May 8, 2010
Healthy fats, bad fats, processed fats...everything you want to know about fats. Listen as Darlene Kvist and Barb Bredesen talk with special guest Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions cookbook, about what constitutes a healthy fat and other traditional foods.
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DAR: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company specializing in nutritional information. And we think this nutritional information is going to make positive changes in your health. And I'm Darlene Kvist, licensed nutritionist. I'm really happy to have you listening today. And I think we've got a great show planned. Joining us by phone in just a few minutes is going to be Sally Fallon. And Sally is the author of the most interesting and fascinating cookbook you’ve ever picked up and it's called Nourishing Traditions. But before Sally joins us, I'm pleased to welcome one of Sally's biggest fans, Barb, as our cohost today. It's great, Barb. we don't get a chance to work together very often. But we're going to have a great time today.
BARB: I am so glad to be here and honored that you would include me. It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to visit with Sally and tell her personally how much her work has influenced my life and my health and also actually the content of the classes at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Every teacher, every nutritionist and staff member has their favorite recipes from Nourishing Traditions.
DAR: They do, absolutely. So, let's welcome Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. Sally, welcome to our show. We're so pleased to have you today.
SALLY: Oh, I'm pleased to be here. Thank you for having me.
DAR: So, kind of give our listeners a little bit about your cookbook and how you got involved in traditional foods and even what that means. What does traditional foods mean? A lot of people don't know that. Especially if they're going and picking up a Diet Coke and a bag of chips for lunch.
SALLY: Right. Well, in a nutshell, the work that I'm doing, the main thrust is to counteract the propaganda coming out of government and industry and various medical organizations telling us that we should be on low fat diets, that animal fats are bad, cholesterol is bad. And what this actually does is push people into junk food because you can't really see the fats in junk food and they try to be good on a low-fat diet but then they are so craving for fats that they binge and splurge on the worst kinds of fats in junk food. So, we've been a voice for going back to the traditional fats like butter, cream, lard, egg, yolks, and meat. We've been a voice for avoiding the industrial fats and oils like cooking oils and the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. We've been a voice for going back to old fashioned cooking, getting your flavor and the deliciousness of your food from bone broth and real herbs and spices rather than all the fake flavors that are in the modern processed foods. So, when we say traditional we mean the way probably your great great grandmother ate when we're talking about America.
DAR: Sally, when I opened my cookbook as I was kind of getting the show ready, here is a thing that you spoke about in St. Cloud on March 24th, 2001. And it's still one of my favorite recipes as I use it as a place marker so I thought, well, that brought us back because we had a whole caravan of people going up to St. Cloud from Minneapolis and St. Paul to hear you speak and Barb was leading the charge!
SALLY: I've been to Minnesota several times. But for me the thing that keeps me going, sometimes I say, “Why am I doing this? I've worked so hard,” was the response of people, the renaissance in small farming that has occurred as people have demanded foods from pasture raised animals as one of our big themes and also the beautiful crop of healthy babies that have come along as young women have listened to our message and had the courage and the willpower to prepare for their babies eating properly during pregnancy and lactation and feed their babies properly as they're growing. And these are our leaders of the future. These will be the healthy people in the future that can carry on our civilization.
BARB: So, your cookbook is over 650 pages of recipes, but I have always said and I've heard from several nationally known nutritionists who say that it's one of the best nutrition books that they've ever run across.
SALLY: Well, we worked really hard on the first section, myself and my co-author Mary Enig, to just give accurate information about fats and oils, about carbohydrates, about protein. We just felt there was so much misinformation that needed to be counteracted. And we don't have any ties with the industry. We don't have any grants from big industry or the government so we can tell the truth. And I actually feel sorry for the nutritionists and the medical people who've kind of gotten in this trap of being beholden to the food industry for their grants and their financing.
BARB: Yeah, it's really difficult for them to get out of that.
SALLY: It really is. It's hard to find work outside of the system. A lot of people do. But you have to kind of forge your own way.
BARB: Right. And I think once you start eating real foods, you develop the motivation or the power to be able to step outside that box and it's hard when you're eating the processed foods to even get there.
SALLY: Well, they give you more energy. They make your brain work better. It's hard to go back now. A lot of people are addicted to certain foods. And we want to support you as much as possible. This diet can help with those addictions, but things don't happen overnight either.
BARB: Sally, can you tell us a little bit more about Dr. Mary Enig, who was co-author of the book?
SALLY: Yes. Dr. Enig is a lipid scientist. She's a Ph.D. in nutrition with emphasis on Lipid fats and she was the first scientist to publicly warn the public about the dangers of trans fats. She had done her Ph.D. thesis on trans fats and showed how they interfere with a really crucial enzyme system in the body. One that's involved in protecting us from cancer and also making hormones. And she published a little article in 1978 saying that it's not the saturated fats that are causing heart disease, it's the trans fats. We need to look into this more. And because of this she was actually blackballed. The industry is so powerful that they were able to prevent her from ever getting any grants or doing any research. So, she was sort of working on her own. And so was I, sort of floating away on the cookbook and realizing I needed help. I don't have a scientific background and I read an article about her and contacted her right away and that led to this wonderful collaboration that we've had over the years, not only in the cookbook. We wrote a weight loss book together called Eat Fat Lose Fat. And we've done a lot of articles together. And jointly she and I set up the Weston A. Price foundation, which is the nonprofit nutrition education foundation that keeps people up to date on everything that's going on in the field of nutrition.
DAR: Sally, I have to tell you about the first time I met you. It was way back in 1997 and I actually sat across from you and Mary Enig at one of those country western dinner parties in New Mexico. And I recognized Dr. Mary Enig because I attended her lecture about that people need healthy fats to make bones and it was new information to me and it was fascinating. But I have to tell you, honestly, I didn't know who Sally Fallon was. But when I got back here it didn't take me very long before I realized how popular you really are. And because Barb had already, I think, become one of your groupies at that point or soon after.
SALLY: That's funny because the book came out in 1996. We didn't have very many fans at that point.
DAR: I remember that and how I was just fascinated with the fact that we need good fats to make our bones. And I've said that probably a thousand times to people when they're trying to get over having osteoporosis and direct them to eating healthy fats versus no fats.
SALLY: We think of vitamin D for healthy bones and we definitely need vitamin D for healthy bones, but we also need vitamin A, which comes as a surprise to people. And we also need saturated fat. Saturated fat helps the body put calcium into the bones and we need vitamin K. All of these things are in butter fat from grass fed animals. So nature doesn't make mistakes by putting fat in the milk. And if you're drinking low fat milk, skim milk, that calcium is pretty much going to waste or being put in the wrong place like the arteries and the joints.
BARB: Sally, we need to take a break right now. I want you all to know that you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. We teach people to eat real food instead of man-made foods for healing and for physical and mental well-being. Often, this is a new concept for many people. Even for many other health care professionals. For example, an energy bar often gives you just calories, compared with an egg from a grass-fed chicken that gives you mental, physical energy today and tomorrow. So, stay tuned for more of Sally Fallon's wisdom.
DAR: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you want to learn more about eating for energy and well-being, a great place to start is to sign up for our Weight & Wellness series. We have both daytime and evening times available and I'm really proud to say that we have teachers that walk the talk and they have a driving passion to teach you how to eat real food. So, it's real food. It gives you healing. It gives you energy and it gives you a healthy metabolism and that's what real foods really do. So, go to our website or call us at 651-699-3438.
BARB: So, Sally, Dishing Up Nutrition, my radio show here has listeners all over the United States and I know that you speak in a number of cities around the United States. Where would they find out more about that? The Weston A. Price foundation, which I know you are such a leader in and really having a lot to do with changing the way people are eating today.
SALLY: Well, the best place to find out where the events are is to go to WestonAPrice.org. And if you click on "get involved" you'll find the calendar section, which lists not only my speaking engagements, but meetings and talks and presentations by our local chapters. So, it's likely you'll find something near you within a few months of today.
BARB: OK, so let's prep him a little bit on the science and what's going on with the fats. I know trans fats are have been more in the public eye lately and can you explain perhaps how do they create trans fats? How are they created?
SALLY: Well, they start with the liquid oils and let me start with the liquid oils. These are what you call the seed oils. They're pressed out of corn and soybeans and safflower and so forth. And these oils to begin with are very dangerous. They are rancid, they're full of free radicals that cause uncontrolled reactions in the body and lead to cancer and heart disease. They need a solid fat for cookies and crackers and frying. They need something more stable than these oils and they put them through a process called partial-hydrogenation, which rearranges the molecule, causes the molecule to straighten out, and creates a molecule that we don't find in food. It's called the trans fats. And these molecules inhibit reactions in the body. They mess up enzymes, they mess up receptors. And finally, Mary Enig’s warnings have seen the light and we had a government committee say that trans fats are unhealthy at any level. And so, the industry has been scrambling to get them out of the food and this has given them a big dilemma because if they go back to the liquid oils, these are just as bad for you. Just as likely to cause cancer and heart disease.
DAR: So, you're saying basically, Sally, that if people use corn oil or soybean oil and there are products that are just as bad as using something that has been partially-hydrogenated.
SALLY: Exactly. And what the industry has done is kind of sneak the trans fats in in ways that don't end up on the label.
DAR: OK, tell us more about that. That's really what we want to know.
SALLY: OK. So, they use more mono and diglycerides and diglycerides are actually fats. They're just not triglycerides. They just have one or two fat molecules in the glyceride and they are always partially-hydrogenated and they do not have to be labeled as fats. So, these trans fats don't end up on the label. The other thing they do is deodorize the liquid oils and that's a process that creates a certain amount of trans fats and those don't have to be on the label. So, they're sneaking in there even though they're not on the label. Now, the obvious thing to do is to go back and use healthy saturated fats. That's what your body wants. Those are safe, they’re stable. That's what we get in butter, coconut oil, palm oil, lard, and beef tallow. Just as an example, McDonald's used to do all their fries in lamb tallow. You couldn't find a healthier or more stable fat to do fries and then they tasted delicious too. And then they switched in the 1980s to the partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
DAR: So, Sally, why did they switch? Because they had a wonderfully how healthy fat. And you said it was lamb fat.
SALLY: Well, a group called Center for Science in the Public Industry, which got funding from the soybean industry, mounted a very vocal campaign against McDonald's, saying they were using these terrible saturated fats full of cholesterol and they used to get them out of the fries. And McDonald's was not unhappy about this because the partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils are cheaper. So, I'm sure there was some kind of collusion in the background. Follow the money and then the answer will be the money. And we need to go back to using saturated fats and so this is the first hurdle of people who want to eat a healthy diet. The first hurdle they need to get over is the fear of saturated fats, because if you're afraid of saturated fat you're going to go down the wrong road. Nothing else is going to work until you get the saturated fats back in your diet.
DAR: Well, I think one of the questions that come up in our classes is, we do individual consultations as well, “What about canola oil? Isn't that supposed to be a healthy fat?” Tell us the truth.
SALLY: OK, so canola oil is higher in mono unsaturated fatty acids, and by the way I'm going to be explaining all these things so that people can understand them at the conference with pictures and everything. And the mono unsaturated fatty acids are the same type of thing as an olive oil and they're fairly safe also.
DAR: So, like olive oil is a mono unsaturated fat.
SALLY: But there's a big difference between olive oil and canola oil. Olive oil you can get out of the olive with a stone press. You don't need a lot of heat. And it's the natural, stable fat. Canola oil comes out of a seed and needs a very high temperature and pressure to get it out.
DAR: So, what kind of seed is it that canola oil comes from?
SALLY: It’s called rapeseed and it's actually from the mustard family.
DAR: OK, so it's a pretty small seed, right?
SALLY: Right. And there's a lot of unsaturated fats in canola oil and they go rancid. They get really bitter because of this high temperature. And they have to be deodorized. And that kind of ruins them and adds some trans fats to canola oil. Food that’s made with canola canola oil tends to go rancid very quickly because of the high sulfur content. So, I would say that canola oil is not as bad as some people say, but it's not as good as some people say. It's better than corn oil and soybean oil, but not much.
DAR: So, is there truly a difference between unrefined and refined canola oil? Because you see it. I think you see it on dressing bottles a lot. Some brands will put in “unrefined canola oil.”
SALLY: What you want is cold pressed. Expeller pressed canola oil and then that is fairly safe. But it's interesting that they're using canola oil in these dressings. And the reason is that olive oil is too expensive. Canola oil was actually developed and brought on the market because the food industry wanted the mono unsaturated oil and couldn't afford olive oil. And there's not enough olive oil in the entire world production to satisfy the food industry.
BARB: So, we're really back to changing people's priorities as far as what they put in their mouths and how they value it.
SALLY: And there's another problem here and that is people are getting too much monounsaturated fat. Some is fine, but if the main type of fat that you eat is mono unsaturated and you're not getting saturated fats, unsaturated can be a problem.
BARB: And that's really just again back to the fear of saturated fats.
SALLY: Exactly. And I use olive oil for salads and that’s all. And I cook with butter and meat fat.
BARB: It's time for another break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to point out a favorite section in Sally Fallon’s cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. It's called “Feeding Babies.” So, those of you with small children or grandchildren might want to pay closer attention. This is how it reads: “It is unwise to give a baby fruit juices, especially apple juice which provides only simple carbohydrates and will often spoil an infant's appetite for more nutritious foods. Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol in apple juice is difficult to digest. Studies have linked failure to thrive in children with diets high in apple juice. High fructose foods are especially dangerous for growing children. Especially for babies, we must return to real foods.”
DAR: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Darlene Kvist, licensed nutritionist, and I'm here with our co-host, Barb. She's a nutrition educator and she's a founder of Kombucha Divine. And our special guest is Sally Fallen of Nourishing Traditions. And we're discussing how real foods, the foods that your great great grandmother ate, really needs to return to everyone's dinner table so we can shut down this health care crisis. So, let's face it, fast foods and convenience foods create illness and real foods, traditional foods heal us.
SALLY: And when you say the food that your grandmother ate, the egg that your grandmother ate is not the same as egg that you buy in the supermarket. So, it's not just eating the foods that have the same name, but growing them the way they used to be grown, which is outdoors on a pasture because then all of these really important vitamins will be in the fats.
BARB: Amazing that small shift like that. Moving them from outside to inside could make such a difference in how we feel and how we think and all of those things.
SALLY: Everything we do in our food today, the way we do our agriculture, the confinement agriculture system, the way food is processed to be made more convenient, everything we do lowers the nutrients in the food. Everything traditional people did from their agricultural methods to the preparation methods increased the nutrients in the food. And that's why we have a health crisis today and nothing else is going to solve it. We can do some repairs. We can straighten teeth. We can do operations, but these are band-aids. And each generation becomes more and more unhealthy as the quality of the food declines. And there's just no other way to solve this than to each person individually, because the government's not going to do it for us, go back to eating healthy food and preparing healthy food for their families.
DAR: So now I have a question, Sally. You have Michelle Obama as one of your members of the Westin A. Price foundation?
DAR: Come on. Let's get her on board!
SALLY: She has an agenda. And by the way, the D.C. Council last week passed the strictest, most draconian guidelines for school lunches of any state. These children will have low fat, low salt, low calorie meals and they're then expected to exercise three times as much on this starvation diet. And they say it's all going to be fine because we're going to get some tomatoes from local farmers, lettuce from local farmers. And that's the kind of pinup girl that pulls us into what I call these puritanical or diets that do not sustain us. And I wrote individually to every council member. I wrote to the Washington Post urging them to think again. But it just goes on deaf ears. This is a huge juggernaut and this is why I say to people if you want to get out and change school lunches, you're not going to change them because they are marching to the USDA guidelines’ drummer. What I do urge people to do is make lunches for your children. I urge the chapter leaders to teach people how to do this because we can only win on the grassroots level in this fight.
BARB: Well let's go back to talking about what comes in those foods, those fats, especially that are so important for us to get back to. Since I saw you in 2001, that really was the eye opener for me to put butter back in my diet and to make it pastured butter and even to the point of raw milk butter at some point.
SALLY: Right. And also, the cod liver oil is a big thing for us. Well this goes back to Westin A. Price. Westin A. Price studied these traditional cultures from all over the world. He was a dentist and so he first of all looked at their teeth and they had beautiful teeth, they had broad faces, naturally straight teeth. Very attractive people, well-built, no cavities. And this was a sign that they were healthy overall. Well, the key thing in this diet was very high levels of 3 vitamins. Vitamins A, D, and what we now know as Vitamin K. And they are found in high levels in the very foods that we don't eat. The fats of grass fed animals, organ meats like liver, the egg yolks of grass fed chickens, a certain type of seafood. Fish eggs is extremely rich in these vitamins. And the fish liver oils like cod liver oil. So these are the foods that we're urging people eat because there's no other way to get these critical vitamins in the diet. And what's happened in America as we've gone to the industrial agricultural system, put our animals inside, and then avoid the animal fats completely, each generation has more natural facial structure and today it's very rare for a child to be born that doesn't need braces unless they've gotten onto our diet. And at a certain point it just can't go any further and you get widespread infertility or children dying before they reach reproductive age.
DAR: I think we should talk a little bit about fertility because we teach a class called Nutrition to Support Fertility and if you would stop by our office it’s working because I think everyone under the age of 65 is pregnant.
SALLY: Isn't that wonderful. I love hearing stories like that because overall our population is shrinking. We are not replacing ourselves. And a great number of babies being born will not be able to contribute to our civilization because their brains aren't wired properly.
BARB: So, we have this huge low-fat paradigm that most of our young people have bought into and they're absolutely afraid of fat.
SALLY: They feel guilty about eating fat. And there was a study that came out showing that women who consume low fat dairy products had very high rates of infertility. And if they got on whole fat diets they were many of them were able to get pregnant. And this is the horrible thing here. So, the official statement that came out was, well, if you were eating properly, eating low fat foods and you can't get pregnant, just go eat whole fat foods for a while to get pregnant and then while you're pregnant go back to the low fat foods.
BARB: Oh my gosh. That just makes no sense whatsoever.
SALLY: And so, these kids are born just sitting ducks for autism, for behavioral problems, for learning disabilities and for digestive disorders. They're not getting the cholesterol, which they need to form their brains and their gut. They're missing the vitamin A they need for both those things, vitamin D, the vitamin K and so we get these kids. It's like instead of being born with a mansion to live in you're being born with a shack to live in.
DAR: So, Sally, talk just a bit about how the traditional cultures supported fertility because I think that's a fascinating story.
SALLY: Every culture that he looked at had sacred foods that were important for pregnant women and they started eating these foods before conception. Both the men and the women.
DAR: Both the men and the women, yes.
SALLY: And then the women made sure to continue these foods while they were pregnant and breastfeeding and then they were the first foods for the babies and the children got these as they were growing.
DAR: Can you give people a few ideas about what some of those foods were?
SALLY: Well, for example, in the South Seas it was shark liver oil. So, they caught the sharks, they got the oil out of the liver, and they made sure men and women got to have healthy babies. In Alaska, it was fish eggs. Salmon eggs were considered very important for having healthy babies. In Switzerland, it was a special type of butter that came from cows when they first went to pasture in the spring and this butter was extremely high in these three vitamins A, D, and K. In the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland it was cod's head stuffed with chopped cod liver. Once again, very high in these three vitamins A, D, and K. And so, these are the types of foods that we need to eat. I’m not saying you need to eat cod's heads, but you can do this with butter and pâté and caviar, all sorts of wonderful foods. And then we strongly urge people just for the protection and to make sure they get enough to take cod liver oil.
DAR: I think, Sally, when you're out there teaching that class Nutrition for Fertility and you're talking to these people that have been living on low fat and running five or 10 miles every day. To try to get them to even visualize and think that they could add butter. It's just so interesting to help people think a different way.
SALLY: Right. And that heavy, heavy exercise also depletes these very vitamins and for women the body stops producing estrogen. And I am not a big advocate for heavy exercise for women of childbearing age and I remember my grandmother telling me this. Women who want to have healthy babies shouldn't be exercising so much.
BARB: OK, Sally, we're going to take our last break here. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I think it's so important to get our children off to a good start. So, I want to read just another small section from that Nourishing Traditions wise book. “A wise supplement for all babies, whether breast fed or bottle, fed is an egg yolk per day.” Now I didn't say a capsule or a tablet, even though it did say supplement, but that just means adding an egg yolk per day. Because the egg yolk from a grass-fed chicken has so many nutrients that support the brain function and everything about the health of the baby. You should start that at four months. Egg yolks supply cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important Sulphur-containing amino acids and the fatty acids from pasture-fed hens are essential for the development of the brain.
DAR: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition.
BARB: So, Sally, we take these cows, we've taken them out of their pasture and put them into horrible conditions where they can't be healthy and we're always battling E.coli and they're not eating what they're supposed to be eating. So, how does that impact their tissue? What do we lose or what do we gain by putting them back on pasture?
SALLY: Well, we first of all gain these valuable vitamins A, D, and K, which are so critical for growth and protection against heart disease, cancer, tooth decay, depression, all things that plague us. We solve this environmental problem with concentrating animals too closely. We improve the soil, we improve the income for farmers. I mean it's just a win win-win except for one group and that's the industrial food industry.
DAR: It's so interesting that we get people that have been eating beef for a while. And they say, oh I can't digest that yet. But, then I say well let's try a little grass-fed beef. And I said I think you'll be able to digest that. The meat is actually different, isn't it.
SALLY: The meat is different. One of the reasons people can't digest meat is because they're eating it too lean. And you absolutely need the fat with the meat to digest the meat and then also if you make a sauce with bone broth and get all of the components of the bone and the joints and tendons and the meat will be more digestible, so people just don't know how to eat the meat.
BARB: But we are one of the few cultures where we cut the fat off. There's a lot of cultures out there that choose fattier sorts of meat.
SALLY: The Native Americans didn't want the lean meats. When they killed an animal they ate the brain, the tongue, the marrow, and the liver.
DAR: Well, the brain helped them with our memory.
SALLY: Right. And so, all the fatty parts. Then they tore off the fat from the back in the interior of the animal and saved that, rendered that, and then the lean meat, they took some of it, but most of it was thrown away. They never ate lean meat. They knew if they ate lean meat they'd get sick. And I think this is what people are reacting to. I couldn't eat lean meat. To me the very worst thing to eat is a skinless chicken breast. The meat is horrible. It's so dry, you just can't eat it. Growing up my favorite piece was the wing because it had so much skin on it and I could chew on the bones and everything. And my father was happy to give me the wings.
DAR: So, one of the topics I want to talk all about, because Barb makes kombucha and she actually has a little business and one of her products is called Kombucha Divine. So, let's talk a little bit about fermented vegetables.
SALLY: Yes. Traditional cultures all used this process called lacto-fermentation to ferment a number of things. Fruits and vegetables for sure but they make healthy soft drinks this way. They prepare fish this way and even meat. And lacto-fermentation is a natural way of preserving things that increases lactic acid. Lactic acid is the preservative really sort of like vinegar. And the beauty of lacto-fermentation is that it preserves the food and it also increases the nutrients in the food. So, for example, when you make sauerkraut from a cabbage you increase the vitamin C tenfold. And there's a crying need for healthy beverages in this country. The soft drinks are witch's brew. And then alcohol is not good for you. And coffee is not good for you. Fruit juice is not good for you. So, what do you drink? And people really want a healthy, bubbly drink. And this is what we get in these healthy soft drinks, so we're talking about old fashioned root beer and ginger beer and these kinds of things which were brewed, but brewed to make it lactic acid and not alcohol. They're sweet and sour and bubbly. And kombucha is a lacto-fermented beverage from Russia that's gotten very popular. It's available in health food stores. It’s available from people like Barb. Really, a delicious beverage.
SALLY: These lacto-fermented foods, the real purpose of them is to give you two things. One is good bacteria. And we now know that you need a lot of good bacteria in your digestive tract to even digest your food. And number two is lots of enzymes, which help you digest your food. So, these lacto-fermented foods are digestive aids.
DAR: So, Sally, thank you. We appreciate you being on our show today.