My Kitchen Bible: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Kara Suzanne

Kara Suzanne › When not rocking esteemed NYC venues such as Irving Plaza, Gramercy Theatre, and Joe's Pub, you ...

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For the last five years, I’ve continually turned to one cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. In my house it’s jokingly referred to as The Bible. (No disrespect intended to the one starring Jesus) It’s not just your typical cookbook it’s ‘The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats’. Your first thought might be, what is a ‘dictocrat’? I know mine was.

Sally defines dictocrats as: doctors, researchers and spokesmen for various government and quasi-government agencies such as the FDA.

From that first line it looks like we may have stumbled upon a book questioning hidden agendas involving our food supply. More importantly, this book addresses what we can do about it. I don’t know about you, but that’s what gets me excited, being made aware of what’s wrong (even though it makes me mad!) but how I can change it, practically, in my day-to-day life.

Besides the physical proof in my family’s drastic health improvements since discovering this book, it’s full of facts derived from the research of a number of respected doctors and dieticians over the last century. These scientific studies, mostly from esteemed scientific publications, line the sidebars surrounding the delicious and satisfying recipes Sally Fallon has created using the food principles of our ancestors, of which this data correlates.

From that first line it looks like we may have stumbled upon a book questioning hidden agendas involving our food supply.

Dr. Weston Price was a dentist and also one of the first researchers to take a look at the health and eating habits of isolated traditional societies during the 1930’s, where the food products of the industrial revolution had yet to be introduced. Sally says it best here in an excerpt from the forward to Nourishing Traditions:

Dr. Price had many opportunities to compare these healthy so-called “primitives” with members of the same racial group who had become “civilized” and were living on the products of the industrial revolution–refined grains, canned foods, pasteurized milk and sugar. In these peoples, he found rampant tooth decay, infectious disease, degenerative illness and infertility. Children born to traditional peoples who had adopted the industrialized diet had crowded and crooked teeth, narrowed faces, deformities of bone structure and susceptibility to every sort of medical problem. 

Later research on diets of traditional and non-industrialized peoples has focused on their food preparation techniques. Almost universally, these societies allow grains, milk products and often vegetables, fruits and meats to ferment or pickle by a process called Lacto-Fermentation. These pickling techniques preserve foods so that they are available during periods of scarcity, but unlike modern preservation methods, which deaden and denature our foods, lacto-fermentation makes nutrients in these foods more available and supplies the intestinal tract with health-promoting lactic acid and lactic-acid producing bacteria.

Another technique found universally in ethnic cuisines is the use of bone broths, rich in gelatin as well as calcium and other minerals. The archives of our medical libraries contain many studies on the beneficial effects of gelatin taken on a daily or frequent basis, but these studies are ignored even as traditional methods for making rich stocks are forgotten.

Technology can be a kind father but only in partnership with his mother, feminine partner–the nourishing traditions of our ancestors. These traditions require us to apply more wisdom to the way we produce and process our food and, yes, more time in the kitchen, but they give highly satisfying results–delicious meals, increased vitality, robust children and freedom from the chains of acute and chronic illness. 

Tell it Sally! I have to say, it sure makes a lot of sense to me.

My interest in food and nutrition began with the death of my grandma. She was a wonderful woman who was all about common sense. She had been raised on a farm eating a traditional local diet and was a robust, healthy lady. After having four kids she was always looking to diets to trim her statuesque figure. It was the 1990s and the fat-free craze was in full swing. Relentless commercials during her daily ‘program’, The Young and the Restless, first turned her head. Suddenly she was serving Velveeta, margarine, skim milk and Egg Beaters instead of her usual cheese, butter, whole milk and real eggs. ‘Don’t eat fat!’ she’d tell me, ‘They say it makes you fat!’

Who was ‘They’? I wondered, and how do they know this? Was this life changing info hidden from us all along and ‘They’ miraculously just now figured it out? How did we survive all these years, not as obese blobs? And how was my grandfather so slim when he always ate the fat off the meat? My pre-teen brain was perplexed but I reasoned, Fat equals fat makes sense and they must know what is right. I definitely didn’t like how any of the new food tasted, but what did I know? The result was that for years I thought I was heavy and was sick all of the time because of bad genes!

My dear Grandma died of colon cancer after a few years of fat-free eating, her health had deteriorated at an alarming rate. For me it was proof that something wasn’t right. It also made me question everything ‘They’ tell us. It’s been one of the most valuable lessons of my life.

Check out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and if you want to dive deeper, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price.

Try to find holes in the logic, try to discredit the facts, I know I have and I’m still trying. As Grandma used to say, ‘the proof is in the pudding’, especially when you start living a happy, healthier life.

Interested?

What do you think about fats and dairy? Do you believe animal fats and raw milk are bad for you and why?

Photo credit: Craig McCord