Friday, December 10, 2010

Where do I begin? Getting started with nutrient-dense foods.

  1. Start where you are. This will be different for each of us.

  1. Don’t bring anything into the house that you don’t want to consume

  1. Take small steps, rather than clearing out your cupboards in a dramatic gesture

  1. Educate yourself. Read NOURISHING TRADITIONS. Poke around on the website.

  1. On the web site, use the search function and put in the words “Making it Practical” to find an excellent series to help you get started.

  1. Take some high-vitamin cod liver oil every day.

  1. Make your own salad dressing.

  1. Eat a good breakfast every day.

  1. Whenever you make roast chicken, make bone broth with all the bones.

  1. Buy the best eggs you can afford.

  1. Try some fermented foods – they are meant to be eaten often, in small quantities, as a condiment.

  1. Forgive yourself for not being perfect.

What does "Traditional Foods" mean?

Foods that your great-grandmother would recognize as food

Foods that are not processed (foods that do not have a nutrition label)

Foods which have been prepared to enhance digestion and nutrition

Foods eaten in season and grown locally

Some examples of a few types of traditional foods:

Whole grain foods

For example, whole grain bread or breakfast porridge made with whole grains and properly soaked before using

Grass-fed beef, pork from pastured pigs, lamb from pastured lambs; pastured chickens and other good meats

Cows evolved to be healthy when eating a diet of grass; most meat in the US is raised in feedlots, where the animals are fed corn and other grains, which causes the animals to get sick a lot (thus needing antibiotics). They are also crowded together in unclean conditions that are hard on the animals and toxic to the environment.

Unpasteurized dairy products

Raw milk cheeses, yogurt, kefir, butter, cream

Eggs from pastured hens

Hens that actually scratch around in the dirt. These eggs are demonstrably more nutritious.

Fish – wild caught

Vegetables – local are best, organic whenever possible

Fermented foods

Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, shoyu, are some examples of these enzyme-rich foods. Our ancestors fermented foods to preserve them; we evolved to flourish eating these probiotic-rich foods, but they have largely dropped out of modern diets since refrigeration. Meant to be eaten in small amounts and often.

Nuts and seeds

Soaking and dehydrating makes the nutrients a lot more available to our digestive systems.

Good fats

Butter, lard - pastured animals, coconut, palm, and olive oils

Avoid these:

Low-fat” food-like products, like fat-free coffee creamer, non-fat sour cream etc.

Processed vegetable oils

Hydrogenated oils, margarine

Cold breakfast cereals

Packaged cookies, cakes, baked products

Genetically modified foods

Farm-raised fish

Non-fermented soy products (including soy milk, tofu, soy formula)

Sugar substitutes and food additives

Store-bought baked goods

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finding good food locally

Buying good food locally often means buying directly from the producer, that is, the farmer. Most often, this means you have to change your habits somewhat. It's not as easy as just going to the supermarket with your shopping list and finding everything you want under that one roof.

Many farmers are not set up to sell retail. They may have a couple of old refrigerators in their garage, with cheese or milk and a "serve yourself" sign and payment on the honor system. Or, they may make sure that someone is there on certain afternoons every week, to be available for folks who want to come and buy. Farmers Markets have helped a lot - you can talk to a lot of farmers all in one place.

But here in the northeast, the farmers market season is short. A new development is the winter farmers market - there are links to local ones below. But you can also contact farmers directly. You need to plan ahead, though. These folks are hardworking and many hold down off-farm jobs in order to make ends meet. Call ahead, and find out if they have self-serve or if there are days that someone is there to sell you meat or milk.

In the last couple of years, a lot of farmers in this area have "gotten it" that people want to buy good meat locally, and they have started showing up at their local farmers' markets with coolers full of frozen meat. This is a wonderful change, and a great way to meet the farmers and find out more about their methods. If you're anything like me, raised in the suburbs of Massachusetts, I've had everything to learn about what's involved with raising animals for meat.

You may already know about the winter farmers markets through Seacoast Eat Local in Rollinsford and Exeter, New Hampshire. These markets take place 10am - 2pm on a couple of Saturdays a month , November through April. Complete set of dates can be found here:

This winter, the towns of Salem and Derry, New Hampshire are also putting on winter farmers markets. These markets are not listed with the Seacoast Local ones. The Salem Farmers Market will be on Saturday mornings, November to March. Up-to-date information on the Salem NH Farmers Market here:

Derry Farmers Market will be held on Sundays, Noon - 4pm, on first and third Sundays, November through March, at Veterans Hall, 31 West Broadway, Derry NH. Details:

Local farmers you can contact directly:

Brookford Farm, Rollinsford NH

Raw milk, yogurt, quark, meats.

Hurd Farm, Hampton NH - 603-944-6869

Naturally raised beef, pork, poultry and eggs.

Harrisons Poultry Farm, Candia NH – 603-587-0323

Chicken, guinea fowl, turkeys. Eggs, honey, maple products.

Riverslea Farm, Epping NH – 603-679-2629

Lamb and goat meat, wool products, lambskins.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Andover Chapter Meetings of Weston Price Foundation, Fall 2010 - Winter 2011

The meetings this year are aimed primarily at parents of young children who want to learn about preparation of traditional foods, but of course anyone is welcome. So many of us are so accustomed to buying prepared foods for our families, that when we start to realize how much those foods are missing nutritionally, we don't know where to begin.

Those of us who have been cooking the Weston Price way for some years have learned some things on the way. You don't have to be an expert to be a good cook! Cooking means transforming raw foods like vegetables and grains and meats into edible meals. It's an amazing alchemical act, but it doesn't have to be complicated or gourmet to taste good!

The cultural shift we've undergone in this country from cooking our own food to watching people cook on TV for entertainment has meant that lots of people have grown up without the skills to prepare a simple meal in their own kitchen. This is too bad, as cooking and sharing a meal together is deeply satisfying and bonding, and with homemade meals you actually know what you are eating, which is not the case with prepared foods.

Our attitude is: you begin where you are, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. Bring the questions you have about any issues related to food preparation and we'll try to answer them. We'll briefly give an overview of Weston Price's work and what were his major conclusions about what's in a healthy diet after his world-wide study of healthy isolated groups. Then we'll discuss and demonstrate how to soak grains, nuts and seeds for the October meeting - it's one of those techniques that seems confusing at first, but watching the preparation clears that up. We'll have some recipes to share too.

There are several of us in the Andover area who have kefir grains to share, as well as sourdough starter. If you are interested in obtaining either of these, be sure to email Liz a few days before the meeting so we can bring a jar for you to the meeting.

Each of these meetings will take place from 7-9pm at North Parish Church, 190 Academy Road, North Andover MA 01845. The church is large; the entrance is around to the side of the building, at ground level, on Great Pond Rd. For complete map, find the directions here:

Meetings are free and are open to everyone, though we gladly accept donations to help defray the cost of paying for the space. Back issues of the quarterly journal "Wise Traditions" will be available for purchase.

Tuesday night, October 19, 2010 7-9pm - Soaking seeds, nuts and grains.
Tuesday night, November 16, 2010 7-9pm - Cod liver oil - presenter Jim Delmino of Traditional Health First will talk about how cod liver oil is processed, the difference between regular cod liver oil and fermented CLO, and will have samples to test.

Tuesday night, January 18, 2011 7-9pm - Feeding Our Little People Part One - Kids don't need low-fat anything: what foods to have on hand, what fats to use, ideas for lunches and snacks.

Wednesday night, February 16, 2011 7-9pm

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Organizing a raw milk buying group

Everything here is based on what has worked well for our small milk group. Everyone's different - you may be able to work out a completely different, and very successful set-up. My intention is to let people in the Andover, Massachusetts area know how they can get hold of good raw milk. (I do not sell milk, nor do I pick it up for anyone except the members of my raw milk group.)

If you live in the Andover area and would like to inquire about being part of a group, email Liz at

Which farm to buy from?
A small group (2-4 households works best) agrees to buy milk at the same farm every week. Which farm? In the Andover area, the three closest are 1. Brookford Farm (, which sells in Exeter NH once a week on Thursday afternoons, 2. Connolly's Dairy on Webster Highway in Temple NH (603-924-5002), and 3. Robinson's Farm in Hardwick MA (

Can you solidly commit to driving when it's your turn?
Each household commits to driving once every 3 weeks (if 3 households are involved)or every 4 weeks (if 4 households are involved).

Does one family have the refrigerator needed?
One household has an extra refrigerator which is available whether or not anyone is home at that the garage, usually. That way, milk can be dropped off or picked up at any time. (Important, since we are all so busy, and each of us usually has a small window of time when we can drive to the pickup spot to get our milk.)

Equipment necessary
Each household owns a large cooler, which is necessary for pickup up milk. In warm weather, you'll need to put a lot of ice in it BEFORE you head out to pick up milk. (I freeze old plastic milk jugs 3/4 full of water; they go right back into the freezer after I pick up milk.) Keeping raw milk uniformly cold is one of the keys to having it stay sweet for at least a week, and having the cooler all chilled down before putting the milk in there is one secret to keeping it cold enough.

For those buying from Brookford Farm, which uses half gallon glass canning jars, each household buys a case of half gallon jars. (Rocky's sells them, or will order you a case if they don't have them in stock.) You give the farmer an empty jar (with white plastic wide-mouth lid) for each half gallon you buy (or, you can just pay him $2 for each jar).

Volunteer needed
Someone takes the duty of setting up a drive schedule and emailing it to all the families so they can check their schedules before committing. My group does this every couple of months. If, at the last minute, you cannot drive when it is your turn, you accept responsibility to find another group member to drive for you.

Payment envelopes
When you go to the pickup spot to get your milk, you leave money to pay for your milk for that week. We use envelopes, left in the refrigerator, one with each family's name on it. When I drive, I leave the milk in the fridge and go home with my own. When the others pick up their milk, they leave payment in my envelope. I get that payment next week when I come to get my milk that someone else has picked up. This system is based on trust.

Communication needed
You could do it by email or by phone or by standing order until changed, but somehow each driver needs to know exactly how many containers of milk she's expected to pick up. This is where most problems crop up, and why I personally find it works better to have a smaller size group. Communication is always challenging, and the larger the group, the more Murphy's Law takes over.