Glass of fresh milk

The story of my life can be divided into the time before and after I opened the book.

The principles outlined by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig in Nourishing Traditions, have been deeply transformative for me on every level: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Not only has my diet changed fundamentally, but my career path has as well. I am far more emotionally stable, and my spirit has been significantly elevated.

In the following paragraphs, I would like to celebrate all the ways the book Nourishing Traditions has changed my life, and ask that you do the same in the comments!

Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD recommended that I purchase the book during my first office with him just over 10 years ago. I was seeing him due to insomnia, fairly debilitating depression and overall emotional instability. There were days I felt suicidal. When I saw Dr. Cowan, I was already eating organically, and had abandoned the vegetarian and vegan diet of the previous chapters in my life. I was no longer eating a diet comprised of mainly soy imitation foods. I already had eliminated sugar, caffeine and alcohol and wasn’t eating from boxes or cans. I didn’t have a microwave. There were virtually no processed foods in my diet however, I wasn’t aware of the importance of grass-fed animal foods, broth, ferments, organ meats, and raw as opposed to pasteurized diary. I was not aware of the dangers of soy in animal feed, the need to “properly prepare” nuts and grains. I had never had either milk or water kefir … or kombucha. Nourishing Traditions deepened my understanding of healing foods, of what it means to nourish and not merely feed ourselvs. I don’t think it is an exaggeration for me to assert that on many levels the book saved my life, or at the very least dramatically improved the quality of my life.

The principles resonated with me immediately. It all made sense. I started to make broth, which I’d never done in before.  I started to drink Claravale raw milk, which was sold on the selves in San Francisco where I lived for over 20 years until I moved to Portland in August of 2013. I started shopping at the farmers market regularly, and taking farm tours. I started to make my own kombucha and sauerkraut. I made kefir, creme fraiche, beet kvass … mayonaisse. I founded the San Francisco Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation not long after I purchased Nourishing Traditions, eager to be a part of a community that had yet to be organized. I even taught Nourishing Traditions foundational cooking classes! A year after I founded the chapter, I founded Nourishing Our Children. I wanted to create educational materials to teach with. I wanted to present these principles to audiences. I wanted to change lives, just as mine had been changed.

My freezer today typically has stored cow tongue, chicken feet and heads, beef bones, chicken and cow liver, mason jars of broth and saved chicken carcasses for future broth. My counter is adorned with a continuous brew kombucha artisanal crock from Kombucha Kamp, one of our referral partners. Next to it is a fermenting crock to make sauerkraut in. Some of my favorite kitchen appliances are a Hamilton Beach crock pot and a Kitchen Aid handheld blender. None of these were in my freezer or in my kitchen before I was introduced to Nourishing Traditions.

I generally know where my food has come from; who produced it. When I shop for animal food, I no longer ask if an item is organic. I ask what the animals have been fed, and how they have lived.

I now see the importance of grass, meaning pasture, not marijuana, in a whole new light. 

Hence the photo choice.

These dietary changes have resulted in dramatically increased and sustained emotional stability. I just simply don’t reach the  emotional lows that were common place 10 years ago. I think the focus on traditional fats and animal foods has grounded me tremendously. As a vegetarian and at times vegan, I was anemic. I have never been anemic in the last 10 years, as is evidenced by a number of lab tests, even when I had prolonged and heavy menstrual bleeding for over a month due to a fibroid that has since been easily removed in a 30 minute office visit. The persistent acne I had on my derriere, back and face had completed cleared up. I receive compliments on my skin regularly. I have the energy I need to sustain my many activities. I feel fairly happy and optimistic as a default setting. Keep in mind that I had been diagnosed with a number of mental health conditions including Major Depression, Recurrent, 296.33 Severe Without Psychotic Features while I vacillated between being a vegetarian and vegan for years.

One of the most important benefits of having opened the book Nourishing Traditions is how it inspired me to become a community organizer. I now feel like I a part of a tribe, a movement, a community that has embraced me in chapter meetings in several cities I have visited, and in our pages and forums on Facebook. The book paved the way for me to find what I believe is my calling – to lead this cause, to educate on how to nourish our children and ourselves.

I extend my deep appreciation to Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig for one of the most influential books I have read in my lifetime. I could easily fill several more paragraphs on how Nourishing Traditions has positively contributed to my life experience, but I really want to hear from you!

A gift of appreciation

I will be giving away 10 Nourishing Traditions books as an expression of my appreciation for the 10 years of improved health and vitality I have experienced, chosen randomly from the comments below on June 21, 2014, the first day of summer. In order to be considered, we ask that comments be at least 5 sentences long so you have an opportunity to really share. Please include how the book has impacted you, or why you’d like to receive it. If you already have the book and are chosen, you may provide an address of where you’d like it to be sent as a gift to someone in your circle, or provide your own address and give it to someone yourself.

[June 22 Update. The 10 randomly chosen commenters have been notified. Thank you so much for your participation!]

How has Nourishing Traditions positively impacted you and yours?