Paula of Guadalajara, Mexico: A Testament to Dr. Weston Price

by Ann Marie Michaels on January 2, 2010

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We just got back from our Christmas trip to visit family in Texas. I had the most interesting talk with the woman sitting next to me on the plane. I feel compelled to share it with you all.

The Wisdom Gleaned from Immigrants

I love talking to immigrants from so-called “developing countries”. I can spend hours talking with them. Why? Because I want to know how they did things in their country, how they ate, how they cooked, what their family’s health was like.

Every single time I talk to an immigrant from a developing country (for example, India, Mexico, Honduras, Russia, Guatemala, and so on), I’m struck by two things: (1) Growing up, they ate traditional foods just like Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, describes in her book, Nourishing Traditions. (2) They all had excellent health (at least in their youth), particularly dental health. They almost always have wide faces, good bone structure and perfect teeth.

In the 1920s and ’30s, Dr. Weston Price studied people from around the world eating traditional diets with almost no dental decay and no need for braces or orthodontic treatment. You can read his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Paula from Guadalajara, Mexico

The woman sitting next to me on the plane was named Paula. She was 56 years old, born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. Paula told me that she was one of nine children, raised by a poor, single mother. She went on to give birth to six children here in the United States.

When I asked her what she did for a living, she said she used to work in the field, picking apples in Washington State. A migrant farm worker. But then she started having severe neurological problems. She said she didn’t know what caused it, but when she was sleeping she would bite her tongue, have spasms, and accidentally wet the bed. I asked her if she had worked on an organic farm or if they sprayed pesticides. She said no, it was not organic. She had never connected the pesticide spray with her neurological problems, but in my mind that’s an easy link.

She and her family moved to Modesto, where she now works in a factory (processing frozen bell peppers) and thankfully, she doesn’t suffer anymore from the spasms.

Paula’s Upbringing on Traditional Foods

Paula’s teeth were like gleaming pearls. Perfectly spaced, with no crowding. She had a wide face with high cheekbones. I asked her what her mother fed her and her brothers and sisters when they were little.

This is what she told me:

Chicken and fish broth (“caldo” — they make the broth with the heads and feets of the chickens or the whole fish including the heads), eggs, meat, including lots of organ meats (including liver, tripe, kidneys, heart, bone marrow, and tongue), raw milk (“still warm from the cow”), cod liver oil (“aceite de hígado de bacalao”), and lots of rice and beans. I asked what fat they cooked with and she said lard.

I asked her if she had ever made Higado Encebollado (Mexican Liver & Onions). She said fondly, “Oh yes, one of my favorites.”

<em>Liver, goat’s heads, and tripe in a mercado in Guadalajara</em>” width=”500″ /><p class=Liver, goat's heads, and tripe in a mercado in Guadalajara

Questions for Paula

I was so curious, I couldn’t help but ask Paula a bunch of questions.

“Did you have braces?” I asked, pointing to my mouth.

“No,” she said, shaking her head.

“Your brothers and sisters?”

“No. No braces.”

“What about your children? Did they need braces?”

“No,” she said.

“None of your children had braces? What did you feed them?”

She told me that she fed her kids the same things she grew up eating. Liver, eggs, fish, lots of “caldo”, rice, beans. I asked if she gave her children cod liver oil and she said, “Yes, my mother sent it to me from Guadalajara to give to the children.”

I asked her how many times a week her children got dessert. I thought maybe she’d say once a week. She said, “Usually every night.” She said she would make them a “jello” (she meant pudding or custard) made from milk, butter, vanilla, and just a tiny bit of sugar. She’d also make them “arroz con leche” or rice & milk custard, made with milk, butter, rice, raisins, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of sugar.

She said she cooked all the food from scratch, partly because they could not afford processed or restaurant food, but also because she didn’t trust it. She said she has never trusted “frozen food”, nor does she use the microwave. She said she still makes everything from scratch to this day. On the weekend, she makes fresh salsa that they use throughout the week.

Cavities?

Interestingly, she said when she was a child, she and her brothers and sisters did not have cavities. But her children, while they did not need braces, did have some cavities and she has had some cavities as an adult. I wonder if it’s because the milk and butter we get in America is not raw and is usually not from grass-fed cows. (Cows that are not on pasture do not produce a lot of vitamin K2, which is critical for the body’s use of calcium for bones and teeth.)

She also said she commonly gave her children “avena” (oatmeal) for breakfast. She didn’t say anything about soaking it so I wonder if maybe this was part of the problem. Soaking oats used to be commonplace a century ago, but it fell out of fashion. Unfortunately, unsoaked oats are very high in phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption — minerals that are necessary for building strong bones and teeth.

Learning to Love Liver

One thing Paula said that really blew me away was that, to this day, all of her children love everything she cooks. Including all the organ meats — liver, tripe, tongue, and so on. I’m always struck by the fact that most grandmothers and great-grandmothers I meet tend to love offal. But the fact that her children all love it speaks volumes.

I think when children are exposed to new foods repeatedly, they become accustomed to them and over time, they learn to love them. My mother said when we were little and we moved from New York to San Antonio, Texas, we hated Mexican food at first. We wanted the Italian food we had been eating for years. But my mom said she just kept exposing us to it and we learned to love it. To this day, Tex-Mex is my comfort food.

Similarly, one of my grandmother’s favorite foods is liver and onions. Like most mothers a century ago, my great-grandmother insisted on serving liver and onions once a week.

What I Learned From Paula

One of the things I learned is we must expose our kids to good, nourishing foods, even if they resist. Se must feed them nutrient-dense foods that most kids hate — like liver and heart and oysters and mussels.

They won’t like it at first. They’ll reject it and rebel. But keep doing it. Keep exposing them. In time, they will learn to love it. And then they will crave it. Like I crave nachos with sour cream and guacamole. And my grandma craves liver. Makes me wonder if I serve liver more often, will I start to crave it more? Will my family as well? (I think the answer is yes.)

Another thing I took note of is that both Paula and her mother were very poor. And yet they still managed to raise a passel of healthy children who did not require braces. One of the biggest objections I hear to eating traditional foods is the cost. Everyone says they can’t afford it. But Paula and her mother did it. If they can do it, so can we.

Maybe it means eating more brown rice and beans. It definitely requires cooking more from scratch. Paula and her mother (who is still alive and well in Guadalajara) still cook everything from scratch. Everything.

Maybe it means keeping chickens or a cow or some goats. Maybe it means not buying everything organic. Paula buys food from the Mexican market, the farmer’s market, and Costco. It’s not organic but it is nutrient-dense.

Maybe it means not buying luxury American food items like peanut butter (which isn’t good for you anyway — too high in phytic acid, unless the nuts are soaked). Maybe it means we eat more organ meats like liver, and make broth out of bones — which is cheaper than eating steak, and better for you, too.

The point is, it can be done. If a migrant farm worker with six children can do it, we can, too.

And isn’t our children’s health worth it?

I hope Paula’s story inspires you. It certainly inspired me. I’m making arroz con leche tonight.

Photo credit: prendio2 on Flickr
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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Ria January 2, 2010 at 9:09 PM

This was really interesting. It hasn’t escaped my notice that a lot of traditional diets from around the world often resulted in healthy people long before modern medicine and nutrition came along. Yes, they had some detriments from it resulting in too much of one thing and not enough of another, but not nearly as many problems as tend to arise today, after processed and “western” foods crowd all the world markets. And obesity certainly wasn’t half the problem it is today, with all our variety.
.-= Ria´s last blog ..Starting the year off right. =-.

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jen b January 2, 2010 at 9:19 PM

I love testimonies like this as it really encourages me to keep feeding my family the right way.Much of parenting is about repeating things until children get used to doing them,and it is especially true with food.I have not always eaten the most nutrient dense foods but I have always eaten a lot of high-fat dairy foods.
I also have nine children and they all have excellent facial structure and really straight teeth.They have had some cavities,but I have only been soaking grains regularly for the last 20 months or so,so that would have been the cause of that.
I was born in the 1970′s and do not have any cavities and I ate a lot of sweets growing up,but I have always eaten heaps of butter,cheese and cream,and I was not given cod liver oil as a child,but was actually weaned on offal as that was what our family doctor told my mum to do.I am enjoying passing on traditional wisdom to my kids so that these will become normal practices for when they raise their own children.Thank you for all your research Ann Marie

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Elizabeth Walling January 2, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Yes, Ann Marie, that was most definitely inspiring! It really makes me appreciate what I know – and it baffles me how so much good knowledge has been squandered in such a short time! Almost everyone’s grandmother or great-grandmother cooked this way and fed her children this way. Yet neither I or my mother had any clue about serving up nourishing foods until last year!

And thank you for the reminder that the monetary cost is more than worth the result. With all the money Americans spend on “educational” toys, reputable preschools, extracuricular activities – we have more than we think to spend on something that can really help our children grow up right: good nourishing food. And with healthy bodies and minds, they’ll benefit all the more from all the other things we’re able to provide them.

Thanks, Ann Marie, that was a great post! Just the thing I needed to read at the start of this new year.
.-= Elizabeth Walling´s last blog ..Happy New Year Ghee Giveaway! =-.

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Jennie January 2, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Yay yay yay! I have the sour cream, I have the wonderful Zukay brand live salsa…but how does one make Nacho chips in the Nourishing Traditions way? Yum!

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HeatherM January 2, 2010 at 10:31 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed your post, glad you decided to share you encounter!! It is an encouraging story. You and Kelly are doing such a great job with your blogs!

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Zoe January 2, 2010 at 10:46 PM

I love this post! I was just chatting with friends on Facebook tonight about how my 3yo loves liver sautéed with apples and onions and my 7yo loves lamb tongue. I could almost hear the moans. Whenever I order from “my” farmers, I order the parts that would usually go to waste because they are cheaper and because I believe in trying to utilize all the gifts an animal has to offer as part of honoring its life. We also get the steaks, roasts, and chops, but these “unpopular” parts are so nutrient dense, it’s a shame to waste them.

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Leigh Anne January 2, 2010 at 10:49 PM

Amazing story!
It is refreshing to hear good news like this!
Thank you for pointing out that ANYONE can afford to eat right! It makes me crazy hearing the excuse “its too expensive”. Now I have a great story to share about Paula next time someone gives me that! …Now only I’ve got to get over my own excuse that I dont like liver….
Any suggestions on how to begin eating liver and other organ meats?? I think half of my problem with it is cooking it (smelling it, handling it, etc), if I don’t cook it I don’t mind it as much. Do you have any recipes to bake liver?

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The Local Cook January 2, 2010 at 11:19 PM

Whenever I travel overseas I’m amazed at how much healthier I feel, as we usually eat in the villages we’re visiting.

Not sure if you have seen the Travel Channel’s “Meet the Natives USA,” but I found it fascinating when the tribesmen reacted to our American food. They couldn’t believe that people eat out of cans “do they know that food is dead? I wonder how long it’s been in there,” they said to each other. I also thought it was funny when they were concerned that the farm they were visiting only fed their cows “dead grass.”
.-= The Local Cook´s last blog ..Apple Spice Waffles with Apple Topping =-.

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Sharon New-Bauckman January 2, 2010 at 11:26 PM

Love this story! This is a really good lesson on why we really can afford good nutritious food – it may take more time in the kitchen, but it can be done. I’m going to post this story on my facebook page.
.-= Sharon New-Bauckman´s last blog ..Local Grass-fed Beef Resources =-.

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Unplanned Cooking January 2, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Very interesting. What a wonderful woman for sharing. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip!
.-= Unplanned Cooking´s last blog ..Washing hands =-.

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Melanie Nader January 2, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Very inspiring…it’s a new year, and a great time for a fresh start to getting back on the full swing of doing all the good nutritional things for our family. It’s easy to get lazy and not do all the soaking, and planning that a good regimen requires, thanks for a kick in the butt to get it going again!!
Happy New Year!

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kc January 3, 2010 at 9:12 AM

I loved this post. I am also fascinated with traditional ways that have fallen by the wayside because they aren’t “modern” enough. I saw a lot of this when I was living in Alabama away from the city. It was considered backward and a sign of being poor to eat offal or grow your own veggies or have farm animals. I met several families that had chickens for eggs, but would not eat the chickens and only bought frozen boneless, skinless breast or worse yet, chicken nuggets. I also saw extremely poor people eating fast food and loading up their carts with convenience foods. I’m not sure if it was because they thought it was a sign of success to be able to do so or they lacked the training to cook for themselves or a combination of both.

As you might imagine, I was certainly considered a weirdo there. Being allergic to corn and soy, we don’t have much choice but to be blatantly different, but we actually enjoy it, too. Everyone we met expressed pity that we couldn’t eat fast food when they heard of our allergies. Scary, huh?
.-= kc´s last blog ..Roasted Onion Dip (Homemade and Corn-Free) =-.

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Jessie January 3, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Thanks so much for posting this story! It’s encouraging & fabulous.

I also appreciate Elizabeth’s comment about how much we spend on “educational” toys, but don’t want to spend on food that would actually help kids learn!

It’s also encouraging because Paula isn’t buying everything organic – given limited resources. But she still has raised very healthy kids and she herself is healthy. I do buy some things organic – particularly the “dirty dozen” and eggs and beef, but when I don’t, I sort of feel guilty / worried. It probably would be better for my health to not be worried :) :)

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Elizabeth Walling January 3, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Leigh Anne,

I “sneak” liver into my family’s dinners, because even I’m not sure if I have the stomach to eat it whole yet – my kids and husband would definitely balk at whole liver served up on a plate! I grind it up finely with vegetables in my food processor and serve it with ground meat in dishes like pasta-less lasagna. The more spices/flavor in a dish, the more liver you can “sneak” in. I will be doing a post on this next week, because the nutrition in liver is too good to pass up just because none of us are used to eating it!
.-= Elizabeth Walling´s last blog ..Happy New Year Ghee Giveaway! =-.

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Jeanmarie January 3, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Fabulous! What a great lesson. As far as I know, my dear grandmother’s greatest cooking legacy was her Christmas Caramels (definitely not nutrient-dense!), and not liver and onions or even cod liver oil. This is a truly great illustration of what we can do if we prioritize and cook from scratch.
Thanks for this.

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tina January 3, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Jessie – organic eggs are from chickens that have been caged up and fed grains – corn and soy. Organic beef is from cows confined and fed grains – they are not grass-fed.

If you can find a source for pastured eggs and grass-fed beef you’d be much better off than organic eggs and beef (unless it’s organic pastured eggs and organic grass-fed beef, of course.)

I find it so frustrating that organic in America means nothing more than caged animals fed organic grains.

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Diane@Peaceful Acres January 3, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Welcome home AM! What a great post! I’m the grandchild of an immigrant from Austria Hungary. My Gma had the wide face and pallet and we ate many of her traditional foods. I’m sorry that I didn’t know then (a kid) what I know now. I never got to ask a million questions. I always ask where everyone is from too and what they eat and we talk and talk.

My son wants me to teach his new girl how to cook from scratch. That will be fun! I suppose I’m doing what Dr Price said, “you teach, you teach, you teach”!!!

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Tamara January 3, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Thas so cool! Airplane convos always tend to reveal the most interesting people it seems…

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Can't eat liver January 3, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Let us know if the liver idea (serving it every week) works out for you. I just can’t eat it. I try every now and then and end up throwing it all out.

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Marillyn @ just-making-noise January 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Awesome! Love this! I already have a friend who is living with us.. a Tico (Costa Rican) who has perfect teeth with no cavaties and wide face. I’ve asked him what he ate (he was very poor as a child), but I should get more specific and post about it! Thanks for the inspiration :o)

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Caroline Cooper January 3, 2010 at 8:44 PM

The more I learn about traditional foods, the more I think as a society we have sold out our children’s health for a few bangles from China. As a population, we do not have our priorities straight.

I have observed that many people from so called third world countries have great dental structure. They may be “poor” in consumer goods but their traditional local foods seems “rich” in nutrition.

I look at myself, my family, and friends and we are not great examples of well formed human structure. It is a sad observation. Unfortunately, I cannot go back in time and correct my diet during my pregnancies. I can feed my children well now but the damage has been done. I can educate my girls so that they may have healthy children. At the same time it is important to correct dental problems in children so they will have a the best change of long term health. Below is a link to some decisions my family had to make with regards to dental structural problems in my children:
http://eatkamloops.org/archives/1368

I really enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for your continued work.

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Jessie January 3, 2010 at 9:21 PM

Hi Tina – I should have been more specific – the eggs & beef are both from pastured animals. I was writing before I was really awake!!

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Millie@ Real Food for Less Money January 3, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Excellent post. We are trying hard to eat a nutrient dense diet and that does include organ meats. My girls (ages 13 and 14) are still pretty squeamish about liver, heart and tongue but I keep serving them. While they are not yet to the point of enjoying them they do taste them without complaint. Bone broth is made weekly and everyone enjoys the dishes that are based on broth. I believe that by reverting back to a more primitive way of cooking and eating we will be able to reverse alot of the damage that our bodies have endured as a result of our previous food choices.
.-= Millie@ Real Food for Less Money´s last blog ..Menu Week of January 3 =-.

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Zoe January 3, 2010 at 9:33 PM

I make a “glaze” for liver with raw honey and apples and sautee the liver with onions and garlic and let the onions and garlic carmelize. My 3yo loves it and will eat it all the time while my 7yo says that it’s “not horrible” and will eat it if it’s served. I’ve found that it’s helpful for her if I soak the liver in milk for a bit before cooking it to take the “edge” off of it. I also put liver in hamburger, meatloaf, soups, etc. Both of my kids love tongue and kidney. I throw them in toward the end of cooking bone broth and the kids just eat them “as is.” I totally agree with everyone here with regard to serving kids thing over and over again and “normalizing” foods like organ meats so that they are seen as both nutritious and yummy.

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Kris Johnson January 3, 2010 at 11:41 PM

To Leigh Ann and others who don’t like liver, the secret is brief cooking so it’s still red inside. I usually cut it into strips half inch wide or so, which makes for very quick cooking. Saute the onion, bacon, etc. first before adding the liver.

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Emily January 4, 2010 at 9:36 AM

What a wonderful post! (That reminds me–I need to order some grassfed liver.)

I am a former bilingual teacher, and many of my students (most from Mexico) already had horrible dental conditions at age five. It was a constant frustration for me to think that their parents had gotten so sucked in to the “American Way” as to feed their kiddos processed food (doesn’t help that they ate the public school breakfasts and lunches, either).

I’m so glad to hear that some immigrants are aware of the superior nutrition of their native diets. I can only hope that people like Paula spread the word to their neighbors of like-ethnicity.
.-= Emily´s last blog ..6 Natural Acne Remedies =-.

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Cynthia in Sarasota January 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM

WOW! What a great story…and so well written, Ann Marie. I am sharing this with everyone I know. Thanks so much.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 12:18 PM

@Can’t eat liver -

We don’t always eat it every week but we try. If we don’t do liver one week, we will do shellfish. They are equally nutrient dense.

It really depends on how you prepare liver. Plain cooked beef liver or chicken liver is disgusting to me. But I love liver if it’s prepared in a good way.

US Wellness Meats sells a fabulous liverwurst and Braunschweiger (liver sausages) which most people — even kids — love. I love them both.

I also buy liverwurst sometimes at the store (Whole Foods) and eat it as a sandwich. It’s still hands down my favorite sandwich.

My husband also regularly brings back liverwurst and liver pate from Europe whenever he goes. So we usually have it int he fridge. I often just eat it on whole wheat crackers.

Liver pate is also something most people like. I have a couple of recipes on my blog — one for a smooth chicken liver pate and one for a more rustic pork liver pate — that are both delicious.

Foie gras, although controversial, is delicious as well. I order it whenever it is on the menu.

In fact, I go out of my way to order liver at restaurants whenever I find it. Why? Because I’m always looking for new ways to eat liver. When I was in Texas last week I ordered fried chicken livers along with my fried chicken. They were great!

I also had some of the best liver of my life at an Italian restaurant a couple of months ago in NYC. It was veal liver marinated and sauteed in Balsamic vinegar.

Steak and kidney pie is also yummy — I order that whenever I go to a British pub.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Zoe – that sounds so good! I would love to get that recipe for the liver with the glaze

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Michelle Rogers January 4, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Very inspiring! However my kids have alot of cavities :o( but they are not brushing their teeth like they should. I think our problem may be I am not soaking grains. My kids do NOT like the sour flavor of soaked grains. They won’t even eat it once its soaked because its too sour. Is there anyway to make it less sour?
I have to admit I don’t like it either.
Could this be our problem with the teeth? Or could it have been my pregnancy diet which was VERY SAD diet.

However my youngest I was on a WAPF diet while pregnant and his teeth are HORRIBLE and he is only 19 months but before I found out I was pg with him I was very underweight and malnourished. Maybe thats why?
Anyway this is inspiring. We haven’t been doing too good on our diet during the holidays. looking forward to getting back to it. Hopefully healing cavities.

Michelle

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Emily -

The teachers at my daughter’s daycare are all from Mexico and Central America. They all cook healthy foods like their mothers and grandmothers. Bone broth, rice, beans, enchiladas, posole, etc. That’s what my daughter eats every day at her daycare. Sometimes she goes to her teacher’s house after school and eats dinner with them and their kids (when I have to work late). They told me she will eat 3 bowls of rice and beans. She says, “More! More!” and they correct her, “Mas!”

Likewise, I have a former nanny from Guatemala who has perfect teeth and bone structure. She grew up on a very similar diet to Paula — raw milk, pastured eggs and chicken, cod liver oil, liver and other organ meats, and corn tortillas and tamales from fresh corn soaked for 1-2 weeks in lime water.

You can see a photo of her here:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/2008/03/09/weston-price-smile/

It’s sad because her younger brother moved here when he was much younger (a toddler I think) and he now is eating the standard American diet (cereal, pasta, soda pop and candy, etc.) and he has very crooked teeth and lots of cavities.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Jessie -

Here’s an article I wrote on the difference between organic and pastured eggs:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/02/20/how-to-buy-organic-eggs-pastured-vs-free-range-eggs/

if you can’t find pastured eggs from chickens raised outdoors, get the DHA Omega 3 eggs. I get them every once in a while from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, those occasional times I don’t have a chance to get to the farmer’s market.

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Emily January 4, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Ann Marie–That makes me feel better. :) Not all my students had dental problems, but there were enough to make me scratch my head. It also could be that it was more of the 3rd-generation Hispanic-American kids that had problems, since they were eating the SAD b/c their parents had grown up in the southern US.

Can’t eat liver–To get us used to the liver taste, I mixed in finely chopped liver with ground buffalo at a 1:4 ratio for a while (cooked in crockpot). I increased it to 2:4, until finally we (DH and I) were able to eat it plain. Food for thought, LOL.
.-= Emily´s last blog ..Global Warming? Where??!! =-.

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Elizabeth Walling January 4, 2010 at 1:49 PM

My kids love any kind of sausage (as long as its not too spicy). We’ve got a lot of German ancestry, so maybe there’s an genetic component for this?I need to try some liverwurst. We’ve never had that, although summer sausage is a big hit here.
.-= Elizabeth Walling´s last blog ..Life With Liver: Learning to Love Your Grandmother’s Favorite =-.

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Maria January 4, 2010 at 2:05 PM

I love your site and I learn something new every time. Interestingly enough, I was mostly raised on skim milk, margarine, and unsoaked instant oatmeal and a bevy of other processed foods, and while I have been overweight my entire adult life, I have excellent teeth. I can only recall maybe two cavities in my entire life and I never needed braces. My father has great teeth (and was raised on full fat everything) and my mother did not–she’s had several cavities, although she was raised mostly on traditional foods by her Mexican-immigrant mother. I wonder if it could it be that I just had a good genetic hand dealt to me?

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Victoria January 4, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Thank you for this – very helpful! Still don’t think I’ll be going the route of liver, but I will step up my cod liver routine (which sometimes falls by the wayside). For what it’s worth: In the past year, since consuming more CLO, grass-fed butter and lots of it, local eggs, and grass-fed beef, as well as more produce from a farm CSA, I have lost ten pounds, my blood pressure has dropped from its already low levels, and my skin and eyes look clearer and brighter. I tell you this because I just got back from my annual physical and the news was excellent! I’m 46 but my physical age is much lower, and I did not get sick once!

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Dawna Coxon January 4, 2010 at 4:26 PM

I started using pastured eggs from the farmer I get my raw milk from after I read your article. We used to buy store bought “cage free” organic eggs. WOW what a difference!!! The eggs from the farmer the yolks are a deep dark orange. They taste out of this world! Thanks for your great information!

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rebecca t January 4, 2010 at 6:06 PM

Our daughter made an absolutely delicious liver dish the other night. She soaked the chicken livers in salted water for about an hour to get some of the bloodiness out. After draining and patting them dry, she stir-fried them in some palm oil along with some sliced onions. Then she thickened some homemade beef stock and mixed the liver and onions into it. Yum!

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Zoe January 4, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Can I just say that this is one of the most hunger-inducing and inspiring posts and comment threads I’ve read anywhere in a very long time? I ended up calling one of the farmers I buy from and driving 80 miles to buy turkey livers, chicken livers, and chicken feet. Then I stopped by to see our “chicken lady” to stock up on eggs and then swung by the store to get turkey and beef liverwurst. I usually bake our sourdough (with sprouted flour), but picked up a loaf of sprouted sourdough while at Whole Foods. And, yes, I also got some organic dark chocolate. ;-) I’m thinking about experimenting with a liver pate made with different types of livers (I already have goat and beef). Has anyone tried this?

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 8:27 PM

Zoe, what a fun comment! Sounds like you’re going to do some wonderful cooking!

I have 2 recipes for liver pate posted on the blog:

Chicken Liver Mousse:
http://www.cheeseslave.com/2008/05/14/balthazars-chicken-liver-mousse/

Pâté de Campagne, or Country Pâté (made with pork liver):
http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/04/28/pate-de-campagne-or-country-pate/

I also just sent out a yummy chopped liver recipe (chicken liver) in the menu mailer. I will get that posted on the blog eventually.

I’m going to be experimenting with lamb livers and making haggis and also making liverwurst in the new year.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Maria -

Nutrients are stored in our bodies for a period of time. It’s not so much genetics but stored nutrients that are passed down from one generation to the next. I think this is part of the reason why, even though I ate tons of sugar and white flour as a kid, I had straight teeth (I did have cavities though).

I was lucky to be born in 1968, when many animals were still on pasture in this country, and McDonald’s French fries were still made with beef tallow instead of vegetable oil.

The modern diet did catch up with me though — we started eating margarine and other junk by the time I was an adolescent, and I took a lot of antibiotics. By the time I was 26, I had arthritis, allergies, gluten intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, I reversed all that with food and nutrition.

People who were born in the 70s and 80s and grew up on fake food are a lot worse off, as are their children. So many kids with allergies, autism, ADD and other problems today. These things were unheard of a few decades ago.

I fear greatly for the sons and daughters who will be born to the kids who are growing up on chicken nuggets and skim milk or (worse) soy milk.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Elizabeth -

Try liverwurst and Braunschweiger! You will LOVE it!

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Emily January 4, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Zoe–you can buy SPROUTED SOURDOUGH BREAD AT WHOLE FOODS?!
Please, tell me the exact name! Is it in the bakery or frozen section? TIA!

Michelle Rogers–I’m guessing that your physical condition b4 preg. had a lot to do w/the problems w/your youngest. I’m not sure that unsoaked grains per se would cause cavities, but consuming too much? When I soak my grains, the cooked results don’t taste sour. But I don’t use whey.

I’ve heard that both CLO and calcium supplements greatly improve dental health as well as prevent future cavities. You might give both of those a shot…
.-= Emily´s last blog ..Global Warming? Where??!! =-.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Michelle –

I’m going to be doing a post in the near future about reversing cavities. I’ve had some very interesting phone calls with Rami Nagel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, and emails with Christine Kennedy, a WAPF chapter leader in Canada.

Christine consulted w/ Rami because her toddler daughter has cavities. He recommended a number of things to her including limiting/avoiding grains (even soaked grains), nuts and seeds.

Stay tuned and I’ll be posting that soon — I plan to do a podcast with Rami as well.

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cheeseslave January 4, 2010 at 8:44 PM

Also Michelle -

I’m curious, what kinds of unsoaked grains are you eating? How about nuts? Some are worse than others in terms of phytic acid. You also have to make sure they are getting enough nutrient-dense foods like liver and shellfish and butter.

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Zoe January 4, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Oh, lamb liver! A friend of mine just processed two of her lambs. I wonder if I could convince her to give me the livers to me instead of saving them for her dogs? Some negotiating might be in order! Thanks for the recipe links, btw.

In my experience, teeth and gums can be a combo of genetics and diet. Based on genetics, I should have horrible teeth and gums, but I actually only had 2 small cavities until I started the “cycle” of pregnancy and breastfeeding (I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding since 2001) and have been struggling with the havoc that hormones have wreaked on my gums and enamel. Since I’ve been more conscious about remineralizing, things aren’t getting any worse, and some things are getting better.

We don’t use fluoride and my children are horrible about brushing their teeth and I am, admittedly, not always up to the struggle of fighting with my youngest to brush his teeth daily. Yet my children have beautiful teeth and gums according to the dentist and they get lots of compliments on their smiles and the whiteness of their teeth.

My kids love oatmeal which I soak with a bit of whey from the cheese or yogurt I make and warm water overnight and then cook for a long long time with nuts, shredded coconut, and honey. Then we load it up with butter when it’s done and they add some fruit preserves if they want. They eat lots of raw dairy, pastured eggs, grass fed meats, cod liver oil, etc. I got cod liver oil and organ meats as a child, but our family’s diet was mostly your typical SAD with processed foods, margerine, tv dinners, etc. yet I made it out alive without even braces.

All that’s to say… ;-) … we do the best we can with what we have. Some of it’s genetics. Some of it’s diet. We control what we can and roll with the rest. I feel fortunate to have found my way back to nourishing, real foods before my children were born so that they have this as their foundation, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be guided back to it if they’re coming in on it as toddlers or even older. My kids don’t want the same things every day for breakfast and have to eat varied diets, so trying different things and different combos is always fun too and going through recipes and cookbooks with them is always fun.

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Zoe January 4, 2010 at 9:08 PM

One of our local bakeries sells their sprouted sourdough at WF in the frozen section, however, Alvardo Street has sprouted sourdough there as well (in the frozen section) which I’m guessing is a national product since it’s made in CA, BUT it has soy in it. I’ve been chatting up the folks in the bakery at WF to try to get them to make one there, but I don’t carry a lot of weight since I’m not a regular bread buyer.

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Kris Johnson January 4, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Whoever commented about sour grains, oatmeal, I’m thinking it was. When I soak oatmeal it doesn’t get that sour – besides I add lots of nuts, butter, dried fruit. It’s delicious.

I’m sure heredity is a factor. I have crooked teeth, and my parents ate a fairly normal diet, but a lot of home cooking. Both my parents lived to be 100. Maybe all the minerals they got from the water they drank from the Ogalla Aquafer in Nebraska was very helpful, since lack of minerals in our food is a big issue these days.

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Julia January 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

First trip to your site and I was hooked to read the whole post! Great interview and great editorial comment. Chalk another one up for peasant food–what my parents raised me on, and now what I feed my son. Well done!
.-= Julia´s last blog ..A Simple Broth =-.

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kc January 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Cheeseslave, You mentioned the fried chicken livers. When I was a kid, my mother always fried the whole chicken including the liver and gizzard. My brothers and I used to fight over it so much that my mother would buy a tub of chicken livers and fry them for our main meat dish. We always looked forward to fried chicken liver night and she did too because it was very inexpensive (much less expensive than fried chicken legs or breasts and much easier than cutting up a whole chicken and frying it). They still sell tubs of chicken livers in the grocery stores here (Mississippi) but I quit buying them years ago when the quality declined. I have tried repeatedly to get chicken livers with my pastured meat orders and haven’t found any yet. US Wellness is even always out when I get ready to order. I think I would happily suffer phytic acid once to enjoy fried chicken livers again and I could at least fry them in lard to make them more healthy.
.-= kc´s last blog ..Roasted Onion Dip (Homemade and Corn-Free) =-.

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tina January 5, 2010 at 6:37 PM

KC – it’s disturbingly sad that you can’t get chicken livers from pastured chickens.

I’m having one of those days when I’m really angry about what the big food industry and what their advertising has done to our food supply.

If I won the lottery, I would by a tv station and show programs about soaking grains, rendering fats, cooking and finding nourishing foods; small organic farms where cows graze on grass, chickens eat bugs and worms and pigs eat whatever it is that pigs are suppose to eat.

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Deb January 6, 2010 at 3:39 AM

Thanks for this – especially all the comments about tooth corrections – my son (10) is experiencing lots of crooked problems w/ his front teeth and after a very traumatic experience w/ a double tooth extraction he is unable to go that route again – I’m going to start researching this info and hopefully find some news that will bring him and I hope for healing and improvement.

He loves peanut butter btw – can someone explain to me the concept of phytic acid in peanut butter? This is news to me.
.-= Deb´s last blog ..Monthly Measure =-.

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kc January 6, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Did anyone mention Alternative Lightwire Functionals as mentioned in this case study (http://www.icnr.com/cs/cs_05.html)? I am looking into this for my children. It widens the arch instead of extraction/.forcible alignment. I went the way of standard orthodontics as a teen and have been paying the price all my life. This method is more in line with the findings of Weston A. Price.
.-= kc´s last blog ..Roasted Onion Dip (Homemade and Corn-Free) =-.

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cheeseslave January 6, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Deb -

Peanut butter is SUPER high in phytic acid. I would avoid it. We don’t have any in our house — although I’m going to do a post soon on how to make your own homemade soaked peanut butter.

Better choices for sandwiches: tunafish (with homemade mayo or but it from Wilderness Family Naturals — love their mayo), liverwurst, egg salad (with good mayo), grilled cheese with grass-fed cheese and butter.

I would also avoid all cereals and oatmeal.

Better choices for breakfasts: Eggs, bacon, sausage, sprouted toasted bread with butter, yogurt made from grass-fed animals.

Here’s more info:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/04/02/do-bread-cereal-cause-cavities-reversing-dental-decay-with-food/

http://www.yourreturn.org/Articles/Early_ChildHood_Caries_Cured.htm

http://www.yourreturn.org/Inertia/ModernFoodandDegeneration.htm

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Musings of a Housewife January 6, 2010 at 2:18 PM

This is utterly fascinating. Thank you for posting this.

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Gigi January 7, 2010 at 2:32 PM

I was writing a post at my own blog about trying to get even further into Traditional Foods in the new year, and referenced your blog, which led me over to read this article and all the great commentary! My mom absolutely loved liver & onions, but I hated it as a kid. She would make it every once in a great while. Husband and I both profess not to like liver, but he had the opportunity to try foie gras at Thanksgiving and found it delicious. I appreciate all the ideas about how to gently introduce liver into the diet!

I do have one nagging question though. A friend once commented, “I don’t care how many nutrients it’s supposed to have, it’s an organ that filters the toxins out of the body, and I am NOT going to eat that!” How would you address that? I’m not going to change *her* mind any time soon – she thinks all this traditional diet stuff is BS, and insists on sticking with her “healthy” low fat, soy milk type diet. Yuck. But now that it’s been planted, the question sticks in my own mind! Help? :-)
.-= Gigi´s last blog ..Meringue Mushrooms =-.

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Giada January 7, 2010 at 11:01 PM

Quote:
One of the biggest objections I hear to eating traditional foods is the cost. Everyone says they can’t afford it. But Paula and her mother did it. If they can do it, so can we.

I wish it was that easy, I really wish it was. What probably played a big factor in Paula’s upbringing is that traditional foods back then were the norm. Everything that is the norm is cheaper. Here in Holland the problems are more due to availability, never mind the cost.

There are only 9 known places in Holland where they sell raw milk. I’m in luck because the nearest is an educational farm only 2 km away from me. The problem is, it’s not grass-fed. Grains, grains, grains and something called “krachtvoer” which is a concentrate of plantmaterial and soy. Even the chickens live on grains. I’m not sure if they get treated with hormones. They do live mostly outside, which is a plus.

Grass-fed meat in Holland? Forget about it. When I ask my free-range organic butcher if he sells grass-fed meat, he looks at me as if I’m from Mars. The only grass fed beef producer in Holland that I know of is 158 km away. Free range organic meat in Holland is 1 1/2 or 2 times the normal cost for meat.

Never mind good butter, butter oil, fermented foods, fermented cod liver oil etcetera.

So getting real traditional food in Holland can be frustrating sometimes.

Great article though, as always :) .

Greetings from Holland ^^.

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Magelet January 8, 2010 at 2:51 AM

That is so interesting! It makes me think about how so many people focus more on pastured meats and eggs, and less on methods, like making bone broth, eating organ meats, soaking grains and such. I think it turns people away, thinking it is too expensive, when such drastic health changes can be made by eating conventional products and nutrient dense foods and methods, if that is all you can afford. Certainly pastured is miles better, and its horrible that conventional meat is all so many people can afford, but it is the truth right now, and you can still eat much healthier than SAD even if the best you can afford is conventional animal products.

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Giada January 8, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Why was my comment deleted? There was nothing inappropriate about my comment.

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Giada January 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Oops sorry. Blush.

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tina January 9, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Giada – can you eat fish and seafood? Those are nutrient dense foods.

If you can get raw milk then you should be able to get raw cream to make butter. I understand that the milk doesn’t come from grass-fed cows which is not good.

Can you get good meats and dairy from the surrounding countries? I get some of my meats sent to me from out-of-state.

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cheeseslave January 9, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Gigi -

I’ve heard people say that before. Toxins are not stored in the liver. It is just a filter. Toxins are actually stored in the fat of animals.

Acc. to the Weston A. Price Foundation,

One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.

Of course, we should consume liver from healthy animals–cattle, lamb, buffalo, hogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. The best choice is liver from animals that spend their lives outdoors and on pasture. If such a premier food is not available, the next choice is organic chicken, beef and calves liver. If supermarket liver is your only option, the best choice is calves liver, as in the U.S. beef cattle do spend their first months on pasture. Beef liver is more problematical as beef cattle are finished in feed lots. Livers from conventionally raised chicken and hogs are not recommended.

http://www.westonaprice.org/The-Liver-Files.html

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cheeseslave January 9, 2010 at 8:44 PM

Giada -

Sorry about that. The software doesn’t automatically post comments from first time posters. I have to approve them. I wish I didn’t have to but I get too much spam if I don’t set it that way.

I am surprised they are feeding so much grain to the animals in Holland. Are the cows not on pasture? I had heard that the “grass cheese” from Holland (the traditional aged Gouda) was from cows on grass. Is that not true?

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cheeseslave January 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Magelet –

I agree, conventional animal products are better than SAD!

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cheeseslave January 9, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Tina makes a good point. I heard that there is lots of good seafood in Holland. My husband said when he goes to Amsterdam, he eats fish every day at street stands. I would focus on eating that. Seafood is very nutrient dense, especially shellfish and most particularly mollusks.

Also good point about getting food from nearby countries.

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Gigi January 9, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Oh wonderful, thank you for your informative response!

Clearly I need to go read & study at the WAPF website. It’s been updated a ton since I last tried to go and read (years ago).
.-= Gigi´s last blog ..Happy New Year 2010! =-.

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cheeseslave January 10, 2010 at 12:44 AM

Gigi – That’s where I did my schooling! Such an awesome site — full of information.

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Ellen January 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Just wanted you to know that I’ve recently found and subscribed to your blog via Google reader, and this post right here is one of the most inspirational posts I have EVER read! It is so good and so encouraging to hear this! Thanks for sharing and continue to deliver amazing posts!!

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