Letters, Spring 2007

Long Road to Recovery

I thought your readers would be interested in the chain of events that has helped me with my recovery from abdominal surgery six years ago. I was introduced to a homeopathic remedy called Traumeel which seems to relieve me of the paralysis and nausea in my digestive system that set in after surgery. The paralysis even included my ability to breathe and my sense of taste.

With my sense of taste less compromised and the nausea at bay, I found that the lacto-fermented beverages and vegetables were less objectionable. I consumed quite a bit of the soda at the last conference and felt a craving for it like never before. After the conference I’ve been consuming a brand of kombucha and found the distention created by the surgery abating.

But the solution to having enough energy, stamina and cognitive function was still eluding me. For my diet I had been focusing on light fare because of my compromised digestive function, such as chicken, fish, eggs, salads, veggies, raw butter, etc.—no milk, but some yogurt. But I would be less energetic once I ate.

Recently, I’ve had a craving for some beef and had steak and eggs—not premium grade—when I was eating out with my nephew. Not only did the steak seem quite satisfying (for the first time since my surgery), but I felt more energetic. This in spite of having potatoes at this meal also.

So after taking my nephew home, I went to Whole Foods and picked up some boneless ribeye steaks, came home and cooked one up—again very satisfying taste-wise and provided a boost to my energy immediately, so much so that I decided to do some light exercises.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt better than I’d felt in a long time. Since I only bought one pack of steaks, I figured I would save them for dinner and have bacon and eggs for breakfast. I got the familiar sluggishness and desire for sleep that I’ve lived with for so long. The eggs were pastured and the bacon was organic without nitrates. This indicated to me that beef was the way to go.

Now I have added the beet kvass since the taste is no longer objectionable, and I am also taking desiccated liver and high-vitamin cod liver oil for vitamin A, and Echinacea for immune system modulation. The Traumeel is still the key, as it brought back the loss of sensation and taste, definitely the thing that started me on my road to recovery and allowed me to eat red meat and fermented foods.

I think I still have a long road ahead of me but I am much more confident that I can overcome the fatigue and digestive problems for good.


Beans, the Musical Fruit

It was good to see a food feature on beans in the Winter, 2006 issue. Another reason to eat beans is that legumes seem to be far and away the best food source of molybdenum, averaging close to 10 times as much as liver (depending on soil concentrations of molybdenum where beans are grown).

Molybdenum is necessary to process the sulfur in foods into sulfate, which is necessary for bones and joints and liver detoxification, and is also necessary to process the sulfites in wines and other foods.

Chris Masterjohn
West Brookfield, Massachusetts

Myths about Meat

One reason given for avoiding meat is that animals are high on the food chain and therefore have a higher concentration of pollutants.

This statement is not necessarily correct. Some land animals, such as carnivores, are high on the food chain, while others, such as herbivores, are very low on it. Cows eat grass. How much lower on the food chain could an animal get? Even factory farmed cows eat a vegetarian diet. Most or all of the livestock that is consumed by humans is low on the food chain, whether that is their natural niche (cows, goats, sheep) or whether they are fed by humans—due to the BSE scare several years ago, most or all factory-farmed pigs and poultry are forced to eat a vegetarian diet even though they are omnivores. Of course they are not lower on the food chain than plants, but these vegetarian animals are indeed low on the food chain.

Another argument put forth by vegetarians states that even grass-fed animals are drinking polluted water. This is true, but it’s been demonstrated that well-mineralized plants in toxin-laden soil do not take up nearly as many toxins as poorly nourished plants in pristine soils, according to Arden Andersen, DO, and long-time agricultural consultant specializing in increasing the nutrient density of plants. There seems to be a parallel in animal bodies, so seeking the most nutrient-dense foods is better protection against all these toxins we’re bombarded with rather than simply trying to avoid exposure by avoiding nutrient-dense animal foods. For example, without animal foods we wouldn’t have a decent arsenal of vitamin A to protect us against dioxins.

Suze Fisher
Brunswick, Maine

Belly Flops

Friends of mine just returned from California where they took a tour of the Jelly Belly factory, makers of the many different flavors of jelly beans. While on the tour, they saw the “duds”;—the jelly beans that are funny shapes, sizes and colors, the ones that don’t quite make the cut. They call these “belly flops.”;

Someone on the tour happened to ask what happens to these belly flops. Without missing a beat, the tour operator said they have a pig farmer who picks up the belly flops and feeds them to his pigs. Then someone else on the tour added that he works in an ice cream factory and they have a dairy farmer who picks up the “dud”; ice cream and feeds it to his cows.

What surprised my friends even more was that no one on the tour was concerned about this or considered it a problem.

Brenda Ruble
Lake Oswego, Oregon

Hurray For Whole Milk

In July my daughter was hit by a BMW while riding her bike. There are big holes in the windshield of the car, but Susan did not sustain any broken bones.

Every time I look at the photo of the windshield of the car that hit her, I am amazed that Susan broke no bones. I have since heard story after story of friends who broke bones or whose children broke bones in lesser accidents!

It is scary to think about all the children who are drinking lowfat or skim milk. No wonder children are breaking bones so frequently these days! I put Susan on whole milk when she was five (after I discovered WAPF) and she has enjoyed exceptional health since then.

Laura Cooper
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Conventional Wisdom

I am currently attending university to obtain my degree as a registered dietitian. More than one of my teachers has told me, “We don’t use the term ‘junk food,’ because all food is okay in moderation.”;

I wanted to ask them, “Then why do we need dietitians if all food is healthy to eat?”; Of course we all know about the industry sponsorship of the American Dietetic Association. When I told my Quantity Foods teacher (a slender woman) that aspartame was a neurotoxin and not to drink diet sodas, she told me (nicely) that I needed to learn to be less dogmatic. Not a chance.

By the way, my husband recently had a CT scan to detect calcified plaque in his arteries, and guess what! Despite a total cholesterol around 270, and as high as 326, he has zero calcified plaque and the lowest possible risk for heart disease according to the cardiologist. When I told my Human Metabolism teacher about this (as we were discussing alternative causes of heart disease) she just rebuffed me, “Well, that doesn’t mean he won’t have a heart attack in six months.”; As you can see, I have to walk a fine line at school.

Pam Schoenfeld
Mendham, New Jersey

Wish I Had Known

My grandmother was put on statins. From the time she was placed on the drugs to the time of her death, she was never the same. She had no fat on her body to begin with, but the lack of cholesterol in her diet plus the statins led her to deteriorate rapidly. She lost mental clarity and the general “perkiness”; we all remember her for.

When she passed away, there was nothing wrong with her: no cancer, no Alzheimer’s, no heart disease. I look back now and wish I had known what I now know about the benefits of cholesterol, especially in post-menopausal women. My grandma might still be with us today. Of course I could never convince her physician of that.

Aimee Lindsey
Deltona, Florida

Saturated Fat Miracle

I saw your website and I want to briefly tell you about my wife. She has had autistic symptoms all her life, and for the last two years, Addison symptoms so serious she was a semi-invalid and very depressed. She is now cured (since last August). She is happy, works hard, no symptoms, no medication; all her lifelong autism symptoms are gone as well! It was truly a miracle. By accident and out of desperation she tried a diet extremely high in saturated fat. That was all. In three days she was a new person! I think someone should get the word out about this.

Doc Scantlin
Huntingtown, Maryland

Bones for Calcium

I’ve been thinking about the importance of calcium for all living beings lately, partly because of squirrel behavior in our yard. A squirrel unearthed a marrow bone that I’d buried, (after simmering it for days) and carried it up into a tree, slipped it over an upperward branch stump to secure it, and proceeded to eat it! I don’t think it was merely sharpening its teeth, as I saw two other squirrels go to the same bone burial spot, each get a bone and sit down near me and eat the entire pieces.

I also have a gardener’s book on fruit trees with a picture of an apple tree in a cemetery. Its roots had entered a casket and infiltrated the skeleton of the buried person, eerily tracing the entire outline of the body.

The upshot: bones might be the best source of calcium there is, and “vegetarian”; animals and trees know it!

Katherine Czapp
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Released From Prison

The Weston A. Price Foundation message is totally and completely different from the lowfat philosophy I had heard for so many years. It’s taken me several months to process the new information.

The good news is that I am feeling better. It was touch and go, but I’ve finally broken away from the “no fat”; philosophies. They weren’t working for me.

Personally, I found it difficult at different times, letting go of the old and welcoming the new—for example, fermented foods and cod liver oil. When people go on lowfat diets, they often start buying Entenmann’s no-fat donuts, for example, and upping their intake of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. That knee-jerk reaction hasn’t happened to me.

The joy and happiness I’m garnering from eating nourishing traditional foods is finally bringing me back from a rather foggy mental state to enjoying a more vibrant life. I was standing in Whole Foods the other day and it came into such focus, that I was startled with this thought dropping into my mind, “There is so much to be happy about and I can start by feeding myself well.”; It was not only a literal realization but a metaphorical one as well.

So, thank you for going against the grain. I was depressed, confused, irritable and unable to extricate myself. Frankly, I feel like I’ve been let out of prison and left the prison food behind me as well.

Karen Ferguson, PhD
Sunnyvale, California

Incredible Testimony

I have an incredible testimony of raw milk. In 1960, back in my country of Mauritius, my little sister and my cousin were at a neighbor’s house and were poisoned by some pesticide that they had put in pancakes instead of baking powder. The family of eight also ate these pancakes. When the kids of this family began vomiting and suffering diarrhea, they quickly realized that they were poisoned by the crêpes. They had cows in their yard and the grandmother quickly milked the cow and gave raw milk to all of the eight family members who ate the crêpes.

Unfortunately, my sister and my cousin had come home to our house after eating the crêpes. When they began vomiting and having diarrhea we did not know what was wrong. We took them to the hospital but my sister died the same day and my cousin died the next day. Their lives were lost because they did not get the raw milk—my neighbor had forgotten that our kids had also eaten the pancakes and did not warn us.

Anyone who says raw milk is not good for them should come to me and let me tell them the crucial truth about raw milk.

Rita Boa
Springfield, Virginia

A New Juicing Craze

I wanted to share with you some quotes of Weston Price in a series of articles published in Dental Digest.

“When I asked what the bone was for he said the marrow was to be used for food for the baby. When I asked why he would take the liver he said that the liver was full of life. The Indian explained how the moose eats buds of trees which were strong foods. The strength goes from the buds into the wall of the stomach and he explained that the Indians clean the stomach and pound the wall up fine to make milk for the baby. . .

“The waters draining towards the Arctic do not have the running salmon of the Pacific coast rivers but do have pike and white fish. The Indians spear some of these through the ice in the winter. They are difficult to catch in the summer with their meager equipment, for white fish cannot be caught with a hook and line. They make a nutritious milk for babies by grinding and squeezing the juice of the fish muscles.”;

While modern folks, suffering from a modern diet, juice their vegetables, our ancestors juiced what was really nourishing to them—stomach lining and fish flesh!

We could be starting the next juicing craze. Observing the deer eating the wheat grass and being healthy from eating wheat grass, instead of juicing the wheat grass, we juice the deer. Maybe at Jamba Juice, or Starbucks, they will start serving freshly squeezed liver juice and blended cow stomach lining!

Rami Nagel
Santa Cruz, California

From Miserable to Mellow

The Foundation has become such a powerful influence in the life of my wife and me. As a former heart patient, my entire life has revolved around “experts”; telling me what I could and could not do. When I was five, I was told that I would never be able to participate in sports; when I was fifteen, I was told that I would have to be on some form of blood pressure medication for the duration of my life. By the time I graduated high school, however, I was a three-sport athlete and medication-free for almost four years! The principles of the Foundation were present from early childhood until my mid-teens, when I began to consume the standard diet so prevalent in America. Because of the health of my youth, my body had the ability to survive through six surgeries and countless ear infections, as well as broken bones too numerous to count.

Unfortunately, since I had altered my diet, the next four years would be, for lack of a better word, miserable! In this short amount of time, my body broke down to the tune of three reconstructive shoulder surgeries, severe depression-type symptoms, multiple damaged teeth, one lost tooth and two heart attacks! At the time of the heart attacks and the loss of the tooth, I happened to be in the best physical shape of my life, prompting many to think I was a drug addict.

It would take another year and a half and the meeting of my wife to begin a positive change. In the last two years, my wife and I have progressively included traditional foods into our daily diet and have both witnessed an amazing transformation as a consequence. We are now planning our first child, which has led to many furrowed or raised eye brows as well as sarcastic comments from friends and family. However, I will take comfort in knowing that our child and future children will be healthy, vibrant, productive and creative members of a society that is desperately in need of them.

Dave Nelson
Billings, Montana

Weight Loss Surgery

I had weight loss surgery seven years ago and lost 200 pounds, which has really led me to your site. I have to eat the nutrient-rich diet to combat the malabsorption element that was built into the surgery that I had.

I have started a new yahoo group for those who have had (or are considering having) Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), who would like to eat a traditional diet. My goal is really to get the WAPF word out to the WLS community. These people are probably one of the groups most affected by the big food industry and the medical community. The URL is http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/wls_nutrition/

I used to be one of those super morbidly obese people and received so much bad advice from doctors, especially since my surgery. People like myself are being told to eat low fat due to their surgeries, and are told that if they don’t they’ll have life-threatening issues such as digestive blockages. This is not true—it’s the type of fat they are eating and processed foods that are causing the problems they are having after surgery.

This group of people is primed for WAPF information as they have tried to become nutritional experts on their own. I also hope to reach those who are considering surgery, and to give them a true picture of what life after surgery will be like. If I’d found WAPF sooner, I might have tried to heal myself nutritionally instead of resorting to the drastic surgical alteration of my digestive system for life. I don’t regret my decision at this point since my life is so much different and better than it was, but it would have been nice to have had options.

Kim Knoch
Sherwood, Oregon

HFCS and Weight Loss

I read the article on your website about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup. I would like to point out that there is a direct correlation between high fructose corn syrup and weight gain.

I weighed 275 pound for five years. I thought I generally ate a healthy diet; I love fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. I ate the three meals a day, and I engaged in moderate exercise, but I could not lose the weight.

Then I read an article in a newspaper about corn syrup retarding neuro-receptors that signal that one is full and should stop eating. I probably drank about two liters of Dr. Pepper a day. I stopped drinking non-diet sodas (I knew how bad the diet sodas are), and I started reading labels. I will not eat or drink anything that has corn syrup in it.

Without additional exercise or change of diet aside from corn syrup, I lost 65 pounds in four months. I started naturally just eating small portions, about four or five times a day. I ate less altogether, and my weight has now stabilized. I have gone from a size 24 in women’s pants to a size 16. My normal size is actually women’s 14, and my smallest natural size without looking emaciated or unhealthy is a 12.

The physical changes were almost immediate. I lost weight so fast that people at work thought I had cancer or some sort of eating disorder—the guy I am dating thought I had become anorexic. I had to show him that I eat the amount of food a normal person should.

Tracy Jones
Des Moines, Iowa

A Candidate for Statins?

I’ve been a WAPF adherent for about a year. A few weeks ago I started having frequent heart palpitations. Naturally, I was frightened. Although I wanted to find out what was wrong, I was also afraid to visit my doctor for fear they’d want to check my cholesterol, and heaven forbid anything be out of line or they’d try to put me on medication. But with my mother’s recent heart attack looming over me, and since the palpitations weren’t going away, I made an appointment. My doctor did as thorough an in-office exam as possible, checking for all sorts of things. He also ordered the dreaded lipids panel. After getting the EKG results, he told me that he could detect nothing wrong with my heart function, although if the palpitations continued we could consult a specialist. I felt enormously relieved to know I wasn’t going to keel over from heart failure anytime soon, and hoped that my blood chemistries would also be reassuring.

Wouldn’t you know, right away my palpitations decreased in frequency, and over the next few days almost disappeared! I gave the matter some thought and realized that I had been under quite a bit of stress, with many demands on my time.

Then I got the call from the doctor’s office. My labs looked fine, except for my LDL-cholesterol, which was “sky high”; at 188, and could I come in soon to discuss treatment? I spent a week’s worth of my son’s naptimes on the computer, looking for information that could assuage my fear. With articles from the WAPF site, along with Dr. Ravnskov’s webpage and others, I felt somewhat better, but I was still afraid I might be killing myself with butter after all.

Today I returned to my doctor’s; I was so anxious that on the way there I gave myself a running pep talk. I thought perhaps I was just paranoid, and that surely he wouldn’t prescribe statins to an otherwise healthy 34-year-old woman. Perhaps I’d just have to nod and smile my way through the standard nutrition mumbo-jumbo, and be done with it. Guess what? Apparently no one is a bad candidate for drugs nowadays, because I came away with a prescription for simvastin! (Don’t worry, there’s no way I’m going to take the stuff.) It seems that even though my HDL is outstanding at 84, my triglycerides are fine at 99, my risk ratio is a perfectly acceptable 3.5, my other labs were totally normal, and I have absolutely no signs of heart disease (other than the now-resolved palpitations), I simply cannot continue with such high LDL. He admitted that my cholesterol had nothing to do with the palpitations, and even that my risk ratio and HDL are good, but kept saying that my LDL had to come down, preferably under 100.

I found it interesting that he discouraged me from trying to lower it with diet, since that would at best only make a difference of 10-20 percent, and I’d probably be “miserable” on such a regimen. In fact, he said that “some people just make too much cholesterol,” and the only way to control it was with medication. He compared a lifetime of statins to taking daily vitamins, “something you do every day to keep healthy.”

But what really blew my mind was when I told him that I was very concerned about starting meds right now, since my husband and I are currently trying for another child. I thought he’d surely agree to postpone any treatment, but instead he said to go ahead and start the meds, and then quit once I became pregnant! He then told me that not taking medication during the pregnancy and breastfeeding period wouldn’t be a big deal, since it wasn’t like I was going to have a heart attack right now. So if it’s no big deal, then why risk my taking them during early pregnancy??

Hollie Regalo
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Skeletal Deformities

Weston Price noted the physical degeneration of peoples, mostly leading to facial and foot deformities. I have classified approximately five different spinal, shoulder, pelvis and skull deformities that I have seen in both Eastern European and Sephardic (Oriental) Jews here in Israel and the US. While trained in hand and limb reconstruction surgery, I mostly practice holistic medicine in the Jerusalem area.

Although we Jews developed these deformities over a period of 2000 years of exile in lands outside our Asiatic country, in ghettos eating miserable foods alien to the Israeli biochemical climate, Americans are reproducing these skeletal collapses within one generation due to the horrific climatic changes by carbon gasses, massive pollution, overuse of chemicals in foods (xenoestrogens), and malnutrition.

While on a recent visit to the States, I did an informal study of people walking around the airport during layovers. I estimate that I saw that at least 30 percent of the people in my informal inspection (sitting in the Newark and Pittsburgh airports between planes, including probably about 5,000 people over 5 hours) had such significant skeletal deformities.

In my practice, I temper the whole foods diet, as I see that these deformities lead to significant enough gastrointestinal weakness to not be able to digest the rich fatty and protein foods that we have here, mostly goat and sheep products and South American meats. Fortunately, after correcting their skeletal deformities through intensive body manipulation and energy, these patients regain their digestive abilities. If any of the readers or doctors associated with your organization has seen these changes, please contact me at ybenasher (at) bezeqint.net.

As a side note, one of your readers in Napa, California described a syndrome of her child with poor digestion and gifted mental abilities. This is similar to many syndromes in Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews whom I treat routinely. I suggest that she check her neck. Most of these children have abnormal C2, C3, and C7 vertebrae, leading to stagnant brain energy, and energy loss to the digestive organs. I have treated many such children, presenting with a similar clinical picture, with excellent results after reinserting their cervical vertebrae in place and energizing their digestive organs and lower extremities. The child’s rage accompanied by lifting herself up early in life is probably because she can’t feel her lower limbs very well, just like the children that I have treated.

Yehuda Ben-Asher, MD
Jerusalem, Israel

So Happy

I am so happy to renew my membership with WAPF. Your foundation has made a huge difference in my health and that of my family. Without WAPF, I would never have known about Dr. Cowan, who has been the major reason that the auto-immune disease, namely Grave’s disease, I have is being brought under control. Without his help, I would have been bullied into using radioactive iodine. With holistic treatment, my thyroid levels have been very near normal since last June, with no drugs! Dr. Cowan said that soy was likely a contributing factor to this.

I was also able to convince my 89-year-old mother that she did not need the statin drug she was taking. I went with her to her doctor’s appointment and was able to confront her physician with the side effects we were seeing. The doctor backed down and said she did not have to take them. I would never have known about all that without the knowledge I have learned from WAPF.

I have learned so much from WAPF in the past year, I just love to share it as much as I can. I have not been able to look at food in quite the same way as I used to. Thanks so much for all the work you are doing.

Joy Eriksen
Novato, California

Celiac-Candida Connection

Recent research from Holland, where celiac disease was first linked to diet, has found an important connection between celiac disease and Candida albicans. A Dutch researcher, Dr. Nieuwenhuizen, has found that the protein sequence implicated in celiac disease that occurs in gluten-containing grains is also found in the portion of Candida albicans that it uses to attach itself to the intestinal wall. The immune system will respond to Candida attaching to the intestinal wall. Perhaps when candidiasis becomes established, gluten intolerance can occur. This is important information for sufferers of either condition. The reference is Lancet. 2003 Jun 21; 361(9375):2152-4. Is Candida albicans a trigger in the onset of celiac disease?

Tim Opie
Motueka, New Zealand

Vital Vitamin D

The article by Chris Masterjohn on vitamin D I recently read in your latest journal is (like all of his articles) extremely well written and thoroughly researched. I want to commend you on publishing such high quality material. In all my years of medical training vitamin D was never reviewed this well. My 10-year-old daughter, despite at least a year of high vitamin cod liver oil at amounts ranging from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, still only had a vitamin D3 level of 25 ng/ml, on a recent blood test. Most of my patients that I have been measuring have had very low levels. It is rare that a patient has ever had a level above 40. I have noted a very depressed patient of mine with a long psychiatric history has had a level still in the teens. I have never had a blood test come back higher than 45 ng/ml out of 20 I have done on my patients of varying ages. I do think the cod liver oil has a protective effect being with the other vitamins (A, D, E, K), and it doesn’t get the blood level of vitamin D too high. However, I also do feel that it is a good idea to monitor vitamin D levels on our patients as a part of virtually any blood test they get.

I think we should ask our pediatricians to check vitamin D levels as a part of children’s’ blood tests. The information we would have would be far more useful than getting a cholesterol level. Keeping this vitamin at optimal levels could help prevent many diseases, such as growth issues, diabetes, cancer, dental cavities, infections, etc.

Dr. Paul Capobianco, DO
Glen Cove, New York

WAPF-Friendly Readers

I grew up in northern Minnesota in the small city of Duluth. Many people who originally settled there were from Scandinavia, and they influenced many aspects of Duluth’s culture. In elementary school our reading primers were not Dick and Jane books, but Snip, Snap and Snur or Flicka, Ricka and Dicka books by Swedish author Maj Linkman.

These books are still available and out of nostalgia, I recently bought my daughter these charming books to read. What I didn’t realize as a child, but now see as an adult, is what a wonderful Wise Traditions message these books carry. The stories take place in Sweden where two sets of triplets—the boys are Snip, Snap and Snur, the girls are Flicka, Ricka and Dicka—learn some lessons in traditional farming practices.

I would recommend these books to young school-age children and have enclosed two books for the WAPF library.

Susan Bauer
Hayward, Wisconsin

Jill Nienhiser has been a Weston A. Price Foundation member since 2001, and has provided web maintenance, editing, and proofreading support for westonaprice.org and realmilk.com for many years. She also helped launched the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund in 2007.

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