29 October 2008

Nourishing Traditions

We are changing the way we eat. This is a big decision for us because we're going to eat meat again. I suppose it's less of a change for Hanno because he occasionally eats meat during winter, but I haven't eaten any meat for close to ten years. I started off being meat, chicken and fish-free because I was trying to help Hanno reduce his cholesterol level - he was having problems getting to a decent level, even though he'd given up eating a lot of the cheeses and other foods he loved. I thought that by him giving up meat it would take a burden from his diet that his body couldn't cope with. A couple of years into it, I went back to eating fish because I could never get a decent meal when I went travelling in my job. So we settled into this meat-less diet and I have to say that I always thought we were doing the right thing. Until now.

Then I read Nourishing Traditions, the revolutionary book by Sally Fallon. It changed the way I view food and has convinced me to eat meat again. Two days ago I ate meat for the first time in many years. I must admit I felt a bit sick at first and wondered if it was right for me but I soon settled down and felt fine. We had a beef casserole, made with shin beef, including the marrow bone. This meal was chosen to provide us with natural gelatin, minerals and enzymes.

I first came across Nourishing Traditions on the Lentils and Rice blog and was intrigued that the book had convinced Robyn to change what she ate and how she fed her family. Over the next month or two, I read more about the book and the influence it was having so when, quite by chance, I saw it for sale in my local organic co-op, I grabbed it. Hanno and I have both been reading it since and we're convinced by what the author writes. It's an easy book to read. It has a subject index as well as a recipe index and although I started reading from the beginning, now I'm looking up subjects that interest me, and spot reading.

I'm sure that people would get different messages from this book but this is what I have understood so far. There is no blanket advice that any doctor or government can give because we are all different, our bodies need differing elements and it's difficult to cover all people in one food pyramid or accepted body of knowledge. We are mammals - so we are programmed to drink milk. This starts off being human milk but expands into other types of milk and milk products - mammals commonly drink the milk of other mammals. Tampering with food to remove certain elements from it - like fat or salt - devalues it. Fat is needed to allow the take up of many of the beneficial elements in food. Raw food, in its many forms, is the best food. When I say raw I mean unprocessed - so raw milk, honey, cheese etc. Eat only pasture fed meat, not grain fed, or lot fed.

But most of all, as the title of the book states, it's about going back to the diet our great grandmas cooked. They used to eat soups and stocks made with bones; they ate the entire carcass of whatever animal they had available and didn't waste anything. They drank raw full cream milk, and made cheese from that same milk, they pre-soaked a lot of their grains and cereals - making the nutrients easily digestible when eaten. They pickled and preserved using whey.

This book made a lot of sense to me. I rarely read anything that changes how I view what I'm doing, but this book did it. I always think a lot about what I'm doing and generally, when I decide to change, it's for a reason that I've thought about and makes good sense to me. I know that many people won't get the same understanding from this book as I did. But if you get the chance to read it, do so. It might convince you to make a change.

Please note: You will most likely get this book at your local library. If you wish to buy a copy, I've added the Amazon link for the USA and UK to my side bar.
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