How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Meet Elizabeth Walling of The Nourished Life
This week I’m introducing you to a lovely lady who’s devoted herself to food and healthy, natural living. Elizabeth Walling, of The Nourished Life is a food blogger, mommy, and traditional foods advocate blogging her way to better health and real food awareness. And I love her story; it goes like this:
My name is Elizabeth Walling, and I have a passion for finding nourishment in life through food. I believe healthy, nourishing meals are a missing link today – without nourishment our bodies and minds can’t function at their best. It can be really hard to find meaning in life and become who you want to be without nourishment from real food. I know this from personal experience.
Like many people, my journey to health began with the best of intentions, but I was on the wrong path: a path filled with vegetable oils, tofu and skim milk. A path which I discovered to be strewn with misery, self-doubt and anger.
But this all began to change in 2008 when I discovered eating more natural fats is actually healthy. Then I found Nourishing Traditions and a whole new world of nutrition: one that includes butter and raw milk, local meat and eggs, kefir and sauerkraut. And I realized this path was different. It was a path filled with satiation and contentment, joy and laughter. I’d had no idea real food could literally bring a smile to my face.
So I’ve asked Elizabeth some questions this week, in hopes we can learn from her, expand our food knowledge, and determine what plan is best for us. Here’s what she said:
Q: Your blog is called The Nourished Life. What does this mean exactly and what is your perspective on food?
A: When I first read Nourishing Traditions, the title really drew me in and made me want to start taking care of myself. I wanted to bring that feeling into my blog. And for me, living a nourished life has a lot to do with real, traditional foods, but it also means living in a way that is fulfilling to you. I also use the term “journeyÃ¢â‚¬ a lot on my blog, because I want to make sure people realize healthy living isn’t something you learn overnight. It’s those small changes which add up over time that make the real difference.
Q: How long have you been interested in food and The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF)? How did you become interested in them?
A: I heard about Nourishing Traditions around the time my son was born about four years ago. My mom gave me a copy of Diana Schwarzbein’s book about the same time. Unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to either of these great books for another two years, when my mental and physical health were going downhill and I wanted some answers. I was already interested in eating healthy, but at the time I had bought into conventional ideas (you know, like don’t even think about touching eggs or real butter). I went to Schwarzbein first, and a few months later got a copy of Nourishing Traditions. I was just floored and fascinated by the wealth of information in that “cookbook” and that’s when I really began my real food journey.
Q: Do you think food is directly related to health?
A: Without a doubt. I’m living proof: I am a totally different person on real food. Before, when my diet was full of vegetable oil spreads and tofu, I was a mere shadow of myself. I didn’t have a clear idea of who I was or where I was going. Life had kind of lost its luster, and when you’re in your early twenties that’s not a good sign! Food may not solve everything, but I truly believe it is the foundation of successful living.
Q: Do you think we face negative consequences when we put poor quality foods in our bodies?
A: Yes, probably more than most people think. Food used to be considered medicine. Now we just use conventional medicine like prescription drugs to mask the problems caused by a faulty diet. I can’t imagine how many health problems could be solved if more people ate real food!
Q: Do you have any personal experience with good food and better health?
A: Oh, yes. Dieting, over-exercising and stress gave me plenty of health problems. I had digestive issues, acne, embarrassing mood swings, trouble sleeping, feelings of hopelessness and anxiety (to name a few). All of these problems have significantly improved since I’ve started eating more traditional foods.
Q: Among other things, you believe in fermented foods and their health benefits. Do you have any tips or recipes to share with us?
A: For one thing, only do what you can handle at any given time. It’s so easy to jump in head first and burn out. The sauerkraut recipe in Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat is very easy and great for beginners. It was my first fermented food recipe. All you need is shredded cabbage, sea salt and whey. Then my mom came up with a great idea to add some whey to store-bought organic ketchup and let it sit in the pantry for a couple days. Viola! Easy fermented ketchup that the kids actually like.
Q: Do you find that it’s hard to eat healthy while being busy with work, and family, and life? How do you manage?
A: I think finding a balance between all those things isn’t easy for anyone. Honestly, I’ve managed by making my life very simple. I don’t do a lot of extracurricular activities. We spend a lot of time at home, a lot of time together as a family. I also try to keep meals fairly simple, and I let the kids get their own snacks like leftovers, fruit, nuts or cheese so I’m not constantly preparing food. Doing traditional foods does take up extra time, so I try to focus on just a few areas instead of trying to do everything. For instance, I do make homemade raw milk yogurt (in the easiest way humanly possible for me) and I do a lot of bone broth. Those are doable for me.
Q: Do you have any tips for eating healthy when eating out?
A: That’s a tough one. It’s hard to eat out in a healthy way, so what we do is eat out occasionally and don’t worry too much about it. But I know for many people eating out is a way of life, so in that case it’s good to pick a higher-end restaurant that might actually use genuine ingredients. Otherwise, try to avoid the fried stuff. Those vegetable oils are not your friend.
Q: What’s your favorite food blog?
A: Gosh, it’s not easy to chooseÃ¢â‚¬”I follow a lot of blogs. I devoured Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Cheeseslave when I first discovered real food bloggers. There’s also a great blog called 180 Degree Health that is entirely unorthodox but inspiring nonetheless, and the comments are as entertaining as the posts.
Q: What’s your (food) guilty pleasure?
A: Mainly chocolate and rich desserts. I can really go for chocolate ice cream sometimes (Haagen Dazs is my favorite) . And then my other weakness is Italian food. Whether it’s pizza or fettuccine alfredo, I can really drool over that stuff. So I indulge occasionally and don’t let myself feel guilty about it. Life’s too short to give up everything!
Were you familiar with “traditional foods”, Weston A. Price, or Nourishing Traditions before reading Elizabeth’s story? If so, what has your experience with them been?, Do you feel better when eating traditional/real foods?, Or, if this is your first exposure, do you think you’ll read more?
Until Next Week,
Tags: dietary changes, Elizabeth Walling, healthy eating tips, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Liz Schau thyroid nutrition writer, Nourishing Traditions, The Weston Price Foundation, thyroid nutrition column, thyroid nutrition tips, thyroid nutritional resources, weight loss tips