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Friday, November 30, 2012

Recap of November 2012 Potluck Dinner Meeting and Review of the 2012 Wise Traditions Conference

The Pasadena CA Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation
with Sally Fallon Morell at the 2012 Wise Traditions Conference
Back Row:  Jen Hawley, volunteer; Ramanuj Basu, Chapter
Communications and Raw Milk Institute Board of Directors;
Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation;
Karen Voelkening-Behegan, Pasadena CA Chapter Leader;
Elaina Luther, Culture Club 101 and Raw Milk Institute Board of Directors;
Monica Ford, Real Food Devotee and Wise Entrepreneurs
speaker at the 2012 Wise Traditions conference;
Jamil Avdiyev, High Brix Nutrient Dense Foods.
Front Row:  Jeannette Wu, volunteer;  Aaron Zober, host of
The Appropriate Omnivore radio show;
Joy Stefoni Fisher, WAPF-Pasadena mom-to-be!
by Karen Voelkening-Behegan

November 2012 was a big month for the Pasadena CA Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Not only did the annual Wise Traditions conference come to California, but 17 of us from our chapter attended. On the right is our chapter photo at the conference with Sally Fallon Morell, President, Treasurer and Co-Founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, author of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and editor of the Wise Traditions journal.  Out of the 17 of us who attended the conference, not everyone made it to the photo opportunity, but at least 7 contributed to a group 
presentation about the conference
at our November potluck dinner
Sally Fallon Morell with Jolie Assina
at the Coconut Cow Exhibit
at the 2012 Wise Traditions Conference

At the chapter meeting, after announcements were made, Chapter Leader Karen Voelkening-Behegan started off the evening with a story about her encounter with fellow chapter member and conference exhibitor Jolie Assina of Coconut Cow, and Sally Fallon.   At the Coconut Cow exhibit at the conference, Sally Fallon showed great interest in Jolie's upcoming talk at our chapter meeting in January about the health benefits and politics of tropical oils.

Three of our members who attended the conference, Ram Basu, Jenn Hawley, and Elaina Luther, helped host the exhibit for the Raw Milk Institute (RawMI) at the conference, and gave us an update on the status of RawMI at our potluck dinner meeting.  As RawMI Board Members Ram and Elaina explained, The Raw Milk Institute now has its first farmer member with several more in line to join, many out of the state of Oregon.  Some benefits of joining the Institute include:  improvements in the quality and safety of raw milk, more consumer interest in the product, and better insurance rates for farmers who produce raw milk, to name a few.
Sally Fallon Morell with Gladys Batan

One of our newer members, Gladys Batan, made us a Power Point presentation of lessons learned from the conference, including some innovative slides illustrating how food in this country is primarily a financial commodity, grown without any mind to nutrition.  She then went over some of the main points from Sally Fallon's all-day lectures about traditional diets and how they enhance our health and well-being.  Gladys also showed us some photos from the "Native Ways" track of the conference, including highlights from the "Acorn Lady" who demonstrated how native Californians prepared foods from locally-gathered acorns.

Next, Monica Ford, aka Real Food Devote, gave us a nice overview of her time at the conference, including some photos of her debut as a Conference Presenter. Congrats to Monica on a job well done addressing a full audience on how to start and run a real food business!  Monica hopes that soon we will all be able to travel anywhere in the USA and find wholesome, healthy, traditionally-prepared foods wherever we go.  Monica also shared some beautiful photos of her trip to Chaffin Family Orchards.

Aaron Zober, host of the local radio show "The Appropriate Omnivore" spoke next and shared his photos of many of the exhibitors and presenters at the conference, including several that he interviewed for his show.  To top off the evening, Aaron followed up with some mouth-watering images of the meals served at the conference, with enticing descriptions of the beautifully prepared foods made with fresh, locally and sustainably grown ingredients.

It was fun to relive the excitement of the conference, and hear about the parts we all missed.  The annual Wise Traditions conference has become so large now that it offers at least 4-5 different tracks at any given moment, every day.  Some of the tracks for this year's conference included:  Nourishing Traditional Diets, Gut & Psychology Syndrome, Nutrition & Behavior, the Science of Farming, Traditional Cooking, Native Ways, Wise Entrepreneurs, Wellness, and Nutrition.  The conference really explores all the connections between our foods, our environment, and our bodies; from growing the crops & raising the animals, to harvesting the food products, preparing and serving them, consuming them, and reaping their health benefits.  

Though we didn't have time to adequately discuss the conference's theme, "Nutrition and Behavior," rest assured that the message rang loud and clear throughout many of the scientific lectures at the conference.  Every theme-based lecture at the conference highlighted the importance of certain nutrients for their critical roles in mental health.  Not surprisingly, the declining state of mental health and happiness in the western world today can be directly traced to deficiencies in these nutrients, all of which are plentiful in traditional diets. Consistently we were shown that the foods we need to eat for good mental health include whole animals with the skin, bones, organs, and fats, raw dairy, fermented foods, sprouted nuts, seeds, and grains, and even tropical oils.  As Dr. Weston A. Price observed, the people he encountered consuming traditional diets were not only stronger and healthier in general, they also had brighter, calmer, and more cheerful dispositions,  Their babies didn't cry as much, and violent crimes and mental illness were unheard of.  In fact, in many of these cultures, there was no need to incarcerate anyone, so prisons simply did not exist.

Near the end of our chapter meeting, important mention was also given to the inspiring Closing Ceremony of the conference when Jeffery Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology highlighted how far we've come in the battle to label foods containing genetically modified organisms or GMOs.  Though Prop 37 in California didn't pass, it nearly passed, and even more importantly, it inspired many other states to start their own initiatives.  As far as Jeffrey is concerned, we may have lost this one battle, but we certainly are winning the war against GMOs, and all future generations of humans, plants, and animals will thank us for our efforts.  What an inspiring ending to a truly awesome conference!

As the leader of this chapter, I am proud to be part of such an active community that is truly embracing the lessons of Dr. Weston A. Price and the foundation in his name.   Clearly, participation in this movement is growing in the Pasadena area, as more and more people seek local and traditional foods, start businesses, and use traditional foods to improve their health.  If our growing attendance at the conferences is any measure, then we're surely on the right track to a healthier and more sustainable future.  In 2008, the last time the conference was held in California, our chapter was just an idea, with a few Pasadena area attendees who didn't know each other.  Last year at the conference in Dallas, maybe 5 of us attended and brought home some great experiences to share with our fellow members.  This year our attendance rose to 17, many of whom were active participants in the conference, volunteering, representing great organizations like the Raw Milk Institute, presenting, and exhibiting.  

In fact, by being active participants at the conference, we're also actively increasing our area's knowledge of this health-giving, science-based, ecologically-sustainable, and delicious lifestyle.  By supporting local farmers and traditional food businesses, we're increasing our area's demand for traditional foods and inspiring others to do the same.  Let's hope that by the next time the Wise Traditions conference comes to California, we'll be able to boast even more traditional farms and food businesses in our area, a greater knowledge base, and even better attendance!  ( … not to mention a healthier and happier community!)

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2012 Wise Traditions conference and supported the mission of the Weston A. Price Foundation this year!

~ Your Chapter Leader,  Karen

Friday, November 2, 2012

Recap of October 2012 Potluck Dinner Meeting: High Brix Nutrient Dense Foods

by Karen Voelkening-Behegan

Another one of our tasty and informative potluck dinner meetings took place at Nature Friends Clubhouse in October.  This time, our guest speaker was Jamil Avdiyev talking about High Brix nutrient-dense produce grown on nutrient-replenished soil.

In the past century, the nutrient content of our soils has been so depleted by poor agricultural practices that most of our foods, whether from plants or animals, have shown a steep decline in mineral density.  From 1930 to 1990, for example, the calcium content of our soil has decreased an average of 50-75%, while the trace mineral content of our soil has decreased an average of 50-90%, depending on the region.  Jamil explained that the mineral content of the soil carries over to the food we eat.  Both plants and animals absorb minerals, so the fewer minerals available in the soil, the poorer the soil ecosystem, and the lower the nutrient-density of both our produce and our animal products. 

But why are minerals so important?  Aren’t there other micro- and macronutrients to be gained from our foods?  Jamil gave us the answer:  Minerals build not only the tissues and structures of our foods, they also build the enzymes and vitamins we need to assimilate our foods.  So if the food is low in minerals, it will also be low in enzymes and vitamins too.  Minerals also keep our foods strong, healthy, and disease resistant, and pass those traits along to us.  In fact, the cultures with the most mineral-rich diets also show the least disease and the greatest longevity. 

Jamil’s slideshow presentation was loaded with charts and graphs and photos illustrating his point.  He also passed around a refractometer, a small instrument used to measure the the total dissolved solids in produce, including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and other phytochemicals.  To show us how it worked, Jamil simply squeezed some juice from a lemon into the device and then passed it around for each of us to view.  He proudly stated that in his produce, his aim is to get the nutrient-density to go off the charts!  Organics, move over!   Certified Organic foods are no competition for High-Brix nutrient dense foods.  Even highly-priced organic produce sold in health food stores will generally score very low in nutrient-density.  Though it may be free of toxins and grown without synthetic pesticides, as long as it comes from nutrient-depleted soil, organic produce is no more nutritious for you than standard grocery store fair.  Just buy a refractometer and test it for yourself!

To find the best and most health-promoting foods, make sure that your produce is grown on nutrient-rich soil and your animal products come from nutrient-rich pastures.  Your health and your palate will thank you.  The High Brix nutrient-dense blueberries Jamil shared at the meeting were delicious!   For those who are interested, he's taking orders and would be happy to deliver them at our monthly meetings.

If you search for this type of food online, just note that it goes by a variety of names including:  High Brix nutrient-dense farming, nutrient-dense farming, nutrition farming, bionutrient-rich farming, and even biological farming, to name a few.  Sometimes it's even referred to as bio-dynamic farming, though they're not the same thing.  But the main point is, you can always check your produce with a refractometer.  If you find that the produce you're buying is nutrient-deficient, then look for a farmer who sells High Brix nutrient-dense foods.  And if you're interested in growing your own nutrient-dense garden, Jamil recommends getting your supplies from the following website:  http://www.tandjenterprises.com/.    Then as you replenish your soil, you can watch the nutrient-density of your harvest rise as your health well-being improves. 

Thank you, Jamil for an excellent presentation, filled with great information that was professionally and delightfully delivered! 

To contact Jamil or to get more information about High Brix Nutrient Dense Foods, go to Jamil’s website at:  http://highbrixnutrientdensefoods.com/


And don't forget, you have a right to know what's in your food, so Vote YES on Prop 37 on Tuesday, to get GMOs labeled once and for all!  For more information, go to:  http://www.carighttoknow.org/

Also, there's still time to register and attend the next Wise Traditions Conference coming up  next week in Santa Clara, CA.  For more info, go to:  http://westonaprice.org/2012-conference/2012-conference.  If you can't make it, then be sure to attend our next potluck dinner meeting on Wed 11/28/12 to hear all about the conference!

Lastly, please remember our East Coast neighbors, and if you can help them in their recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Sandy, you may want to check out a few reputable charities at:  http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/give-to-charity/hurricane-sandy-recovery.aspx#expert-rec


Thank you!

Your Chapter Leader, 

~ Karen