Question: Are you aware of why refined carbs are so horribly addictive and so detrimental to health. I am new to Weston A Price and am having difficulty coming off refined carbohydrates. I am also a medical herbalist and find it excruciating taking people off refined carbs - it is one of the quickest way to put people off! Part of the problem as I see it is that people including myself see these foods as just that - food. However all my experience points to the fact that they are closer to junk food than nutrition. I still find it one of the hardest things to deal with personally and professionally and if you have any more specific information I would be interested to hear. - Bronwyn.
Answer: Refined carbs are indeed addictive and detrimental to health. It is easier to answer the second part of your question than the first. We know that refined carbs are detrimental because they are almost completely devoid of nutrients while at the same time requiring a lot of nutrients to be processed–a situation akin to constantly drawing money out of the bank without ever putting money in, leading to nutritional bankruptcy. Also, refined carbs send glucose into the bloodstream very quickly, raising the blood sugar. The pancreas and adrenal glands then have to go into overdrive to bring the body back into homeostasis. Having to do this day after day, these vital organs eventually become depleted or exhausted, resulting in conditions ranging from diabetes to auto-immune disease to chronic fatigue.
Why are refined carbs addictive? I don’t have all the answers here but one reason is that they raise the blood sugar quickly when it is low and we need a lift. Apparently refined carbs also stimulate the production of feel-good substances in the brain–but this stimulation is shortlived and pathological, resulting in the need for carb “fixes” more and more frequently. (A body properly nourished is bathed in these feel-good chemicals all the time.)
I quite understand the resistance of clients who are hooked on refined carbs. They will never get well if they continue to eat them . . . and yet so strong is the addiction that many either refuse to believe what you are saying, or consciously choose carbs over good health.
Some strategies may be useful: emphasize eating nutrient dense foods first, rather than cutting out all the carbs–that slice of white bread will be much less harmful spread with chicken liver pate than with strawberry jam, and the mashed potates will be much more nutritious made with butter and cream than with skim milk; point out that there is no need to eliminate sweet things–just use natural sweeteners in homemade desserts filled with nutrient-dense ingredients. Always point out acceptable substitutes. Properly prepared rolled oats served with butter and honey has a thousand times more nutrition than a bowl of dry breakfast cereal–and tastes better also. And there are many grades of white bread–an additive-free sourdough bread made of half white flour, half whole wheat flour, from an artisan bakery is a much better choice than a slice of Wonderbread.
Will power alone is not much of a help in getting off the carbs, but a very nutrient-dense diet will often make the cravings go away. One of our members sent us the following testimonial: She had a secret vice, which was that each week when she went to the supermarket, she went to the cookie aisle and chose 3-4 packages of cookies to eat during the week. This continued even after she started to incorporate our dietary principles–her willpower was just not strong enough to resist. Nevertheless, she continued with our diet, including lots of butter, raw milk, soaked grains, cod liver oil, liver and eggs. One day, after following this diet for several months, she found herself in the aisle trying to decide which cookies to buy that week. . . and she realized that she didn’t want any cookies. She was able to walk away, not from force of will power, but because of the natural inclination of her body.
So that is the goal–a nutrient dense diet that eventually cures the cravings.
Question: I read your recipe for a beet kvass and would like to make it. I am on Candida diet and try to avoid a lot of sugar and yeast and wheat food. Would kvass be helpful? I hope it will help with my constipation. - Lana
Answer: Yes! The beet kvass is very helpful for candida. In fact, we had a letter from someone who had suffered for years from candida, and had tried all the diets. What turned her around was beet kvass. I think you will also find it useful for constipation. Personally, I drink about 4 ounces beet kvass morning and night–it is a tonic I swear by!
About the Author...
Sally Fallon is founding president of the Weston A Price Foundation, a non-profit nutrition education foundation with over 400 local chapters and 9000 members. She is also the founder of A Campaign for Real Milk, which has as its goal universal access to clean raw milk from pasture-fed animals. Author of the best-selling cookbook Nourishing Traditions and also of Eat Fat Lose Fat (Penguin), both with Mary G. Enig, Phd, Sally has a encyclopedic knowledge of modern nutritional science as well as ancient food ways. Her grasp on the work of Weston Price is breath taking and her passion for health freedom, inspiring. In each edition of Nourished Magazine Sally answers your questions about nutrition, health, food and medical politics. Send us an email with your question and we'll put it to her.