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March 26, 2008

Milk, Eating, Fat

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The Boston Globe takes note of the surge of interest in raw milk. The curious may enjoy spending a few minutes at the website of raw-milk advocates, The Weston A. Price Foundation. With their praise for sauerkraut and kefir and their belief in coconut oil as a cure for almost anything that might ail you, the Weston A. Price bunch can seem like crackpots. But such solid food-and-eating types as Gary Taubes and Nina Planck respect Weston A. Price.

I admire Taubes and Planck; I've enjoyed raw milk every time I've drunk it; and I'm currently getting a lot out of "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" by Weston A. Price honchos Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Hey world, it's time to get over your terror of fat. Me, I've given up the dumb 'n' easy carbs and have taken to helping myself to a lot more fat than ever before, including regular servings of coconut oil (which tastes fine in coffee or chai tea). Result: No problems maintaining the weight-loss I was able to accomplish via Seth Roberts' "Shangri-La Diet." Alt-health guru Andrew Weil has cut back on the dumb carbs too, and has lost some of the Santa Claus poundage he was previously known for.

Both Sally Fallon and Mary Enig appear as interviewees in Tom Naughton's entertaining and informative eating-and-weight-loss documentary "Fat Head." I interviewed Tom here and here.

Jimmy Moore has done interviews with many of the people on the low-carb, don't-fear-fat side of the fence.

Can I have a little more butter with that? Only, make it organic.



posted by Michael at March 26, 2008


I am a member of the Weston A Price Foundation and I figured that I would comment on this (since no one else has).

At first I was a little suprised at the information that I got at their site.
- Unpasteurized Milk
- Organ Meats like Liver (who eats Liver anymore?)
- Fat is not only not bad for you, but GOOD for you.
- Cholesterol is not bad for you.
- Add Chicken Feet when making Chicken Stock.

But, I was intrigued by how much Science and History they had in their articles. They didn't just talk about fat. They would talk about the number of Carbon Bonds and how they differ. They would talk, specifically, about how Fat Soluble Vitamins are actually absorbed into our system. They talked about so many things.

When I tried to confirm what they were saying about, say, the Carbon Bonds of Lauric Acid (the Fatty Acid found in Coconut Oil), well, it was difficult. So few places, books or sites were that detailed in their analysis. But, there were a few places, and, sure enough, the WAPF was right on.

Similarly, I was REALLY turned on by there interest in History. How did we eat in the past? Did it kill us or make us stronger? When did we change? What was the effect?

This was what really got me. Their history was right on. And they seemed to be the only people that talked about it.

How much Lard (Pork Fat) did we get in our diet in the past? Did it give us Heart Attacks? Why not?

How much Soy did, say, the Chinese eat in the past? They grew a lot of it, why didn't they eat more of it?

Absolutely fascinating stuff.

Oh, and their Journal that they publish for members is fantastic. Again, lots of science.

Oh, one last thing. I have gotten to meet a few people through the WAPF, and boy are they nice. I mean, every last one of them.

I am sure that I will meet a jerk in the WAPF sooner or later, but, so far, they are attracting some great people.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on March 27, 2008 9:46 AM

Ian, That's a great bulletin, many thanks. You're reminding me of something Gary Taubes said in one of his video talks. He said something like, He was suspicious of Weston A. Price (the guy himself) -- his findings and claims seemed so weird. But he looked into a few of them, and Price was accurage. So Taubes set up a little test. He chose one of Price's most extreme and bizarre-sounding claims (can't remember what it was, darn it, but it *was* something odd, about the habits of South Sea islanders), and said to himself, "If *this* crazy-seeming thing turns out to be solid, then I'll consider Price a really good source." And it indeed turned out to be solid.

Anyway, for all the surprises about sauerkraut and kefir and coconut oil, the Foundation certainly seems a lot more trustworthy than the usual diet dictocrats, don't they?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 27, 2008 10:56 AM

You know, the benefits of sauerkraut and kefir were not THAT surprising to me. I mean, sauerkraut is basically a vegetable, and, well, they are always finding something new and good about every other vegetable. And, with the Kefir, well, that is basically yogurt. And we already knew some positive things about that.

But you also mention the coconut products, and that had a big effect on me.

People were screaming about things like Butter and Lard. Well, Butter is about 55% Saturated and Lard is about 45% Saturated. Well, Coconut Oil is about 93% Saturated, and, when was the last time you heard that Thailand was having a huge health crisis. And they eat the stuff by the gallon.

The biggest thing that this has done for me is to eat without guilt.

Now, I do follow a version of a Low Carb diet, but, in general, I eat everything with absolute joy and delight. Fat, Cholesterol, Bacteria, Raw, Cooked... more please.

As a side note, I am not a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, but, almost all of his shows inadvertently display all of the WAPF principles.

Everywhere he goes, the locals and indigenous people are getting as much fat and cholesterol as they can. And good for them.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on March 27, 2008 2:29 PM

I spent a few summers on a dairy farm in Wisconsin when I was younger, back when there were still family dairy farms. I drank raw milk as well as free range eggs and beef and they tasted much better than the industrial supermarket stuff that you get today.

Posted by: Robert on March 27, 2008 3:13 PM

Bill Sardi reports that Coronary Calcification Predicts Future Heart Attacks and Coronary Death. Cholesterol Not Found To Be A Significant Risk Factor.

He cites this new study: Coronary Calcium as a Predictor of Coronary Events in Four Racial or Ethnic Groups in The New England Journal of Medicine, v358 n13, March 27, 2008, pages 1336-1345.

Posted by: Dave Lull on March 27, 2008 3:15 PM

I thought we did well eating zebra sausages at the weekend. Do we have to source zebra milk too?

Posted by: dearieme on March 27, 2008 7:57 PM

"Eat Fat, Lose Fat" was a great book. It was the book that inspired me to try to actually cook for myself instead of living on takeout. (This took more than 4 years to actually accomplish, but without it I might never have started.) I cite Enig and Fallon on a regular basis when I have, er, spirited discussions with people who don't understand why I don't cook with margarine or drink skim milk.

Posted by: James Boelter on March 29, 2008 9:37 AM

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