Spending time with friends whose ideas on health are more conventionally based can be challenging. Do you keep quiet when the subject of statins comes up, or cholesterol, or salt or soya, or the importance of good fats? If I sneak in a little clue as to my other take on food and health: • statins are BAD because cholesterol is necessary and indicates the presence of inflammation • animal fats such as lard, butter, and cream, coconut oil and olive oil are GOOD • unfermented soy is BAD • sea salt is GOOD • wheat is BAD • high glycaemic carbs, including potatoes, are BAD • sugar is bad • foods that our grandmothers would recognise are generally GOOD I get blank looks of incomprehension and shock.
A bountiful fridge: raw milk kefir, ferments, whey, fermented cod liver oil, fermented mayonnaise

A bountiful fridge: raw milk kefir, ferments, whey, fermented cod liver oil, fermented mayonnaise

I'm sometimes not fully backed up with explanations that cover enough to get their attention. The fear of being branded as fussy, health obsessed, and just plain weird (eg lard is healthy) can shut me up , but more often than not I jump in and get myself in a mess! When it comes to wiseing up to health, I forget how long I have been immersed in this subject, honing my instinct about how to assess what is out there, and how to put into practice what I preach. If I find something new that makes sense to me I'll experiment, rather than hang on to habits that may not serve me any more. Health is my passion, but for most people its a minefield they would rather leave to the 'experts' or to chance. That does not stop them, however, from talking about their current symptoms or fully diagnosed illnesses, and the course of treatment they have been put on. They just don't want to listen to another take on their issues, when they have already invested in handing over their power to so called experts who tell them what to do! What's worse is if you are energetic, sparkling and not in pain! This does not seem to win them over. Its hard to keep quiet about not having consulted a doctor for thirty years, without sounding smug. Then of course if I talk about my dental history that is another matter! Future dental posts are just around the corner! Is it the age I am now, 65, that conversation seems often to drift to health in this way? It seems that in the UK we have such a hill to climb when it comes to food and health.
Sauerkraut coming out of your ears! (i.e. the norm in some circles in the US!)

Sauerkraut coming out of your ears! (i.e. the norm in some circles in the US!)

When I visit my daughter in the US, who lives in a particularly aware part of the country in North Carolina, no-one she knows has bread made from wheat, many take the trouble to access raw milk, from the farmer, many make their own kefir, sauerkraut or fermented vegetables, and none drink or eat unfermented soya. If they eat meat, its clearly labelled grass fed, in the shops or farmers markets they buy from. They know about the problems of grain fed meat, over and above the disinclination to eat meat that is neither organic nor humanely raised. There is no fear of salt because they buy sea salt rather than chemicalised salt. Eggs are organic, and free range, and often from a friend or their own chickens.
Fresh pastured eggs in North Carolina

Fresh pastured eggs in North Carolina

Even a breakfast of fried eggs is accompanied by a green vegetable such as spring greens, balancing the eggs, and giving a complete meal. Bones to make bone broths are readily available in the wholefood stores or organic cooperatives, or from the farmers' market. Coconut oil is a staple on their shelves and is usually added to their green drinks, and smoothies. Many people in that community are recovering/recovered vegetarians/vegans. This is not to say all vegetarians/vegans need to switch to meat and fish. But it does seem that in the US people got into vegetarianism earlier than in the UK, and for those for whom it did not work there is more momentum about reversing health problems that arise, by switching to animal protein, bone broths, and fermented foods. So that's why when I visit North Carolina I feel 'normal' instead of 'weird'. Of course I am a bit weird in another way when in the US. I'm not super sterile when it comes to food! Check out Michael Pollan and his elevation of dirt!