I have been frustrated recently after seeing a rash of blog posts from different people about why traditional foods is wrong or why it didn’t work for them. When you read their stories, you discover that they superimposed some other dietary style onto Nourishing Traditions (low-carb, high-carb, high-protein, vegetarian) or they combined two different food philosophies and stubbornly stuck to their dogma while ignoring what their body tells them to do. The problem here wasn’t with traditional foods, the problem was that they ignored their own body and stuck to their pet dogma.
Nourishing Traditions does not prescribe a singular mindset and diet for all people. It does discourage the fear of dietary fat. However, it does not impose a high-fat dogma on all people. It does discourage the fear of organ meats, but it does not impose a set amount of liver, per person, per day. Nourishing Traditions does encourage including clean meat in your diet, but it does not set forth how many grams of protein to ingest per meal. Nourishing Traditions does not contain a formula for perfect health for everyone. It is a guide to how to prepare nutrient-dense, nourishing foods while eliminating processed foods.
Different States of Health
There is no one magic bullet in nutrition. No one formula will make all people healthy.
Most people who turn to a traditional foods diet do so due to poor health. Another dietary style has worsened their health or their genetics tends towards a certain condition and they wish to fix the root of the problem, not cover it up.
You might have impaired your metabolism to the point that your body can not digest fat well. If that is the case, you do not need to throw yourself headlong into a high-fat diet or you will be miserable. If you do so anyway and hold on to your dogma while miserable, it is not the fault of traditional foods. If large amounts of meat make you feel sluggish, don’t eat that much. Back off and find the amount that makes you feel good.
If raw dairy makes you sick, don’t eat it no matter how ‘healthy’ it might be. The same for gluten, eggs, soy and on and on. You can’t put out a fire while you continually pour gasoline onto it. If a food does not work for you, that doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone but you should definitely avoid it until your body heals and you no longer react. If a food is good for you, it doesn’t mean that food is good for everyone. The quality of the milk doesn’t matter if you’re allergic, you’re going to be allergic if it’s raw and 100% pastured from the most pampered cows on God’s green earth or if it’s the crappiest ultra-pasteurized milk available from the store. You won’t heal and improve your health until you quit consuming it.
Learn to listen to your body and do what it says feels best while keeping processed foods out of your diet and nutrient dense foods in your diet. Additionally, some people do better on more carbs, some people do better on more protein, some people function best on high fat. Some people with impaired digestion or health problems might need higher or lower amounts of carbs, protein or fats while they heal.
When I went off of my allergens and started to heal, I craved massive amounts of fat, some protein and carbs made me feel queasy. I ate as much coconut oil as I could get my hands on and it helped me tremendously. As I healed, I swung the other way. Today, I feel best when I eat salmon, rice and sautéed kale. Four years ago, I would have likely thrown that meal up from the carbs and lack of fat. Now I can handle carbs, proteins and fats without any nausea, regardless of their proportions. I learned to listen to my body and eat the foods in the proportions that made me feel good. The key was that while I adjusted the ratios of fat to protein to carbs, I continued to consume nutrient dense foods in each group.
It’s important to recognize that even the people Price studied had varying diets. The conclusions from Price’s work from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation recognize these differences. in Similarities of Traditional Diets, the PPNF states:
- In general, all the native foods were found to contain two to six times as high a factor of safety in the matter of body building materials as did the displacing foods brought in by civilization.
- All groups studied consumed minerals and fat-soluble vitamins from high vitamin butter or from sea foods, cod liver or seal oil, or animal organs with their fat.
In their first point, you see that they are all consuming nutrient dense foods. It is never seen in Price’s work that all of them ate cod liver oil, or butter, or beef or any other food. In fact, not every tribe drank raw milk and not every tribe consumed animal flesh daily. They all did consume animal products, but not all of them ate flesh.
Now notice the ‘or’ on number two. Based on this conclusion, I think if you can’t tolerate overt forms of organ meats, then perhaps you can handle high vitamin butter oil or cod liver oil or sea food. If you can consume more than one of these, you’re that much ahead. But if you just can’t do one of them, make up for it by using a little more of the others until your tastes change.
The Bottom Line
So putting this into practice, I can tell you that I do not have the perfect diet. Our budget will not allow for it. So my aim instead is to make every bite count as much as possible. If you can’t afford as much meat/seafood/cod liver oil/beef/eggs/whatever as you feel is ideal, stretch what you can do and make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximize your nutrient absorption by making sure you prepare your foods properly and your gut is healed.
KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, one dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.