"Real Food 101", aka,"Real Food for Dummies" or Top 5 Things You Can Do for Your Health
I have been meeting many people along the way on our trip across the country from Maryland to Wyoming and Colorado and back again. We have passed through Maryland, PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, IO, NE, WY, CO, SD, MN, WI, and now we are on our way to IN and MI. In addition to everyone I met and had the privilege of teaching at my Cooking for Well-Being conference in Colorado, I am having wonderful conversations with folks about real food and good health. All sorts of people are being introduced to Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A. Price Foundation, realmilk.com, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Nourishing Our Children Campaign. Makes me so happy to be spreading the good word about all this good food! My husband Franklin Taggart calls me an "inspirer": someone who calls people to realize what they are capable of...and shows them that they "have the goods to do what they need to do". I must say I love to inspire people to good health, good food, and help to provide them with the tools, techniques and resources to "take their power back": their power to eat well and be well...to decide where they purchase their food and from whom (from the Food Industrial Complex with all of its implications for the health of the people and the Earth or from farmers, farmers markets, CSAs, etc etc) ...(Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm has been reminding us that we "vote with our pocketbooks" when we choose our food. Who are you/we voting for today?!)
So along the way I have had questions from friends, family and acquaintances which are really the same question: "what can I do that would be easy *and* high impact?" So I have come up with the top 5 things anyone can do that are simply a "switcheroo", involve no training or classes, or menu changes. Just swap what you are using now with the following, and the nutrient density of your food will go up. In my private practice with clients of all ages and in my own life, I have seen hunger decrease, thought become less foggy, children become more focused, weight drop off, and cholesterol levels beautify. (For information on the cholesterol myth, see Uffe Ravnskov, The Cholesterol Myth as well as Dr. Mercola's Huffington Post article on the same.)
And so, the top five:
1. Use real salt. Throw out that Morton's salt and purchase some salt that is high in trace minerals. Celtic Sea Salt from the Grain and Salt Society is highest in trace minerals, so I use that. Just check out the label...all "sea salt" is not the same. If they can tell you about the trace mineral content on the label, you've got a good one.
2. Use pastured eggs. Swap out supermarket eggs, free range eggs, organic eggs, or eggs fed "vegetarian feed" for eggs from hens *on pasture*. Buy them from a farmer or the farmer's market, or from your CSA. Chickens are omnivores; the most nutritious eggs will be those from hens that eat a good amount of bugs! (Just check the color of the yolks...eggs from chickens that eat bugs are bright, deep orange...if your yolks are light yellow or the whites runny, they *are not* nutrient dense eggs!)
3. Use pastured butter, aka, butter from cows that eat grass. Don't rest on your laurels and think the term "organic butter" is enough. "Organic" says nothing about whether the cows ate grass. Look for "pasture butter" from Organic Valley, or Trickling Springs Farm in the DC metro area. Look for butter at the farmers market , or get some *real cream* and make your own. (Butter has the perfect fatty acid profile. Stop slurping that fish oil and pile on the good old fashioned grass-fed butter!)
4. (If you eat bread at all) Eat sprouted bread or a true sourdough bread. There are several brands on the market that make sprouted bread, sprouted bagels, sprouted English muffins. Find a baker that makes real sourdough, or make it yourself! (Be sure you slather on the pastured butter, as it will help to neutralize the rest of the phytic acid that has not been neutralized by sprouting. For more on phytic acid, see Living with Phytic Acid)
5.Eat grass-fed meat and poultry. The nutrient profile is very different for meat and poultry that is raised on pasture. Far more nutritious for you, better for the animal and for the planet. (All meat is not the same--comparing meat from animals raised in the Food Industrial Complex with meat from animals raised on pasture is like comparing apples and oranges--)
Okay, that's the beginning. We'll call it "real food for dummies" or, "real food 101". I am not going to go into fresh, raw milk at this time, as so many people in our country do not have access to it. (To find out about the state of raw milk in your state, check out the map on the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund's website or check out www.realmilk.com) I am not going to go into fermentation or soaking your beans and grains, or making your own stock. That's for level 2. Take it easy. Go slowly. One step at a time.