Nina Teicholz, author of “The Big Fat Surprise”
Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, author of “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”
Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of “The Great Cholesterol Con”
Patricia Daly, Nutritional Therapist
John McKenna, journalist and food writer
Hello fellow WAPF members, and hello also to lots of you who are not yet actual members!
So, what the heck are we going to do about the FCLO debacle?? I have a few personal comments to make on it, but we see things from our own world view, so feel free to disagree!
A big problem I see with the whole debate is that it is such a technical subject that I’m sure only a small number of scientists are in a position to debate the ins and outs of it with any real authority. We, the figurative proletariat, can but watch and wait and see what happens.
It’s both cool and unfortunate that we find ourselves at the cutting edge of this highly technical issue – but life on the cutting edge is far from certain, and I strongly believe that we need to be ok with uncertainty if we are to have any decent quality of life. If we are too fixed in our thinking and can’t handle uncertainty we will be smashed off the rocks by the waves of public opinion! Like good thick dairy cream, the truth often takes a while to rise to the surface.
We can’t hope to figure this one out on our own, but in the mean time we have to make decisions – do we keep taking the stuff, or do we stop?
The original research promoting the benefits of taking Cod Liver Oil comes from a different time. Since then food safety and a litigious society have changed the landscape of food production resulting in a mountain of ‘safe’ processed foods. Cod liver oil was no exception, and it became a fact that all of it at one point was processed. This bothered natural health advocates including Sally and many others on the WAPF board. Her writings make this clear.
So it was almost with relief that Green Pastures showed up with the only real raw CLO on the market. It was wholeheartedly embraced, and the ‘fermenting’ aspect of it found its own place amongst the conversation. It is this fermenting aspect that is now causing the furore, and since no one else is making it, it is a de-facto ‘leading edge’ kind of product, for better or worse! Luckily in the mean time other players have shown up with great offerings. Rosita sell a raw CLO and Yukon Pure sell raw salmon head oil which contains some natural A & D.
Some people call the frontier at the leading edge of technological development ‘the Bleeding edge’. As a group of truth seekers, we are bleeding now! I’m going to bet there will be a mix of decisions amongst us. Some will go with their gut and if they’ve had a good experience they will keep taking it and if they’ve had a bad experience they will stop. Others will sense fear of uncertainty and go with that, others I reckon will perceive this as yet one more straw on an already tired back. I genuinely suggest to anyone struggling with this issue to deliberately allow themselves a look at the other side and indeed a third side of the story. In other words find a valid way to get a different perspective on it all. It is after all only a product, and but one more twist and turn in the journey of health that we have to navigate.
To be sure though there is much to reject in this whole debacle. In publicity terms it’s a veritable train wreck. WAPF Munster hosted David Wetzel at the conference last February and interest in the product has been steadily growing.
The tone of Kaayla Daniel’s article suggests a deep distrust of David Wetzel, yet the lab reports often show conflicting opinions on the same measurements. If indeed there is no consensus on what it all means even amongst different lab scientists then one wonders where the distrust is coming from.
If David turned out to be a charlatan it would make a lot of us very angry, but as things stand, despite Kaayla’s tone, she repeatedly asserts that the evidence in no way shows he is acting dishonestly. Confused maybe, biased perhaps, but not a bad guy. It is cases like this that force court judges to insist jury members put all previous publicity out of their minds and vote only on the facts of a case! Makes sense, but it’s hard to do here – it takes a flexible mind!
It seems the debate would have been much more professionally served behind closed doors and let the facts speak for themselves, and then they could all emerge with the agreed story and let us all know. Yet this may not have been possible given the leading edge nature of this stuff insofar as scientists may just choose to see the same facts in a different light – who knows!
All the same I think we’d be fools to blindly believe that an organisation the size of WAPF could possibly exist in a vacuum from interpersonal conflict and issues. Our egos are real, they do get in the way often, but I’d like to believe that in the cold light of day all interested parties would have the integrity and fortitude to admit if they got something wrong. Indeed the truth may lie somewhere in the middle of all the talk, maybe they are all right and all wrong at the same time. Living with uncertainty is definitely not easy!
We’d probably do well to recognise that cod liver oil is a tool – indeed a wonder tool for many seeking health – but it’s just one tool in an arsenal of dietary tools available to us. Basically it makes it much easier to get to the higher levels of fat soluble vitamins recommended by Price’s research. But let’s be fair, it’s not absolutely necessary for health, it just helps a lot on the journey, so if you are affected by the fallout of this work-in-progress debate, then fear not – you have many options!
If some of you feel you must relinquish your current stocks of FCLO as a precautionary action, it may help to do it in the knowledge that you didn’t make any mistakes here, life has thrown a small curveball at you. We can’t check out everything we eat to the nth degree. We have to trust someone sometime otherwise we’d never get anything done.
If you choose to keep taking your FCLO, the same principle applies – we are all responsible for our own decisions. Clearly if you have been using it for years and things have only gotten better then it’s probably very good for you.
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! Sort of I guess…
We wait with bated breath on this one; it may yet turn into a mud fight! But in the mean time – watch this space for an upcoming announcement!!
Yours in health
Brendan O’Brien and the WAPF Munster team
The feedback from the Conference has been overwhelmingly positive and we thank you for all your messages, texts and emails. We have been inundated with requests for the recipes of the wonderful meals we enjoyed over those two days in February so we are delighted to be able to bring them to you, with sincere thanks to the chef Denis Cregan and everyone at Masterchef catering!
2kgs lamb on the bone (leg).
100g butternut squash
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1. Braise the leg of lamb on the bone in water with rosemary and garlic for two and a half hours.
2. When cool, remove the meat from the bone and cut into cubes.
3. Drain the stock and place in a saucepan.
4. Roast off all the veg in an oven and add to the lamb stock.
5. Add the lamb cubes and the cubes of butternut squash.
6. Simmer gently for 30 mins until squash is cooked. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Together we march forward – but where to? What next?
It’s rare that a popular cause attracts such a high calibre of people as the delegates who attended our Wise Traditions conference this weekend gone by. It was thrilling just to be there in the midst of such confident, happy, delegates – people with obvious inner reserves of strength, calm and poise. You are the people who can make change happen.
With all the information coming at us and all the bombs being dropped it felt at times like drinking from a firehose. Each of us will have absorbed different parts of the main message, each of us will relate to different aspects of different messengers, and it seems all of us were inspired in some way.
But as good as it was I encourage you all to find some fault with it in some way – not necessarily nit-picky faults – but major factual or ideological faults. Hopefully we will all be able to critique it honestly and productively and in doing so hone the message to an even higher plane of usefulness.
All group talks are by definition limited, all speakers at some stage or another need to generalise in order to make a point lest the time be lost on over-explaining minutiae.
Statements were made that can and should raise eyebrows and should be subject to critique. Surely some people will find one or other statements to be objectionable, and this is a good thing. There is an unstated message running through the entire conference – “don’t blindly believe the experts”. Indeed this is why the conference was needed in the first place, to reverse some of the official advice we all followed at different times in the past.
I encourage all of you delegates to pick something you disagreed with, something that stuck in your throat, and dig deeper into it. In health and nutrition there are unknown knowns and unknown unknowns – nobody has all the answers, and ultimately you are tasked with the responsibility of charting the course of your own life. So you owe it to yourself to dig deeper, to not just ‘accept’ because it is easier. I encourage you “to strive to seek to find and not to yield” until you find your own answers.
But yes, there is no question, the conference was a fabulous success, at times feeling like a surreal storybook (for some of us at least), but since the curtains came down and the cleaners moved in, a kind of nostalgic wistful feeling of why-does-it-have-to-be-over has set in. From the start though, we all knew the conference was but the beginning of something.
The messages delivered were beautifully simple yet their implications were profound.
We all live with our own demons, our own personal regrets, our own individual challenges and triumphs. Many people are in a state of silent desperation, and although on the surface they look in control, inside only hope remains. Often the simple act of hearing a success story can rekindle that hope and fan the flames of determination to overcome. For many people pennies were dropping and prayers were being answered throughout the two days and on several occasions many people were witnessed fighting back tears. Whether these were tears of joy, or sadness, acceptance or enlightenment, release or hope, only they know.
For many people the mistakes of the past are now obvious and the road ahead is clearer though still uncertain, and there is much work to be done.
Health is our birthright, but it doesn’t come to us – we have to claim it, and despite all the information, all the advice, all the history we have learned and all the ideas it has spawned, we all face the challenge of breaking old habits, of changing our way of thinking, of finding new ways to engage with our food, with our farmers, with our society – and with ourselves.
Change is the only constant, yet we resist it, change is good yet we fear it, but it should be clear now that change is inevitable and resistance to change is futile. Either we find the courage to change ourselves, or we hide away and wait for change to sweep over us at a time not of our choosing.
Humans have overcome the most staggering of challenges in the past. Collectively we have beaten off the advance of an infinitely large army of bacteria and virus, even adapting to coexist with them. We survived the ice age, the black death, volcanic winters, global flooding, atomic bomb testing and two world wars. And we havent just survived – we have thrived. We have innovated with stupendous ingenuity to become masters of our fate.
But if the keynote speakers have told us anything, they have alerted us to the insidious and silent threat to our very existence that is posed by our adulterated food supply. This is an entirely new kind of threat, one we have evolved no mechanism to overcome. This may well be the first time in human history that we have to rely on our relatively puny conscious mind to steer us out of danger – we have to learn our way out!
There is a different kind of ‘bug’ in the system now, not a bug that our immune system can attack, but a bug that stops our immune system from attacking, a bug that slowly robs us of our very desire to fight back. The bug is not something – it is a lack of something!
We are Pottengers Cats, three generations of cats fed nutrient deficient foods who lost their fertility and died out. We are the experiment now, we are the cats, and though it’s not quite the eleventh hour yet the clock is ticking.
The economic trajectory of the health care costs of obesity alone threaten to destabilize our economy in a decade. If trends continue one in two children will be on the Autism spectrum – or as you all should know by now – the GAPS spectrum! The biggest growth area in primary school has been the Special Needs Assistant – a testament to the fact that our children are paying the price for our collective abandonment of traditional foods in favour of convenience. We have gotten ourselves into a hole and we have to get ourselves back out – the task ahead is enormous, but we know how to do it. To quote Jed Bartlett: “Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we are reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.”
We can do it – we have the people – we have the means. Together we are stronger!
I hope you will join us – we need you!
Brendan O’Brien, organiser, Wise Traditions Ireland conference
Here are some short videos of the key speakers at the Wise Traditions Ireland conference taking place in Thomond Park, Limerick next February.
Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A Price Foundation, on principles of traditional diets.
Sally Fallon Morell, on Raw Milk.
Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
Dr John McKenna, author of “Antibiotics – are they curing us or killing us?”