Traditional Foods: Why We Need Them Back on the Table!

food is medicine

It’s finished!  My book Once Upon a Cook – Food Wisdom, Better Living: The Wisdom and Science of Traditional Foods, Forgotten Skills and Nourishing Recipes’ is finally done!  For almost a year I’ve had my head down, eyes-to-the-screen, fingers a-flying and not least, nursed a stiff neck and aching back working butt-hard to write this book and it’s finally done.

And I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have completed the entire draft and (with a huge intake of breath before pressing ‘SEND’) put it out for feedback from the great and the good!

Once Upon a Cook has been a long time coming…  14 chapters of very accessible, intensively researched and evidence-based gold, on why much of the food we’re putting on our tables and into our bodies aren’t the deliciously wholesome, healthy traditional foods that our grandparents (and theirs) enjoyed; and why the conveniently prepared and processed food we’ve come to rely upon is making and keeping us sick.

Traditional foods

I’ve covered everything from why it is so important to understand what’s in (or isn’t!) in our soil and to source organic meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables… to the vital role in health and nutrition played by herbs, spices, cultured and fermented foods, and why sugar and salt are not the demons they are made out to be. Believe it!

In turning the pages of this book, you’ll discover why ‘Granny knew best’ about the traditional foods that really do make and keep us healthy and how her food wisdom is (and always has been) supported by sound science. You’ll be introduced to Granny’s forgotten culinary skills and enjoy delicious, nutritious modern recipes for better energy, vitality and much better health.  Each chapter contains a number of recipes, many of which bring a contemporary twist to the traditional foods our grannies (and theirs) enjoyed.

Everything in the book is well-researched and supported by hundreds of references (also linked via my website) to reliable information that I’ve curated from a wide variety of sources, so that you can understand why the food we’re eating isn’t what it once was and what you can do about it.

I’ve cut through the fog of confusion, misinformation, media hype and vested interests on your behalf and have provided a clear summary and analysis of all the contemporary food issues, supported by fully referenced, evidence-based science, so that you can make more informed and better food choices for yourself and your family.

Some cracking feedback!

I’m so excited about the feedback that I’ve received already….

It looks really good to me, and terribly useful in giving a clear summary/analysis of all the contemporary food dilemmas.”  A prominent UK investigative food journalist, writer and commentator on the British food chain.

“Looking forward to reading the rest of the book – thanks for the draft!” A UK Organic Egg Farmer.

 “This is great, well done! Your writing is clear and inspirational.” A medical doctor, Master of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Nutrition.

“Nice work!  I don’t have any suggestions….”  A Cardiovascular Research Scientist and editorial advisory board member for medical journals.

I can’t begin to describe how much these comments mean to me (and at least, I can now actually breathe!) and I’m really looking forward to more feedback and valuable input from readership, which includes livestock farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, traditional bakers, nutritionists and a range of opinion leaders from the real, organic and sustainable food movements.

Sneak Peak

I’m really impatient to get Once Upon a Cook – Food Wisdom, Better Living published, printed and onto bookshelves everywhere to inspire people to transition to traditional foods and create a diet that will bring much better health. I already have three pre-publication chapters available to download from my website, but I’m so excited to have finished writing the whole book, that I want to share a sneak-peek with you here…

The Introduction, sets the scene for the book – how many of us face a constant battle with fatigue, overwhelm, ill health and chronic health conditions; how and why our modern food and toxic lifestyle choices are making (and keeping) us sick; and how far we have become disconnected from traditional foods, food producers and cooking methods.

Chapter 1 – Nourishing  deeply for better energy, vitality and health: I explain how the myriad (and all-too-often conflicting) advice on health, lifestyle, food and nutrition is frequently founded in poor research, at best inconclusive, and at worst plain wrong and highly damaging to our bodies.

Chapter 2 – It all begins (and ends) in the soil: Is a key chapter in the book, where I delved deeply into the soil to understand and explain how generations of damage to our soils are causing many of the health (and environmental) issues that we face today. I look at how microbes from the soil impact our health and immune systems and our own gut microbiome.

Chapter 4 – Meat is a treat (and offal isn’t awful): I defend meat by looking at how and why meats (e.g. beef, pork, chicken) have become ‘demonised’ and put the case for the value of offal’s pre-eminence in a nutrient-dense diet.

Chapter 6 – Give us back our daily bread: Here, I focus on how the mass-produced, shop-bought bread-imposters are a world away from the real, nutrient-dense bread our grandparents enjoyed. I explain about the nature of the wheat we now consume and how hybridised wheat, the impact of GM farming practices and mass production has rendered much of what we call ‘bread’ nutritionally bankrupt… and for many of us, a potential health risk.

Chapter 9 – Fat: friend or foe? This chapter considers the demonization of traditional (saturated) fats and the craze toward no-fat eating, or low fat/high carb diets. I discuss why and which fats are vital to our diet and the different types of fats best for cooking.

Chapter 11 – Cultured and fermented foods: I dive into cultured and fermented foods, and their role in promoting a healthy gut microbiome. I discuss the role they have played throughout history in many different societies and cultures, with a close look at pre- and pro-biotic foods, cultured dairy (such as yoghurt and labneh) and cultured vs wild ferments.

Chapter 13 – Sugar: Sugar has become Public Enemy No.1 lately, with misplaced reason. I consider how and why our body’s natural craving for sweeteners has been high-jacked by modern food technologies and led us away from natural and minimally processed sugars, to the use of ultra-processed and highly refined and manufactured sweeteners in food production.

Each chapter concludes with delicious recipes that showcase traditional foods with a contemporary twist (here’s a recipe for you) and I offer links to a wide range of useful resources.

Traditional foods?  Who is this book for?

Once Upon a Cook – Food Wisdom, Better Living: The Wisdom and Science of Traditional Foods, Forgotten Skills and Nourishing Recipes is for parents and for grandparents; for anyone struggling with health issues; anyone worried about the nutritional quality of our food and how it’s produced; how animals are farmed, and our fruit and vegetables grown; anyone who is keen to enjoy traditional foods in a contemporary context; anyone with concerns about the impact of intensive farming, genetic modification, agricultural chemicals, chemical food additives, on their health and on our environment.

This book is for you!

Please go ahead and download your FREE pre-publication chapters.  I’d LOVE to get your feedback on these chapters and on this post, so don’t be shy!

I’ll keep you informed of progress and promise I’ll work butt-harder to get this important book to you as soon as I can!

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In the meantime, here are some other posts where the wisdom in traditional foods is THE key to much better health…

How I’m Beating Arthritis with Food-as-Medicine (2): What I would have said to my younger self!

Detox? Or Not-To-Tox? Part 3: Nourish Deeply for 2017!

Real Orange Juice is a Powerful Friend, Not a Sugary Foe!

Izabella Natrins

After 30 years in the health space, I'm here to share and use my expertise and experience to help women to create the true health they deserve. My Femergy@40 Nutrition and Lifestyle Health Coaching and Resilient Weight-Loss programmes empower, support and inspire women who are fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues, to find hope and optimism, regain confidence and create much better health. My book 'The Real Food Solution' 2020 (updated from Once Upon a Cook 2019) is an evidence-based treasury of real food wisdom and a call to action to change the way you eat, create more energy, vitality and better health and support a sustainable planet ... with traditional foods. I'm a qualified real food nutrition and lifestyle health expert, holistic health coach, nutritional chef and a writer, a speaker and a partner, mum & grand-mum.

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