The Weston A. Price Way

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Book Review: "Nourishing Traditions"

Welcome to the 1st Edition of "Tuesday Book Review"!

It wouldn't seem quite right to start this new endeavor without "Nourishing Traditions" as the subject. You will notice at the top of the page, there is a carousel that includes this book. Rather than create several links to where you can order the book, I would like to recommend that you click on the book in the carousel or click it at the bottom of the page. The carousel widget will take you to the book via Amazon and the one at the bottom of the page will take you to it via the Weston A. Price Foundatation.

I cannot give credit to Nourishing Traditions for starting our journey along the path of nutrient-dense eating. That credit goes to our organic farming friends at Bear Creek Farm out in Red House, VA. It was there that we were first introduced to the full, sweet flavor of raw milk from pasture-grazed cows. Something we'd never even considered before, and to tell the truth, we weren't without primary squeamishness over it. But these are the kinds of friends we'd trust with out lives, so we believed what they told us about it's nutrient value and cleanliness. We drank the wine of raw milk and never wanted to turn back.

 It was there, also, that we would be treated to various meals, snacks and beverages that were nutrient-dense. As far as we were concerned, we were eating some of the tastiest food we'd ever had the pleasure of eating. We didn't know it was especially good for us, too!

...And it was there that I was first shown the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Or is it and encyclopedia? It really is a combination of both. But a single recipe from the book led me into the world of traditional, nutrient-dense food preparation and eating.

The format of the book is ingenious. There is not a single page of recipes without sidebars full of relevant information from a huge selection of authors. Not only attracted by the recipes, (some of them a little strange), but the eye and mind could not help straying away from the recipe into the information in the sidebars. I am still fascinated by some of the things I read there...and there are so many recipes, (700+), that just yesterday, a friend of mine told me of one I'd overlooked. I am certain there are several more.

This book is approximately two inches thick. It is written by Sallon Fallon (Morrell), author, speaker, mother of four, and 1999 founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D, internationally renowned expert on lipid chemistry. I would love to pass along their numerous qualifications, but it would involve an entire page's worth of please click on their name for links to biographies.

As hard as it may be, this book's preface and introduction should be read, in entirety, first. Here, find the the basic premise of the book and information about the man, Weston A. Price, DDS,  from whose studies this premise evolved. The introduction speaks of the frequency of diseases and chronic illnesses affecting America today as compared to the turn of the century, only a generation or two past...such as cancer, allergies, ulcers, mental illness, miscarriages, birth defects, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, digestive disorders, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, chronic fatigue and learning disabilities.  In addition to this, we now have 'come-back' viruses making appearances, such as TB, in new forms resistant to past medications.

It also speaks of the astronomical amounts of money Americans pay for medical services, (well over $800 billion/year) and the fallacies of proper nutrition as most of us today have been taught.

Then, you may need your notebook...or at least, a highlighter, because there are several sections that go into scientific detail on the subjects of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, dairy products, minerals, enzymes, salt, spices & additives, beverages and food allergies & special diets.

Following, is a "Guide to Food Selection", "A Word on Equipment" and "Kitchen Tips & Hints". There are 188 references given for this part of the book alone.

An then, we begin with "Mastering the Basics". Understand that at the beginning of each and every section, there is education about that section..."Mastering the Basics" begins with two pages of information about cultured dairy before diving into the multitude of ways dairy products can be cultured into good things for us.

Following sections include: Fermented Vegetables and Fruits, Sprouted Grains, Nuts and Seeds, Stocks, Salad Dressings, Sauces, Marinades, and Condiments, and a wonderful, wonderful page enlightening us to the value of coconut products. All this is included in "Mastering the Basics".

The next section is "Great Beginnings", including Hors d'oeuvres & dips, vegetable salads, soups, raw meat appetizers, ( I haven't been able to get past fish on this one), and gourmet appetizers.

"The Main Course" is the next section and includes: fish and poultry with entire sections on organ meats, game, beef and lamb and ground meats.

"A Catalog of Vegetables" follows, with 47 pages of information and recipes!

Then we come to "Luncheon & Supper Foods" with "South of the Border", "Eggs" and "Sandwich Suggestions".

The following section is about "Grains and Legumes" and covers the important aspects of soaking grains to reduce phytic acid. Sub-section titles include, "Whole Grains", "Breads & Flour Products" and "Legumes".

There is a section devoted to "Snacks and Finger Foods", and quite a large section dealing with desserts like ice creams, sherbets, pies, cakes, tarts...and gourmet desserts.

Not to be missed is the section on beverages, which gives kid-friendly options through the more adult taste preferences via lightly fermented drinks (usually less than .05% alcohol...The Weston A. Price Foundation does not advocate alcohol in high amounts.)

The final two sections of recipes have turned out to be some of the most beneficial to it's readers: "Feeding Babies", and "Tonics and Superfoods".

Nourishing Traditions has included several Appendices in the back:
"Limited-Time Limited-Budget Guidelines"
"Know Your Ingredients"
"The Weston A. Price Foundation"
"Suggested Reading"
"A Campaign For Healthy Fats"

There is an index for subjects covered as well as a separate index of recipes.

Finally, there are four pages of listings for references of the side bar sources, biographies of both authors, and conversion tables.

As you can see, this 'cookbook' is a 'keep-it-handy' reference, a guide...and an inspiration. I use it almost everyday.

My most favorite part of the book? Allow me to quote Sally Fallon from page 63, "Parting Words":

"To make us healthy, our food must taste good, it must be digestible, and it must be eaten in peace. Even whole foods, properly prepared according to traditional methods, do us no good if we eat them with a grudge; they will not confer health on the person who does not forgive. It is the loving heart who will find, in the pages that follow, guidelines for providing an abundance of all the nutrients we need to live healthy, happy and productive lives."

Happy Nutrient-Dense Eating! :)

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