Five years ago when I began to get serious about natural health, I never would have believed how much time I would eventually spend in the kitchen. At that time, if someone had asked me what I thought was the best way to get healthy, I might have mentioned a particular supplement or protein drink. These days, however, I have returned to my old, familiar love: food. And my family could not be happier about it.
My return to food happened after I was introduced to the research of Weston Price, a dentist who lived in the 1940s. He was concerned with the growing number of children with narrow palates and crowded teeth that came into his practice. He also noticed that the people coming into his practice were less resistant to disease. As a result of his observations, Price traveled the world and he took ten years to write the groundbreaking work, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. One of the many things he discovered was that every population he studied ate ten times the amounts of vitamins A and D than the American diet, and those that ate their traditional diets were free of degenerative disease. He also discovered that all cultures had particular methods for making food easier to digest, such as fermentation.
I’m what you might call a “traditional” mom – although I guess it depends how you define tradition. In my case, I ferment my vegetables so that they provide copious amounts of good bacteria for my children’s gut health. We drink raw milk, like humans have done for millennium, which contains the enzyme lactase, which helps digests lactose, and many other enzymes and nutrients otherwise destroyed by the pasteurization process. We eat grass-fed beef for the higher vitamin A content and pastured chicken eggs for the vitamin D. I soak grains so that they sprouted and are much easier to digest, and we use animal fats like butter, cream, and (gasp) lard. Did I mention that the food is delicious, as well?
Recent books like Nina Planck’s Real Food, and Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma have shed light on what human beings have known instinctively for many years: there is real health benefit to eating fats that come from good sources, like from grass-fed cows, and how good food provides nutrients that are in perfect balance to each other. We have a relationship with a farmer who provides these foods for us, and this has changed our economic relationship to food, as well. And, of course, we still eat with our “less traditional” friends, attend birthday parties and enjoy food in restaurants. We just do the best we can.
For our family, eating this way has brought some unexpected benefits. We’re spending lots of time in the kitchen together, with impromptu nutrition lessons for our daughter who loves to help prepare grains and vegetables for fermenting. Our meals are more of a smorgasbord of foods than a simple sit-down gathering, although we do eventually end up at the table. It gives us a chance to slow down, enjoy our food, and return to the art of cooking.
Lisa Fyfe is a contributing columnist for The Lohasian. Her column, “Life with Fyfe” will focus provide a perspective on the everyday life of a modern holistic mom, as well as provide an insider look into best strategies for natural health and healing for the whole family.
Lisa Fyfe was a high school English teacher before devoting her professional career to alternative health and healing. Lisa is a Reiki Master, and an expert in Essential Oil Healing, and has spent the last several years extensively researching traditional diet and nutrition, with a focus on “whole,” locally grown and raised natural foods.
Lisa spent five years living in Denmark before returning to the U.S to start her family. She is a married mother of two children, Sophie (4 1/2) and Max (6months). Lisa approaches mothering as her highest calling, and believes that all mothers are natural healers and enjoys helping mothers (and others) help their children through the use of a variety of natural modalities.
Lisa is also a distributor of Young Living Essential Oils, and her website can be found at http://lisafyfe.younglivingworld.com