My name is Jon Taylor, and I’m a recovering “foodie”. I love eating, and have eaten my way into some unhealthy situations in my 40 years. For the last 20, I’ve been on a quest to get healthy and “discover” the best way to eat. Not to diet, but to actually live life well, and eat right. I life in Dallas with my wife and do Mac IT as my day job. In 2009, I began to discover that I actually knew very little about “good” nutrition. So this is my journey that I’m sharing with anyone who might benefit.
The impetus for this blog is a book called “Nourishing Traditions”.
I just started reading it in 2009 and it has already changed the way that I think about food in a historical context and in my life here and now. I hope I can convey what I learn and help others who might be facing a crisis of health in their life.
This stuff is not really new. Humans have been eating traditionally for centuries. But in our modern existence, we’ve forgotten most of the wisdom of our ancestors. Fortunately for us, there are very observant and smart people today who are helping us get back on track. And it’s our job to take it seriously enough so that we can benefit from the bounty of God’s creation – the way He intended it to be.
As an example of what’s been lost, I’ve decided to start “lacto-fermenting” at home. This is the best way to preserve and enrich natural veggies. They taste amazing and their nutrition is much higher than when raw. Fermenting also provides much needed enzymes and good bacteria for better digestion and absorption.
A century ago, the average american was a food chemist in a sense. Mom’s knew how to deal with raw dairy and fresh foods, and dad’s knew how to farm the land. They fermented all kinds of foods. Their nutrition was in their hands, and they ate off the land. Life was harder, but 9 times out of 10, they were healthier, certainly more healthy than the average American is today.
So to start your journey, read all that you can. Read the resources listed below, and read any other blog or study that can get your hands on. Read Nourishing Traditions as soon as you can. It is certainly true in this case that knowledge will empower you. So go for it.
What I can recommend!
There is no doubt that in America, the food landscape is vast, and healthy food choices are overwhelming. As I wade through, looking for natural, traditional food, there are some key products that I’ve settled on for my family. Eating a traditional diet can be difficult. These products make it easier.
Raw Milk – from a local coop or milk club. It’s probably the one best food you can switch to right now, assuming it’s available. Check out Real Milk’s website first. If you live in Dallas, email me to find out where to get local raw cows milk. I use raw milk, cream and butter which are all high in a myriad of healthful and beneficial components. Low fat or non-fat milk is actually NOT healthy for you. You need the fat which is the component that helps you absorb and utilize the vitamin A & D, and other vitamins and minerals. These are “fat soluble” vitamins that are naturally occurring at very high levels in raw milk. Don’t deprive yourself. To learn the whole story about raw milk, I recommend reading the book “The Untold Story of Milk“. It’s awesome. Also, read about Jon’s Raw Milk Only Experiment here.
Pastured Meats – Everything from grass fed beef, pastured chicken pork and eggs, and wild salmon. Your source needs to be good, so verify your provider. I get mine at Urban Acres, our local Dallas Coop. The product is so obviously better, you will be amazed. And the nutrition value of pastured meats is soooo much higher, and you are guaranteed that they have not been feed corn or soy, which is never good.
Sprouted or Sourdough baked goods – This one is huge. Stop eating regular breads and bread products. They are not healthy. Read my first and second blog posts for more information and links to healthy grain products. Urban Acres and Sprouts both carry sprouted bread, and Sprouts also has a great natural sourdough.
Cultured Milk Products – Try to get products from either raw or low-pasturized, grass fed milk. Products include yogurt, Kefir, cottage cheese, etc. Active cultures are in raw milk naturally. In yogurt and kefir, the milk is usually cooked first, then unique good bacteria is added back in to create the final product. These good bacteria are super essential, but what is also important about a good yogurt or kefir is the milk fat with it’s high levels of vitamin A & D (not synthetic, like in regular store milk) So please, please, please, do not buy “low fat” or “reduced fat” milk products.. Your body wants the good milk fats. It’s super important to consume them. Some great store bought options are Brown Cow’s “Cream Top” yogurt, and Lifeway’s Whole Milk Kefir. Lifeway also has a great line of kid’s kefir, called “ProBugs”. We get our yogurt at Urban Acres, but Sprouts has them both.
Good Home Cooking – This will be the hardest part. I refer to Nourishing Traditions as “the book”. It’s not the bible, but it is my food bible. Not only does it have a wealth of great info, it has over 530 pages of recipes and how to’s for the aspiring “traditional eater”. You can find Nourishing Traditions at Amazon. Try not to eat out so much. Instead, make some time on a weekend to create your own beef or chicken stock, and then make some amazing soups or chili. Cook from scratch when you can. Our food industry is focused on profits, not our health.
Natural, Whole Sugars – No doubt we consume too much sugar, so when you are baking at home or creating some delicious dish, please use a whole, and natural sugar. The best one is Rapunzel’s “Rapadura” which can be found at Urban Acres, and Whole Foods. Here’s a link to Amazon, so you can see it first. It’s made by cold pressing the whole sugar cane and then dehydrating the resulting sugar. It’s a whole food with all of it’s original nutrients which help you slowly digest it and use it properly in your body. No sugar rush here. This also means that eating traditionally involves avoiding the processed foods and their sugars. If you are hooked on certain “boxed” foods, start to move off of them and on top healthier options made from Rapadura or another whole, natural sugar..
Lacto-fermented Veggies and Fruits – This one will seem the strangest of all since in the last 100 years nearly all fermented foods have gone of the market, and have been replaced by “fast fermentation” which is not very healthy. Sauerkraut is probably the most well known “fermented food”. Almost all cultures around the world that are in near perfect health consume some kind of fermented food. The best fermentation method is using whey from raw milk. This is called “Lacto-fermentation”. The Lactobacillus effectively preserves foods while enhancing their nutritive value exponentially. So naturally, lacto-fermented foods are super healthy and super nutritious. They also contain lots of healthy bacterial like yogurt or kefir, and tons of enzymes, so they help your digestive system immensely. These are absolutely a “home-made” product. Use the Nourishing Traditions book to help you get started. I’ve only begun on this one, so go ahead and experiment, and let me know how it goes. (One tip – always sterilize your glass jars before starting a ferment. Use a tea kettle to get some water boiling, and give your glass a good rinse with it).
That’s it for now. I’m sure there will be more to come.
Homemade Chicken Stock – April 2010
Salmon BLT Taco – September 2009
2 Eggs A Day? Why Not! – September 2009
Pan-Seared Tilapia with a Lemon Basil Sauce – August 2009
PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS:
Healthy And Happy – July 2010
Full-Fat Dairy for Heart Health – April 2010
Building a Better Immune System – April 2010
Resources for Traditional Eating – March 2010
The Raw Milk Cure Experiment – March 2010
Perfect Food? – March 2010
Eggs Are A Superfood? – March 2010