The Breastfeeding Debate
As an avid follower of Weston A. Price, I want to commend you on the overall high quality of the first issues of Wise Traditions. However, I was stunned and appalled to read in the Spring 2001 issue, “We’ve tackled a few other sacred cows in this issue: The sacred cow that breastfeeding is always best. . .” which refers to Price’s quote, “some mothers cannot efficiently rear their own infants on the breast-food that they produce.” According to Price’s writings in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, it is the mother’s poor nutrition which is the problem and not the lactation system.
In your hurry to wage war on breastfeeding, I believe people will question your credibility as an organization with this statement. It does a disservice toward other highly beneficial groups, such as La Leche League, founded in 1956 to provide support to nursing women.
In their book, The Womanly Art of BreastFeeding, La Leche League describes human milk as the superior infant food. “Human milk has long set the standard for infant feeding. After all, human breast milk is the only food uniquely designed by nature for the human baby. It contains all the nutrients babies need each day, plus many substances that help keep them healthy and promote optimal growth and development. Through the years, research has confirmed what common sense dictates: a mother’s own milk is the best possible food for her infant. Artificial infant feeding products can’t even come close to duplicating the rich mix of nutrients and biologically active substances manufactured in mothers’ breasts.” The ability to nurture a baby successfully involves many other factors besides poor nutrition, such as hospital pre- and post-birth intervention with drugs and unnatural, stressful procedures; immediate nursing of the infant after birth; feeding on demand; poverty; politics; lack of family and cultural support for breastfeeding; consumption of alcohol, drugs, caffeine, chemicals; heavy metals in our food, air and water; and lack of nutrient-dense quality foods because of years of poor farming practices, food processing and corporate control.
Breastfeeding is more than a nutrient-delivery system. It is vital for facial development, provides immunity, bonding, emotional security, comfort, lactation amenorrhea. Furthermore, the milk and immunity factors change constantly with the infant’s growing needs throughout the nursing period. To tell a mother not to nurse because her milk is not good enough is like telling an entire population to stop eating food because it no longer contains enough nutrients to sustain life and is totally contaminated with toxins! The solution is to grow nutritious food and eliminate the toxins from the environment, not to switch to a second-rate substitute and ignore the original problems. We need to work together. . . to change the obstacles to poor health and nutrition, not to look to inferior substitutes in place of a marvelously designed system with a long evolutionary history. A clarification article elaborating the benefits of breastfeeding needs to be published immediately as damage control in regards to this statement.
Editor’s Response: Thank you for your letter. We have dedicated a good portion of this issue to the subject of breastfeeding because of your request. However, you misrepresent us when you say that we are “waging war” on breastfeeding. On the contrary, we are attempting to provide the kind of nutrition information that ultimately will enable every mother to have nutritious milk and nurse successfully. The lactation system is indeed a “marvelously designed system.” The entire body is a marvelously designed system, but as we all know things can go wrong with the body when nutrition is not adequate. The system of lactation is no exception. In fact, lactation calls for additional supplies of nutrients. As Price pointed out, if the mother’s nutrition is poor, the lactation system is compromised and mother’s milk may not provide all the nutrients the growing baby requires.
Raw Milk Miracle
I love the stories I am told by Noah, our local goat farmer. He has sold raw goat milk to three generations of country folk. Mothers whose babies are sickly and the doctors can’t figure out what to do bring their babies to him as a last resort. He gives them a supply of milk and the babies become “show and tell,” all fat and pink. One baby was on its death bed. The doctor said not to give it raw milk when the mother questioned him. They went to the goat farmer anyway. The baby was covered with pussy hives and dying. The farmer gave them the milk, but he was sure that this child was too far gone. When he didn’t hear back from the parents, he assumed the baby had died. One month later, they were back for more milk (they had bought a month’s supply, frozen) with a different child–so Noah thought. Until they told him it was the same child–but healthy!
Goat Milk Formula
I spoke with you about a year ago because I wanted to use a homemade raw goat milk formula for my adopted baby. Well, almost a year has gone by and my baby has thrived, thrived, thrived. Thank you for making this information available for mothers of adopted children.
Another Soy Tragedy
Our six-year-old daughter has small developing breasts and strong underarm odor. The diagnosis is premature sexual development. I consumed soy products, especially soy milk, for twelve years, including during the time I was pregnant and nursing. Our daughter then consumed soy directly for three years. When she was three years old, I noticed an underarm odor but didn’t pay much attention to it. At two years old, she suffered a leg stress fracture, but that did not set off alarm bells. Both our girls weighed thirty pounds at a year old so they tend to be chubby, but when she was 4 1/2 years old, it was clear that our daughter was starting to develop breasts.
It finally hit home when I read the Soy Alert! articles. Her endocrine system had received soy estrogens from the beginning and was grossly out of balance. My husband and I have felt much grief with this situation. Searching the internet, my husband turned up lots of information pointing out just what I’ve read in these pages about the dangers of soy.
Now we are consulting with a physician in our area who knows about the soy problems and the principles of good diet. He has given glandular supplements to my daughter but so far this has not arrested her premature development.
I was also affected by the soy. My hormones have been on a roller coaster and I found I had virtually no iron in my bone marrow. I was severely anemic. After two months of iron supplements, I hemorrhaged, making matters quite serious. I read the women’s health issue of Wise Traditions and immediately started taking vitamins A and D which stopped the heavy periods. And I realized how important it was to me that my physician know about the principles of good nutrition, so I switched to the physician we were consulting for our daughter. It has been almost nine months but I am getting better, building myself back up. My hormonal swings are much less extreme and my energy is slowly returning.
Fifteen years ago I kept two Jersey cows. After I sold them and moved, I didn’t know where to find good raw milk and I knew I couldn’t stomach the store-bought variety. One of the biggest and most far reaching mistakes in my life was to turn to “healthy” soy milk. It has turned out to be a poison in our family. We are grateful for the work you are doing at the Weston A. Price Foundation and thank you for your wonderful publication, Wise Traditions.
JH of NH
Editor’s Response: We hear many tragic stories of premature development in girls fed exclusively soy formula, but this is the first story we have heard of the mother’s soy consumption during pregnancy and lactation causing this problem. Yet the “experts” continue to give soothing reassurances that soy is safe. Read on. . .
Dr. Andrew Weil just did another paean to soy in his most recent newsletter including the statement, “Until we have stronger research about possible drawbacks, I will continue to recommend consumption of whole soy foods (such as tofu and soy milk) in sensible amounts. In addition, I see no reason for infants now using soy-based formulas to discontinue them. However, I should note that we don’t yet know about the long-term safety of isoflavone supplements, which may provide higher amounts of these compounds than soy foods.” Pretty weasel-worded.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with acidosis, and although I tried valiantly to correct the problem via diet, nothing worked. I felt like death warmed over and had all kinds of inexplicable aches and pains. I cut back on meat and carbs and was eating huge salads every day. What I didn’t know was that certain recently introduced foods that I thought were the epitome of healthful eating were robbing me of vital minerals, and who knows what else. In my never-ending quest for good health, I had begun eating what I thought was a modified macrobiotic diet. Brown rice (unsoaked) and soy milk every morning and sometimes miso soup with tofu at other times during the day. A triple phytate whammy! My cholesterol plummeted to 135 and when I questioned my then doctor (via letter) whether that was not dangerously low, I never received a reply. It was not until I learned about traditional diets that I understood the problem. I am now back on eggs (organic) cooked in butter (organic) along with toast slathered with butter and whole cream (organic) in my coffee every morning. Salads are drowned in olive oil. Recent cholesterol values were so stunning, my current doctor remarked that he had never seen such wondrous numbers.
Las Vegas, NV
CLA in Real Milk
My wife and I operate a 100 percent grass-based seasonal dairy. Your readers need to know that just because a dairy is “organic” doesn’t mean these cows are eating a grain-free diet. These dairies can feed organic grain, hay or silage and still sell organic milk. This may be slightly better than regular store-bought milk, BUT these cows can still be confined just like the cows in conventional dairies.
If that doesn’t sound like a concern to you yet, then here is another bit of info. The national average lactation period of a dairy cow in the USA is 1.6 lactations. This means these cows are slaughtered when less than four years old for various health reasons too numerous to mention. Now keep in mind these organic dairies may also operate in the exact same manner, which means that these cows are living in an unhealthy environment and are sick. We are eating organic products and thinking we are doing the right thing only to find out that big industry has once again ruined a good thing.
We had our milk checked for CLA(conjugated linoleic acid) levels. [CLA helps prevent cancer and obesity.] We also checked two neighbors’ milk. All three of these are Jersey herds checked the very same day. One herd is totally confined. The other herd is one-half grass and one-half total mixed ration. The results were interesting. Our all-grass herd had a CLA level 3 to 4 times higher than regular store-bought milk. The other two herds were basically the same as regular store-bought milk. I found it very interesting how the herd getting half grain had CLA levels the same as the totally confined herd.
There is no room for cheating. Know your dairy farmer! And remember, when the price for grass-based dairy products is higher, the products contain three to four times more nutrients and that the dairyman is producing about one-third the milk of the modern conventional dairies. He needs to make a living also.
Editor’s Response: You are right. The quest for cheap food has created a very expensive health crisis in this country. We hope more of our readers will be inspired to seek out pastured animal products because of your letter. Remember that CLA accumulates in the adipose fat of ruminant animals, as well as in the butterfat.
Let Human Milk Be the Standard
I was thrilled to read the articles on your website. Finally someone in America recognizes the value of traditional food. I have been on a high-fat diet for ten months and I feel great. I do not have headaches anymore, have lost some weight, and have improved my skin condition. All this started when I read a book called Optimal Diet by Polish nutritionist Dr. Jan Kwasniewski.
A high-fat diet is very important for the youngest, who are breastfed by their mothers. Mother’s milk contains proportions of 1:3.5:0.3. To every 1 part protein there are 3.5 parts of fat and only 0.3 parts of carbohydrates. The optimal diet is based on the same proportions.
In Poland, Dr. Kwasniewski is successfully using the above formula in his optimal diet. There are thousands of people successfully treated and cured of many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, migraines and obesity. These diseases are considered incurable by today’s medicine. I personally know a lady who, after twenty years of taking insulin, today is a health person. A friend of mine, who for two years was on tablets for lowering high blood pressure, reduced his high blood pressure to normal after being on the optimal diet for just two weeks. The diet regulates the entire body metabolism and repairs the malfunctioning organs and systems.
Baulkham Hills Australia
Editor’s Response: Actually, the proportions for protein, fat and carbohydrates in human milk are 1:9.2:6.5. Human milk is low in protein to spare the kidneys of the infant. However, a diet with 50 percent or more of calories as fat can be very helpful for many conditions.
I visited the National Library of Medicine recently to research vaccine information between 1920 to 1950. I just wanted to tell about some of the oddities that I found there:
- That the smallpox vaccination caused polio in the 1940s.
- That in 1944, medical experts recommended that children with polio (infantile paralysis) should not have their tonsils removed. (We know now that the tonsils are the only organs that can inactivate the polio virus.)
- That smoking caused lung edema, according to a 1944 Pennsylvania Medical Journal. However, the same journal contained ads for Philip Morris, “the cigarette that does not irritate.” An ad for Camels stated, “This is a transfusion.”
- That one nursing book from the 1890s actually stated that smoking causes lung cancer. (I thought that was not known until much later.)
- That in 1944 they treated excessive lymphoid tissue in the throat with radiation.
- That some doctors actually disliked using chemotherapy for TB in 1944.
- That polio by any other name–infantile paralysis, aseptic meningitis, myelitis, encephalomyelitis–is still a “form” of polio.
- That the margarine manufacturers were flooding medical journals with ads saying that “margarine equals butter.” One ad implied that resistance to margarine was like laughing at automobiles because horses were more dependable. The message was that margarine was superior and it would just take time for it to catch on. Those who resisted it were just old-fashioned. But my question is, why in the medical journals? Did they want unsuspecting doctors to push margarine on the people? How like the selling of designer drugs today–it’s all in the marketing.
- That even back in the 1940s there were many ads for Similac, Bioten and other infant formulas. Even then, breastfeeding was starting to wane. But they did add (synthetic) vitamins to the formulas.
- That they were still using arsenic to “cure” syphilis.
- That there was concern that doctors were not taking a positive role in diagnosing and treating malnutrition. WHAT? Yes, one ad actually spelled it out clearly that only doctors were qualified to diagnose and treat malnutrition, not any lay person. The author was Dr. Norman Joliffe and the year was 1943.
- One ad for vitamins, circa 1944, was a shocker to me because in 1977 in dental school I was told that we did not need vitamins, and anyone saying that you needed vitamins was a quack!
- That medical journals used to carry ads for Coca-Cola; the soft drink was served in many quality hospitals.
- And finally, from the year 2000, that diphtheria is making a strong comeback (from the grave) in many European nations
I just thought you would like to know some of medicine’s real history.
Ted Spence, DDS
Editor’s Response: Thanks for sharing these discoveries with us. You many be interested to know that Dr. Norman Joliffe was the architect of the Anti-Coronary Club and one of the first to promote a lowfat diet for heart disease.
I spend a lot of money each year on a variety of publications. I just received my first issue of Wise Traditions (Spring 2001) and it is the first periodical I’ve read cover-to-cover in years. The Caustic Commentary column is beautiful. The article “What Causes Heart Disease?” was fascinating. I look forward to many years of your publication. Common sense in any endeavor is most welcome in these politically correct times.
James F. Howell III
The Farmers Diner
At the average restaurant, most dishes are prepared with foods that have traveled roughly 1300 miles from the farms where they originated to the restaurant table. These foods are part of a global system that operates at the expense of the environment, farming communities, farm families and consumers. For every dollar spent on food, the farmer receives between 10 and 15 cents. The rest goes into transportation, packaging and handling. For example, if the price paid to farmers for wheat were doubled, the cost of a loaf of bread would only increase by a nickel. The current food economy is built upon an industrial paradigm, where large international companies consolidate the food industry in order to lower the cost of raw ingredients. This system is intent only upon the profit margin for the company. As a result, much of the food traveling through this system is not fresh or wholesome, and it is not prepared using healthy methods.
The Farmers Diner is a Vermont-based company that is disrupting the status quo in the industrial agricultural paradigm. The company will soon open restaurants serving typical diner food for which family farmers living within 50 miles of each diner supply 80 percent of all food served. The two diners under construction in Vermont and New Hampshire will make annual purchases from local family farms totaling $750,000 – $1,000,000. In the process, The Farmers Diner is also bringing about an awareness of what we eat and how we think about eating. Eating should be the concluding act of a locally based agricultural economy, not just another step in an industrial production process.
Founder and President Tod Murphy looked to the past when he developed the business plan for the Farmers Diner. Prior to the 1940s, most people ate foods produced in the climate in which they lived. Livestock could be found grazing in pastures; the ideas of confinement farming, feed lots and shipping feedstuffs thousands of miles were to become nightmares of the future. Butter and cheese were produced in creameries and in farm family kitchens. Crops harvested during the growing season were preserved for consumption during the winter months. These were the traditionally produced foods of the region.
The long-established methods of production and preserving added unknown benefits to the wholesomeness of the food. A fine example is sauerkraut, traditionally preserved by fermentation, thus enriching the food’s healthfulness and its flavor. In the industrial paradigm, sauerkraut has become another traditional food stripped of its flavor, freshness and health in order to be mass-produced, shipped anywhere and preserved indefinitely. The decentralized local production model from the past, as well as the model of eating locally were the driving forces behind Tod’s desire to create local markets that financially, environmentally and socially benefited farmers and consumers alike.
When Tod first began to explore the idea of serving wholesome, locally produced foods at the diners, he saw a stumbling block in the diminished local infrastructure for food dispensation, specifically in the processing of locally raised meats. This was a driving reason behind purchasing a processing house that is USDA inspected and approved. Located in South Barre, the commissary serves as a processing station for Vermont-grown grass-fed meats. The operation plays a crucial role in facilitating the links between the farmers, the Farmers Diner and local retail shoppers. There is already a line of breakfast and gourmet sausages that are sold under the Farmers Diner name.
The Farmers Diner is committed to serving its customers grass fed meats. Each diner will use a 90/10 or an 80/20 blend of animal fats and other non-genetically modified oils for frying. In order to meet the requests of many vegetarian customers, the Farmers Diner will also offer 100 percent vegetable oils from local farmers. In addition, the Farmers Diner is purchasing its milk from a local on-farm creamery where the cows are raised in a more traditional grass-based system. The menu will contain familiar foods and various wholesome home cooked dishes. The Farmers Diner experience will be unique in that customers will primarily be feasting on foods grown in their backyard. These foods will be produced in ecological and socially responsible ways and they will be wonderfully prepared. The diner staff will not only provide food service, they will provide food education about where the food comes from and how it is produced.
For information concerning career opportunities, investment opportunities or updates, call (802) 883-9984 or e-mail info (at) farmersdiner.com.
Editor’s Response: We look forward to hearing further news!