Friday, April 23, 2010

A Tender Mercy of the Lord- Meeting Caralee, My Nourishing Traditions Mentor


I know I said I wouldn't be posting much on this blog as I started a new web site for LDS natural family living (www.treeoflifemothering.com) which has a blog, but I can't resist adding more things here. Leaving this blog will be a weaning process, as they say in La Leche League (llli.org), gradually and with love.

Don't you just love this picture? It captures the spirit of community among mothers. Getting together and learning from one another while our little children play. I took this at my girlfriend Caralee's house at one of our new moms as mentors meetings.

I am so thrilled beyond belief to have met my new NT (Nourishing Traditions) mentor, Caralee Ayre. It is the hand of God that brought us together. I know that God recognized I had a desire to learn more about how to implement the NT into my busy mom of seven, homeschooling life, and he has honored that desire by moving Caralee to my area. (She says they moved here for other reasons but I selfishly think it was all for me...just kidding!)

About 10 years ago, I learned from Diane Hopkins, owner of Latter-day Family Resources (see ldfr.com) about NT. This is a cookbook full of recipes based on the "nourishing traditions" of our ancestors. They ate some animal fat, from animals that were treated humanely and allowed to feed on green grass in the sunshine, and they soaked their grains to get rid of the phytic acid. Phytic acid is how God allows beans and grains to stay shelf-stable for so long and not spoil but it also interferes with the ability of the body to absorb minerals. These native peoples also used lacto-fermented vegetables. They were healthier than our current population, which has countless chronic diseases that our ancestors never heard of, like diabetes, heart disease, rampant tooth decay, and cancer. Diane wrote an article in her newsletter about her switch from being vegan to using animal products. She felt she had been duped by the promoters of veganism. This article affected me greatly, and helped me to switch from being vegan as well. Another time I will write about my vegan journey.

So I heard about the dangers of veganism from Diane and around the same time I had a second witness from Rebecca Wood. Her website is rwood.com. She is an author of two books on food, one of which won a Julia Child award, and a consultant about whole foods. She grew up in Ogden, Utah on whole foods: peaches from the orchard, fresh trout from the river, tomatoes from the garden, etc. She was a vegan for 20 years but she still got cancer. That got her wondering and she did some research as part of her healing journey. I got to take a cooking class from her and heard her tell her story. She said that in her research she found that generations of people the world over shared five features of their diets. She uses these five criteria to determine if a diet is a fad or based in historical nutritional traditions. 1. Whole food, including some animal products, 2. Regional, seasonal food, including animals that can be raised locally 3. Easy to digest, 4. Whole grain-based and 5. Fermented food, such as kefir, yogurt, umeboshi, or pickles.

I learned from Rebecca the idea of food that nourishes versus food that feeds. Nourishing food leaves one feeling satisfied and peaceful, with the appetite for sweet and salty, crunchy and soft all sated and balanced. Food that doesn't leaves one feeling full, but not pleasantly satisfied. Well-prepared homemade food can be very nourishing, and commercialized food tends to be more of the feeding but not nourishing type.

After hearing these two witnesses I dutifully bought the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. There it sat on my shelf. It is such a huge tome of a cookbook that it is overwhelming. I wanted to make bread from it but the instructions seemed too hard. I also bought the companion book that inspired Sally Fallon to write the NT cookbook, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Dr. Weston Price. It is full of pictures comparing indigenous people the world over who continued with a native, whole foods diet versus the white man's industrialized diet of white bread, white flour, and white sugar. The first group of people enjoyed vibrant health without tooth decay, and they had straight teeth, wide dental arches, and beautiful faces. The latter group had tooth decay, crowded teeth, and less beautiful faces due to smaller dental arches and pinched nostrils.

My girlfriend Shauna once casually mentioned, at one of our Veggie Gals dinners, that she had a soaked grain bread recipe written by a woman named Caralee who was trained by the Weston Price foundation to be a chapter leader.That caught my attention and I got one of the recipes. I tucked it in my cookbook for the day when I figure out how to fit bread making into my life after soaking the flour the night before. I don't have a Bosch bread mixer nor a big counter space to work with dough so making bread seems overwhelming and messy to me when combined with a nursing baby and homeschooling.

Fast forward about seven years. We had a day at Shauna's home, listening to the incomparable Janeen Brady of britemusic.com (see post from December 2009) play piano and sing with her daughter. They sang new songs from Janeen's new CD, Time to Times (timetotimes.com), which teaches the multiplication tables, as well as old Brite music favorites. When it was over, the horde of people left except for a few of us closer friends who Shauna allowed to stay and eat a lunch we had brought. Caralee was one of these friends. At last, I finally got to meet her! She moved up to Davis County from South Jordan, so now she lives about 20 minutes away from me! We had a tender visit full of love along with Shauna and Janeen's daughter, Michelle Stone, author of the Celestial Education DVDs (I will do a post about that soon).

Caralee felt inspired to start her own brand of Veggie Gal type dinners up in our neck of the woods, north Davis County. Some moms meet together once a month and we have a potluck lunch and then have a discussion about an article, usually a talk from an LDS Church leader. Now I can visit Caralee in her own home and see the master at work. She is a beautiful, vibrant mom with happy beautiful tow-headed children. Three boys and three girls who look straight out of Sweden with their gleaming blond hair just like Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka and Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr. I can call Caralee anytime with a question. As my girlfriend Tara from happyinthekitchen-withtara.blogspot.com says, "Here," (putting her hands on Caralee's shoulders) "is a treasure-trove of information." I agree wholeheartedly. Caralee has been studying nutrition since she was fifteen. She is a kindred spirit. I have been studying it since I was sixteen, when I first bought a copy of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's Fit for Life book. That book inspired me to become vegetarian.

Just by perusing Caralee's bookshelves I came away with a wellspring of knowledge. She has DVDs of Sally Fallon teaching her principles. The URL printed on the DVD packaging was newtrendspublishing.com. I went there and found some free interviews with Sally Fallon on mp3 files that I have loved listening to.

Caralee was vegan for many years. She ended up with really bad health problems, including tooth decay. When she switched to a diet that included high-quality animal products, her health improved dramatically. Using cod liver oil and dairy oil that contains the X factor discovered by Dr. Weston Price, she was able to heal many cavities in her teeth. I can't wait to tell you more of her story in her own words, which I will be doing over the next few months. She says that the cod liver oil even helped her have a pain-free labor! This is what I have been searching for! So stay tuned, either here, or at my other website www.treeoflifemothering.com. I will be posting in both places about her story. I will include her recipes, including the soaked-whole wheat flour bread dough recipe that can be used for flat bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls, rolls, and bagels. Yummy! This bread makes wheat much more digestible and compatible with the Body Ecology Diet since it doesn't use yeast.

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