Letters, Summer 2009

Healthy Twins

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Since the birth of my twin girls, Moriah and Tsameret, almost four years ago, I have wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the information provided by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

I started on a WAPF diet as I began my journey to conceive almost ten years ago, continued through my pregnancy, and I got the girls started on it from birth.

Being an older mother I did not produce enough milk for twins and started them on the homemade formula in addition to breastfeeding. What an incredible resource it was to have your recipe for infant formula. I was so relieved not to have to use commercial formulas (even the organic ones are loaded with rice syrup). It was a pleasant ritual to prepare their bottles, twelve at a time, and put them in the fridge. I was still breastfeeding them at age three, in addition to the all the good foods and raw milk that we can find and/or grow ourselves.

Thanks to your advice, the first solid foods my girls had were warm egg yolks with grated raw organic chicken livers. They loved it and still like to eat chunks of frozen raw liver as a snack! One of my girls loves her soft boiled egg (especially the yolk) and will often eat two in the morning. The other is more of a yogurt girl. They both love their oatmeal with plenty of butter and raw milk on top. They also willingly take their cod liver oil and probiotics every day. Having had cod liver oil since birth, I guess they like the taste! They like to eat raw steak or hamburger, which sure makes feeding them easy! They also enjoy sushi. For a long time they ate spoonfuls of plain butter, which I make myself twice a year in quantity from the rich yellow cream of spring and fall. They also love to eat chicken skin and to chew on chicken bones and cartilage. And in their bottles they get homemade chicken stock as often as they get raw milk.

They also enjoy lacto-fermented foods, beet kvass, dried sardines, canned fish and vegetables. When they were teething, they gnawed on broccoli stems.

I am just amazed by the robust, earthy, and mature taste my girls have developed for foods that most toddlers won’t go near. Other people are amazed by their appetite and their willingness to try new foods at least once. I can only attribute it to the good advice I received and followed from your articles. I have simply introduced them to good food and stayed away from the junk, which is the way my husband and I eat, too, of course. It really is easy to get toddlers to eat right when you do it that way. I see many mothers with young children, even those who consider themselves healthy cooks, who struggle with sugar addiction and discipline problems. In fact, I am shocked at how most people feed their children, especially since I have seen how easy it is to give a child a healthy, robust start in life by simply choosing the right foods. My girls fight sometimes and have their melt downs, and ask for candy, but they are well behaved, verbally articulate, reasonable and good natured. I credit their diet to a large extent because I am by no means the perfect parent.

One more thing: we went to a dentist recently for their first checkup and they are cavity free! Apparently, this is rare these days. I was sure they would have no caries, but needed to confirm it. They were so cute, sitting on my lap, opening their little mouths wide for the dentist, feeling so grown up.

Lucia Ruedenberg-Wright
New York, New York

The Goodness in Raw Spring Milk

As an herbalist and lover of weeds, I have great respect for plants. Nature provides mankind with uncountable wild plants for our enjoyment and healing. Many of these uncultivated edibles grow right in our own back yards and are highly medicinal in various strengths and properties.

The farmer has these same plants in his fields, where his animals enjoy those highly nutritious grasses and weeds instinctively. Among these weeds is one called onion grass, which is in the allium family. One may wonder why it is even there. Some people can detect its flavor in the milk if the cow gets into a patch of it. Have we ever thought about why such a “nasty” wild edible might be there, available for animals to get a hold of and eat, which “ruins” the taste of the milk?

Consider the fact that the constituents of allium are natural antibiotics. Perhaps the cow needs to eat this in the spring in order to clean her gut after a long winter without fresh grass. Can nature really make mistakes?

Every spring, I eagerly wait for the new spring weeds to return and I’m thankful when they finally emerge from the ground. It seems to me that if allium can clean the guts of an animal, it can also clean our own through the animal’s milk. I add bushels of it to our wild spring salad mix, to help clean the blood! So when we receive this wonderful spring milk, we might consider its natural medicinal benefit and thank our farmers for providing us with the most incredible goodness on the face of this earth.

Animals seem to be much wiser than humans, and we can only learn from them. So the next time one considers returning milk to the farmer because we don’t like the “interesting” spring flavor, we might consider the goodness nature wants to provide for us.

Through many travels in Switzerland, I’ve spoken with numerous elderly individuals about raw milk. Most of them refer to the war time, when there were great shortages of food. They’ve all told me that every liter of milk was treasured and used anytime of the year including spring. Nothing was ever thrown out, except the low fat milk, which was used to fatten and feed the animals.

An important study done in the Swiss Alps (Collomb et al. 2001; 2002a) showed that the more diversity of plants, herbs and grasses available for the animals, the higher the nutrition in the milk products. . . and yes, Switzerland has onion grass!

Judith Mudrak, Chapter Leader
Southampton, New Jersey

Editor’s Response: Judith leads a tour of WAPF members to study traditional dairy products and other foods in Switzerland each summer.

Static Contraction Training

I feel compelled to tell my story after reading about SuperSlow® Weight Training in Dr. Cowan’s article in the Fall, 2008 issue of Wise Traditions. In 2000 I had a motorcycle injury with pelvic fractures, which laid me up for about a year. I must have developed a “disuse osteopenia” which was not revealed until June, 2006 when I sustained a hip fracture when skiing on ice, and which was followed eventually by a DexaScan revealing the osteopenia. This got me on the road to traditional foods and increasing knowledge about minerals and vitamin D, amongst other things.

Eventually I resumed my gentle weight training, getting into SuperSlow again. This led me into Pete Sisco’s schedule called Static Contraction Training (SCT). If you think that Super- Slow is good, you will not believe what SCT can do for you.

After a couple of months I only need to work out once per month. I do not waste time doing the mythical aerobic conditioning. It takes about one half hour to complete my session with a ten-minute warm up plus three exercises.

SCT has considerable advantages over SuperSlow. There is no full range of movement necessary, hence no opportunities for injuries. The stronger I get, the less frequently I work out. When I cannot be bothered getting any stronger, I am told that I can maintain my gains by working out every two to three months. Otherwise, I walk the dog for about thirty minutes daily. I still scuba dive, snorkel and kayak at times.

In August, 2008 I could leg press 300 kg (660 pounds). Last week I leg 460 kg (1012 pounds). This is a static hold near full leg extension, not a full range of movement. In August, 2008 I could not quite lift a 40 kg (88 pounds) bar off the rack. Last week I lifted 80 kg (176 pounds).

The results speak for themselves. I feel stronger. My legs do not fail me at skiing the way they once did. I can now lift my 24-kg (52-pound) kayak onto the car roof without real effort. These results would be of no surprise to a SCT exerciser.

I will be seventy years old in a few months.

Neil Hilford
New Zealand

The Warrior Diet

As someone who occasionally picks up a mainstream exercise and fitness magazine, I am struck by the absolute lack of nutritional knowledge of the socalled experts, who give advice about which fast-food entrée is best for “ripped abs” or “better biceps.”

As someone who has been trying to follow the WAPF diet for several years, I have noticed a lack of discussion about sports and weightlifting as they relate to those unique dietary needs. Although I was briefly exposed to Ori Hofmekler’s The Warrior Diet several years ago through his association with one of the main promoters of kettlebell exercise in the country, it wasn’t until last November that I read the book and his other books. I found him and his views very compelling and largely consistent with the nutritional guidelines of WAPF—not exact, but at least compatible.

That is why I was disappointed to read the book review of Ori’s book in the Winter, 2008 edition of Wise Traditions. While Ori does not agree with every facet of WAPF philosophy, his book’s recommendations are very compatible and should not receive a “thumbs down” judgment—in fact, a book review is not what was needed.

Instead, I would love to see WAPF engage with someone like Ori in a serious conversation about diet and sports. We’ve all seen the reports of what Michael Phelps eats—not exactly WAPF-approved. Compare that to Ori’s recommendations of whole, organic foods; raw milk from grassfed cows; organic, free-range eggs; and fermented foods, to name a few.

In the very same issue of Wise Traditions you thank a reader for “a gentle reminder to the rest of us not to take our meal planning and food providing too seriously!” In that spirit, I would encourage you to retract your “thumbs down” review and instead start a conversation about all the common ground you share. What a benefit that would be to both Warrior Diet followers who could and should be a part of WAPF and WAPF members who want to learn more about functional exercise, intense training, and what I’ve found to be a very liberating and beneficial approach to how and when I eat each day.

Jason Isaak
Phoenix, Arizona

Editor’s Response: Many diet books contain guidelines that are somewhat in line with WAPF principles, but which miss the most important point, namely the need for liberal quantities of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D and K2) in the diet. The Warrior Diet is a good example of such a book. Hofmekler recommends avoiding cod liver oil, puts no stress on organ meats, and provides recipes that are mostly low in fat but high in protein (one recipe calls for sixteen egg whites and three or four yolks!). As we have constantly stressed, such a high-protein diet is a recipe for burnout and chronic disease, whether the animal foods come from grass-based farms or not, especially if followed for too long. Here at WAPF we have an obligation to warn our readers about books that seem to be WAPF-friendly but which ultimately make recommendations that can lead to a broad range of health problems.

WAPF and the Fitness Community

I am a fitness person so am always looking at sites for fitness programs. Well, I think WAPF’s message is getting into the fitness industry. One trainer, Mike Geary, has a nutritional program where he uses coconut oil, grass-fed beef, pasture-fed chickens and eggs, and raw milk. He quotes Dr. Mary Enig and has links to realmilk.com.

I thought this was awesome. He seems to be a voice of reason in an industry that needs one.

Joy Eriksen
Novato, California

Editor’s Response: As noted above, without the fat-soluble activators, the nutrients in grass-fed animal products largely go to waste. Physical activity uses up vitamin A, so athletes and those in training really do need to eat organ meats and take cod liver oil.

Trash, or Sacred Food?

This is a picture of a kahawai fish, which the mainstream pakeha (European) culture here regard as trash fish and the government sells by the ton to Australia for one dollar per kilo for cat food.

 

sum09-letters-fishBut the Maori regarded the kahawai as sacred fish; in the summer months when the kahawai are fat, they are the most highly regarded of all fish. They are prepared by removing all the organs, then, with the exception of the gall bladder, stuffing them back inside. The milt and roe are also highly regarded.

In the photo under the fish is a stuffed stomach, to the right of that is an unstuffed stomach, then a male roe or milt, and underneath are two female roe sacks and the liver. All of that can be stuffed into one stomach. I haven’t been able to eat them like that but put everything all in the fish stock and use it for fish sauce!

Smoked kahawai is fantastic as is raw kahawai and every other way of cooking it, but it must be fresh! Down here over the past one hundred years it has been bottled to eat the following year. The fish is put into jars and into a large pot or bathtub with a fire underneath and then boiled for five hours. I don’t know whether cooking that long affects the quality, but it still tastes very good!

Kay Baxter
Opotiki, New Zealand

Shark Liver Oil

I come from a fishing village on the coast of Peru. I remember working with my grandfather when I was young. He was a small man but very strong and healthy.

In addition to fishing, he had a small business selling shark liver oil to England. The liver of a shark is enormous! He would hang it up for several days, and then take it down and bake it. The oil ran out and he then bottled it and sent it to England.

Like my grandfather, we took that shark liver oil every day before the noon meal. We also ate lots of fish roe, which we understood gave fertility. The rest of our diet was seafood, with the addition of some potatoes and rice which were imported into the village— we grew nothing there, we only fished. My grandfather lived to age one hundred eighteen!

Pablo Cabalo
Alexandria, Virginia

Anti-Saturated Fat Campaign

A few years ago, my son and I had started a coconut oil company in the UK but we were practically hounded out of business by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), which did not like our concept and refused us any permission to say that coconut oil was healthy.

Now the FSA has launched an anti-saturated-fats campaign in the UK, and runs some very prominent and frightening TV ads. Here is some info on their campaign (www.food.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/2009/feb/launchsatfatcampaign). The other day a journalist very encouragingly wrote something in the Telegraph about refusing to give up cream and butter. I think it is time that a few more voices were heard! I hope that WAPF members in the UK will write to the papers and inform them that the anti-saturated fat campaign is not based on science, but is driven by the agenda of the vegetable oil industry.

Sharon Maas
Eastbourne, UK

Coconut Oil Forbidden

I am currently living in the Canary Islands. A health food shop employee tells me that food grade coconut and palm oils are forbidden everywhere by the Spanish government because they are considered “bad for the heart.”

At the same time, soy products are flourishing like never before in the so-called “health shops,” and cigarettes are way cheaper here than on the continent!

What kind of world do we live in? I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry about it!

Laurent Langlais
Canary Islands

A Message From Germany

For two years now my family and I have been living according to the WAPF guidelines and it has made all the difference in health for us. I’ve read the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and it has been a revelation.

I live in southern Germany and the lowfat craze is big around here. What I read on your web site about the corrupt food and medical system is all the same here: supermarkets selling a lot of junk; people afraid to eat butter and eggs; vegetable oils everywhere; HFCS in all fruit and flavored yoghurts, puddings, and ice creams in the supermarket. Now they even put vegetable oil into the ice creams instead of real cream. People buy the stuff anyway.

The government has gotten rid of most of the small farms by now; they couldn’t make a living anymore. There are a few left, but they are struggling. The organic farms are doing somewhat better. But the EU is subsidizing the big factory farms and the little ones are squeezed out. Raw milk is available if you get it directly from the farm. The farmer has to tell people by law to cook it before using it.

Elvira Uschold
Trevesen, Germany

The Right Ratio

Thank you for all your information on cod liver oil, vitamins A, D and the importance of the right ratio of A to D. I want to relate what happened with me when my A to D ratio became dismantled.

Last summer, after a period of job stress and an over-busy life, I got really sick with a viral throat infection that went into my thyroid gland. My thyroid hormones shot sky high with all the signs of extreme hyperthyroidism. I was in bed using a beta blocker for most of June but by mid-July I was recovering quickly. Because it took a while to figure out what happened to me I was extremely nervous about doing too much of any supplement so lowered everything including cod liver oil.

My endocrinologist gave me the wise advice of waiting it out and by August I was back to feeling good again and my thyroid numbers were evening out. I had a general blood test and found out that my vitamin D was at a level currently considered low, around 30. I probably also had low vitamin A from the extreme viral infection during the summer. I got a shot of 100,000 IUs of vitamin D and lowered my intake of vitamin A from cod liver oil. That’s when all hell broke loose!

My thyroid numbers went hyper again, this time manifesting in hypothyroidism. My retina began to detach with peripheral flashing lights and floaters (this had begun towards the end of my summer illness and had been going away), and I developed multiple small warts under my breasts where the bra rubs and on my back—both of these are signs of vitamin A deficiency.

My arthritic ankle got so bad I bought a walking stick and figured my long put-off ankle fusion surgery was around the corner. I gained about 20 pounds fast and my ability to handle stress plummeted. Long extinct sinus problems returned with constant congestion at night.

No one had any answers and I figured my thyroid was damaged from the viral infection although my endocrinologist said he’d never seen that happen.

About two months ago I decided to try to pull my low ferritin [iron-storage protein] up to see if that would help, and began taking two to three heaping tablespoons of desiccated liver daily and lots of spleen tablets. Almost within days I changed totally. I thought it was the iron so after a month on this we retested and threw in a thyroid test for the heck of it. Amazingly my thyroid numbers were almost perfect. This was four weeks after my previous test showing super high numbers.

I still hadn’t figured out that all this was due to vitamin A deficiency until I read Chris Masterjohn’s article about the need for vitamin A to balance vitamin D. Now I suspect both my A and D were low after my illness. I would have slowly built up both in tandem on good foods, such as butter and cod liver oil. But once I got the high vitamin D shot it used up the remaining low vitamin A and my eye retina paid dearly. Now I’m loading on early spring

butter, fermented cod liver oil, fermented skate oil, liver and medicinal herbed bone broths. My warts have totally disappeared, sinus problems are going away, brain is working again, and the retinal problems are gone (which, by the way, my eye doctor said wouldn’t happen and that I would have to get used to the flashing light). Just after the vitamin D shot, when I took cod liver oil it gave me joint pain. However, now, with taking a lot of vitamin A, my osteoarthritis pain is also clearing quickly. I think I was not taking in enough vitamin A and the extra vitamin D in the cod liver oil, on top of the huge dose in the shot, was what caused the joint pain.

I’ve currently pulled my vitamin A up to around 90,000 IUs (only from food sources) and will stay there for another month. I’ll retest in a month but based on the way I feel I’m sure all will be good.

I suppose that most people probably have enough vitamin A stored in their liver so that the extra D supplements never push it to rock bottom. In the Third World, children don’t lose their sight until the measles virus makes them hit the bottom. Everything I read says that vision problems happen when vitamin A is really, really low.

Another thought: People following the Marshall protocol are warned away from taking any vitamin D. I wonder whether these people are actually extremely deficient in vitamin A from viral infections. When they take vitamin D, it further depresses vitamin A.

Lynn Razaitis, Chapter Leader
Atlanta, Georgia

Editor’s Response: Thank you for sharing this fascinating story, which illustrates the danger of overdosing on vitamin D without also taking vitamin A. According to information in the Spring, 2009 journal, a vitamin D level of 30 should not be considered particularly low—normal is in the range of 30-50—so the shot of 100,000 IUs vitamin D was not even warranted.

Lift the Ban

I grew up on a farm in North Carolina. I and my eleven siblings were healthy and had very few colds or other health problems because we drank fresh milk every day. I am now eighty-one and healthy and I give all the credit to fresh milk and other milk products we made on the farm.

During the Great Depression we gave many of these same products along with fresh eggs and produce to friends and family who lived in town. We were all healthy until the point where I and my friends no longer had access to fresh unadulterated products. Lift the ban on the fresh milk and we will have far fewer strange diseases.

Bill Parrish
North Carolina

Raw Milk and the Eyes

I am just back from Illinois where I was unable to get raw milk. It was interesting to observe my body becoming full of phlegm, which went away after being back on raw milk.

I also noticed my vision deteriorating. I do not know what the connection is with raw milk and sharp eyes, but I stopped wearing reading glasses in my mid-fifties, after switching to raw milk.

I wrote about my grandfather’s farm in the Winter, 2007 Wise Traditions article, “The First Cow Share Program.”

While back in Illinois sorting through boxes of family photos, I was repeatedly struck by the difference in the ones of my older sister, who was born on the farm and lived there until six months of age, and the other two suburban-raised children. Christina, the eldest, has a square face, a perfect bite, and rolls of baby fat. The two younger girls had oval faces and less fat. As we grew up, the eldest was the only one who did not need orthodontia. This is a small survey, but interesting.

I appreciated the article on cookware. Incidentally, the correct word for a spoon-fork combination tool is runcible spoon, coined by Edward Lear in his famous poem, “The Owl and the Pussycat.”

Neysa Garrett
Berkeley, California

Raw Milk for Rash

I sell organic raw milk from grassfed, free-range Jersey cows to several women in my area. I had a new customer a few weeks ago started getting milk from me. Then one week she did not get milk and her daughter developed a rash around her mouth. This mother could not figure out what was going on with her child.

Then she got some milk from me again and the rash went away. What she discovered was that when she fed her child store bought milk, she developed a rash and when she fed her raw milk the rash went away. So this is proof that real milk really is the best!

Julie Rosen, Chapter Leader
Selby, South Dakota

Obviously Raw Milk

My daughter has been purchasing raw milk for the past year from a small local dairy farmer. My ten-year-old grandson has suffered from a large range of allergies and slight asthma. This bothers him most in the winter and he has always stayed on Clariton. Since drinking raw milk he has been allergy-free, and medication-free as well. In addition, his digestive system (previous gas problems) also is greatly improved. The addition of raw milk in his diet is the only change so it is obvious the raw milk is responsible for his improved health.

Vicki Wilson
Whitsett, North Carolina

Vegetable Oil in Chad

The January 5, 2009 issue of the New Yorker had an article about hardship in Chad, with a photograph of shanty structures made with cardboard boxes. Printed on the cardboard boxes was the following: “USA, refined Vegetable Oil, Vitamin Fortified.”

I was so struck by this. Not that I hold the vegetable oil industry directly responsible for the crisis in Chad, Sudan or elsewhere, but the enormous implications of this agribusiness machine, of a world food supply gone mad, so devoid of meaning. . . it just hit me right in my heart.

It seems that we have forgotten the value of human beings, forgotten the value of precious real food, and of the joy and beauty of eating real food. Our society does not connect this with the suffering that ensues for so many and on so many levels when our fellow humans are deprived of that basic right to eat wholesome food. All because of the injustice of profits taking precedence over people.

Karen Phillips, RN, PHN
Monte Rio, California

Chuckling

My husband, age thirty-eight, had a wellness exam for his insurance recently. He called me afterwards, chuckling. He said, “You’ve never seen a nutritional consultant’s eyes bug out like that.”

His numbers were fantastic. Cholesterol was 201, triglycerides were too low to read, and blood pressure and sugar were excellent. Following the exam he met with a nutritional consultant to discuss the results. She looked over his and happily asked how he stayed in such great shape. He proceeded to tell her how he eats bacon and eggs cooked in lard for breakfast, steak a few times a week, butter and raw whole milk. Dinner the night before was lamb steak with the fat. Needless to say, she was in shock. Of course, they were promoting lowfat, no-meat diets, and here was my husband, doing everything contrary and yet had what we figure were some of the best numbers in his group.

To her credit, she told him to keep doing what he’s doing. While we had no fear of his results, we were thrilled to see how good they were.

Misty Sorchevich
Cameron Arnold
Knox, Indiana

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