May 19, 2011

Book Review: Nourishing Traditions

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

This book has been popping up all over the place, so I decided to check it out.

I borrowed this book from the library and I feel like doing a review on it. I have to be honest and say I didn't completely read through every text, since I was in a time crunch because it's due Friday. But I read the main part in the front and skimmed through the intros to each section as well as looked over the recipes.

I really enjoyed this book. We have been talking a lot about how we eat - natural fats, lots of meats, use of butter and lard - and I found it very refreshing to have a book that backed up our feelings of food: The less processed the better and natural fats are best.

The beginning of the book goes through the main parts of our diets: Fats, Proteins, Carbs, Vitamins, Minerals and Beverages. It explains the difference between fats and which ones are best for you, the best proteins, the best carbs, etc. I like how the book explains, in fairly great detail, why you should or shouldn't eat a certain thing. And I was horrified how some of the commercial hydrogenated products are made (although I had kind of guessed already). It's packed with a lot of good information.

The rest of the book is recipes and most of them look quiet delicious. I was actually surprised to find that most of the recipes were... well, normal. I was expecting some pretty crazy stuff because everything I've heard about this book was about making your own fermentables. (Which it highly suggests.)

I don't think we can easily implement absolutely everything this book suggests, even if I agree with it. It would not only be too expensive for us at the moment to pursue raw milk (unless someone has a cow they want to loan me) and the suggested sweeteners, but I think I might be stripped of my title of "Good Cook" if I told Ben no more sodas and started feeding us the fermented beverages. And while I'd like to grind my own grains, not only are the ones I've found expensive in the whole state, but it would require purchasing a grain mill which, while not terribly expensive (about $150), is not an option right now.

However, it was a very easy read and gave me quite a bit of good information and, like I said, backed up what I was already feeling:

  • Animal fats are terribly good for you, and saturated fats are the best you can get. Butter is in fact the best fat you can use.
  • Stay away from highly proccessed oils & fats - stick with animals fats like lard, olive oil and other cold pressed oils. (Did you know you're not supposed to heat olive oil to high temperatures? It denatures the good properties and actually becomes harmful.)
  • Stay away from highly processed anything else for that matter. (Which we already do for the most part, thankfully.) 
  • The USDA food pyramid is very wrong. The focus on heavy amounts of grains, flours and carbs is quit dangerous, especially in addition to the focus on low amounts of meats and fats. 
  • Stay away from refined sugars and flours if you can. 
  • Soak any grains you are using in acidic liquid for at least 7 hours. This removes the bad phytic acid and pre-digests them, and also ups the vitamins and minerals. I might try doing this with some things when I can.
  • Buy organic everything (meats, veggies, dairy) whenever you can. (Which is difficult for our budget, but I'll be trying.)
  • Please stay away from soy. It is highly carcinogenic, causes a world of problems (like neural and thyroid disorders) and should only be consumed in it's fermented states, as the fermentation breaks down the dangerous parts.  (And beware! Soy products are in just about everything - check your labels.)

Would I read this book again? Oh yes, most definitely. Would I buy it? I think I will, yes, since I do want to try some of the recipes and I think it would make a great reference book.

Would I recommend it? Yes. All the way. At the very least borrow it from the library and give it a good shot, even if you don't agree with it. It might change your mind! Or, if you're like me, you'll be happy to know that the choices you are making are the good ones - even if they go against the flow.

And one last thing I would like to say about this book: The author is very forgiving and isn't the "you MUST do everything in this book if you want to survive" type. She explains everything, and obviously would like you follow the points, but says a few times that if you or your family are fighting it tooth and nail then there is no point. Change the parts of your diet you are comfortable changing, and leave the rest be. 

Happy Reading,


Farm Girl said...

very interesting. I wonder if Heather at the Library would let me check it out tomorrow. :) That is why you were asking about Lard. I do have a grain mill if you want to use it. The only way I could stand to use it was put it in the garage until it was finished it is so loud, I could show you if you wanted. But it is here.

Kessie said...

YES butter vindication!

I wish we could afford to buy organic everything, but the best I can do is just eat out of mom's garden in the summer. And "organic" doesn't really mean "no chemicals", because I was looking up "organic" strawberries and that just means they only spray them once, at the beginning of the summer. So pick your poison, you know?

Soy gives me the jibblies now. I was sad to see there's even soy and corn syrup in Ritz crackers. Sigh.

Kessie said...

Also, I've never been clear on pre-soaking your grains. Does that mean soaking your ground-up flour, too? Or just the grains? And how do you grind wet grains without gumming up your blades?

no spring chicken said...

I appreciated your review. I do won this book and I highly recommend reading all of it. As you say, you don't have to implement all of it but you should be familiar with all of it. Just helps you to have a better understanding of food.

Blessings, Debbie

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Very very interesting. I read a book a couple of months ago with a similar message. There were a few things I didn't believe/agree with, but all in all it sure makes sense! I think it's all about moderation. :)

Allison said...

Maybe one day I will check this out. Have you heard of Budwig Cream? I made this for years for my husband, with freshly ground and soaked grains. Then life got busy and I stopped... but you should look it up!

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