My son Gregory had his first episode of mental illness about eight years ago. Soon after, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, followed by schizophrenia, then schizoaffective disorder, then back to the diagnoses of bipolar. He was repeatedly hospitalized in mental health facilities and treated with a variety of antipsychotic, antidepressant and mood-stabilizing drugs, almost as if he were a guinea pig in a research lab. None of the medications facilitated any type of long-term healing. They temporarily stabilized his behavior, but the slightest disturbance would instigate another episode until the medications became the actual disturbance, causing a whole new breed of violent psychotic behavior that we had never seen before. He became progressively worse over a period of about four years and the drugs were undoubtedly the cause.
Another problem that came about was Gregory’s reluctance to take the medications. The side effects were so unpleasant and debilitating, he would hide the pills and dispose of them at any given chance. This caused major withdrawal symptoms that became worse than the original condition being treated. The withdrawal symptoms of the antipsychotic drugs began to induce the most psychotic behavior yet, the onset of voices. Once this began, nothing could stop the torment that took place within my poor son’s own mind. As a mother, unable to help her child, I began living the most frightening nightmare imaginable.
From January 2001, we spent a great deal of time in and out of hospitals, with different psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, trying different medications, diets and supplements, and nothing seemed to work. I was beginning to feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Nothing had made sense to me until I opened the 2007 issue of Wise Traditions and read an article about the connection between zinc and copper in relation to mental illness. For the first time in years, something had finally made sense. I immediately picked up the phone and called Theresa Vernon, whose name had been mentioned in the article. After explaining the situation with my son, she then shared with me a similar experience she had had with her son. Then I really began to listen. She explained to me what the hair tissue analysis would actually reveal.
Results from Gregory’s hair analysis revealed that he had accumulated toxic levels of heavy metals, including aluminum, mercury and copper. He had severe mineral imbalances, along with serious thyroid and adrenal malfunction. First, Theresa addressed his thyroid and adrenal problems by providing supportive vitamins and minerals. After he gained some strength back and began to feel better, she prescribed a detox program that balanced out his mineral levels while eliminating heavy metals. He experienced many ups and downs during the elimination process. This was a very trying period for all of us. Through further analysis, it was also found that Greg had celiac disease, severe lactose intolerance and several other food allergies. Theresa addressed all of these issues and gave us the curative recommendations. He now follows a strict diet of traditional foods, takes a specific regimen of supplements, and leads a healthy, peaceful lifestyle. He has regained his confidence and is beginning to function normally in society, working part-time, socializing with friends and family, and has intentions of finishing college.
Theresa Vernon is an extremely knowledgeable, professional, and compassionate person. Her meticulous approach and adept wisdom truly saved my son. She has made such a significant improvement in the quality of my son’s life and I know that she can do the same for many other people that suffer from similar problems. There is hope for people with mental illness, please do not give up, call Theresa Vernon (805) 649-8891.
Falls Church, Virginia
Editor’s Response: Theresa Vernon will be a speaker at Wise Traditions 2008. As a resource, Kasha and Theresa recommend The Strands of Health: A Guide to Understanding Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis by Rick Malter PhD.
Out of Place?
Matthew Rales’ article “An Inconvenient Cow,” (Spring 2008) was wonderful. He “hit the nail on the head.” Grass-based agriculture would solve so many problems. It would fuel a switch from fossil fuel to solar-powered food systems, repopulation of rural areas, restoration of peoples’ health and the best, fastest way to sequester carbon.
The sidebar article on global warming seemed glaringly out of place The main article was rightfully critical of our corporatized, industrialized food system. Yet this side article was supportive of corporatized, industrial inspired global warming detractors. The website referred to had articles from relatively few “scientists” citing only a few data inconsistencies, a common detractor strategy. Some articles on the site were almost derogatory in their criticism of “environmentalists” and the “greenhouse industry.” One article was strongly critical of wind turbines. A thesis was that this greenhouse industry is deceiving us to continue to receive research mega bucks. Even if global warming is a myth, the environmental, social and even economic benefits of change are enormous. Consequences of doing nothing could be catastrophic.
Selby, South Dakota
Editor’s Response: We should not base our opinions on whether a particular point of view is deemed supportive of either corporate or environmentalist agendas, on how many scientists support the view (socalled concensus science) or whether scientists who question global warming promote the use of wind turbines, but on the totality of the evidence available. Evidence taken from around the globe indicates that the earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling, facts that proponents of global warming fail to mention. The “hockey stick” graph used to justify draconian worldwide government controls was constructed using highly selective and improperly manipulated data. We should be wary of fearful scenarios that call for solutions involving massive government bureaucracies— the consequences of doing something could be disastrous! And for the record, your editor does not support wind turbines as a solution to our energy problem. They are not economically viable without government subsidies and are made from aluminum, the production of which is highly energy intensive and polluting. Furthermore, they contribute to visual pollution; in fact they ruin the landscape.
The government assault on raw milk brings to mind the assault on insects with pesticides and the assault on human disease with pharmaceuticals. Both “remedies” are increasing in volume and cost while the pest-insects and our illness problems increase year by year, not to mention the cost of both.
Ever since the government started interfering with the natural flow of agriculture and medical care, things have eroded to a point where we cannot afford pesticides, pharmaceuticals. . . or the government. It is time we get back to nature to solve our problems. To quote François Rabelais, this is “science without conscience,” compounded chaos.
I’m doing my utmost to promote the things you’re doing at the Weston A. Price Foundation, such as championing raw milk and defending the independent farmer. I often share your news releases on my radio program, “Return to Eden.” In addition, my website truthsimply.com is the source of commentaries about issues that matter.
I consider it my duty to do my part to help turn this country around. It is my pleasure to partner with the Foundation toward that end.
Ed De Boer
Raw Milk in Alaska
My wife and I operate Alaska’s only “legal” farmstead goat cheese-making business. I just wanted to write a note thanking you for your help and support for the legalization of raw milk sales in our state.
Ours is a state that really doesn’t have much clout or get much attention nationally (unless you’re talking about oil!), especially with respect to agriculture. My aspiration to make 100 percent of my living from the farm here in Alaska has been scoffed at. Local farmers tell me I’m crazy. However, we have ignored these remarks and plowed on, determined to make it work.
The work you are doing is so much more important than just “I want to sell milk.” It is a most basic of freedoms, the foundation of all our other freedoms, to be able to feed ourselves and our families according to our own convictions. If we are not allowed to do this are there any other freedoms that really matter? Thank you, your whole staff and the Legal Defense Fund again so much!
Cranberry Ridge Farm, Alaska
Editor’s Response: Unfortunately, the Alaska bill to legalize raw milk sales was defeated this year; but Alaskan raw milk activists can always try again next year.
Boiled in Oil
As you have reported, recently the Ontario government called for a ban on trans fats. At the same time, however, McDonald’s has initiated a changeover of its french fry shortening from beef tallow (used to blanch the fries) to a trans-free concoction of three polyunsaturated oils. This will now bring them in line with US practices.
McDonald’s and its competitors clean the oil each night by passing it through a large paper filter dusted with baking soda to eliminate the rancid flavor. Newer, deep fryers are now self cleaning with a built-in lower drawer. The oil is kept in the unit for at least three days and is topped up regularly.
Most, if not all, of the McDonald’s owners are millionaires and, believe it or not, they are personally very health conscious, many being fitness buffs. Few eat their own food.
I am more afraid of the small family stores—I know because I grew up in the restaurant business—which never change out the oil until the french fries are brown and taste like, well, rancid french fries.
About a year ago I was visiting the Toronto Eaton Center in New York. On average 750,000 people visit this mall every day. In the south end is a fast food area with a New York Fries outlet. Out of curiosity I approached a fellow who looked like the store owner working in this NYF, and he was quick to tell me that the “light flavor” of their fries was from a change to sunflower oil only. When I asked him if he changed the oil out each day, he looked at me in shock and said that I must be crazy as they only change out the oil every four days!
Has anyone ever figured out the quantity of free radicals boiling away in the bottom of those fryers? Having been to hundreds of grand openings at McDonald’s, I can attest to the fact that their McNuggets and fries are absolutely fabulous when they make the first batch in the fryers. After that, they never taste the same even when they change out the oil. If I do have a hankering for such foods, I now ask them which day they last changed out the oil. Considering they do $3000 an hour in sales, that’s a lot of boiled oil! I would never visit such a place on a Sunday evening.
One would think that with the millions of dollars invested in hopeless food items like McRib and Pizza’s (here in Canada), they would be the first to implement a new method of cooking french fries. Perhaps some sort of hot oil spray that is used once, then flash cooked, just like fast freezing. They certainly have the resources to do such a thing.
Editor’s Response: Of course, the real solution is to go back to using stable tallow.
I had a bone density scan over two years ago and was told I had full blown osteoporosis. I take three grains of Armour thyroid every day (3/4 grain every six hours) and my endocrinologist is constantly worried that this will make my osteoporosis worse.
A new scan was done recently, same machine, same doctor, but different results. My improvement has been so dramatic that I sit on the borderline between osteopenia and normal. I have refused all the drugs my doctor has wanted me to take (Fosamax, Evista, Boniva), and although I have the best of intentions, my strength training is mostly done in my dreams.
Diet is the key to my improvement; most notably raw milk, raw butter, and no commercial vegetable oils. I became committed to a WAPF diet almost five years ago after breaking my pelvis and arm. Normally it takes years for improvements to show, especially if one is recovering from a major injury. My doctor is Indian which allows him to “accept” the fact that I drink raw milk, but his American medical training has taught him that a recovery without drugs is impossible. So we remain at loggerheads as I continue to improve and he chooses to remain mystified as to how.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Another Osteoporosis Cure
My mom, now 72, was diagnosed with osteoporosis in her late 30s, early 40s. She was a heavy milk drinker (pasteurized) and heavy smoker. She suffered from back problems for years and in 2003 had to have surgery at the Cleveland Clinic for compression fractures in her lower lumbar spine. She was told by local doctors and the Cleveland Clinic doctors that she should prepare to be in a wheelchair.
She saw a rheumatologist at Cleveland Clinic a few times in 2004, but when he said the over-the-counter calcium supplements were the best source of calcium for women, we lost all respect for him. He tried to get Mom on all the various drugs, such as Fosamax and Evista, but she had already tried them and experienced side effects, so she refused to try them again.
The only change she made back in 2003 was I got her on raw milk and cod liver oil, and she has never had another fracture. She had stopped taking cod liver oil last March when she had heart surgery, and she was recently told by her doctor that she has “polymyalgia” because her SED rate was 126 and needed to be on prednisone immediately. We said “no” and I got her on the fermented cod liver oil. The doctor is scratching his head because her SED rate is now 53 without prednisone! Diet and cod liver oil have given my Mom a new lease on life. Even the severe depression she’s had most of her life is now gone.
Raw Milk in Sweden
Thank you for all your work on traditional diets. It has made a huge impact on how I and my family view food, cooking and nutrition. I am a scientist and like the fact that everything on your websites is so well referenced, but perhaps even more important is that everything makes so much more common sense than the rubbish propaganda governments try to push on us.
It is possible to obtain raw milk in Sweden, as it is legal to buy direct from the farm. We buy our milk from a nearby farmer who produces organic milk. Unfortunately, Sweden is rather cold in the winter, so the cows are indoors several months in a row (they do get exercise once a week), and are fed grains along with hay (I think some of the hay is fermented). I think that they are grazing outdoors for at least six months though, so we are satisfied. The milk tastes great and has done wonders for my eldest as she completely stopped having ear infections and runny nose as soon as we made the transition to raw milk. We also make our own whole milk butter milk (filmjölk), but we are a bit too lazy to separate the cream.
In your article “It’s the Beef” on your website you state: “The most likely causes of increased heart disease in America are the other changes in our diets—huge increases in consumption of refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils, particularly hydrogenated vegetable oils; and the decline in nutrient levels in our food, particularly minerals and fat soluble vitamins—vitamins found only in animal fats.”
Let me share my “beef” with you: The beef industry, like any industry with a product to sell, conducts customer surveys as a marketing strategy to enhance its product sales. One of the questions customers are asked is: What color fat do you prefer your beef to have? Given the choice of yellow fat or white fat, the consumer has a preference for white fat, and the whiter the better. Cattle raised on pasture consume green grasses which, because of their high carotenoid levels, turn their fat yellow. Beta-carotene is the major component responsible for fat color in cattle. Beta-carotene is only a minor component of total carotenoids in grass (about 5 to 8 percent) but is selectively absorbed making up 80 percent of the yellow pigments in beef fat.
To satisfy the consumer, the last several months of a cow’s life are spent in a feedlot eating a grain-based (lowcarotenoid) diet. The fat loses up to 90 percent of its beta-carotene and its color turns white. (It also loses two-thirds of its vitamin E content, two-thirds of its omega-3 content and two-thirds of its CLA content.)
However, the cattle are fed vitamin E because it is known to promote shelf life by preventing lipid peroxidation.
In Canada, beef with yellow fat cannot be graded as Canada Prime AAA, AA, or A. Carcasses with yellow fat are graded as B and cannot be marketed in Canada. In the Japanese market, the fat must have a satin-like appearance for Japanese consumers who have a strong aversion to yellow fat, the healthiest kind!
It really speaks to the need for grass-fed beef with good nutrient-rich yellow fat in our diet, not the industrialized white version. The beef we are eating is devoid of many nutrients and may be contributing to our chronic diseases since it is not what nature intended us to eat.
Paul Chris, OD
Editor’s Response: It would be interesting to see whether there is a large difference in vitamin A in yellow compared to white fat. Omega-3 content does not change appreciably (it is low in both pasture-fed and grain-fed beef), but grain-fed beef contains more monounsaturated fatty acids. It is unlikely that grain finishing of beef is the chief cause of our health crisis today. Grain finishing is not a new practice and humans never got appreciable amounts of vitamin A from beef fat. To the great increases in the consumption of vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and processed foods we should probably add a decline in the consumption of organ meats as a contributor to our current health crisis.
I am a 21-year-old college student at Florida State University who can testify, after only a few months, to the effectiveness of your teachings. I was born a healthy weight, breast fed for years, but then raised on pasteurized milk and cold cereal, never knowing anything that is advocated on your website. The soup I ate was MSG-packed Campbell’s products, and the cereals all had huge amounts of sugar.
When I was diagnosed with ADD at a young age I was put on various drugs. The medications made me feel like a zombie, and I did not feel like a child should at that age. I required braces at a young age and had to have six teeth pulled in total.
For the past year, I have had a pretty obvious case of gingivitis; my gums looked puffy around the edges and bled during flossing quite easily. This has subsided in the past few days. The only change I can account for is diet. I discovered Dr. Mercola and his material a few months ago, and through him your organization. I had given up all dairy except cheese on pizza and occasional indulgences because the allergic reactions were becoming too much to bear. My replacement was non-GMO soy milk.
A chiropractor who fixed a vertebral misalignment in my top two vertebrae about 10 months ago told me I must have an exceptionally strong constitution to not have fallen under the myriad number of symptoms that come with upper cervical misalignment, which causes the cervical spine to push against the brain stem, resulting in depression (which I battled my whole life) and other strange symptoms, ranging from weak immune systems to physiological short leg, which I had, until the moment he gently, with no popping or cracking, nudged my cervical vertebrae into proper alignment. I am sure that the year or two I spent drinking soy did not produce the weakness or the other symptoms I have read about from soy because of the strength of my constitution.
The point is, my gingivitis is gone, and I have to think that, aside from properly preparing nuts, seeds and grains and making homemade broth from pasture-fed chickens, the raw milk is why. I drink about one quart per day on average, of course with no reactions other than energy and lack of any sort of ADD symptoms as my friends and family will testify.
I am a new member of the Weston A. Price Foundation and was excited to receive my first copy of Wise Traditions, Winter 2007 edition. However, I was disappointed to find some misinformation in the article, “Traditional Remedies for Childhood Illness” by Sarah Pope.
I am always in support of not rushing our children to the pediatrician’s office at the slightest sign of discomfort, but I cannot agree with her summation of ear candling. She states, “Ear candles don’t really clean out your ear—that is misinformation—but they blow warm smoke into your ear that helps dry out any moisture that may be in there.”
In my experience with the blessed candles, when they are used properly, they absolutely clean out any excess wax that may be causing you problems. When you create a vacuum with the candle, as is intended, by making sure that smoke is not entering your ear, you will truly clean out any excess wax. If you had any to remove in the first place, the evidence is left at the bottom of the candle and can be inspected upon unrolling it—the wax that accumulates there is the proof. I suggest that the first time you do this, have it done by someone who knows what they are doing, because if you are holding the candle at the wrong angle, it will be more difficult to obtain said vacuum.
Balsam Grove, North Carolina
Since taking my son Brodie off soy milk and soy products he has been rebounding from health and behavior problems. He had complained of his head spinning, fatigue, inability to think, and more difficulties related to concentration and performance at school. And since quitting soy products the circles have disappeared from under his eyes. His attitude is much more positive and patient, he can mentally function while learning reading skills and his writing skills have improved.
Brodie had been exhibiting most of the signs of ADD/ADHD. When he could not concentrate and succeed, he would become frustrated, fidget and misbehave.
Both my boys had been taking soy formula and/or soy milk since one year of age. I thought I was giving them the perfect food. We as consumers are being terribly misinformed with these feverishly advertised claims for soy when it is truly a chemical cocktail slowly poisoning us instead.
Raw Milk Challenge
I too get a little caustic at times with the anti-raw milk folks. What I would offer them is a challenge to prove a food safety point. I would gladly consume a quart or more of raw milk of my choice, after three or four days without refrigeration, while they do the same with their choice of pasteurized/ homogenized milk. I’d gladly repeat the experiment, side by side, as many times as my pasteurized/homogenized competitors would like to take part.
I would assume no takers, just highly paid talkers. My family is healthier because of you and the Foundation— thanks from all of us!
Sunlight and Melanoma
The article entitled “Sunlight and Melanoma: The Surprising Connection” on your website is in error. Upon examining the publications in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute to which the article refers as well as the published comments regarding the articles, it is premature and irresponsible to conclude that one should increase one’s exposure to the sun in order to increase the chance of surviving melanoma. Please see the comment by Kalish (2005) in JNCI. I urge you to either remove this article from your website or include Prof. Kalish’s comment in order to better represent the evidence linking sun exposure and melanoma.
Crystal Edler, M.A.
Iowa City, Iowa
Editor’s Response: While these studies are provocative and intriguing, we should, as you point out, be careful before we jump to the conclusion that the more sun to which we are exposed, the better. The first study, finding an increased survival among melanoma patients with solar elastosis, a sign of chronic sun exposure, compared to melanoma patients without solar elastosis, has multiple interpretations. It is known that there are cellular pathways to the development of melanoma, and it may be that excessive sun exposure causes a less aggressive type, while the more aggressive type has different causes. However, the second study is more convincing, because the total incidence of lymphoma was lower among people with increased sun exposure. Nevertheless, the mechanism is unclear, a connection to vitamin D is speculative, and we must always remember that correlation does not prove causation. The possibility that vitamin D may protect against a variety of cancers has gathered a great deal of evidence, but vitamin D can be obtained both from sunshine and from diet, and it is not necessary to tan or even turn pink in order to maximize one’s vitamin D production for any given day. Among the populations studied by Dr. Price, some groups received considerable exposure to sunlight while others almost always covered their skin with clothing. And Price cites a group that sunbathed with coconut oil on their skin, which they thought had nutritional value. But all of these cultures also obtained vitamin D from foods like oily fish, fish livers, fish eggs and butterfat and organ meats from grassfed animals. Thus, we should make sure to obtain plenty of vitamin D from diet and sunshine, but we should still protect ourselves from sunburning or excessive tanning.
This morning I received a set of laboratory values for my patients from Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. The laboratory’s new reference range for total cholesterol is 125-170 mg/dL. Virtually all of my patients now meet criteria for statin medications.
As your readers know, low cholesterol is associated with anti-social and violent behavior. From this I suspect the new cholesterol norms will keep psychiatrists in business.
Ann Childers, MD
Oregon City, Oregon
The Marshall Protocol
It was stated in the Caustic Commentary, “More News about Vitamin D,” (Spring, 2008), that the work of the Autoimmunity Research Foundation (ARF), a California non-profit, was part of the pharmaceutical industry’s strategy to counter evidence on the benefits of vitamin D. On the contrary, the ARF receives no support from drug companies and is run entirely by volunteers, with no paid staff at all. People who volunteer for the ARF are motivated by their own improved health using the approach developed by the ARF, or the potential they see in the Foundation’s work for helping themselves, family members and the wider community. I am one of these volunteers, not the Executive Director, as the Commentary mistakenly mentions.
The work of the ARF arises from the discoveries of its founder and director, Professor Trevor Marshall, PhD, building on decades of research on the role of bacteria in chronic inflammatory diseases. Dr. Marshall has developed an approach that restores functioning of the vitamin D receptor, which he has found to be compromised by intracellular and biofilm bacteria that block the receptor (www.medicalnewstoday.com/ articles/94642.php) in order to evade the immune system. Blockage of the receptor by the bacteria leads to dysregulation of vitamin D levels, which can be mistakenly interpreted as a vitamin D deficiency and lead to the many studies showing a correlation between disease states and low vitamin D levels.
In what may seem paradoxical at first, Dr. Marshall has found that reversing the disease process and eventually regaining health typically requires an avoidance of supplemental vitamin D as part of the overall anti-bacterial approach. This is because supplementation can often contribute to the blockage of the vitamin D receptor by raising levels of the precursor form, 25-D, into a range that can add to receptor blockage. Receptor blockage leads to poor innate immune system function and overgrowth of bacteria and other pathogens. High vitamin D levels can also act like a steroidal immunosuppressant and cause short-term symptom reduction at the cost of long-term bacterial increase.
I would also like to respond to points made in the commentary related to the interpretation of a study by Payne and others, showing a correlation between higher vitamin D intake in older adults and higher brain lesion volume (www. fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/ 21/6/A1072). It was assumed in the commentary that any correlation with brain lesions must be due to the use of vitamin D2 instead of vitamin D3. The brain lesion study used data from patient questionnaires on intake of vitamin D from all sources, both supplemental and dietary and did not administer pharmaceutical vitamin D (which is usually in the D2 form). Since this was a recent study and the vitamin D used in most commonly used OTC supplements, and the vitamin D added to milk is D3, it seems unlikely that any negative effect was due to the supplemental component of the vitamin D intake being from the D2 form. Also, I should note that the highest vitamin D intake in the study was below 1100 IU and many of the people getting the higher levels of vitamin D would have been getting them from multi-vitamin supplements, dairy products with added vitamin D and A, fish and fish oil and thus would have been getting some vitamin A from those sources. We have not found any difference between patients consuming vitamin D3 versus those consuming vitamin D2 prior to beginning the ARF’s approach (also called the Marshall Protocol). In any case, the brain lesion study is only a small part of the case to be made supporting the validity of the Marshall Protocol (www. AutoimmunityResearch.org http://members. aol.com/SynergyHN/shpt and http://bacteriality.com/category/brainlesions/, http://members.aol.com/SynergyHN/ MPIntro).
I am not by any means a supporter of pharmaceutical use unless truly necessary and see our goal as to eliminate the pathogens and consume a healthful diet, so as to not need pharmaceutical intervention. I think the Marshall Protocol has more in common with the Weston A. Price Foundation’s mission than might first appear. Dietary changes, including an increase in sugar and refined grains is, in our view, just one of the changes in cultural practices that have led to an increase in chronic disease. A number of the recent changes that have occurred have also led to an increase in intracellular bacteria that block the vitamin D receptor and thus there is a need for an approach that reverses the current trend. Recent findings indicate that we may not only be able to accomplish recovery from diseases such as autoimmune diseases and fibromyalgia, but even potentially eliminate inflammatory diseases of aging, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis and even cancer.
Joyce Waterhouse, PhD
Editor’s Response: Thank you for your letter of correction. Regarding the study on brain lesions, this study was cross-sectional and not longitudinal, and cross-sectional studies are less capable of discerning cause and effect than prospective longitudinal studies because there is no evidence that the vitamin D supplementation preceded the development of the brain lesions. Furthermore, the study did not measure vitamin A. Vitamin A intakes were probably low for the simple fact that physicians now warn seniors against excessive vitamin A intake. For example, a recent review states that physicians should explicitly warn their patients against exceeding the RDA for vitamin A even though the tolerable upper intake limit set by other bodies is four times greater than the RDA. (Jackson HA, Sheehan AH. Effect of vitamin A on fracture risk. Ann Pharmacother. 2005;39(12):2086-90). There is no evidence from the abstract that the patients who were supplementing with vitamin D were getting any more vitamin A than those who weren’t. It would be interesting to see whether there is any correlation of brain lesions with naturally occurring vitamin D in foods like cod liver oil, shrimp, liverwurst, egg yolks, etc., which also supply vitamin A. Weston Price did not find problems in populations consuming far more than 1100 IU vitamin D per day from natural food sources.
Last December, my father-in-law was in the hospital, unable to talk or swallow following a stroke. For a period of time, he was on a tube feeder and I was able to read the ingredients from his food bottle. The ingredients are water, corn syrup, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, canola oil, medium chain triglycerides, potassium citrate, partially hydrolyzed guar gum and then a long list of manufactured vitamins and minerals.
I am so sad to learn that there is no food or nourishment in these bottles. There are people all over the country every day whose only food is this. I hope that by raising awareness of real nutrition, WAPF will lead the way for a better future and the availability of real food to all people—those who are well and the infirm.
Grand Junction, Colorado
I want to share a story that shows the power of a nourishing, traditional diet during pregnancy. When I got pregnant during the summer of 2006, I had spent the previous few months following the dietary recommendations on the WAPF website for pre-conception, including plenty of grassfed beef, pastured chicken and eggs, butter, raw milk and cheese, fish eggs, homemade chicken stock, sprouted bread, brown rice, fruits and vegetables, and of course the daily dose of cod liver oil. I planned to have a homebirth with midwives, and one of the focuses of midwifery is the diet of the pregnant mother. Throughout the pregnancy, my midwives were amazed and pleased with my diet that was so outside the norm.
Towards the end of pregnancy, there was some concern because my baby seemed somewhat small and my blood pressure was getting quite high. Nonetheless, my husband and I decided that natural homebirth was still our most prudent course of action.
After a great labor, Alina Kathryn Smith was born at home on March 17, 2007 at full term. She was 18 inches long, but we were all surprised to see how skinny she was, weighing in at just four pounds. The cause of her low weight soon became apparent as the placenta was found to be smaller than normal with large portions that were not properly formed. Alina was so small because nutrient flow through the placenta was severely limited. The placenta was unlike any ever seen by the senior midwife, who has attended over 2,000 births.
My midwives told me that I was able to maintain the pregnancy only because of my exceptional diet, and that such a compromised placenta would generally lead to miscarriage. Although skinny, Alina was born perfectly healthy, and was able to gain weight faster than any low-weight baby the midwives have ever seen (which is saying a lot considering they have both worked in neonatal wards). With lots of nursing, Alina doubled her birth weight by the time she was eight weeks old. I have continued to follow the WAPF dietary recommendations for nursing mothers, and consequently Alina has continued to thrive.
Why the placenta was malformed remains a mystery. My theory is that it could be related to over ten years of birth control pills prior to pregnancy in combination with the fact that, according to my fertility awareness charts, my hormone levels were still abnormal when Alina was conceived seven months after I stopped taking the pill. Regardless, I literally owe the life of my daughter to the nourishing, traditional diet recommended by WAPF.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
I applaud Wise Traditions for its efforts in getting people to question the status quo, and leading its readers back to the traditions of nature. I have been an environmental consultant for 18 years, often working with chemically sensitive people. I have tried hard to get my clients to turn from the synthetic materials that have sometimes harmed them and trust in the natural materials that can sustain both the earth and their own lifestyles. I currently produce a line of organic and natural mattresses. It is with some dismay then that I read Dr. Masood Kureshi’s letter about a mattress company’s web site, www.peopleforcleanerbeds.org, which asserts, boldly and incorrectly, that the only way for buyers to get a truly chemical-free bed is to skirt existing fire safety laws through a doctor’s prescription. The company further asserts that wool is not and cannot be effectively used in mattresses without chemical fire retardant treatment. Dr. Kureshi’s letter even implies that you may risk your own health by sleeping on an organic mattress because it has to have chemical fire retardants in it. This is simply wrong. Fear may sell but it makes a poor foundation for the truth.
The self-serving nature of his letter would have been apparent had Dr. Kureshi been properly identified. He distributes a line of synthetic visco-elastic mattresses, manufactured by the company that sponsors the very web site to which he steers people. I would hate to see your readers, already struggling like the rest of us with rampant corporate green-washing, fall prey to further misleading or inaccurate information. While it is true that it is not possible for a synthetic mattress to pass fire safety regulations without fire retardant chemicals, it is indeed possible (though admittedly challenging) to build a quality organic mattress that will do so. My company’s mattresses have passed, and continue to pass, all federal and state fire safety regulations without the use of any chemical fire retardants or synthetic fire barriers. It’s not surprising to find some mattress companies giving up on the idea of building a chemical-free organic or natural mattress altogether or opting for other, synthetic methods, but the site’s statements: “There are no natural, chemical-free, or nontoxic systems that pass the severe open flame test,” and, “As of July 1, 2007 all mattresses nationwide, including crib, must…contain toxic chemicals,’’ are patently provocative, inflammatory and incorrect.
The site referred to is correct in stating that no natural material, including wool—used by itself as a fire barrier—could ever withstand a federal open flame test without fire retardant chemicals added. This is the point made by the web site’s video, “Wool Burns,” which shows an untreated skein of wool going up in flames. But untreated organic/sustainably grown wool is not used by itself as a fire barrier in my mattresses, nor in a few other properly built organic mattresses made by other manufacturers. This fact exposes the web site’s “Wool Burns” video as dramatic but ultimately as meaningless as it is misleading. When used properly and constructed skillfully with other correct, natural, untreated materials in a quality organic mattress, the wool in combination with these other materials does, in point of fact, pass and continues to pass all federal and state open flame tests. Furthermore, I have my wool tested through an independent lab in Germany, and the wool is free of all harmful chemicals, including organophosphate flame-retardants of all types, antimony and boric acid.
Thus there is no need to go through a doctor’s prescription to get a mattress without fire retardants and wind up sleeping in a natural bed that has not passed federal safety laws; or on a synthetic mattress that may include other potentially toxic petroleum-based materials as part of its very construction! I find it odd that any consumer concerned with the dangers of chemicals would desire any mattress comprised chiefly of synthetics—with or without toxic chemical fire retardants added to the mix. The only time I ever suggest people use a doctor’s prescription to sleep on a mattress that cannot pass fire safety laws is when the person wants an organic and natural mattress but does not want wool. In these cases, the client is informed that the mattress is made only with organic cotton and natural latex or inner springs—no wool—and that it will not pass the open flame test.
Mine is a small, environmentally conscious business, and we go it alone without large corporate sponsorship. We believe in the safety and the quality of the mattresses we make and our business depends upon the trust of our customers. This trust was potentially compromised by Dr. Kureshi’s letter, a commercial ad dressed up like a public service announcement. I hope your readers will continue to do what they do best: looking past facile claims and questioning any person or site that purports to possess the ultimate truth.
Valley Village, California
The Poetry and Vision of Weston A. Price
“We can now visualize our universe, its light, gravity and heat, its seasons, tides and harvests, which prepare a habitation for the universe of vital forms, microscopic and majestic, which fill the oceans and the forests. We have a common denominator for universes within and around each other, our world, our food and our life have potentials so vast that we can only observe directions, not goals. We sense human achievements or ignominious race self-destruction. Every creed today vaguely seeks a utopia; all have visualized a common controlling force or deity as the most potent force in all human affairs. Yes, man’s place is most exalted when he obeys Mother Nature’s laws.”
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2008.