Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The ancient Greeks would often eat a diet rich in cheese before competing in the Olympic games. The Isle of Delos, which was the home of many Olympic games and was also the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, was a place that valued the nutritious quality of this food. So strong was their affection for cheese that, according to Anita Pearl in her book Completely Cheese, they had engraved an image of cheese on their currency. Parents also used cheese as a reward to their children for excellence in sports and academics. Because a diet of cheese was a staple in ancient Greek culture, it is fair to postulate that the Spartans were a people whose diet consisted heavily of cheese as well.
But it was not just the Greeks that would eat cheese for its nutritive value; the great Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his men subsisted on a diet rich in cheese and other dairy products. They would often travel with herds and would make cheese in order to have a more shelf stable food product to take into battle. Some of their best warriors were the most adamant about their diets of fermented milk products. In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon comments about cheese, saying it is, “one of those highly nourishing foods that has gotten the human race through history to this point in time.”
Cheese has played a vital role in health and fitness for many years and will continue to do so in the future. But not all cheese is created equal. We live in a Velveeta society and this type of processed cheese is very different from what the Greek Olympic athletes and the mighty men of Genghis Khan had eaten. They would have consumed a raw milk cheese product and the animals would have been fully pastured and grass fed. Raw-milk cheese from grass-fed cows is the optimal type of cheese to eat for nutrition. Raw-milk cheese from grass-fed cows contains essential trace minerals and enzymes that promote life and yield vitality. Hear this fascinating story from Dr. Ron Schmid in his book The Untold Story of Milk:
“Many stories relate longevity to the consumption of fermented milk, but that of Thomas Parris is perhaps the grandest. “Old Parr” was an English peasant reputed by some account to have lived 152 years, though modern researchers argue that 102 may be closer to the truth. He died in 1635, having lived a ribald life on a diet of “sub-rancid cheese and milk in every form, coarse and hard bread and small drink, generally sour whey,” William Harvey wrote. Harvey, the physician who discovered the circulation of the blood, performed an autopsy on Parr that was said to have verified his great age. Parr’s legend includes stories of extraordinary sexual endowment. At the alleged age of 105, he was ordered to do public penance for indecent sexual overtures to a woman, and 17 years later, he married a second time. After a suitable interval he was said to have become the father of a child.”
Whether or not the legend of “Old Parr’s” age is completely accurate, cheese has been associated with health and longevity for a long time. Recent studies are even finding that the ratio of vitamin A to D in products such as cheese can help fight autoimmune disease. Chris Masterjohn discusses the finding of a Japanese study showing synthesis of vitamin A and D suppressing the production of Th17 cells, the ones that elicit a negative immune response. The right ratio of vitamin A and D will keep these cells from creating dangerous chemicals like interleukin-17, which yield unnecessary damage to the body from an improper immune response. I believe that in the future the manifold benefits of a nutritional approach to health will be elucidated by the use of technology and that many will regret deviating from the wisdom of our ancestors. You can check out Chris Masterjohn’s article here http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2012/01/22/new-evidence-of-synergy-between-vitamins-a-and-d-protection-against-autoimmune-diseases/#more-629
Cheese contains calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin b2 and more, just as raw milk does. The difference is, however, that cheese is a concentrated form of milk. I often refer to cheese as the espresso of milk. Therefore cheese is a more nutrient dense food per calorie and is a great substitute for those that have trouble digesting milk because it does not contain the milk sugar lactose. Cheese also has many of the enzymes present in raw milk and some medical practitioners will argue that enzyme presence in the body directly correlates to health and longevity. For more information on the importance of enzymes see Dr. Edward Howell’s work. (http://sites.commercecreators.com/folder1402/listing/EnzymeNutrition.pdf)
Cheese also contains large amounts of high quality protein. The process of fermenting actually increases the bioavailability of protein so your body synthesizes cheese protein more efficiently than it does other forms. Cheese protein is a complete protein just like milk protein. This simply means that all of the necessary amino acids for building muscle and cell tissue are present in cheese. Some evidence suggests that the concentration of protein in cheese is the most heavily concentrated form in a food. A single ounce of raw-milk cheese has on average 10-12 grams of protein (depending on style of cheese).
The reason grass-fed is so important is because it actually enhances the nutrient value of the food. Cheese from grass-fed animals contains significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids than factory farmed cheese. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for many physiological processes in the human body, especially the brain. As Ron Schmid writes,
“The human brain is a storehouse of omega-3 fatty acids, and adequate amounts of these fats lower the risks and alleviate the symptoms for a number of mental disorders, including dementia, depression, attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia. Heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms are much less likely to occur in people with diets rich in omega-3s. In one French study, women with the highest levels of omega-3s in their tissues were least likely to have early metastasis in breast cancer; the authors also reported decreased breast cancer incidence was associated with diets high in omega 3s. Most Americans do not consume adequate amounts of these nutrients; 20 percent have levels so low as to be undetectable.”
So now you may be left wondering, how does one get their hands on good quality grass fed raw milk cheese? In our culture it can be a little more challenging than meets the eye depending on what part of the country you live in. Out of a passion for great quality raw-milk cheese from grass-fed cows and a desire to get it to as many people as possible our online cheese shop was born. We work closely with an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania that produces some of the most delicious cheese we have ever had and it is all from 100% grass-fed jersey cows. We offer it at a competitive price so that it is affordable for everyone. Lets eat as well as our ancestors did.
Real Milk Cheesewww.Realmilkcheese.com
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
On March 30th, 2010, my sister Kirsten passed surround by loved ones. She was 28 years old. Kirsten’s memory is vivid with me now having just crossed the 1 year anniversary of her passing and her liberation from the prison that was her physical existence during the last 3 years of her life. With the emotions so raw, I am reminded how her mental suffering stretched back so much further.
My sister died from complications from diabetes and an eating disorder. Her body and her soul were literally starving for nourishment. Looking at my sister, the deprivation was obvious. She was young, her mind was sharp, but her body had succumbed to the ravages of aging well before her time. Her kidneys had stopped functioning and dialysis was an every other day occurrence. She battled high blood pressure and Kirsten’s vision was qualified as legally blind. She had two toe amputations and her bones would fracture under the slightest stress. Anyone looking at my sister knew her health was degenerating. My sister was in the minority. For the majority of our population we don’t see the decline until the health situation becomes dire. As we look around today the disordered eating behaviors aren’t so obvious. Rest assured it is there.
I share my sister’s story to honor her memory and hopefully inspire others to avoid a similar journey. The issues that burden our culture regarding food, nutrition, and health are immense. There is no magic pill that will suddenly resolve this dilemma. As a society, we are over-fed, over-supplemented, over-medicated, and well under-nourished. The nutritional starvation we experience isn’t simply a description of the void found in the nutrient content of industrially grown and processed food. In fact I contend that it is equally the result of the emotional, or lack thereof, connection we have with our food and the people we eat meals with. The beauty of this problem is that it doesn’t require money to resolve. It simply necessitates a shift in the way we think about our food.
Healthy eating isn’t all about organic food. The term organic has become a buzz word exploited by industry to advance the sales of more of the same. Just because it is “organic” is no guarantee that it will support healing and sustenance. And in addition to the words describing a food, the context in which we consume it is crucially important. An all organic meal eaten while driving 60 miles an hour down the highway rushing from one appointment to the next while stressing out about how overwhelmed we are can’t possibly nourish our body the way food is suppose to. Conversely, a non-organic, non-local meal prepared with mindfulness and intent, consumed with those dearest to our hearts, and reflected on as a blessing to our body and soul will give us exactly the nourishment we need.
I am not saying the quality of our food doesn't matter… it absolutely does. The diseases of the past, those things that killed the most people even just 75 years ago were infectious diseases. The times have changed and people are still dying. Today though, entire cultures are dying from lifestyle diseases – cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. So the food does matter and we must realize the context from which we consume our food is a simple area that deserves serious attention.
Food has the potential to be the most powerful medicine we have. Greater than any drug now and any we may ever find. The context, the manner and means with which we consume our meals defines our relationship to the food. Food itself isn’t good or bad, organic or not. The benefit or detriment to our health from food is based primarily on the quantity, frequency, and context from which we consume it, our relationship with it. We must stop ascribing human qualities like good or bad to the food itself. It is just food.
Relationships on the other hand can be good or bad and I am sure most of us have experienced examples of both. Relationships of all sorts provide the opportunity for personal growth and betterment. Relationships are built on the foundation of the behaviors and the habits we as individuals bring to them. These behaviors and habits can be observed, understood, and replicated by those we hold most dear. Health is contagious. Build a solid foundation for yourself and your family by slowing down and eating together. Focus and cultivate a healthy, mindful relationship with food and eating. This will carry over to every meal we consume; with every person we break bread. This is the space from where true nourishment and genuine health will come. It will help propel us all into our most healthy future. It is a simple step with profound effects that we can all start embracing today.
Monday, May 9, 2011
What are the first thoughts that come to mind when imaging the beckoning of springtime in the
Growing up in this region, the arrival of springtime has also always suggested the arrival of seasonal allergies that are unmatched in other areas of the country. Hay fever (not necessarily related to hay and seldom associated with a fever) can be incapacitating and the number of individuals affected in the spring is staggering. Allergic rhinitis – inflammation of the nose and/or sinuses – is accompanied by sneezing, nasal mucus discharge, nasal congestion, nasal itching, and watery, itchy eyes, and affects countless individuals. The increased mucus creates an environment that is an ideal place for bacteria to grow and lead to sinus infections and sinus pressure. This process is a hypersensitive reaction to the increased pollen count in our environment as the new grasses, trees, and weeds begin to grow.
It may seem as if we are helpless against this increased pollen count since when we walk outside we are exposed. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help minimize our overall inflammatory burden which will subsequently decrease the severity of our inflammatory response to the pollens. The at home solutions we will talk about today include monitoring the foods we eat, increasing omega 3 consumption, as well as washing out our sinuses.
The first way to address allergies of all types is to examine what we consume. What we put into our body on a daily basis has a lasting effect on how we feel each and every day. Seasonal allergies are no exception to the rule. In order to address allergies with diet modification, it is vital to explore the individual’s sensitivity to particular foods. Often we consume foods that we are sensitive to without noticing any direct reaction from the offending food. The food sensitivities we are concerned with will not cause our nose to drip or our eyes to itch. It is not the type of allergic food reaction that requires an EpiPen and a quick trip to the emergency room. Instead, it is a low-level sensitivity that cumulatively contributes to our overall inflammatory burden and hence produces a hypersensitive response when we are exposed to something non-threatening like plant pollens. In my experience, food sensitivity is a completely unique response. I have seen it repeatedly in my office that even within families there is a totally independent reaction to particular foods. Eliminating a particular food for one person will not necessarily work for another.
It should be noted that a diet that is high in omega 6 fatty acids and deficient in omega 3 fatty acids increases systemic inflammation. Both essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) must be acquired through our diet. The standard American diet (SAD) is extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids and extremely low in the omega 3 fatty acids. Both essential fatty acids are crucial for healthy inflammatory pathways in the body. When the omega 6 pathway is activated, the body experiences a more exaggerated inflammatory response. The omega 3 pathway is activated it produces a less inflammatory response. When the body has a healthy ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, the resulting inflammatory response is likely to be appropriate to the offending agent. When the body has an excess of omega 6 fatty acids, it is more often the case that there will be an extreme inflammatory response to an offending agent, regardless of the severity of the particular antigen. This is a simplified description of the phenomenon happening at the cellular level in the majority of Americans, children included, on a daily basis. It is important to strive to bring our body back into balance and reestablish a healthy ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. I generally recommend that patients supplement with 500 to 1000 mg of EPA from a high-quality pharmaceutical grade fish oil. My favorite product is MorEPA by Minami. You can also increase your omega 3 levels by eating grass fed meats and avoiding any grain fed products.
In addition to avoiding food sensitivities and increasing omega 3 consumption, it is also important to consume as many fresh, local vegetables and fruits as possible. This local produce is grown in the same environment where we live. It thrives with exposure to the same air and water pollutants that we must deal with in the spring. The natural defenses and bountiful phyto-nutrients offer us the same protection that they provide for the growing plants. These nutrients and bio-flavenoids have natural anti-inflammatory properties and the volume of benefits from a diet high in variety and colorful vegetable and fruit consumption is too vast to include in this article.
One other simple method for reducing allergic symptoms is to utilize a neti pot saline wash throughout the spring to wash the pollens directly from the nasal passage. A neti pot is a device used for flushing out excess mucus, pollen, bacteria, and foreign agents from the nose and sinuses. This technique is becoming more and more popular, even within the conventional medical system. Neti pots are available for purchase at many drug and retail stores. A neti pot is a safe, simple, and effective tool for supporting healthy sinuses.
The techniques described above are painless and inexpensive, and the benefits can be enormous. By incorporating these suggestions into your healthy daily routine you will be more able to enjoy time planting a garden, watching the horses run, or doing any other activities you enjoy in the springtime.
Monday, April 11, 2011
A poultice is a topical application to the body to create a specific healing response. It is a simple technique that can be incredibly effective when the proper substances are applied in the appropriate manner. It is an economical approach that often utilizes foods/medicines that are already in the kitchen. Poultices involve few other materials and can be used in a pinch alone or in conjunction with conventional or alternative treatments.
The procedure for preparing a poultice is rather simple and relatively the same regardless of the substance applied:
Grate, chop, dice, muddle, etc. the substance and wrap it in a cheese cloth. If the substance is a grain or some other dry material, it may need to be combined with water to create a paste. Position the cheese cloth directly over the area for treatment and cover with a piece of plastic wrap and then a towel or other article of clothing to hold the application in place. The duration of treatment is typically 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the application immediately if there is any stinging, burning, etc. Depending on the applied substance, there may be varying degrees of redness during and following a treatment.
Following is a list of the frequently recommended poultices.
Honey Poultice – Applied directly to the skin, honey is good for burns and cuts, antiseptic, and it is anti-inflammatory. Honey helps prevent bacteria from growing while sealing off the damaged tissue from the air, reduces pain, and rehydrates the tissue.
Mustard Poultice – Use powdered mustard and mix with water to make a paste. Use a wooden spoon to mix and spread the paste. Do Not Apply Directly to the Skin. Be sure to wrap the paste in a cheese cloth. Do not leave on the skin longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Do not use a mustard poultice on sensitive or broken skin. A mustard poultice is good for arthritic joints and any condition that requires increased circulation. It can be applied to the chest to help relieve congestion, aid asthma, relieve coughs, and assist in getting rid of colds and flu. It can also be used alternating on the chest and back for chest/lung conditions. If left on too long a mustard poultice can cause blistering on the skin. Parents should absolutely not leave a mustard poultice on an unattended child.
Onion Poultice – Sautee chopped onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Place the onion in a cheese cloth. Onion is high in sulfur and great for drawing out impurities and decreasing inflammation. Onion poultices are excellent for ear infections, boils, and sores that have difficulty hearing.
Potato Poultice – Grate raw potato and mix with boiling water. Place the soft, translucent potato in a cheese cloth. Potato poultices are soothing and cooling, they are ideal for inflammation such as experienced in arthritis.
Poultices are simple, cost effective, procedures for supporting the body’s healing response. When utilized with other immune supports and healing techniques, poultices can speed up recovery time, decrease discomfort and pain, and encourage rest while healing. Consider using a poultice the next time you need a little extra healing boost.