Maddie’s Story

My road to health was gradual. I first started using raw goat dairy for the family when my youngest was about 4, as she can’t tolerate cows’ milk. (I can’t tolerate any dairy w-casein). Both she and her brother never needed braces, even though their prenatal nutrition was bad. The older kids did. I started with WAPF diet, but moved to GAPS due to issues with grains. I consider GAPS a subset of WAPF diet.

Between following GAPS, homeopathy, and supplements, I now no longer have constipation, which I was “born with”. My allergies & asthma are almost non-existent, and I used to have to wear a HEPA mask to work in my garden! Migraines stopped as soon as I stopped grains and sugar, as did brain fog. Even though I have MTHFR, I’m able to detox sufficiently now. I know this isn’t strictly a “WAPF” story, but as I said, I believe GAPS “counts”.

Regarding obstacles, I did not have it as hard as many Americans, in that for the first 15 years of married life, I lived in the UK, which at that time, had almost NO convenience foods. You bought meat, vegetables, etc, and you cooked them; no taco kits, open-and-serve, etc. So I was used to cooking. I also had always liked liver, so I was already eating that on a regular basis.

The biggest challenge is realizing that family members (my youngest is now 20) have to find their own ways, which sadly involves their bad choices. When they get sick enough, they may be motivated to change. Until then, I keep cooking good stuff, and keep my mouth shut. Nobody is convinced by being nagged.

Diane’s Story

I have always been interested in nutrition as my mother came down with environmental illness when I was a little girl. I saw her fight for her own health and dig for answers to the real problem teaching the many doctors she saw. I had bought into the view of low fat, non fat and vegetable oils as the way to health. Then, a gal I knew from my bible study asked me if I would be interested in a nutrition conference and I went with her to see Dr. Tom Cowan present the Nourishing Traditions philosophy and I was hooked. It just made so much sense! I bought the Nourishing Traditions Book and a DVD of Sally Fallon’s conference talks and learned all I could about this new way of looking at food.

I joined a WAP chapter and started learning and gleaning all that I could to get my family on a healthier track. Since 2008, I have been eating mostly organic fruits and vegetables, pastured meats and eggs, drinking raw milk and making raw milk products, making and consuming bone broths, added fermented cod liver oil to my daily diet. I have noticed that as I have spent more time carefully preparing and eating traditional foods, my energy level has increased, I don’t get the normal ailments ie colds and flu, and my immune system overall seems to be improved.

I have looked at other claims to a healthier lifestyle, the most recent “Trim Healthy Mama” but didn’t find that the diet was easy nor did it make sense to separate the foods that God put together ie yolk and egg white as one example. Bottom line, WAP makes sense to me from the way food is grown to the way it is prepared and I have great respect for the amount of scientific evidence they present to back up this way of eating. Many do not follow WAP because it does take time to get the quality food and prepare it properly, but I have found that the health benefits and the joy in getting and preparing good food is more than worth it.

Celeste’s Story

Before I was even an adult, I read Adelle Davis’ book, “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit.” Her premise in this book was, if you want to be healthy, you have to pay attention to what you eat. Wow! That made so much sense to me, I became an organic consumer immediately. As I perused further, I discovered that growing my own vegetables could be even better. So I learned how.

I discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation soon after Sally Fallon Morell’s book, “Nourishing Traditions” came out. I was already buying all of my meat (including chicken feet for my bone broth soup) from local farmers but this book taught me the importance of fermented foods in the diet as well as many other things. My husband, Bob, and I are not young, but we enjoy great health. We do take supplements, but we are on no medications, have no aches or pains, live strenuous lives and enjoy great food.

One story that is worth sharing: Over a year ago, Bob sleep-walked off of our loft. He woke up on the way down so he knew that he was falling. He basically fell an entire story at the age of 68. Yet, he broke NOTHING. I think that is a testament to the strength of his bones. We eat lots of butter, cream, coconut oil, our own pastured eggs, veggies from the garden all year long and my own version of kimchee. I also drink a splash of fruit kvass in every glass of water that I drink all day long. I firmly believe that eating a traditional diet is the best way to maintain great health.

Elaine’s Story

Elaine MichaelsEven as a youngster, I was interested in food and nutrition. My live-in grandmother grew a garden and served balanced meals. When I married and had kids, it was important to me to feed them in a healthy way. However, this was the beginning of the low-fat dogma. I knew something was wrong with that way but I also believed “the so-called-experts” must know. What saved us, I feel, was the fact that we moved out of a big city into a smaller community in the Midwest and soon bought a 11-acre acreage where we raised our own meat and vegetables. We even had our own milk cow and I found the joy of discovering just how many delicious products could come from that dairy cow!

With five children, we had a lot of help and even though we ran a construction business, the kids helped and made it possible to live a healthy lifestyle. After they grew up and married we moved closer to town and continued having a garden but no animals. The low-fat mantra was in full force by now. I began buying low-fat products and 1% store milk but realized 90% of the milk was still in the carton at the end of the week. The taste was not like the farm milk. Internally I didn’t believe in this nutritional philosophy but again, “I thought they must know – who was I to disbelieve.” I will never distrust myself again in this way. During this time I looked into becoming a Dietician but was disenchanted with their beliefs and their type of sponsors.

Fast forward years later with another move, even closer into town. I continued to research “my” way of believing and thinking and accidentally ran into the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website. I was thrilled and felt like “I had finally come home!” I contacted one of the chapter leaders and found a raw milk source. About a year after getting back to drinking raw milk, I had a doctor’s visit to re-test my bone density. The year before, I was told I had “osteopenia” (the precursor to osteoporosis). I was shocked because my previous tests for years had all been good. However, I soon forgot about the results because I didn’t know what to do to change them. At my re-test my doctor informed me: “your osteopenia has been reversed–I have never seen this before. What are you doing?” I thought for a moment and then it dawned on me. When I told her I was drinking raw milk, she asked me if I wasn’t scared I’d get sick but I replied that pasteurized milk was more of a risk. Her eyes glazed over but she said, “well keep doing what you’re doing I guess.” How funny.

All of this brought back my excitement for nutrition and real food so I ventured back to school and became a Nutritional Therapist and a GAPS Practitioner. I am overall very healthy but am fighting arthritic nodes on my fingers and am hoping the GAPS diet will help. I am also a WAP chapter leader. I learned a lot in school but I also learned that our “old ways of eating real food” is the “only” way to be really healthy. I love being around like-minded people and I love helping others! I wish I could say my family was on board completely but they’re not. We all have to find “our own way in our own time.” However, I do have a daughter-in-law that has embraced the healthy foods as much as time permits for her. She has seen herself and her kids become healthier. My son (her husband), recently died so she has her hands full with four children. I love watching her expand her knowledge and of course, what grandma doesn’t want to see her grandchildren “thrive!” I am also a great-grandma and it excites me to watch each generation getting healthier!

Elissa’s Story

At age 60 when my mother died I was obese even though I Elissa Hirsch_2had been a vegetarian for 40 years and did not eat junk food. When I first went to an integrative nutritionist my goal was to become a poster child for vegetarianism. She help me lose weight using a protein shake that was soy based. She recommended an abundance of supplements to address the deficits in my profile. She used a lot of tests, urine, stool, blood. Each time I would take that urine test I would hope to ace it but each time my results got a little further afield. I was losing weight and feeling better so did not understand why my testing profiles were not improving.

I did learn a lot from this first nutritionist. But at the same time several health issues were not resolving and were even getting worse. It is rather like having a relationship with someone who is not Mr. or Ms. Right. You learn from that relationship so that you can recognize true love when it occurs. My frustration with the first nutritionist sent me looking elsewhere and I found Beatrice Levinson, an excellent GAPS practitioner. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Beatrice said if I wanted to get well I needed to eat meat, and not only meat but organ meat, and bone broth. I was in shock. For 40 years my identity had been that of a vegetarian with a disdain for people who ate meat. Now she was telling me I needed to become one of those people. I bought the GAPS book, read it through, and took the plunge. through Beatrice I learned that for 40 years I had deprived myself of essential nutrients and that my health issues were due to having a leaky gut. Healing the gut will heal the body. I had also been on birth control pills for 40 years and taken NSAIDS for pain.

As a baby boomer, I was not breast-fed and was a colicky baby so I have probably been in need of the GAPS protocol since birth. I have always struggled with my weight, not being drawn so much to sugar as to fat, which I understand now was what my body was craving. But I denied myself because it was the era of low-fat eating. I have 40 years of abuse to overcome. I will very likely be eating according to the GAPS protocol for the rest of my life, but this is fine with me because I absolutely love it. I have learned to make bone broth and am learning to ferment. I am lucky to live in an area with a provider of excellent kraut so it has not been imperative to take that on immediately. I was already eating differently from most people and that of course did not change. I still ate differently but I was following a new set of rules. I look forward to my strange breakfast of bone broth with bits of sausage, vegetables and a soft cooked egg floating on the greens.

I still think of meat as medicine but slowly I am learning to prepare it in interesting ways. I may never be an excellent meat cook, but I’m good enough. I do not miss sugar or concentrated carbohydrates because my body is getting what it needs. I am taking very few supplements now compared to over 30 a day because the nutrients in my body needs are available in the food I am eating.

The nightly cramps I would get in my legs have vanished. It took a while. They became slowly less frequent until now I cannot remember when I last had one. It must be six months. My digestion is so much better. I am not going to say I never fart, but I do not have to worry about being in meetings or having people over forElissa Hirsch dinner. The tooting just doesn’t happen. My gut is healing. I am eating so much fat, it is incredible that I have not gained weight. I have more energy. My traditional medicine doctor at my yearly check up said that most women as they age become less healthy. I am becoming more healthy so whatever I am doing, keep it up. I told her I was trying to tell her what I was doing but she didn’t or couldn’t hear it. It is outside the paradigm she has been taught. It should not be, but it is so.

I think it is important to have a wise guide when you enter the land of alternative medicine. I feel I have found the “yellow brick road” and that I will continue to acquire knowledge and improve my overall health, vigor, and immunity as I “practice” how to live cleanly and intentionally. // PS I forgot to mention that fitness is very important. I have found a fitness practice that works with my lifestyle very well. It takes one half an hour and I can do it at home. You do it every day because improvement is in small increments. So I am strong now and flexible and of course that helps. In the beginning I had so much inflammation it was very difficult to do this daily program but now I look forward to it.