When I first began this journey I felt like I was learning a new language. These were some of the words and acronyms that I had to Google or look up in Nourishing Traditions. These are some basic explanations, but as I post about these things I will link each title below. This list is ever growing and changing and I will continue to publish to this post. I hope this helps you as you move down the path to wellness.
Eat Well, Be Well,
A1: Describes a beta casein protein which is found in most milk that you buy in the store or even from a farm as most dairy farms use Holsteins which typically have the A1 protein. This is a mutated protein and is not found in most “old fashioned” cows (see below) Research has shown an association between A1 beta casein in milk and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, and it is also associated with neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
A2: Describes the other beta casein which is found in the older breeds of cows. Guernseys are almost predominantly A2, followed by a high percentage of Brown Swiss, followed by Jersey, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn. This protein is thought to be very healthy and some say “medicinal.” Here is a great webinar which explains in more detail.
Agave: A sweetener often used in place of sugar and touted as a healthy alternative, but don’t be fooled by it’s low glycemic index rating, it has more fructose than HFCS.
Antioxidant: compounds that inhibit or neutralize potentially harmful agents (free radicals) which cause oxidization and damage of cells in the body. Free radicals are caused by toxic environmental agents such as cigarette smoke, heavy metals, alcohol & pesticides. Common antioxidants include Vitamin C & E, beta-carotene & coenzyme Q10.
Beyond Organic: This is relatively new terminology that some farmers are using to describe practices that are in line with the original spirit of the organic movement. These are practices which are sustainable, humane, local and chemical free. Often these farmers choose not to become “certified organic.”
CAFO: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (a.k.a. factory farm)
CLA: Conjugated Linoleic Acid. A beneficial fatty acid that is found in grass-fed beef and raw milk, and contributes to muscle growth enhancement, prevention of muscle wasting, inhibition of fat formation, reduction of body fat, improvement of insulin sensitivity, inhibition or prevention of various cancers (including breast and prostate), enhancement of immune system, lowering of cholesterol, reduction of cholesterol oxidation (RMF)
CLO: Cod Liver Oil
CSA: Community Supported Agriculture
Gluten: the combination of two proteins – glutenin and gliadin – which create the major protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats which is responsible for the elasticity in dough and the structure in baked bread. This protein can be difficult to digest and may cause digestive problems in many individuals if grains are not properly prepared.
GMO: (Genetially Modified Organism) genes from one organism are transferred into another organism. GM foods contain ingredients that have been genetically modified in some way.
Grass fed: describes the sustainable farming practice in which cows (or other animals) eat pimarily grass and other forage and are not contained in a feed lot. This produces beef and dairy that is healthier and more nutrient dense than corn fed beef and dairy. Here is a great article with additional information.
HFCS: High Fructose Corn Syrup. The bane of my existence! This video is long, but so worth watching.
Kefir: a fermented milk drink. Kefir has many reputed health benefits. It has antibiotic and antifungal properties. It’s been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, and allergies, tuberculosis, cancer, poor digestion, candidiasis, osteoporosis, hypertension, HIV and heart disease.
Kombucha: an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its anecdotal health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha can be purchased at many health food stores and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture, referred to as a scoby or “the mother.”
Kvass: a fermented beverage traditionally made from made from stale dark, sourdough rye bread; however other varieties are made from beets and other fruits and vegetables. It is rich in B vitamins, thought to relieve intestinal problems and hangovers. Because it is fermented, it contains beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, that are regarded as a digestive aid, and that may destroy disease-causing microbes in your intestine.
Lactic Acid: by-product of lacto-fermentation which promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.
Lacto-Fermentation: A method of preparing/preserving beverages, fruits & vegetables which converts sugars & starches into lactic acid (above). “The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.” (WAPF)
MSG: Monosodium Glutamate
Nourishing Traditions: Part cookbook, part nutrition guide, this book by Sally Fallon is the Bible of Weston A. Price dietary guidelines.
Nutrient Density: describes the ratio of nutrient content (in grams) to the total energy content (in kilocalories or joules). Nutrient-dense foods are those that provide substantial amounts of essential nutrients/calorie. These include fruits, vegetables, grass fed meat & dairy, eggs etc. Nutrient-dense food is the opposite of energy-dense food (also called “empty calorie” food) such as products containing added sugars, processed cereals, and alcohol.
Offal: those parts of a meat animal which are used as food but which are not skeletal muscle. This includes the heart , liver, lungs, all abdominal organs and extremities: tails, feet, and head (including brain and tongue).
Organic: When the organic movement began, this word was used to describe farming practices that treated animals humanely, did not use toxic chemicals, promoted biodiversity and supported local distribution of food. In 1990, US federal organic legislation defined levels of “organic” and any product that met these standards could use the word (in some form) on the package. Unfortunately some of the original spirit of organic was lost at this time, as these new rules dealt mostly with getting chemicals, pesticides, hormones etc. out of food production. But, “that’s all they address. There is nothing written about the kind of food that may be called organic, or its distribution.” (Pollan) This has caused some of our country’s best farmers to abandon the word organic and the federal certification process. See Beyond Organic
Paleo: Short for Paleolithic, this diet advocates eating what you can (or once could have) hunted or gathered yourself. It is a pre-agrarian diet which is very low carb.
Pastured: Describes how poultry (or beef) is raised on a sustainable farm. This means that the animals are raised on pasture rather than confined. Note that this is different than “free range.” Here is a good explanation of the two practices.
Phytic Acid: Acid present in many grains, nuts, seeds & beans which can can block mineral absorption and lead to nutritional deficiencies (phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium & iron). Phytic acid also binds with enzymes necessary for digestion. Certain preparation methods help to neutralize phytic acid, making these foods more bio-available.
Probiotics: beneficial bacteria that are regarded as a digestive aid, and that may destroy disease-causing microbes in your intestine
Raw Milk: Milk in its natural, unpasteurized state.
Real Milk: Term often used to describe raw, unpasteurized milk.
SAD Diet: Stands for Standard American Diet (Diet?).
Sustainable: Term which describes farming practices that are efficient & ecologically sound and can therefore be “sustained” over time. This means that the land, the plants, the animals and subsequently the farmer will thrive from these practices. There is a recent push to certify sustainable farms.
Weston A. Price: a dentist who traveled throughout the world during the 1930s and 1940s, studying healthy traditional peoples. He found fourteen healthy groups scattered in different locations, all eating very different foods, but all exhibiting excellent dental health, which served as a sign of excellent overall health. They had no cavities, no dental deformities, their faces were broad and their teeth were naturally straight. (SMF)
WAPF: Acronym for The Weston A. Price Foundation, which is a non-profit nutrition education foundation dedicated to accurate scientific information about diet and health.