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Activism Healthy Living Real Food

My Second Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference Experience, 2012

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This was my second time attending the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions conference, and what a gathering it was!

I watched many devoted and passionate people educating and interacting with each other, spreading the good news about health, nutrition, and well-being. It was awe inspiring to say the least.

This year I was privileged to be able to work at the Green Pasture Products booth for my good friends Dave and Barbara Wetzel. I have done work for this fantastic company in the past by producing content for their web site and product labels, and this year they asked if I would be interested in working at their conference booth. I was thrilled to have this opportunity and it was a great experience. It looks like I’ll be doing this next year too, in Atlanta for the 2013 conference.

Green Pasture Products fermented cod liver oil and other wholesome foods like ghee, coconut oil, and combo products are raw and as nutrient-dense as they come. As far as company integrity and reputation, Dave and Barbara are as genuine and honest as they come, and have made every possible effort to maintain a commitment to integrity and faithfulness of traditional foods eaten by people around the world for thousands and thousands of years.

Cod liver oil is the most potent and natural source of important fat-soluble vitamins A & D, which are actually hormones and essential to many aspects of health (especially brain, bone, digestion, and immunity). My family has been consuming cod liver oil for nearly 5 years and it has definitely been a boosting factor in our health.

Although I didn’t see as many lectures or spend as much time with various people as I wanted to, this conference experience was definitely as good or better than the first one I attended in Pennsylvania two years ago. I will also be purchasing some of the lectures I missed from Fleetwood Onsite conference recording.

One of the things I love about this conference is how much good will I see between conference attendees, willingness to help, and to support each other. It was a treat to see old friends I had already met from years before, or meet those friends I know from online social media.

I was so excited to get to meet for the first time Stanley and Keren Fishman and their son Alan from Tender Grassfed Meat.  I have been corresponding with them online for a year or two, and they are kind, generous and passionate folks whom I am so proud to call my friends.

I was also able to spend time with some of my other favorite people – Lisa Rose of Real Food Kosher, Annika Rockwell from Food For Kids Health (who is one of my clients), JeanMarie Todd of Kind Food Farm, and Alex Lewin from Feed Me Like You Mean It.

Please check out Alex’s gorgeous new book on fermentation, Real Food Fermentation.  I have my copy and will be doing a review of it soon. Also, I’d like to thank Alex for allowing me to use some of his photos in this post. Just before I left for the conference, I discovered my camera battery was dead, so I went to a store to buy another one and they apparently didn’t have batteries. I didn’t have time to go to another store to replace it, so I’m grateful for the photos since the camera on my phone takes very poor quality photos.

Here’s a picture of Lisa, Alex, JeanMarie and me at the awards dinner on Saturday night.

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The booth I worked at was just on the opposite side from Sandrine Love (Hahn) and Karen Hamilton-Roth from Nourishing Our Children. Here’s Sandrine and I. Isn’t she as cute as can be?

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I met many others including Tandy Batt of Natural Living, Courtney Polivka of The Polivka Family – a site devoted to information about real food, natural birthing, fertility, and natural living,  Aaron Zober of The Appropriate Omnivore, and Hannah Crum of Kombucha Camp.

I had met Scott Gryzbek from Zukay cultured vegetable dressings and juices last conference (in King of Prussia), but this year he asked for a picture, and I was happy to oblige.

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I also got to spend a little time visiting with Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee, and Maureen Diaz (one of my fellow Liberation Wellness friends) although not nearly enough.  :)

Here are just a few speakers who presented at Wise Traditions this year:

Chris Masterjohn:

Chris is a brilliant researcher and lecturer on the topic of cholesterol and its essential role in human health. I’ve been fascinated by his research for several years, and I often reference his research when it comes to providing clients with information they need, or for writing I do on my own site. Nutritional Adjuncts to Fat Soluble Vitamins was the topic Chris covered in his presentation this year.

Chris was vegan for a number of years and he talks extensively on his site about the negative effects this lifestyle had on his health. He ate a lot of soy while on this diet, and it was to the detriment of his health. I highly recommend reading anything he has written or watching any of his lectures online or in person.

Chris Kresser:

A licensed acupuncturist and integrative medicine practitioner, Chris has made a name for himself in holistic health and has been associated with the Paleo diet and lifestyle by many who embrace this way of living. The topic of discussion was The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis: New Perspectives on an Old Idea.

Over the last 20 or so years, medical practitioners and researchers have become more and more interest in the link between skin problems and mental health.  Studies reveal that patients experiencing acne and other skin disorders have a higher risk of digestive distress such as IBS, acid reflux, constipation. Chris discussed this relationship and provided recommendations for nutritional applications to reverse these conditions and also to prevent issues from occurring.

Dr. Carolyn Dean:

Carolyn Dean is known for her work in the subject of magnesium deficiency and its affect on human health. Although I have read a great deal of her research, I still haven’t read her book The Magnesium Miracle (and I’m still planning to read it). She discussed how just about every major disease is somehow connected to magnesium deficiency – heart disease, autism, allergies, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, auto-immune disorders, and more. This blew my mind when I learned it several years ago, and it continues to amaze me today.

Andrea Malmberg

Andrea was the keynote speaker at the awards dinner held on Saturday evening of the conference. Director of Savory Institute’s Research and Knowledge Management Initiative, Andrea educates about educates about the importance of preserving grasslands all over the world to maintain habitat and the ecology, with grazing animals, and how this practice is already been shown to restore the balance of our earth.

This topic is definitely not new to me, but I was so amazed at the images she showed on the slides of just how successful this practice really is – and how returning areas that have undergone desertification and deterioration of the land and soil integrity can benefit so greatly by returning it to a grassland state with grazing animals. The pictures were worth more than a thousand words, and this is happening all over the world in designated Savory land areas.

New to Weston A. Price?

This non-profit organization’s mission is to educate about the research of Dr. Weston A. Price which occurred during the 1930s all across the world. WAP’s intent is to instruct about nutrient-dense foods and their essential role in supporting human health. This organization is dedicated to education, research, and activism.  Some of the areas of emphasis include pasture-raised livestock, organic and biodynamic farming techniques community supported farms, accurate nutritional information and instruction, and honest and informative labeling of food and supplement products.

If you are interested in learning about nutrition and lifestyle changes that affect children, visit Nourishing Our Children for specific nutritional recommendations that support children’s health and growth and development.

If you have the opportunity to attend just one conference, this should be it!

What are traditional foods? 

Photo credits: Alex Lewin, Feed Me Like You Mean It and Scott Gryzbek, Zukay

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family Raw Dairy Real Food Recipes

Current Events in Real Food and Sustainablity – What’s Going On?

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I’d like to share some important and interesting destinations I’ve recently visited on the Internet relating to real food and food politics – of course, two subjects I am keenly interested in spreading around to my readers. Here we go!

The school lunch saga continues on. In this report on the New York Daily News site,  apparently even though programs have slashed calories (and along with it, grams of fat), school lunches are still unhealthy. Hmmm. I wonder why that is? They still aren’t getting it, are they? In one part of the article, one of the students remarks on how one of the foods appears to be so greasy, how could it be healthy? For so many years, people have associated grease with unhealthy properties, they can’t even tell the difference between unhealthy fats like shortening, margarine, and vegetable oils and real fats like butter and tallow. Marion Nestle, food author says that kids should be getting nutrients from real food – isn’t this what we’ve been saying all along? Why, why is it so hard to get this really quite simple point across? Oh wait, I forgot. Agribusiness companies and conglomerates wouldn’t hear of it…so we’re back to the drawing board.  :(

And here’s another maddening school lunch story – Sodexo, a supplier of processed foods to schools, has been pocketing rebate checks from processed food companies like Kellogg’s and Pepperidge Farms instead of passing the money along to schools. Do the unethical acts ever end? Of course, we don’t like that they are supplying processed foods to schools, but this just adds insult to injury.

Because genetically-modified foods are a big problem in today’s world with respect to health and sustainability, The Millions Against Monsanto Campaign is an important movement to get involved in. Genetic-modification is something that big companies like Monsanto argue is necessary in order to keep up on being able to feed the growing population of the world. But did you know that genetic modification of seeds is done at the DNA (cellular) level and prevents crops from re-seeding year after year (and Monsanto will sue you if their seeds blow onto your land too)? There are many side-effects to GMO foods including widespread failure and destruction of healthy, heirloom crops and damage to human health. It is a threat to our entire food supply and future. Becoming acquainted with what you can do to help stop this destructive process, boycott GMO foods and contact your local congressperson to let him or her know how you feel about GMOs and how they impact our health and the planet.

Last week I wrote two in-depth articles on the subject of raw milk – The Truth About Raw Milk, Part I and Part II, which have been circulating around the Internet and getting some good commentary. If you don’t know much about the importance and health benefits of real raw milk, give this subject a few minutes of your time today. This is another subject I feel very strongly about, and I’d like to point you in the direction of Mark McAfee’s (of Organic Pastures) interview on Sickly Cat about raw milk if you haven’t already seen it. It’s fantastic and really helps to answer some of the many questions people have about this hot topic.

Are you in favor of organic fertilizer or toxic sludge used to grow foods? In San Francisco, mayor Gavin Newsom is encouraging farmers, schools, and homeowners to use wastewater sewage for fertilizing produce. Come on San Francisco, I thought you were more progressive than that! Follow the link at the top of the Organic Consumers’ Association to the Peter Collins Radio Show for the latest on this development.

CHOW has this great article about whole animal buying - advise about purchasing large portions of meat directly from farmers or ranchers, and ideas for splitting it up with family or friends. I highly recommend buying meat this way – it creates less waste and you can save money on many fronts – by knowing your farmer and the practices they use, and being able to avoid supporting big agricultural outfits that produce unhealthy meats/meat products and harming the environment.

You’ve probably heard about the new USDA Dietary Guidelines that have recently been released? There are some really good articles available critiquing this subject. Kimberly Hartke who manages Hartke is Online! has this informative piece, Government has Failed to Halt Epidemic of Obesity and Diabetes. Also, David Augenstein’s fantastic new site, The Journal of Living Food & Healing has this great article – Scientists Claim: USDA Diet Guidelines Cause Obesity, Heart Disease, and Diabetes.

Mother Earth News, a great publication with a vast variety of topics shows you how to garden in small spaces, something that’s useful for many people who don’t have big pieces of land at their disposal for farming. Also, I liked this story on sustainable poultry management too, for those of you who are venturing into raising your own chickens and eggs.

Even though I’m not supposed to, we’ve been eating pancakes for the last two days at breakfast – along with some other great things too like chorizo omelets and bacon and eggs. Yum! I do much better if I eat my grains very sparingly and eat them properly prepared – as in, sprouted, soaked, or fermented. Something I still haven’t attempted yet is a good sourdough bread or other recipe, but my friend Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa has this fabulous recipe (and is a fantastic cook too!) for sourdough blueberry pancakes, with all the steps and photos (she’s so good at that!) you need to get started. Don’t these look absolutely delicious???

Okay, here’s two posts with recipes I really liked. My friend Tara at Keep It Real has some great ideas for meal items that are naturally rich in probiotics, something we all need more of in our diets…and something fun, a soaked spice cake that is really delicious! She brought some over for us to try when we met at the health food store last week.

The Local Cook has a great book review on food preservation, something that I really want to learn how to do, but haven’t yet. I was going to start doing that this summer, but I’m still trying to find out whether my garden is actually going to produce enough to make it worth my while. And, two of my friends who normally can and that I was going to get together with to learn how to do this with aren’t doing gardens this year. Our weather was really weird and we had a long cold snap in the spring, which caused a lot of problems for many people with gardens this spring. But, we’ll see what happens. If not this year, next year for sure!

Who’s got carnivals?

I don’t, but I would love to get one going sometime soon. I’m always so busy I barely have time to get posts up, but in the meantime, here’s a list of really great blogs with great weekly carnivals you should check out!

  • Two for Tuesdays Blog Hop – my friend Alex Clark at A Moderate Life is hosting this great recipe carnival weekly now, and she gets a lot of contributions. So stop on over, contribute a recipe, and read some of her articles too. She has a great variety of things to read about – all connected to real food, nutrition, eco-friendly ideas, and sustainability.
  • Tuesday Twister my friend Wardeh from GNOWFGLINS has a lot of great information about real food, cooking, and recipes and her Tuesday carnival is a great way to share your own real food recipes. I love Wardeh’s informative style and her great ability to teach new things to people about real food!
  • Real Food Wednesdays – My friend Kelly the Kitchen Kop is one of the most well-known and visited food and nutrition sites in the world of food blogging. You will find a whole lot of great posts contributed on Wednesdays about food, nutrition, and all things to do with breaking the conventional molds of ideas about health and food.
  • Pennywise Platter Thursdays My friend Kimi’s site is one of the best for recipes and great sustainable food ideas that are nutrient-dense. Check out her thrifty carnival on Thursdays for some wonderful recipe ideas!
  • Fight Back Friday – My friend Kristen at Food Renegade, another great resource site for insight on real food, recipes, and food politilcs has a great carnival for real food each Friday, and is a wonderful site for information about nutrition, health, and food politics.

Have anything interesting to share? Please do!