Category Archives: Vegetarian Diets

Quenching the Fire—Real Hope for Those who Suffer from Acid Reflux

After decades of being told by the experts that a diet high in fiber and low in fat is the key to robust good health, why is it that one in every 5 Americans is being treated for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, (GERD)?

Studies show more than 60 million Americans are currently being treated by their physicians for acid reflux. Last year there were 470,000 hospitalizations and 1.9 million visits to the emergency room as a result of GERD, commonly known as acid reflux. What’s more, GERD is now being diagnosed in children, birth to four years.

Since 1999 the majority of Americans say they are now following the dietary guidelines recommended by the FDA, eating at least 5 servings of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains each day.  We are also following the advice of the medical community and eliminating from our diets traditional fats,(like butter) and decreasing our intake of protein—especially our favorite food-to-hate—red meat.

What is it, then, that such a large percentage of our population is doing that would promote the massive increase in this ailment? Should our entire nation succumb to popular medications that merely treat the symptoms but do nothing to remedy the underlying cause?

In my e-book, Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness I pull back the curtain of misinformation to reveal the truth about why we are all chronically ill not only with GERD, but a variety of ailments including cancer, heart disease, allergies, dementia, even autism: see The Healing Diet for Acid Reflux Disease

Much of what we are told about good nutrition today is based on trends and faulty research funded by the Goliath factory farming industry. For 25 years I suffered from debilitating pain and chronic illness. Over that time I also suffered from symptoms of impaired digestion including persistent flatulence and at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with acid reflux that almost ended my career as a professional clarinetist. Even though I diligently followed popular health dictates as outlined in the traditional Food Pyramid and the resulting digestive illness and malnutrition nearly cost me my life.

If the Food Pyramid isn’t the answer, what is?  In Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness I explain how our bodies actually work to digest and assimilate the food we eat.

Before the 1950s most of our foods came from small family farms. These high quality foods were from animals eating their natural diets.  Cows ate grass, chickens ate bugs and worms, and all fish were caught in the wild.  These are nutrient-dense foods our bodies need for optimal health and digestion, but unfortunately, this is not what we find at our grocery stores today.

Consider how many ads you see for drugs to address chronic health problems like acid reflux, gas, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Pharmaceutical companies expect to earn a whopping $400,000,000 in annual sales from going over-the-counter with the ‘little purple pill. This remedy for acid reflux is nothing more than a slow death.

Current information on so-called healthy eating will not heal digestive disorders and will ultimately lead to nutrient deficiencies, illness, and even death, it behooves us to learn the difference.

The principles of a truly healthy diet are but one aspect found in this exceptional e-book.  Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness also provides information on where to find nutrient-dense foods, shares delicious recipes and menu ideas, and makes the road to true healing informative and enjoyable.

For more information on healing and building health with nutrient-dense foods and seminars on this subject, see Performance without Pain and The Healing Diet for Acid Reflux Disease

Best in Health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Dietary Fetishisms of the Pop “New” Age

Guest blog writer, Paul Yeager here. :)

As of late, a lot of folks I’ve run into seem to hold two predominating notions concerning diet (perhaps one more than the other in many populations of dietary thinkers): one is that raw veganism is the ultimate end-all of human diet, and the other is that cutting edge science is able to successfully dictate to us what we should eat based on accurate findings. I’d like to deal a little bit with both, although this could of course be an entire book (a book I happen to have written by the way, email me at if you’re interested).

I myself used to be among the folks I describe above. I was a serious follower of Gabriel Cousens, David Wolfe, Victoras Kulvinskas, Anne Wigmore, and many of the other figure-head pioneers of the raw vegan movement. I almost even moved to Tree of Life in Arizona–Gabriel Cousens’ raw vegan retreat center–so I could live in the desert practicing shaktipat yoga, doing sweat lodges, and eating nothing but soaked and sprouted nuts, seeds, salads, etc. –the typical raw biogenic vegan diet. However, during my obsession with attempting to be a raw vegan (and I say attempting because it never did/could work for me!) the fact of the matter is: my health completely collapsed.

I trusted Cousens’ writings (i.e. “Conscious Eating”) because they seemed to present a merge of science and new age spiritual thinking about the Divine in a way which I felt was cozy and quite socially comfortable. It brought everything together into a unified ideology of community and a supposed return to “tribal” ways of doing things. And if I could just follow this ideology completely and 100% of the time, then I would finally heal my digestion and achieve the results Cousens’ scientific references and supposed sort-of-clinical observations seemed to describe. And yet, during this time my health completely collapsed. My gut was an absolute mess, and by the way: I had a serious sugar addiction (and I have since realized many vegetarians and vegans also have this problem, which makes perfect biochemical sense to me now since animal protein with its full complement of amino acids supports blood glucose regulation).

I’d like to point out something which I now realize in hind-sight, which I did not at the time, which I find rather interesting, and a very weak point of the supposed “new” age movement; that is that the “New Age” consistently identifies with indigenous elements, cultural, mystical, etc. and seems to be offering a sort of revival of archaic and/or tribal ways of doing things. In fact, it is not doing that in a dietary sense at all. And here is how I discovered that…

One fine day I came across a book by Weston A. Price called “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.” Weston A. Price was a dentist in the 1930’s who was interested in why so many of his Western patients were suddenly getting more and more (exponentially more) cavities. He had this hunch that isolated tribal peoples (which he, in our current politically [quite] incorrect language referred to as “primitive”) might have better teeth. He spent a decade visiting nearly all of the remaining completely isolated tribal societies he could find on the planet, and their non-isolated relatives (the ones nearby near train tracks who had access to modern transportation and commerce, where they could get white sugar, white flour, and processed and packaged foods which had only recently been invented by industrialization).

He of course found, not unsurprisingly to me today, that the isolated counterparts of each anthro-genetic set of peoples which were not exposed to white flour, white sugar, still drank their milk raw, did NOT have access to modern medicine, often did not brush their teeth, still fermented their grains in a community grainery, lacto-fermented their raw veggies, drank raw unpasteurized milk, etc etc. –these peoples had always nearly ZERO dental cavities, space for their wisdom teeth to come in, better dental arch spaces, better mental health, easier childbearing, longer lives, no death from cancer, no allergies, and the list goes on and on. He cataloged all of this data as a true scientist does, with charts of very precise figures based on population gradients and detailed survey reports.

Of key significance to all of his findings, and *much to his disappointment*: among all of the indigenous tribes with these remarkably resilient states of bone, teeth, mental, and reproductive health (most notably), not ONE of them ate a completely vegetarian–and certainly not a VEGAN–diet. The nearest thing to it was the African Dinka peoples who, although they did eat mostly raw milk, eggs, and mostly cooked vegetables, still did eat fish every so often as they loved to dwell near water for this purpose. The Dinka stands out quite rarely in this regard, however. The neighboring Masai for instance, which had nearly the same number of cavities per population (almost zero, as with the Dinka), ate an extremely primal diet of raw milk and raw blood, both of which are extremely high in catabolic-supportive amino acids which support bone growth, muscle/ligament/tendon repair, and immune reconstitution.

And another major commonality to ALL of the tribes Dr. Price studied with these remarkable states of health and longevity were consuming saturated animal fat high in vitamin A and D, which of course flies squarely in the face of the current supposed “scientific” thinking of our day about fat and cholesterol–to further this discord, one of Price’s findings was that these cultures had literally zero presence of death from cardiac arrest–which shouldn’t have been a possible finding according to our current prevalent, supposedly “scientific” dictates concerning cholesterol.

Why have our current researchers and others wearing white lab coats working in expensive university labs kept this *very scientific* research of Dr. Price’s from the public? Just as a simple potential explanation: it doesn’t keep the funding coming–medical academia is thoroughly enmeshed in the industrial-pharmaceutical complex, and knows little (although it often attempts to purport otherwise) about nutrition.

Again, Weston Price was *very disappointed* that he didn’t find more vegetarian indigenous cultures with remarkable health.  He too, even in the 1930’s, was of the popular persuasion that vegetarianism, being more “ethical” would of course naturally be supported by his investigation into indigenous cultures. But this was not what the data supported. And today, the data still falls squarely against veganism (for instance, with extremely high levels of osteoporosis in the elderly vegan population, since veganism is low in bone building amino acids and fat-soluble vitamins that support calcium metabolism–not to mention how veganism fails to properly limit harmful raw fiber intake [see Konstantin Monastyrsky’s truly cutting-edge research] and doesn’t provide enough fat altogether, and this is a giant subject on its own).

So, it’s interesting to me that everywhere we have a popular culture purporting to be part of a “new” age, consistently collectively claiming that it is supposedly reviving archaic or indigenous ways of doing things, when in fact the actual last recorded nutritional scientific observations (those of Dr. Weston Price) of archaic, indigenous societies are in direct contradiction with any semblance to this supposed “archaic revival”. We are what we eat, so the “new” age has certainly not succeeded at an archaic revival in the dietary sense, and I think that if it truly wants to be “new” then perhaps it could look more deeply and think farther outside the box in terms of exactly what the true archaic revival would really look like on an eating plane.

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,

Paul Yeager

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

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

All proteins are not created equal.

When you are deciding which foods to eat, choosing a diet where most of the foods give you the most nutrients per gram makes good sense for building and maintaining good health doesn’t it? In fact Dr. Weston A. Price found through his research of healthy populations worldwide that “All disease comes from malnourishment.” (see

Next, it makes sense to choose proteins that are easy-to-digest so that the nutrients that they contain are available to the body, which was another aspect of the work that Dr. Price did. When he sought to find cultures of people that had perfect health, he was hoping that he would find one that was vegetarian as he believed in the principle of vegetarianism. Unfortunately, he was very disappointed to find that cultures whose protein sources were from plants displayed degenerative conditions. This is because proteins from legumes, nuts and seeds are difficult to digest and do not have the nutrient-density of animal foods as they do not have the full array of amino acids.

As you can also imagine, fractionated proteins like “whey protein” and other protein powders are highly processed, difficult to digest and are therefore poor choices for nutrient-dense foods. These are among the “new-fangled” food  inventions of today that rob your pocketbook and promise results, when in fact, they are not real food!

So shopping for foods that will comprise a good diet is at best confusing when there is so much conflicting health advice–especially when we have been literally brainwashed into believing that a healthy diet is low-fat and high-fiber.

How can we go about making an educated choice about what proteins to include in our daily fare. If we are looking at nutrient-density alone, the foods highest in nutrients are not only organic, but they come from animals eating their natural diets. So finding a source of eggs, dairy, meat and fish from good sources is critical to good health as there is a remarkable difference in the nutrients in for instance, eggs from a pastured chicken and even an organic egg from a “vegetarian-fed” chicken (chickens are not vegetarian by the way–their natural diet is comprised of bugs and worms). Price also noted that in all cases healthy cultures ate ample amounts of traditional fats with proteins like butter, meat with its fat, cream, lard, coconut oil or palm oil.

Also, all healthy cultures that Dr. Price studied had sacred foods for good health, couples who wanted to conceive and growing children.  One of the sacred protein foods that they consumed was organ meats like liver. Liver from a grass-fed cow or other pastured animal is one of the most nutrient-dense animal foods that you can eat. If you consume liver just once a week, you will greatly magnify the nutrients available to your body for building and maintaining good health. Some people think the liver stores toxins, but in fact it acts as a filter. However, it is also very important to get liver from good sources-see for a list of local Weston A. Price chapters in your area to locate farm coops that carry naturally raised foods.

Below is a fascinating list of the comparative vitamin content of various kinds of liver. From this list, you will see just what nutrient-density really means.

Liver Comparison Chart

From: Nutrition Almanac, by John D. Kirschmann

Beef Lamb Veal Chicken Duck Goose Turkey
Amount 1lb 1lb 1lb 1 1 1 1
Weight: gm 454 454 454 32 44 94 102
Vitamin A 199130 229070 102060 6576 17559 29138 18403
Vitamin B1 1.16 1.81 .9 .044 .528 .062
Vitamin B2 14.79 14.9 12.3 .628 .838 2.21
Vitamin B6 14 1.36 3.04 .24 .72 .78
Vitamin B12 363 472 272 7.35 23.7 64.6
Biotin 454 454
Niacin 61.6 76.5 51.8 2.96 6.11 10.35
35 32.7 36.3 1.98 7.81
Folic Acid .99 .99 236 752
Vitamin C 140 152 161 10.8 4.6
Vitamin E 6.36
Calcium 36 45 36 3 5 40 7
Copper 12.7 25 36 .126 2.62 7.07 .512
Iron 29.5 49.4 39.9 2.74 13.4 11
Magnesium 59 64 73 6 23 21
Manganese 1.23 1.04 .083 .294
Phosphorus 1597 1583 1510 87 118 245 319
Potassium 1275 916 1275 73 216 303
Selenium 206
Sodium 617 236 331 25 132 98
Zinc 17 17 .98 2.53
Total Fat 17.5 19.6 21.3 1.23 2.04 4.03 4.05
Saturated Fat 6.8 6.9 42 .63 1.49 1.28
Unsaturated Fat 5 6.63 .5 .59 1 1.73
Cholesterol 1360 1361 1361 140 227 475

So when considering how to build good health for a lifetime, choosing foods according to nutrient-density will go a long way to helping you achieve that goal, and we have history and good research on magnificently healthy people as our example.

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

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

What does the health of cats and humans have in common?

Concurrent pivotal  research in the 1930s by Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Francis Pottenger determined that there was a profound relationship between nutrition and fertility in both humans and cats. Dr. Price found that in the 14 healthy populations he studied, women had no fertility issues or problems in pregnancy or childbirth, and their children were very sturdy. In fact he noted that the Eskimo women had one healthy baby after another. However, people from these same cultures who had moved away and obtained access to “modern foods” –pasteurized milk, white flour, refined sugar and vegetable oils, had fertility and pregnancy problems, and the children born from these mothers had structural imperfections like narrowed faces and crooked and crowded teeth as well as health problems–the very same issues that he had seen in his own patients in the United States.

During this same time period, Dr. Francis Pottenger was working with nutritional healing for the treatment of tuberculosis and other diseases at the Pottenger Sanatorium in Monrovia, California. He always focused healing on a proper diet based on the principles discovered by Weston A. Price, and served liberal amounts of liver, butter, cream and eggs to his patients.

He also kept colonies of cats who had had their adrenal glands removed to help him determine how much adrenal cortex to give to his own patients. He found that when the cats consumed a species appropriate diet of raw milk and raw meat that they thrived from one generation to the next. However, if they received either a diet of pasteurized milk and raw meat, raw milk and cooked meat or pasteurized milk and cooked meat that the cats developed degenerative conditions. In fact, with these problem diets, in the second generation, the cats had narrowed faces and crooked and crowded teeth, and in the third generation, the cats could produce no more young!

These astonishing independent yet parallel outcomes between both Dr. Price and Dr. Pottenger can teach us the keys to the exponential percentage of fertility problems that we are seeing today. Both humans and cats who have superior nutrition will have no fertility problems and their offspring will be healthy. But when nutrition is inadequate, the first sign is in fertility problems, structural problems and the presence of health issues.

What we must wake up to understand is that widespread fertility problems are truly a sign of something very wrong with our foods and nutritional beliefs. And if we are really honest, by not choosing and supporting a supply of nutrient-dense foods, this lack of fertility really will ultimately translate into extinction. What both Pottenger and Price revealed can help us to be determined to help to turn the clock back.

For more information on a nutrient-dense diet, see

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Can the Body Convert Beta Carotene in Vegees to Vitamin A?

We have discussed the critical importance  of the vitamins A and D from natural sources. Dr. Weston A. Price found that without adequate amounts of these nutrients you could not absorb the nutrients from your foods no matter how good the diet. The best sources of these vitamins are from Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil, pastured animal foods like egg yolks, liver, butter, lard and from fish eggs. Healthy cultures consumed these foods liberally and yet today we are told to avoid most of these because of their cholesterol levels.

But what about getting vitamin A from the beta-carotene in vegetables? The following article by Sally Fallon discusses this issue.

Vitamin A Vagary

by Sally Fallon

This article has since been expanded and updated on the Weston A Price Foundation site as Vitamin A Saga

“Eat carrots for vitamin A.” Such statements, found in many popular diet and nutrition books, create the impression that the body’s requirements for this essential nutrient can be exclusively met with plant foods like carrots, squash, green leafy vegetables and orange colored fruits. The low fat school of nutrition benefits greatly from the fact that the public has only vague notions about vitamin A; for the family of water-soluble nutrients called carotenes are not true vitamin A, but are more accurately termed provitamin A. True vitamin A, or retinol, is found only in animal products like cod liver oil, liver and other organ meats, fish, shell fish and butterfat from cows eating green grass.

Under optimal conditions, humans convert carotenes to vitamin A in the upper intestinal tract by the action of bile salts and fat-splitting enzymes. Of the entire family of carotenes, beta-carotene is most easily converted to vitamin A. Early studies indicated an equivalency of 4:1 of beta-carotene to retinol. In other words, four units of beta-carotene were needed to produce one unit of vitamin A. This ratio was later revised to 6:1 and recent research suggests an even higher ratio.1 This means that you have to eat an awful lot of vegetables and fruits to obtain even the daily minimal requirements of vitamin A, assuming optimal conversion.

But the transformation of carotene to retinol is rarely optimal. Diabetics and those with poor thyroid function, a group that includes at least half the adult US population, cannot make the conversion. Children make the conversion very poorly and infants not at all —they must obtain their precious stores of vitamin A from animal fats —yet the low-fat diet is often recommended for children.2 Strenuous physical exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive consumption of iron (especially from “fortified” white flour and breakfast cereal), use of a number of popular drugs, excessive consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, zinc deficiency and even cold weather can hinder the conversion of carotenes to vitamin A3, as does the low-fat diet.

Carotenes are converted by the action of bile salts, and very little bile reaches the intestine when a meal is low in fat. The epicure who puts butter on his vegetables and adds cream to his vegetable soup is wiser than he knows. Butterfat stimulates the secretion of bile needed to convert carotenes from vegetables into vitamin A and at the same time, supplies very easily absorbed true vitamin A. Polyunsaturated oils also stimulate the secretion of bile salts but can cause rapid destruction of carotene unless antioxidants are present.

It is very unwise, therefore, to depend on plant sources for vitamin A. This vital nutrient is needed for the growth and repair of body tissues; it helps protect mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs; it prompts the secretion of gastric juices necessary for proper digestion of protein; it helps to build strong bones and teeth and rich blood; it is essential for good eyesight; it aids in the production of RNA; and contributes to the health of the immune system. Vitamin A deficiency in pregnant mothers results in offspring with eye defects, displaced kidneys, harelip, cleft palate and abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels.

Nutrition pioneer Weston Price considered the fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A, to be the catalysts on which all other biological processes depend. Efficient mineral uptake and utilization of water-soluble vitamins require sufficient vitamin A in the diet. His research demonstrated that generous amounts of vitamin A insure healthy reproduction and offspring with attractive wide faces, straight teeth and strong sturdy bodies. He discovered that healthy primitives especially value vitamin-A-rich foods for growing children and pregnant mothers. Working in the 1930’s, he found that their diets contained ten times more vitamin A than the typical American diet of the time. This disparity is almost certainly greater today as Americans have forsworn butter and cod liver oil for foods based on polyunsaturated oils.

In third world communities that have come into contact with the West, vitamin A deficiencies are widespread and contribute to high infant mortality, blindness, stunting, bone deformities and susceptibility to infection.4 These occur even in communities that have access to plentiful carotenes in vegetables and fruits. Scarcity of good quality dairy products, a rejection of organ meats as old fashioned or unhealthful, and a substitution of vegetable oil for animal fat in cooking all contribute to the physical degeneration and suffering of third world peoples.

Supplies of vitamin A are so vital to human health that we are able to store large quantities of it in the liver and other organs. Thus it is possible to subsist on a diet low in animal fatfor a considerable period of time before overt symptoms of deficiency appear. But during times of stress, vitamin A stores are rapidly depleted. Strenuous physical exercise, periods of physical growth, pregnancy, lactation and infection are stresses that quickly deplete vitamin A stores. Children with measles rapidly use up vitamin A, often resulting in irreversible blindness. An interval of three years between pregnancies allows mothers to rebuild vitamin A stores so that subsequent children will not suffer diminished vitality.

One aspect of vitamin A that deserves more emphasis is its role in protein utilization. Kwashiorkor is as much a disease of vitamin A deficiency, leading to impaired protein absorption, as it is a result of absence of protein in the diet. High protein, lowfat diets in children induce rapid growth along with depletion of vitamin A supplies. The results —tall, myopic, lanky individuals with crowded teeth, and poor bone structure —are a fixture in America. Growing children actually benefit from a diet that contains more calories as fat than as protein.5 Such a diet, rich in vitamin A, will result in steady, even growth, a sturdy physique and high immunity to disease.

So it’s a bit embarrassing to the low-fat people, especially as the truth is beginning to come out, even in orthodox publications. A recent New York Times article noted that vitamin-A-rich foods like liver, egg yolk, cream and shellfish confer resistance to infectious diseases in children and prevent cancer in adults.6 A Washington Post article hailed vitamin A as “cheap and effective, with wonders still being (re)discovered,” noting that recent studies have found that vitamin A supplements help prevent infant mortality in third world counties, protect measles victims from severe complications and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV virus.7 The article lists butter, egg yolk and liver as important sources of vitamin A but claims, unfortunately, that carotenes from vegetables are “equally important.” So vagueness about vitamin A continues, even among science writers.

Those familiar with the work of nutrition pioneer Weston Price are not so easily fooled. They know that vitamin-A-rich foods like liver, eggs, and cod liver oil are vital to good health. If you–or your children–don’t like liver, eggs and cod liver oil, don’t despair. Studies show that the best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A is butterfat,8 a food relished by young and old alike. So use plenty of butter and cream from pasture-fed cows for good taste and wise nutritional practice.

Vitamin A Vagary was first published in the Price-Pottenger Health Journal. (619) 574-7763


1. Solomons, N.W., and Bulus, J., “Plant sources of provitamin A and human nutriture”, Nutrition Review, Springer Verlag New York, Inc., July 1993, v. 5 1, pp 199204.
2. Jennings, I.W., Vitamins in Endocrine Metabolism, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois.
3. Dunne, Lavon J., Nutrition Almanac, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1990.
4. Solomons, Op. Cit.
5. Personal communications, Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
6. Angler, Natalie, “Vitamins Win Support as Potent Agents of Health”, New York Times, March 10, 1992.
7. Brown, David, “It’s cheap and Effective, With Wonders Still Being (Re)discovered”, The Washington Post, November 7,1994.
8. Fraps, G.S., and Kermerer, A.R., “The relation of the Spectro Vitamin A and Carotene Content of Butter to its Vitamin A potency Measured by Biological Methods”, Texas Agricultural Bulletin, N.- 560, February 1938.

Sally Fallon M.A., food historian and nutrition journalist, combines extensive background in nutrition with training in French and Mediterranean cooking. She is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, a full spectrum nutritional cookbook with a startling message —animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Mrs. Fallon’s book also provides information the values of Real Milk products, both to the consumer and the conscientious farmer. She is President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and editor of Wise Traditions, the Foundation’s quarterly magazine.

To order Nourishing Traditions, call 877 707-1776 or visit New Trends Publishing.

A Campaign for Real Milk is a project of The Weston A. Price Foundation
PMB 106-380, 4200 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington DC 20016
Phone: (202) 363-4394 | Fax: (202) 363-4396 | Web:

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

Best in Health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Acid Reflux–a Serious Digestive Ailment that Can Lead to Other Chronic Health Problems and Inflammation

Acid Reflux—a National Epidemic and a Precursor to Chronic illness

Treatment of Acid Reflux/GERD with Traditional Foods

There are endless radio, television, internet and magazine ads dedicated to medication that treats acid-reflux and other related digestive complaints. In fact, 60 million Americans have acid-reflux and many people have acid reflux without knowing it. In addition to the typical symptom of acid-regurgitation, other less-known symptoms include hoarseness, belching, chronic throat clearing and sore throat, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, nausea, asthma and wheezing and persistent hiccups in adults.  In infants and children, frequent ear infections, excessive crying, nausea with or without vomiting, excessive coughing, respiratory problems, refusing food, excessive belching and burping.

What is the cause of this massive increase in GERD—there has been a 56% increase in the last few years of medicine for acid-reflux and digestive disorders in infants and children from 0-4 years old! Should our entire population succumb to these medications that magically “heal” the symptoms of these discomforts, thereby inadvertently expanding the wealth of drug companies? Could it be that there is a great danger in the “purple pill solution”—that the “purple pill” is the wrong answer to your health challenge? In fact, what you need to know is that untreated or incorrectly treated acid reflux may lead to serious, life-threatening illness—that it may be a precursor of severe degenerative conditions.

The most effective approach to the treatment of acid reflux with traditional foods. Through a diet of nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest foods from pastured animals and wild-caught fish, adequate vitamin A and D, and cultured foods that correct poor intestinal flora, acid reflux and intestinal damage can be permanently healed.

For more information see

A “Healthy” High-Fiber/Lowfat Diet may actually lead to digestive disorders and chronic inflammation

The “healthy” high-fiber/low fat diet diet that has been given the greatest press by doctors, ads and news reports may actually be quite harmful for your digestive system and leave you over time with chronic inflammation, allergies of all kinds and malnourishment.

High fiber foods are quite difficult to digest as they are high in cellulose. First, when we eat a high amount of fiber, it can expand in our stomach and cause digestion to last longer. This can lower the stomach acid in the stomach making it difficult for the food to be broken down. As soon as stomach acid lowers, bacteria, viruses and fungi can thrive in the stomach where they normally will be kept at bay. This can cause over time a candida overgrowth.

A  candida-or yeast-overgrowth-in the stomach will pass into the intestinal tract causing bacterial imbalances and dysbiosis. Some of the symptoms of dysbiosis are acid reflux, flatulence and bowel disorders of all kinds like constipation or diarrhea. With a candida overgrowth, our foods are not broken down properly, we cannot absorb nutrients well, our intestinal tract can become damaged and inflamed and we eventually can become malnourished. This cycle can cause systemic inflammation throughout the body as well as allergies.

Traditional fats are essential for nutrient absorption. Dr. Weston A. Price ( found that the diets of healthy populations worldwide included ample fats, like butter, cream, lard and meat with its fat from pastured animals, coconut oil and eggs from pastured chickens. He determined that without adequate fat in the diet, a person could not absorb the nutrients from the food no matter how good the diet. When the Indians and explorers could only find lean meat, they starved to death. Adequate fat from traditional foods is absolutely necessary to good health and without it, good digestion will not be possible and eventually one will become malnourished and have chronic inflammation.

Following the media’s “healthy” diet may not provide you with a life-time of good health. Building health with traditional nutrient-dense foods can offer healing and protection from digestive disorders and chronic inflammation.

For more information see

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