My Eyes Are Wide Open; A Series About My Journey To Better Health Through A Nourishing, Traditional, Real Food Diet (Part 1 – Background Information and The Basics)

So right away I am sure that the word “diet” stuck out like a sore thumb in my blog title. Most body image conscious woman (I have yet to meet one who is not) out there routinely obsesses over their weight and are trying to find the next best diet to lose weight. Don’t get all high and mighty on me now and start thinking to yourself “how dare she attempt to call me out about how I see myself! I don’t try every diet on the market and I certainly don’t obsess over my weight.” Well – maybe you aren’t doing it right this second, but you have done it or will do it. I’ll admit it – I’ve done it. A lot. And I have done it all wrong as I found out in 2010. And quite frankly, I am thrilled beyond words that I did all the wrong things because I would have NEVER, EVER believed a word I read about my new lifestyle. Yes, lifestyle. I am NOT on a diet. At least not what most of you would reference as a diet. You see, I am now eating LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of fat. Yep – F.A.T. I eat so much fat these days that your head would spin. And guess what? I am SUPER healthy. More healthy than I have ever been. I also have some guilt that I am dealing with for not understanding food better before I got pregnant and while Tiny was exclusively breastfeeding for her nutrition.   But I keep telling myself that it is better late than never and that Tiny is getting the benefits of much more nutritious breast milk now and that she will grow up eating in a way that most children do not. And her health will be amazing for all of my efforts.

Some quick background information for you. Tiny was getting put through the wringer with some major intestinal issues that started when she was 12 months old (corresponding with the time she started solids). So I began researching and researching and researching. I stumbled upon THE book that completely changed my health. 9 months ago I picked up a copy of Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This book became my bible and I delved into all of its glorious pages with gusto. I had never really understood food and how it all works with and in the body. The book’s author, Sally Fallon, presented information in a way that really stuck with me (and scared me to death) but encouraged me to begin a journey into eating wholesome, traditional foods, prepared with methods that make all nutrients more available.

What exactly do I mean when I say “traditional foods?” Traditional foods are those foods which nourished our ancestors throughout history and prehistory prior to the advent of the industrialization of food. (The industrialization of food largely began in the 19th century and entrenched itself in standard diets of the 20th and 21st centuries.) Deeply nourishing, traditional foods as our ancestors knew them were unprocessed, naturally raised, largely raw and decidedly unrefined. These foods represent the natural diet of humankind and, as such, nourished the natural growth and evolution of the human species for thousands of years prior to the industrialization of food.

So as not to completely bore you and/or lose you, I am going to outline both the dietary guidelines as presented in the book as well as dietary dangers in the remainder of this post. I will then end this post and let you mull things over. My next post will address FATS in all their glorious and dangerous splendor (depending on which kind of fat we are looking at). I also have a guest post forthcoming that discusses my journey on the traditional diet path. I will link to that as well. And for the record, again, in case you missed it. I am NOT on a diet. I eat a lot of food. Unlike all the other diets out there, I am eating REAL foods that keep me healthy, satiated, and allow me to hopefully live longer than I might have before.

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Dietary Guidelines for Traditional Eating (adapted from Nourishing Traditions and The Weston Price Foundation)

  1. Eat whole, natural foods.
  2. Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
  3. Eat naturally-raised meat including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats and eggs.
  4. Eat whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses and fresh and sour cream.
  5. Use only traditional fats and oils including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil and the tropical oils-coconut and palm.
  6. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups, or lightly steamed.
  7. Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
  8. Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
  9. Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces.
  10. Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation.
  11. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
  12. Use unrefined Celtic sea salt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
  13. Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and expeller expressed flax oil.
  14. Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder.
  15. Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
  16. Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel.
  17. Use only natural supplements.
  18. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light.
  19. Think positive thoughts and minimize stress.
  20. Practice forgiveness

Dietary Dangers Traditional Eating (adapted from Nourishing Traditions and The Weston Price Foundation)

  1. Do not eat commercially processed foods such as cookies, cakes, crackers, TV dinners, soft drinks, packaged sauce mixes, etc. Read labels!
  2. Avoid all refined sweeteners such as sugar, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup and fruit juices.
  3. Avoid white flour, white flour products and white rice.
  4. Avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and oils.
  5. Avoid all refined liquid vegetable oils made from soy, corn, safflower, canola or cottonseed.
  6. Do not use polyunsaturated oils for cooking, sauteing or baking.
  7. Avoid foods fried in polyunsaturated oils or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  8. Do not practice veganism. Animal products provide vital nutrients not found in plant foods.
  9. Avoid products containing protein powders as they usually contain carcinogens formed during processing; and consumption of protein without the cofactors occurring in nature can lead to deficiencies, especially of vitamin A.
  10. Avoid processed, pasteurized milk; do not consume ultrapasteurized milk products, lowfat milk, skim milk, powdered milk or imitation milk products.
  11. Avoid factory-farmed eggs, meats and fish.
  12. Avoid highly processed luncheon meats and sausage.
  13. Avoid rancid and improperly prepared seeds, nuts and grains found in granolas, quick rise breads and extruded breakfast cereals, as they block mineral absorption and cause intestinal distress.
  14. Avoid canned, sprayed, waxed and irradiated fruits and vegetables. Avoid genetically modified foods (found in most soy, canola and corn products).
  15. Avoid artificial food additives, especially MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and aspartame, which are neurotoxins. Most soups, sauce and broth mixes and most commercial condiments contain MSG, even if not indicated on the label.
  16. Individuals sensitive to caffeine and related substances should avoid coffee, tea and chocolate.
  17. Avoid aluminum-containing foods such as commercial salt, baking powder and antacids. Do not use aluminum cookware or deodorants containing aluminum.
  18. Do not drink fluoridated water.
  19. Avoid synthetic vitamins and foods containing them.
  20. Avoid distilled liquors.
  21. Do not use a microwave oven.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – All About Fats!

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  1. says

    so excited to hear about your journey! i am so intrigued by this and it really feels right for us. I have been adding a few things but it is impossible to find raw dairy here so far which i am sooooo sad about. thank you for all the info! yay for butter!

  2. says

    This is all stuff that I was made aware of several years ago when reading Renee Loux’s “cookbook”. My hubby and I did about an 85% raw lifestyle for a little over a year. My first pregnancy was ideal and I really feel like it was because my body was so ready. My second pregnancy, while not ideal, wasn’t horrible, but I am so aware of the fact that we need to get back to this type of lifestyle.
    I really wish the better foods weren’t “harder to get.”

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