GREETINGS FROM NORWAY
Greetings to all WAPF members from Norway. Life in its fullness is not only about obeying; life is a marvelous, unbelievable gift, as is raw milk. And we are definitely living in the day when many who are first will be last, and the last, first.
Thanks to a local farmer, my family can obtain over two gallons of fresh raw milk weekly, from happy cows on a local organic farm. The milk has helped me to recover after a trip to hell. During the last two years I have been hospitalized twice, and I have nothing good to say about the field of psychiatry, except that it has been a real study in human weakness. I believe that the people living in the most fear are the psychiatrists.
This week I got a new job, after many rejections, and I have started teaching at Eidsvoll upper secondary school. The Weston A. Price teachings will naturally be integrated into the course. Eidsvoll is the place where Norway signed the constitution in 1814 and Eidsvoll is also the end point for the first railway in Norway.
By the way, our whole family had “pigfluenza,” and we all recovered and got natural immunity without any medication, except raw milk and time.
On the surface we are a small chapter and we don’t make much noise. The main activity is the distribution of Wise Traditions and general information to health care people, politicians and others who show interest.
I think about WAPF every day, and I want to make the message known to everybody, but all my “wants and musts” led to another hospitalization for two weeks this spring. Now I can sleep again, and I have recovered the thirty-three pounds I lost in that short period of time. My family is again a unit, and I try to live in a more sustainable way. As a part of my new life, I am now studying pedagogy and my plan is to be a full time teacher again.
In a nutshell, I try to live more wisely, and not overdose people with information. To convince stiff adults is only a waste of time and energy. The future belongs to the children and we want to develop educational units that give young people the opportunities to choose a sustainable way of living, and the knowledge of WAPF is naturally an integrated part of it.
Bjørn Solberg, Chapter Leader
Editor’s Response: Bjørn’s experience is a lesson to us all. Trying to save the whole world can make you go crazy. Instead we can all be effective teachers, not by promoting our message to those who don’t want to hear it, but by having the information on healthy diets available to people who show an interest.
AMAZING RAW MILK
I’m entirely new to the Weston A. Price Foundation. I’ve been hearing about it at a local homeopathic study group that I’ve been attending since May. At first it sounded bizarre but the more I listened, the more it started making sense (just like homeopathy). Then I tried, for the first time, some raw milk and it just blew me away. In fact, I’ve never liked milk much and I’ve been lactose intolerant for the past twenty years. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing about raw milk so I drank one-third of my half gallon the night I brought it home.
Amazingly, I had no problems at all. In fact, I woke up the next morning with a strong craving for it. The next night I pushed the experiment further and ate a huge piece of cake with buttery frosting (this would normally put me in agony) and drank a big cup of the raw milk. I had not a single bit of discomfort. Truly astounding.
Now I can barely tolerate the soy milk and hemp drink I had been using in place of milk. Even my two-year-old, having tasted the raw milk just once, is still asking for it two weeks later.
VITAMIN D PROBLEMS?
I have been following the WAPF diet since 2000 with excellent results. In the winter months I have been supplementing my fermented cod liver oil with one each of Carlson’s 1,000 IU D3 and 1,000 IU D3 and 25,000 IU A. After taking them for a week or so I get significant pain (inflammation) in a joint (elbow, wrist or knee) that I can only describe as if I cracked the joint into a painful position that is worse at either extreme in the range of motion. When I discontinue the Carlson’s supplementation I return to normal in a few days.
Today I came across the Marshall Protocol website (http://mpkb.org/doku.php/home), which says for many inflammatory, autoimmune diseases all vitamin D should be stopped along with other protocols for several years. I would love to hear your comments on this. It may well warrant an article in Wise Traditions.
Editor’s Response: The position of the Weston A. Price Foundation is that we should obtain our vitamins A and D from foods like cod liver oil rather than from isolates supplements. Your experience with the supplements proves our point. It is more likely that the problems you experienced were caused by taking the large doses of A and D as isolated supplements, leading to an imbalance or deficiency of another vitamin—such as vitamin K2—rather than an intolerance for vitamin D because of autoimmune disease, especially as vitamin D is known to support immune function.
WAPF BOOT CAMP
A friend of mine took her Labrador retrievers to the beach on Thanksgiving morning, and as it happened, they rushed out of the water and into her. She was talking to a friend and didn’t move out of the way. Her leg was broken in three places, and she had to be taken to the hospital, where they implanted a titanium plate.
My friend is fifty-seven. As she lives in a third floor walk up, she has come to stay with us, which means, coincidentally, Weston A. Price boot camp. Not that it’s intentional exactly; it’s just the way we eat. But in the space of about a week of eating exclusively nutrient-dense foods she has resolved acid reflux, gas and bloating, serious morning nasal congestion along with itchy and bloodshot eyes, improved the appearance of her skin, lost enough weight (even though bed-ridden) so that her pants are all loose, and increased her energy and focus. Of course, this is an artificial situation and one can’t normally make changes to one’s habits overnight, but when you can, it’s powerful!
Jill Ebbot, Chapter Leader
Editor’s Response: Thank you for that testimonial. Had your friend been eating a consistent WAPF-friendly diet she may have avoided the broken leg in the first place!
Thank you for publishing my article on sewage sludge in Wise Traditions (Fall 2009). This issue is not going to die; it has taken on a life of its own. Our problem to overcome is EPA’s perception management program of creating its own truth out of lies. Most reporters repeat the lies because they are on deadlines and don’t have the time or inclination to check the facts.
I have just gone through some seven thousand documents in EPA’s web archives. Early studies revealed that treatment does not inactivate or kill all bacteria but instead injures them, and actually creates antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Furthermore, the documents showed that the injured bacteria are viable but nonculturable by standard methods; in other words, they can still cause disease after treatment. These studies show that injured bacteria can be reactivated one year later and that E. coli and Salmonella can survive on grazing land for over seventy weeks. Fecal indicator bacteria are thermotolerant E. coli and Klebsiella; the high heat of the fecal coliform test injures most other gram negative bacteria known as coliform.
EPA documents claim that the Clean Water Act mandated the disposal of sewage effluent and sludge on agricultural land; therefore EPA, FDA and USDA created a federal policy to accomplish that goal, along with a perception management program.
In the past few years private sector scientists not involved in the perception management program have documented what EPA has known for three decades. But the perception management program has the public blaming doctors and farmers for the problems EPA created.
I am looking for any studies suggesting that dry-aged beef is more nutritious and/or digestible. I have spoken with many folks in the know who say that dry-aged beef (versus wet-aged beef) is not only more palatable but more digestible and beneficial to gut flora. I am sure most traditional cultures would have aged meats since refrigeration was not available.
Dry aging is a process whereby either an entire carcass or specific cuts of beef are held at temperatures above freezing for a given amount of time in order to let naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes break down and flavor the beef. Hunters do this by hanging carcasses in a root cellar or in a game bag in a cool spot in the woods.
We age our beef for twenty-one days. Our USDA butcher does it in a large refrigerator at temperatures between 33-35 degrees. External fat cover prevents spoilage. The butcher told us he doesn’t have another grassfed beef producer who can get nearly enough fat cover on their beef to make them eligible for aging twenty-one days. Seven to fourteen days is much more common with small grassfed producers and wet aging is the process used for industrially produced meats. Last year we were able to even go twenty-eight days dry aged on some pieces.
We are able to get this fat cover because of the way we manage our beef herd. We only harvest our steers in the spring after the peak of the grass season, when the animals are between fourteen to eighteen months of age. We raise small-framed Angus-influenced cattle. We have worked very hard to find top quality genetics that finish on grass, not from the giant breeds designed to eat a feedlot diet. Animals grow their bone structure first, muscle next, and put on fat last. We time their births so that they are of the right age to finish—that is, to put on fat—when the grasses are the most abundant and are the most nutritious. We don’t try to finish animals ten months of the year on crummy irrigated pasture like many other ranchers do in these parts. Here in the West with the high heat and dry summers, most irrigated pasture does not produce good meat, in our opinion.
Chaffin Family Orchards Oroville, California
Thank you so much for filing a lawsuit on behalf of Illinois inmates regarding the soy foods they are forced to eat. My husband is incarcerated and both he and I adamantly avoid soy whenever possible. I send him a great deal of money so that he can buy food at the commissary and cook in his cell instead of eating the dangerous soy chow. I feel very bad for the many inmates whose loved ones cannot afford to do this. I’m sure you’re aware that the prison staff is also offered this food, which probably explains why most bring their own meals.
I’d like to add that the prison visiting room vending machines are also full of soy. Of course it’s impossible to know what’s in a sandwich until you’ve bought it, because of the deceptive labeling. I hate the fact that the USDA allows food manufacturers to label a sandwich “beef patty” when it contains TVP and soy. The “charbroil” contains no meat at all—what a joke! I sent a complaint to the USDA about the “beef patty” sandwich, sent links to the vendor’s nutritional info, but have had no response yet.
What a shameful state our food supply is in. No wonder we’ve got an epidemic of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other preventable conditions. Thank you so much. I will be donating to your organization!
Editor’s Response: Thank you for this expression of support. Our soy lawsuit is going forward and we expect the trial to take place in 2011. The trial has enormous implications for all institutions, not just prisons but also schools, nursing homes, and hospitals throughout the U.S. We have excellent legal help, but legal work is expensive. Donations to this cause are much needed and most welcome. (They are also tax deductible. Checks should be made out to the Weston A. Price Foundation/Soy Alert! Campaign.)
SOY AND ASBESTOS
I like your comparison of soy to asbestos. I see the day coming when soy will be just as discredited as tobacco, and just as much of a litigation issue as asbestos. The soy prison case is getting more and more publicity, and the letter writing campaign you started will get attention. This has really helped my efforts to get the people I know to stop using soy.
Thank you so much for bringing this issue into the light of day.
It took the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1946 to 1971 to warn about severely damaging health effects caused by the synthetic estrogen DES, even though a Freedom of Information request disclosed knowledge of tragic DES estrogen health results decades prior to the disclosure. It took the NIH from 1942 to 1972 to report that Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) causes uterine cancer within six months to one year after implementation. It took the NIH six decades, from 1942 to 2002, to allow release of information showing the many fatal risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), although Freedom of Information Act documents prove again they had massive study information decades prior, proving the host of fatal HRT effects. During these years NIH allowed the same massive false advertising and physician persuasion of this highly popular drug fad targeting several million healthy women.
I began finding published study information comparing soy phytoestrogens with DES estrogen, and also to estradiol, (as in ERT, HRT, birth control pills and the patch). Soy phytoestrogens are a most potent and dangerous exogenous estrogen, especially when unnaturally manipulated. It is just unbelievable that we allow soy to be fed to vulnerable infants and do not warn against its use in pregnancy. The FDA lists soy on its Poisonous Plant Database and confirms that they have no evidence that any child can normally survive soy’s estrogenic endocrine disruptor toxicity.
In the process of researching infant formula approval protocols, the FDA confessed to me that the agency has not approved soy protein isolate, the main ingredient for infant formula. Instead, FDA simply relies on the industry for evidence of a protein source, and then the FDA only requires that essential minerals be added—and this qualifies as marketable infant formula!
If you are a profitable industry you can likely convince the FDA that horse dung (recall that ERT/HRT is made from cheap horse urine) is a healthy protein for infants, and the FDA will tell you which essential ingredients must be added. This allows the industry to market this cheaply produced, well established estrogenic hormone disruptor as infant formula. FDA prohibits estrogenic chemicals for fetal and infant consumption, but not estrogenic soy formula.
My neighbor’s daughter is autistic; a grown young lady I know is infertile, as is another grown young man; a young lady I know died at nineteen from leukemia; a young man has unusual allergies; a young child is diagnosed with diabetes; another young child is diagnosed with immune deficiency disorder. The only children I know with severe or fatal health outcomes all have one thing in common—they have all been fed soy infant formula. Medwatch has a long list of severe and fatal adverse effects reported by parents feeding their children soy formula.
Medwatch reports are concealed from the public unless researched through FOIA.
The thought of loving parents who feed their infants toxic soy formula without any chance of knowing they are encouraging irreversible painful adverse health effects for their children is nearly unbearable. I helplessly watched my mother die because of HRT. I hope to lessen further suffering caused by FDA and NIH negligence by working to expose the great danger of soy infant formula.
Santa Barbara, California
I thought you might like to publish this wonderful photo, which I’ve had hanging in my kitchen for years. It gives a glimpse into how dairy foods were honored in 1942, during the time of Weston Price. This photo was taken at a Polish grammar school in Chicago; the teacher was a nun who put a lot of effort into this curriculum.
Notice the detail, the wide range of dairy mammals, and the messages about milk and dairy products. The children are very healthy looking—some of them are dressed up as milkmen.
My mother went to the same school years before and mentioned that the nuns would make cheese from the leftover bottles of milk. They would leave it on the window ledge to cure!
Oak Park, Illinois
RAW MILK SURPRISES
I knew that my husband could drink raw milk even though he is lactose intolerant. That made sense. I knew it took care of my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which makes sense also. But there are two other outcomes from raw milk that have really surprised me.
First off, my daughter always complained about her tummy hurting. She never wanted to eat because it made her tummy hurt. Then I started to think that maybe her tummy hurt because of hunger pains. So I started making her eat. But she would just complain after the meal that her tummy hurt. Her pediatrician was totally confused as to why and wanted to do testing, which she knew I would be against. I had discussed the possibility of raw milk with her, and although she hated the idea, she did admit that her brother drinks raw milk and his whole family says it has benefited them. In the end, she consented to trying raw milk for my daughter—as if I needed her permission. However, about a month after we started drinking raw milk my husband and I realized that our daughter has not once complained of a tummy ache.
Another friend had terrible back pains for over a year. There were some days when she had to stay in bed all day. She went to the chiropractor and one visit even made her back worse. However, after drinking raw milk, her back is fine! I did some research and found out that an unhealthy gut can affect all areas of your body, especially your back. Who knew such a simple change could do so much!
Santa Barbara, California
RAW MILK IN PAKISTAN
I wanted to share very happily the progress of raw milk in Pakistan. In December I gave a seminar at a university in which I introduced all details about raw milk to the students. Then in January, I participated in a health show, showed the WAPF brochure, and again talked about raw milk. This program was telecast January 1. A case has been filed in high court against packaged milk, and an advertisement appeared in our local newspaper describing the importance of raw milk. Every day I convince four or five of my patients to start raw milk and my husband, myself and my family are now on raw milk since last June.
I recently participated in a telecast on raw milk; the response was overwhelming and there is a strong stirring about the use of raw milk in Pakistan and many Arab countries.
Dr. Shagufta Feroz, Chapter Leader
EPILEPSY AND GUT HEALTH
Our child has what is called idiopathic epilepsy, that is epilepsy of no known cause, and suffered uncontrolled seizures and escalating depression until we finally discovered why and what to do to effect a cure. On a high-fat, whole, natural foods diet our child lost fifty pounds. Our child’s blood pressure dropped to normal and the pre-diabetes disappeared. The black cloud of depression lessened.
However, our child’s seizures did not lessen in frequency or severity. Then we stumbled upon www.dogtorj.com, written by John B. Symes, DVM, a veterinarian who provided the final piece of the puzzle. As we read his site so many things fell into place. Simply put, our child had a severely damaged intestinal system due to food allergies and food intolerance.
Our final hope rested on Doctor J’s, new elimination diet. We eliminated all of the “glue” foods: all corn, all wheat and all soy (we had already eliminated all the byproducts and derivatives of those now manipulated, bioengineered, toxic “foods,” pasteurized cow’s milk, and all sugars, including sugar substitutes). We learned about the horrendous effects of non-fermented soy and realized that our child’s seizures and depression had progressively gotten worse after the introduction of even more soy into our child’s diet. It was then that the seizures stopped and the healing began. There is a lot of information out there about the signs of food allergies and food intolerance but our child did not fit any of those profiles.
We are now seeing a whole array of symptoms in our children, such as autism, severe behavioral problems, skin problems, asthma, gastrointestinal distress, ADHD, diabetes, depression and all other forms of mental illnesses. To this should be added idiopathic epilepsy. All these symptoms have already reached epidemic levels. The autism rate has increased from one in 150 to one in 100 in only two years. One in four autistic children will develop epilepsy in early childhood or as teenagers.
According to Hippocrites, all diseases begin in the gut. There is ample proof that a damaged gut is directly related to all those conditions seen in our children and later to obesity, alcoholism, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, lupus, chronic fatigue, diabetes, schizophrenia, major depression and other mental illnesses, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and more, much more.
Children with damaged guts will crave the very things they are allergic to. They will emotionally disconnect. More will fall into other addictions to ease their pain.
The millions of villi in our intestinal system absorb nutrients. Our digestive system prevents toxins from reaching the brain. Once the villi are damaged, they can no longer absorb minerals and vitamins, fats and amino acids, nor can they protect the brain from the thousands of toxins in our world today.
Over 60 percent of the so-called food and drink on our grocery shelves are not only lacking in nutritional value, they are poisonous! We find it amazing that it is illegal for children to purchase cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs yet any child can purchase these poisons that our government not only allows but also actually sanctions and subsidizes with our tax dollars.
Sioux City, Iowa
I am confused about your article on the dangers of agave (Spring 2009) because it seems that agave does have a relatively low glycemic index. Blue Agave Nectar posts this information on its website, and they display a sticker on their product that would invite a crackdown from the FDA for mislabeling food if it were wrong.
Long Beach, California
Editor’s Response: We are not arguing with the statement that agave and high fructose corn syrup have a low glycemic index; but these highly processed products are detrimental for other reasons; and just because a food has a low glycemic index does not mean that it is healthy.
In a recent book review on The Devil in The Milk (Winter, 2009), a statement was made that has been repeated often and is erroneous. The reviewer states that “old fashioned cows (such as Jerseys, Asian and African cows)” are called A2 cows and have the original beta-casein amino acid configuration. He also states that “more modern breeds like Holstein” are called A1 cows. Many WAPF farmers and raw milk consumers have used this statement as guidance in selecting cattle or milk supply sources.
Keith Woodford, Devil in the Milk author, correctly states that all European cattle breeds are relatively recent and the dairy breeds originally all belonged to beta-casein group A2. The point mutations that resulted in subgroups A1, B, and C (not just A1) all include an alteration of proline to histidine at the sixty-seventh amino acid. They are referred to in shorthand as A1 in the text. These subgroups, but not A2 or A3, would be classified as “bad” according to the theoretical ability to be cleaved and form beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM7). Both A2 and A3 gene polymorphisms would then be considered “good” and are called A2.
Lumping these subgroups together, it is unclear that the Jersey, ranging from 50 to 57 percent “good,” is superior to the Holstein, ranging from 35 to 57 percent good across nine studies on three continents. This is because Jerseys range from 33 to 36 percent B beta-casein and this number must be added to the A1 group to determine what percent have the mutation of concern.
Ranking of European dairy breeds from “bad” to “good” based on a large California study directly comparing American cattle breeds, would be first Holstein, then Milking Shorthorn tied with Jersey, then Brown Swiss and finally Guernsey. There is a mixture of types within each breed that is consistent across herds and studies. Because of this, Woodford in his book recommends testing of individual animals. If one were to bet on a breed with the “best” beta-casein type regarding production of BCM7, it would be the Guernsey with 96 percent “good” genotype.
Dr. Meg Cattell, DVM, MS
Editor’s Response: Dr. Cattell is a Northern Colorado WAPF chapter leader and a multi-breed raw milk dairy farmer
I thoroughly enjoyed Sally Fallon Morell’s review of the book, Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life by Gerald H. Pollack, PhD (Winter 2009). In the third paragraph of her review, Fallon Morell makes the following statement: “Water lines up against the cell’s inner structures hydrogen-end-to-oxygen-end, not several molecules thick but dozens of molecules thick, creating a zone that excludes larger ions like sodium but not smaller ones like potassium.”
This statement is repeated later in the same paragraph. However, I am seeking clarity on what Fallon Morell is implying, because potassium ions are larger than sodium ions, not the other way around.
By the way, I’ve been a member for five years, and WAPF has literally changed my life for the better, tenfold. Thank you for all you do.
San Diego, California
Editor’s Response: We asked Gerald Pollack whether we had made a mistake. His answer is that what counts is the hydrated ion and the hydrated sodium ion is larger than the hydrated potassium ion. Pollack’s concept is not original; it’s the centerpiece of much of the work coming from Gilbert Ling, who formulated the theory almost half a century ago.
MAKING THE TRANSITION
I am writing in response to a letter to the editor (Winter 2009) regarding A2 milk. I agree that A1 milk is often the best we have currently in the U.S. for milk drinkers. However, a few farmers are breeding their cows for A2. I have sought out grassfed A2 bulls from New Zealand, and we are breeding all our Jerseys here at Sabo Ranch for A2 genetics. While we only have a small herd, within five years we will have more, and will breed specifically for family milk cows, and bulls that can spread A2 genetics to other family farms around the Northwest.
Devon cattle in the U.S. might also be a reservoir of A2 genetics. We are also developing a herd of beef Devon cattle here, and one of our herd sires is also homozygous for A2 milk. Milk drinkers in New England might search out the Milking Devon herds to find A2 milk, and in so doing they will also promote the continuance of a heritage breed in America. Milking Devons are listed in the Ark of Taste from the Slow Food movement.
Keep asking! The more we request these genetics, which are well known in Australia and New Zealand, the more farmers will respond.
Jenny Sabo, Sabo Ranch
Editor’s Response: It is good that farmers are making the transition to A2 genetics but we do not want our farmers with established A1 herds to feel under any pressure to do so. A1 milk is fine for most people as long as the milk is raw and full fat, and the cows are grass fed.
FOOD, INC. REVISTED
I’m troubled by the DVD review of “Food, Inc.” in the Winter 2009 issue, not just as a review but as somewhat symptomatic of more basic issues which I believe compromise and limit WAPF in its potential effectiveness.
The cited deficiencies yielding “Thumbs Down” appear to be the scenes on Kevin’s Law and Wal-Mart. The reviewer seems to think the movie is arguing on behalf of Kevin’s law, just because it reports on the mother’s attempts to fix things. That’s not Kenner’s argument, that’s the mother’s argument. In fact, the juxtaposition of her later fears of being sued is even more dramatic, and stronger, when they are seen in the light of her advocacy for Kevin’s law.
For my money, the message of this movie is exactly epitomized by her plight, namely, there is rampant censorship of discussions about processed food, enshrined in statute, the courts, and in the economic power wielded in backwater communities which must suffer as the food factories of America. The censorship is the story and is incredible, and the mother in her conflicted situation illustrates the seriousness of the problem. Her fear of being sued would have lost most of its punch if her efforts to pass remedial legislation had been left on the editing room floor.
There seems to be a disconnect in Tim’s review between the fact that an ethical documentary reports something, and the content of what is reported. I think it’s a more powerful documentary (actually, better overall than “Fresh!”) because Kenner reports everything that he’s seeing. “A little more editing” would have destroyed its credibility as a documentary, because Kenner then would be seen (correctly) as an ideologue, not a reporter.
Likewise, we may not like it, but Wal-Mart’s actions occurred, they were impactful, and they should be reported, like it or not. The objectivity of “Food, Inc.” is its strength, and correspondingly, the comparative lack of objectivity is the weakness of “Fresh!”
I fear that when WAPF hews so predictably to conclusions, like this review, which are essentially ideological and which seem to ignore what’s really happening, that the credibility of WAPF likewise suffers.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Editor’s Response: The reviewer gave an accurate description of the movie and his reasons for the negative review, namely the conflicting messages about the solution to industrial agriculture. Most of our readers would vote for the solution offered in Fresh!, which is to patronize small farms and artisan processors rather than purchase organic food from Wal-Mart and lobby for laws that could be turned against the small producer.
The article “A Holistic Approach to Cancer” (Winter 2009) contains false statements about organic agriculture. As an historian of organic farming, I would like to take this opportunity to correct some of the misinformation embodied in an otherwise interesting article.
Organic farming certainly did not cause the Dust Bowl. A major factor contributing to the Dust Bowl was plowing of the native prairie. Grain crops in the Great Plains around the time of the Dust Bowl were not being grown organically. Prior to 1940, organic farming did not yet exist in name and had not yet fully materialized into a system of farming. Organic farming is an agro-ecological farming system that cannot be simply defined by that which it is not—that is, not chemical agriculture, not GMO seed, etc.
Organic farming did not cause the Tigris and Euphrates Delta to become a desert. Among the factors contributing to the desertification in that region was salinization of the soil from salts delivered to the land via irrigation water. When soil scientists study farmland converted to organic management, they generally find that soil quality and organic matter content are improved over conventional management.
With that said, I now want to illustrate that not only is organic farming not responsible for the disasters listed, but that it employs cultural practices that support principles of the WAPF. This material would add information to my article on “A History of Organic Farming” (Winter 2006).
In 1940, Walter Northborne published his influential book, Look to the Land in which he coined the word “organic” to refer to a holistic farming system that he envisioned as an alternative to the “conventional” agriculture that was associated with soil erosion and destruction of natural resources occurring on a massive scale, not only within the United States, but around the world. Around the same time, other organic pioneers, including Albert Howard, Eve Balfour, Jerome Rodale, and Edward Faulkner, published books that expressed great concern about the destruction of the soil resource. In their publications, they articulated a philosophy of farming that was based on ecological principles modeled after nature.
A well-developed organic farm was envisioned to function as a kind of living organism. Key cultural practices include recycling all types of natural waste materials, composting, building soil organic matter content and soil quality, an integration of plant and animal agriculture on the same farm, livestock grazing on pasture, complex rotations of perennial and annual crops, and growing cover crops for soil conservation and nitrogen fertility. Everything centered on designing a farming system that prevented disease, pest injury and soil erosion, and building and maintaining the soil resource upon which plant, animal, and human health depend. Few to none of these organic regenerative cultural practices were employed in the initial farming of the Great Plains. Beyond the farm gate, organic principles also originally extended to protection of living food quality. Organic pioneers Walter Northborne, Jerome Rodale, and Eve Balfour were vigorous supporters of raw milk decades before the current Campaign for Real Milk. Both Jerome Rodale and Eve Balfour wrote book chapters acknowledging the valuable contributions of nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price.
In 1990, when the USDA National Organic Program (USDA-NOP) was established, it codified some but not all of the traditional organic farming principles in the USDA-NOP Standards. For example, in 1958, Rodale loudly proclaimed that “It is not organic to produce milk organically, and then to pasteurize it.” The USDA-NOP Standards have no provisions against organic milk pasteurization or even ultra-pasteurization (nor do they mandate pasteurization). The USDA-NOP is often legitimately criticized for failing to adequately enforce organic livestock pasture standards. The USDA and its marketing programs have never represented the center of gravity of the organic community. Nevertheless, the USDA-NOP, despite its imperfections provides a useful service of minimum standards for how to achieve organic certification, prevent fraud, and assist informed consumer choice. Perhaps in an ideal world, where the food producer and the food eater know one another and agree on farming philosophy, there is no need for third party certification. Any wonder why about half of the farms advertising in Wise Traditions are USDA Certified Organic?
The pre-USDA or traditional organic farming principles were generally based on sound ecological principles given the scientific and institutional limitations of the period in which they were developed. Organic is not a static set of rules (USDA has just updated organic access to pasture) but rather the continuing evolution of a farming system to achieve the best that nature can provide. The best organic farmers already go beyond the minimum standards set by USDA organic certification and they might appropriately be called “Beyond USDA-NOP Standards.”
The article by Dr. Cowan ends with a statement of support for “sustainable agriculture.” This popular term has become the more palatable offshoot of organic agriculture. The problem with the term “sustainable agriculture” is that it lacks definition and is easily co-opted by greenwashing vested interests.
Dr. Joseph Heckman
Monroe, New Jersey
Editor’s Response: The point of Dr. Cowan’s statement was that the farming methods that led to the decline in the Middle East and to the Dust Bowl conformed more or less to the USDA standards; perhaps a better description of the factors that led to desertification would be monocropping not alternating with animal production. As with modern organic standards, no pesticides were used; even so, it was obviously not sustainable.
MAPLE SYRUP UPDATE
Did you know that maple syrup is one of the safest, most digestible natural sugars known to man? As a maple producer, I am proud to be part of the production of such a beautiful crop. However, thanks to some unhealthy practices from twenty years ago, the industry is still dealing with some negative repercussions.
Formaldehyde tablets were used for a short period of time by some maple producers throughout North America in the tap holes of the trees. Why? To prevent the maple tree from clotting the holes, a natural process that heals the holes after the sap is collected for the six weeks of maple season. Not all producers used these tablets for obvious reason—their potential harm to the trees and to the consumer.
Eventually, the FDA banned the use of the tablets when formaldehyde was found in maple syrup, about twenty years ago, and then the practice was banned in Canada about ten years ago. The FDA and state agriculture departments enforce this in the U.S. by routine, random testing of maple syrup. Therefore, if you are purchasing maple syrup made in the U.S., know that it is free of formaldehyde.
It’s also important to purchase syrup from the U.S. to support our producers. If you take a look at most maple syrup in your local grocery store, the syrup generally comes from Canada, definitely not local. And, even though that syrup may be labeled natural or pure, you have no guarantee. The best way to purchase syrup is to find a producer, call them up, or visit their web site and get to know them and how they make maple syrup. Make sure they are a family farm and then you really know you are getting the real thing!
Maple syrup is only produced in northeastern U.S. and Canada, and all farms in that region boiled the sweet sap at one time or another. It was used in trade and was a precious commodity. Most of the producers still around today are farmers who can trace their maple syrup heritage back for five generations or so, like us.
Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. Granulated maple sugar and maple syrup can be used instead of refined sugar in all recipes. It bakes well, is a great sugar to start yeast with and is good for you as it contains trace minerals. Best of all, it has a low glycemic index; the pancreas does not flood the system with insulin after the consumption of maple syrup. It is metabolized more slowly and evenly which also means this sugar is okay for diabetics in small amounts. Take part in history, take care of your body and support farming by consuming maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
Cobleskill, New York
Editor’s Response: Caroline is the Schoharie County Chapter Leader and co-owner of Maple Hill Farm, Cobleskill, New York.
Recent studies of phytonutrients emphasize the need for a diversity of plant foods in our diets. Phytonutrients mediate inflammation and reduce cancer and heart disease risk. They bolster our immune systems and reduce the effects of aging. Our bodies assimilate these nutrients much more readily from fresh produce than from commercial supplements.
It appears that exposure to “insect pressure” increases the amount of these important nutrients in produce by up to 30 percent. With the routine spraying on commercial farms, be they chemical or commercial organic, these pest pressures do not occur. On ecological farms, most pest control is through the plant’s own immune system. Spraying is minimal. Living soil organisms, maximized in ecological farming but lost or ignored in other types of farming, create the best soil and provide plants access to soil nutrients. Eco-Ag produce may excede USDA nutritional standards by 30 percent, making every bite more nutrient dense!
The best source of produce of this quality has been small, local, ecologically managed farms, that is farms using no toxic chemical inputs plus ensuring soil nutrients balanced via Albrecht or similar systems. The easiest way to be assured of a good supply of the freshest local high-mineral, highphytonutrient produce has been by joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.
Unfortunately, looking through listings at localharvest.com, I noticed an increasing number of fake CSAs. A fake CSA exploits a consumer’s assumption about the value of a CSA and, among other things, distributes nonorganic produce they acquire from off their farm. The actual source of food is unknown or obscured. Transparency is lost. And so are the deep benefits of getting your family’s food from a CSA. As the local food marketplace has grown, entrepreneurs who do not operate from the ethical grounds the movement arose from have moved in. The price of a vital, clean, safe, nutritious local food system is eternal vigilance. We can’t take the easy path. We have to always ask the hard questions. Caveat emptor.
Convenience is another enemy of true food quality. Plant nutrients, especially the important phytonutrients, rely on true freshness. Most CSA produce is harvested the day it is delivered. However, many food clubs distribute USDA organic produce from organic produce cooperatives which, although technically organic, may not be fresh and are not truly local because they are either located far away or source many of their actual products from outside the region. (Pennsylvania’s Tuscarora Cooperative is an example of this in the DC-area.) When choosing produce for maximum health, one must always remember that USDA organic is a procedural approach to reducing toxins and has zero nutritional goals. In addition, commercial farms and farmers simply cannot and do not take care of the land as well as the small ecological farmer does.
We must never forget that the origins of CSAs derive from the search for food quality. What we want, for maximum nutritional benefit from vegetables and fruits, is harvest on distribution day. Eating produce like this, one becomes aware of how the farm, the farmer’s energies and moral intentions of quality first come out in the food, so that the relationship is definitely transparent— validated by your own taste buds.
Shephardstown, West Virginia
Editor’s Response: Allan runs a biodynamic CSA that serves the Washington metropolitan region. For further information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE GRAIN CONUNDRUM
I have celiac disease and have been on a gluten-free and traditional diet for more than five years. Most of the terrible symptoms went away on the gluten-free diet but I still often suffered from bloating and gas. Last year I heard about the GAPS diet, which eliminates complex carbs like potatoes as well as grains, and went on it for almost a year. During that time, I began to feel more and more exhausted and my whole body began to be in pain. My muscles just hurt all the time.
I wrote Dr. Campbell-McBride about it and she said to go back to the intro diet again—I had already done the intro diet twice. She said I was just still toxic, which made me feel weak and exhausted. So I followed that advice, but I only seemed to get weaker. I had been a dance teacher and now I was having trouble just walking up the stairs.
I went to the doctor and got all kinds of tests. After many visits to different physicians and lots of money spent, they all said I was as healthy as I could be. Nothing was wrong, they said. I have always been relatively healthy, except for the gastrointestinal problems.
I then decided to call Dr. Thomas Cowan and do a phone consult. I knew he knew about the GAPS diet and could hopefully help me. After the first ten minutes on the phone with him, he told me I should start eating grains again and that my muscle pain and weakness were due to being on the GAPS diet. I was shocked. He said that many people have come to him with the same problem due to the diet and that he himself had felt this way after going on the diet for a short time. He agreed that it is, in theory, a perfect diet, but that for some reason many people cannot do it.
I have gone back on gluten-free grains such as millet, rice and quinoa, and am slowly starting to feel better. I have had such a hard year due to this and it has taken a toll on my whole family. I already feel much better having put grains back into my diet. I have lost considerable muscle mass but am hoping that I will be able to make a full recovery. By the way, I am still taking the recommended probiotics—I do not feel that this problem was caused by the probiotics.
I think the GAPS diet does heal the gut, but as Dr. Cowan told me, many people cannot live without some type of grain or starchy tuber like potatoes or sweet potatoes. Another WAPF-savvy physician has told me the same thing, and I have heard from two other WAPF members who have had similar symptoms until they put grains back into their diets. Living without these food can deprive us of any drive or happiness, which is not a good trade off, if you ask me.
Priscilla Smith, Chapter Leader
Editors’ Response: A very interesting response from Dr. Cowan is published in the box below. As we embark on this issue dedicated to the toxins in plant foods, it is important to always keep the goal in mind: that is, to be able to enjoy and derive nourishment from as many of the fruits of the earth as possible, whether oats originating from Scotland, tomatoes from Latin America or coconut from the tropics. We are no longer members of a local tribe but world citizens. The path to the healthy omnivorous diet, one that nourishes body, soul and mind, is one of balance and conscious choice: balance between meat, dairy, fats, grains, fruits and vegetables; and conscious—rather than intuitive—insight into our food choices and preparation techniques.
THE OMNIVORES DILEMMA: WHY MODERN MAN NEEDS PLANT FOODS IN HIS DIET
By Thomas Cowan, MD
I have been investigating the subject of human food choices for over thirty years, and try as I may, I find it difficult to get an accurate read on the habits and outlook of prehistoric people. Many competing versions abound, everything from the views of conventional anthropologists, to the belief in alien intervention, to the complex visions of Rudolf Steiner. With an eye towards the inevitable uncertainty in this subject, I have nevertheless concluded that before the dawn of agriculture, humans were physically healthier than we are today; they were subject to far less illness than we experience today and to virtually none of the chronic illnesses that so plague modern life; and they had larger brains. Most importantly—and this is the part that is not appreciated by most who comment on this subject—prehistoric people were “configured” somewhat differently than we are today. This different configuration is partially related to the structure and function of the body, but mostly it is related to the structure of consciousness. Without going into any depth on this subject, prehistoric man experienced the world out of time and much more connected to their group than we do today. To have any sense of this, imagine how differently you would see life if you spent even one year in a deep wilderness without clocks or mirrors, foraging for your food with a group of ten to twenty people. You would most certainly conceive of yourself as part of a group and not as in individual. The process of individualization has been going on for a long time, but accelerated with the Renaissance—when, by the way, the use of clocks and mirrors—and grains—became commonplace.
My best guess is that the diet of these prehistoric peoples was about 70 percent animal products and about 30 percent plant products, usually plant products prepared in specific ways to neutralize toxins. The animal part of their diet consisted of animal proteins and fats to build the structures of their bodies while the plant part supplied many vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and many other substances that nourished not only the physical body but also their imaginative and intuitive life. As the consciousness of humanity evolved, in particular as our sense of individuality developed, we needed more sugar. The reasons behind this are complex, but my understanding is that when we eat a more animalbased ketogenic diet, where our brains and hearts use fats as fuel, we get efficient metabolism of these organs and a sense of calmness and even peace—but what is lacking is the elusive sense of one’s self as a separate “spiritual” entity. As our sense of individuality dawned, we traded some of the fats and proteins for grains, increased our carbohydrate intake to nourish our sense of individuality, and set out to find out who we are and “conquer” the earth. Obviously, both good and bad outcomes emerged from this project. In some ways, we sacrificed some of our robust health and earthy vitality, but we also learned about who we are on a level unimaginable to prehistoric people.
To me this is the trade-off. We can’t and shouldn’t go back to a pre-history diet, but it is a valuable therapeutic technique to be used carefully and judiciously. As a physician, I recommend certain prehistoric diets (such as the GAPS diet) when needed to restore physical health and then return my patients to a mixed diet when the sense of lassitude sets in. The art of medicine involves being acutely aware of the needs of my patients on all levels, suggesting a diet that can be therapeutic at the time, and then not lingering too long at a stage that is inappropriate for the spiritual evolution of the patient.
NOTICE ABOUT RAW MILK IN PAKISTAN
Boiling milk reduced the natural vitamin B complexes by about 36 percent. For ages we have boiled milk before use since we feel that boiling makes milk safe for consumption. Recent research of PCSIR (Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrual Research) has proven that boiling milk for any length of time reduces the naturally present vitamin B complexes by 36 percent, and [pathogenic] bacteria are also not totally destroyed. Boiling also reduces the food value of milk.
B1 – 27 percent reduction
B2 – 27 percent reduction
B3 – 26 percent reduction
B6 – 24 percent reduction
B9 (folic acid) – 36 percent reduction