The Three New Food Groups


Alas, the time has come to really work through the recipes of Nourishing Traditions. I have sat down to write this on numerous occasions now, quoting enormous passages from the book along with the research excerpts. It was just too much. If you are like me and constantly question everything, you will just have to wade through it yourself. This is Nourishing Traditions light, so I am going to just skim over the research and leave it at a minimum. I don’t want to. I want to shout it from the rooftops, but I am only capable of making small ripples that radiate this traditional wisdom outward. My hope is that it will inspire each of you to further your own independent research.

To start, throw away all of your preconceived notions about nutrition. They aren’t correct and there is a good chance that your body isn’t functioning at optimal level because of it. I know because I was there.  I ate “right,” “whole,” and “healthy” for years.  I tried on a multitude of diets: vegetarian, vegan, low fat, low carb, etc.  I followed all of the conventional wisdom down to measuring portions according to the USDA version of the food pyramid.


Where did that get me?  Fat and sick.  The biggest misnomer? The need for exorbitant amounts of grains while limiting fat consumption. My family and I have eaten very minimal to no grains for almost a year now and have suffered much less for it. As long as we consume adequate amounts of fat we don’t miss it either. Our overall behavior and energy levels have improved as well. Gut and Psychology Syndrome actually recommends refraining from all grains for at least two years. Since we healed fairly rapidly, we occasionally eat sprouted or fermented grains with lots of fats. Sourdough and cultured butter, anyone?

So what SHOULD you be eating? The book actually breaks foods into three categories: Nourishing Traditional Foods, Compromise Foods, and Newfangled Foods. I always feel ignorant using the word “newfangled,” so I am going to just call them what they are – processed foods. Our current idea of “food” in America is a far cry from what was considered food only 100 years ago. Here is the rundown:

Nourishing Traditional Foods


  • Pastured meats (beef, lamb, game, chicken, turkey, and duck) – Don’t forget the organs!
  • Seafood
  • Eggs from pastured poultry – duck eggs are our personal favorite
  • Organic fermented soy products in moderation


  • Butter and cream from pastured cows – preferably raw and cultured
  • Lard and tallow (goose and duck fat are popular options in Europe, but I’ve struggled to come across viable options in Nashville, TN)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Unrefined flax seed oil in moderation
  • Coconut Oil Palm Oil


  • Raw, whole milk and cultured dairy products (yogurt, piima, kefir, cheese) from traditional pastured cow and goat breeds (Jersey cows and Nubian goats is what our Mennonite farmer raises).


  • Fermented and sprouted organic whole grain (sourdough bread or Ezekial bread)
  • Soaked and fermented legumes (lentils, beans, and chickpeas)
  • Sprouted or soaked seeds and nuts
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (raw and cooked)
  • Fermented vegetables (Love me some sauerkraut! I just made a new batch this afternoon since I’m almost out of kimchi).


  • Filtered, high-mineral water
  • Lacto-fermented drinks made from grain or fruit
  • Meat stocks and broths (My 2 year old loves chicken broth!)


  • Unrefined sea salt
  • Raw vinegar – we like Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Fresh herbs
  • Fermented soy and fish sauce

Compromise Foods (Eat in moderation or not at all)


  • Pork
  • Fish from shallow waters – I love salmon and trout. We probably eat it too frequently, averaging about once per week.
  • Commercially raised meat
  • Barbecued or smoked meat
  • Traditionally made, additive free sausage
  • Additive free bacon
  • Battery eggs
  • Tofu in moderation


  • Unrefined peanut and sesame oils


  • Pasteurized, cultured milk products
  • Pasteurized cheese


  • Whole grain breads and pasta
  • Unbleached white flour
  • Canned legumes
  • Imported fruits and vegetables
  • Canned tomato products
  • Cooked seaweed
  • Natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, rapadura, date sugar) – We do consume honey, but only honey. It is better digested by the body. We also only use it in moderate amounts.


  • Wine
  • Unpasteurized beer
  • Diluted fruit juice
  • Herb teas


  • Commercial salt
  • Pasteurized vinegar
  • Canned condiments without MSG

Processed Foods (AVOID!!!!!)


  • Processed meat (lunch meat, salami, bacon)
  • Soy milk
  • Foods with difficult pronunciations (hydrolyzed protein and protein isolates)


  • Processed vegetable oils
  • Margarine
  • Tub spreads
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Low fat foods


  • Pasteurized, homogenized commercial milk
  • Ultra pasteurized cream and milk
  • Processed cheese
  • Reduced fat dairy


  • Bleached and fortified flour
  • Dry cereal
  • Granola
  • Refined sugar
  • GMO anything
  • Canned products
  • Chocolate (It IS possible to live without chocolate, I swear)


  • Soda
  • Distilled or pasteurized alcohol
  • Fruit juice
  • Commercial rice and oat milk
  • Coffee, tea, and cocoa (I still drink coffee and tea every day. I’m just not there yet).


  • Baking powder
  • MSG
  • Artificial anything
  • Chemically produced food preservatives
  • Aspartame

4 thoughts on “The Three New Food Groups

  1. I agree that the food pyramid is total bs with ulterior motives. I did low fat low calorie years ago, and I’m convinced it’s a main factor in my wrecked metabolism and insulin resistance. I’m glad you found something that brought you back to health! I’m still on my journey but learning more each day.

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