Category Archives: Cholesterol, Traditional Fats and Your Health

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:

My Television Interview on Healing with Nutrient-Dense Foods on Deeper Living

My 2007 television interview on healing from 25 years of chronic pain and a life-threatening digestive disorder. It is a great resource for understanding how to permanently solve chronic inflammation and digestive ailments. Press the link below to go to the interview:



Mood Disorders in Children and Diet

This is an interesting article on how important traditional fats are to mental health in our children.

‘We’re Not Eating What We Should Eat’

By Agnes Blum

Eat fat, be healthy.

It’s not nutritional advice that one hears every day, but it was the message at the Northern Virginia Whole Food Nutrition Meetup on Saturday Jan. 30. About 40 people braved the impending snowstorm and met at the restaurant Food Matters in Cameron Station to discuss how food can affect mood and health.

Paula Bass, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, spoke to the crowd as they ate a breakfast of local foods. Bass, who has been practicing in Northern Virginia for 30 years, fuses a traditional psychotherapeutic approach with nutritional wisdom.

Drawing on experiences with her patients and her own battles with health problems, she told the audience how a change in diet could dramatically alter health. One theme emerged over and over: we need saturated fat, the kind you get from animals.

“When you take the fat out, you’re taking out all the good nutrients,” Bass said, explaining how saturated fat helps keep the brain chemically balanced. “Without it, symptoms can mimic a psychiatric illness and then you do have a psychiatric illness, because that’s the way you’re feeling every day.”

One little girl, for example, had always excelled in school but had begun having breakdowns and lashing out at friends and family. It turned out this second-grader had, up until recently, been eating a whole-foods breakfast with plenty of fat — pancakes, eggs, bacon — and was now eating sugar-cereal and skim milk because of the morning rush at home. Bass recommended to her parents that they ensure she eat a breakfast full of protein and animal fats. They did, and her problems disappeared.

“Food can directly influence a child’s brain,” Bass said. Many people who suffer from mood disorders today — everything from depression to ADD — can trace their problems to a diet lacking in nutrients and fats, she said.

“The only vegetable I saw growing up was canned string beans,” Bass joked. She traced her own turnaround in health to when she began to follow the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which uses education, research and activism to promote healthy living. Their guidelines are: eat pastured meat, probiotics such as yogurt, organic fruits and vegetables and strictly avoid sugar, vegetable oils, white flour, soy and additives such as MSG. “We’re not eating what we should eat,” Bass said. “And what we are eating damages the manufacture of healthy cells.”

A nutrient-dense, traditional foods diet will go a long way in protecting our children’s physical and mental health. 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

Interesting Article on Butter

As you know from my blog by now–raw butter from grass-fed cows is an amazing nutrient-dense food. It is one of the foods that saved my life. It helped to heal my gut and gave me the important saturated fat I needed to be able to absorb the nutrients in my food. Dr. Weston A. Price found that healthy cultures ate plenty of traditional saturated fats–raw butter being extremely common, especially for the people in the Swiss Alps. In fact, raw butter in the spring time was considered a sacred food! Below is an interesting article I received about butter.

Pass The Butter … Please.

This is interesting …

Margarine  was originally manufactured to fatten  turkeys.  When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put  all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their  heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get  their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal  so they added the yellow colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.  How do you like it?   They have come out  with some clever new flavourings….

DO  YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?

  • Both  have the same amount of calories.
  • Butter  is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8  grams; compared   to 5 grams for margarine.
  • Eating margarine can increase  heart disease in women by  53%  over  eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent  Harvard  Medical Study.
  • Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in  other foods.
  • Butter  has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and
  • only  because  they are added!
  • Butter  tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of  other foods.
  • Butter  has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

And now, for Margarine..

  • Very High in Trans fatty acids.
  • Triples risk of coronary heart disease …
  • Increases  total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and  lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)
  • Increases  the risk of cancers up to five times..
  • Lowers  quality of breast milk.
  • Decreases immune response.
  • Decreases  insulin response.

And  here’s the most disturbing fact….

  • Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away  from being PLASTIC… and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT
  • These facts alone should have you avoiding margarine for life  and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is  added,  changing the molecular structure of the  substance).

You  can try this yourself:

Purchase  a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded  area.  Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

  • no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it  (that should tell you something)
  • it does not rot or smell differently because it has  no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny  microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.  Why?   Because it is nearly plastic .  Would you melt your Tupperware and  spread that  on your toast?

Share  This With Your Friends…..(If you want to “butter them up”)!

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

Smooth, clear, firm skin and diet

Most people would agree that the skin beauty is a multi-billion dollar industry. However, most of the products we can purchase fail to discuss how much we can improve our skin through diet and how many issues with skin are signs of leaky gut, systemic inflammation and nutrient deficiencies.

One of the components of healthy, firm skin is collagen. One of the foods richest is collagen is old-fashioned bone broth from pastured animals or wild-caught fish. This historic traditional food was a mainstay of the diet for thousands of years.  High quality eggs, meats and dairy from pastured animals also help to maintain collagen. As we have not only removed traditional fats from the diet, but also other nutrient-dense foods, many people today have signs of early aging skin.

The skin is the largest detoxifying organ of the body, so many issues of the skin are caused by this important protective function. Often, when people eat a high carbohydrate diet or one that is high in processed foods,  they may develop a leaky gut. This is most often the result of intestinal damage from a candida overgrowth.  With a leaky gut, the body has more difficulty detoxifying itself through the intestinal tract as it is often inflamed.  A leaky gut can also cause the body to have allergic reactions to many foods and airborne molds and pollens. Under these conditions, the body frequently tries to rid itself of toxins through the skin and various types of epidermal eruptions may be prevalent. All the expensive creams in the world will not heal a leaky gut!

The best way to improve these types of skin problems is to look at the diet and the digestive system.  Working on a long-term time line with a nutrient-dense diet that corrects digestion and malnourishment, will often dramatically improve skin quality. If you look at the remarkable pictures that Dr. Weston A. Price took of immune populations, you will be taken by the undeniable beauty of their skin.

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

Myths and Truths about Nutrition

This is an interesting article from the Weston A. Price Foundation website.

Myths & Truths About Nutrition

Myth: Heart disease in America is caused by consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat from animal products.

Truth: During the period of rapid increase in heart disease (1920-1960), American consumption of animal fats declined but consumption of hydrogenated and industrially processed vegetable fats increased dramatically. (USDA-HNI)

Myth: Saturated fat clogs arteries.

Truth: The fatty acids found in artery clogs are mostly unsaturated (74%) of which 41% are polyunsaturated. (Lancet 1994 344:1195)

Myth: Vegetarianism is healthy.

Truth: The annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian men is slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (.93% vs .89%); the annual death rate of vegetarian women is significantly more than that of non-vegetarian women (.86% vs .54%) (Am J Clin Nutr 1982 36:873)

Myth: Vitamin B12 can be obtained from certain plant sources such as blue-green algae and soy products.

Truth: Vitamin B12 is not absorbed from plant sources. Modern soy products increase the body’s need for B12. (Soybeans: Chemistry & Technology Vol 1 1972)

Myth: For good health, serum cholesterol should be less than 180 mg/dl.

Truth: The all-cause death rate is higher in individuals with cholesterol levels lower than 180 mg/dl. (Circulation 1992 86:3:1026-1029)

Myth: Animal fats cause cancer and heart disease.

Truth: Animal fats contain many nutrients that protect against cancer and heart disease; elevated rates of cancer and heart disease are associated with consumption of large amounts of vegetable oils. (Fed Proc July 1978 37:2215)

Myth: Children benefit from a low-fat diet.

Truth: Children on low-fat diets suffer from growth problems, failure to thrive & learning disabilities. (Food Chem News 10/3/94)

Myth: A low-fat diet will make you “feel better . . . and increase your joy of living.”

Truth: Low-fat diets are associated with increased rates of depression, psychological problems, fatigue, violence and suicide. (Lancet 3/21/92 v339)

Myth: To avoid heart disease, we should use margarine instead of butter.

Truth: Margarine eaters have twice the rate of heart disease as butter eaters. (Nutrition Week 3/22/91 21:12)

Myth: Americans do not consume enough essential fatty acids.

Truth: Americans consume far too much of one kind of EFA (omega-6 EFAs found in most polyunsaturated vegetable oils) but not enough of another kind of EFA (omega-3 EFAs found in fish, fish oils, eggs from properly fed chickens, dark green vegetables and herbs, and oils from certain seeds such as flax and chia, nuts such as walnuts and in small amounts in all whole grains.) (Am J Clin Nutr 1991 54:438-63)

Myth: A vegetarian diet will protect you against atherosclerosis.

Truth: The International Atherosclerosis Project found that vegetarians had just as much atherosclerosis as meat eaters. (Lab Invest 1968 18:498)

Myth: Low-fat diets prevent breast cancer.

Truth: A recent study found that women on very low-fat diets (less than 20%) had the same rate of breast cancer as women who consumed large amounts of fat. (NEJM 2/8/96)

Myth: The “cave man diet” was low in fat.

Truth: Throughout the world, primitive peoples sought out and consumed fat from fish and shellfish, water fowl, sea mammals, land birds, insects, reptiles, rodents, bears, dogs, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, game, eggs, nuts and milk products. (Abrams, Food & Evolution 1987)

Myth: Coconut oil causes heart disease.

Truth: When coconut oil was fed as 7% of energy to patients recovering from heart attacks, the patients had greater improvement compared to untreated controls, and no difference compared to patents treated with corn or safflower oils. Populations that consume coconut oil have low rates of heart disease. Coconut oil may also be one of the most useful oils to prevent heart disease because of its antiviral and antimicrobial characteristics. (JAMA 1967 202:1119-1123; Am J Clin Nutr 1981 34:1552)

Myth: Saturated fats inhibit production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Truth: Saturated fats actually improve the production of all prostaglandins by facilitating the conversion of essential fatty acids. (Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Journal 20:3)

Myth: Arachidonic acid in foods like liver, butter and egg yolks causes production of “bad” inflammatory prostaglandins.

Truth: Series 2 prostaglandins that the body makes from arachidonic acid both encourage and inhibit inflammation under appropriate circumstances. Arachidonic acid is vital for the function of the brain and nervous system. (Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Journal 20:3)

Myth: Beef causes colon cancer

Truth: Argentina, with higher beef consumption, has lower rates of colon cancer than the US. Mormons have lower rates of colon cancer than vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists (Cancer Res 35:3513 1975)

© 1999 Weston A. Price Foundation All Rights Reserved.

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

Best in Health,

Kathryne Pirtle

If you want to avoid butter–use cream! Julia Childs

I hope you all got a chance to see the fantastic movie “Julie and Julia.” Although this movie is not about health, it teaches us, through Julia Child’s passion to learn and share the timeless art of French cooking, that wonderful food has wonderful whole food ingredients–including butter and cream. And that slow food is worth preparing–and of course–eating!

Butter and cream were never avoided for thousands of years. Heart disease was almost never heard of before 1920. In fact, in the 1920’s a machine was developed that would test a person’s heart health. This invention was considered fairly useless!

It was only with the industrialization of food and the corn feeding of livestock, that there was a push to make a profit with vegetable oils and demonize traditional fats. Thus the Framingham study was launched, which tried to determine that as cholesterol levels rose, there was a higher incidence in heart disease. Unfortunately, the study results were tainted, and  if read accurately, didn’t show any change in heart disease rate with higher cholesterol. Since then, billions of dollars have been put into more flawed research to try to eek out a positive result that cholesterol is the culprit! It is only when trans-fats are used that there is a rise in heart disease–wonder of wonders!!! What are trans-fats made of?—-vegetable oil!

So enjoy butter and cream–it’s good for you–especially if it comes from pastured animals!! As we move back to nutrient-dense, traditional foods to heal and nourish our bodies and souls, let us look to the past–to those who have shown us how a passion for these foods can fill our lives with zest and sparkle–a true sign that we are well and whole and that we will have the nutritional ingredients for a life well-lived as we fulfill our dreams.

For more information on a healing diet and nutrient-dense foods, see or our new ebook on acid reflux diet.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Cholesterol–why has it been demonized–what is the whole truth? Cholesterol from traditional foods is critical to good health.

Slaying the Cholesterol Lowering Demon
By Kimberly Hartke
The Devil is in the Absence of Details

The work of Weston A. Price determined the critical importance of cholesterol in the diet as he found that the diets of healthy cultures worldwide were all very high in traditional fats of all kinds–from butter, lard, coconut oil, egg yolks and meat with the fat to even blubber. Cholesterol plays a key role  in body chemistry, hormone balance, longevity. But if that is the case, why are we not told? Unfortunately, because the health information released through the media to the public often has a marketing objective.  The objective is to sell more drugs.

Cholesterol lowering drugs (know as statins) have serious side effects.  They suppress the immune system, they cause cancer, they cause muscle wasting. The pharmaceutical companies promote statins to doctors doing organ transplants, because they know these drugs have immuno-suppressant affects. One should think long and hard about going on them. There are even lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve ones blood lipid profile. But, it is also important to know all the facts. Cholesterol is a valuable and healing substance, it is a vital part of your immune system. If the public knew the whole truth, they would only lower their cholesterol as a last resort.

There is one organization setting out to slay the big fat demon who wants to lower everybody’s cholesterol.

Learn the Health Benefits of Cholesterol

The nutrition education non-profit, Weston A. Price Foundation is an important source of science based facts about the nutritional qualities and health benefits of cholesterol. Our cells are comprised of 50% cholesterol. Cholesterol is very important in the proper functioning of our hormones. Our nervous system needs cholesterol. Our digestion and source of vitamin D depends on cholesterol. Turns out, cholesterol is our friend, and we have been misled into believing otherwise.

When government officials will stress cholesterol reduction as a top priority, claiming that “high levels of cholesterol significantly increase the risk of heart disease.” However, the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education organization, urges citizens to learn about the vital roles of cholesterol in the body chemistry and by embracing nutrient-dense, cholesterol-rich foods.

“Cholesterol is deemed a deadly poison. Most people are afraid of eating foods containing cholesterol and of receiving a diagnosis of ‘high’ cholesterol,” says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. “Yet, having adequate cholesterol levels in the body is key to good health. The notion that cholesterol is a villain in the diet is a myth, based on flimsy evidence and opposed by many honest scientists, including prominent lipids researcher, Dr. Mary Enig. But, this theory was promoted by the food processing industry to demonize animal fats, which are competitors to vegetable oils and by the pharmaceutical industry to create a market for the sales of cholesterol-lowering drugs.”

For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods, see

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle