My views on nutrition are in a period of rather rapid re-evaluation right now. This page is the home of my current thinking.
First off: The staple of my family’s diet is always going to be plant-based for the simple reason that we love our veggies. And while I’m worried about whether autoimmune disease runs in my family, I don’t think it’s a severe enough problem for any of us to swear off grains. So the veggies, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes aren’t going anywhere.
Also: Absent special needs or lifestyle demands, we really don’t need all that much protein. So consuming vast quantities of meat and fish is out. To me, it’s neither particularly healthy nor particularly tasty.
What I’m left with is taking Weston A. Price’s recommendations regarding fat-soluble vitamins seriously. Specifically, that vitamin A in the form of retinol (animal-based) is not the same as vitamin A in the form of beta carotene (plant-based). And that not all people are good at synthesizing Vitamin K2 (animal-based with the exception of natto) from Vitamin K1 (abundant in plant sources). Likewise, on the omega-3 front, not everyone is capable of adequately synthesizing the long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA from short-chain ALA.
I believe that taking a supplement is better than nothing, but it’s not nearly the same as eating the actual source. So I’m willing to re-introduce meat and fish to the family diet, but I want to do it with eyes open.
Below are my nutrition advice buckets, as of right this instant. They are subject to change. I trust Paleo Mom‘s science, and I am fascinated by the 1930s research of Weston A. Price himself, but I do not fully trust anything the Weston A. Price Foundation and Sally Fallon Morel put out. Mainly because the anti-vaxxing on the front page of their website is crazy. So I want corroborating sources (which Paleo Mom provides, in part) before going all in on making dietary changes.
- Eat fresh foods. (No one disagrees with this.)
- Eat fermented foods. (No one disagrees with this.)
- Eat offal. (Paleo Mom, Weston A. Price)
- Eat fat from grass-fed, pastured, wild-caught meat and fish. (Paleo Mom, Weston A. Price)
- Coconut oil is good. (Paleo Mom)
- Eat less sugar. (No one disagrees with this, but there are different degrees of abstinance.)
- Aim for getting 30-40% of calories from fat and 10-20% of calories from saturated fat. (Paleo Mom’s blog post on saturated fat)
- Soak grains, legumes, and nuts.
I’ve read advice on soaking, sprouting, and fermenting from Weston A. Price, raw food blogs, and a couple others. But I’m not sure how circular the sources are and whether they all go back to Sally Fallon Morel’s Nourishing Traditions. Unlike raw milk and anti-vaxxing, I don’t think soaking grains is going to hurt anyone even in the event that it’s entirely useless.
Also, soaking walnuts did prevent them from triggering an allergic reaction in Nora. So that’s my first bit of firsthand, empirical evidence that this advice works.
Unlikely To Hurt
- Eat raw milk cheese. (Weston A. Price, Catherine Shanahan)
- Eat more butter. (Weston A. Price, Catherine Shanahan)
I want to reread Catherine Shanahan’s section on saturated fats in Deep Nutrition and see what her sources are. I find it believable that sugar and polyunsaturated vegetable oil are the true evildoers and saturated fat the innocent scapegoat, but I want to research this more.
Paleo Mom, who I trust, says that getting saturated fats from high-quality sources are important but so is moderation. There are numerous downsides to going overboard on eating saturated fat. Getting enough is key but more is not better.
Not For Me
- Drink raw milk. (Weston A. Price)
- Eat raw liver. (Weston A. Price)
I’m actually wiling to believe raw milk is great if you have access to your own cow, but I am leery of purchasing raw milk no matter how great the family farm. It seems that some of the cultures Dr. Price studied got the same vitamin coverage from seafood, so I want to look into that more thoroughly.
As for raw liver, I honestly haven’t read any compelling evidence against it, but it sounds disgusting so I am putting this in a low priority bucket for now. I guess it could change.