Thursday, August 31, 2006


I used to like Del Shannon's oldies hit "Runaway". But now.... it's ruined!

Gary Allan's voice has always been one of my favorites in country music. However, I had only heard his radio hits, such as "Smoke Rings in the Dark" and "Songs About Rain". I subscribe to Real Rhapsody ($10/month for unlimited access to millions of songs on your computer), and it never occurred to me to listen to all of Gary Allan's CDs until this week. He recorded a cover of Shannon's "Runaway" and it blows the original out of the water! Everything about Allan's version is done so much better than Shannon's - the falsetto in particular. I don't know if I'll ever be able to listen to Shannon's version again :-)

Recently I've regressed to a teenage-style infatuation with musicians. It's probably due to me neglecting my spiritual basics such as scripture study and true (non-rote) prayer. Excuses aside, my current favorites are Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and Gary Allan. I absolutely adore Brad Paisley's and Gary Allan's voices. Brad Paisley has catchy tunes and funny lyrics, and Gary Allan has a grittiness and strength of voice that really draws you in. Alan Jackson's songs are just plain good. As any country fan can see, I mainly stick to New Traditionalist country artists.

I recently found out about the death (suicide) of Gary Allan's wife in 2004. His latest album, "Tough All Over", includes the range of emotions he's been through since then. When you listen to it knowing the background, some of the songs are absolutely heartbreaking. For instance - the bridge of "I Just Got Back From Hell" says "Forgive me if I had any part - if I ever broke your heart in two. And forgive me for what I didn't know, for what I didn't say or do..." His emotion is so deep and raw and it really gets to me when I hear it.

One reason I prefer country music is that it seems more moral than other genres. Many artists have religious-themed radio hits, and even more religious songs on their albums. Many of them have entire religious/song of worship albums. However, many of their other songs glorify or at least favorably mention drinking, smoking, pre-marital intimate relations, etc. I thought about going through my playlist and making a list of everything I find objectionable, but it would be petty, it would take forever, and it wouldn't make me stop listening to those songs . . . yet.

About 5 years ago, my husband and I threw away all our secular music. I threw away the Beatles and the Monkees, and my husband got rid of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard (he also got rid of others that I can't remember). Even seemingly innocent songs didn't bring a good spirit into our home. We've been free of that influence for a long time, but now with Real Rhapsody we can get anything we want. We can get nearly any style of classical or instrumental music we can imagine, but we also have access to the worst songs as well.

A few weeks ago I downloaded EVERY song the Monkees have ever released. If the Beatles ever release their music to RealRhapsody, I will download every song*. My dh downloaded all of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. I admit that I have a few Bon Jovi and Def Leppard hits in my playlist, but most of those types of songs really drag me down. I tried listening to the Monkees songs I used to love so much, but out of hundreds, there are only a few that don't bring that yucky feeling with them. I don't think they're really evil, they're just not the best. I rationalize that my country music is good and virtuous, but I know that there is much better I could be listening to. And I'm sure I'm fooling myself thinking that Brad Paisley's "Alcohol" is an acceptable song to get my kids hooked on :-)

* I downloaded a set of "Beatlecracker Suite" orchestral tracks. Someone has taken excerpts from the Nutcracker and replaced the melodies with Beatles melodies! They're kind of cool and strange to listen to. You think you're about to hear the familiar melody of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", but it's "Can't Buy Me Love" instead.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

More on Weston A. Price/Nourishing Traditions

In my last post, I mentioned that the traditional cultures studied by Weston A. Price valued animal products. (By the way, Dr. Price studied 14 cultures, not 11, as I said yesterday.) There were other important foods or food preparation methods that Dr. Price identified - these foods and methods are just as important as adding the animal foods. I've discussed these below.

First, a few of my thoughts. If you continue to eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) - white flour products, vegetable oils, sugar, large amounts of grocery store meat, & junk food, I'm not sure it would be best to add a lot more fatty animal products to your diet. I know that raw milk/dairy, pastured eggs & meats, & coconut/palm oil are healthy nutrient-dense foods. But added to SAD, I'm not sure if they will do more good or harm. I struggle with this myself. I haven't transitioned myself to a whole-foods traditional diet. I know these are sound principles, but I struggle to find time & money to implement them.

My biggest recommendation to anyone trying to decide what kind of diet is best is to take it to the Lord in prayer. I don't think it is possible to decide using logic. You can find a thousand different diets out there, and each one says all the others are wrong. Each one has research to back it up. Sometimes you can ferrett out the inconsistencies and misrepresentations or manipulations of data, but sometimes two opposing diets both seem to make sense. If you're not religious, I'm not sure what to tell you :-)

Additional Important Foods and Preparation Methods
This article is a great starting point.

I'll summarize a few of the principles I think are important and do-able:

1.) Grains should be prepared by soaking, sprouting, or fermentation. These preparation methods "'pre-digest[s]' grains, allowing the nutrients to be more easily assimilated and metabolized" (Wheaty Indiscretions - Jen Allbritton). Sprouting begins the germination process, increases enzymatic activity, and inactivates enzyme inhibitors. Soaking neutralizes phytic acid. Oat groats can be soaked overnight in an acidic medium (water plus whey, yogurt, or lemon juice) before making oatmeal in the morning. The best bread is a traditional (no added yeast) sourdough. I have not yet been able to produce a good whole-wheat sourdough loaf, but I have an online mentor who has been successful at it. This article explains the process in detail. Bread can also be made using wheat berries that have been soaked, sprouted, dried and ground.

2.) Lacto-fermentation can be used on dairy and vegetables to "pre-digest" the foods and increase enzymatic activity. Raw milk can be used to make kefir or yogurt. Raw cream can be left out overnight and then made into delicious butter. Many vegetables can be lacto-fermented (examples are kim-chi and sauerkraut - the "traditional" versions, not the vinegary commercial versions).

3.) Bone broths should be used. Bone broths are "protein sparers" - they allow you to consume less protein than you normally would need. I like broths because they are a good way to use the whole animal. A good bone broth is made by soaking leftover bones and meat along with vegetables in cold water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar for 1 hour. Then the mixture is simmered for 24-72 hours. You can add parsley for the last 10 minutes. Then you wait for it to cool and strain it. Delicious! I have found that a slow cooker (Crock-Pot) is a perfect way to cook the broth. It doesn't heat or steam up the whole kitchen, and I feel safer leaving it on overnight than I do leaving the stove on. If you'd like to get the broth boiling quickly, start it on the stove, and then transfer it to the Crock-Pot. A bone broth made from an organic pasture-raised animal will be full of gelatin, which is very good for you. Store animals may not produce the best broth. I used to buy chickens from a farm in Houston. The farmer would leave the feet on - they were full of gelatin, although the broth looked pretty nasty with those feet floating around.

4.) Superfoods. These are not really supplements, but very nutrient-dense foods. These are things you can add to your diet now, regardless of what other changes you have made. Taking cod liver oil daily made a lot of sense to me and was very easy for me to do. We bought Carlson's brand - lemon flavored. I could take it plain, and both my kids (ages 4 and 2) also liked it plain. It is high in Omega-3's and Vitamin D, both of which nearly everyone agrees are essential.

It's a fact of my life that I really struggle with routines. My home routines are nearly non-existent. I'm working full time, and my husband is at home with the kids, so I've expected him to do all the "home" things. Homemaking is not his natural talent, so it's been difficult for him, and things just don't get done. When I come home from work, I'm too exhausted to even think about doing them. This is the main reason I haven't implemented more NT/whole/traditional foods in our diet. I've bought raw milk & pastured eggs, made broth, tried sourdough, used coconut oil and cod liver oil, and even made some lacto-fermented kim-chi once. But I haven't been able to create a weekly or monthly routine so that I can continue to do these things. Now that money is tight, I'm not using any of the foods I used to. If I can just get my routines down, I will be able to implement the inexpensive things so much easier. If I get control of the budget, I can plan for the more expensive ones. Baby steps!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Jill commented to ask if I really used coconut oil. She's concerned about the saturated fat. I was going to email her back, but I don't have her address, so I'll post this publicly for everyone to see.
I do use coconut oil!! I would use more of it if it weren't so expensive. When I had some before, I would add 3 tablespoons of the oil to my smoothie in the morning. I would also use it for all our pan-cooking. You can use it in baking, although it will change the texture of baked goods. I've also used it to make a delicious "fudge" recipe.

Adding the coconut oil to my smoothies is the only way I can get through the morning without intense sugar cravings and hunger. I have to have a LOT of fat and protein in the morning to make it to lunch. My smoothie would have home-made yogurt from whole raw Jersey milk (which contains TONS of cream), raw eggs, fruit, sweetener (honey or maple syrup), and the coconut oil. This smoothie would contain 900 calories.

There is a ton of research showing that coconut oil is very healthy for us. It is without question healthier than canola, soybean, rapeseed, etc. Do a Google search on coconut oil benefits. It aids in so many things - digestion, candida control, weight loss, etc.

I am no longer scared of naturally occurring saturated fats. I believe that God designed our food to keep us healthy. Why would he design it to kill us? Although I do concede that there are many poisonous plants out there that clearly WILL kill you.

Have you heard of Weston A. Price (WAP) or Nourishing Traditions? WAP traveled around the world in the early 1900's and researched groups of people who had no exposure to "modern" processed foods. He studied 11 groups, including Eskimos, Pacific Islanders, an African tribe, a South American tropical tribe, Swiss mountainers, etc. In every case, they were extremely healthy, living on their native foods. As soon as any of them were exposed to modern processed foods, their health declined dramatically. When they would go back to their native foods, their health would improve. Every group highly valued animal foods - milk, butter, eggs, cheese, meat (if they had access to it - some groups ate insects), seafoods, etc. The primary fat for the tropical groups were coconut oil and palm oil (along with fish). They were certainly in great health, despite consuming these things.

I just don't believe that modern nutritionists have a clue at all any more.

If I have intrigued you, make sure to buy your coconut oil from Tropical Traditions and use me as a referral :-) I'm sorry to be so shameless about this, but I figure that it's a good deal for everyone.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

FREE Coconut Oil!

Who wants a quart of free Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions ( has started a referral program. If I refer you to Tropical Traditions and you buy something, Tropical Traditions will give me two free jars of coconut oil! So if you buy something from TT, use my customer ID as the friend who referred you when you check out. My ID is 189149.

The email I got claims that all new customers will receive a free book about Virgin Coconut Oil. They also say I should share one of my free jars of coconut oil with my friend (you). So if you would like some coconut oil for yourself, I'll share one of the jars with you!

Tropical Traditions carries a large range of healthy products - coconut oil, other healthy oils, packaged organic foods, grass fed beef & cheese, books, and appliances (including an Omega juicer and the Family Grain Mill). I have bought coconut oil from them before and have been very pleased with their prices, quality, and customer service.

The website is
My ID is 189149

Let me know if you use me as a referral so I can make sure they hold up their end of the bargain and so I can get your free coconut oil to you!