of added sugars under various names like “sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, carmelized syrup and something called “Refiner’s Syrup,” which is apparently a byproduct of cane sugar manufacture.”  [source] Instead get your protein from real foods like grassfed beef, eggs from pastured chickens, whole raw milk, and properly prepared whole grains.
  • Dr. Kelly Brogan is concerned about the risks of routine ultrasounds during pregnancy.  The last time the effects were tested the study used older, less powerful equipment.  Much is still unknown but animal tests have linked “altered learning, memory, and neuroanatomy of those mice.”
  • Low-carb diets shouldn’t be lumped into the “fad diet” category.  They have been recommended for weight loss for a hundred and fifty years.  Recent studies have confirmed their safety and effectiveness.  Authority Nutrition lists 6 Reasons to Stop Calling Low-Carb a Fad Diet.

Not all news is bad! Here are some interesting stories on the brighter/lighter side.

  • Fermented foods are a natural remedy for food poisoning. Cultured Food Life shares her family’s experience with food poisoning several years ago. She was up and feeling much better less than half an hour after drinking the juice from fermented veggies.
  • If you have a home garden, there are safer ways to get rid of pest rather than using poisons. DIY ingredients can include garlic pepper spray, baking soda, and milk. Read more about Gentle Gardening Arsenal.
  • If you use social media you will get a laugh from this hilarious musical video from Weird Al Yankovic–Word Crimes.

Now here is a selection of delicious, nutritious recipes from other Real Food bloggers to help keep you healthy and happy!

Healthy Corn DogsHealthy Corn Dog Recipe
If you really love corn dogs but have been avoiding them because they are unhealthy, here’s The Healthy Home Economist’s version that will allow you to add them back into your menu.

Ultimate paleo chocolate chip cookiesUltimate Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies [made with chestnut flour]
This is a new one on me.  I had not heard of using chestnut flour before.  The blogger says that it is gluten-free and has 96% less phytates than the almond flour commonly used in paleo and low-carb recipes.


Mango Coconut Ice CreamMango Coconut Ice Cream
Easy and quick.  If you like mangos try this simple ice cream recipe.  You can use either coconut milk or whole milk.


Second Ferment Your KefirSecond ferment your kefir
If you find homemade kefir just too sour to drink, try this method to mellow the flavor.  You can add fruits too.

Posted in Conferences, Diet, Ferments, Food Freedom, Food on a budget, Food Rights, GMOs, Health, Home Remedies, Local Farming, Nutrition, Raw Milk, Real Food | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Simply Can’t Avoid the True Cost of Cheap Food!

In the U.S. we spend less of our household budget on food than any other county in the world.  We only spend about 6.9% of our household income on food.  What do other countries spend on food?  Here are a few examples:  Canada spends almost 10%; Japan spends about 15%; and China spends about 35%.

We have become so accustomed to cheap food, that I’ve heard many people say “I can’t afford to buy organic food!” or “I can’t afford grassfed beef” and so on and so on.  I’m sure you’ve heard it too.  Even your own family members may say it.

I know that there are people who truly can’t afford to be choosy about what they eat, and I completely understand that any food is better than no food at all, but we’re not talking about those circumstances.  We’re talking about the people you see in the grocery stores and talk to at work and at school.

Most of the time I think people who say they can’t afford quality food just don’t really understand the true cost of their choices.  They aren’t homeless.  They aren’t on welfare.  They drive nice cars and wear good clothes–not resale!  If quality food were a priority, most of them could afford it.

So what gives?  What lies under this huge disconnect?  Why do so many people think they can’t afford real food?

Although I’ve thought about this problem for quite a while, the answer to the question was explained superbly by an article in the Summer 2014 issue of Wise Traditions published by the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Bill Hyde, a PhD  farmer, who can get to the heart of the issue and also has the ability to keep meticulous records of the cost of farming, wrote about his late-in-life farming experience in The Real Cost of Real Food.

When he was close to retirement, Bill Hyde, who had always wanted to be a farmer, decided to live his dream.  He and his wife bought some land on the outskirts of Denver and began Happy Farm.  They use farming practices that “promote healthy soil, plants, and animals.”

As he developed his farming skills, Bill Hyde kept detailed records of the cost of farming.  What he discovered prompted his writing about what he learned.

There is a huge disconnect between our food and food supply and what we need as healthy people, and it has all occurred in just the last half century. It is so alarming that I feel compelled to share my experience.

For example, he details the cost of raising chickens to lay eggs and calculates the cost for a dozen eggs at $11.52. Yes, that is just his cost with no profit added! He goes further to say that increasing the size of his farm from about 75 to 100 chickens to 1,000 would not lower the price by much, since more chickens means more expense.

Then why are grocery store eggs, and all the other foods, so much cheaper?

Grocery store eggs are cheaper because most of the true cost of producing them is not included in the price!

What are those other costs?

CAFO CowsFirst we need to take a brief look at how farming has changed over the last few decades.  As Bill Hyde points out, “production of food has largely been taken over by large corporations.”  When big business took over farming, less attention was paid to the quality of the food and more attention was given to profitability, shelf life and unnatural farming methods, such as feeding grain to animals meant to graze on grass and dosing them with antibiotics and GMO hormones.  Big agriculture cares only about profit, never about health, nutrition, and sustainability.

To explain further why corporation food is cheaper . . .

The greater affordability of food has come about in part due to these changes and because agribusinesses are not held responsible for soil, air, and water deterioration and pollution that their farming practices create. Neither do they pay for remedying the health problems of farm workers and consumers caused by eating and contacting these so-called foods. Tax policy, in many forms, also favors large agriculture-based corporations.

This food revolution has been successful in large part because the industry has worked hard at concealing its effects from the public. . .

To help understand the extent of agriculture’s change from farms to businesses, the vice president of the National Chicken Council says,  “Virtually all the chicken sold in America—more than 99 percent  . . . comes from factory-farm production similar to that used by Tyson Foods.” [emphasis added] [source]

As consumers, where do we pay for the true cost of our food?  And yes, we do always pay the true cost of our food, just not as a part of the price of our food. Bill Hyde’s chart illustrates where the cost of food has been transferred.

Percent of Budget for Food and Health

Yes, we all pay for our food, one way or another!  Eating food produced in unhealthy, unnatural conditions is a principal reason for the huge increase in health care costs.  Our bodies need nutritious foods to be healthy.  Our cells and organs cannot function properly without the necessary nutrients.  Nutrient-empty foods lead to sick bodies and weak immune systems.  The incidence of almost all chronic diseases has increased right along with the decrease in the price of our food.  We spend about the same amount in total for food and health now as we did forty years ago, but what we “save” on cheap food is made up with increased health costs.

On which side will you pay your total food and health costs?

For myself, I choose to pay up front on the food side for high quality food raised with practices that “promote healthy soil, plants, and animals.”  Buying real food supports our sustainable small farms and ensures our health along with that of the only earth we have today.

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Posted in Environment, Food on a budget, Health, Nutrition, Organic Food, Real Food, Sustainable Farming | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Recipe: Home Cooked Beans Can Boost Your Food Budget

Pinto beans with shredded cheddar cheeseI love beans, especially pinto beans, and home cooked beans are absolutely the best!  In fact, if you have only eaten canned or commercially cooked beans in the past, you are in for a real treat if you try these beans!  In addition to being delicious, they are very filling and satisfying.  I find that I don’t get hungry as quickly after eating beans.

The recipe below may seem time-consuming, but during most of those hours you don’t need to do anything.  The beans are just sitting in the pot either soaking or cooking for the most of the time required.  You must remember to start the soaking the day before you want to eat the beans, but, otherwise, all you have to do is put the pot on and go do whatever else you need to do.

Nutrients in Legumes

The legume family includes beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, and soybeans [more on soybeans later]. They “are excellent sources of [plant] protein, low-glycemic index carbohydrates, essential micronutrients, and fiber.” [source]

According to Sally Fallon Morrell in Nourishing Traditions, legumes and pulses are a traditional food that have “nourished mankind for centuries.”  They have been the “poor man’s meat.”  When properly cooked at home, they are an excellent and low-cost source of many essential nutrients.  (Here’s a handy, printable chart of the nutrients in legumes.  For more detailed information about specific legumes, use the USDA’s Nutrient Database.)

Legumes are rich in minerals and B vitamins. The pinto beans–one of my favorite beans–in this recipe are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. They also contain smaller amounts of several other important minerals–iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and selenium.  Pinto beans are a very good source of folate, a member of the B vitamin family,. Another bonus–both pinto and kidney beans are high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Legumes and Cancer Prevention

Although limited, research has indicated that legumes can reduce the risk for some cancers. [2009 study]

The American Institute for Cancer Research says

Foods containing folate help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer probably because of folate’s role in healthy cell division and repair of damaged cells.

Legumes contain other health-promoting substances that may also protect against cancer:

  • Lignans and saponins
  • Resistant starch, starch not digested in the small intestine, is used by healthful bacteria in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids, which seem to protect colon cells.
  • Antioxidants from a variety of phytochemicals, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, inositol, protease inhibitors and sterols. [source]

Some people avoid beans and other legumes because of their phytic acid content and enzyme inhibitors; however, careful, traditional preparation can neutralize the anti-nutrients and break down the complex sugars making the beans more digestible.  [Nourishing Traditions, Legumes]


Soybeans are an exception to the traditional preparation I use for my pintos.  Soybeans are very high in phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that are not deactivated by soaking and ordinary cooking.  To be safe, soybeans should only be eaten after they have been fermented according to traditional Asian methods that produce products like miso, tempeh, and natto.  Unless fermented, soybeans can “produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.”  For this reason, soy milk and most other soy products like tofu, soy proteins, and some soy sauces should be avoided. [Nourishing Traditions, Legumes]

Recipe: Homemade Pinto Beans


1 pound of organic dry pinto beans (this batch was Whole Foods organic dry pintos)
1 ham hock, preferably from pastured pigs (you can substitute bacon or a meaty ham bone)
1 organic onion, chopped, optional
1 strip of dried kombu, optional
2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed, optional
Sea salt and freshly ground organic black pepper, to taste


First day

Pick over (remove stones and other foreign material) and rinse well.

Pot of pinto beans ready to cookPut beans in a large pot (at least 4 quart) and cover with filtered water by at least two inches.  Cover and let soak for 12 to 24 hours.  These beans soaked for about 21 hours.  Check the beans occasionally and add more water if necessary to keep the beans well covered.  Nourishing Traditions recommends using warm water.  I either start with water that’s been warmed or I just put the pot on a burner turned on low for two or three minutes.

Second day

After 12 to 24 hours, drain and rinse the beans.  Put them back in the rinsed pot (or another pot) and add filtered water to cover by at least an inch.  Add ham hock, bacon, or ham bone, and other optional ingredients.  Bring to a boil and skim any foam that forms on top.  Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 4 to 8 hours.  I cooked these beans for about six hours.  I didn’t add kombu to this pot of beans, but I often do.  It should increase digestibility and reduce gas formation.  Season to taste with salt and pepper toward the end of the cooking time.

Pot of pinto beans cooked with ham hockI always make a large pot of beans and freeze some for later use, but you can reduce the amounts in the recipe if you don’t need that many beans.

There are many super good ways to use home cooked pinto beans.  One of the simplest preps for a quick lunch or dinner is to top a bowl of hot beans with shredded sharp cheddar cheese (raw cheese if available) and jalapeno slices (see photo).  Sometimes I add some chopped tomato as I did in these photos.


Bowl of pintos with tomatoes and jalapenoBowl of pintos with shredded cheddar cheese

Leftover pinto beans are wonderful when mashed and refried with lard, goose fat, or other healthy fat.  I made refried beans for my Grassfed Beef Tostadas with Guacamole.  I usually season refried beans with some chili powder.


This recipe is based on the Basic Beans recipe in Nourishing Traditions, page 496 in my edition.

For sources of ingredients, go to my Resources page.



Posted in Food on a budget, Nutrition, Organic Food, Real Food, Recipes, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment