realized that we, at Full of Days, often talk about a Traditional Diet, or a Traditional Lifestyle, but that these terminologies are not necessarily mainstream and identifiable. Even searching within this heading can produce a myriad of guidelines and approaches. The realization that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and have varying nutritional needs, has led our family to years of trial and error to work out our own set of guidelines.
The basic principles and guidelines we follow in our own home are based on findings from Dr. Weston A. Price who has been called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition”. Dr. Price traveled the globe in search of the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration. What he found were “numerous isolated primitive peoples with beautifully wide palates and freedom from degenerative ills. When studying their diet he found that they provided at least four times the calcium and other minerals, and at least ten times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish and organ meats…this was in sharp contrast to those subsisting on the impoverished foods of civilization – sugar, white flour, pasteurized milk and convenience foods filled with extenders and additives.” (Source)
Our basic dietary guidelines: (Please keep in mind these are guidelines, what we strive for, but this is not law, and we extend ourselves grace when our guidelines and real life just don’t match up.)
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods.
- Eat beef, lamb, wild game, organ meats, poultry and eggs from pasture-fed animals.
- Eat wild fish (not farm-raised), fish eggs and shellfish from unpolluted waters.
- Eat full-fat milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as raw milk, whole yogurt (not low-fat), milk kefir, cultured butter, full-fat raw cheeses and fresh and sour cream.
- Use animal fats, such as lard, tallow, egg yolks, cream and butter liberally (3-4 tablespoons daily).
- Use only traditional vegetable oils – extra virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed sesame oil, small amounts of expeller-pressed flax oil, and the tropic oils – coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
- Take cod liver oil regularly to provide at least 10,000 IU vitamin A and 1,000 IU vitamin D per day (or at very least, 3 times per week).
- Eat fresh and cooked vegetables, preferably organic. Use vegetables in salads and soups, or lightly steamed with butter.
- Use whole grains, legumes and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients (we love traditional sourdough bread).
- Include enzyme-rich lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis (such as kombucha, water kefir and kimchi).
- Prepare homemade stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb and fish and use liberally in soups, stews, gravies and sauces. We aim to consume stock 3 times a week, although daily is ideal. You can even warm it up and drink it from a mug!
- Use filtered water for cooking and drinking (to avoid chemicals like chlorine and fluoride).
- Use unrefined salt and a variety of herbs and spices for added minerals.
- Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a small amount of expeller-expressed flax oil (or even sauerkraut juice for extra probiotics!).
- Use traditional sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, maple sugar, date sugar, dehydrated cane sugar juice (sold as Rapadura) and stevia powder (our goal is to limit sugar intake to once or twice a week so it is truly a “treat”…it’s our goal!).
- Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel. Transition away from non-stick cookware, aluminum foil and plastic storage containers to avoid unnecessary exposure to toxins.
- Use only natural, food-based supplements (never use denatured protein powders, synthetic vitamins or supplements).
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural sunlight. Aim for exercise 5-6 days a week, and avoid artificial light 2 hours before bedtime (to help promote the natural production of melatonin).
It needs to be mentioned that this diet is what we aim for. It requires thought and planning, and when life happens, it also requires grace. Our family is not challenged with food sensitivities/allergies, Leaky Gut Syndrome or auto-immune diseases, so we follow these guidelines with little alteration. We know many who are working through hormonal imbalances, Hashimotos Thyroiditus and other auto-immune diseases, so, as mentioned before, one-size does not fit all. Consider this a framework that can be adapted to suit each individuals need.
If you have any of the issues mentioned above (or numerous others), this diet can prove hugely beneficial to your healing, however you may need to make alterations or implement an “Elimination Diet” where necessary. An elimination diet is where one removes foods such as grains, legumes, dairy and fermented foods which can exacerbate existing conditions, and we don’t want that! Once healing has taken place, these foods (properly prepared) should be able to be slowly introduced back into your diet. (More on elimination diets to come.)
Proper research is a MUST. We are in this with you, but remember, we are not doctors or nutritionists. If you are trying to heal your body, or making a complete lifestyle change (to a Traditional Diet), you need to make informed decisions. Be intentional, this is not a fad, this is your life! Working with a doctor open to traditional methods of healing can also, from our own experience, prove extremely beneficial.