Category Archives: Allergies, Digestion and Healing Diet

Through Pain to Victory, A Journey Through Food: The Story of Kathryne Pirtle

Listen to my interview on blogtalk radio with Stephen McCarthy:

Through Pain to Victory
A Journey Through Food: The Story of Kathryne Pirtle

Stephen McCarthy of The McCarthy Project covers a few of the concepts of the book, Deep Nutrition, along with an interview with Kathryne Pirtle, author of Performance Without Pain. She tells her story of overcoming pain to live life and perform her absolute best. Catherine Shananhan’s book covered recent research related to nutrition and traditional gene theory.  Kathryne Pirtle joined Stephen to talk about her journey through pain and struggle with food to gain victory and some ideas on how each of us can improve our performance by eating a non-gmo, organic non-western diet.

Here is a link to the interview:

The Asthma Epidemic–The Acid Reflux connection

Asthma is one of the serious epidemics we are seeing in our population. Since just 1995, the number of diagnosed cases of this illness has jumped from 14.9 million to 34.1 million! Although one would assume this jump is a direct result of toxins in the air, this is not the underlying cause in many cases. You may be surprised to learn that 41.1% of non-smokers who have a chronic cough and 60% of those who have asthma also have acid reflux!

How does acid reflux cause asthma? First, the refluxed liquid may cause people to inhale tiny drops of acid into their lungs thus aggravating the delicate pulmonary lining and initiating spasms in the airways triggering an asthma attack. Second, the digestive acid may damage the esophageal lining and expose some of the nerves that are connected to the lungs. The irritation of the nerve endings can create a constriction of airways, thereby causing an asthma attack. Additionally, the acid can cause inflammation of the throat and larynx. To make things even more complicated, some asthma medications that dilate the bronchial tubes can produce acid reflux symptoms as they may cause the cardiac sphincter to relax—allowing acid to escape up through the esophagus. Therefore, treating the symptoms of asthma without looking at the possibility of acid reflux is like holding your finger over the hole of a sinking boat!

If the acid reflux issues are symptomatically treated with yet more medications, there may be a risk for serious long-term health issues. Acid reflux is most often treated with acid-lowering drugs.  However, the true source of most acid reflux problems is a Candida, or yeast overgrowth, in the stomach that is actually caused by low acid in the stomach itself! A yeast overgrowth slows down digestion and foods will ferment under these conditions. As Candida will also paralyze the esophageal sphincter, the gases from the fermentation push the food up through the weakened esophageal muscles.

Because candida only grows in low acid conditions in the first place–acid lowering drugs are going to further compromise digestion. As Candida proliferates,  it can promote severe dysbiosis, or poor intestinal flora. With poor intestinal flora, foods are not digested properly, nutrients are not absorbed, intestinal damage is forthcoming and eventually malnourishment will occur. Besides compromised nutrient absorption, intestinal damage causes leaky gut, which can initiate allergic tendencies such as asthma!  Therefore, one problem incorrectly treated cascades into more problems.

If we can find the source of the asthma and acid reflux epidemic, we will have the answer to help millions of people. Both asthma and acid reflux have grown exponentially since the industrialization of our food supply that spurred the creation of processed, denatured and low-nutrient foods. Before this time, most people’s diets included foods that were high in nutrients and supported good digestion like meats, poultry, eggs and dairy from grass-fed animals and cultured dairy and vegetables like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and pickled beets. They also ate ample traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil and foods with natural sources of vitamins A and D like cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks, which are necessary for good digestion and nutrient absorption. With good digestion and a nutrient-rich diet, a person will diminish the probability of suffering from an illness like acid reflux, allergies and it’s related condition–asthma.

By returning to traditional farming and the foods that our ancestors ate, we will diminish the exponential growth of illnesses rooted in poor digestion. If we can move from the symptomatic treatment of asthma to solving the problem, we will help to support better health for generations to come.

For more information building health and treating acid reflux and its related illnesses such as asthma with nutrient-dense foods, see our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Allergies–why do so many people suffer from them?

It seems that allergies are as common as ants on the sidewalk–everyone has at least one. They range from mild to ones that can cause anaphylactic shock. But why is this so? Surely our environment has fueled a wide list of allergies, but are there methods that can help you to overcome them so you are able to minimize the use of drugs, allergy shots or even holistic treatments?

The first approach we have to oversensitivity to foods, airborne allergens and other substances of course is avoidance. But what if a person is allergic to most foods and a huge list of airborne substances–then we have a real problem! An allergic reaction to anything is the immune system in motion. When the immune system is always reacting, it puts a great strain on the body’s resources for maintaining good health.

There is great hope in improving the body’s sensitivities by going to the source of the problem, which is often the digestive tract. Because of our poor food supply and incorrect high-fiber/low-fat health dictates, many people are suffering from a condition called “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is a result of intestinal damage from poor gut flora–usually a candida overgrowth. When the intestinal tract becomes weakened, it can become inflamed and proteins can escape into the blood system. This causes an immune response–so that the next time your body comes in contact with that substance–even if it is a healthy food–it will cause the same immune response. When the digestive tract is inflamed, the entire body can become ultra-sensitive to many other things such as airborne substances.

Foods that help to heal the digestive tract are nutrient-dense foods from pastured animals, wild caught fish and organic sources:

Another help to improving allergies is heavy metal detoxification. Carefully removing mercury amalgam fillings with a biological dentist and working with an experienced holistic health practitioner who understands how to gently detox heavy metals can also enhance the blocks to overcoming allergies (see and

Healing the digestive tract and removing heavy metals is an exciting step to recovering from allergies. For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Do you have dry or cracked skin?

With winter in full swing, many people can really begin to feel that their skin gets very dry and the constant application of lotions is the only way to stay comfortable. But dry skin may actually be caused from a diet that is too low in old fashioned saturated fats. When your skin is constantly cracking and rough, looking at your diet as part of the problem is a good place to start. In fact when Dr. Francis Pottenger was working with nutrition and healing the chronically ill with nutrient-dense foods, he found that dry skin was relieved by adding fat to the diet. He said that dry skin is not caused from soaps or weather, but from the diet not rich enough in fat.

In his book, “Pottenger’s Cats, A Study in Nutrition,” he states that “Fats are present in every living cell and are essential to life. Intracellular fat is an important constituent in tissues such as muscle, brain, pancreas, and skin. Nerves are surrounded by a myelin sheath and largely composed of fats: leukocytes, the life-protecting scavengers of the body, are also largely composed of fats. ” Later he says, “In our experience, dry skin provides an index of disturbed fat metabolism. Most patients attribute their dry skin disorders to one of the following causes: hard water, improperly neutralized soaps, detergents, various household chemicals, exposure to the sun or wind, dry weather, dust or incompatible or excessive cosmetics. Few suspect deficiencies in their fat intake. Recognizing that fatty acids have largely disappeared from our modern dietary, we have worked out a high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet for general rehabilitation.”

When you start to add fats like raw butter, coconut oil and lard to your daily fare, you may notice over time that your skin improves dramatically. This will be especially true when your digestion improves and you are better nourished from eating a nutrient-dense diet that is rich in vitamins A and D for nutrient absorption. Remember, Dr. Weston A. Price found in his studies of healthy cultures that traditional fats were a very important part of the diet. He found that without both vitamins A and D from natural sources and adequate traditional fats you could not absorb the nutrients from you foods no matter how good the diet.

From this information you might consider that dry skin may be a sign of malnourishment. With the constant buzz that a low-fat /high fiber diet is so healthy, is it a wonder that many people are asking “why”, when their skin is dry and they just don’t feel well on this regimen?

For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Consumer trends in healthy eating are a fast tract to digestive disorders and malnourishment.

The following report from the International Food Information Council demonstrates just how thorough the high-fiber/low-fat dictate has infiltrated the choices that the general public makes about healthy eating. This list puts vegetables/salads,  fruits and whole grains as the top three picks. These foods are difficult to digest and low in nutrients in comparison pastured animal foods. Eating low-nutrient, hard-to-digest foods as the main part of the diet puts you on the fast track to digestive disorders and malnourishment. Considering that 60 million people have acid reflux–or 1 in 5 people–and that this condition alone is so common that we have billions of dollars spent dedicated to advertising meds for it–this should serve as a wake up call that this approach to eating is not working.

Simply put–“All disease begins in the gut.” Hippocrates and “All disease comes from malnourishment,” Dr. Weston A. Price.

How consumers approach functional foods: Survey

By Lorraine Heller, 13-Aug-2009

Related topics: Consumer Trends

Whole grains, fiber and protein are top of the list for consumers looking to improve their diets by eating more of a specific type of food, according to a new survey of Americans’ approach to functional foods.

The latest report by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) finds that out of those Americans trying to improve their diets, 79 percent are changing the types of foods they eat, 69 percent are changing the amount of foods consumed, and 19 percent are changing their use of dietary supplements.

“The 2009 Food & Health Survey found that healthfulness, among other product attributes, is an important factor that influences consumers’ purchasing decisions. When consumers are choosing foods for themselves and their children, they are interested in healthful components such as fiber, whole grains, protein, vitamin C, and calcium, which all play a role in building strong bodies and improving overall health,” wrote IFIC.

This is the sixth survey conducted by IFIC since 1998 in order to track consumer awareness and attitudes to functional foods.

Commissioned by IFIC, Cogent Research of Cambridge, MA, conducted an online survey of 1,000 American adults in May this year. Questions were either open-ended (unaided), or participants were prompted and asked to rate specific responses.

More foods for more health

Around 55 percent of participants (553) said they are changing the types of foods or food components they eat in an effort to improve their health. Of those, 64 percent said they are eating more of a particular food.

The foods consumers cited most often (unaided) as products they are trying to eat more of include:

  • Vegetables/salads (60 percent)
  • Fruits/fruit juices (53 percent)
  • Whole grains (11 percent)
  • Protein (9 percent)
  • Fish/seafood (7 percent)
  • Fiber (7 percent)

When asked to rank the top three food components they look for when choosing foods for themselves (aided), consumers opted for:

  • Fiber (37 percent)
  • Whole grains (34 percent)
  • Protein (28 percent)

For those purchasing foods for their children, the top components were (aided):

  • Calcium (39 percent)
  • Vitamin C (31 percent)
  • Whole grains (26 percent)

Functional food awareness

The survey also revealed a slow but steady increase in people’s awareness that functional foods are foods with benefits that go beyond basic nutrition (89 percent in 2009 compared to 85 percent in 2007).

The top ‘functional foods’ named by consumers (unaided) are: fruits and vegetables, fish/fish oil/seafood, dairy (including milk and yogurt), meat and poultry, herbs/spices, fiber, tea and green tea, nuts, whole grains and other grains, water, cereal, oats/oat bran/oatmeal, and vitamins/supplements.

As in previous surveys conducted in 2007 and 2005, nine out of 10 consumers were able to name, on an unaided basis, a specific food or food component and its associated health benefit (92 percent in 2009 and 2007 and 91 percent in 2005). This compares to 84 percent in 2002; 82 percent in 2000; and 77 percent in 1998.

The survey also examined consumers’ top health concerns and the foods they think address these. It also looked at people’s perception of nutrigenomics – or personalized nutrition – as well as the communication and sources of information on health and nutrition.

For more  information on a nutrient-dense foods and a healing diet see

Best in Health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Kefir or yogurt–Which has the most benefit for digestion?

Of course, the best kefir and yogurt in the world is made of whole-fat raw milk from pastured animals.  Both kefir and yogurt are wonderful sources of enzymes, probiotics and nutrition. People who are lactose intolerant can most often tolerate cultured dairy–especially if it is from raw milk, as the lactose is nearly gone.

However, kefir has some benefits that yogurt lacks. The beneficial bacteria in kefir will colonize better in the intestinal tract where that of yogurt tends to move through the system. Also, kefir has a beneficial yeasts that eat candida such as Saccharomyces Kefir and Torula Kefir, which help balance the intestinal flora by penetrating the mucosal lining. They form a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and helps strengthen the intestines. Kefir is therefore an incredible partner in overcoming  compromised gut flora.

Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria may provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. The curd size of Kefir is smaller than yogurt, so it’s also easier to digest

It’s very easy to make your own yogurt and kefir with a good source of whole raw milk–see If you cannot obtain that, you can use a high quality whole organic milk–preferably unhomogenized. You can obtain fantastic cultures from Just follow the instructions on the package. Our book, Performance without Pain, has recipes as well.

For more information on a healing diet and nutrient-dense foods, see

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Bone Broth Soup–A great recipe for one of the best foods in the world

Regularly eating bone broth soup has many wonderful health benefits. There is an old Latin saying, “Good broth raises the dead.” So what are the magical attributes to this slow food that have given it such an honor?

Bone broth is one of the easiest foods to digest. It is loaded with a wide array of easy-to-assimilate critical nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, cartilage, marrow, amino acids and vitamins. The cartilage in broth will help you heal your own cartilage. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin, which can aid digestion and help to heal the intestinal tract.

In today’s world where everyone seems to have calcium and other nutrient deficiencies, good old-fashioned bone broth is the form of these nutrients that we can best utilize.

Bone broth can be made from chicken, fish or beef bones (for beef and chicken, pastured is best–free-range, organic is next best. For fish–wild-caught.) The most important thing is to add a little vinegar or wine to the water when simmering the bones as it pulls  the nutrients out of the bones and into the broth. Here is a wonderful bone broth soup recipe made from beef bones.

Rich Beef and Vegetable Bone Broth Soup

1 oxtail
1 knuckle bone
several marrow bones
several soup bones
2 T. vinegar
1-2 lb. stew meat
2 -3 large onions-chopped
4 large carrots-sliced
4 large beets-sliced
1/4 lb. Swiss chard-chopped
1 large bunch of parsley-chopped
other vegetables of your choice
2 cups dry red wine
filtered water to cover bones
Celtic Sea Salt to taste

In a large stock pot or crock pot, take the bones and cover them with water and put in the vinegar. Cover the pot and let the water come to a boil. Turn to simmer. When the meat from the soup bones and oxtail is cooked, take the meat off these bones and set aside in the refrigerator. Put bones back into same pot and continue simmering for about 24-36 hours!! (This is how you get nutrient-rich broth.) You may have to add water from time to time. After 24-36 hours, strain the broth and skim off the fat. Add the wine, meat from the bones, stew meat and vegetables. Simmer for about 2 hours. Salt to taste. (For easy lunches take a thermos of soup! Never heat in the microwave–it destroys the nutrients.)

For more information on a healing diet and nutrient-dense foods, see

Best in health,

Kathyrne Pirtle

Carbohydrate addictions–it’s not all in your head.

Food addictions can be much more than just talk–they can be real biochemical dependencies that may be signs of health issues. Today, many people are addicted to carbohydrates, like breads, chips, cookies, candy, soda pop, etc. From the aisles of “organic” junk food products in our health food stores to literally hundreds of  junk foods that sit on the shelves of grocery, discount and countless other stores, and the billions of dollars that are spent on advertising these products especially to growing children, it is almost unfathomable that these types of “foods” were by-and-large created in the last 60 years. But why do people crave them?

Because there was no refrigeration, our ancestors consumed many foods that were preserved through lacto-fermentation like yogurt and kefir and fermented vegetables, such as traditionally prepared sauerkraut and pickled beets, which contained probiotic bacteria that helped to maintain a healthy digestive system. With refrigeration and the industrialization of our food supply we stopped making these probiotic foods and started consuming more and more new-fangled food creations. These new fascinating “foods” have wreaked havoc on our digestion and the health of our population as they are very nutrient deficient and hard to digest.

When we consume foods that are hard to digest–even organic foods, digestion slows down in our stomach and stomach acid diminishes. Low acid in the stomach can cause an overgrowth of candida . In addition, without adequate stomach acid, the gluteomorphine proteins in gluten containing grains may not to be properly broken down before they reach the small intestine. In the small intestine the resulting byproduct of poorly digested carbohydrates is alcohol and acetaldehyde as well as morphine-like chemicals. We all know that alcohol and morphine are extremely addictive substances. Acetaldehyde is a very toxic chemical that can bind itself to proteins and make them unusable as nutrients. Therefore, carbohydrate addiction is a real chemical problem and without healthy digestion, candida overgrowth and poor gut flora will ultimately cause intestinal damage and malnourishment.

The best way to end the candida cycle and food addictions is to focus on eating a diet of easy-to-digest, nutrient-dense foods. Foods with real nutrients will eventually help you end the cravings as digestion and nutrient absorption improves. For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Do you get hungry two hours after eating breakfast?

If you are getting hungry two hours after eating breakfast, you may be choosing the wrong kind of foods for your morning meal and this may be a sign that you have absorption problems as well. Let’s look at both of these important issues.

First, a breakfast of cereal, toast or a bagel with non-fat spreads and a piece of fruit may not be the breakfast of champions! For years before I got deathly ill with a digestive disorder, my favorite breakfast was bagels, no-cholesterol “buttery flavor” spread and a piece of fruit. Another choice was a bowl of cold cereal. However by 10AM, I was very hungry again. This is not good. A healthy breakfast is not one that would leave you hungry in just a few hours.

Instead, a breakfast with higher amounts of protein and fat from traditional foods will literally nourish you until the afternoon and will offer far greater levels of nutrients. In our book we recommend a few great breakfasts that besides being nutrient-dense, will also help improve digestion. Smoothies made with 16 oz. whole fat kefir or yogurt (preferably raw milk from grass-fed animals), 2-4 raw egg yolks (from pastured chickens–not commercial eggs), fruit and 1 T. coconut oil are a fabulous breakfast. Another is old fashioned bacon (organic, no-nitrate) and eggs (from pastured chickens). Nutrient density is the key to building optimal health and maintaining blood sugar meal to meal. Nutrient-dense foods have ample high-quality traditional fats, protein and carbohydrates.

However, another reason that you are hungry just two hours after eating may be that you are suffering from inflammation in your intestinal tract. Inflammation is usually caused from bacterial imbalances in the gut flora like a candida overgrowth. When inflammation is present, nutrient absorption will be hampered and a person will feel hungry very quickly after eating a meal. After years of malabsorption, malnourishment is sure to follow.

For optimal health we need eat foods that are high in nutrients and also those that will support good digestion. For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,
Kathryne Pirtle

“All disease comes from malnourishment”–Dr. Weston A. Price

These profound words of Dr. Weston A. Price came as a result of  a 10 year meticulous study of healthy populations worldwide. Dr. Price, a prominent dentist in the 1930’s, was a pioneer on the quest to understand why the majority of  his patients in the United States had crooked and crowded teeth, cavities, facial deformities and degenerative illnesses of all kinds. He did not feel that this was normal and traveled during the summers of a ten year period to see if he could find populations of people with perfect health. He found 14 cultures who had completely different diets that had this perfect health–no cavities, perfect facial structure with plenty of room for the teeth and no degenerative diseases–including TB.

Although their diets were different, Price found certain common key components. First, the diets had 10 times the amount of vitamin A and D from natural sources–like cod liver oil, egg yolks, organ meats, fish eggs and traditional fats–like butter and cream from grass-fed animals–foods that we are largely told to avoid. Next, he found that their diets had ample traditional fats such as butter, cream, lard, coconut oil and meat with its fat. He found that without both adequate vitamin A and D and traditional fats, that a person could not absorb the nutrients from the foods they ate no matter how good the diet. Lastly, he found that their diets consisted of high quality proteins from animals eating their natural diets, and they ate no refined foods whatsoever.

Importantly, Price found that when people from these same cultures moved to areas where they were able to have access to modern foods–white flour, pasteurized milk, refined sugar and vegetable oils–that they developed cavities and degenerative illnesses and in the next generation, the children had crooked and crowded teeth, cavities and poor health as well.

Today, cavities are commonplace, our entire population is exhibiting  crooked and crowded teeth and the percentage of people–adults and children alike–affected by degenerative disease of all kinds, is growing at an exponential rate. Our modern food supply is a large part of the reason this is happening as our foods are highly nutrient-deficient.

If we follow Dr. Price’s work, we will see that the future of the health of our people lies in improving our broken food supply in favor of traditionally raised, nutrient-dense foods. When we correct malnourishment, healing and building optimal health are possible.

For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle