Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Joel Salatin's 'Dream House'

I'm reading 'Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal' by Joel Salatin. The man is my hero for so many reasons.  He is owner of Polyface Farms in VA.  I would love to visit sometime.  He made a name for himself in many areas of life, but came more to the public eye in Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma'.




I daydream about building a completely self-sufficient dwelling.  Using only materials from the land it's on, and not needing any outside energy sources. Pipe dreams.  But that made it all the more fun to read about Salatin's ideas.  

Here is how he describes his 'Dream House':

"First, it would be earth sheltered-built into a hill with a glassed southern exposure.   Gray water would exit to a small purification swamp using hydrologic plants like cattails.  The toilet would flush into a sealed tank producing methane.  Effluent from the methane digester would go into the plant purification system.  The plants could be composed or fed to animals.  The methane would go directly to the kitchen, where it would run the cooking stove and oven. 


One of the biggest costs in a house is the roof.   I would get rid of that cost by installing a simple ceiling covered with a hoop house.


During the day, the second-story greenhouse would collect solar energy which could be pulled downstairs into the house with a couple of squirrel cage fans.  At night, the thermal mass from downstairs would naturally warm the air and it would rise into the greenhouse.  That way all winter we could grow fresh vegetables upstairs.  We could even have a couple of chickens up there for fresh eggs and eating the kitchen scraps.  Because the earth sheltered house would be built into a hill, we could put our freezer and a root cellar underground for energy savings and storage right by the kitchen.  And the house would be cool in summer becuase of the earth shelter." 

"Imagine a housing development where more then 50 percent of the building materials, all water and 50 percent of the energy had to come from the development's landscape footprint.  Edible landscaping would replace Chemlawn. Little earthworm bins would replace garbage disposals.  Cistern would adorn house edges and catch all the roof runoff."

Yeah, imagine!  I do. 

While we're dreaming, I thought I'd put one more quote from the book. This one in regards to what a local food system would like in any particular neighborhood.

"If you've never tasted real homemade jams and jellies, you don't know what you're missing.  If you've never tasted an on-farm processed pastured broiler, then Whole Foods organic will do just fine, thank you. but once you've tasted the real deal, nothing else satisfieds


Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, to paraphrase a Biblical description of God's plans, what could be if local food entrepreneurs were freed up to access their neighborhoods with homemade, artisanal food.  Let me for a moment just describe what would happen.  


We'd enjoy muffins from our neighbor's kitchen, pickles, salsa, and baked goods.  We'd have locally-grown and cured ham and bacon.  Local beef jerky would accompany our kiddos' lunch boxes.  Frozen heat-and eat quiche made from overabundant pastured spring eggs from the neighbor's flock would offer quickie meals on soccer night.  Chicken pot pies, made with grandma's recipe in our neighbor's kitchen could be purchased during that mad-dash-home-from-work-what's-for-supper panic.  We could enjoy a Delmonico steak from a pastured steer that never stepped onto a trailer to be co-mingled at a slaughterhouse with animals of dubious extraction while awaiting slaughter, but rather was killed on its home farm in reverence by the farmer who cared for it. Tender and beyond description.  

All of this washed down with wine from the neighbor's grapes, fermented lovingly in his basement.  Under the watchful eye of the children and the family cat.  Cheese, all sorts of fresh and aged, straight from the neighbor's ten-cow pastured dairy herd.  And ice cream to die for, from heavy cream and molasses grown, milled, and canned two miles down the road.  Are you salivating yet? (yes, yes I am). 

You see, an imbedded local food system could actually exist in the midst of subdivisions and strip malls.  Wherever a few unpaved square feet poked through, edible plants and animals could be grown and processed for the neighborhood.  And without the expensive labeling, packaging, and processing infrastructure requirements, this food could be sold at regular supermarket prices, and it would be infinitely better.  Virtually all of the processed foods currently sold at the supermarket could be supplanted with community-based entrepreneurial fare.  Does your heart ache for this?  Mine does."  (one again, I must say... yes, yes it does)

Off to dream some more...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Monday: Liver and olive topping with pasta (p.343-Joy)
Tuesday: Meatball Soup

Wednesday: Fish Tacos and onion salsa
Thursday: Huevos Rancheros (another one from Edible Aria)
Friday: Fish Cakes
Saturday: Chicken Tacos
Sunday: Roast Chicken

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorite Links Friday

1.  This was a rather depressing post about BPA in our plastic food containers, and how it affects us (and mostly how the FDA has it's hands tied about the whole thing).  I stay away from putting food in plastic as much as I can, but I'm still working on building up my collection of glass dishes.  Here is a good post on alternatives to plastic for freezing meals. 

2. I was excited to find this new blog.  A mother of 2 who is trying to heal herself and her children's allergies and food issues through the GAPS diet.  I'm excited to follow along and see what she learns.   I found her through a guestpost on cheeseslave.com.

3. Check this out for some trustworthy ways of helping out the people in Haiti. 

4. I want to try fish eggs soon.  This was encouraging along those lines. :)

5.  This was an interesting read on how a family cured their son's ADHD behavior. 

6.  I've been reading a lot on the paleo diet lately. This was a good 'primer', comparing NT/WAPF, low carb and paleo. 

7. I was reminded yet again, by this post, where my priorities need to be as a follower of Christ.  It's easy to get overwhelmed by it all. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Enriching Our Lives

 Enrichment.  It's a pretty popular word these days. You hear it in regards to food, relationships, job duties and pretty much any area of life you can think of.  But why do we need enrichment?  Is it because something is missing that used to be there?

Our food is enriched-everything from milk to crackers to chicken.  What do they enrich it with?  Is the lab-created vitamin D they enrich milk with as bio-available to our bodies as the vitamin D that comes from drinking milk from a cow that was raised on grass and then left in it's natural state?  Why not find ways to help our food retain their vitamins rather then strip them of it and add a chemical form back in later? Almost all grain products are enriched-even some whole grains and rice.  Walk around a grocery store and you'll see 'added this' and 'enriched that' everywhere you look.  But why are they lacking in the first place?  And look at us, with all this enrichment, we should be the healthiest country in the world!  We're not. 

Our emotional/mental lives seem to need serious enrichment.  You can tell not only by the shambles that most relationships are in.  But also by the vast amount of self-help books that are on the bookshelves these days.  And I know, I've read a lot of them!  And to be fair, they've helped me a lot. Marriages are falling apart.  People are lonely and depressed with no real friendships to encourage and help them.  Parents have no control of their children.  We have Doctor Phil and Oprah and Parent magazine and psychiatrists and psychologists and enrichment seminars and training classes.  And yet we're a mess!  So much enrichment, so little real help. 

As I have read and searched for answers and help (mostly in regards to food, marriage and parenting), I've gotten better at picking out little 'tips and hints' that might help in my particular situation, while letting the rest go. But, how did people manage before all of these 'self help' books and enriching vitamins came into existence.  Both are relatively new and the world has managed to carry on for a few thousand years now. 

God made us, he knows our needs.  He knows the very answers I'm seeking, but has not chosen to lay them out in a book for us (the Bible has little to say on the nitty gritty of daily life-which is what I was desperately needing).  I believe he meant for those things to be passed down from generation to generation. And over time, because of sin, those unwritten instructions have been skewed and changed and sadly neglected.  Mentoring and even true parenting, has become a lost art it seems. 

Like nutrition, as issues started manifesting themselves in large parts of cultures, people started studying the cause and effect, trying to help solve the problem.  Hence the rise of social and humanity studies.  Of course, sin is the ultimate problem, and the only answer for that is believing in God's Son as the covering for them.  But even then, how to train your child to obey and respect his elders, what to feed a growing child, or how to daily respect your husband, doesn't come naturally! 

Psychology is basically the study of other people's studies of people throughout the centuries (got it?).  Some have hit on some helpful truths and ideas, some have missed the mark entirely.  But it all falls pathetically short of what God designed for our lives.  And sadly, much of the detailed information we are so badly searching for today, has been lost over time. 

Same with nutrition.  God knows what a body needs to be truly healthy-he created us.  I know he cares.  He does, after all, call the body the temple of the Holy Spirit.  And the temple was something taken VERY seriously in the Old Testament.  But nowadays, every book you read on the subject tells you something different.  It's so confusing!!  

God knows it all of course, and He seems to somehow be helping me to muddle through my homemaking tasks one day at a time-with a seriously sharp learning curve.  But at least it's going up and not down in the overall view. 

While I'm incredibly grateful for the 'enriching' I've gotten from the many, many books I've read (on parenting, marriage and nutrition mostly), I so often find myself longing for the 'real thing'.  Just the way God intended it to be.  Pure, unadulterated and whole.  Raising children is a HUGE task.  One I'm starting to take very seriously (yes, it only took me 6 years to get here).  But to feel the weight of something, and feel an utter lack of solid ground in regards to it, is downright depressing! 

I am thankful, at least, for the pure enrichment I receive from my time in the Word every day.  I truly believe God has used that, indirectly, in finding the proper enrichment for my day to day duties.  It is so refreshing to pick up something I can trust to nourish my soul completely. 

I feel a pressing need to pass the spiritual legacy on to my children. And I hope as I do that, I will also figure out and then be able to pass along a 'nutrient dense' lifestyle as well.  Maybe they won't feel the need to scour the parenting and marriage books like I have.  Imagine the time saved! 

Of course, sometimes I wonder if my main problem is brain fog.  I finally figure something out (like how to get my kids to eat what I serve them, or not whine about something, or how to communicate with my husband), and I just shake my head and say 'duh!' at the utter simplicity of it.

But that is for another day..

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Tuesday: Chicken Tacos
Wednesday: Baked Fish and rice
Thursday: Huevos Rancheros (another one from Edible Aria)
Friday: Salmon and rice
Saturday: Roast Chicken
Sunday: Fried Potatoes and Hamburger

Friday, January 15, 2010

Favorite Links Friday

1.  Here is a post on decoding supermarket beef.  Buying grass-fed from a farmer is best, but if you can't afford it, or do not have access, this is great information to have.

2.  Here are some suggestions for meal planning, using lists and your favorite recipes.  It has inspired me to get more organized.  I am so much more organized then I was last year. I used to have a list of 'favorite recipes', but have not kept it up.  Most of those recipes are not NT at all, so I'll have to make a new list of our favorite NT recipes that we eat regularly now.

3.  This is a great post on the role of woman in the church and family.  God has been teaching me a lot in this area in my own personal life.  I loved this quote: “While sin may have attempted to distort the truth, our gender roles cannot be fully lost because they were never about us in the first place! They are about God.”  This was also a great post on appreciating your role at home. 


4.  This is a fabulous post on how important sleep is to a body, in terms of mental and physical health. 

5.  This is a must-read on how and why to make soup.  She covers the basics of soup and then adds a bunch of variations on it. 

6.  Here is an encouraging post on how the main-stream are starting to understand that saturated fats are NOT the enemy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes

I'm on a roll with this book review stuff! :)  I actually read Good Calories, Bad Calories a few months ago and am just now getting around to writing up a 'report' on it.  It's so good for me to review it though.
 
The only bad thing about waiting a few months to put my thoughts into words is that initial awe has worn off.  At the same time, I've seen how it's affected my day-to-day more by waiting.  So hopefully I can remember and recapture some of what I learned, while also being able to share what has 'stuck'.



Gary Taubes is a science journalist.  His credits and background are impressive.  And his techniques, while not perfect, are very... scientific.  He seems to specialize in controversial science in regards to public interest.

I just found these 'notes' on the book.  If you want a shorter version of it-although I agree that you really should read the whole thing if you are able.  

This book, written in 2008, was very detailed and 'heavy'.  I must confess that a lot of it went over my head.  But I was able to retain enough to be impressed by it.  And I do hope to read it again and understand more the next time through.   His style of writing is very much what I enjoy.  Quite a bit of dry humor among some rather weighty discussion.  It is very long.  450 pages long.  But very well researched and riveting.

For me, it was basically the science behind what I already believed to be true in regards to nutrition and the body. And he had some great quotes all throughout the book.  I, of course, want to put all of them on here. :)


Taubes reason for writing: "The reason for this book is straightforward: despite the depth and certainty of our faith that saturated fat is the nutritional bane of our lives and that obesity is caused by overeating and sedentary behavior, there has always been copious evidence to suggest that those assumptions are incorrect, and that evidence is continuing to mount. "There is always an easy solution to every human problem, " H.L. Mencken once said-"Neat, plausible, and wrong."   It is quite possible, despite all our faith to the contrary, that these concepts are such neat, plausible, and wrong solutions.  Moreover, it's also quite possible that the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets we've been told to eat for the past thirty years are not only making us heavier but contributing to other chronic diseases as well."

The book is broken down into 3 parts.  Part I chronicles the 'Fat-Cholesterol Hypothesis'-that dietary, esp saturated, fat causes high cholesterol.  Part II follows the 'Carbohydrate Hypothesis' from the early 19th century where it began to the present dogma that it has become.  Taubes goes into great details about the scientific (and not so scientific) studies behind the various hypothesis.  I was amazed to see how politically motivated they were, esp considering the weak legs they stood on to begin with.  Ancel Keys seemed mostly responsible for the Fat-Cholesterol hypothesis. At first he was mocked for it, but somehow later managed to make it a 'scientific hard fact' that changed the way Americans ate.  Huh?!?  How did that happen?

Part III was basically a rebuttal to Parts I and II. He named it 'Obesity and the Regulation of Weight'.  He not only gave the political and scientific history behind a low-carb diet, but he also went into GREAT detail about the biochemistry behind it.  I kept shaking my head and saying 'fascinating'. Because, well, it was fascinating!

I am no scientist, I never will be.  God gave me some fabulous gifts with which to glorify Him with.  However, intelligence of that level is not one of them.  But, if it's a subject that I am interested in, I can generally grasp just enough of it to appreciate the complexity of it.  And generally wish, just a little, that I could grasp even more.  Because it's so... fascinating.

How anybody (esp intelligent people like molecular biologist) can believe that this incredibly intrinsic world just 'evolved' without an intelligent being is beyond me.  I acknowledge my simple-mindedness. But I really do think that when you study things like the body, and it's relation to the world, it takes a LOT more faith to believe in random chance then to believe in a higher being.  Even if it's not the God of the Bible that I believe in.

To briefly (and unfairly) recap the book: Taubes tied, with great scientific evidence, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer, eating disorders, infertility, obesity and pretty much every other modern disease in America today, to our consumption of refined carbohydrates-mainly sugar and refined starches.  He gave anecdotal as well as scientific proof that they are the main culprits in our health crisis today. And he freed the much maligned fats and animal products from their unearned 'time outs'.

I was particularly impressed by:

1.  The studies he shared about weight loss.  A group of soldiers were put on a diet that was relatively high in calories (1400-2100 a day), but with very little fat, meat or dairy (p.252).  They all ended up psychotic or 'character neurosis', constantly dreaming of food, depressed, even suicidal. Later, Taubes told about a study that was done with a diet that was approx. 800 calories, but containing a high percentage of fat (sometimes 50%) and meat.  The results were amazing.  The subjects' weight evened out and they were not hungry or even mildly mentally disturbed. 

2.  My biggest fascination was in the studies and the chemistry behind 'adipose tissue', i.e. fat storage.  He explained in great detail, what happens to food once it enters the stomach.  Specifically how the various nutrients are released and used by the body.  The glands (hypothalamus and thyroid esp) are constantly monitoring and determining what cells need what as far as fat storage and energy.  When you eat protein, the nutrients are sent immediately into the blood stream.  The glucose is used by the cells for energy production and the adipose tissues are not 'fed'.  However, when carbohydrates are eaten, they first must go to the liver, where the glucose is released, along with the fatty acids.  This causes a change in the molecular structure of the glucose and releases the fatty acids, which is then picked up by the adipose tissues. Our genetics determine the location of our adipose tissue-hence the tendency for families to gain weight in similar areas.  The insulin levels change based on the blood sugar level and the level of glucose in the blood. All of this is absurdly simplified and does not do the subject justice.  If you are interested in more details-you MUST read the book. This is a great video that explains it better. My kids love it.



3. I wish he would have gone into more detail in regards to the different types of carbohydrates.  He did not differentiate much between soaked whole grains and white flour.  I'm thinking that they still have to go through the liver, and since our livers are so over-taxed as it is, and our systems so overrun with the chemicals and lack of good gut flora, even properly prepared grains are a problem for some people. My niece gets really hyper if she eats too many grains, even my soaked sourdough bread.  But I have such a hard time with that, since grains were eaten by man since creation (or at least the fall).  Either way, I'm more determined to feed my family less grains in general and try harder to feed us more fats and animal products.

4.  I was familiar with a number of the scientists' names and various studies that were mentioned.  It brought some cohesiveness and validity to what I've heard and  learned about the necessity of fat in the diet. 


Some quotes I enjoyed:

"The danger of simplifying a medical issue for public consumption is that we may come to believe that our simplification is an appropriate representation of the biological reality.  We may forget that the science is not adequately described, or ambiguous, even if the public-health policy seems to be set in stone.  In the case of diet and heart disease, Ancel Keys's hypothesis that cholesterol is the agent of atherosclerosis was considered the simplest possible hypotheses, because cholesterol is found in atherosclerotic plaques and because cholesterol was relatively easy to measure.  But as the measurement technology became increasingly more sophisticated, every one of the complicates that arose has implicated carbohydrates rather than fat as the dietary agent of heart disease."  p. 153

"The two most important conclusions in their (Journal of the National Cancer Institute-1981) analysis were that man-made chemicals-in pollution, food additives, and occupational exposure-play a minimal role in human cancers, and that diet played the largest role-causing 35% of all cancers, though the uncertainties were considered so vast that the number could be as low as 10% or as high as 70%." p. 210

"The prevalence of overweight in children six to eleven years old more than doubled between 1980 and 2000; it tripled in children aged eleven to nineteen." p.230

"The evidence for the failure of semi-starvation as a treatment of obesity hasn't stopped obesity researchers from recommending the approach.  The Handbook for Obesity...says that 'dietary therapy remains the cornerstone of treatment and the reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of successful weight reduction programs', while also saying that the results of such calorie-restricted diets 'are known to be poor and not long-lasting'."  p.259
 
"The belief in physical activity as a method of weight control is relatively new, however, and it has long been contradicted by the evidence." p.259

"We have thrifty metabolisms when we are undernourished and spendthrift metabolisms when we're overnourished, so as to avoid excessive weight gain and obesity.  ...But the amount that they (our cells) actually metabolize is ultimately determined by the quantity and perhaps the quality of the nutrients delivered in the circulation.  This determination is made on a cellular and hormonal level, not a cognitive or conscious one." p.302 
  
"...Animal products contain all the amino acids, minerals, and vitamins essential for health...  A calorie-restricted diet that cuts all calories by a third, will also cut essential nutrients by a third.  A diet that prohibits sugar, flour, potatoes, and beer, but allows eating to satiety meat, cheese, eggs, and green vegetables will still include the essential nutrients, whether or not it leads to a decrease in calories consumed." p.456

 I want to put in so many more quotes.  But I must stop at some point, so that last one seems a very practical one to end on.
 
If you believe in a traditional, high-fat, low-carb diet, but wish you had more 'hard proof' for it, this is a must-read.  Some of it feels like wading through a quagmire, but don't give up, it's a great read until the very end.

Good stuff, eh?

Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper

Drew and I have never been big on Christmas.  Even as children we felt it was selfish and misdirected.  So, as adults, we decided not to get caught up in the craziness of the holiday.  We don't give one another gifts and we seldom give gifts to family and friends. Other then a small thank you gift to the teachers of our children's classes at church.

When we had our own kids, we still didn't want to make Christmas about gifts and us, but Christ and his birth.  We do put some small gifts into a stocking and they get to open that on Christmas morning.  But, we're still not happy with how and why we celebrate Christmas.  I don't want to be counter-culture for the sake of being counter-culture.  But I also want my kids to grow up with traditions and special family memories.

So, I have been praying about it and reading anything I could find on the subject.

I heard about and was able to locate a copy of a book called 'Treasuring God in Our Traditions' by Noel Piper.  Her husband John Piper is one of my favorite authors, so I esp enjoyed this peek into the life of their family.  While I still don't have any concrete ideas for how I want our family to celebrate special holidays, etc, I do feel this book gave me a better overall view of why and how to do that.



John Piper wrote in the forward: "God is the treasure of our lives.   We see him in everything.  We believe with all our hearts that 'for him and through him and to him are all things.'  He gets the glory, we get the joy.  My job has been to articulate the vision in writing.  Noel has shaped a family around it."

I love it!  I want to shape my family around that belief.

Some things that I took from the book:

1.  Everything we do in our 'everyday' traditions as well as our 'especially' traditions should point our children to God.  From brushing teeth to birthday parties to Christmas celebrations.  Our job as parents is  'You shall teach them (Moses words from God) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.'
 That means ALL the time.  It's such a big job, but yet so simple.

2.  I want to study the Israelite holidays, ceremonies and traditions more, to get a better understanding of how God intended the Israelites to pass along their knowledge and love for Him.

3.  For any tradition we start or continue, we need to think about it in terms of  a. looking ahead and b. looking behind.  In other words, when celebrating a birthday, it should include a time of reflection on how the person has grown, thankfulness to God for all that has happened in that person's life that year, and about where that person will be the next year, decade, etc.

4.  Tradition can and should include prayers/prayer times and music.

5.  Traditions need to be purposeful, planned, regular and for a specific reason.

Here are some quotes from the book:

"Although this book offers ideas that I hope will be helpful as examples of God-centered traditions, this is not a how-to manual.  I am praying that it will inspire us to look at God with fresh eyes, to see and love and desire the treasure that he is.  And I'm praying that the traditions of our lives will be filled with the treasure that fills our heart on 'everday' days and on 'especially' days." p. 16


"May God give us eyes to see him, hearts to love him, and a passion to show him to our children." p. 39

Celebrations are the ritualized interruptions in the continuum of daily life which remind us who we are, where we came from and where we are going. (Milo Shannon-Thornberry, The Alternate Celebrations Catalogue)  p. 62


"May the ceremonies of our homes be true ceremony-from him, because of him, pointing toward him, honoring him, thanking him.  Amen." p.105

The one thing that I really came away with from the book is a bit of a side-note of the book.  Our children do not join us in 'big church' on Sundays.  And I have been impressed lately, with the need to train my children to respect and revere God.  I realize that is a life-long task, one I struggle with myself at times.

One thing she said really convicted me. "The greatest stumbling block for children in worship is that their parents do not cherish the hour. Children can feel the difference between duty and delight.  Therefore, the first and most important job of a parent is to fall in love with the worship of God.  You can't impart what you don't possess."

So not only do I want to work on my own attitude during corporate worship, but then I also want to train my children on their journey toward reverence and respectful worship of Creator God-both at home and in the church.


Lord, help me to never lose sight of my ultimate goal in training my children.  To know and love you with all their hearts.







Monday, January 11, 2010

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston Price

I love reading!  There is so much to learn and know.  So much important information to live life the way God intended to live it.  If only we were born with such knowledge.  How very boring life would be... :)




Let me start this 'review' by saying that EVERYONE should read Weston Price's book 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration'!  Esp anyone who follows the Nourishing Traditions/WAPF/Traditional way of eating.  It's full of such amazing information, facts, figures, studies, details. I've been trying to eat this way for awhile, but this book really put the 'why' behind it more solidly.  And, I think it has allowed me to make wiser decisions in regards to how to get the nutrients my family needs in the most cost-effective, 'green' way.  Give a man a fish....

Weston Andrew Price was born in Canada in 1870 and moved to Cleveland as an adult, to practice dentistry.  He was appalled at the degeneration he was seeing in his patients.  The growing number of cavities, the shrinking jaws and degenerative diseases caused him to start a 10 year travel program, trying to find people who were untouched by these seemingly modern issues. Particularly at their 'point of contact' with civilization, so he could compare the two.  Once he realized it was a nutritional problem, he began to analyze the native foods of these people groups.  He was particularly amazed at how the 2nd generation was born with deformities of the lower 1/3 of the face-only one generation after changing from their native diets to the 'white man's diet' consisting mostly of white flour, sugar and canned foods. 

He traveled to 12 different 'primitive' people groups and made detailed exams on their teeth and facial structure.  He and his wife made copious notes, took pictures and took samples of their various native foods back with them to analyze in his lab.  He also had food sent back to him at various times of the year-for years-just to analyze their specific nutrient content.

One major finding that surprised me, was that he found the milk from cows that were not only fed grass, but specifically the fast growing grass in the spring, had the highest vitamin content.  And from that he made his 'High Vitamin Butter Oil' that he used on his various 'cases'.  I want to get a bunch of milk from my farmer in the spring and make butter and cheese to last us the year.  I know it won't happen this year, but hopefully someday...

The stories he told were astounding.  First generations that ate the white man's food had a lot of serious cavity issues.  But their faces, jaws and nasal passages were still generally well developed.  But, their children were born with serious issues, including an inability to fight the local diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, which their ancestors had had no problems fighting off.     

The first 14 chapters of the book are about his studies on the various people groups he visited.  Fascinating stuff!  And easy and quick to read.  In the last 7 chapters, he applies what he learned to the people of his day (and ours as well).  He gave a lot of amazing stories about how he was able to help heal people of diseases no one else of his time could.  Simply by changing their diet.  He also broke down the various diets that he studied to help people to better understand why they protected the people eating them from the various degenerative diseases of today.

There was a lot of practical information throughout the book.  Little tid bits, much of it assumed to be well-known in his time.  Like his comment 'As any housewife knows, the butter that comes in the spring has a much lower burn temperature'. Ummm, nope, sorry, I'd never heard that one!  As well as a lot of information that surprised him.  Like his discovery of the various levels of vitamins coming from the same animal foods, living in the same regions.

He told 2 stories of little boys who he was asked to help.  One had rheumatic fever, had it for 2 1/2 years and was bed-bound.  Another boy was on his death bed, having convulsions all day and emaciated badly.  For both boys, he changed their diets from white bread and skim milk to freshly ground wheat bread/gruel, whole milk (raw), 1 tsp of high vitamin butter oil and 1 tsp of cod liver oil.  And both had amazing, miraculous recoveries. 

I want to quote so much of the book!  But I tried to find the few 'best' quotes to put on here.


"It is possible to starve for minerals that are abundant in the foods eaten because they cannot be utilized without an adequate quantity of the fat-soluble activators."


"It will be noted that vitamin D, which the human does not readily synthesize in adequate amounts, must be provided by foods of animal tissues or animal products.  As yet I have not found a single group of primitive racial stock which was building and maintaining excellent bodies by living entirely on plant foods. I have found in many parts of the world most devout representatives of modern ethical systems advocating the restriction of foods to the vegetable products.  In every instance where the groups involved had been long under this teaching, I found evidence of degeneration in the form of dental caries, and in the new generation in the form of abnormal dental arches to an extent very much higher than in the primitive groups who were not under this influence."


"It does not matter what the source of minerals and vitamins may be so long as the supply is adequate.  In our modern life, the location of a group will determine the most efficient and most convenient source for obtaining the essential foods...  It would be fortunate indeed, if our problems were as simple as this statement might indicate. We have, however, in the first place, the need for a strength of character and will power such as will make us use the things our bodies require rather than only the foods we like.  Another problem arises from the fact that our modern sedentary lives call for so little energy that many people will not eat enough even of a good food to provide for both growth and repair, since hunger appeals are for energy only, the source of heat and power, and not for body-building minerals and other chemicals.  Still another problem confronts us, I.e., the sources of fat-soluble activators indicated above, namely: diary products, organs of animals and sea foods, may vary through a wide range in their content of the fat-soluble activators or vitamins, depending upon the nutrition available for the animals. Cows fed on third grade hay, too low in carotene, not only cannot produce strong calves but their milk will not keep healthy calves alive."

And this is my favorite one:
"Of course everyone should clean his teeth, even the primitives, in the interest of and out of consideration for others."  

Reading the book did not much change what I want us to eat, but it did give me more confidence to continue on my journey toward that end.  And it did cause me to bump some foods into the more 'important' category.  Namely, cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil, or lots of good butter.  Also, liver and other offal from grass fed animals.  And fish eggs, also known as roe or cavier


This is a great book to read and share with others who interested in health.  I borrowed it from the library, but will be purchasing a copy of my own in the future.  It's definitely one I'll have my children read as part of their 'nutritional education' when they get older. I'm also hoping to borrow my copy to my chiropractor when I get it.  :)  See, I'm not so crazy after all.....

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:



Monday: Liver Dumplings (Joy of Cooking)
Wednesday: Baked Fish and Fried Carrots and Cabbage
Thursday: Chicken Curry Soup
Friday: Fish Cake 
Saturday: Roast Chicken
Sunday: Fried Potatoes and Hamburger

Friday, January 8, 2010

Favorite Links Friday

1.  I LOVED this video at GNOWFGLINS.com. It's awesome! I should figure out how to post it as an actual video and post it on a separate post, as well as on facebook.  It says it all and it says it perfectly. 

2.  My cute hubby finished and posted his first 'crocheting' project.  Check it out and 'ohh and ahh' over it. :)

3.  I've been reading about 'winter greens' quite a bit lately and would like to include them in our diet regularly.  This was a timely post on the matter. 

4.  Jenny at The Nourished Kitchen had a great '2010 Real Food Resolutions' List.

5.  Organic & Thrifty shared some great reasons to include more broth in your diet. 

6.  If you would like to see what a very big and very cute belly looks like when it's 33 weeks pregnant with twins, click here.  Isn't she too cute?  :)

7. This was a great post on why and how to eat liver. Check out the comments.  My goal for this year is to make liver once a week.  Can I do it...  Yes I can!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some 'Travel Food' Ideas

My MIL took the whole family to Lancaster, PA for 2 nights in a hotel for Christmas. We had such a wonderful time!  We spent most of the time in the pool-just the way we like it.

We ate out a few times, but the hotel had a small fridge, so I was able to bring some food along as well.  It worked out really well.  Other then the meals out, we just stayed and ate right in our hotel room.  So nourishing, convenient and cheap! 

This summer, the kids and I took a trip out to see my family in Iowa. We spent a night in a hotel on the way there, and on the way home.  And I did the same for those trips.

I'm sure over time I'll find other things to bring along, but for now, I'm happy with what we had and thought I'd share.  These also make great 'picnic' foods. 

Great Hotel Foods (you could also put them in a cooler with ice-I did that for the Iowa trip):

1. Hard boiled eggs.  They are soo easy.  They travel well, stay good in the shell for a few days and are rather versatile.  We brought some salt and mayo and plastic knives.

2.  Cheese-we brought our two favorites, mozzarella and cheddar.  Again, very portable and fun.  Put them together with the eggs and they make a nice 'sandwich'.  I cut them into sticks before we left, so that made it easier to serve at the hotel.

3.  Milk-we brought our raw milk in glass quart jars with the canning lids.  They don't leak and fit perfectly in the little refrigerators.

4.  Granola-bring some bowls, or use the cups the hotel provides.  We put raisins in ours, which also travel well.

5.  Nuts-I did not get them soaked for this last trip.  But crispy nuts of any kind are very yummy and full of good fats to make you full for a long time. You can even flavor them for an extra 'special' treat.

6.  Smoothie-they last for at least 24 hours.  I put them in the glass jars and they did not leak.  Just shake them good before you pour them into the cups.  With raw egg yolks, they are very filling and nourishing. 

7.  Kombucha-esp good if you eat out and have an upset stomach afterwards.

8.  Caramel Corn-great for eating while watching movies. :) 

9.  Broth-I did this last time and it was great.  I had been eating poorly so my blood sugar dropped quickly and often.  Broth kept me steadier then anything else I had brought.  I simmered it with chopped garlic and ginger root (lots of both) and salt.  After it cooled, I poured it into the glass jars.  When I wanted it at the hotel, I put some water through the coffee maker so it got nice and hot, and I filled a glass jar half full with the hot water and then filled it with the broth.  It wasn't perfect, but it was drinkable and I was glad to have it! 

10.  Nut bars-these were esp great for those times when the kids needed some protein, but didn't want to get out of the pool long enough for a meal.

11.  Peanut Butter Fudge-it's definitely a treat, but nice to have.  Unlike the coconut fudge, it does not melt if not refrigerated.

12.  Fruit and veggies-esp apples, grapes and carrot sticks.

13.  Yogurt-we likes our sweetened with honey and strawberries, so I did that in advance.  It tasted yummy 2 days after I had mixed them together. 

15.  Peanut butter-just eat if off of the spoon or dip the apples and carrots in it.

16. Beef Jerky-I made it for the trip to Iowa and it was a lifesaver for my meat-needy son. 

17.  Leftover fish and roast-I know it sounds weird, but I personally really enjoyed them.  the kids wouldn't touch them. 


18.  Canned Kipper-I buy it for $2 at WMF. I enjoy the taste and it keeps me going for a long time.  It's an easy-flip lid and you just need a fork.  The only downside is that the container stinks.  I usually put it in a trash can outside the room. :) 

On a non-food note, I also found our Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap worked great. I poured some into a leak-proof container and it worked as our all around bathroom soap (hands, body, shampoo/conditioner and shaving cream) as well as a dish soap for the dishes you have to do when you bring your own food.

Travel season is past, but I wanted to make sure I posted these in case I forget what to take next time! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross

I just finished reading 'The Mood Cure' by Julia Ross.  Her subtitle is: 'The 4-step program to rebalance your emotional chemistry and rediscover your natural sense of well-being'.  Once again, I was able to order it through my wonderful libraries' interlibrary loan' system.




I first heard of the book at 'The Nourished Life'.  And shortly after that, I heard about it from 2 other sources.  I love it when that happens!  I was really excited to read it.  My family, and myself, have some minor health issues, but our biggest issues, by far, are related to moods.  So I was excited to read this book.  She recommends WAPF and Nourishing Traditions, and is recommended by them.  She is also on the Board of Directors there and has spoken at some of their Wise Traditions Conferences.  

Julia Ross, M.A. is a psychotherapist and has worked in clinics for over 30 years using nutritional 'therapy'.  She uses the information in the book to help clients who come to her clinic.  Here are some quotes that sum up the book nicely:

"If you're often feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed,  you're not alone.  We're in a bad-mood epidemic, a hundred times more likely to have significant mood problems than people born a hundred years ago.  And these problems are on the rise.  Adult rates of depression and anxiety have tripled since 1990. Even our children are in trouble, with at least one in ten suffering from significant mood disorders.  Our mood problems are increasing so fast that, by 2020, they will outrank AIDS, accidents, and violence as the primary causes of early death and disability."

"In this book, I'm proposing that much of our increasing emotional distress stems from easily correctable malfunctions in our brain and body chemistry-malfunctions that are primarily the result of critical, unmet nutritional needs."

"Your brain is responsible for most of your feelings, both true and false.  In concert with some surprisingly brainlike areas of your heart and gut, it transmits your feelings through four highly specialized and potent kinds of mood molecules.  If it has plenty of all four, it keeps you as happy as you can possibly be, given your particular life circumstances.  But if your brain runs low on these mood transmitters-whether because of a minor genetic miscue, because it's used them up coping with too much stress, or because you aren't eating the specific foods it needs-it stops producing normal emotions on a consistent basis.  Instead, it starts hitting false emotional notes, like a piano out of tune."

Ross found there to be 4 common mood imbalances and she addresses each one, describing the general signs and symptoms of each, and then explaining what occurs in the brain to cause them. And then she follows that with a list of amino acids and drugs/herbs that often relieve them.

There are the four divisions.  She gives a lengthy questionnaire for each:

1.  Lifting the Dark Cloud: Eliminating the Depression and Anxiety Caused by Inadequate Serotonin

2.  Blasting the Blahs: Rebuilding Your Energy, Motivation, and Capacity to Focus

3.  All Stressed Out: How to Recover from Adrenal Overload

4.  Too Sensitive to Life's Pain?  How to Amplify Your Own Comforting Endorphins

After that, she walks you through 'Creating Your Nutritherapy Master Plan'.  She first describes the 'Bad Mood Foods'-including possible allergens, and then the 'Good Mood Foods'.  She follows that up with a two week menu plan and a guide to her 'master supplement plan'.

She next addresses some special concerns that may need to be addressed while following her plan of healing.  Including medications that you might be on and how to get off them slowly.  She addresses antidepressants, sleep issues and addictions of all sorts.  Her thoughts on addictions were really impressive and should be read by anyone with substances abuse issues of any sort (including chocolate/sugar like myself).

The final sections has some 'tool kits' with extra information on subjects such as practitioners, testing, thyroid, adrenal and sex hormone tests and suggestions, as well as a special chapter on food cravings and why and how to deal with them.

I really enjoyed the book. I've believed for some time now, that the mood issues we have in my house are directly related to our nourishment, or lack thereof.  Most of the books I've read on nutrition mention the topic of moods briefly.  But I wanted more scientific and anecdotal evidence that there truly was a connection.  And that is exactly what this book did. 

I do not intend to use her amino acid suggestions, but I can see how they could be really helpful.  I am encouraged to continue on the path that we are on in regards to nourishment and health.  I have definitely seen improvements in our moods and I look forward to continued improvement as we get rid of more 'bad foods' and eat more 'good foods'.

I was also really excited to read her chapter on addictions, specifically tobacco.  My husband smokes, quite heavily sometimes.  He has tried to quit every few months since I've known him, and has been unsuccessful.  After both of us reading that section, I feel better equipped to work on a long-range plan for helping him to stop.  Another one of those 'baby steps'. :)  

The areas that I disagreed with her were:

1.  Her use of supplements.  I have come to believe that the body can not use the vast majority of vitamins and minerals that are available in 'pill form'.  God gave us food to nourish us, and if you take a part of it out, it does not act the same in the body.  Fat being a perfect example.  The majority of nourishment from any given food is useless without enough fat to carry it to the cells.  Most supplements simply add to the burden of our already overloaded livers.  As my husband heard on an episode of Big Bang Theory, it's just expensive pee you know. 

2.  There was no mention of what I have come to believe are two of the best 'good mood foods' we have easy access to-homemade bone broth and cod liver oil.  She also made little mention of fermented foods or drinks like kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut, which are incredibly good for the gut. 

3.  Her suggestion of 4+ servings of vegetables daily.  Now, granted, if you don't get your vitamins and minerals from supplements, you should get them from the whole foods they are in, like vegetables.  But, unfortunately, in America today, I believe the vast majority of our foods are sadly lacking in vitamins.  The produce can only be as good as the soil it's grown in, and most soil in America is completely lacking in nutrients of any kind.  And to add insult to injury, most produce is sprayed heavily and some are even genetically modified.  I can't say I have an 'answer' except to seek out good produce and utilize that well, by adding lots of butter or other saturated fat and/or fermenting them, which makes the nutrients more readily available to your body.

So, that is my review of a fantastic book.  I'm so glad I 'stumbled across it' and was able to get a hold of a copy.  It has encouraged me greatly on my road to better health.

I would encourage anyone who deals with any hormonal issues, to read this book.

Now I might try to get a copy of her other book 'The Diet Cure'.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

I am going to try a week long 'broth fast', along the lines of the Gaps Diet.  I'll try 5 days with just broth (flavored with garlic, ginger and other herbs and spices), and slowly add back in things, like eggs, fermented veggies, meats, dairy, etc.  I don't really need it for allergies to my knowledge, but more for a cleaning out from the junk I ate in December, and to jump start my over-all health. Plus I hope to have a great experience and make my husband want to do it, and figure out the mechanics so I can get my daughter on it also.  She has some breathing issues I'd like to work on and this makes the most sense.


I'm also hoping to make January a mostly wheat free month.  Actually, I'm hoping to cut out most grains except brown rice.  I don't feel nearly prepared for that, so I'm sure we'll consume more of my sourdough bread then I prefer.  But I really want to give it a try.  I really want to test my husband and daughter for allergies to wheat esp.  I highly suspect they are sensitive to it. 


Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:


Monday: Hard Cooked Egg Drops (Joy of Cooking, p.170)
Tuesday: Canned Salmon over Rice
Wednesday: Chicken Soup
Thursday: Pepperoni Pizza with crust
Friday: Liver Dumplings (Joy of Cooking)
Saturday: Baked Potatoes with hamburger meat
Sunday: Fried Potatoes and Meat

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looking Back and Moving Forward

I thought I had written a post on goals for 2009.  I didn't see it, so I must have done it in my head, but never on the actual blog.  I really wish I had, since I'm blown away by the changes that were made in 2009.  So... I decided to type up some goals for 2010 and note some amazing changes that took place in 2009-so I can give praise to God for His mercies. :) 


Looking Back on 2009:

Spiritually, I have grown by leaps and bounds.  By far and away, the area I have grown the most in in 2009 is in my relationship with God.  And how did I do that you ask?  Well, by communicating with him of course.  The only way to work on any relationship.  :)  While far from perfect (and not legalistic-woo hoo!), I have been faithful in committing my morning, 20-60 minutes, in the Word.  I read through the Bible once and am starting again, but a little more intensely.  It's very exciting!  I didn't do it every day, but it was  a vast improvement from 2008, for certain.  The kids have started sleeping in until after 7, which was a huge help for me.  :)

Emotionally, definitely tied to my spiritual growth.  I am a sensitive person by nature.  It's how God made me in order to bring glory to him.  But I've always been too sensitive-to the wrong things.  Through my time in communication with God, I've come to appreciate how God made me.  I've learned to stay away from things that would otherwise make me an emotional wreck (videos, books, music, people).  And use my sensitivities for helping others in need.  It's pretty neat!  And my husband and kids have definitely benefited from it the most.

Marriage, Drew and I have come a LONG ways in 2009.  We like to joke that we have been 'happily married' for 4 years (we realized now we can say 5), although we will celebrate 9 years in May. Ugh, we both brought a lot of baggage into the marriage.  Some days I think of what we went through and how far we've come and I'm amazed that we're still together!  Divorce was never really an option for us, but we definitely were both guilty of wishing the other would make the choice for us.  Thankfully, we don't think that anymore.  And the vast majority of the time, we actually enjoy being together. :)  I believe the majority of issues we have left to work on are chemical/physical and need to be worked on from that end rather then relational.

Parenting, another one of those areas that I am shocked at my personal growth. And in the growth of the children.  They actually obey me now!  It's amazing.  My own spiritual growth was a necessary first step here, and the 2nd necessary step was the nutrition.  We have a long ways to go, but I'm finally looking forward to the growth and I think the kids might actually turn out to be pretty decent adults.  Woo hoo!!

Education, Myia is in 1st grade. Technically, we've been 'homeschooling' for a semester.  I'm not happy with where we are, but I am happy with how far we've come. It's one of the areas that I really need to just keep changing and trying things until I find what works for us.  She is one smart whipper snapper!  And I love having her home and learning with her.


Nutrition-of course, this is what this blog is about. My journey in the area of nutrition.  While I believe my spiritual growth was the most critical in all areas of my life, this is the 2nd most important one.  It has affected every other area of our lives.  The children are much calmer, in part due to their bodies being better nourished and less desperate.  Drew's moods are somewhat more steady due to his body not having such intense needs.  And mine, well, I have a long ways to go, but I did see progress in my not having as many 'tired spells' or as severe sinus problems.  And this is the first Christmas (I realize the winter is just started) that we have not all gotten the flu bug since Myia has been born.  That is reason to rejoice! 

Some major nutrition-related praises from 2009:

1.  We like soups.  We really do.  I wouldn't say we 'love' them yet, and I'm still working on our loving broth from a cup.  But in 2008 we hates soups of all kinds.  Woo hoo!!!

2.  The kids eat foods they don't like without too much fight.  They still whine about the stuff they really don't like. And I can't blame them. But they eat it and we talk about how I want them to learn to actually like the stuff (at this point, it's liver and canned salmon mostly, and hamburger for Myia).  Huge, huge, huge for us!!!  I never made my kids eat anything they didn't want to eat until the middle of last year.  That's a big change for a 6 year old!

3.  Daily foods include: kefir, kombucha, yogurt, broth and eggs.

4.  We eat liver and canned salmon every other week without too much flinching or dry heaving.  :)

5.  We severely cut down on our grains this year.  I only make sourdough bread with freshly ground grains.  And we eat mostly brown rice. 

6.  I have our weekly menu down so it's not too expensive and quite nourishing and simple.



Goals for 2010

I like goals, I am a very goal-oriented person.  I've learned that life is a goal, and there is no rush to get there.  So the kids and I made a list of things to pray about and work towards in 2010.  No guilt if we don't get there, but it's fun to have things to work towards also. 


Spiritually-I want to keep going.  I want to be in the Word daily.  I would like to work on my prayer life. That has always been weak.  I listen to God well, but am not sure exactly how to talk to him. I do it throughout the day, but I'd like to work on a more concentrated,conscience prayer life.  Making a prayer journal, praying through it daily and writing in when God answers a prayer, etc.

Emotionally- I think the majority of our growth needs to come from the nourishment/biochemical areas at this point.  Not that we're perfect of course.

Marriage-Same as the above. We need to keep working on communicating and being open and honest.  But our moods are our biggest hindrances right now, and they are deeply connected to what we eat, so that is where I hope to see the biggest growth this year.  And if our moods settle down, our relationship will grow naturally I believe.  I would like us to do some sort of Bible study and pray together daily.  Even if only for 10 minutes.  And to use our weekend evenings, after the kids are asleep, to spend more 'quality time' together rather then go our separate ways.  That is the only time we have together with out the kids, so we need to use it wisely. 

Parenting-Broken record...  Again, I believe that nutrition is super important here.  But I also need to continue to be consistent with them.  I need to up my expectations as they can handle it.  Making them clean their rooms and holding them responsible for bad decisions they make.  We read a Bible story book daily that we love.  I also want to pick a passage and read it daily until we have it memorized.  And do more with prayer/prayer journals with them also.

Education-To keep trying and figuring out what works.  I have concentrated more on character development, which I think is the most important.  So I think I just need to keep trying to find the right balance between responsibility and learning.  Keeping both fun and exciting, while also teaching them perseverance and pride in a job well done.  It's so personal for each of them also.  And it changes as they change.  I hope to see a lot of progress in this area in 2010, but oddly enough, I have no idea where I want to go with it.  Which is sort of weird and disconcerting for me. :)

Financial, we finally cut up our credit card.  Woohoo!  So now we need to adjust our lifestyle to match our income and pay off the debt. But we are at least going in the right direction.  *big sigh of relief*

Nutrition-same song, second verse.  I'm soo happy with where we are, but there is always room for improvement.  So, on that note, here are some of my 2010 nutritional goals:

1.  Eat liver and canned seafood weekly-and like it. Both for their price and dense nutrition.

2.  Try a GAPS type diet to sort out any possible allergies.  I'm wondering about dairy, nuts and wheat specifically.

3.  Drink bone broth every day-a decent amount.

4.  Consume coconut oil daily.

5.  Learn to make and like fish broth-with fish heads esp.

6.  Keep learning more about how God made our bodies to work, and how best to take care of them.

7.  Afford and take cod liver oil daily.

8.  Learn to make cheese and make a cheese and butter from my farmer's spring milk supply-when the nutrients are the highest.  That may end up being a 2011 goal. :)

9.  Cut out more refined carbs from our diet.

10. Cut grains more from our diets.  Even properly prepared ones.  At least for a time.  Rice seems to be acceptable, so I'll keep that in our diets.

11.  Make and consume fermented veggies daily.

12.  Work hard towards figuring out our mood issues and reversing them.

13.  Work at strengthening our teeth and taking better care of them.

14.  Finding and implementing natural cures for colds, flues, etc.

15.  Taking my master tonic and raw garlic daily.

16.  Finding more ways of eating and enjoying eggs for meals other then breakfast.

17.  Working on our 'suppers'. Making them more simple, nourishing and yummy. 



My Number One goal for 2010-and life-is to glorify God in all we do.  Ultimately, that is all that matters.


Lord, we give 2010 to you. I pray you would be glorified in and through the Innis family in 2010.  I pray all we do would draw us closer to you.  Thank you for your blessings of life and love and forgiveness.  Thank  you for the best gift-your son Jesus.  You are so good and amazing!

AMEN

Friday, January 1, 2010

Favorite Links Friday

Ohh, my first post in 2010. :)  Happy New Year!!

Here are a few of my favorite posts from this week:

1.  I ordered The Mood Cure, by Julie Ross, from my library and can't wait to read it.  This is a review that I read that made me really want to read it!  Our nutritional difficiencis tend to show themselves through mood issues around here. 

2.  A great recap of how cod liver oil used to be made, and how Dave Wetzel from Green Pastures decided to make it the 'old fashioned way' once again.  Must get some of that stuff!!!.