By Riki Shore
Each year, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) organizes a conference on health and nutrition that attracts more than 1000 health practitioners. This year’s meeting, which takes place this coming weekend in Dallas, is called Wise Traditions – Mythbusters.
WAPF president Sally Fallon Morell says attendees to the conference “will come away with a sense of relief that delicious foods like butter, meat, eggs, and raw milk are not dangerous substances as claimed, but rather foods that support optimal health.”
Since I can’t make it to Dallas this weekend, I decided to catch up with a couple of the presenters. Jessica Prentice tells us about creating healthy foods for the hundreds of customers at the Three Stone Hearth community kitchen in Berkeley. And Kaayla T. Daniel, a.k.a. The Naughty Nutritionist, debunks the claim that vegan and vegetarian diets are healthful.
Jessica Prentice is one of the founding worker/owners of Three Stone Hearth, a community supported teaching kitchen that provides healthy prepared foods for more than 500 customers each week in the Berkeley area. Author of the cookbook Full Moon Feast, Jessica is presenting how to make mineral-rich broths, both on a home- and community-scale.
TS: Can you tell us a little bit about the principles of Three Stone Hearth?
JP: We call these the “three hearthstones of our business”:
Earth, or our environmental commitment. We use as many local and sustainable ingredients as possible; we pack our food in returnable glass jars, recyclable containers or compostable bags; we waste as little as possible and composte as much waste as possible.
Health, or our commitment to support the health of our community and ourselves. We follow the wisdom of traditional and non-industrialized diets; work sane hours; take vacations; and filter our water.
Heart, or our commitment to being a participatory, worker-owned cooperative that manages through democratic governance structures. We build community; come from a place of love and put love and care into the food; eat daily meals together; and create transparency in our practices.
TS: Who are your customers?
JP: Lots of families with small children, people who’ve struggled with health challenges, environmentally and nutritionally forward-thinkers.
TS: Where do you get inspiration for the Three Stone Hearth menus?
JP: From traditional diets, conversations, online recipes, cookbooks, magazines, and food blogs. Some of my favorite cookbooks include The Flavor Bible, Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, The Silver Spoon, Joy of Cooking, and Nourishing Traditions. My personal obsession is with traditional and indigenous foodways, so I’m inspired by books like One River and Nomads of Western Tibet: The Survival of a Way of Life. I’m currently reading Raising Elijah by Sandra Steingraber.
TS: What does your own diet look like? What are some of your favorite foods?
JP: I eat eggs and toast for breakfast most days, tea-time and lunch-time at the kitchen, and then we usually cook dinner together: meat, starch, and a vegetable is typical. A few favorite foods include:
- beans and rice with cheese and sour cream
- mashed potatoes with lots of gravy (broth based of course)
- braised chicken and rice
- roast beef with horseradish sauce
- baked potato with broccoli and cheese sauce
- fried fritters with dipping sauce
- medium-rare grassfed hamburger
- potatoes pan-fried in a combination of ghee and lard
TS: What advice or motivation can you share for people who want to learn to cook delicious meals at home?
JP: Everything and anything you love to eat “out” can be made more delicious and nutritious by you at home. Cooking is a great learning experience and adventure, and it reconnects you to everything that matters: your family, your community, your food shed, the earth, the plants, and the animals.
Kaayla T. Daniel
Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, is The Naughty NutritionistTM because of her ability to outrageously and humorously debunk nutritional myths. A popular guest on radio and television, she has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, ABC’s View from the Bay, NPR’s People’s Pharmacy and numerous other shows. Dr. Daniel is the author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, and she serves Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
TS: Why are you against vegan and vegetarian diets? Are there macronutrients or micronutrients that are bodies need that cannot be had on those diets?
NN: Vegans tend to come up deficient in vitamins A, D, K, B2, B6 and B12; the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine, cysteine and taurine; DHA and EFA fatty acids; and calcium, zinc, carnitine and CoQ10. Although the human body is theoretically capable of converting beta carotene into true vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids into DHA and EPA, few people are healthy enough to do so. Sunlight might produce sufficient vitamin D — provided we are naked and live in the tropics! For more info, read my article Lose your Veganity.
TS: For someone who’s following a vegan or vegetarian diet, and is not feeling any adverse effects, what motivation do you give them to change how they eat?
NN: If people are willing to eat eggs and have a source of good raw milk from pastured cows, I believe it’s possible to be a healthy vegetarian. There are way too many problems with vegan diets for me to ever recommend them except for short-term use in detoxification. Vegans do better if they include a lot of good fats, including saturated fats in the form of coconut oil and/or palm oil, but they still come up deficient in many other areas. Those who intend to stay vegan are going to need to take a tremendous number of supplements to compensate for the deficiencies in their diets – and supplements are never as good as real foods.
TS: What about the vegan or vegetarian who’s starting to feel some adverse effects, or is actually suffering from disease? Why should they pay attention to nutrition as well as consulting a medical doctor?
NN: They should pay attention to nutrition because there’s a strong likelihood that they are destroying their health with their vegan diets. Lierre Keith’s book The Vegetarian Myth is a must read. Lierre was a vegan for 20 years before she realized her diet had not only irreparably harmed her health, but wasn’t even good for planetary health. My blog Not Taking the EWG Pledge addresses some of these health and environmental issues.
TS: A common source of protein for vegans and vegetarians is soy in all its many forms. Why do you advise against eating soy products?
NN: More than 70 years of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid disorders, ADD/ADHD, even heart disease and cancer. The Israeli Health Ministry, French Agency and German Institute of Risk Assessment have all issued warnings, saying babies should not receive soy formula, and women diagnosed with or at risk for breast cancer should “exercise caution.” The Israelis have also warned that children up to age 18 should not eat soy or drink soy milk more than once per day and no more than 3 times per week.
TS: What about a mother who cannot, for whatever reason, breastfeed her infant? What do you recommend she feed her baby?
TS: Did you once follow a vegan or vegetarian diet yourself? How did you feel eating that way?
NN: I briefly tried vegan diets, including “live foods” vegan. I felt absolutely horrid, no energy, no focus, and was starved and grazing all the time.
TS: How would you describe your diet now? What are some of your favorite foods?
NN: Omnivorous diet as described in Nourishing Traditions. Lots of favorites, and I have a lusty appetite! Rib eye steaks, lamb, bacon, roe, oysters, raw milk, and vegetables dripping with butter. I like French, Italian, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and many other cuisines.
TS: What are some of your favorite resources for sound nutrition advice, either books, newsletters, websites or blogs?
NN: My favorite, of course, is the Weston A. Price Foundation website. Dr. Mercola is often the first with important news. There are so many good sources now on the Internet, and when I find special articles I like to share links to them with my FaceBook friends. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is my Food Bible. And I like Julia Child’s books too.