Energy Prices and Agriculture
Most of the rest of the world pays two to three times what we pay for energy. Some economists predict the U.S. could be in the same boat ($5 per gallon gas) in the next 15 years. How could this be a positive when it comes to a healthy food supply? Our entire economic system is based on the price of a barrel of oil or energy. All commodities, systems and spending habits revolve around this one product.
If fuel prices increase two- or threefold in the next 15 years, our entire culture would go through a metamorphosis, and I believe this would be in the best interest of our society because no longer would the current U.S. style of agriculture hold sway. The animals will head back to the fields to harvest the crops. Fertilizers, which require much energy to produce, will no longer be an economical alternative. Distribution systems will become more localized due to the high cost of transportation.
In the U.S. we are used to paying about 5 percent of our income on food. Throughout much of Europe, a family spends 30-40 percent of income on food. In other parts of the world the percentage is even higher. The farm economy and production practices are predominantly more centered on holistic principles in the cultures and societies that highly value good, nutritious food. The high value stimulates a healthy rural economy and healthy farm and production practices resulting in healthy people, livestock and land.
Think of how different our world would be if we valued farmers as much as we value lawyers and doctors. I know from experience that the farmer works harder and many more hours at his craft than most professionals and has much more at stake in terms of family, finances, risk of injury and equivalent in education. The farmer has a different type of education than the one on which we typically place a high value.
We make choices on how to spend our money. Our society is a consuming society. We want volume in return for our money in most commodity sectors. Quality and workmanship rank lower and typically take a back seat in our culture. I do think, however, that this sentiment is starting to change.
Mad Fluoridated Cow?
I have had my suspicions that bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) or mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease (in wild deer), Creutzfeld Jacob disease (in humans) and Alzheimer’s disease were somehow related, especially to insecticides. I just stumbled upon your site and the article connecting mad cow to organophosphates written by Mark Purdey. This is a bellweather discovery.
My question is, could fluoride-derived insecticides have the same effect? I ask because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s studies using sulfuryl fluoride on test animals that showed the effects of increased serum fluoride levels due to the conversion of sulfuryl fluoride to fluoride anions in the body. The effects are: intermittent tremors, tetany, incoordination, convulsions, hind limb paralysis, malacia and/or vacuolation in the brain, and severe kidney damage. These results seem to mimic BSE and reflect organophosphate physical degradations. I have taken these results from the EPA’s own webpage at: http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2001/September/Day-05/p22283.htm,which was posted in September, 2001.
I suspect that flouride toxicity is possibly a similar or greater threat in the U.S. than the organophosphates are in Britain.
We live in the Netherlands but my wife comes from Poland. She has noticed huge differences in child behavior and appearance between Polish and Dutch children. From the first day she went to the Netherlands she always said that children in Poland are still children and behave better than those in the Netherlands. She has always said that this was due to the more natural food available in Poland. Moreover, children in Poland are in general not that overweight, although that is changing with a changing diet (seven years ago, when I first was in Poland, I seldom saw an overweight child).
Many foreign companies are invading Poland and destroying local distribution structures. Buying milk from local farmers was quite common until now. Six years ago I was a manager of a former Polish state farm which had about 150 cows, and every Tuesday and Friday we sold raw milk to the local population.
Unfortunately we had to end the practice because it was not profitable under the circumstances back then. New EU regulations do not prohibit selling raw milk but they do discourage it.
No More Meds
I just wanted to let you know what a blessing your work has been to us. My children are 4 and 7 and had never had milk to speak of because of my terrible allergy. (They were breastfed until 2 years, though.) Any time I ate cheese, I got terrible sinus drainage and asthma. If I drank milk I was sick! I hadn’t drunk milk in 11 years. After learning about raw cheese, I now eat cheese–all I want–which is a lot! We are all so content on this diet! Not hungry all the time. And not eating nearly as much food. Cooking is now much less of a chore for me since I use all the fat and salt I want without feeling bad and things actually taste good. Is there anything worse tasting than a low fat, low salt, high fiber diet?
I have had asthma and allergies ever since I can remember. Took oral cortisone as a child many times. Have been on steroid and bronchial inhalers since they were invented. As an adult, symptoms became systemic lupus, which I completely overcame by cutting out sugar and pasteurized dairy products. But guess what? After I started on raw goat milk, I have been completely off asthma meds and peak flow is still the same! I never thought that would be possible. And we have been having one of the worst allergy seasons ever. I can’t thank you enough! The freedom is wonderful, much less how much money I will save by not ever going to the pharmacy!
Although we buy raw milk when we can from our club, we sometimes run out and have to buy pasteurized organic whole milk, which we usually make into kefir before using for cooking or drinking. Usually we’ve bought the Horizon organic brand, but about five weeks ago our store was out so we bought a couple half gallons of Organic Valley milk labeled pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized). The expiration date was March 28th and we bought the milk about one week before that date. By chance we made a disturbing discovery.
We wound up not using one of the half-gallons of Organic Valley milk and it sat unopened at the back of the fridge for a couple weeks. My wife assumed it would have gone bad (the Horizon brand “turns” one week after the expiry date–whether opened or not), but she checked it before tossing it, and much to our surprise the Organic Valley smelled and tasted perfectly fresh. This was a bit disturbing so we decided to just wait and see how long this now-opened milk would last before turning. It is now about five weeks after the milk was bought (who knows how old that milk really was when we bought it) and it still has not turned!
I’m concluding that this milk was ultra-pasteurized and mislabeled as pasteurized, or perhaps it was irradiated or UV-treated or somehow altered to produce a disturbingly long shelf life. My question is whether this was a onetime episode or is Organic Valley misrepresenting their milk?
Someone might want to do an informal study by having folks in different cities purchase Organic Valley pasteurized milk and let it sit in the fridge a few weeks to see what happens. If indeed Organic Valley is misrepresenting ultra-pasteurized milk as pasteurized, I believe a boycott might be in order. Again, this might be a freak incident but I thought it couldn’t hurt to alert your organization just in case it is not.
Hudson, New York
In reading about the Child Nutrition Act in Wise Traditions (Fall, 2004), which says that a child can have soy milk at school if he has a doctor’s note, I began to wonder what the reaction would be if we could get a doctor’s statement that the child has a “disability” that requires him or her to receive raw unhomogenized milk!
And regarding soy, whilst I am not interested in taking legal action, I can say that I have had a problem since puberty, which has put me continually in the overweight class.
My parents were always interested in healthy eating and would devour the latest “natural health” books. In the late 1950s, when I was a teenager, we were introduced to margarine but my parents were always dead against soy. We didn’t eat much red meat but we did have a lot of fresh raw milk until my dad was required to sell his small share farm in about 1949. We then still got our milk in bulk from a dairy until 1952 when we moved closer to the city and started getting bottled pasteurized but still full-cream milk. Another popular milk was powdered full-cream milk and when we could get it fresh cream or iced cream from my aunt.
As a young married man in 1964 I soon started putting on the weight and have gone on the various diets–Weight Watchers, Herbalife, Weight Watchers again, the Zone diet and Atkins. On each of the earlier diets I lost a lot of weight but each time it got harder and, of course, the weight soon went back on. The Zone recommends the use of soy and so did an Asian dietician I consulted–tofu, soy cheese, soy milk, soy yoghurt, soy ice cream, but not soy sauce, “as it has too much salt.” The soy milk was an interesting combination of various other ingredients such as carrageenan, canola oil, filtered water and sea salt. Some were sweetened with maltodextrin, some with barley malt and some with sugar. I tried to stay away from the sugar and the salt. I was also consuming artificially sweetened soft drinks, particularly Pepsi, and artificially sweetened yoghurt from pasteurised milk, but found that none of this resulted in one scrap of a reduction in weight.
What did happen though was that in 1996 my doctor said that my blood lipids were raised and that I would have to go on Lipitor, probably for the rest of my life. I at first said no as everything I could, at that time, find out about statins was bad. I asked him whether I could try diet to lower the cholesterol and he agreed but I tried it on my own with no professional guidance and of course failed. He then put me on 10 mg per day and my cholesterol plummeted, he then cut the dose back to 10 mg every 2 days. The next year I was diagnosed with glaucoma.
I had been gradually losing weight using the Zone diet until I started putting the glaucoma drops called Timolol in each eye daily. I then read “Save Your Sight” by Marc Rose and Michael Rose (ophthalmologists), found your website and that of Duane Graveline at spacedoc.net and started down the long road to better health.
I am now off the statins completely having gone down part of the path trodden by Duane and so many others–I found my mental ability declining. I am off the soy and the artificial sweeteners and have found three good sources of raw milk, butter and cream in and around Brisbane and am trying my hand at some lacto-fermenting. (I managed to blow the tops off three bottles of ginger beer.)
Thanks for all your help and encouragement and keep up the good work.
Lost Weight, Felt Great
Many thanks for the great ideas and research! Last year I lost 80 pounds following your traditional diet guidelines, going from 250 pounds down to a very comfortable 170. The first 50 dropped in less than three months. I’d have thought something was wrong, except I felt really great. Still do. I carried that excess weight around for 10 years before I learned what had to be done. I tried to be a good vegetarian, but all I got was obese! I guess I should have studied a little anthropology before I committed to a carbohydrate diet. I do know that a vegetable phase (no grain, just veggies) is really good for cleaning out and getting clear, but as a longterm diet it is energyless and frustrating. After four months on a raw vegan diet I was ravenously hungry and difficult to be with.
Traditional Food in Iraq
I am a great fan of the work of both Dr. Price and Weston Price Foundation. My life and health are better because of what I have learned from native diets. Dr Price’s work was reinforced by what an Iraqi friend told me.
I am stationed on a U.S. Army base in southern Iraq near Al Nasiriyah. The following is based on conversations I have had with an Iraqi who works for the U.S. Army as an interpreter. Around us non-Arab speaking Americans he goes by the name of Hunter because he enjoys hunting animals, including fox. He is an engineer by trade (mechanical or design, I believe), a school teacher, and he learned English through watching American movies.
I asked him about the native diet and health of the local population. The following is a summary of what he told me. I am writing this from my memory and I cannot remember whether it was figs or prunes that he spoke of. The foods that are said to be healthy are:
- Fish from the Euphrates River. Hunter seemed to think that this was their number one health food. I do not know what kind they are but his hands were about two or more feet apart when he described the fish.
- Raw milk from the water buffalo. The local doctors recommend this milk to anybody with weak bones or back. He said it was a very thick strong drink that gives you diarrhea if you are not used to it.
- Figs (and/or prunes).
- Animal oil from the skin of sheep. It is often mixed with figs to make a meal, and Iraqis can work until late afternoon without getting hungry after eating it for breakfast. Hunter’s grandad traveled by foot with a mule carrying his stuff from Kuwait to a town in north-central Iraq eating mostly figs with animal oil. Removing the oil from the skin of a sheep is a special process that is considered a trade.
- Raw milk of any kind, including that of cows and camels.
Hunter also told me that where someone is born and raised has an influence on his size and health. Not only are city people and country people different, but there are differences in size and health among the different traditional diets.
Another subject that Hunter brought up was the difference between the American soldiers and the Iraqis. According to Hunter, Iraqis are very friendly and always talking. The Americans do not talk very much, and at shift change they hardly greet each other. I know that some of this is just our culture, that being a gate guard is a very boring job, and that just living as a soldier in Iraq has an effect on people. But I also believe that diet has a profound effect on personality and social behavior. The Iraqi kids I see seem to be very happy, healthy and friendly, even though this is a very poor region. It is my deep hope that these kids can grow up in a free, stable Iraq free of war.
SSG Joe Anstett
Editor’s Response: There is a commercial opportunity here to make the mixture of figs and sheep fat and market it as a high-energy survival food, maybe even as an army ration!
Recently I got some hummus dip in our co-op basket, which had all good ingredients but also “spices.” I decided to try it. I ate quite a bit with some celery and about an hour later turned into Mrs. Hyde, or Mrs. MSG. I was yelling at my three-year-old, irritable, snippy, and had a headache and stomach ache. I actually had to leave the house and drive to the beach and let the cold north wind blow through me to cool me off. My hands, feet and lips were hot and swollen. I was having bizarre, frightening thoughts. This was the most powerful MSG reaction I have ever had. I didn’t sleep well all night.
Each day I get more pure with my diet. I told my husband, “No more dips, unless I make it myself.”
St. Petersburg, Florida
Headlong into Refined Oils
I have been going through the information available relating to traditional fats and coconut oil. I have been thoroughly convinced of their benefits. Unfortunately in India where I live, there is so much propaganda to move to the so called heart-healthy sunflower oil, which I am pretty sure is hydrogenated. Funnily, even ten to fifteen years back we were using cold pressed oils from the ghanis, which is similar to flour grinding mills of olden days, or more like a pestle and mortar, drawn by bullocks. Of late these have become electrically driven, but seldom does the temperature go abover 50° C. Even now in the villages the oil is extracted through this method and used by the villagers.
But now we are going headlong into these refined and double refined oils and it looks as though we will have soon given up our healthy oils and moved to the so-called metabolic poisons, just when the west is beginning to move away from them. I really feel helpless in such situations, especially when India has such a tradition in Ayurveda, which is totally centred around saturated fats (ghee and coconut oil) and other oils.The wonders of ghee and butter have been ingrained in our traditions as good healthy foods, but now the heart specialists put the first ban on these healthy fats. Even in Kerala, which is the home of the coconut, the doctors have managed to frighten the people to stay away from saturated fats, to the extent that coconut farming is suffering so much that the farmers cannot afford to pluck coconuts. Instead they allow them to fall naturally before taking them for usage.
The wonders of coconut has really affected me deeply, not only as a nutrient but also as therapy, due to its wonderful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. I was pleasently surprised to learn about its effect on HIV virus.
In my personal case, my family has switched back to natural coconut oil and sesame oil (in southern India, except Kerala, this oil is used for cooking and also for oil massage bath, twice a week). After four months of healthy fats and oils, my blood pressure has started to come down. I also add one spoon of flaxseed oil to balance my diet. I am hoping to get relief from diabetes too, I believe coconut oil is good for bringing down sugar levels. Can you please tell me how long it takes the body to purge itself of the trans fats, as I have been taking it for at least 20 years (mainly refined sunflower oil).
Tamil Nadu, India
Editor’s Response: The body is always replacing fatty acids in the cell membranes. Interestingly, the body takes longer to replace trans fatty acids than other types of fatty acids so it might take several years to completely rid your body of these harmful fats. Meanwhile, we would suggest that you take cod liver oil as a supplement, and limit flax oil to about 1 teaspoon per day. Cod liver oil will be more beneficial for your diabetes than flax oil.
Thank you for that great article on fructose by Linda Forristal (Wise Traditions, Fall, 2001). Recently I underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy for neck cancer and as a result, my mouth and throat were very sensitive to many food items for a while afterward. Anything containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was one of them. Once I started reading labels, I was shocked to see how many foods contain fructose and/or corn syrup instead of good old sugar. I’m wondering whether this additive isn’t somehow connected with the epidemic of obesity and diabetes now rampant in this country.
Fortunately I am a “scratch” cook and can make almost anything myself so you can imagine that I will be eating even less store-bought foods than I did before (and that wasn’t much). I think about the millions of people who have gone through the same treatment as myself and how many of them aren’t experienced cooks or know how to make simple things to replace the fructose items, like their own maple syrup for pancakes, for example.
Egg Yolk for Baby
Thanks to the advice of the Weston A. Price Foundation, I began giving my baby egg yolks with breast milk at four months. His communication skills are excellent, including a dozen or more different words. We are a bilingual family and his Spanish “aqua” is distinctly different from his “wa-wa.”
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sleep and Breastfeeding
The Fall 2004 issue of Wise Traditions introduces babies who sleep through the night or who nurse only once throughout the night as if their feeding patterns are desirable. However, when a baby sleeps through the night, the mother’s milk typically dries up and her fertility returns more quickly.
To encourage a sustained milk supply and delayed return to fertility (which both support healthy child spacing), mothers need to nurse once or twice per hour in the baby’s first two to three months and two to three times each night. A feeding might only last 30 seconds, but this kind of frequent nursing will give the mother’s body the continuous message that it has enough to do. To quote Peter Ellison, author of On Fertile Ground, “In the formative human past, a baby would have unrestricted access to its mother’s breast, nursing on demand through the day and night. When the child’s demand for maternal milk declined. . . this change would send a signal to the mother’s reproductive system that it was safe to resume normal fecundity without the danger of having to ‘metabolize for three.'”
Wearing your baby in a sling supports continuous access to the breasts so that your baby can nurse on cue throughout the day; practicing the family bed can make night nursing much easier. My book, The Garden of Fertility, (www.gardenoffertility.com) goes into greater detail about how different breastfeeding styles affect fertility. I can also recommend The Family Bed by Tine Thevinin and Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing by Sheila Kippley.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Regarding your article on sourdough noodles (Spring, 2004), I have a Greek cookbook, and in it an elderly lady soaked her wheat grains overnight, then dried them in the sun before grinding and making them into pasta. So I prepared wheat the same way as the crispy pecans: soaked wheat kernels overnight, put them in a roasting pan in the oven on low to dry, then ground them to make into quick breads. It seemed to work fine. I hope this is an effective way to deal with phytic acid; it seemed like it might work better than some other methods.
Editor’s Response: Yes, this is an effective way to remove anti-nutrients from grain. Isn’t it interesting that these methods are found the world over?
Overwhelming Good Feeling
Recently I drove out to a local farm to get eggs and produce. The farmers are wonderful people and dedicated farmers. They use horses instead of tractors and are for the most part all natural, organic when possible. I’ve started taking orders for eggs every two weeks at the highrise for the elderly that I manage and last Friday I picked up ten dozen. I stood there in the cold talking to the farmer–he is thrilled to have the winter egg business since they’re not going to the farmers’ markets now. As I drove off, I had this overwhelming good feeling inside. I then delivered the eggs to my tenants around 6 pm and they were all excited because word is getting around the building that these eggs are so good.
I am blessed to be able to do this for people and to enjoy it. I never did get this kind of pleasure working for a corporation, earning $45,000 per year. Life is funny.
What you are doing for the human race is absolutely, positively and without doubt giving the best nutritonal information. I am studying to be a personal trainer and nutritionist and you have changed my outlook on nutrition forever and for that I sincerely thank you.