The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 981: Old-Fashioned Food

While nutrition experts argue over the healthiest diet, we might do well to enjoy old-fashioned real food.
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Old-Fashioned Food

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For decades, the diet dictocrats have warned us to back away from the butter, minimize the meat and skimp on the salt. The recommended menu might not taste terrific, but it was supposed to prevent heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Unfortunately, the evidence to back these dietary policies up has never been supported by strong science. Even today, policymakers are wrangling over how much cholesterol should be permitted, and whether we really need to cut sodium to 1,500 mg a day or less.

Saturated Fat

The controversy over saturated fat rages on. Recent articles include a meta-analysis published in Open Heart and a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Our guest, Sally Fallon Morell, advocates returning to traditional foodways. Rather than follow the latest trends, she urges Americans to eat like their great-great-grandparents did and enjoy wholesome old-fashioned food. High on her list: a big bowl of broth.

This Week’s Guest:

Sally Fallon Morell is founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit organization.

Her books include Nourishing Traditions (with Mary G. Enig, PhD) and The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD). The most recent is Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World (with Kaayla Daniel).

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Wonderful information. I plan to get a copy of Sally’s new book, Thank you!

Ms. Fallon Morell seems to be behind the times with her understanding of paleo. The vast majority of paleo bloggers, authors, podcasters, etc, promote eating fat, especially saturated fat. Just off the top of my head… Robb Wolf, Jimmy Moore, Chris Kresser, Diane Sanfilippo, Sarah Fragoso, Jason Seib, Sarah Balantyne, Stacy Toth, Liz Wolfe, Mark Sisson, Sean Croxton, Katy Bowman, Nora Gedgaudas, Abel James, Stefani Ruper, Daniel Vitalis, Terry Wahls, David Perlmutter, Michelle Tam, Clark Danger… All these people promote fat (though some will recommend avoiding the fats from CAFO meats). Even Dr. Cordain, who had originally recommended avoiding saturated fat in the very first paleo book, has come out in support of fat.

This writer has lots of good tips and recipes, from her years in the commercial kitchens and at home with her mom and dad.

A well organized cook site hope you enjoy as much as I.


Joe and Terry did good job on this program, thanks you

How to make stock from Chicken Feet best site I’ve found
Plus other bone stocks, this is a very good source for good culinary ideas
Elsie has been around and uses her writing skills to share her kitchen smarts, and with the help of her dad’s ideas.
Bookmark her web site it is one of the best organized you’ll find & it’s free.

Thanks Joe & Terry & Sally…that was a great show & underscores my beliefs that butter & animal fats are a very needed part of our diet. Margarine requires a patent, but good old butter doesn’t. I’ve loved the stuff since a child & my grandmothers made their own butter because they had cows that had to be milked 2x daily. My inlaws had chickens–like 3000 birds as a business; so there was always all the chicken necessary to make the best soup.

Sounds like good news, but, as a child, around 5 years old to 8, I drank a quart of raw milk a day, and I always had bad teeth, and, beginning in my 50s, PAD, and Atherosclerosis. Heart attack at around 60.
Also, my mother, who had Rheumatic Fever as a child, was on a salt-free diet for years. She was very good about it, and never developed diabetes.

After reading posts on this site about saturated fat and cholesterol, I went to WebMD and Mayo Clinic, and found the same old advice about avoiding fats and red meat, about their contributing to higher cholesterol, etc. I realize that medicine is very conservative and perhaps mostly it needs to be, but this is just ridiculous that they are not revising on the basis of the latest data. Can’t admit they were so wrong for so long?

I love your show and always approach each episode with an open mind. I listen to learn, even if it goes against what I’ve heard before. Science continues to update and change, so my mind is open. To the end, this episode made me feel that legitimate science took a back seat to opinion. Let me first tell you what I agree with: our current foods are not as nutritious as the unprocessed foods our great-grandparents ate and this change has led to many of the medical conditions that afflict our population today. That being said…

~There is too much science that flies in the face of your guest’s statements. Like others before me have said, her statements can’t be backed up and I can’t help but wonder if this is a point of view helps her sell books. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to eat butter and cream?!

~The diets that appear to be most healthy in terms of reduced rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, & diabetes and increased health & longevity are from the Mediterranean countries and Japan – people whose diets are famously low in animal foods and animal by-products.

~You both put quite a bit of faith in anecdotal evidence, so let me tell you about my great-grandfather and my husband. My great-grandfather ate like Ms. Morell recommends. In fact he was a chef from the old country – lots of fatty meat, whole body parts (cartilage), butter and cream graced his table. He died in his 50’s from coronary artery disease. My husband had a heart attack at age 31 and had by-pass surgery at age 53. He was told the by-pass would last him an average of seven years. That was 14 years ago. What changes did he make in his post by-pass life? We went vegan. Whole foods, plant based, foods from the earth. Unfortunately his two brothers, one older and one younger, did not change their diets and they have both died due to complications from CVD. I would give anything to have them back. And my husband’s blood numbers? Never better.

~I was unhappy that Ms. Morell didn’t at least give thanks to the animals that she so willingly offers up for us. When Native Americans kill and eat animals they thank each one for their sacrificed life. Most of us don’t need to kill animals to survive, and we all know about the horrors of factory farming. I wish she had at least mentioned the unwilling sacrifice her food sources make, a mention of compassion for the poor creatures and they way they come her plate.

Joe and Terry, I saw your answer to a previous commenter about providing “a range of perspectives” and “A diversity of opinions with scientific research strengthens our understanding.” I agree in theory; I just didn’t hear enough about the “scientific research” that supports Ms. Morell’s opinions. Again, I LOVE your show but this episode gets a thumbs down.

Ingrid, thanks for your thoughtful comment. We will continue to explore a range of perspectives, but we will push future guests harder on the scientific evidence backing up their opinions and recommendations.

Dear Terri and Joe,
Thank you for this excellent podcast! I have both of Sally Fallon Morell’s books and love them! Your programs and Sally’s books have changed the way I feed my family! We love food and freely eat our fats and bone broth. Both my husband and I are in decent shape, and get compliments and comments about our weight quite often. When I tell people that we eat healthy fats and drink raw milk they think we are crazy but both of our lab values tell a different story.

One more place I have learned about traditional cooking and healthy eating (and Sally has been a guest of her’s also) is Wardee Harmon at GNOWFGLINS ( God’s Natural Organic Whole Foods Grown Locally IN Season). You can find her at her web site. Thank you again! The People’s Pharmacy is one of our very favorite podcasts. I am going to iTunes and giving you 5 stars!

I would appreciate clarification of the following. The following data is from USDA Food Review, Major Food Trends a Century in Review

Food 1900 2010

Oil/Fat Consumed 4 lbs/yr 74 lbs/yr
Meat 140 lbs/yr 210 lbs/yr
Cheese 2 lbs/yr 30 lbs/yr

I need references from you to justify the statements made on your show. The above data shows an immense increase in fat, meat and cheese consumption. Admittedly the increase in oil consumption is due to a significant increase in vegetable oils which are for the most part very unhealthy.

I’ve been making broth for 40 years! Loved hearing my thoughts validated.
Curious about nightmares after eating fish. Me to.
Would like to hear Stephanie Senneff on you program.

I enjoyed the last show, with Ms. Morell. I’d like to make my own broth, but forgot the ingredients, that she suggested to add to the chicken bones in the slow cooker. Can you send that to me at my email address?

Katherine, you can download our show for free through iTunes, or click on the play button on this page to listen to the show again through your browser. Thanks for your interest!

What can we, the average citizen, do about our food sources? We count on the food and drug administration to protect us but they are in the pocket of the big manufacturers. Everyone can’t get to a farmers market where you might get produce not laced with toxic additives. God only knows what they are adding to many processed foods. We need only look to nature to see the harm being done. The dying off of the honey bees, the near extinction of the Monarch Butterfly, the increase of frogs with abnormal growths on their bodies, these are all warning signs that we seem to be determined to ignore. Many of our health problems can be traced back to how our food is grown and or processed. If the Government is not protecting us, who will?

This show was ridiculous. They start out talking about the .0001% of Americans who don’t get enough salt in their diets and ignore the other 99+ % who consume 100x the daily recommended about. The “broth” diet? Another fad. Why is everything in moderation so hard to understand? Quackery is alive and well. Funny how we live longer on the supposed terrible diets of today. Go ahead and eat some meat but don’t over do it. Save the animals. Most are inhumanely raised, housed, and killed. Vegetarianism is a fine diet.

People live longer today but suffer from much higher rates of chronic disease than in previous generations. So modern medicine keeps you alive longer and also keeps you sicker longer. In general this show was a disappointment. The difficult and interesting questions which should have been asked of the interviewer were not asked. Everything said simply received a simple response WOW that’s great. I would expect such a response from individuals who had no medical or research knowledge. Some of the statements bordered on quackery. Overall an extremely disappointing interview run by two highly educated individuals

Joe. As far as I’m concerned we don’t know what the right levels of salt intake should be. Check out the actuals on lowering BP by lowering salt intake. Salt made little difference in the numbers.

Second, this is not a diet but getting back to the way soups used to be prepared. They were much more nutritious and better tasting then the processed soups of today. So the message was let’s get back to making soups/broth like our mothers and grand mothers did. In fact this show prompted me to make an old favorite of mine which is beef bones/meat, cabbage, and whole tomatoes. Add some vinegar and brown sugar and wow! It is outstanding and when my Italian wife says it is good then you know it is.:):)

Third as far as vegetarian when you asked 80, 90, and 100 year old people what their secret is most (if not all) say they eat everything and even drink occasionally. Never heard of one saying they are a vegetarian. So we need more data on this area of dieting.

Ms. Morell is correct about almost every point she made – I think. We need more research to build some better data on this set of recommendations as well as the assertions Dr. Daphne Miller has made associating soil health with human health. Unfortunately, the American public is loaded with industrial oils, RoundUp, thousands of other chemicals and much of our soil is thin and infertile. Where it is possible to study people who are not already ill is a problem.
Thanks for prosecuting this problem – even if you don’t have the conviction yet. I am going to make broth today.

How telling that summarily negative comments are made before the actual program content has been aired!

I was a vegetarian for 35 years and had very low HDL, which is very unhealthy, plus very low energy. For 2 years now I have been eating a lot of butter and cheese, as WAPF recommends, as well as fish every day. Now my HDL is “off the chart” while my VLDL is low, plus I finally have energy!

As the studies cited in the article show, saturated fat is very healthy because saturated fats can’t become oxidized in the body. In addition to adding fat, it’s important to eat foods that are high in the amino acid lysine, because lysine is converted into heart-healthy carnitine, which brings the fat into the cell for energy instead of storing it. Only animal proteins and some beans are higher in lysine than the competing amino acid, arginine, which is is very high in unfermented plant proteins and soy. As Sally Fallon writes in “Nourishing Traditions”, many traditional diets include dairy products and fish, which are also the best sources of lysine.

I enjoy your Saturday morning radio program on West Virginia Public Radio very much.

Weston A Price foundation is a dangerous organization. They are anti vaccine, anti pasteurization, and, think breast milk is worth no more than formula if you don’t eat as they tell you to. And she has zero science to back up her claims. Having Sally Fallon Morell, a Weston A Price quack on your show makes me question any advice from you both and past and future guests you will have. Very disappointing guys.

I respectfully disagree with this comment, having benefitted greatly from following the Westin Price philosophy now for almost two decades. It helps to go back and read about Westin Price himself and his extensive, meticulous studies of the dental and health effects of different diets around the world. Sally Fallon’s original book, “Nourishing Traditions,” changed my life and my health from mediocre to vibrant. I had been a vegetarian most of my adult life, but I increasingly lacked energy and immune stamina on an all veggie diet. I make bone broth at least once a week and use it as the base for numerous other dishes and casseroles. I still eat lots of veggies too, many of them fermented — it’s all compatible — no need to denigrate one or the other. Thank you, Sally! I very much enjoyed this interview and would give it five stars.

We like to offer our listeners a range of perspectives so they can make up their own minds. Guests have included Walter Willett, MD, DPH, Chairman of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, as well as Christopher Gardner, Phd, Director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Nutrition Research Center, and many others. A diversity of opinions with scientific research strengthens our understanding.

While many great guests have graced your microphones, this is the best interview I’ve heard on your show.

I have gone back to butter. I use less of it than margarine. Am reading a bit about Vitamin K2 MK4 and how the body needs this to get the calcium into the bones. Eggs, milk, butter grass fed and some cheeses give MK4.

Also reading VK2 MK7 from natto for same thing

While there IS more pollution and depleted soils we can make an effort to get the best food we can.

I do not feel vegan or vegetarian is the best way to go. Some can eat these and get away with it. Many cannot.

Health & dental issues are common. Vitamin B12 deficiency is the tip of the nutritional ice berg.

Many prescription drugs also deplete B12 including metformin.

Hyla Cass, MD, has a book called Supplement Your Prescription that lists numerous drugs and the nutrients they deplete.

I highly recommend it, especially if you are on a PPI.

I do not usually listen since I prefer reading, but I do not want to miss this. Oiling of America made a huge difference in my life, for the better. I believe that my father died earlier than his time because he started following the advice of his doctor and drank skim milk, used corn oil margarine, and gave up his eggs at breakfast for English muffins with margarine. Sally and Mary, along with Carole Baggerly, are my most-admired women.

From my own experience I agree. My mother used much salt, mostly meat meals, always butter, and more that is not approved. She lived to over 100. I have lived the same way and am now over 98 and still going strong for my age eating and living the same as she. I admit I feel some of the long life is heriditary, but more sensible living helps.

Bone broth, the latest quackery du jour? I am bored with reading about people who have thought up some money-making scheme to fleece the gullible. Is that what the bone broth promoters are…..flim flammers? I won’t be buying any books about bone broth, or any aprons or kitchen towels advertising it, or going to any classes on making bone broth.
People’s Pharmacy has so much good information, it is puzzling then to see something such as bone broth, the latest “magic cure.” The authors also are for more saturated fat and more salt. This is not healthy.

I agree that how telling that summarily negative comments are made before the actual program content has been aired! As I have gotten older (now 67) I’m eating more and more like the way I grew up in another country. Local food from a farmer I know and can talk to. Local beef bones from another farmer. Same for chicken.

Fish is a problem as I don’t live near an ocean or clean river and when I eat fish I get morning nightmares. But I grew up with a daily dose of cod liver oil. My sleep has greatly improved – getting the 4 hrs plus another 4 hrs. for a total of 7-8 hours.

I’ve found this program usually has good speakers and useful information. Ignore the ignorant and the naysayers. As for soy, it was a fad for a while, but I know that as an estrogen simulator, it’s not good at all for many, unless fermented and even then, only in small amounts. Soy milk bloats me. Many of us suffer from endocrine disorders due to the chemicals in our environment and thus must stay away from soy.

I am curious -on what research do you base your statement that more saturated fat and salt is not healthy? Who stated that this program was touting a ”magic cure”? How can bone broth, which is natural and has been used for millennia, be quackery?

My observation of these comments is that you do not think very highly of people in general (we’re gullible), anyone who invests time to educate the ‘gullible’ are ‘flim-flammers’ who are out to make money, and eating via ‘slow food’ methods are fads. What could be more healthy than to eat live food that is prepared at home – and dining with loved ones?

I wish you happiness and a long life.

Barbara, bone broth has been around for some time. Especially among the foodie folk. It’s just now getting into the mainstream scene. Whether it holds, we will see.

But as far as it’s medicinal benefits, it is heavily incorporated in gut healing diets and folks with bone degenerative diseases. Try it yourself, so you can speak from experience rather than guesstimation.

I am a little surprised to find a show on The People’s Pharmacy based on the opinions of someone from Weston Price. This group has a very big bias against things like soy, vegetarianism, etc. Clearly this is a little skewed at best and I did not really expect that here. There is no “old fashioned food” anymore. We cannot eat like our great-great grandparents because that food no longer exists. Did the food of this generation contain antibiotics to the extent that is used today? Was their soil as nutritionally depleted as ours is today and laden with chemicals? On the surface, sure, Weston’s message seems like a good one- eat less processed foods, but I do not consider this to be a credible source. Thank you.

To say that there is no science, just bias, in the Weston A. Price recommendations, is absurd.
At the core of their work is Dr. Mary Enig’s lifetime of research on fats, done at a time when the government and virtually every self-declared expert was demonizing all fats, but especially
the valuable saturated fats. Despite the latest research that there was NEVER any good science showing that saturated fat affects heart disease. It’s almost impossible to put a stake
in the heart of that bad science. Respected authorities are still recommending skim milk for
children. Fats are a very complex subject and Dr. Enig’s work is invaluable in decoding them.

It’s perfectly possible to eat as your ancestors did – not easy, given government regulations,
but the Price people have shopping guides and networks of providers. If you did nothing but
take their advice on avoiding killer vegetable oils and seeking out raw milk cheeses and grassed butter and meat, you would improve your health enormously.

Grains are all the rage now, but if they’re not properly prepared, soaked in water to remove their phytates, they aren’t very good for you. Who knew that instinctively? Your ancestors, but now that knowledge is lost to those who lecture us on how to eat.

……………but yet we are living longer and doing things later in life that our grandparents never could do. So is all of this new stuff good or bad and more importantly WHY?

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