Why the Nourishing Traditions or WAPF ‘Diet’ Won’t Fix All Your Health Problems

by lydia on January 23, 2012

Before I get into the body of this post, I want to disclaim a few things. First of all, I think Weston A. Price was a genius! What we can learn from his studies is profound indeed. I believe that all dentists and doctors alike should have to study his work prior to going into practice. He is a hero in my world and always will be. Additionally, I absolute 100% support the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Without WAPF, I would not be where I am today, both in my health, writing this blog and on a path to becoming a Nutritional Therapist.  Sally Fallon is definitely one of my mentors and I appreciate her ever so popular book, ‘Nourishing Traditions‘.

Nourishing Traditions

That all said, I have to point out that though you may follow a Weston A. Price ‘diet’ or properly prepare your foods as taught in Nourishing Traditions, you still may not experience perfect health. I have noticed this time and time again through various circles, through people writing to me, and my own experience. Often people find that they gain weight and are more tired by following Nourishing Traditions. My experience was similar initially, until I wised up. Let me explain a bit by sharing my own story.

My Experience: A ‘Traditional Diet’ Was Not Enough

In the winter of 2007, a friend told me about the book ‘Nourishing Traditions.’  After balking at the price initially (my copy was $30), I went ahead and bought it. Initially, it was rather overwhelming, but everything in it resonated with me. I had already been sprouting my own flour, soaking my nuts and trying to buy organic, I was all for butter and olive oil, and various other components of the protocol were in place in my life. However, after reading through how to properly prepare and soak for baking purposes, I got a little carried away with baking. I quickly realized it was rather a pain in the neck to always have to soak my baked goods and got fed up. So, I searched out some true sourdough bread and ate it with gusto daily. It definitely was easier on my body than regular bread, but I still wasn’t getting the health results I had hoped for. My gut was always off, somewhat distended and I knew things still weren’t right as rain. Eventually, I came to the point in life that I needed to go gluten free, then I learned that starches were very hard on my already agitated gut, so I cut them out for the most part. I adopted a modified GAPS type diet, with the understanding that consuming starch would not help me heal my leaky gut. I then began to learn how important regulating my blood sugar was, and that made it easier to see that too much starch in my diet was not a good thing period.

Did Traditional People Groups Really Eat So Many Properly Prepared Baked Goods & Starches?

So here’s what I see happening across the board. Folks learn of Weston A. Price, Nourishing Traditions and the whole properly prepared foods realm and begin to implement dietary changes usually starting with the baked goods. Most people are already consuming lots of homemade baked goods, especially families, namely as a budget stretcher. (Traditional people groups did not fill their diets with so many properly soaked muffins, cookies, cakes, breads and on an on…..) Not to mention, we are just sugar/starch/carb happy in this country and it’s just kind of how it goes. So people think, well it’s healthier this way, so surely it’s okay to consume lots of it, or at the very least consume it regularly. Am I onto something here? What ends up happening though is that you are keeping yourself in a state of blood sugar dysregulation. Our bodies really can only handle very little added sugars, and any starch consumed converts to sugar in the blood stream. So, one the one hand you may be avoiding phyto-nutrients, and actually getting nutrients since you have switched from refined foods to whole foods, but you are still essentially eating sugar. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true.

Now, before you start getting upset with me for sharing this, hopefully this news will become freedom to you instead. I am not here to tell you how much starch or sugar you personally can eat. That’s something that you need to decide for you. Nor am I gonna tell you that you have to give up grains and go gluten free like I did, again that’s your call. BUT, what I will say, is this, if you want to lose weight and maintain your blood sugar you’ll have to majorly reduce your intake of baked goods (sugars, starches, grains, etc) even if they are NT style. You’ll have to cut starches back and not eat them at every meal, maybe just dinner. Why? When you regulate your blood sugar, you can heal so many other health problems, not just your weight. Endocrine issues are directly related to blood sugar dysregulation, as are immune issues. You can’t fix hormonal imbalances without first getting your sugar under control. It’s a simple fact.

Raw Milk: Is It For Everyone?

Also, just because raw milk is amazingly healthful, doesn’t mean everyone can drink it and do well. For an amazing talk by Mark McAfee on raw milk, go see this video; ‘Baby, I like it Raw‘.  Again, we have to look at the big picture here. We have come from many years of pasteurized milk, because of this we’ve become sensitive to milk products in general. Why, because pasteurization kills all the live enzymes, and leaves a dead milk product still full of lactose with no enzymes with which to digest it. Commonly today, many people have unhealthy guts. Not all guts can tolerate the lactose in milk even if the enzymes are still present in the milk. Also, not everyone comes from a heritage that consumed dairy products to begin with and therefore it may not be a food that is healthful for their bodies. Something to consider. I say try it, it’s a great source of nutrition, but if you don’t feel excellent consuming milk or dairy you may need to cut it out and do some gut healing first.

Comparing Traditional People to Modern People: What About Metabolic Syndrome?

Another thing I think that trips people up after learning of traditional foods, the cultures and health of traditional people groups, is that we in this modern day can simply replicate what they did and expect similar results. That thinking is quite harmful and blind. We are not in the same starting place today as the traditional people’s Dr. Price studied back in the early 1900’s. They were UNTOUCHED by civilization. We are more like Pottenger’s Cats today coming out of at least the 4th generation of processed foods and industrialism. Not to mention our toxic environment. We are starting at a disadvantage. The majority of us have what’s known as metabolic syndrome, in other words some level of insulin resistance. We’ve been brought up on far too much starch/sugar and bad oils and this in turn has wrecked our chance at having healthy blood sugar regulation. We can learn a lot from those cultures and even apply the dietary principles we’ve learned and see great results. But hear me out here people, we have to back track before we can even get back to base line health, if at all. Most of us have a lot of healing to do before we can expect that a traditional diet is the answer to all our problems. A traditional diet at best will begin to deal with the inflammation in our lives. It removes the processed garbage and actually provides much needed nutrition. But it’s simply NOT enough anymore. We need far more support today than the traditional people groups Weston Price studied did. We don’t have the perfect teeth and wide palates – our mouths are a wreck. Our stature is not what it was in those peoples. We are being born by c-section, not breast fed and given dose after dose of antibiotics. We cannot compare ourselves to traditional peoples by any stretch of the imagination. Please don’t hear these words as a big downer, I’m not trying to be bleak or negative, I’m simply trying to be realistic. If we want to see future generations benefiting even more from a traditional diet than we have to work hard today to adopt one along with doing the hard work of unraveling our health issues. And to do that, we may need to look further than what our ancestors did. We will need to look at what we have done to our food supply/environment, how it has impacted us to date and THEN figure out how to heal with all that in mind.  That is not an easy task, nor is it going to solely take a WAPF type of diet to alleviate the burdens of health we now face.

We Can’t Repeat The Past: We Can Only Learn From It

Now I don’t want anyone to feel any sense of guilt over doing what they thought was healthier, I did the same thing for awhile. Nor do I want you to feel overwhelmed that if you don’t use a lot of starches you won’t be able to feed your family on your budget. If I can make it work, as a single mom with a small budget so can you. It’s just a shift in thinking and planning, and it can work. What I tell people is to try and get only 15-20% of your daily intake in starches. Make sure they are properly prepared. Make sure you don’t have a leaky gut, cause if you do, you need to avoid a lot of starches until it heals. In that case I recommend checking out the GAPS protocol or look at adopting a Paleo template combined with a GAPS like diet. Both focus on reducing inflammation by focusing on gut health and blood sugar. The two biggest areas of health to focus on in my opinion. Try to save your starchier foods for the dinner time meal as much as possible. This way you can avoid spiking your blood sugar too much during the day which will lead you to crave more sugar/starch. It will also keep you from getting tired, and if you have it at dinner, getting a little tired is actually okay at that point.

Truly, we can learn a lot from the studies of Dr. Price. His work was profound,  a gift to us in this modern day where we have forgone the principles of our ancestors. However, just because he learned of certain preparations doesn’t mean we should necessarily assume that they are good in excess. Namely, the practices of soaking grains and consuming them too much. (I’m pretty sure we are not even soaking our grains/legumes the same way they once did. Not to mention a lot of our food is produced differently to begin with and on and on). Everything in moderation, we often hear quoted. The thing is, we don’t know what moderation really looks like anymore. So hopefully, I have given you at least a small perspective as to why consuming too much of a ‘good thing’ is not necessarily a good thing!

Further Reading

5 Tips to Curb Sugar Cravings

Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome with Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride

Taming the Carb Craving Monster with Nora Gedguadas

Being Gluten Free, Isn’t Just About Being Gluten Free

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

 

What are your thoughts? Have you cut back on grains/starches and seen major improvement in your overall health? How about sugar? Do you find that you need to eat sweets daily? Or can you manage to eat a lower starch diet with ease? Share your own experiences in the comments.

This post contributed to Monday Mania.

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Affiliate links are used where appropriate, which allow me to earn a small commission on your sale. This does not affect your price at all and is a cost of doing business for the affiliate companies. The monies earned from those commissions are like a tip at a restaurant and help support the maintenance of the website and free content. Shop on Amazon?  There’s a handy Amazon.com search box over in the right-hand side bar you can click through to shop on Amazon. You’ll get the very same prices, plus a portion of what you spend will support this site. Thank you!

 

LydiaLydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone, Skype or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has to offer you!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen January 23, 2012 at 11:20 am

I totally agree. I love the book and work of Dr Price and Mrs Fallon. However, I have come to find I cannot eat the things that cause my blood to spike without breaking out with cystic acne on my face. I take it back out of my diet and I clear up. I’ve made sourdough, soaked grains, but nothing changes this reaction. I have to modify and listen to my body. I think the whole point is that people from different places have different native diets that work for them. I learned this when I learned that Asian people deal better with rice than westerners. I’m sure there are many other exceptions as well.

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Jen January 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

This article is 100% spot on! However, I think the title is misleading. People misunderstand NT. They think that because it tells you how to properly prepare grains and gives recipes for sweets that it is ok to eat as much of it as they want. I have actually found that if I prepare my sweets grain free (with coconut flour) and eat a couple times a week – that is enough to satisfy. The first 6 months on the NT diet I neither gained nor lost weight. I even felt lethargic – but I was also recovering from major surgery. But then, like a switch came on, I one day realized I was no longer tired and I dropped a ton of inches (mass or whatever – don’t like to say weight). My body was detoxing, I’m sure.

Now, I drink raw milk, but it is only occasionally. And I would agree with you that most adults do not need to drink it everyday. My body actually tells me when I need it. Isn’t that weird? Love that I can read my body’s signs now and fix ailments with my food. :)

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lydia January 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

Jen, I guess the title is my way to focus on Weston Price findings as found in NT. I spent a lot of time on the WAPF yahoo group – a great group of folks. But that was a major complaint/realization. Too much of one category of food that we don’t actually need, not to mention in Weston PRice’s time, they didn’t have to first undo the health problems we’ve incurred from a lifetime of eating inferior processed starches and bastardized wheat. then add to that that sugar has only been around as a product for thepast 400 years (minus honey and fruits etc) and we are now just seeing the major degenerative effects of it. So when we learn that there are healthier alternatives to refined sugars, starches we must also learn that too much of those things are not in any way optimal. Nor are they needed. Anyway, I do think people can be much healthier on a typical NT diet, I certainly was. It just didn’t fix my deeper issues. It’s great place to start and a foundation for sure, but due to all the issues we face to go deeper in healing we need more than just NT. That’s why I love GAPS so much!

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ShorterMama January 23, 2012 at 11:36 am

I don’t think I went overboard with the grains. Honestly, it was just too time consuming for me. I did/do often have two slices of either Ezekiel bread or Sourdough bread with my dippy eggs in the morning. Would that be enough to screw everything up? That seems crazy to me.

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Laurie January 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

For me, it’s just easier to eat less grains overall than to spend large amounts of time preparing them properly. Multiple garden veggies per meal help stretch the protein and fat farther.

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Jen January 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Lydia — I agree with you on all of that. And I think that GAPS has a lot to offer that NT can not address. Thanks for the post. I did share this on my FB page.

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Debbie B in MD January 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for saying these things. My daughter and I have celiac diesease, therefore gluten grains are out. We have actually given up all grains. Dairy too. Then I started reading NT and feeling confused about the dairy. I think I will try fermented dairy instead of thinking about milk. I do miss icecream, I will admit. I am looking forward to trying fermented veggies and all of the other wonderful recipes. I have looked into GAPS and now I may look further. Thanks so much.

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lydia January 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Debbie – I think GAPS would be great for you and your daughter. On GAPS you start with fermented dairy, from raw milk yogurt and slowly add in more such as sour cream or kefir, then some cheeses etc. Fermented veggies carry so much good bacteria it’s amazing. that is very helpful in healing your gut. By the way, look at my recipes page, I some recipes for coconut milk ice cream that is TO DIE FOR! You don’t have to go without!

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Danielle @ Analytical Mom January 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

This is such a great post! Wish I’d read it several years ago! :) We’ve been doing NT-style cooking for the most part for several years, but it wasn’t until I really started limiting wheat and other cereal grains that our more stubborn health problems started easing.
I had that same panicky mindset about eliminating “cheap starches” from the family food budget, but then I read on a Primal website somewhere that although grains can be good sources of nutrition if properly prepared, they can be such a pain to prepare that it makes more sense to focus on veggies instead for “cheaper filler foods.” That perspective was really helpful for us to make the switch.

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lydia January 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Danielle – thanks for your comment! I think that is a great perspective and that is what I do in our home. Veggies also hold more nutrients and minerals, just think of the array of colors! Plus they naturally taste better!

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Lisa @ Real Food Digest January 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Hi Lydia,
My family’s experience resonates with this post.
I find that we do much better eating more paleo style – meats, poultry, and fish, rounded out with a ton of vegetables. My kids do fine with raw milk and fermented dairy, but I finally removed it from my diet – except for some ghee and occasionally butter – and am amazed how much stronger my immune system is. I usually get a ton of colds/sore throats in the winter and this year I am doing much better. It took me a long time to give it up though, I somehow refused to believe that raw kefir could be bad for me.
Blood glucose regulation is huge – a topic I’m educating myself more on.
I’m grateful for NT/WAPF for teaching me about fermented foods aside from dairy (sauerkraut), soaking nuts, bone broths, FCLO, fish roe, and the importance of animal fats. But it’s been great not spending so much time having to bake sourdough bread and soak grains and beans – we do much better without them.

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lydia January 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Hi Lisa,
I do better with a paleo/primal approach and lots of fresh veggies. I learned that from my days of being a vegetarian ;)
I can’t tolerate a whole lot of dairy either. Though I let myself have it around the holidays, I know I am better off with minimal. I do hope this will shift as I continue to heal my gut. I too am grateful for all I have learned from NT – there are so many amazing recipes to work with that aren’t loaded with grains/starch or sugar too!

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Meagan January 24, 2012 at 8:54 am

Kudos to you. We WAPFers are so into the food thing that when we hear of someone NOT drinking raw milk, we are like “what?” or those of us that are grain-free are always in constant battle with those of the soaked grains camp. We HAVE to to do what’s right for our own bodies!! Not one thing works for everyone.

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Cirra Lecour January 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Wonderful words of wisdom! I have never had the chance to read the book myself but I took the advice of those who did and began to soak and ferment. I have made sourdough and coconut flour sweets on occasion, but I don’t like baking enough to go overboard at all. My issue has been an overload on starches since going gluten free. I eat way too much rice and rice products! lol What are some other starches that would be good to avoid to keep sugar out of the diet?

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Aija September 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I think you´re spot on the things you´re writing about! There´s just the fact that in my experience with Weston A. Price related things, they haven´t actually recommended eating much carbohydrates, quite the opposite as a matter of fact (though you propaply didn´t intend to sound like that, people usually just misunderstand things and continue with their usual amount of carbs just being careful with the proper preparations). Then again I haven´t read NT so I can´t really talk about it all that much.
However, I do have Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. In this book they recommend getting about 60% of your daily calories out of fats, 30% for carbohydrates and 10% for protein… (hopefully I´m getting my facts right…) Because the main focuse of this book is loosing weight they also tell you to cut down the amount of grains and nuts (even if properly prepaired^^) and even later on when you don´t need to lose weight anymore you need to be careful with them and may also need to refrain from all those delicious carb desserts if you start gaining back weight/feeling bloated….
Also about raw milk, you´re correct it may not suit for everyone, so raw cheese is an excellent option or kefir. As a matter of fact I´ve started to drink only kefir instead of “plain” milk and can definately say it works better for me. I most likely don´t have lactose intolerance but from time to time I´ve gotten tummy aches when consuming lots of milk…:(
In EFLF they provide a nourishing coconut milk drink that you can easily prepare and drink instead of milk or cheese. And all those lovely coconut receipes (icecream!) lacking grains more than make up for the lack of baked grain goods. Naturally some are more tolerant of grains and less likely to fatten up, so they can enjoy those more. The ones more prone to bloating or some such can wait for Christmas and other fancy dress parties to celebrate for and endulge from time to time! xD

And when eating carbs, grains or not, remember your fats and your tummy shall thank you!^^

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Lindsey @ Homemade Mommy January 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Right on! I couldn’t agree more! I shared on my FB page. Great job!

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Mindy, The Homespun ARTisan January 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Good, I’m NOT crazy. LOL.

This post virtually sums up all my thoughts (except one biggie) on why I personally have seen very little progress on WAPF. Although a year ago, we dumped about 95% of the grains/ starches from our diet, we have still been “addicted” to raw honey, homemade raw ice cream, and (GASP) Ben & Jerrys. We did GAPS for 3 months, experienced progress, but bailed… why? We wanted the SUGAR! We’re gearing up for round two of GAPS shortly and are bound and determined to stick to it. I’m SICK AND TIRED of feeling this way!

Oh, about that “ONE BIGGIE” I alluded to: REST. I’m Type A and have all the adrenal issues to show for it. Taking breaks- REAL breaks where I’m not still thinking/ working- is pretty dang impossible. And when we don’t think of REST as PRODUCTIVE (health-wise), we’re not gonna see recovery. {Preaching to myself, here.} :D

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Alexis January 5, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Great, great article.

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Heidi January 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm

After living with food allergies and gut aches and reactions all my life I was severely ill 6 years ago and learned I had celiac. I went gluten free and shifted to be a bit better. My holistic dr. said to go grain free and what a total difference it has made. I feel so well and strong again it is amazing to me. Its actually easier than gf in my opinion. I love how I can eat all day. I do not do much dairy at all. The one thing dairy that sits well with me is whey cool protein powder. Excellent quality and no dairy side effects for me. I put it in my am and afternoon smoothie. I also agree NT is good but definately not the best way for me. Its nice to draw from different resources. I buy raw milk for my family. They love it but have it very moderately. God truly guides us and has made our bodies to heal! When we get what we need the results are great!! Your writing is great and I like how you will put it out there to help put the puzzles together for others from your (and my) experience.

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nina January 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Hi Lydia, I went to nutritional therapy school here in Portland 4 years ago. Our teacher, Nora Gadgaukas, has written primal body, primal mind. I completely agree with you and her that starches and sugars need to be eliminated or drastically reduced. I eat foods that are basic and repetitive, like bacon and eggs and chicken and veggies, but it sure beats the alternative of being chronically sick. Yarrow brand l~ glutamine supports gut healing. I am losing weight and emotional UPS and downs. I developed a vinegar allergy brought on by candida makingvinegar in my gut. This summer I took strong herbs to clean out h.pylori and candida but opened me up to leaky gut and allergic hive reactions. I think the candida overgrowth was filling in the holes of my leaky gut.

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Alexis January 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Didnt you have a link in here last night that we could click on showing what foods were nutrient dense and supplied what minerals…I cant find it now…

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Lorraine Lister February 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

You make some very valid points Lydia. WAPF is a very good starting point but we’re all individuals so there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Nourishing Traditions offers good guidelines. I’ve started making raw milk yoghurt which suits me and my husband can eat it (he can’t eat pasteurised youghurt). I wouldn’t however try drinking milk at this stage because I’ve never done well on it. I make spelt bread, an old grain but we only have it for lunch and other than that baked goods are very limited. I have started lacto-fermenting vegetables to help gut healing and other than that we just continue with our diet of fresh, unprocessed organic food. Another important point about people today is the sedentary lifestyles that they lead – quite different to in Weston Price’s time. Then there’s the issue of vaccinations and all the pharmaceutical drugs that people take – it all contributes to health issues.

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Debbie August 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Nice post!!

I’m in school for Nutritional Therapy, and I do love Weston A Price and Nourishing Traditions!

I believe that most people I will be seeing as clients will be metabolically damaged and have some pretty nasty food intolerances/allergies. I think if we were RAISED on properly prepared grains and only raw milk, there’s a good chance that we could eat that way. But there are less than 1% of babies that are raised that way. We eat damaged food including GMO’s from the time we are babies.

I think that preparing your grains in that way while having to go get your own water out of a well, raising all of your own food, and cooking on a wood stove would have been self limiting! No one would have had time to sit around eating too much bread :).

I prefer a more primal/full GAPS way of eating for myself. I’m really too lazy to do all of that soaking and sprouting :).

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lydia August 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Hi Debbie!

Yep, there is so much to consider – unfortunately the majority of people alive today started out on a bad diet and can just assume a traditional diet will take care of it later in life. It sure helps though……

Enjoy your course work & Good Luck as you begin your career as a Nutritional Therapist!

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Kimlyn August 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Great article, thanks for posting. This is spot on and I am starting the GAPS diet soon via Health, Home and Happiness. I will share this with our WAPF chapter!

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Sarah Hudock November 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm

GREAT article! Thank you so much, you are 100% spot on. Personally after several years of experimenting and learning (still learning) I have come to the conclusion that my body can barely tolerate carbohydrates at ALL anymore. I kept reducing them and reducing them, and until I finally got to where I am at almost zero carbs, I didn’t start to really heal (overweight, with Lyme disease.) Even after getting deep into zero carb for a couple of years, I still found myself getting sucked into complacent thinking, “oh just this little bit should be fine by now” etc. Nope. I immediately get re-addicted, start intense cravings, gain weight, get achy, you name it. Thank you so much for this perspective you talk about – for years it was the piece missing for me: to remember that we modern humans are starting from an entirely different, much sicker place. I kept thinking I “should be better by now” – it’s hard to face the truth, but it’s so much easier when I see it printed out and so readable like this. Keep it up. :)

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lydia November 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Sarah,

I’m glad this post spoke to you -unfortunately we are more like Pottenger’s cats and not the people Weston Price studied who did not have to undo anything, because they were untouched by modern diets. We however are backpedaling -we all came from processed foods for at least a couple generations and now have much undoing to do! ;) Hang in there – it takes time to heal! Sounds like you are doing what your body needs apart from any ‘set way’, and that’s what you should do!

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Mrs. Mac January 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm

We came to this conclusion too. The only bread on our table is a long ferment type .. and only one serving of simple carbs a day. For years our youngest son has had very low WBC and was tested for leukemia which came back negative .. and a bone marrow test almost scheduled. I cut out most of his carbs and upped his veggie, cultured foods, gave him a few doses of orange oil ..and his most recent wbc blood test came back bottom end of normal. The doctors are still clueless about the diet connection. Son most likely had/has a leaky gut (from colon surgeries). We’ve done a modified GAPS diet too for a while .. now he can tolerate one serving of carbs a day. Progress.

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Bill O. August 13, 2014 at 9:26 pm

“Our bodies really can only handle very little added sugars.”

There’s very little evidence to support that statement. First of all, human breast milk is 40% glycemic carbs. I’d say that is good evidence that humans are designed to digest moderate levels of carbohydrate.

While it’s true that eating the majority of your calories as carby grains is probably not a great idea, it’s a myth that Paleolithic humans did not consume lots of starch. Anyone survivalist knows that you’ll likely die of starvation in the wild unless you eat the most energy positive plant foods. (Google “finding caloric staples”). You’d have to be a total moron to avoid energy-positive roots and tubers when surviving in the wild.

Humans are unique in that we prefer to get most of our calories in about 3 hours of feeding/foraging — to free up our time for inventing technology — which implies highly energy-positive foods. Whereas other low-carb primates tend to forage for about 8 hours per day.

Early hominids consumed large quantities of tiger nuts, which are an extremely starchy tuber that is more nutrient-dense than meat (look it up). Tiger nuts are also about 40% carbohydrates. Paleo-Indians consumed lots of starchy pollens and tiger nuts too — they even found tiger nut starch on their 9,000 year old tools.

Starchy tubers are also an excellent source of resistant starch, a prebiotic fiber that gets fermented into SCFAs to support a healthy microbiome. Very low carb diets are notoriously deficient in these highly fermentable fibers.

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