Tag Archives: Sally Fallon Morell

It’s been 10 years since I was introduced to Nourishing Traditions

Glass of fresh milk

The story of my life can be divided into the time before and after I opened the book.

The principles outlined by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig in Nourishing Traditions, which we recommend via our Amazon affiliation, have been deeply transformative for me on every level. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Not only has my diet changed fundamentally, but my career path has as well. I am far more emotionally stable, and my spirit has been significantly elevated.

In the following paragraphs, I would like to celebrate all the ways the book Nourishing Traditions has changed my life, and ask that you do the same in the comments!

Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD recommended that I purchase the book during my first office with him just over 10 years ago. I was seeing him due to insomnia, fairly debilitating depression and overall emotional instability. There were days I felt suicidal. When I saw Dr. Cowan, I was already eating organically, and had abandoned the vegetarian and vegan diet of the previous chapters in my life. I was no longer eating a diet comprised of mainly soy imitation foods. I already had eliminated sugar, caffeine and alcohol and wasn’t eating from boxes or cans. I didn’t have a microwave. There were virtually no processed foods in my diet however, I wasn’t aware of the importance of grass-fed animal foods, broth, ferments, organ meats, and raw as opposed to pasteurized diary. I was not aware of the dangers of soy in animal feed, the need to “properly prepare” nuts and grains. I had never had either milk or water kefir … or kombucha. Nourishing Traditions deepened my understanding of healing foods, of what it means to nourish and not merely feed ourselvs. I don’t think it is an exaggeration for me to assert that on many levels the book saved my life, or at the very least dramatically improved the quality of my life.

The principles resonated with me immediately. It all made sense. I started to make broth, which I’d never done in before.  I started to drink Claravale raw milk, which was sold on the selves in San Francisco where I lived for over 20 years until I moved to Portland in August of 2013. I started shopping at the farmers market regularly, and taking farm tours. I started to make my own kombucha and sauerkraut. I made kefir, creme fraiche, beet kvass … mayonaisse. I founded the San Francisco Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation not long after I purchased Nourishing Traditions, eager to be a part of a community that had yet to be organized. I even taught Nourishing Traditions foundational cooking classes! A year after I founded the chapter, I founded Nourishing Our Children. I wanted to create educational materials to teach with. I wanted to present these principles to audiences. I wanted to change lives, just as mine had been changed.

My freezer today typically has stored cow tongue, chicken feet and heads, beef bones, chicken and cow liver, mason jars of broth and saved chicken carcasses for future broth. My counter is adorned with a continuous brew kombucha artisanal crock from Kombucha Kamp, one of our referral partners. Next to it is a fermenting crock to make sauerkraut in. Some of my favorite kitchen appliances are a Hamilton Beach crock pot and a Kitchen Aid handheld blender. None of these were in my freezer or in my kitchen before I was introduced to Nourishing Traditions.

I generally know where my food has come from; who produced it. When I shop for animal food, I no longer ask if an item is organic. I ask what the animals have been fed, and how they have lived.

I now see the importance of grass, meaning pasture, not marijuana, in a whole new light. 

Hence the photo choice.

These dietary changes have resulted in dramatically increased and sustained emotional stability. I just simply don’t reach the  emotional lows that were common place 10 years ago. I think the focus on traditional fats and animal foods has grounded me tremendously. As a vegetarian and at times vegan, I was anemic. I have never been anemic in the last 10 years, as is evidenced by a number of lab tests, even when I had prolonged and heavy menstrual bleeding for over a month due to a fibroid that has since been easily removed in a 30 minute office visit. The persistent acne I had on my derriere, back and face had completed cleared up. I receive compliments on my skin regularly. I have the energy I need to sustain my many activities. I feel fairly happy and optimistic as a default setting. Keep in mind that I had been diagnosed with a number of mental health conditions including Major Depression, Recurrent, 296.33 Severe Without Psychotic Features while I vacillated between being a vegetarian and vegan for years.

One of the most important benefits of having opened the book Nourishing Traditions, is how it inspired me to become a community organizer. I now feel like I a part of a tribe, a movement, a community that has embraced me in chapter meetings in several cities I have visited, and in our pages and forums on Facebook. The book paved the way for me to find what I believe is my calling – to lead this cause, to educate on how to nourish our children and ourselves.

I extend my deep appreciation to Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig for one of the most influential books I have read in my lifetime. I could easily fill several more paragraphs on how Nourishing Traditions has positively contributed to my life experience, but I really want to hear from you!

A gift of appreciation

I will be giving away 10 Nourishing Traditions books as an expression of my appreciation for the 10 years of improved health and vitality I have experienced, chosen randomly from the comments below on June 21, 2014, the first day of summer. In order to be considered, we ask that comments be at least 5 sentences long so you have an opportunity to really share. Please include how the book has impacted you, or why you’d like to receive it. If you already have the book and are chosen, you may provide an address of where you’d like it to be sent as a gift to someone in your circle, or provide your own address and give it to someone yourself.

[June 22 Update. The 10 randomly chosen commenters have been notified. Thank you so much for your participation!]

How has Nourishing Traditions positively impacted you and yours?

Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.



Filed under Book Reviews, Nourishing Our Children, Our Cause

Podcast March 5, 2013


Topics include pre-conception nutrition for mother and father, childbirth, breastfeeding, vaccines, childhood illnesses, child spacing, attachment parenting and more!

I was asked to be interviewed with Sally Fallon Morell for the Food Integrity Now website. You can hear the recorded interview that Carol Grieve conducted, and/or read the following summation. Learn more about the Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care.

  • Sally let us know that there are now 16,000 members of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
  • Preconception: Most modern mothers who are planning to conceive are simply told to take prenatal vitamins, no other preparations are recommended. Traditional cultures engaged in specifically feeding for both parents for at least 6 month before conception. Sally mentioned the published recommended diet. We’ve now had 10 years of babies being born to mother’s following this diet and they are essentially, a bundle of joy.
  • The Importance of raw milk. Raw milk so much more available than even 7 or 8 years ago.  Sally would suggest that it is worth moving to a place that raw milk is available because raw milk ensures optimal development of the child.  Raw cheese and bone broth would substitute for bone broth.
  • Preparing for the baby. Note that the father’s diet is also important – we know, totally based on science, that the quality of the sperm at time of conception is based on father’s diet.  It needs to be a family a diet, followed together.
  • Cholesterol. For women, there is no such thing as high cholesterol, there is no greater risk of heart disease for women at any level, even if it is in the thousands [see The Benefits of High Cholesterol and corresponding references].  The tragedy of making a villan out of cholesterol is our children. Our children are paying the price because cholesterol is absolutely critical for forming the baby – hormones, development of brain, nervous system and most critically for the development of the gut, to get the good type of non-leaky gut.
  • Eggs. In our presentation, based on Sally Fallon Morell’s presentation, we recount that a pregnant woman will eat up to 10 eggs a day if she can afford them.  I was told by a nutritionist who practices within our community that even having 2 to 3 eggs a day would be prohibitive [being that she favors a focus on rotational eating]. There is still a persistent fear of eggs.  Sally points out that even the most ardent  proponents of the cholesterol theory, such as Ancel Keyes,  was very infatic that the diet did not influence cholesterol levels and that is why they started pushing the drugs, because they couldn’t bring cholesterol levels down in a consistent way.  There have been a number of studies exonerating eggs, including a man who ate 50 eggs a day, and he had normal cholesterol. So we are demonizing one of the most nutritious foods. The egg white is very difficult for some people to digest.  If that is the case, use them egg yolks in smoothies and make custards with the yolks.
  • Nutrition for Fetal Development. Sally highlights the importance of Vitamin A during the first trimester when the organs are being formed.  It is the concert master of fetal development.  It gives the stem cells the signals to become heart cells or kidney cells, and so forth.  If you don’t have enough Vitamin A before you become pregnant, than things can go wrong.  This underscores the need to build up our stores of Vitamin A before we get pregnant and then continue with these Vitamin A rich foods such as egg yolks, liver, fish eggs.
  • Cod Liver Oil.  Provides a nice balance of Vitamin A and D that is critical to fetal development.  It is recommended that it is taken before, during and after pregnancy and given to babies early.  It is recommended that one start early.  Sally puts her cod liver oil to a small shot glass and mixes it with warm to hot water.
  • Prenatal vitamins.  Not recommended. All synthetic, made in big factories … almost 100% of them are made in China, where there is no oversight on how they are made. Vitamin A in these are from carotenes, and one may get to much carotene which can actually disrupt true Vitamin A.  Also of concern, GMOs are used to produced these vitamins through a fermentation process. Dr. Ron’s multi-vitamin without Vitamins A and D in case one insists on taking them, along with cod liver oil. Saturated fats are highly recommended while pregnant, despite popular advise to avoid them.
  • Weight gain – Sally suggests that if one gains more weight during pregnancy than is advised, not to be worried. She said it is better to gain a little more weight than less. When wants to lose weight, the recommendation is to cut back on carbohydrates.
  • Ultra Sounds. Beyond once or twice while pregnant, there are dangers of ultra sounds. They are  associated with left handedness, delayed speech, delayed development.  Fetal monitors are also a form of ultra sound. Find a doctor that will use a fetal scope, which is stethoscope to listen to the baby.
  • Natural Childbirth is recommended, in part because an ultrasound is on the whole time during a cesarian.  The noise is like a train coming into a station.  Nonetheless, the cesarian is a life saver.  Good nutrition, the fat soluble vitamins A and D will also support and quick and [relatively] easy birth.
  • Homemade Baby Formula – Sally acknowledges that she has received a lot of criticism from breastfeeding advocates asserting that she is against breastfeeding. She clarifies that she is not against breastfeeding. She considers herself a realist. Breastfeeding doesn’t always work, there is an estimate that 10% to 15% of women simply don’t have enough supply. This is true in the animal world. Sally has dairy cows and explains that amongst the cows, there is a variety of production, some produce 4 gallons, others give half a gallon. These mothers need a good nutritious formula which is based on raw milk, as an alternative to commercial raw milk. See this related post on the topic.
  • Criticism of Baby Formula – I spoke to the fact that there are those who suggest that the homemade baby formula is an “easy option”. That some suggest that mothers aren’t getting enough support in breastfeeding, that there may be an issue that hasn’t been uncovered related to why the breastfeeding isn’t successful. Sally suggested that may very well be true, however one doesn’t have a lot of time.  They need to feed their babies.
  • Donor Milk – I spoke to the fact that there are those who think that donor milk “should be” the next option before formula.  I also address the concern expressed that the milk in donor banks is pasteurized and one may not know the quality of the mother’s diet.  Sally highlights the fact that there is a section in her book about donor milk and resources, but she does wonder how realistic it is to think that all of these mothers who can’t nurse are going to find donor milk! That is a lot of milk!  Again, you simply don’t have a lot of time to figure out what you’re going to do if your baby isn’t thriving on what you can produce.
  • Quality of Breast Milk – I raised the assertion I often hear in our discussions that “Even the worst quality breast milk is still better than any formula, commercial, homemade or otherwise.”  The Le Leche League asserts, “Your milk has every vitamin, mineral and other nutritional element that your baby’s body needs … There’s no reason to worry about the quality of your milk. Eating more won’t make more milk and not eating enough won’t make less milk.” The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Eighth Edition, La Leche League, 2010. Sally explains that she spends a lot of time in the book showing, with scientific studies with references, the great disparity you can have in nutrients in the milk depending on the diet. Sally is very proud of the fact that this is the most scientifically based book on babies out there with pages and pages of references, which is not typical. See this related post on the topic.
  • Soy Infant Baby Formula.  Soy is a goitrogen and causes thyroid problem.  When talking about the development of the child, it is an endocrine disruptor that passes through the placenta that causes changes in the baby. Animal studies show much more anxious rats. Soy infant formula is like the kiss of death.  Hard on the digestion system.  There is no greater example in Sally’s opinion of how wrong we’ve gone in our society than if we think it is okay to give soy infant formula to babies.
  • GMO’s. There is a strong warning against genetically modified foods in the book.
  • Vaccinations.  Squarely against vaccinations. If your child is fully vaccinated, he will have 36 shots by the age of 5 and that starts on the first day in the hospital. They don’t stop at that age. Sally and Dr. Cowan assert that they lead to is autoimmune diseases. Children who are vaccinations get sick more often. Children who are not vaccinations develop their own immune systems and are healthier all around.  If you must vaccinate, Sally suggests you at least wait until the age of 2.
  • Whopping Cough.  We spoke about this article, posted on our blog earlier this week, and how it was a rare disease in during Sally and Carol’s childhoods.  Sally speculated that the disease may be somehow more prevalent because of the vacine just as Leslie Manookiann did.
  • Dangers of Fluoride – it is an enzyme inhibitor and thyroid suppressant. Even our government warns now that children should not have too much fluoride it toothpaste being that it leads to modeled teeth.  Dr. Price didn’t find any natives using fluoride and they all had beautiful healthy teeth. Vitamin K is the key nutrient for healthy teeth.  If you have adequate levels of vitamin K in your saliva you won’t get cavities.  Vitamin K from liver, cheese, egg yolks, the fats of grass fed animals. It is recommended that one install a water filtration system to remove fluoride.
  • Child Spacing – I mentioned that this is one of the more controversial topics we’ve discussed. Sally explains that people can do whatever they want however,  both tradition and the science affirm that the ideal spacing between children is 3 years or more. Not only for the physical health of  the baby and the mother but, for the child’s emotional development.  It gives the mother a chance to recover.   In regard to the desire to leave it all up to God, Sally likes to think of it as a partnership with God. Traditional people were very, very attuned with the spiritual world and they certainly believed that it was entirely their responsibility to eat properly and to space between the children. If  you use that argument, you might as well say, it doesn’t matter how you eat, it’s all up to God.  And that is what a lot of people do say, when things so wrong, they just blame God.  See this related post on the topic.
  • Ear Infections - antibiotics are no longer routinely given to children. Number one is to get them off pasteurized milk products. It is associated with frequent ear infections.  Breast milk is found to be of value in clearing up ear infections. See our Facebook discussion on the topic.
  • Chicken pocks, measles and mumps. These diseases have been in decline for many years, long before vacccinations.  The child should have these diseases strengthens the immune system.  Fevers are important. Usually the illnesses are very mild.
  • Attachment parenting. Sally couldn’t disagree more with this theory. She thinks that it is a tremendous burden on the mother and the child. The child doesn’t want or need to be held all the time. Sally talks about alternating between putting the child in a baby like seat at a 45 degree angle so he can watch whats going, and then baby needs to be unfettered on the floor, learning how to roll over and sit up and crawl, and then the baby needs to be held and nursed.  Sally asserts that  is not good for the mother or baby to be held all the time. Baby’s like to be alone just like adults like to be alone.  Baby’s need a lot of developing to do and they need to do that on their own alone. Sally’s babies didn’t want her to hold them.  I referred to this widely popular banner that ended up being viewed over 100,000 times and liked and shared over 850 times,  whereby the consensus was that a baby can’t be held too much yet, Sally said that she thinks a baby can, in fact, be held too much.

What do you think about the many opinions shared?  Let us focus on ideas and not individuals.


Filed under Babies, Childbirth, Dr. Price's Research, Fertility, Nourishing Our Children, Raw Milk, Soy, Vaccination

Nourish the whole child with finger painting!

Finger Painting


As a former art therapist and learning specialist, I often utilized finger painting in my practice. Finger painting is an age-old activity that fosters children’s creativity as it captivates their interest.

Kerry Greasley explains, “Finger painting has existed for centuries, but was established in its modern form in the 1930s by Ruth Faison Shaw. She was one of the first to recognise its therapeutic potential and was hailed as “a pioneer in progressive education”. At a time when many thought children should be seen and not heard, she saw finger painting as an important way for children to communicate their unexpressed words and feelings. The instinctive nature of finger painting, she said, “aids the imagination and gives a delight in creating things subconsciously – things that one may not even have seen or dreamed of before”.


Dr Elsie Calitz, a mother of five adult children and a grandmother of six, offers this list of 15 reasons to finger paint:

  1. Kids can learn informally about mixing and exploring colours.
  2. Sensory integration is promoted.
  3. All the senses are involved: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and (if you use edible paint) tasting!
  4. Finger painting strengthens the finger and hand muscles, thereby improving fine motor development .
  5. The development of hand-eye coordination is supported.
  6. If you place the paper on the floor, large muscle control and balance could be improved.
  7. Finger painting is easier for little fingers that are not yet ready to manipulate a brush with skill.
  8. This is a non-prescriptive way of promoting children’s self-expression.
  9. There is a focus on the process, not on the end result or the finished product.
  10. Finger painting is therapeutic – children can express their feelings visually without using words.
  11. It stimulates creativity and imagination.
  12. Finger painting is an excellent way of creating shared art work with a group of kids working together.
  13. The finished art work and the process are stimulation points for discussion on the creative process, the colours, the themes, the design etc., thus language development is promoted.
  14. Kids learn that they can manipulate and be in control of their surroundings.
  15. It is messy, which also means it is fun!

Red finger paint strokes


Store bought finger paints can be filled with toxins and synthetic colorants. Make your own finger paint using non-toxic, safe, organic ingredients!

Jeannie Lyon has published a non-toxic finger paint recipe:


3 tablespoons organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup organic corn starch
2 cups water
organic food colorants such as Maggie’s Naturals, NaturalFlavors , IndiaTree or make your own instructions below


Add a couple of drops of natural food colorants to a muffin tin or other container. Add all of the other ingredients to a small saucepan and continually stir over low heat until the mixture thickens to a paint consistency. Pour equal amounts of the paint mixture into each muffin section. Mix each of the paints up until the color is evenly distributed. Get painting!

Make your own food coloring

Bring 2-cups of water to a boil.
Let the water cool for 1 minute.
Add a small amount of turmeric to the water.
Continue adding little bits of turmeric until you reach the desired color.
Store in a glass container after cooling.

Add several medium-size, unpeeled beets to a pan and cover them with water.
SImmer the beets for 35 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.
Peel the beets.
Chop the beets and put them back into the pan with the water.
Leave the pan for several hours, watching as the color of the water changes.
Strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth into a glass jar.
Mix 2 teaspoons of organic white vinegar into the water.
Shake well and store.

Place 2-cups of fresh spinach leaves in a pot.
Cover the leaves with water.
Boil the leaves for 1-minute.
Let the pot simmer for 10 minutes.
Allow the water to cool.
Strain the colored water through a cheesecloth into a galss jar.
Store with a tight fitting lid.

Source: http://organic.lovetoknow.com/Natural_Food_Coloring

Additional ideas to make your own natural food coloring.

Let them be

Once you set your children up to finger paint, consider this advice: “Don’t teach them, don’t praise them, don’t correct them, let them experiment, play, imagine and create the world they want to live in.”  Written by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD in their new book in regard to the serious business of play. “For children, play is a serious business in which adults have no right to interfere. That’s right; notwithstanding the advice of countless childrearing experts who advocate “play time” with their children, parents should not share in a child’s play activities. Children’s play is an activity so foreign to an adult consciousness that no parents can really play with their children. … Note that playing baseball or soccer doesn’t count as play.”

What do you think about these statements about play?!

What is your experience of finger painting?  Did you do it as a child?  Do you have your children finger paint? Have you made your own?

Read some public comments about this article made on Facebook.


Filed under Activities, Nourishing The Whole Child

A new Nourishing Traditions book focused on babies and children

5 Stars

I was delighted to discover that I was the first person to post a review on  Amazon!

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care

I think this is a invaluable addition to Nourishing Traditions and The FourFold Path to Healing. I have awaited a comprehensive resource like this for some time. I have a sense that this book is an “all in one”. It not only teaches us how to nourish ourselves and our children, it covers strategies on how to heal our children from many childhood illnesses as well. What a gift to have several chapters of expert recommendations from Dr. Thomas Cowan on how to treat high fever, eczema, rashes and ear infections, to name only a few. The book covers a wide range of topics ranging from holistic treatments for morning sickness, an overview of child rearing philosophies through time, autism, toys, childproofing, attachment parenting, the serious business of play, story time, supporting a child’s developmental stages, toilet training and elimination communication, vaccinations, sex education, child spacing and birth control. It serves, in many respects, to answer frequently asked questions for how to raise a healthy, well adjusted child from before they are even conceived into adulthood. The book is more than a practical “how to” guide however. It also offers insight into the evolution of a child’s soul by illuminating the work of Rudolf Steiner in a chapter titled “From Birth to Adulthood.”

There are a recipes included, but this is not a recipe book. Nourishing Traditions has already covered recipes in depth. I like that there are resources throughout for further reading, and information on where to find the recommended products or therapeutics. I envision this would be an invaluable reference book in every parent’s home and plan to give it as a wedding and baby shower gift myself!

This book leaves me with the hope and belief that even in this modern era, it is still possible to nourish a child’s wide, radiant smile – both structurally and emotionally.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Book Club

Join us in reading this book as a community on Facebook starting in March, once our readers receive their books:  Nutritional Wisdom Book Club.
The book is available to be shipped immediately from New Trends Publishing. It is also available on Amazon with a February 10, 2013 ship date.

Meanwhile … 

Read the chapter on Feeding Newborns.
Read Sally Fallon Morell’s thoughts on breastfeeding.


Filed under Babies, Book Reviews, Nourishing Our Children

Sally Fallon Morell on Breastfeeding

Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan, MD have written a new book focused on how to nourish our children! The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Preparing for your Baby
Chapter 2: Fetal Development
Chapter 3: A Healthy Pregnancy
Chapter 4: Your Baby is Born
Chapter 5: Newborn Interventions
Chapter 6: Vaccines
Chapter 7: The Feeding of Newborns
Chapter 8: Bringing Up Baby
Chapter 9: Nourishing A Growing Child
Chapter 10: From Birth to Adulthood
Chapter 11: Child Spacing & Birth Control
Chapter 12: The Role of Illness in Child Development
Chapter 13: Strategies for Infectious Disease
Chapter 14: Treating Diseases of the Ear, Nose & Throat
Chapter 15: Treating Allergies, Asthma & Eczema
Chapter 16: Treating Neurological Disorders
Chapter 17: A Catalog of Childhood Illnesses
Appendix I: Therapy Instructions
Appendix I: The GAPS Diet Protocol
Appendix III: Recipes
Appendix IV: Resources

Source: http://nourishingourchildren.org/Table-of-Contents.pdf

Order Now

The book will be available in February. You may order now! Amazon has offered a pre-sale opportunity! I have placed my order! http://tinyurl.com/cxrn5n3

Some have wondered, what is the author’s position on breastfeeding?

Sally sent me the chapter that focuses on breastfeeding, and I reprint the introductory remarks by permission:

“It is assumed that any pregnant woman reading this book plans to breastfeed her baby. Mothers who recognize the importance of diet in the physical health of their infants will opt for mother’s milk—a food uniquely designed for the infant—rather than commercial formula based on powdered milk, industrial oils, refined sweeteners, questionable additives and artificial vitamins. The trend towards more natural methods of childrearing began with a comeback for breastfeeding during the 1970s, as much a reaction to a medical establishment deemed paternalistic and insensitive to women’s needs as a recognition, backed by many scientific studies, of breastmilk’s amazing properties. For most women, breastfeeding comes easily. Immediately after birth, baby is put on mom’s chest. He turns his head to the breast—he may even wiggle up her torso to the breast—roots his head back and forth to find the nipple and latches on. If the baby is healthy and strong, he will latch on with a tremendous, sucking grip, giving first-time mothers something of a shock. As baby sucks, mom feels a let-down reflex and the milk begins to flow. Baby nurses only a few moments at first, then longer and longer with each nursing. Within a few weeks, baby nurses for twenty minutes every two to three hours, steadily gains weight, and is contented between nursings. Mom and baby settle into a routine and all is well.

But for some women, even many women, all does not go well. Breastfeeding may be painful, mom may develop sores, baby may not latch on properly, and most seriously, baby does not gain weight, cries a lot and is obviously hungry. Or, mom may be exhausted or sick; breastfeeding may make her feel resentful, or even embarrassed; she may need to return to a work environment that makes breastfeeding difficult if not impossible. Or, she may not have any milk at all—due to illness, surgery or the fact that she has adopted her baby.

Most of this chapter will be dedicated to addressing these problems—not because we don’t think breastfeeding is important, but because little needs to be said about normal, successful breastfeeding. After all, women have been breastfeeding for thousands and thousands of years. Those for whom breastfeeding goes smoothly will not even need this chapter; those who are struggling need detailed and specific advice.

Unfortunately, discussions about infant feeding today have become polarized, even acrimonious. Whereas fifty years ago, the medical community pressured women into giving formula as the scientific and modern thing to do, today many women feel pressured into continued breastfeeding even when baby is obviously not doing well. Breastfeeding literature tends to be judgmental—often implying that lack of breastfeeding success is the mother’s fault, and that if she switches to formula, she is a bad mother.

We need to accept as a fact of life that breastfeeding is not always successful, in spite of the best efforts of the mother. In fact, it would be amazing that out of all the organs in the body, women’s breasts had the unique property of working well under all circumstances. Fortunately, we now have homemade alternatives to breast milk that are much healthier than commercial formula. The important thing is to provide the information needed to maximize either breastfeeding or formula-feeding success. Let’s keep in mind that breastfeeding is not some kind of contest between moms to see who can do it longest and best, but away of providing maximum nutrition to the infant; and that our role as parents, mentors, advisors and friends of a new mother is to provide information in a calm and rational way, and then to support her in whatever decision she may make.”

What do you think of this perspective?

When I post content that may be controversial, I keep in mind Bill Cosby’s words: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

If you don’t resonate with the author’s perspective and want to express an alternative viewpoint, please keep your discussion focused on ideas and not individuals.  We are deeply committed to cultivating discourse that honors the principles of Nonviolent Communication.

Again, the book will be available in February. You may order now! Amazon has offered a pre-sale opportunity! http://tinyurl.com/cxrn5n3


Filed under Babies, Childbirth, Nourishing Our Children

If we eat animal brains, will we be smart?

Photo of Lamb's Brains

Yes, I would venture to assert that we are more likely to be smart.  In order to develop our human brains, we need vital nutrients that are found in organ meats, such as animal brains.  Many of the key nutrients needed for brain development: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Choline, DHA, Zinc, Tryptophan, and Cholesterol are found in organ meats.

I visited with my family in Southern California this past weekend.  My mother was born in Marrakech, Morocco and raised on their traditional diet, which included organ meats.  Yesterday, she shared with me and my siblings that she fed us lamb’s brains as soon as we were eating solid foods.  She simply sauteed them in a skillet because the brains didn’t need any additional fat.  They already had the “good kind of fat”, she explained.  I read today in the Cook’s Thesaurus that:

“Even adventurous eaters often draw the line at brains, and it’s just as well, since they’re loaded with cholesterol [which my mother's culture didn't fear].  Those who do eat them often scramble them with eggs.  It’s very important that brains be fresh, so either cook them or freeze them the day you buy them. Substitutes:  sweetbreads. Brains and sweetbreads can be used interchangeably in most recipes, but brains aren’t as well regarded.”

My mother explained that organ meats are routinely served in Morocco with onion, garlic and parsley. As the Weston A. Price Foundation states, “Organ meats are the most nutrient-dense part of the animal—from ten to 100 times richer in vitamins and minerals than muscle meats—and traditional cultures always consumed them, usually in rich dishes that included cream and plenty of butter. Such fare is truly food for the body and soul!”

Why Organ Meats?  Sally Fallon Morell explains,

“Compared with muscle meats, organ meats are richer in just about every nutrient, including minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, and in B vitamins including B1, B2, B6, folic acid and especially vitamin B12. Organ meats provide high levels of the all-important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, especially if the animals live outside in the sunlight and eat green grass. Organ meats are also rich in beneficial fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA. Organ meats even contain vitamin C—liver is richer in vitamin C than apples or carrots! Even if you add only small amounts of organ meats to your ground meat dishes, you are providing your family with super nutrition  . . .  in ways that everyone likes and are easy to consume.” Sally explains how to hide organ meats for those who are not amenable in her article: Cooking with Mystery Meat

My mother told me that she fed us all the organ meats …  kidney and liver as well but, brain was my favorite. She said that organ meats were highly valued in Morocco and France, where I was born and raised my first five years. When we migrated to America, she discovered that organ meats were not embraced by the predominate culture. She could eat very economically going to an Iranian grocer and buying organ meats for a fraction of the cost because no one wanted them. It has been reported that human children who grow up eating the brains of animals have healthier brains and nervous systems than those who didn’t.

My mother also told me that one of the culinary traditions she was taught was to soak kidneys and liver in lemon juice or vinegar in order to purify them. Interestingly, Sally Fallon Morell offers the same instructions in her book Nourishing Traditions, available via our Amazon affiliation.

I found this recipe for brains that I have yet to try but, it is similar to what my mother described, without the flour:

3 eggs
1 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. minced parsley
1/2 c. butter
1 tbsp. white vinegar such as Spectrum Naturals
1 1/2 lbs. beef, lamb, pork or veal brains
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse brains well under cold running water. Combine 1 quart water, the vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in saucepan and bring to boil. Add brains, and boil briskly, uncovered, 10 minutes. Drain and plunge into very cold water. When cool, drain well on paper towels. With small sharp knife remove any membrane and veins. Cut and sprinkle flour, add seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, add eggs, saute in butter in large skillet until eggs are done, or until lightly brown.

While brain is one of the most nutritionally-dense organs found in any animal, unfortunately it is also an organ that can carry a concentrated amount of disease. Mad cow disease refers to the degenerative and fatal condition that occurs in cows, which essentially creates holes in an infected cow’s brain. Cattle can become infected with the disease by eating feed that contains infected tissue. We recommend that one consume the flesh and organ meats of cows eating grass, yet most cows Americans eat are fed grain fortified with finely ground-up meat for protein. The chickens that were ground up as protein for the cows were probably themselves fed grain fortified with ground-up cow, and so on. If disease enters this feed-and-be-fed-to system, it’s suddenly everywhere.  So to ensure safety and nutrient density, we recommend that one eat organ meats that are from animals that were out on pasture, eating their natural diet exclusively.

Here are some Gourmet Organ Meat Recipes provided by the Weston A. Price Foundation, including one for sweetbreads, which I’ve read are interchangeable with brains:

Pan Broiled Sweetbreads Alpine Style

Sweetbreads are the name given to the thymus gland of the calf. The best quality sweetbreads come from milk-fed calves. They are delicious and have the consistency of chicken, but they must be very fresh.

Serves 6

Ingredients, some of which we recommend through our Amazon affiliation:

3 pairs of sweetbreads
2 quarts salted water for blanching
1 lemon, sliced
1 1/2 cups or more salted butter
3/4 cup sourdough bread crumbs
1 teaspoon sea salt, such as The Spice Lab, Celtic Sea Salt and Real salt.
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup unbleached flour
6 thin slices Italian prosciutto ham
6 Portobello mushroom caps, sliced (save the stems for mushroom soup)
Juice of 2 lemons, strained
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup homemade beef stock
2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped
6 slices toasted sourdough bread
fried parsley for garnish


  1. To pre-prepare the sweetbreads, wash them and trim off all connective tissue.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the salted water to boil with the lemon slices.
  3. Drop the sweetbreads into the boiling water and blanch until the meat turns whitish, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove to a colander, rinse with cold water and pat dry.
  5. Place a weight on the sweetbreads to flatten and chill well.
  6. Peel off the membrane and divide into 6 portions.
  7. Dredge the sweetbreads in a mixture of bread crumbs, salt, pepper, thyme and unbleached flour.
  8. Melt the butter or coconut oil in a cast iron skillet and sauté the sweetbreads on both sides until brown.
  9. Remove to a heated platter and keep warm in the oven.
  10. In the same pan, sauté the sliced mushrooms, adding additional butter if necessary.
  11. Remove the mushrooms and add more butter.
  12. When butter foams, deglaze with white wine and beef stock.
  13. Reduce until the sauce thickens.
  14. Stir the chopped parsley into the sauce.
  15. To serve, arrange the slices of toast on heated plates. Top each with a slice of ham and place the sweet breads on the ham. Arrange the mushrooms around the toast and drizzle sauce over the sweetbreads. Garnish with fried parsley. (Note: to fry parsley, drop in a fryer basket into hot fat, preferably tallow, for about 10 seconds until crisp.)

More ways to prepare organ meats

  • Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth, who supported my efforts to establish Nourishing Our Children during our first year, has supplied us with a Swedish Meatball Recipe that includes liver.  I have made it successfully without bread while on GAPS™.  One of our supporters, Tandy Batt, made the recipe and photographed the dish.
  • Angie Needles of MamaKai, one of our former volunteer presenters, has supplied us with this recipe for meatloaf which includes organ meats.  I served this meatloaf to Solis McGruther, Jenny McGruther‘s son, who was 5 at the time, and he ate it without hesitation!
  • Sherry Rothwell, one of our supporters, has supplied us with the “Best Liver Recipe Ever for those afraid to try or convinced they don’t like it but wish they did”!
  • Here are more reasons to eat liver and recipes from around the world from Lynn Razaitis.

I’d love to hear your experience of organ meats and any helpful hints you have for our readers on how to prepare them so that your family will enjoy them!


Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.


Filed under Nourishing Our Children, Nutrient Dense Foods, Recipes

Nutrient Dense Baby Formula

We have all heard that “breastfeeding is best”.

Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions reminds us, “We need to keep our eyes on the goal—which is healthy children. Breastfeeding is the best way to accomplish this goal, if the mother has a healthy [nutrient dense] diet and if her milk supply is adequate. To pretend that all women can breastfeed without difficulty, and that all breast-milk is completely nourishing, does women and their children a great disservice.  … Women need to know that there are other options besides commercial formula, and that a healthy supplement can be given to a hungry baby even while he suckles at the breast.” Read about successful breastfeeding and successful alternatives.

Before I receive a plethora of protest from mothers who want to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding, please note that this is not a post disparaging the virtues of breastfeeding in any way, shape or form but, rather a post offering an alternative to commercial baby formulas if and when that is needed.  Ann Marie Michaels of Cheeseslave wrote what I think is a vulnerable accounting of  her experience needing to supplement with baby formula in this blog post How to Make Baby Formula.

Photos of Glass Bottles of Homemade Baby Formula

Why homemade baby formula?

  • Not every woman can breastfeed successfully.  Some mothers do not have enough supply.
  • There are circumstances in which breastfeeding is not an option, such as adoption.
  • Human milk will be lacking in vitamins A, D, B12 and other fat soluble vitamin if the mother’s diet is poor. Junk foods full of trans fatty acids will reduce the fat content of mothers’ milk and cause trans fatty acids to be present in mothers’ milk. Homemade whole food baby formula will be more nutritious than the milk of mothers on a junk food diet.

Here is everything you need to know about the various homemade baby formulas we recommend, including recipes and a how-to video:

What is wrong with commercial infant formula?

Let’s look at the ingredient lists as reviewed by Naomi Baumslag, MD, MPH  in her article Tricks of the Infant Food Industry:

Water: May contain high levels of fluoride.
Corn Syrup: Contains glucose. Mother’s milk contains lactose as the main carbohydrate. Not all brands of formula contain lactose.
Sucrose: Contains no lactose. The wrong sugar for babies.
Soy Oil: Processed using high temperatures and chemicals, bleached and deodorized. Likely to be rancid.
Whey Protein: High temperature processing likely to destroy fragile whey proteins.
Soy Protein Isolate: Highly processed, contains phytoestrogens that can adversely affect baby’s hormonal development and depress thyroid function. Does not have Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)  status.
Carrageenan: Extremely hard to digest. In most ready-mixed formulas, carrageenan is one of the main causes of digestive disorders in formula-fed infants, not lactose-intolerance. Caused liver problems and retarded growth in rats.
Soy Lecithin: Extracted from the soy oil sludge. Likely to be high in pesticides.
Synthetic Vitamins: Often have the opposite effect of vitamins naturally occurring in food.
Free Glutamic Acid (MSG) and Aspartic Acid: Neurotoxins formed during processing of milk and soy protein powders. Levels are especially high in hypoallergenic formulas.

What is wrong with soy formula?

As Sally Fallon Morell explains, “An estimated 25% of North American babies receive infant formula made from processed soybeans. Parents use soy formula in the belief that is it healthier than formula based on cows’ milk. Soy promotional material claims that soy provides complete protein that is less allergenic than cows’ milk protein. When soy infant formula first became commercially available, manufacturers even promised that soy formula was “better than breast milk.” … “The most serious problem with soy formula is the presence of phytoestrogens or isoflavones. While many claims have been made about the health benefits of these estrogen-like compounds, animal studies indicate that they are powerful endocrine disrupters that alter growth patterns and cause sterility. Toxicologists estimate that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day.”  Read more about the problems with soy infant formula.

Here is a testimonial about the homemade baby formula:

Making Homemade Baby Formula

My adopted son Tate started on the homemade raw milk formula when he was three days old-and has thrived on it. Since I knew I would be making formula for my baby, I was able to prepare ahead of time. I love to cook, but like most people, I took one look at the raw milk formula in Nourishing Traditions and was a little apprehensive with the long list of ingredients. Actually, I added one other ingredient-1-2 tablespoons cow colostrum to each batch.

I knew that sleep deprivation was in my future! Nevertheless, I forged ahead with optimism, and to my great delight, after the first few times of making the formula, it became easy as baby-pie! It only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish, including clean up!

Here are some of my tricks. First, before Tate arrived, I made ice-cube portions of the whey, cream and colostrum. A typical cube section in a tray equals two tablespoons. This is the perfect amount for the formula; four tablespoons or two cubes for the whey and two tablespoons or one cube for the cream and colostrum.

Here’s my early morning routine. First I rinse off everything with hot water to make sure there is nothing foreign on my utensils. I fill an 8-cup glass measuring bowl with a pour spout with 2 cups of filtered water, then scoop out 2 tablespoons to make 1 7/8 cups. I pour this into a stainless steel pot and add the gelatin. I turn the stove on between low and medium to just warm the ingredients, not boil. Then I add 2 frozen cubes of whey, and 1 each of cream and colostrum. I also add the coconut oil to the pot so that it melts sufficiently. In the same measuring bowl I used for the water, I add the milk and the rest of the oils and dry ingredients (which are available at most health food stores and/or Radiant Life. By the time I am done with that, the frozen ingredients are melted and I add them together in the big glass measuring bowl. At this point I blend the formula in the blender. I found when left unblended the oils in the formula do not combine well enough. Be sure not to blend for too long, as the cream may curdle.

Then I pour the formula back into the measuring bowl, divide it into glass baby bottles, add the nipples and tops, and that’s it! Even with sleep deprivation, I find this process to be easy and doable. For the actual feedings, I use a bottle warmer that heats with steam instead of going to the stove to boil water each time. When you have a hungry baby, as many of you know, warming a bottle is something you want to happen sooner rather than later.

Once you do it a few times, it’s easy. . . and our baby has thrived on the formula!

Jen Allbritton, CN, Evergreen, Colorado

Please read more testimonials

The Radiant Life Company is deeply committed to supporting our collective health and wholeness.  They have many of the ingredients for the homemade baby formulas ready to be shipped to your door if the need arises with 11% to 17% discount when you order the items as a kit to be shipped in the United States!  They also have kits available for international shipping.  We do not receive a referral bonus from Radiant Life.

We highly recommend the books Nourishing Traditions and Nourishing Traditions Book of baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon, available via our Amazon affiliation.

Update: There is a robust discussion on this topic on Facebook, which has proven to be controversial. Some recommend that before one turn to homemade formula, that they explore the notion of donor breast milk from mothers who are consuming a nutrient dense diet.  This source was recommended: http://www.hm4hb.net/

Have you tried making your own baby formula? Please share your experiences with us!

Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.


Filed under Babies, Nourishing Our Children