Monday, January 26, 2009

Organ meats = Health Food?

If it seems like a crazy idea, you have probably not read the teachings of Sally Fallon and the Weston Price Foundation.

When I was a student at Integrative Nutrition several years ago, we had been given her book, Nourishing Traditions, which promotes consuming more nutrient-dense animal foods.

I doubt Fallon was trying to make friends when she spoke at our school, when the majority of students, like myself were practicing a version of the vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, the subtitle of her book reads, "The cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats."

Red meat, duck fat, lard - these are some of the foods recommended by Fallon. She is also a strong advocate of raw milk and dairy products, which she believes has been robbed of many essential vitamins and minerals through the pasteurization process.

The research of the institute began with the travels of its founder and dentist, Weston Price. He traveled to cultures untouched by modern nutrition and diet. To his surprise these populations enjoyed remarkably perfect teeth - with little/no decay despite going their whole lives without seeing a dentist. Absent were the white flour and sugar that have become such a staple in our modern diet. And high in their diet were animal fats and protein. These populations also enjoyed a long lifespan and had low incidents of cancer and other diseases.

It's been three years since Fallon's talk at school, and I finally cracked her book this weekend. My friend Angela put together a book group to discuss its principles, and I think I was finally ready to learn more. Without knowing it, I've been eating a traditional diet that is in line with the principles of the book.

So how did I become a closeted meat-eater?

It all started about a year ago when I discovered I had a sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat. No more white or wheat flour. I felt so much better after cutting these out. At the same time I was losing weight at a rapid clip - and this was weight I was not looking to lose! So I decided to introduce more animal foods into my diet.

But fret not meatless readers, I still love me a good veggie. I only eat meat at high quality dining establishments (at least for now).

Anyone out there interested in cooking with more lard or duck fat? Or how about consuming some raw dairy products? Unfortunately, the later are not widely available commercially. Unless, you got a hookup.


Angela said...

Thank you for sharing the ideas of Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). I just wanted to add that the WAPF stresses the importance of eating animal foods that come from grass-fed or pasture-raised and humanely treated animals (ideally directly from small family farmers). All the nutritional benefits are based on the premise of animals raised under those conditions. Factory farmed meat, eggs and dairy is not healthy and not recommended by the WAPF.

vivek said...

this book changed everything for me in '07, been using it ever since. is where i got the hookup. shows who to email to access raw dairy products.

Ameet Maturu said...

Angela, thanks for adding that very important distinction. And for putting the group together in the first place!

Vivek, would love to hear more about your experience with raw milk. I too posted the link on my site. What kinds of products do you buy?

vivek said...

i get my butter, eggs, yogurt, raw milk cheese and raw milk regularly from there. i also sometimes get their meats and have tried different things like organ meats, lard, etc. i've been drinking raw milk for over a year now and can't imagine myself going without it. the eggs are fantastic and the butter is like no other butter i've had before. the yogurt is also very good. last year i'd use the milk to make kefir, and used the whey for lacto-fermentation. sometimes i'll get some chicken or beef stock and use it in soups or stews or to give rice more flavor when cooking it. the thing i appreciate the most is how real everything is . . . how the food varies with the seasons - like how there's winter butter and spring butter and how they look and taste different. even the eggs change with the seasons and the natural diet of the chickens change. and the raw milk changes as the abundance of grass changes from season to season. the food does have a shorter shelf-life, but they're so good it's usually no problem consuming them before they begin to break down!

Ameet Maturu said...

Vivek, you've sold me! How can I resist winter and spring butter?

I am gonna reach out to my chapter leader (which happens to be Angela).

Anonymous said...

I am looking for information on the advantages/disadvantages of eating organ meats.
Any books on this topic?

Ameet Maturu said...

Have you looked at Nourishing Traditions? I imagine it would be a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I will look into it.

Integrative Nutrition