This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni’s Renegade Roundtable, which can be found at http:// www.RenegadeRoundtable.com. In this excerpt, Sally Fallon shares on what should be in every diet and what should be left out.
Renegade Roundtable with Sally Fallon, nutrition researcher, chef, journalist and author of Nourishing Traditions-The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats.
Kevin: There’s a lot of talk about high fructose corn syrup nowadays, if you’ve seen those commercials.
Sally: We must be cutting into their sales a little bit.
Kevin: Julie wants to know what you think about it.
Sally: Well it’s a highly industrial process. And there’s really two problems here. One is that it’s very high in free fructose which all has to be metabolized in the liver. It seems like the free fructose is much more harmful than just plain old sugar and you end up with lots of problems with the liver. The fructose also seems to be particularly damaging to growing children and it interferes under certain conditions with the formation of collagen in the body so you get children who are very easily injured. But the other problem is all the chemicals that they use to make the high fructose corn syrup. This is not something that you can do on your stove top. It is a very chemical dependent process. Someone needs to do an analysis of all the stuff that’s in high fructose syrup. It’s a naked, refined sweetener. Just because it has the word fructose in it doesn’t mean that it’s natural. It is a refined sweetener. It’s empty; it has no nutrients in it. It is what Dr. Price calls displacing, it’s a displacing food. When you’re eating high fructose corn syrup it means you’re not eating something else that could be providing your body with nutrients.
Kevin: What do you think is the most important thing that someone can do to improve their nutrition? Is there’s one thing you think everyone should be doing?
Sally: It kind of depends on where you’re at. One thing that we hear from many families who haven’t adapted any of our recommendations but they switched from pasteurized to raw milk and they report incredible improvements in their children’s health. And behavior too. Much better behavior. I think it’s important to take cod liver oil so you get your fat soluble activators and there’s only certain brands we recommend so go to our website and read the section on cod liver oil.
I think it’s important to get rid of all the junk food, the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, the processed seed oils, the artificial and refined sweeteners. I mean these are very, very harmful and the epidemic of chronic disease that we see today is exactly paralleled by the use of these types of ingredients.
Kevin: With the use of processed foods, do you think that it’s more important what you leave out than what you have in your diet?
Sally: I think they’re both important. I see people who are very sick who don’t touch oils and don’t eat sugar and don’t use high fructose corn syrup and they’re very unhealthy because they haven’t put the right foods in. And actually I would say that if you have a diet that’s really rich in the right foods you can probably eat some of the wrong foods and not get into trouble. So maybe it’s more important what you put in than what you leave out.
What I’d like to stress is that the type of diet that we are recommending is not a diet of privation; it’s not a diet of renunciation. There’s lots of good fats in our diet, it’s a very satisfying diet, meat’s in the diet, cooked foods, lots of good comfort foods in the diet and even sweet things are in our diet. We say that people should eat sweet things. You have a sweet taste in your mouth that needs to be satisfied; it’s just what kind of sweeteners you use and what kinds of foods you have these sweeteners in. So our philosophy has not been to say “you can’t have this, you can’t have that”, but to say “you can have these things.” You can have grains even if you have trouble with them if they’re prepared properly. You can have fats; in fact you can have lots of fats in our diet as long as they’re the right fats. You can eat salt in our diet if it’s the right type of salt. So the goal is not to create some type of dietary scheme where you’re always having to exercise willpower and feeling that you’re depriving yourself in some way, because that doesn’t work. Eventually you compensate by binging and splurging or you become very angry and resentful or something. The body likes the pleasure principle, likes to eat delicious food and feel satisfied.
Kevin: I have an interesting question for you here. So Weston Price went around the world and studied all these different cultures and some of them, the ranges of say either animal protein or fat or even just what they ate, were so extreme. You can go to one place and you can find somebody eating about 2, 3% animal foods and then you can go to the north and you can find someone eating literally 80% animal food and they’re both extremely healthy, great dental health. How?
Sally: That’s a really good question and it’s something that I point out, that our diet is not necessarily about eating a lot of meat. Actually the range went from about 10% of calories as animal foods in some of the African diets to 100% in the Eskimo diet. Now the African diet was really an interesting diet. The animal foods that they were eating were things like insects, dried fish, little dried shrimp, frogs, these are extremely nutrient dense animal foods and very high in these fat soluble activators, A, D and K.
The A, D, and K help the body use protein efficiently so even though it was a low protein diet they had such high levels of the activators that they used the proteins efficiently and that’s all they needed. The other thing about the African diet was that most of the grains were fermented to make a kind of beverage or porridge, fermented porridge. These were very sour, almost bubbly and they’re not things that we like. They were very sour tasting. But when you ferment these grains the nutrient density goes way, way up; increases a hundred to a thousand fold. So the grains that they were eating were providing them with a tremendous amount of nutrition because of the way that they prepared them. The diets were nutrient dense and that of course is the underlying factor in all of these diets.
And if you’re in place like Africa where you don’t have access to a lot of meat, you need to make sure that the animal foods you eat are extremely nutrient dense. And if the basis of your diet is grains and legumes, as it is in a typical African diet, at least in some places, then you need to prepare those grains and legumes so once again they’re very nutrient dense. In the West we are a wealthy population and we can afford to eat meat every day. And meat is a good food; it’s a fairly dense food, not as dense as organ meats, and if we’re eating it every day that’s sort of the equivalent of eating a little bit of insects and dried shrimp every day. See what I mean? It all adds up in the end. But the key is to get the nutrients the body needs.
Kevin: The insect thing doesn’t sound as delicious.
Sally: I recently had someone bring me these little tiny dried fish from Japan. And this is a typical snack for a Japanese child and they really were quite delicious. They were salty like a chip, a potato chip, and had a kind of sweet taste to them especially – I know this sounds gross – but the heads of the little fish. Those are a wonderful food and I’m actually going to import these and sell them. What a contrast to what we give our children, the little… they’re called fish, Goldfish, which are made of white flour and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Kevin: Or the Swedish Fish that stick to your teeth.
Sally: Right, right.
Kevin: Karen asks, “How do I get the right balance of fat in my diet? Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9?”
Sally: Once again, if you just follow our guidelines it’ll sort itself out. Just avoid all the vegetables oils and eat lots of saturated fats and take your cod liver oil and maybe a tiny bit of flax oil in your salad dressing and you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. The body is not so, what shall I say?…fragile that it needs a very precise range. It could be 1% polysaturates, Omega 6 and Omega 3, or it could be 5% or even 10%, the body can adjust. But the key is to eat lots of saturated fats because when you eat saturated fats the body can then use the Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s as it’s supposed to and get rid of the ones it doesn’t need.
Kevin: What about coconut oil? How much…do you recommend using coconut oil? How much?
Sally: The more I learn about coconut oil the more I am in awe of its magic powers. Coconut oil is very rich in a special type of saturated fat, what we call the short and medium chain saturated fats, which have a myriad of roles in the body. And I’ll just tell you a story that I heard two days ago about a man who had advanced Alzheimer’s and his wife put him on a lot of coconut oil and he was completely recovered. He completely recovered from Alzheimer’s taking coconut oil. Now to me that’s just awe-inspiring. All cancer patients should be on coconut oil, it helps the cells communicate with each other. It’s wonderful for weight loss; it’s wonderful for people with thyroid problems, it gives you quick energy and supports thyroid function, it’s wonderful for energy, for chronic fatigue. And I recommend taking coconut oil a couple tablespoons — one to two tablespoons melted in hot water and you drink it like a tea and it’s much better than coffee for giving you energy.