Our ancestors survived without supermarkets, by growing and preparing their own food. Some of their traditional ways of cooking, that involve fermenting foods like sauerkraut or sourdough bread, are sliding into oblivion.

Our guest, Sally Fallon, has been bucking the nutrition establishment to suggest that the old ways of eating have very real and important benefits. She advocates including saturated fats like butter or coconut oil in the diet for good health and she opposes the widespread use of most commercial vegetable oils.  

Guest: Sally Fallon Morell, founder of the Weston A Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation based in Washington, DC. Her book is Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Her Web site is www.WestonAPrice.org.

She also founded A Campaign for Real Milk, dedicated to creating consumer awareness of the health benefits of clean, whole unpasteurized milk from grass-fed cows. (See www.realmilk.com.)

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  1. Victoria

    Sally Fallon is a voice of reason amidst the dietary nonsense that’s been out there for decades. Hopefully her message will get wider exposure. it’s about time people learned that eating the way their ancestors ate is the best way to good health because the current dietary advice has done nothing but destroy the health of millions.

  2. Rick

    I’d say the first poster Jennifer P is right. We used to eat mostly vegetables and fish. Meat was rarely eaten. Nearly all of our food now is also packed with extra salt, calories and fat to trick our brain into wanting more. It’s done intentionally by the food producers so that we spend more money.

  3. MK

    I bought her cookbook a couple of years ago at a friend’s recommendation. It turned me off with its constant denigrating side remarks about nutritionists who give different advice, coupled with enormous confidence in her own advice based on evidence whose reliability I have no way to judge, mainly anecdotal reports from her one nutritional idol Weston Price.
    Also, most of us don’t have ready access to all naturally raised meats and other foods to supply our entire diet, so we can’t really follow her advice. Her high-animal-food diet might be disastrous coming largely from commercially raised animals and eaten by sedentary Americans.
    Finally, you can’t just adopt some healthy pre-modern regional diet without adopting that entire way of life and still expect to be as healthy as those indigenous people who had their own genetics, strong social structures, no modern-type mental stresses, and a lifetime of hard physical exertion supporting their longevity.
    But I got some good ideas from the book despite its grating tone, the most applicable being to pre-soak grains (wheat, oats, etc) with a slightly acidic dairy liquid or lemon juice, preferably overnight, to get the pre-digestion and breaking down of the useful elements into what we can best absorb.

  4. JoAnne F.A.

    The Mediterranean Diet is a traditional diet. That might be a preferred option for many of us.

  5. J.B.

    When I was a teen I worked on a dairy farm and we were always sneaking the cream that was milked and saved in a huge can just for the calves. It was so goooood!, even if it wasn’t cold. I wish I didn’t live in the city or I’d have my own milk cow. Soon I’ll be heading back out to the country. Can’t wait and for those home gardens and canning stuff, eating fruits right off the vines too. My grandmother lived to be 96 from all that country eating she did (sausage and eggs and lard too).

  6. Julie A. S.

    Approximately 2 years ago I saw a DVD of a lecture Sally presented. I was convinced her information is correct. (There are also others, even MDs, who know of traditional ways of cooking and why this is important, and have written books about this.) I have been following her cooking advice closely since then. I have waited all this time for the Peoples Pharmacy to interview her.
    Thankfully, she now has wider exposure. I hope someone else (nationally) will pick up this information and get her guidance out in an even broader information source. We need to understand her concepts and make better food choices. Our collective, national health depends on it! We will never “fix” our health problems legislatively, it starts with individuals, making better choices-with our wallets, which will eventually make changes in the food system. Hurray to Joe and Terry for this interview!

  7. jw

    If taking Ms. Fallon’s advice is the right way to eat, why did my Dad’s dad and 5 of his brothers and their mother all die of colon cancer? And why did my husband’s friend in New Zealand who ate a lot of butter and mutton die of heart disease in middle age? I’m surprised that Ms. Fallon didn’t condemn vegetarianism. She sounds as if she’s a rep. for the meat industry.

  8. ONH

    Much of what Sally said makes sense, but the readership should beware of generalizing from anecdotal evidence. What was the life expectancy in Sally’s parents’ days and the days of her grandparents? Readers should remember that genetic inheritance is the most important influence on longevity and health. Some people live in the poorest circumstances and live to be 80 and 90+.
    If someone says all my aunts and uncles lived to be 90 and they all ate highly salted , fatty diets and they smoked all their lives; it probably means that the genetically determined metabolism of their cells counteracted or overcame the insults to their bodies that would have drastically shortened the lives of other humans who had different genetic inheritances.
    Anecdotes may be true, but one should be cautious until claims are proved by properly controlled studies with large samples.

  9. Ronald S.

    A lot of people are under the impression that a diet, any diet will cure their problems. They have heard that Japanese have low incidents of heart disease due to their diet which is rich in fish and green vegetables and green tea. Going on a Japanese style diet will not protect us from getting heart disease. This is just one example. There are Eskimo diets, Mexican diets, Scandanavian diets, etc, but none will benefit someone from a different culture. Of course any diet has to be accompanied by EXERCISE, a most important part of any diet. Sally Fallon is correct about foods like lard, bacon, eggs, etc. It is ok to consume fats, BUT we must EXERCISE to burn off that fat.

  10. Laura

    All food is good. The problem is that we just eat too much.

  11. Dolores

    When I first moved back to Chicago after growing up on a Michigan farm since age 7, I had no serious health problems. I did have hayfever. I was on no medications.
    Now I am on more than 11 prescription meds since moving to my present address. When I moved here I was on two. My mother used to tell us we should never be sick because we grew up on a farm.
    My siblings and I have all lost the benefits of that healthy living,and eating all of the things Sally Fallon talked about this morning, that the doctors now tell me will kill me, but gave me no problem before–more than a dozen eggs a week, lard, bacon, raw milk, etc., but very little red meat, chicken, a lot of fruits and vegetables from our garden and orchard, and plenty of exercise. We canned our own food for the winter, and going to the store was a treat.

  12. LCW

    I thought the comments by Sally Fallon would have been stronger if she had included an acknowledgment that the life styles of today’s population tends to be much less active than that several generations ago. I have always heard that a diet high in various animal fats is tolerated, indeed required by those who are physically very active. It was explained as the reason our forefathers working on farms were able to stay healthy and not gaining excessive weight while eating a diet that was high fat diet. Miss Fallon didn’t include any mention of activity levels in her discussion although she did use the health of people generations ago in comparison to today’s population

  13. Cathy

    Thank you so much for bringing Sally Fallon to me. I am old enough to remember the way the old-timers ate and have seen all the changes to mass marketed foods and ubiquitous chronic illness and allergies. Hopefully the next generation will learn how to raise and cook real food before it is all forgotten!

  14. B Ritchie

    We no longer eat food. We eat edibiles. Big difference. I have often said I feel sorry for people growing up now, because they don’t know what real food tastes like.

  15. G. Carter

    my grandmother lived to be 94 years old. I often went to visit and ate pinto beans and had buttermilk with cornbread. Afterward I always felt good. I wonder if the food had anything to do with it. I still crave pinto bean on occasion. I usually had a peach pickle or chow-chow she had made if available. She made small jars and usually made one for me. I miss those days.

  16. scientificink

    I was mightily impressed with Peoples Pharmacy today. It’s about time that we start hearing the truth about the low-fat orthodoxy.
    There is no evidence that eating low fat and low cholesterol is good for us, and this is what your guest, Sally Fallon said. In fact, the opposite, eating high fat diets, is good for us, as evidenced by a large number of studies. These diets are low carbohydrate, which don’t result in high insulin levels, and all the accompanying “modern diseases”.
    They are also much more satisfying than the low-fat diets which necessarily equate to high carbohydrate diets.
    These currently advocated diets obviously don’t work, not just because they lead to weight gain (rather than loss) but diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and numerous other problems related to obesity. The obesity epidemic will only be conquered when enough people like Sally Fallon are interviewed on programs like The Peoples Pharmacy.

  17. Carly F.

    Absolutely loved the May 16th interview with Sally Fallon.
    How wise, practical, and down to earth she is.
    I am 60, 5’4′, 110 pounds and have never worried about anything I’ve eaten, including beginning each day for the past 40 yrs. with 2 fried eggs, bacon or sausage, a big glass of whole milk, & 2 slices of white toast.
    Hurray to the People’s Pharmacy for the marvelous show this morning.
    Keep up the good work.

  18. dp

    The more food is processed, meaning having nonfood chemicals added to it to keep it from spoiling, the less nutritional value it actually has. It isn’t hard to raise a garden of vegetables and fruit on a city plot. Why do we need so much inedible grass?
    Apartment dwellers can rent beautiful, raised bed plots full of wonderful compost and irrigation from the Guilford county extention agency. Many other counties offer this service as well. Medication and fake food are leading us to an unhealthy later life.
    My farm raised mother lived into her 90’s as did all of her 8 siblings. Eating out is fun, but doing it daily has a price that goes beyond monetary. We don’t have the knowledge or appreciation for how our bodies function and what is the best fuel to keep our cellular engines running in peak condition.
    We put anything in our mouths that tastes good. We’ve saturated our taste buds with sweet, salty and fat flavors to the point of addiction. It’s a slow process back to eating and enjoying fresh, unadulterated food. But when one’s natural health returns with the energy and sense of well being that comes with eating unprocessed food, one is so glad to have made the trip.

  19. Jennifer P.

    I grew up in rural eastern N.C. where no cook books were used. We had huge vegetable garden and we had a farm freezer to supplement vegetables when out of season. My mother made collard kraut in a wooden barrel that would ferment. She had a special pair of boots she used to stomp the salt into collards and crush them down. Then we waited. They were delicious! We occasionally had unpasteurized milk from a neighbor’s cows but my mother was reluctant to drink it because she said you could get TB from cow’s milk. It could also taste bad if the cow ate some onions!
    We had pig killings in February. Some of our neighbors had smoke houses to cure the meat. We kept a big tub of lard that my mother used to cook food. Most of the women in my family lived to be in their late 80’s or 90’s. I don’t remember anyone being fat. We ate no beef, mostly chickens, pork, and fish/shellfish.
    However, mostly we ate vegetables because they were cheap and plentiful. The fruit we ate came from our yard. We ate around the worms. I still cook from scratch because it tastes so much better.

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