Traditional Foods

Traditional Foods

When you hear the term “traditional foods” you might think of pasta from Italy, paella from Spain, sushi from Japan, and fried chicken in America. However, when traditional foodies talk about traditional foods or diet, we are talking about pre-modern foods–the foods our ancestors ate before white sugar and flour were invented. And they aren’t just foods either, but also a way of preparing and eating foods that is centuries or even millenia old–a natural diet for humans if you will. Traditional foods aren’t just real whole foods. They are foods prepared to get optimum nutrition out of them. They are foods that many of us never eat because they have become taboo in our society, or we don’t think about eating them–or simply don’t know how. Some traditional foods include:

  • Butter, cream, and whole milk (ideally raw and from pastured animals)
  • Liver and other organ meats from pastured animals
  • Fish eggs
  • Eggs from pastured birds
  • Bone broths and bone marrow
  • Nuts and seeds that have been sprouted or soaked and dried
  • Whole grains that have been soaked/fermented (such as sourdough bread and porridge)
  • FRESH organically grown fruits and vegetables
  • Meat from pastured animals, wild fish
  • Animal fats eaten with meat or used for cooking
  • Coconut milk and oil
  • Olive oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fermented foods (yogurt/kefir, fermented veggies, fermented meats)
  • Sufficient amount of raw foods (including some meat and seafood)
  • Organ meats such as liver, heart and kidney

Eating a traditional diet means you get probiotics with your food, rather than as an expensive supplement you buy at the store. Eating a traditional diet means your grains are more digestible, and your nuts and seeds have less mineral-binding phytic acid. A traditional diet includes deeply nourishing organ meats like liver, and nutrient-dense fish eggs, especially for those in their childbearing years and young children as these foods promote the healthy development of babies. Eating a traditional diet means you don’t waste food; animal fat is not tossed in the garbage but rather used for cooking instead of less nutritious vegetable oils, and even bones are used for their nourishing marrow and the gelatin and minerals in the bones which are extracted into bone broth. In a traditional diet, butterfat is valued for its high nutrient content. Fat is not feared, but enjoyed and valued for its nutrition.

A few traditional foods: Backyard chicken eggs, whole raw milk, and local produce.

A traditional diet means no refined flours or sugar, no overly processed foods, no artificial ingredients, food additives or other poisons commonly found in modern processed food. Rather, a traditional diet is natural and nutrient-rich. So much so, that a healthy person eating the traditional way would have no need of vitamin and mineral supplements. A not-so-healthy person can regain health by switching to a traditional diet. This is the way we are supposed to eat. This is what our ancestors evolved to eat, and instinctively learned to eat this way. It’s really incredible, and yet so obvious–people knew how to eat well LONG before science and “nutritionism” got in the way.

Ingredients for lacto-fermented salsa, a probiotic food.

We are supposed to have vibrant health and be full of energy and life. We get this from eating nourishing food.

For more information on traditional foods, I recommend the book Nourishing Traditions which outlines the “Wise Traditions Diet”, or the Weston A Price Foundation website.



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