My upbringing in Switzerland came during the transition from traditional to modern foods. We lived about fifteen minutes outside the city of Bern. Mom gave us one tablespoon of yellow-colored cod liver oil from a quart-sized brown bottle every morning during the cold months. Until I was about thirteen years old, the milk man delivered raw milk daily, but everyone was told to boil their milk.
Unfortunately, my mother used margarine for spread on bread—as per instructions from her doctor, for fear we would gain weight, although we were all very slim! But she also used golden pasteurized butter for cooking and fatty slab bacon (called Speck) for daily frying. Pork ears, tails, snouts and feet were weekly regulars with a treat of mustard on top—to cover reality—never chops or steaks. Once in a while mom had rabbit from my grandfather or ground horse meat, cooked in Schmalz. Thursday was liver sausage day and Friday blood sausage day. However Mom used MSG (Aromat and Maggi) daily.
When we vacationed in the mountains, Mom would get us farm-fresh raw milk from the Käserei, raw cream from the mountain farms (which we ate with wild picked mountain blueberries) and farm eggs. They tasted so wonderful! Although mom was (and still is) an incredible cook, there was too much sugar in the house, which may have caused a roller coaster effect on our health!
Overcrowding of my teeth was not an issue—no wisdom teeth had to be removed. My eyesight was good until I turned fifty, but then I needed glasses. When I attended elementary and middle school in Switzerland in the 60s and 70s, all children were forced to take fluoride tablets daily during morning class. I received my first mercury fillings at age nine; my tonsils were removed at fourteen.
Still, I credit the present good health of my parents (both born in 1925, ninty-one years old this year!) to their now-daily intake of raw morning eggs, raw milk, raw cream, raw cheese and raw garlic cloves among other healthy foods. Cheating still happens, but Mom did clean up the margarine-and-sugar diet! Never too late!!Recently they both went on two well-deserved six-day cruises on the Rhine and a seven-day Mediterranean cruise. I did worry about their food intake there!
THE SAD DIET
Marriage brought me to the U.S. in 1975. I adopted the SAD diet as my husband did not want to eat my diet of liver, onion and pigs feet—it took him twenty years to realize that food may contribute something to health—stubborn! Forty-one years later he credits raw milk, cod liver oil and the Wise Traditions diet for his energy and well being.
I went from ninety-five to one hundred twenty-five pounds in my first year in the U.S. as I adapted late night snacking, which I was not accustomed to.
Fortunately my pregnancy was uneventful and I gave birth in June 1978 to our beautiful seven-pound-ten-ounce daughter Miriam—but not without troubles: I was very slow dilating and endured over thirty-eight hours of labor; the baby had to be turned as she came upside down. I was torn and had many painful stitches—in fact, I could barely sit, stand or lie down for seven weeks! On the third day after the birth, an infection set in, and I was forced to quit nursing. The doctor put me on antibiotics for ten days while I pumped my breasts, desperately wanting to go back to nursing. I remember looking through the hospital glass window watching my husband bottle feed our baby a conventional formula as she vomited that awful stuff right back up. I felt so bad.
Sixteen-month-old Cole is eager to help in the kitchen and enjoys serious bites of butter. Besides mom still nursing, he loves the wonderful Wise Traditions diet!
Thankfully I was able to nurse again after the ten days and did so for eleven months. She was a very happy, chubby baby, curious and always exploring. With no experience I listened to my authorities about most everything. When she was about five or six months old, I felt like she was not getting enough nourishment from me alone so I began adding Gerber instant cereals and other solid foods. She received the recommended vaccinations. In 1980 our well went dry and we had to connect to fluoridated city water. When she was four, I started her on baby fluoride tablets. I obtained them from a Swiss Apotheke. About a year thereafter her hair fell out in bunches. She was about five and one-half when I began using the microwave oven to cook her morning eggs and pre-packaged oatmeal. She loved to stand in front of the oven and watch it cook. Had I only known!
Miriam began having hour-long sneezing fits every morning before school, and she blew her nose sounding like an elephant. My husband also suffered from long sneezing fits since he was a child, especially around fresh cut grass and flowers. Our daughter began her monthly cycle three years before I did at age eleven—for me it was age fourteen and my mother age seventeen.
Miriam has never had cavities even to this day—which I credit to daily gentle brushing with water since the eruption of the first tooth—but needed glasses at age eight, braces and then all wisdom teeth removed at age seventeen for the sake of space. I felt that was so wrong; surely God did not make a mistake giving us wisdom teeth. There had to be another solution!
In the mid nineties I began searching for the real diet and thought I had found it! I fell into the soy trap and paid with a hysterectomy four years later, because of the growth of a non-malignant tumor. I almost bled to death as the hospital did not forward my messages to my doctor. I heard my blood rushing in my ears. Considering all this, I was doing pretty well, still working in my garden with a hemoglobin of 5.3, (normal is about 12) while replenishing my strength daily with wild edibles, herbs and meat.
The turning point came in 2002 when I heard about the Weston A. Price Foundation at the herbal conference Green Nations Gathering in upstate New York. I heard why butter is better and about the ploy of soy! I joined the Foundation immediately, and soon we were drinking raw milk and eating raw butter. It all made perfect sense! My husband and daughter’s allergies disappeared—but only when we could obtain raw milk. (By the way, my husband would have died in 1953 when he was just a few days old if it had not been for an old-time medical doctor demanding he receive raw goat’s milk! His mom was too sick to nurse because of her poor diet and formulas did not work.)
THE NEXT GENERATION
In 2012 Miriam got married. Thankfully her husband adopted much of the WAPF diet. In February 2014 she conceived and started taking cod liver oil—of course it should have been the other way around, cod liver oil first and then conception.
They visited Germany for one week in May and Switzerland for two weeks in June. While in Germany she could not find grass-fed raw milk, and all her childhood allergies returned with a vengeance! “It was awful, it was horrible,” were her words. “My nose leaked so much, I had to keep tissues there all the time—and I snored at night!” It took her ten days on raw milk from a vending machine in Switzerland before the allergies cleared.
Four days before the delivery, she ate another can of sardines (having eaten many already) and also followed my Swiss aunt’s advice (who had five easy births, one on the highway going to church!) by consuming about a tablespoon of ground flax daily in her last two months of pregnancy. She also used hemaplex (a supplement for healthy blood) just to be safe (suggested by her midwife).
The day before delivery, Miriam worked in New York City all day, cooked dinner in New Jersey and then was driven one and one-half hours to her midwife in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She had a full term baby by water birth—a healthy seven pound baby boy, pushing actively for only eight minutes, and losing only about two cups of blood. Baby was born quiet and content and had his first bowel movement within the first hour.
Miriam likes to call it “Destination Birth,” and feels that this is a new trend. “Our baby was born in a beautifully restored 1800s farm cottage with just my husband and the midwife.— such a peaceful, relaxing setting.” Says Miriam, “I credit a strict diet from the WAPF, my midwife and mom for a quick and safe six-hour delivery. No sugar, coffee, alcohol or refined carbs for almost a year, with lots of organic, nourishing whole foods, including lots of healthy fats. I’m already back in my jeans!”
Amazing the difference between Miriam and myself! Now I’m curious what my grandson’s dental arches and eyesight will be. I’m thankful for the midwife teaching my daughter so many things (I learned nothing from my doctor or the hospital!) One piece of advice was to cradle the baby in the last trimester so it would not come with the head turned upwards like mine did. She was continually on top of blood levels, proper diet and so much more. While pregnant our daughter shared the diet with her pregnant girlfriend who experienced preclampsia and had a caesarian with her first pregnancy. Her girlfriend then went on the Wise Traditions diet and had a healthy second pregnancy with vaginal birth!
Of course, much gratitude must go to the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is helping countless mothers reverse the trend of physical degeneration. What greater gift to any family than a healthy child!
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2016