Traditional foods banned by Nourishing Traditions

The book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig is worth reading by those of us who reject the current saturated-fat-must-be-evil nutritional orthodoxy.  However, part of its argument is that we should all be eating ‘traditional foods’ and then they ban the following traditional foods, some of which go back as far as we have food records:

  • tea
  • coffee
  • beer/wine
  • chocolate
  • distilled alcohol

Yes, these foods can be overeaten, but it seems likely that Fallon and Enig have banned these foods on the basis of very sketchy research because they already assumed they were unhealthy.

In fact, white flour has been consumed in Europe for centuries.  It also can be overeaten, and does not work for some people.  However, to claim that white flour except in tiny quantities is unhealthy for everyone seems to be inconsistent with their emphasis on ‘traditional foods.’

They also seem to be missing any thought about the foods a person’s ancestors ate.  Those of us descended mostly from northwestern European ancestors are probably better able to eat white flour in moderation than those from Asia, where white flour is a much more recent addition.  However, this is a topic far too large to be added to the end of a blog post on a related topic.

Shortcuts to carb counting I’ve started using

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I’ve found that as my little one with diabetes gets older and eats more carbs, I can be a little less careful about certain things.  The following are shortcuts I’ve been starting to use:

For normal homemade bread I just use a carb factor of .4.  I would not use this if raisins or more than a few tablespoons of sugar were added.

For cooked vegetables, I often just eyeball the number of tablespoons as I scoop them with a normal tablespoon.  They are low carb enough that this works.  I would not do this for corn or peas.

Go away, spammers

I don’t know how much real people are even involved, but I will not approve any post that is really just advertising sunglasses, hair products, or designer boots.  In other words, if you’re a spammer, don’t bother trying to get a spam post past me.

Weston Price

While looking up something else on the internet today, I stumbled back on the website of the Weston Price Foundation.  Again, I found that I almost couldn’t see what they said that was right because they were so heavy-handed.

Things about which they are right:

  • Saturated fat is important, not the enemy.
  • Whole milk and eggs are important, healthy foods for many people.
  • Trans fats are the enemy.
  • The current nutritional guidelines push us to consume too much grain.
  • Many people consume too much processed sugar.
  • Soy is also a food that is unhealthy if much of it is eaten.

However, they entirely ban many foods.  I think any plan of eating that forbids anything has gone off track.  Other specifics I can’t agree with them about:

  • I think even industrial, ultrapasteurized skim milk is better than no milk.
  • Most people do not need supplements, such as cod liver oil
  • No food should ever be banned in a meal plan,  Instead, the less healthy things should be eaten less often.
  • I think coffee, tea, and chocolate are fine in moderation.
  • I think cake, pie, and any other sweet treat we crave is fine in moderation
  • I don’t think it is necessary to sprout all grains.
  • I think that the breast milk of any woman whose body is able to make milk is still healthier for her baby that any formula made from another species’ milk.
  • The occasional consumption of fried foods is OK, particularly if you fry it yourself without canola or soybean oil.
  • I use a microwave.  However, I try to avoid cooking acidic or fatty foods in plastic containers in the microwave.
  • Any meat, even meat from current large conventional farms, is better than no meat .

What I say here is not meant to minimize the important work that Mary Enig did to make sure we are aware of the dangers of transfats.  This particular group’s nutritional philosophy is just too extreme and too rule based for me.


Pizza is one of those foods that there are lots of strong opinions about.  I now have three different types of pizza that I make, with very different recipes.  (I’m not going to post a lot about carb counting pizza, because my little one with diabetes won’t eat pizza.)

The pinacle of pizza-ness is the Chicago style stuffed pizza.  I do mean stuffed pizza, not deep dish pizza.  A stuffed pizza has a crust on the bottom, followed by cheese and lots of fillings, then a second crust, and only then the pizza sauce.  It’s very rich and filling because it’s about 2 inches thick.  If stand mixers could talk or have feelings, I would be sure than my Kitchenaid is angry every time I make this pizza.  My old Kitchenaid got too hot to touch every time I made the dough.  I have a recipe for the crust that works well, but am still looking for a sauce recipe.  For those who have access to one, the pizza chain Giordano’s is what I strive to match here.  This pizza is far too rich and time consuming to make very often.

I also like using Alton Brown’s pizza recipe.  It works well, and the crust has a pleasant flavor and is very chewy.  This pizza is made using a pizza peel and pizza stone.  However, the crust needs to be made the night before, so this also is too much for weekly pizza.

I’ve just recently discovered how to make a thin crust pizza that reminds me of what I grew up with in the Chicago area.  It’s a thinner crust than Alton Brown’s.  Also, the flavor of the crust is rather bland, which is good, because I don’t want to emphasize the crust here.  The secret was to make a crust type that I used to make, but much thinner.  This has become my weekly pizza, because it’s less than two hours from start to pizza.

Tonight I’m only going to post the recipe for the Chicago thin crust pizza.  If you’re a fan of ‘New York style’ pizza, this is probably not the pizza for you.  This is an adaptation of the pizza crust recipe from the Kitchenaid stand mixer manual.

Chicago thin crust pizza
Serves: 2 pizzas
  • 2½ cups King Arthur bread flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ teaspoons SAF red instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ cups pizza sauce of your choice
  • 1½ lb mozarella cheese
  • pizza toppings of your choice
  1. Combine all dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook. Mix on low speed, then raise speed to knead dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, up to 1 cup. Continue to knead the dough until a grape sized doughball can be stretched so thin you can see through it. I often like to finish up the kneading by hand.
  2. Round the dough into a ball, put back into the mixer bowl, cover bowl with a cloth, and allow to rise for about 45 minutes. After about 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone on the lower rack, the upper rack removed. About the time the oven claims it's done preheating, the dough should be done rising, so that the pizza stone can continue to preheat as the pizza is assembled.
  3. When the dough is ready, grease a thin pizza pan with a little olive oil. Punch down the pizza dough, and divide it in half. Use your hands to shape one piece of the dough into an even disk about ½ inch think, and put this disk into the center of your greased pizza pan. Starting at the center of the pan, use the heel of your hand to press and stretch the dough very thin. A few little rips that you can squish back together are OK; I've never gotten the dough thin enough without them. Leave a very small collar of dough that is a little thicker at the edge of the pizza. You don't want it very thick because it puffs up a lot. The dough should be almost transparent, and reach almost the edges of a 16 inch pizza pan.
  4. Now spread sauce over the entire pizza, except for the collar. It's a matter of personal taste exactly how much, but you do want to be able to see the crust a little through the sauce. On top of the sauce put half the cheese and your choice of toppings. I sometimes put the toppings above the cheese, sometimes under.
  5. Put your pizza pan onto the pizza stone and bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is just barely starting to brown. You may need to rotate the pizza half way through baking.
  6. As the first pizza is baking, assemble the second pizza. When the first pizza is done, let it cool for about 3 minutes on the pan, then slide onto a large cutting board. Put the second pizza into the oven when you take the first one out. Let each pizza cool about 5 minutes after removing form the pan before cutting. Cut into squares or rectanges, about 3 inches per side.


I plan to post later the recipe for stuffed pizza and a homemade pizza sauce that works well in this pizza.

What milk is ideal?

I posted a few days ago about why we don’t drink organic milk.  This post is meant to balance that.

The minimum standards I have for milk, in addition to freshness, are rbst free and not ultra-pasteurized.  This level of ‘pickiness’ I do not have trouble meeting.

Other things that I would like are the following:

  • low heat/vat pasteurized (a few dairies still do this, it’s even a slower and lower heat process than standard pasteurization)
  • not homogenized (this is a different process than pasteurization.  Pasteurization is heating to kill pathogens.  Homogenization is breaking up the fat particles so they stay suspended)
  • reduced use of antibiotics (not quite as strict as organic; I mean that a cow is only given antibiotics when sick, and the milk is not used until a few days after the cow is no longer on the antibiotics)

I would consider the following to be nice, but probably too expensive:

  • organic
  • cows eat grass in a pasture during the summer
  • local, small dairy where I can see where the milk comes from

Foods I’m not sure how to carb count

So far, I’ve been sharing about things that I have worked out a good way to count carbs.  Today I’m going to look at a few things that I don’t have a good answer about yet.

  • marinated meat (I can count the carbs in the marinade, but I’m not sure how to decide how much stuck to the meat)
  • beef stew (the total amount is hard to measure)
  • Greek yogurt (I don’t know if the carbs end up in the whey or in the Greek yogurt)

Homemade soups and cassaroles are also difficult.

It seems that the things that can make carb counting hard are the following:

  • part of the food doesn’t get used
  • the total recipe is too large to conveniently measure

Of course, the other issue is for a mixed food like a cassarole or soup where a small child might pick through and only eat some parts.

For others who are struggling with similar issues, the best suggestion I can make is to take your best estimate.

What do others struggle with how to carb count?

Why we don’t drink organic milk

I know that among the real food community, organic foods can be very popular.  However, there are two reasons that we don’t buy organic milk.  One is the cost.  The other is that the organic milk in our stores is always ultrapasteurized.  Not only do I find ultrapasteurized milk unpalatable, but also the higher heat makes many more changes to the milk than the lower heat of normal pasteurization.  Thus, I consider non-organic but RBST-free milk to be more natural and less processed than ultrapasteurized organic milk.  I’m sure that if I bought milk from a source other than the normal grocery store I could find some that is not ultrapasteurized and organic, but that’s simply not an option for my family right now.