Our Food Pyramid*

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So ... What should we eat?!


Dietary Guidelines


There are a myriad of different, and at times opposing, views on what constitutes a healthy diet.  The United States Department of Agriculture states that their "Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy diet as one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars".  We are also advised to "limit solid fats such as butter, margarine or lard".


Their guidelines do not mention anything about the quality of the recommended food, nor how it is produced. For example, we aren’t advised to eat wild caught fish as opposed to farm raised fish, or to eat organic fruits and vegetables, as opposed to those grown with pesticides, herbicides and the like.


Our Food Pyramid


Please keep in mind that this is a brief overview and our food pyramid does not illustrate all of our dietary recommendations.  We propose that a healthy diet emphasize the foods that are most nutrient dense – those containing high levels of vitamins and minerals: wild caught seafood, and the organ meats, raw dairy, eggs and meat from animals on pasture.  That is why the foundation of our food pyramid pictured above includes some of these items.  A healthy diet consists of whole foods – specifically, whole, raw, milk and milk products that haven’t been pasteurized or homogenized nor reduced in fat content, as well as grass-fed meat with the fat. We would not recommend lean meats or skinless chicken breast, nor a diet that is low in saturated fats or cholesterol.  We propose that organic fruit be eaten more sparingly and that organic grains be sprouted or soaked before used in order to make them more digestible. We would discourage any consumption of trans fat, and margarine, however we do encourage the consumption of traditional fats from animals on pasture such as lard and butter.


Carbohydrates or fats?  Which provide the most energy?


One molecule of glucose requires 15 enzymes and numerous vitamins and minerals, especially chromium and magnesium, to produce 38 Units ATP.  ATP is the energy carrier in the cells.


One molecule of fat requires 5 enzymes and vitamins and minerals to produce 146 Units ATP.  Hence, one molecule of fat produces energy more efficiently than one molecule of carbohydrate or glucose.


The USDA’s 2005 revised food pyramid suggests that fat should be consumed sparingly, and that one foundation of our daily food intake should be crackers, grains, bread, cereal, pasta, etc. We propose the reverse. If fat is more nutrient dense and fuels our energy most efficiently why is it not a foundational element of our modern diet as it was for millennia? So – we encourage you to have a little bread with your butter.If fat is more nutrient dense and fuels our energy most efficiently why is it not a foundational element of our modern diet as it was for millennia?  So – we encourage you to have a little bread with your butter.


Why Butter?


Butter contains many nutrients vital to growth and brain function. Healthy fats, such as raw or cultured butter from cows on pasture, supply nutrients that are essential for: growth, energy, absorption and metabolism of many nutrients, brain function, kidneys, heart and lungs, building cell membranes, formation of hormones, healthy skin, eyes and bones. Besides butter, the following nutrient-rich traditional fats have nourished healthy population groups for thousands of years: beef and lamb tallow, lard, chicken, goose and duck fat, coconut, palm and sesame oils, cold pressed olive oil, cold pressed flax oil in small amounts, and marine oils. Research is now showing that it is the new-fangled fats in the form of all hydrogenated oils, soy, corn and safflower oils, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and all fats heated to very high temperatures in processing and frying that can cause cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, sterility, learning disabilities, growth problems and osteoporosis.  These are the fats that are in large part responsible for our national obesity and health crises.  Read more: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/519-why-butter-is-better.html


Eggs


Considered by many to be nature's perfect food, eggs provide excellent protein, as well as the gamut of nutrients and important fatty acids that contribute to the health of the brain and nervous system. The yolk contains choline, one of the most important nutrients for the brain, as well as lutein and xeazanthin, two critical nutrients for eye health. Note that the crucial vitamins A and D, will not be in eggs, butter, cream, organ meats and the fat of birds and pigs unless these animals are on pasture in the sunlight and eating green grass. Organic, free range eggs don’t necessarily mean pasture raised eggs. Americans had less heart disease when they ate more eggs. Egg substitutes cause rapid death in test animals.  Read more: http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Egg_Yolk.html


Organ Meats


Dr. Price discovered that amongst the healthiest people he studied, there were animal foods in every diet, and the food was all nutrient dense. Compared with muscle meats, organ meats are richer in just about every nutrient, including minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, and in B vitamins including B1, B2, B6, folic acid and especially vitamin B12. Organ meats provide high levels of the all-important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, especially if the animals live outside in the sunlight and eat green grass. Organ meats are also rich in beneficial fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA. Organ meats even contain vitamin C—liver is richer in vitamin C than apples or carrots! Even if you add only small amounts of organ meats to your ground meat dishes, you are providing your family with super nutrition ... in ways that everyone likes and are easy to consume.  Read more: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/504-cooking-with-mystery-meat.html



Raw Milk


Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk. Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection. And pasteurization does not always kill the bacteria for Johne’s disease suspected of causing Crohn's disease in humans with which most confinement cows are infected. Much commercial milk is now ultra-pasteurized to get rid of heat-resistant bacteria and give it a longer shelf life. Ultra-pasteurization is a violent process that takes milk from a chilled temperature to above the boiling point in less than two seconds. Clean raw milk from certified healthy cows is available commercially in several states and may be bought directly from the farm in many more. Sources are listed on http://www.realmilk.com/where2.html


Seafood


One characteristic of healthy traditional diets was that there were animal products in every diet. This was Dr. Price’s greatest disappointment. He hoped to find a healthy population living entirely on plant foods, but he did not find one.  What he did find was that people consuming a traditional diet expended a great deal of energy and went to considerable risk to obtain animal foods. Important nutrients in animal foods are: vitamin A, vitamin D, Complete Protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, Cholesterol, which is actually important for brain function and adrenal function, and minerals in their most absorbable form – calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium. The most nutritious animal food, according to Dr. Price, was fish and shellfish.  He found that the populations that had access to fish from the sea had the thickest skulls and best bone structure.


Organic Vegetables


Organic vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases.  For the vast majority of human history, agriculture can be described as organic; only during the 20th century were a large supply of new and often untested synthetic chemicals, touted as improvements, introduced to the food supply. This more recent style of production is referred to as "conventional," though organic production has been the convention for a much greater period of time. Let us have a look at some of the other health benefits of organic gardening. One important benefit that research has discovered in organic foods is the fact that by eating foods grown organically, you are building your body's immune system, thus giving it the ability to fight of many different types of diseases, one of which is cancer.


Organic vegetables have been proven to contain a higher concentration of nutrients. A team from Rutgers University did a study comparing produce from a grocery store and the same items grown organically. While the Rutgers team expected the organic food to show a slight increase in minerals compared to the non-organic, they were astounded by the results of the tests. The organic produce contained much greater amounts of essential minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.


Non-organic spinach had only three percent of the iron contained in organic spinach. Non-organic tomatoes had only a tiny fraction of one percent of the iron found in organic tomatoes. What was more surprising was that many essential elements were completely missing from the non-organic produce.


Not only are organic foods higher in vitamins and minerals but they also lack the harmful chemicals found in non-organic foods. Thanks to the lack of chemicals within organic foods, you are reducing the amounts of toxins such as fertilizers, hormones, and pesticides in your body. Furthermore, while reducing the harmful instances, you are increasing the amounts of healthy minerals within your body such as vitamins, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.


Grains


The USDA’s 2005 revised food pyramid still suggests that a foundation of our daily food intake should be crackers, grains, bread, cereal, pasta, etc. Grains possess enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from sprouting prematurely. These enzyme inhibitors also make grains difficult to digest for many people. This problem can be overcome by first soaking or fermenting your grains and by grinding your own flour if at all possible. Specific instructions on these techniques and sources of grain mills can be found in the book Nourishing Traditions. Here is an overview on grains from the book: http://www.nourishingourchildren.org/Pyramid_files/grains.pdf


Organic Fruit


According to Dr. Thomas Cowan M.D., the author of The Fourfold Path to Healing, "fruit is an overrated food. Certainly, local, organic seasonal fruit in small quantities is a wonderful addition to anyone’s diet. Fruit is a good source of many water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C. However, I would like to discourage a dietary strategy that emphasizes increasing the consumption of fruit or fruit products. Fruit juices, except lacto-fermented types, should be totally avoided as they are mostly nothing more than a form of concentrated fructose. Fruit dishes should be minimally cooked or eaten raw, as the beneficial properties of fruit are lost through the cooking process. Adding wild berries to the tops of pies, using apples and pears as snacks, and adding fruit to homemade hot cereal is the most satisfying and appropriate use for fruit." 


  1. Overview on Lacto-fermentation: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/501-lacto-fermentation.html

  2. Food Feature on Lacto-fermented beverages: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/500-lacto-fermented-soft-drinks.html

  3. Food Feature on beet kvass and kombucha: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/502-kvass-and-kombucha.html


* Please reproduce our food pyramid photo only with our express written consent.


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