RAW MILK TO THE RESCUE
Two and a half years ago, I had no idea what I was in for. I was seven months pregnant with my first baby and we hadn’t yet started our “real food” journey. We ate whatever sounded good to us, whenever we wanted it. That meant a lot of boxed meals, restaurant food and processed, pasteurized dairy, including ice cream and cheese. I loved cheese and couldn’t imagine ever being able to go without it.
Fast forward about fifteen months and I had a thirteen-month-old daughter whom we discovered couldn’t eat dairy. Her favorite type of cheese was mozzarella, the kind you buy in a bag labeled “low-moisture, part-skim.” Unfortunately, it was also the type she reacted to the worst. After eating this cheese, she would have horrible diaper rashes, bad diarrhea, and eczema over her whole body, and she’d wake several times each night. As soon as we took cheese out of her diet, she did much better.
Soon after we discovered that my husband was sensitive to dairy, too. He would get sick every time he ate it. Then we discovered his father—who loves ice cream as much as I love cheese—was allergic, too. He initially refused to give up ice cream but eventually we all had to give it up, completely.
My son was born at home in July, 2009. We sent my parents out for fast food right after he was born. They returned with fake cheese and ice cream, which of course I ate. My son slept through his very first night, then spit up when he woke, hours after nursing. Then I noticed patches of eczema on his arms. I was already on hyper-alert because of my daughter’s dairy allergy, so I decided that I probably should cut back on the processed dairy.
However, I continued to eat some “dairy” foods — salad dressings, sheep’s milk cheese, etc. I figured these were “safe” because they weren’t ice cream, yogurt or other obvious dairy foods. But every time I would nurse my son, he would scream and arch his back away from me and continue to scream for a couple of hours. Others would have simply said, “He’s colicky,” but I decided finally that I had to give up all dairy… for real.
Two weeks after I gave up dairy my son was a different baby. He was calm all the time, slept through the night, never screamed or arched his back during or after feedings. Our house became entirely dairy-free for seven months. Instead, we used a lot of coconut milk. We got very creative and were able to bake, make cream soups, ice cream and other “dairy” foods using coconut milk.
It was in the middle of this dairy-free time that we learned about raw milk, and towards the end, I found a local source for it. We waited until my son was eight months old—we wanted his gut to be developed and healed before we tried to re-introduce dairy, and we actually even did the GAPS diet for a while. Then, we tried a little raw milk cheese first, and we held our breath….
No reaction! Not from any of us. Both children were fine. We had planned to wait awhile before trying unfermented dairy, but my husband was dying for some “real” ice cream, so we made some with raw milk and let the children eat it. Still no reaction!
We’ve been consuming raw dairy for about two months now. We found a farm about two hours away and we get raw milk about every two weeks. I make my own mozzarella now, so my daughter can have it again. She eats quite a lot of cheese every day, and yet she is fine! My son loves his ice cream and yogurt and thinks cheese is okay too. He suffered some eczema, too, as he was starting solids, but it has gotten better since he started having raw dairy.
The interesting thing is that now we can eat a small amount of pasteurized dairy and still be okay. Raw milk is excellent and has really helped our family. And my husband swears it makes the best ice cream ever!
I am a person who has been a healthy and happy customer of Minnesota’s farm-fresh, organic and clean raw milk products for at least a decade and, in addition, I grew up with it. As such, I’m mystified and stunned by the knee-jerk reactions and hostility against raw milk in the media.
The recent Minneapolis Tribune editorial, “Recklessly ignoring raw milk’s danger,” came off as a critical scientific statement excoriating “internet idiots,” know-nothings who wander like lost sheep into the clutches of bad farmers who want to poison them. According to the editorial, these easily bamboozled fools clearly need the government to “protect them.” These writers talk about science but present not a shred of science in these attacks.
The typical raw dairy customer is vastly more knowledgeable than the average supermarket shopper. They are, for the most part well-read parents who duly note the well-documented facts regarding the declining safety and nutrient density of conventional food. They know that there is no such thing as a food that is one hundred percent safe. They know that if every category of food that ever caused an occasional incidence of food poisoning were made illegal, there would be no hamburger, no lettuce, no eggs, no cheese, no hot dogs, no spinach. Virtually nothing to eat! They also understand that improvements are always appreciated and necessary.
True “food bio-security” can only come from organic, sustainable family farms, never from imported food, never from a factory farm, never from a huge corporation. The interpersonal connection of a group of consumers to a family farm builds trust and relationship. We want to shake the hand that feeds us. This way, if a health problem is suspected, at worst, only a few are exposed, and the problem can be stopped quickly, then corrected.
A year ago, one contaminated batch of commodity hamburger from a factory farm-sourced, mass-produced facility caused a recall of over one hundred twenty million pounds of potentially dangerous hamburger! Tens of thousands of school children had already eaten most of it! The US Food Service had to deal with nearly four hundred food recalls last year alone!
There is a tremendous difference between milk produced for pasteurization and milk that is produced to be consumed raw. Since pasteurization has become law, the standards for bacteria, white blood cells and even coliform organisms have been seriously watered down. Deadly pathogenic bacteria are not routinely found on small family farms using pasture-based farming. Milk is no longer touched by dirty hands but runs through glass and stainless steel pipes to the bulk tank. Deadly pathogens come from cities, off-farm workers, the use of feedlot-runoff irrigation water, and from confinement and unsanitary conditions. Pathogens take root when the animals are under-nourished, indoors, confined and over-worked.
Thousands of people who think they are “allergic” to milk or have “lactose intolerance” can almost always thrive on wholesome, pasture-based, organic raw milk! Their “allergy” or “intolerance” is merely a perfectly normal immune reaction to “cooked” bacteria and pus, warped heated proteins, artificial hormones, traces of genetically modified grains, traces of mold from bad grain and feed-based antibiotic residues.
William G. Winter, DVM
Editor’s Response: Will Winter is a retired holistic veterinarian a version of this letter is published by the Minneapolis Tribune in response to that newspaper’s June 28, 2010 editorial, “Recklessly Ignoring Raw Milk’s Danger—Ban on raw milk sales is needed to protect families.” Will Winter will be a speaker at Wise Traditions 2010.
THE USDA LACKS CREDIBILITY
The new dietary guidelines represent the selected research and opinions of just thirteen individuals, some from academia and some from the USDA. The notion that these few people, who are unaccountable to the public, are going to decide how and what the entire country should be eating (especially at public schools) is really outrageous, given how politicized agencies and even academia are.
Too often, academics are judged not by their scholarship, intellectual rigor, or their abilities in the classroom, but by how much money they bring to the school or to their department, which can then have an influence on what they teach.
And the track record of the USDA is not one of impartiality. The USDA maintains that there is no difference in quality between conventional and organic foods—USDA extension workers are instructed to say that organic is merely a niche marketing tool denoting no inherent quality differences from conventional agriculture.
This claim could be true for people who don’t care whether their food is laced with endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as atrazine, which is definitively linked to disfigured frogs; or who don’t worry about the use of bovine growth hormone (BgH) in conventional dairy cows, which so overloads the cows their udders drag on the ground and the cows develop infections that lead to higher levels of antibiotic administration. Some mothers do not want their sons consuming dairy products with this artificially injected female hormone.
USDA should ensure that the information is there for those who want it. Instead of one-size-fits-all guidelines, the USDA should post all of the testimony and the accompanying research, and let people decide for themselves.
The USDA could simplify the information in the form of a chart that highlights the main components of each identified diet, summarizes the claimed effects from the diet (pro and con), and includes some of the supporting research. The agency could host a website that provides the public with a complete resource list for each diet.
Given the USDA’s support for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) despite their unsanitary conditions and unhealthy animals, for irradiation to try to make these contaminated products safe to consume, for cloned products parading as food, and for telling the American people that chemicals parading as food that is devoid of nutrients is “the safest food in the world,” the agency lacks the track record and credibility to take it upon itself to impose or decide for anyone else what to eat. The USDA should only ensure that people have a manageable access to the information and be fully informed. But this will not happen unless enough people demand it. So that should be part of our strategy.
A Maryland legislative commission adopted this approach in a 1995 comparison of holistic medicine with allopathic medicine, based on documented reports in mainstream medical journals. The senator who chaired the commission told me how the conventional doctors on the commission were trying to gut efforts to include documented findings favoring holistic modalities. So she extended the commission for a third year and used that time to create a chart that speaks for itself: six disorders broken down into four categories with side-byside comparisons of the two modalities regarding costs, side effects, efficacy and outcomes. In every category, the holistic treatment outperformed the allopathic option. By putting the findings in the form of a chart, the comparisons are clearly described, and the outcomes are readily apparent and undeniable.
Well Mind Association of Greater Washington
I would be so happy if I never again had to hear a dietitian or a USDA-trained nutritionist tell a class of kindergarteners to drink lowfat or skim milk, or tell a group of teenagers not to eat too much red meat but to choose lean chicken or turkey instead, or tell a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes to limit her egg yolks to one or two a week, or tell a diabetic that she can eat pancakes as long as she uses artificially-sweetened syrup and margarine, or tell me to get a ninety-pound eighty-five-year-old woman some lowfat cheese because the doctor has her on a lowfat, low-cholesterol diet.
These are things I have witnessed as a dietitian. All are the result of the idiotic Dietary Guidelines that has everyone in fear of saturated fat.
Pam Schoenfeld, RD
Mendham, New Jersey
FOOD NOT EDIBLE
I work as a dietitian in a large prison hospital. This is a hospital that cares for prisoners in the southeast who are too ill to live in the prison, mentally or physically.
I am not allowed to give the prisoners more food, even if they are extremely underweight or losing weight. If someone is losing too much weight, I am able to add some awful corn syrup-based “health shakes,” that is all. The food is not edible. Most of it is processed, cold and very often pre-made and frozen.
Snacks twice a day include nutrigrain bars, chips or snack crackers. A large food management company handles food service at many prisons, and is for profit.
Strangely, the hospital is never surveyed by Joint Commission or the Department of Health for quality of care as other acute care or long term care facilities are. The workers at the hospital pretty much do what they like, without much state or federal supervision.
Kim Rodriguez, RD, Chapter Leader
Aiken, South Carolina
RAW MILK TAMES HORSE ALLERGIES
I went to an allergist as a child then again at about twenty years old. The scratch tests showed a severe allergy to horse dander. The doctor said he’d never seen it so bad. The wheal, which is usually as large as a nickel, was in my case the size of a half dollar. I didn’t need him to tell me I was allergic. Any exposure to horses resulted in more than twenty-four hours of sneezing, wheezing, itching and lethargy, even after taking a double dose of Benadryl.
About five years ago, I gave a farrier friend a ride home from the airport. Just having the essence of horse sitting next to me caused a massive reaction. I seriously considered going to the emergency room.
I have always been a huge milk drinker. As an adult I would consume six to eight glasses a day. About three years ago we started drinking raw milk. Although my children showed marked improvement from their eczema, I didn’t really notice any health changes in myself.
This past week, I shot a scene from a movie about a girl and her horse. I spent seven hours in a barn, in direct contact with the horses and hay dust. A certain death sentence, I thought. But at the end of the day, I was completely symptom free. No itching, no wheezing, nothing. What is different from the last time I was exposed? All I can think of is the milk. Thanks for working to make real milk available.
Wilmington, North Carolina
ROOT CANAL UPDATE
Dr. Hal Huggins was not only the first holistic dentist to expose and widely propagate the truth about mercury toxicity of amalgam fillings to the world, but he has also been at the forefront in exposing the neurological and immunological harm that root canal teeth cause in the body.
In the recent Wise Traditions (Summer 2010), Huggins confirms what the late great Patrick Störtebecker found in his Swedish research, namely that the free flow of bacteria (as well as mercury) to the brain and body from these chronic dental focal infections is a major contributor to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other neurological diseases. These findings are similar to those of Dr. Weston Price, Dr. W. D. Miller, Dr. E. C. Rosenow, and other early twentieth century focal infection (dental, tonsil, sinus, etc.) researchers. Dr. Hal Huggins is indeed a modern-day hero in biological dentistry.
I think it is important, however, to also remember what Dr. Price stated in a spirited debate at a 1925 meeting of the American Dental Association in Louisville, Kentucky: “. . . I must qualify the question as to the extraction of that [root canal] tooth by saying that a great deal depends on the danger of the overloads, the age of the patient and various contributing factors. But all pulpless teeth, root filled or not, harbor so much danger of becoming infected that they should be extracted, though the time as to when they should be extracted will depend on several contributing factors. If the patient belongs to a family where there is a low defense for streptococcal infection, it had better be soon. . . If the patient is in another group with a very high defense and not much in danger of overloads, and if it is a tooth that is greatly needed by that patient, I would advise you to do what I do: retain some of those root filled teeth, because I believe they are of more value to the patient in the mouth than out” (emphasis added).
In my practice I have found that Price’s advice still remains true. For example, when patients have removed and detoxified their mercury amalgam fillings, use petrochemical-free personal care products, eat a nutrient-dense diet, and are on their constitutional remedy (according to the new Sankaran System), they are often able to retain one or more root canal teeth without detriment to their health.
Once again, the quintessential holistic dental physician, Dr. Weston A. Price, always weighed the state of the tooth against the health of the patient, and found that not all root canal teeth create problems: “It is not proven that it is absolutely necessary that teeth be perfectly sterilized or that they be perfectly root-filled in order that an individual may not develop systemic involvement, since under favorable conditions the patient may provide an adequate defense or quarantine against these materials” (emphasis added).
Over the past couple of decades I have witnessed that many of my colleagues’ well-meaning exuberance in helping their patients get well has often resulted in the extraction of all of their patients’ root canal teeth. However, even when these teeth are appropriately cavitated by a well-trained biological dentist, in too many cases I have not seen these patients’ health significantly change.
Of course, it is a different matter when patients are suffering from ALS, MS, cancer or other degenerative disease. In these cases, the removal of these and other “obstacles to cure” is imperative in potentially healing these weakened and very ill patients. Thus, as soon as they are functioning well enough to excrete these bacterial poisons adequately (liver detoxification pathways, kidney clearance, etc.) to undergo appropriate cavitation surgery, this population of patients is referred to a holistic dentist or dental surgeon with appropriate pre- and post-op support. However, for those individuals who are not significantly ill, removal of a root canal tooth may not be necessary.
This decision, of course, should be made on a case-by-case basis, and the patient and the root canal teeth should be monitored over the years. If at any time symptoms and signs (including energetic testing) indicate that a root canal tooth is no longer dormant and quarantining toxins adequately, the tooth then needs to be sacrificed at that point for the health of the patient.
Louisa L. Williams, MS, DC, ND
San Rafael, California
Editor’s Response: Dr. Williams is the author of Radical Medicine and has been a popular speaker at Wise Traditions. Visit her website at www.marinnaturopathicmedicine.com.
“Easy money” was the nickname given to Erik by his babysitter. “Good disposition,” said a friend of the family during his first year of life. Things changed after age eighteen months (about the time of his first immunization shot). What we thought was just the terrible twos was in fact the beginning of a five-year ordeal during which time our son developed such bad behavior tendencies as trying to jump off a balcony, jump out of a moving car, and threaten his mom with a kitchen knife—I still remember the look of a cold blooded killer in his eyes. He was five.
Finally, when he was suspended from kindergarten (the school would not let him return without a doctor’s note) we took him to Children’s Hospital where he stayed in the children’s psychiatric unit for twelve days.
Erik was diagnosed with ADHD and a “mood disorder not otherwise specified.” While in Children’s Hospital the doctors first tried giving him the drug Concerta, which turned our bright child into a zombie. Adderall ended up being the “answer.” He was admitted back into school with the prescription and an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Although Erik did hold it together pretty well that following school year, the anger issues and mood swings were still a problem. I Googled “Alternatives to ADHD medication” and found a wealth of information, none of it familiar to me.
We were referred by a friend to Kasha from Kennedy’s Health Food Store in Falls Church, Virginia, where I met the most wonderful and knowledgeable owner. Not knowing her or the store, I walked in a total stranger, but when Kasha asked me why I was there, I told her my son had been diagnosed with ADHD. I still vividly remember her response: “Sit down.”
After telling her the whole story, she immediately asked me about his diet. She told me to scrap any and all junk food (“there is no fruit in Fruit Roll-Ups!”), start him on supplements including cod liver oil and a children’s probiotic. She also gave me the number of a nutritionist in California named Theresa Vernon, who wanted to set up a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) for Erik.
Selling my wife on the option of alternative treatment was no easy chore, but after she spoke on the phone with Theresa for almost one hour, she emphatically said, “We’re in!”
The HTMA results showed a high copper content for Erik. A vitamin-mineral routine was established as well as glutamine plus phenylalanine amino acid supplements first thing in the morning after which eggs were to be the mainstay for breakfast instead of cereal.
We noticed a difference the first day. Things just got better and better after that. We eliminated Gatorade (we felt the red #40 was contributing to his outbursts) and Fruit Roll-Ups (again, artificial colors). Cashews were given instead of chips for his salt cravings and real fruit for his sugar craving (after noon). The following summer we took him off Adderall and added the chiropractor-nutritionist team of doctors Pete and Lolin Hiltgartner of Leesburg, Virginia to his regimen.
Erik is now doing great in school and barely needs his IEP. He even joined Cub Scouts and stayed two years (he had previously never done anything organized for more than a few days).
My wife and I both feel the drugs given to Erik merely masked his symptoms and did nothing to correct what was ailing him. We cringe to think what would have happened if we had become complacent about his medication and had not followed the recommendations of the good people we were fortunate enough to have met on this journey.
Randy and Nancy Femrites
WHAT IS ORGANIC AGRICULTURE?
I read with considerable interest Dr. Joseph Heckman’s letter and the exchange among WAPF intelligentsia (Dr. Heckman, Dr. Thomas Cowan, and Sally Fallon Morell) over what (and what is not) organic agriculture (Spring 2010). This is a highly important conversation that needs to take place and a debate that needs amplifying, clarifying and, one hopes, settling. As with so many debates, misunderstandings arise from lack of definition of terms. Even so, I submit all three parties are missing the essential point, one that bears heavily on Dr.Price’s central message.
This all starts with the soil and its inherent or enhanced fertility, especially as it pertains to the raising of food crops and livestock. As someone who has been supplying products and information for organic growers and studying organiculture for nearly forty years, I was hopeful that I might be permitted to join the discussion. It is mainly by means of healthy debate that we can achieve a synthesis and consensus on a subject badly encumbered by confusing terminology and concepts leading to the misunderstanding exemplified in the writings of Dr. Cowan, to which Dr. Heckman takes strong exception. Such confusion and miscommunication abounds with respect to organic agriculture with serious consequences for everyone’s health.
There already has existed much needless argument over the word “organic” in terms of its use in chemistry. In some respects, the choice of the term in relation to a system of agriculture was a poor choice. Dr. Heckman revealed an interesting point, that it was Walter Northborne, in his 1940 book Look to the Land, who actually coined the term “organic” in relation to agriculture and not Jerome (J.I.) Rodale in the 1942 first publication of “Organic Farming and Gardening” magazine, as I supposed and as Rodale, no doubt, would have liked us to believe.
In the same spring issue of Wise Traditions (pages 12 and 13) is a letter by Allan Balliett, a biodynamic CSA farmer, providing another dimension in a very cogent and pertinent reference to the aspects of freshness, phytonutrients and nutrient-density of produce. In his letter, Balliett notes that the USDA organic program contains zero nutritional goals. Accordingly, a given sample of certified organic produce could be totally free of synthetic chemicals and contaminants, yet offer nothing in the way of nutrition, and still be fully in compliance with USDA regulations.
Given the situation, one has to ask, what is the value of safety if the food is of no value nutritionally? What is the value of the persuasive advice of authors of cookbooks and so many nutritionists to always use organic produce? It needs to be recognized that there is a historical reason that the irrelevance of nutrition needs to be laid at the feet of conventional organiculture.
Balliett speaks of bonafide CSAs as offering an assured supply of fresh, local, high-mineral, high phytonutrient produce and refers to small, local, ecologically managed farms employing “no toxic inputs plus ensuring soil nutrients balanced via Albrecht or similar systems” as providing the best quality food. Mark the words “plus,” “mineral” and “Albrecht.”
The problem is that many small “organic” farms don’t do this at all, and I would wager that most organic farmers (as well as gardeners) never heard of Albrecht and do not supply the necessary minerals called for in the Albrecht system of proper, full and balanced fertilization. Too many believe that “manure is the absolute basis for fertility.” This is a serious oversight, which Rodale helped to create. I call it the missing mineral message. If the necessary nutrient minerals are not present in the soil in full array, they won’t be in your food.
Organiculture, if it is to address the crucial nutrient-density issue, urgently needs to be expanded in concept and practice to encompass the Albrecht or similar system of assured mineralization, if we are to get the nutrient-dense, mineral augmented, organic produce of which Baillett speaks and WAPF principles call for. For that matter, Chapter 23 in Price’s classic work (1945 edition) was authored by Dr. Albrecht.
Dr. Heckman is an able historian of the organic movement and method, but you’ll notice in his lengthy letter, that while he mentions Albert Howard, Eve Balfour, Rodale and Edward Faulkner, he makes no mention of Albrecht or his works, and I submit this is a big hole in his awareness and research. Too many organic growers are fully equipped with ideological blinders and don’t need to know more than they already believe.
Albrecht is every bit the giant that Price and Howard are. References to Albrecht can be found in Nourishing Traditions and my recommendation is that Dr. Heckman first make the acquaintance of Dr. Albrecht and then come back to the forum. A convenient place to start is with Albrecht’s small book titled Soil Fertility and Animal Health, now offered as Volume II of The Albrecht Papers by Acres USA. For another excellent overview source go to www.soilminerals.com.
While not strictly “organic,” Dr. Albrecht’s contribution to fertility management is a crucial adjunct to the complete picture, and that’s the point. Indeed, it is the crucial point. It must be brought in, or we need a new concept that embraces both inorganic minerals and organic matter as a complete and truly sustainable system of agriculture. One of the most prevalent misconceptions (and one Dr.Cowan seems to have) is that any form of agriculture, extending back into antiquity, which does not employ toxic chemicals is “organic” by default. Where do we get with that notion? Surely organiculture must represent more than abstinence from bad behavior. Let’s get past what we are against and delineate what we are for and hop to it.
Gary L. Kline
Editor’s Response: As we explained in the Spring 2010 issue, Dr. Cowan was using the word “organic” in the sense of the watered down USDA organic standards, which do not take into account the health of the soil. WAPF has consistently argued that we need to go beyond “organic.” Our system of local chapters helps people find local farms that pay attention to soil mineral content and health. We have instructed our chapter leaders to precisely describe the practices of the farmers they list in their resource guides so as to avoid any confusion from words like “organic.”
USDA ORGANIC FROM CHINA?
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (June 15, 2010), the USDA is banning an organic food inspection group from operating in China. I’m deeply alarmed at the USDA. Imported food from China or any other country shouldn’t be able to receive the organic seal on food brought into this country. I feel deceived that the USDA organic seal is being given to Chinese food producers. The Chinese government allowed their children to be poisoned by chemically treated milk.
How can American consumers prevent the corrupt USDA from allowing this organic seal on foreign food?
Robin M. Gray
I find much to agree with in Dr. Joseph Heckman’s letter addressing organic agriculture in the Spring 2010 Wise Traditions. Building on his excellent account of organic agriculture’s origins in the Winter 2006 issue, the letter highlights the important historical linkages between this movement and the concurrent campaign for whole, raw and unadulterated foods. I concur with Dr. Heckman’s characterization of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) as a credible and useful certification standard that provides consumers a minimal yet still meaningful degree of differentiation from non-organically produced foods. After ten years in existence, much of the promise of a federally-managed organic standard remains unfulfilled though there are significant indications that USDA is moving to honor its commitment. There are indeed times that when the people lead, the leaders will follow.
The only statement of Dr. Heckman’s with which I disagree is his assertion that the term “sustainable agriculture” lacks definition, and can therefore be readily co-opted. No doubt that the concept of sustainability has become a popular smokescreen in recent times, but we have only ourselves to blame if we abandon “sustainable agriculture” as a meaningful yardstick in the broader discussion of where our food comes from and who provides it to us.
The term “sustainable agriculture” was defined in the 1985 Farm Bill and has served as the philosophical foundation of the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) for more than twenty years. The very modest funds appropriated for SARE over that period are, in my opinion, the wisest investment in family farming, low-input and diversified production systems, and direct marketing that the USDA has ever made. A visit to the SARE website at http://www. sare.org/ will yield a wealth of print and video resources depicting precisely the type of agricultural systems that the organic pioneers such as Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale endorsed.
To understand sustainable agriculture, it is important to view the concept as an approach and not an end in itself. Sustainable agriculture is a management system in which farmers identify and evaluate their environmental, economic and social resources on their operation. Most farmers are already sensitive to the environmental and economic circumstances on their operation and it is the third component—the connections to the local community, including the potential for direct marketing or other forms of value-added production—that makes the sustainable approach unique. Farming sustainably entails building synergies between these categories to improve the overall strength and viability of the operation over time. For example, moving ruminants out of confinement systems onto pasture can reduce costs (fewer veterinary bills), protect the environment (even distribution of manure to improve crop fertility) and produce a greatly value-added product (grass-fed dairy).
Consumers too can apply the three-fold economic, environmental and social criteria when weighing the pros and cons of the competing food choices available to them in the marketplace. I’d even go so far as to say that sustainable agriculture has a significant advantage over organic certification since many undeniably important production-related considerations including distance to market and labor conditions never have and likely never will be factored into the latter.
Editor’s Response: Mark Keating worked as the SARE State Program Assistant for Kentucky between 2006 and 2010. He currently works for the USDA National Organic Program where he also served between 1999 and 2002.
NOT CREAM AT ALL
I am particularly sad about the fate of the Canadian dairy company Lactancia. Our family bought their butter, cream, and other dairy products since I was a kid (over forty years ago). Today the main owner and distributor of Lactancia here in Quebec is Agropur, Canada’s largest dairy cooperative. If anyone takes the time to read their cream cartons, you will see that what they contain is not cream at all; it is only about 10 percent cream and the rest is emulsifiers, poly this, poly that and seaweed.
I discovered this when the side panel on the “cream” carton caught my eye. “What ingredients?” I thought. There aren’t any ingredients in cream. And that’s when I discovered the sneaky little linguistic trick they’re using: The front label of dairy cartons shows a percentage —3 percent, 10 percent or 35 percent—which traditionally meant the fat content. But on the cream carton, that percentage means the percentage of cream, in this case 10 percent. Nowhere on the label does it say “cream substitute” or any such thing; it’s just the usual label everyone has always seen.
I don’t understand what’s being done with all the cream if they are not putting it in the “cream.” We periodically hear that to “keep milk prices up,” milk is actually dumped and discarded, which boggles my mind in the first place, but why all these artificial milk products? It enrages me and I want to take some action. I’ll definitely go see the local newspaper publisher, and besides complaining to the local politician, what do you suggest?
Stanstead, Quebec, Canada
Editor’s Response: The dairy industry makes more money on butterfat if they put it into ice cream rather than sell it as cream or butter; hence the degradation of cream and the push to reduced fat milks, even for school children. This industry knows that if you eat lowfat dairy throughout the day, you will binge and splurge on ice cream come evening. As to what to do, visits to politicians and letters to the newspapers can help educate people. People will slowly and gradually wake up to what is going on, thanks to the efforts of members like yourself.
INDUSTRIAL FOOD SICKNESS
Since my family has been eating exclusively whole, unprocessed foods for over three years, I have noticed a strange occurrence. When my girls go to birthday parties or indulge in holiday festivities such as Halloween or Easter, they don’t feel very well afterward. After eating the processed foods out of the industrial food system, the girls become nauseated and complain about stomach pain within a few hours.
My eldest daughter has vomited a number of times after these meals. My youngest daughter is very sensitive to something in these foods. More often than not, it causes behavioral problems for a day or two after eating the processed food.
My husband occasionally eats out at restaurants and complains about not feeling well after most meals. Even our cat, Tabs, who has been on a raw meat diet since we got her, has become sick from getting into a friend’s processed cat food. As I observe their sickness, I notice it is like a mild flu that includes stomach upset or vomiting.
Now my family has not eaten unprocessed foods our whole lives. We used to eat processed foods every day without feeling sick. (Okay, my family wasn’t the picture of health, but we weren’t vomiting after a meal either.) One would hope that eating nourishing traditional foods regularly would strengthen a person’s constitution so that an occasional meal of highly processed foods would have no effect. But the reverse appears to be true. The longer my family eats nourishing traditional foods, the more sensitive we become to these processed foods.
Why are we now having industrial food sickness when in the past these same processed foods did not cause sickness? What has changed? I have been thinking about this question for quite some time. It is hypothesized that the healing action of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet changes the composition of gut flora or reverses gut dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis is the lack of gut flora or an unhealthy gut flora imbalance which causes illness.
What if this progressive industrial food sickness is caused by changes in the gut flora community? Do the processed foods damage or kill healthy gut flora? Does the gut flora “communicate” this damage to the “gut brain” causing the feeling of sickness? The gut brain is an extensive grouping of neurons in the digestive system, which gut flora attaches to and chemically communicates with the nervous system. What if the gut flora community is causing the feeling of being sick after my family eats the processed foods?
This would explain the progressive nature of industrial food sickness and why it seems to worsen the longer my family eats nourishing traditional foods. The longer my family eats better, the stronger the population of healthy gut flora becomes. As the healthy gut flora population increases, it can send a very strong message to the nervous system that the processed food is making the gut flora’s environment poisonous to them. The reason why the processed food did not cause illness before eating nourishing traditional foods is because of gut dysbiosis. There was not enough healthy gut flora to send a strong message of dismay to the nervous system about our food choices.
I notice that these days it is easier to get my children to eat better. Every round of industrial food sickness reinforces good eating patterns. The sad part is thinking of all the people walking around with very sick gut flora communities, too weak to send a danger warning. Most people are not aware that we are indeed “individuals” but our bodies are vast and complex microcosms of interrelating organisms. We are in peril if we forget that we interface with the environment on a microscopic level and our first line of defense is our symbiotic gut flora community.
For more information about gut dysbiosis please read Gut and Psychology Syndrome and GAPS in our Medical Knowledge. For more information about the gut brain connection please read Breaking the Vicious Cycle.
Caroline Cooper, Chapter Leader
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
COD LIVER OIL EVERY DAY
I recently had a conservation with a lady who was in grade school in the 1950s, living in Norway. She told me they had to come to school every day with their spoon and were administered cod liver oil, as well as fresh milk and a large slice of rutabaga—perhaps the rutabaga was to clean their teeth.
Wouldn’t that be a good thing to start to in our schools—mandated cod liver oil! What a concept!
Ann Oldham Michael, DC Chapter Leader
I recently read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price and have to say that the book changed my life. As a chronic pain sufferer and hypochondriac for the last fifteen years, I have recently managed to relieve all of a long list of symptoms by simply not eating packaged grocery store foods.
For example, my resting heart rate has gone from ninety beats per minute to fifty in just a few weeks of eating whole food. This is especially stunning to me, since during the last fifteen years, no doctor or other health professional has the cause of my troubles.
Dr. Price’s book is a powerful testament to the power of foods to do good or evil. The heartbreaking part is that grocery store foods amount to a gigantic experiment that we are performing on ourselves, and we are ignoring the results! Best wishes in your work!
CHAPTER LEADERS ROCK!
I wanted to let y’all know that your local chapter in Little Rock rocks! A small group of farmers that I am privileged to sell with had some zoning issues with the city of Little Rock that shut down our farm-to-school market at Pulaski Academy in west Little Rock.
Lisa Lipe and other members of your local chapter helped communicate to the city how important it was to have access to locally grown produce.
In less than a week, the city of Little Rock demonstrated reason; after a review of their ordinances they found them to conflict with state laws. City officials have let us re-open our market temporarily while they sort things out.
I can’t speak for all my fellow farmers, but having access to that distribution point is a key part of my farm’s financial survival. The support demonstrated by your group here in Little Rock is appreciated beyond measure.
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