Learning to Eat Well

Thoughts from Melissa Usack, one of our farm apprentices.

While the tomatoes blush in the hoop house, the sweet onions swell from last night’s rain and the sweet summer berries burst from every hedge, we ask you to turn your attention away from the fanfare of the season to revisit and celebrate one of the more timeless aspects of the farm – our whole diet option.

In early June, Lauren and I took a road trip up to beautiful Shelburne Farms to attend a series of lecture by traditional foods guru, Sally Fallon, author of the famed Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Sally is also the founder and head of the Weston A. Price Foundation and  a true dietary revolutionary whose nutritional pathway has transformed the health of thousands of people of all ages and constitutions.


What we learned from her in a matter of 3 classes and just a few short hours was wisdom enough to keep us healthy and balanced for the rest of our lives.  Not only that, it made us both so much more grateful to be part of the Green Mountain Girls team – it turns out that our farm provides the building blocks for a truly healthy, balanced diet.

We felt a little guilty and selfish hoarding all of this precious knowledge to ourselves, so here are a few of her key foundational bits of information:

  • Eat Your Offal and Drink your Bone Broths
  • Animal Fats are Essential (Supreme)
  • Raw Milk (from pastured animals) is a Healing Food
  • Nutrient Dense Foods are Key

    Chopping Liver

We love to talk about it, so feel free to snag us when you are at the farmstand if you have any questions.


Eat Your Offal and Drink those Bone Broths

Apparently, we have been eating the wrong parts of the animal our whole lives.  Nowhere on an animal are the nutrients more concentrated than in the organs and bones.  These are a true superfood.  Some of the healthiest traditional cultures were known to prize the organs most, feast on the fats 2nd, and throw the lean muscle meat to the dogs!


Animal Fats are Essential (Supreme)

The advent of vegetable shortening and industrially processed poly-unsaturated oils (corn, soy, canola, etc.) has caused significant health problems in the western diet.


Turning Pork Fat into Yummy Lard

Contrary to popular claims and beliefs, saturated animals fats and cholesterols are not only okay for us to eat (the do NOT cause heart disease), they are actually essential to our health!  Unlike many processed plant oils, they are structurally compatible with our body tissues and are the building blocks of many of our component parts!  Saturated cholesterols and fats build strong, elastic cell membranes, protect our gut, repair neurons, combat stress, moderate blood sugar, help us absorb countless vitamins and even make us happy by helping ensure proper hormone balance – the list goes on!  It is all about eating the right fats.  Natural, not processed and even then fats from pastured and healthy animals are best.


Raw Milk (from pastured animals) is a Healing Food

Because it is balanced and so nutritive, one could drink raw milk exclusively and experience no ill health effects (and potentially an increased sense of vitality!).  Milk is chock full of vitamins and minerals, proteins, healthy fats, probiotic organisms, and numerous digestive enzymes that make all these components readily available to our body tissues.  If it is sourced from a farm with proper sanitation practices, it is highly recommended for pregnant women, children and people with weakened immune systems (the exact demographic advised to avoid it by the ag industry liability clause.)


Unfortunately, pastured milk is no such boon to our health, and may actually do more harm than good.  The ultra-high temperature, industrial process destroys the active enzymes in milk that otherwise make it digestible, nutritive and safe from contamination.  Calcium, iron and other essential vitamins and minerals are less assimiable, and are often deposited in areas (ie arteries) where they do the body harm.


Nutrient Dense Foods are Key

In our weight obsessed culture, all of the focus in on calories and how to consume less of them, when what we need to address in nutrient density in our diets.  So many of our modern foods are devastatingly nutrient poor – meat and dairy raised exclusively on grain lack the healthful components they would naturally derive from fresh forage and grasses, conventional supermarket vegetables are grown in poor soils and are little more than colorful package of the chemical fertilizers that feed them, and the millions of processed foods on the market are so nutritionally worthless it’s a wonder we call it “food”.

Essentially, no matter how much of such foods we eat, we are left under-nourished and our bodies will always be craving something more…

One cannot stress enough how important it is to eat vegetables that are grown organically in rich, balanced well-composted soils, and to eat the FRESH!  Stress on plants from pest predation also serves us by boosting the plant’s defense and thus the power components that nourish us.

And although there has been much focus on organic produce in recent years, our food culture could doubly benefit if as much emphasis was placed on pastured meats and animal products.  You are not only what YOU eat, but what-you-eat eats.  If your animals are eating green happy, vibrant grasses and browse, you are sharing in their wealth.