Friday, November 19, 2010

Finding food for healing

I am feeling much better.

I was formally introduced to the Weston A Price Foundation last weekend when my friend, Angel, took me (and a couple of others) to the W.A.P.F. Conference in Philadelphia.

I ate like I was starved all weekend. The first night before the conference we all ate out at a really nice place near the conference center. The price tag was a bit insane but the food was very refined, delicious and beautifully presented. Little did I know at that time, we would be eating like Kings and Queens at the groaning board all weekend long.

The theme was "The Politics of Food" and I felt oddly proud to be a Virginian as we were well represented.

The first day I felt like I was cheating. Everything I heard the first day seemed completely counter to everything I'd ever learned or lived. I could hear my mother's voice saying that I would get fat if I ate fat; and here were all these people telling me that I NEED to eat fat in order to be healthy. I had always been taught that the healthiest diet was low fat and might be vegetarian.

When I attended an all-day series of sessions in which the speaker, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, reviewed study after study done in Europe that de-bunks the whole low fat, high carb U.S.D.A. food recommendations, my ears really pricked up. She talked about bowel problems and memory problems and circulation problems and autism and learning issues, hyperactivity and attention deficit and epilepsy and a host of other health problems including cancer. She talked about leaky gut syndrome and she made a very solid case against low fat/high carb diets. She also pointed out that in addition to low fat/high carb diets, we are also dying from poisons like plastic, GMO foods and over medicated meat animals.

Two things stood out: The French eat very well and are some of the healthiest and long lived people in the world. The same can be said of primitive peoples. Both of these groups eat high fat, high meat and low carbs. Both groups also eat fruits and vegetables but limit their grain intake. Both groups also eat fermented and pickled foods. Soy is avoided unless well fermented and aged. All refined sugars are avoided. Plastic is avoided or is unheard of.

I already knew that over pasteurizing ourselves lowers our immune systems. We have become so bacteria phobic we can no longer fight off even basic germs and more and more micro-organisms are mutating and becoming immune themselves to anti-bacterial soaps and antibiotics.

I also already knew that there were serious side effects from antibiotics including allergic reactions, rampant yeast infections and other problems including disruption of digestion and elimination. I have never trusted our government's assurances that vaccinations were safe.
I know that almost all pharmaceuticals have side effects and can point to both my parents who suffered from damages caused by long-term use. Plastics I know can leach out of wrappings and into our foods and fill us with toxins.

Dr. Campbell McBride recommended the GAPS Diet to help heal the gut. Most remarkable about this diet was the central position of RAW milk.

In all of my 51 years I have never had the opportunity to drink raw milk. It's delicious!

I was skeptical until the end of the weekend after eating all their foods (prepared in abundance and served buffet style to the 2000+ people in attendance at the conference.) . As the days past, my ever present hunger decreased. By Monday I was surprised when they let us go for lunch. I was not feeling sluggish, grumpy or desperate for food even though I had eaten a very light and early breakfast and we did not go to lunch until 12:30 p.m. Driving home that night I did not get hungry again until nearly 8 p.m. and then I was fully content with a piece of cheese and an organic apple and some vinegar water with a little raw honey.

But let me back up a day or two... I was also introduced to raw cheese, fermented vegetables, raw butter and caster oil! After the second day I noticed that my digestion was smoother with minimal farting, smooth defecation-- unusual when I'm traveling as I have always been a sufferer of hemorrhoids and constipation despite lots of water, high fiber and an otherwise "healthy" diet. My doctor's solution after examining my diet and declaring it perfect, was to give me stool softeners. They helped, but who wants to do that? Now, for two days I had eaten a LOT of cheese and milk and fat. Yes, there were nuts, fruits and veggies as well, but very little fiber in the form of cereals and breads. I expected to be bloated, plugged and miserable. And there was none of that.

I began to look around and realized that most of the conference attendees were of two groups... new to this program and seeking a solution to their health problems or folks who had been following this way of life with raw milk, slow foods and organic sources for nutrient dense meals. Everyone I saw there who had been on this path for any length of time was calm, moved gracefully and was alert, intelligent and their weight was perfect for their height. Their children were well behaved, calm and beautiful.

I came home enthused, excited and ready to help my family move away from the poisons we had been eating and incorporating into our lives real food.

When I returned to work on Tuesday EVERYONE in my office wanted to know what had happened to me. I was calm, I was focused. I could remember things! Let me tell you, this is really remarkable.

I also lost 2 pounds from the previous week.

By Wednesday I could go up the stairs without my knees screaming at me. By Thursday the swelling in my sinuses had reduced around my nose.

By Friday morning I'd lost another pound.

I'm eating real butter, whole raw milk, meat fat, ghee, coconut oil, whole sour cream, whole cream cheese, cod liver oil, sauerkraut, meat, fresh fruit, raw honey, and eggs. All of it is organic. What I am not eating is cereal and only one or so slice of bread a day. I have eliminated soy altogether.

I do not crave sugar at all. I don't want cookies, cake or chocolate. I am satisfied when I eat my food.

Seems utterly crazy... but what if it works? I'm going to find out.


Michelle said...

If you are at all open to another angle on this topic, I highly recommend you check out "The China Study." I find it a very compelling read....

Cate K said...

It is a compelling read, however, all the "healthy diets" such as Weight Watchers push this method for weight control... it just doesn't work. High carbs and low protein is a recipe for obesity.

Michelle said...

Well, I guess I'm not following the recipe correctly, because none of us on either side of our families is fat, and as vegetarians, we are probably eating what some would define as "low-protein." But I also don't believe in refined foods or simple carbs, GMOs or artificial ingredients....

And apparently it DOES work, at least for tens of thousands in China!

Michelle said...

Oh, and we eat low-fat, too, and avoid animal fats. :-)

We are obviously standing at opposite poles on this; neither of us will convince the other and there's no reason to try. ("A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.") Bon attetit!

MarthaH said...

Interesting! Last year, Jillian Michael's book, "Mastering Your Metabolism" was introduced to me by a friend. Her primary recommendations are: no artificial sweeteners, no soft drinks, do not store foods in plastic, no high fructose corn syrup, eat all natural foods and organic when possible. I modified my food habits to incorporate those and immediately lost 6 pounds, as well as felt calmer and more energetic. Your program seems to be very similar. Good luck! Oh, and if you have some resources for organic foods down here, let me know. Thanks.