Jonathan: Hey, everyone! Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. Very, very excited about today’s show because we just have a wonderful, down-to-earth, insightful farmer’s daughter, food writer, farmers’ market entrepreneur, local foodist, an advocate for traditional foods. We have none other than Nina Planck with us. Nina, welcome to the show.
Nina: Thank you so much, Jonathan. It’s a pleasure.
Jonathan: Well, Nina, you have such a fascinating story, and I have such an affinity for your work as it focuses on real foods and traditional foods and starting with food, so can we just start from the very beginning? How did you come to live out this passion?
Nina: You know the luckiest thing in my life has been that almost everything I cared about became cool. I was country before it was cool. I was a farmer’s daughter before it was cool. I stood on the black top (??) at farmers’ markets before it was cool. My parents were celebrity farmers before it was cool to be celebrity farmers.
Jonathan: Basically, you’re a trendsetter. We should look to you to be like what’s the next hot, cool topic.
Nina: Well, I’ll tell you one. Ten years ago, I thought we should banish this word ‘community supportive agriculture’ because it sounds like the WPA or the TVA or a government program, and no one understands what it means and call it ‘farm shares’, as in stocks and shares, and I have a share in the farm, and I noticed that the term ‘the full plate farm share’ has come up. There’s another one. I think that I ought to be able to buy credits at the farmers’ market.
Give someone at the farmers’ market five hundred bucks in March and then just spend them down. Of course, I get some kind of discount for volume, but at the end of the year, if on October 31st I hadn’t spent them all, I would donate them to the farm, so what I do is go around and without being asked offer all my little ideas to people in farming and food retail, and some of them stick.
Jonathan: Well, I love it. Well, you certainly have a lot of wonderful suggestions, and your work has been published in The Farmers’ Market Cookbook which is being rereleased here, which is very exciting, as well as Real Food: What to Eat and Why and Real Food for Mother and Baby, so what is it about — obviously, I have my ideas, but what is it about real food that is so appealing to you and that you think is so important for us to get back to?
Nina: Well, here’s what I like about real food. I was raised on real food and then ventured away into a vegan, vegetarian and low-fat wildernesses which proved very unhealthy for me. I was plump. I was grumpy. I was not well. Once a month, I sprained my ankles. I struggled with my moods and my weights and when I restored my diet to what I now call ‘moderate omnivory’, all those health problems and others which I did not know were health problems disappeared, so I had a happy personal story with resuming my diet to real food, and then I began to look into it. What I read about real food indicated quite clearly to me that it was not real food which had been making us fat and sick and depressed and giving us obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but it was in fact industrial foods.
Modern, processed industrial foods whose processing has reduced their nutrition and their flavor, not the other way around, so I came to a definition of real food which I want to share. It is not a scientific definition. It is more a logical and a conceptional one, and it is this: Real food is number one old. It has been eaten by humans for a long time. Perhaps ten thousand years in the case of dairy foods. Longer in the case of meat and fish and produce, more like the low millions.
I do not want to engage in a detailed paleolithic debate. It’s of academic interest, but I don’t think it’s of particularly keen nutritional interest to know exactly when we first cracked open bones and ate marrow and exactly when we first ate a certain leaf. We do know that we’ve been farming about ten thousand years and so grains and beans and that kind of thing are relatively recent still. I consider them old enough for my purposes.
The second is that real food has been raised, produced, grown, farmed, cooked, treated, processed, prepared in more or less the traditional fashion. Now, here is again, a loose and not a scientific definition, but by this standard we see that real milk is raw, untreated, comes from grass-fed cows. Less real milk is skimmed milk powder from cows which have never gone outside and which has been sprayed, dried, defatted and reconstituted with water in your local dairy plant.
Jonathan: Yum! Sounds delicious.
Nina: Then we can apply a certain standard of production and then cooking and processing to all the real foods, and there’s some things we’ve done a long time. We’ve been canning food a long time. We’ve been freezing food a long time. I include canned and frozen foods, but one thing you must remember about processing and cooking is that the processing and cooking you do to a food should enhance its nutritional value and its flavors.
For example, when you shred a carrot and ferment it gently in a brine and create a wonderful pickle with the probiotics and the enzymes that come in properly pickled foods, you have extended the shelf life of that carrot wonderfully into the winter season, and you have enhanced its nutrition and its flavor, and we can say the same about how we raise animals or hunt fish and deer, what we feed chickens. You can say the same about not washing eggs because there’s a wonderful protective film on them that will keep them very, very fresh for six or eight or even 13 weeks in your fridge. Any farm girl knows this.
We can apply the standard of production and processing to any food, and I’m happy to talk about it in details, and then finally, there’s a long list of real foods. All of them are good for you to eat. Whether your great grandmother was Polish or Italian or Czech or from Zimbabwe, what you are to eat is any foods from the long list of real and traditional foods, and avoid like the proverbial plague the industrial foods which mostly are industrial fats and oils, corn, canola, soybean oils, man-made fats such as trans fats, which as you listeners know are artificially hydrogenated liquid oils made solid so that it will resemble butter and lard and refined sugar in all its forms.
Now, I do find sugar the trickiest one. I love sweets myself. I just make that a minimalist part of my diet, but I do still eat honey, maple syrup, which are wonderful sweeteners, and the demon white sugar itself, although increasingly I buy whole unrefined cane sugar, so though it’s absolutely a sweetener and can definitely make you fat, diabetic and depressed, it’s a more whole version than the refined stuff.
Jonathan: Nina, so much of what you say rings of just clear and unambiguous truth. The closer something is to that which is found in nature is good. The longer it’s been in our diet, it’s good. If it’s nutrient-dense and whole, it’s good. If it’s new and if it’s man-made and if it’s synthetic and manipulated in some way, it’s bad. These things all seem to be very, very true. They seem to be intuitively true as well as scientifically true, but there is another part of your story that really piqued my interest and that’s it seems in the national dialogue, all those things that you just talked about, it’s like everyone can agree on those, and those are good. At least the vast majority of people can agree on those, but we still hear so much —
and it sounds like you went down this path for a while, so this why I’m curious about your perspective on it about — let’s not focus on all those wonderful distinctions you’ve made, let’s focus on whether it’s a plant or whether it’s an animal. And let’s say that vegetarianism or veganism is healthy and good, and that animals are bad, which is obviously not true, but why do you think that takes so much of the let’s say mainstream attention? That distinction versus the distinctions you made.
Nina: It’s really unfortunate this cul-de-sac nutritional research has found itself in. We hear good things and have now for decades about the so-called Mediterranean diet. What is the Mediterranean diet? Well, the one that’s presented to us is a diet largely of fish, legumes, vegetables and olive oil and a touch of red wine, and I have no doubt that that’s a healthy way to live, but are we not perhaps ignoring staples of the vegetarian diet? Are not salami and other pork products common in France, in Spain, in Italy? Is there not goat and lamb all over the Mediterranean? Are they not the source of, for example, feta cheese, Bulgarian feta cheese? Anyone ever heard of it? How do we know how low-fat it was and for whom?
When you read a study which says ‘eat more plants’ or a diet which says ‘eat mostly plants’ or they say ‘eat a traditional Mediterranean diet and not a Western diet’, don’t you find that there’s some simple logical problems with this argument? For example, in every other field we have been in the term Western as basically inaccurate. Is a Polish diet a Western diet? No, what we’re referring to is industrial foods, modern foods, foods which have had their nutrition stripped, foods which are no longer fresh, they’re stale, they’re shipped, and then we are referring to, or should be in this field, to multiple traditional diets all over the world from the southernmost tip of Africa to the northernmost Arctic locations and not east or west but circumnavigating the round globe we live on.
I find the discussion about eating more plants and fewer animal foods to be light on logic. Can we see that people who have eaten heavily processed, low-quality animal foods are unhealthy? Yes, we can, but the studies we need should compare any whole foods traditional diet from any place in the world including moderate omnivory because that has got to be the standard for eating, I think, against the industrial diet which as we know is global.
Jonathan: That seems to be the key distinction there, Nina, is there’s this conflation with processed, low-quality animal products are obviously bad for you, but it’s not because they’re from animals. It’s because they’re processed and low quality. A Snickers bar is plant-based, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you, because it’s processed and low quality. It’s industrial. It seems if we look at the various ends of the spectrum of nutritional advocacy or at least internet nutritional advocacy, you’ve got your vegetarians and your vegans yelling at your Paleo, primal individuals.
One end of the spectrum is characterized by focusing more on animal foods, traditional animal foods, but they also embrace traditional plants very much so, Paleo and primal. Then you have the other end of the spectrum which focuses on plant-based foods but oftentimes, again, I don’t think anyone like a T. Colin Campbell or a Joel Fuhrman or an Esselstyn would recommend doing this, but in practice, I have the unfortunate experience of eighty percent of the vegetarians or vegans I’ve ever met are more aptly characterized as what Joel Fuhrman would call a ‘junkatarian’.
Their diet is primarily starch and sweet because it is plant-based, but it’s industrialized so again, why are we distracting progress in this arena by comparing plants against animals when the distinction of industrialized versus non-industrialized, like you said, is so much more fruitful and so much more commonsensical and so much more proven?
Nina: Exactly, I think we should focus on the quality of the food and the quantity of the food, but by the way, in my liberation theology because I believe I am in the business of liberating people from their food hangups, I want to liberate people away from quantities, too. I don’t believe there’s ever any need for any grown up in an ordinary situation — not medical or training or some kind of specialized situation — pregnancy is a minor exception — to count calories, count grams of protein, count micrograms of folic acid. We really need to move away from our numbers mentality around food as well and to embrace less formal definitions of quality and quantity, and in quantity, I would say enough and in quality, I would say aim in the direction of the more traditional foods and get as high and as close as you can.
Since becoming a wife and mother of three small children six and under, I have made many more compromises on food than I did when I had exquisite freedom of being a single woman who worked for herself and wrote books around food, so I make lots of compromises, and I favor those for time, money and convenience but also because the compromises do mean that I do other things. I deepen friendships or read a novel or spend more time with my children, so in some ways, I’m spending less time foraging and cooking than I did before, and I speak as someone who’s just finished a cookbook. There’s plenty of cooking at home. I find it funny that number one, we’re in this cul-de-sac of plant versus animal. Humans are clearly omnivores.
There is no justification for an intergenerational vegan human society. I’m afraid there’s no history of it, and there are times of very high nutritional demands, and they are chiefly concerned with reproduction. While I don’t advise a vegan diet for any child or teen or adult or grownup or senior, I respect it for adults. I do not think it’s advisable for men and women who would like to conceive, for pregnant women, or for children and teens. Their nutritional requirements are just too demanding, and there’s no single human society that subsists solely on plants and reproduces over multiple generations without the addition of synthetic supplements.
Jonathan: I think that really hits the nail on the head when you said synthetic supplements, and it reminded me of a brilliant quote from Dr. Cordain, who is — I’m going to butcher it here — but it’s something along the lines of any diet or lifestyle that requires supplementation is by definition not the way we are supposed to eat, because supplementation was not an option until recently, but again, I don’t mean to belabor this point, but you’re a very insightful woman, so I’m curious…
Nina: I don’t want to pick on the vegans, either, because let me just say that the polarity in food and nutrition advice at the moment is mad, by which I mean crazy psychotic. Every extreme diet is nuts in its own way, and I am perhaps closest to — I don’t favor a vegan diet. I don’t eat Paleo. I’m perhaps closest to the Weston Price folks, but I have my differences with them, and I think perhaps we need to take the theology out of eating. I believe that it has connections to agriculture and thus the human spirit and the great earth and sky, so I’m not an unspiritual person, but I think the theology in terms of correctness around human diet at the moment is unhelpful.
Jonathan: Fascinating. Are you saying that you believe it is really a conflation of a moralistic argument with one of efficacy and scientific validity?
Nina: Well, yes. It’s the commandments of each extreme diet group that seemed to me dangerous. That only raw milk is good enough. My family drinks lots of what my children call ‘cooked milk’. “Mommy, can we have cooked milk from the cartons?” The conflation lest (??) superiority. We all know that there is ethics in food, but I think a kind of theocracy is built up around each of the extreme diets, and in this way the moderates are the more sensible people than the extremist. There’s just no way around it. Then there are people who I think are just straddling terrible contradictions.
Mark Bittman, whose columns in the Times I loved for many years, The Minimalist, wrote for the adventurous home cook, and now he’s vegan before six. This reminds me, if I may, of the eating disorders I had when I was an anorexic and a compulsive eater. This sounds to me like not moderate omnivory and not flexitarian but actually a strategy to prevent oneself from eating too much bad food. I don’t think that vegan before six is the answer.
The answer a lightness around food so that you eat moderately and omnivorously and to please your person, your palate, your physique, your culture, your family, to please all of these things, but not really to please them all at once because they can’t be pleased all at once, but certainly not to please some theocracy who’s telling you that there’s only one right way to eat.
Jonathan: Amen to that. The idea that there is one right way, even if we look across cultures currently, ancestrally, there is obviously a diversity of traditional, natural nutrient-dense plants and animals that can enable an optimal human experience. One thing you said, Nina, that I want to drill into is you mention that there’s, of course, there’s the extremes in either end of the spectrum, and then you have moderates, and then you mentioned a fourth category which I actually think represents let’s say ninety-plus percent of the population, which are the confused. The what’s going on, all I hear is conflicting.
I hear egg yolks are going to kill me, and then I hear egg yolks are the healthiest thing in the world for me, so I’m just going to say it’s too confusing. What does Coca-Cola have to say? I’m not going to consciously say “What does Coca-Cola have to say?”, but as I’m driving on the road and I see that billboard that says “Hey, it’s only a 140 calories.” I think to myself, “Well, all those other people are confusing, and these brilliant multi-billion dollar marketing departments seem to have a lot of flashy, shiny graphics that appeal to me on an animalistic level, so I’m just going to count my calories and ensure that I stay at 1400 calories of processed junk per day.” What do you say to those people?
Nina: Oh, Jonathan, you really hit on it here. I was at a book party not long ago. It’s a supper club, and there were artists and journalists and playwrights and a sophisticated mix of New York types. I always get a kick out of being at these parties. I always feel somehow like I’m an interloper. I was having a fine time, and I realized that in the whole discussion, there was no consciousness whatsoever about food, and I felt what a relief because the audiences I see and my colleagues in the food scene, whether it’s nutritional farming or locavore or mother and child, are so much talking to themselves and each other, and it is much more fun to be in a room full of sinners than to be in a room full of saints. I find my best conservations are with people who are confused or just starting out or trying what I call ‘gateway foods’ to real food. Pregnancy will do it.
A lot of women come to care about what they put into their mouths when they get pregnant which I think is just a terrific moment of ethics and responsibility for humankind. They will start often with organic milk rather than industrial milk. I think that’s a great change. Another wonderful gateway food to real food is whole milk and full fat. Why is there not a Greek yogurt which is strained but is made with whole yogurts so could have that same density, the lack of whey and liquidity, the wonderful creaminess, but the Greek yogurts don’t taste like anything, because fat is a vehicle for flavor, so the whole food, not the partial food, another great gateway food.
Then I do ask people just to look around for white sugar, corn oil and white flour, and if they can begin to reduce white sugar, corn oil and old grain and seed oils, corn, canola, soy, safflower and white flour and white sugar, they are absolutely on the road to better health. If we can only agree on these demons — forgive me, I shouldn’t use the term demon. If we could only agree on the large junk food elephants in the room, we could help so many of the confused and the sinning. There I go again with the sinners.
Jonathan: No, I agree completely. When we can find a common enemy, can’t we just unite and talk about that, and then once we’ve taken those steps, let the individuals who want to branch off and do their own thing, that’s fine, but when we have a population where we have forty million overweight children under the age of five around the world, when the total population of the world about a hundred years ago was about the same as the total population of just overweight individuals today, it seems we’re a little bit better served focusing on those very clearly agreed upon across all non-corporate funded dietary strategies, but it seems that we don’t.
Nina, one thing I wanted your thoughts on obviously due to your wonderful work in the book Real Food for Mother and Baby. As you mentioned that pregnancy oftentimes serves as a consciousness raiser in terms of food quality, but it seems there might be a little bit counter to that happening now what with some of the celebrities gaining seventy, ninety pounds, almost laughing as they put junk into their body because they’re pregnant. What are your thoughts on that when you see things like that?
Nina: Well, yes, pregnancy is a funny one. There is on the one hand the attitude. You’ll have crazy cravings. Your baby father will have to run out at midnight for pickles and salty caramel ice cream. A calorie is a calorie. Your body is very good at the getting calories out of food. Eat whatever you want, it’s only nine months. Then on the other, a puritanical, nun-like abstention from everything. I have met women who are so anxious about what they eat when they are pregnant. Not only absolutely will they not have a glass of wine in 40 weeks, but if they so much as spy a trans fat in some kind of energy bar, they go into paroxysms of guilt.
Once again, unhealthy extremes. There will be some trans fats even in my bloodstream and fat as we speak, although I have stopped eating them now for probably ten or fifteen years. There will be some. You cannot be completely pure, and this is where the term orthorexia really comes in. I also call it sometimes anorexia nervosa, our national eating disorder, the American eating disorder. The anorexia nervosa is this terrible nervous anxiety about what we eat and yet, no pleasure in the food we eat and yet, we eat garbage.
It’s a terrible psychophysical condition, and the French have it less than we have. The wonderful work of Paul Rozin has demonstrated that, R-O-Z-I-N, if you want to look, and then orthorexia really just refers to an obsession with correctness on food, and it cannot be healthy. To be in any of these extremes such as “I’m pregnant, no rules apply to me” or “I’m pregnant, I must be angelic and saint-like.” It doesn’t make sense. It’s not healthy. They all need to be in treatment programs.
Jonathan: Well, Nina, what are your thoughts on the seeming dichotomy? Certainly, there is a consciousness across the culture of eating while one’s pregnant. In fact, I think we could argue if there’s one segment of the population who has pressures placed upon them more than any other segment, it’s pregnant women. That is because we know obviously the impact of what the mother eats affects the baby while in utero. There is this paradox, though, that as soon as the baby is brought into the world, they are greeted with children’s menus, and children’s menus in many ways are characterized by junk.
When you think about what makes a children’s food a children’s food in our culture? It is a food that is saturated with the unequivocally bad industrial foods we talked about earlier, the industrial oils, the processed sweeteners, the refined starches, so how do we, as a culture, have this paradox where we understand that from zero to nine months, these types of foods are not to be given to a child indirectly, but from nine months and beyond, they are to be given to children directly.
Nina: Exactly, the diet for the young child must be in line with the diet for the adult and the teen. The reason you will not see Real Food for Toddlers by Nina Planck, Real Food for Elementary School Children by Nina Planck, Real Food for Teens by Nina Planck, is that from zero to two, there are a few special considerations. Mother, father, caregiver, parent, adopted person, whoever is caring for a child, might begin to feed a child at five, six, seven, eight, nine months and we could discuss those ranges, too. They’re legitimate reasons that five months and at nine months, and might start with the foods that are deemed acceptable for children. Pureed, cooked vegetables. This is so terribly limiting for the young child. Limiting in spice, variety, macronutrients, flavor, certain fats, texture, and then the child becomes a famous picky-eater.
From age one to five, the child is now known as a picky-eater. If you can believe it, in the pediatric medical literature, a technical term is conditioned. It’s called physiological anorexia. Now this refers to the fact that between one and five, children eat a little less, and they’re not quite as omnivorous as their one-year-old self was. Here are the symptoms, and this is from Barton Schmitt of Your Child’s Health: It seems that your child doesn’t eat enough. Your child’s energy level remains normal. Your child is growing normally. Your child is between one and five years old. This is called the Appetite Slump in toddlers.
My point about this is that there is a pathology for the natural developmental appetite slump in toddlers. In social terms, it’s called the ‘picky eater,’ and in medical terms it’s called ‘physiological anorexia,’ even though the children are in fact healthy and developing well, and so what we deliver to them is a series of chicken nuggets and the same yellow cheese in slices. We do all these things to pander to a normal period. What we should really do is feed them some mostly omnivorous real food from zero to two, and then from age two to ninety, they should be eating what everybody else eats.
Jonathan: Nina, why do we think, at least in your experience, that a small person is wholly different in terms of their nutritional needs than a large person?
Nina: Right, what a good question. There are some good reasons that a small person has different nutrition. A small person really needs full fats and high-quality proteins, because a small person is both developing and growing, and there’s a distinction in all creatures between development and growth. Growth is just poundage, pretty much, and development means that things are really maturing, developing, changing, evolving, so for example, we used to think that if we delay the exposure to certain allergens for babies eating their first real food — whether they’re on formula or breast milk before doesn’t matter — that we might reduce their future allergies of eczema and other conditions that have to do with the irritations to foods.
This turns out not to be true. It turns out that the sooner you expose them to citrus, fish, milk, peanuts and eggs, the less likely they are to have allergies, and there are very good large, long-term follow-up European studies to corraborate this now, so what do we learn from that? Well, one thing we know is that the immune system and the gut system, the digestive system, are really two related systems, and they’re very, very closely related in terms of how they function and how they take care of you.
I would really include the skin there, which is not quite a digestive system, but is a big part of excretion and is a big part of immunity, so gut, skin, immunity, these systems are undeveloped when you’re born. They are developed further by breastfeeding, ideally, and they are developed further by exposure to cats, dogs, horses, dirt, microbes, plants, the air, pollen, and to foods, so these systems want exposure. They do not want the opposite, so in that sense, a two-year-old is different from you and me.
Jonathan: Certainly, Nina. The key, though, that I think is lost on so many people is that while there — in some ways, it’s actually backwards, right? There’s this assumption that because I’m small and I’m growing, I can tolerate foods that I would not tolerate when I’m older. The perfect example is cereals. When we go down the cereal aisle, the children’s cereals are the cereals that are saturated with, dare I say, poisons.
I can’t think of a more conspicuous example than the cereal aisle, right? You’ve got your fiber cereal, which is probably not that good for you anyway, marketed towards adults, and then you have the cereal saturated with garbage for children who are actually even more sensitive and should be more protected from these types of substances. Isn’t that right?
Nina: Right, you raise a good point. First, we could just speak of the fact that these cereals are stale and many of them are loaded with sugar, so that’s not good. A bowl of oatmeal soaked overnight with a little whey and cooked properly is a better grain for your children, but we might also note that at birth, you don’t have a lot of the big, starch-busting enzymes. There’s a reason carbohydrates are called simple or complex. The complex ones have to be broken down. They’re long chains of carbohydrates. They require quite a lot of digestion. A ruminant cow takes four stomachs and cud chewing to break down the carbohydrates in grass. We’re not fit to eat grass. Lettuce, yes; but grass alone, no.
The same is true with other complex carbohydrates. We need big, starch-digesting enzymes such as amylase to digest starches, and they aren’t really fully into gear until the child is about age one, so that’s why cereal and grains are not ideal first foods for babies, and here you can look with dismay and pain back at the child baby food industry and have a look to see that really putting the starches and grains in a can was a lot easier for them than putting lamb stew and other good things. Baby food has come a long way, because now there are baby foods with other flavors. There are meats and peas. Nevertheless, I don’t advise anyone to buy baby foods of any kind. I advise you to make a little plate and put some real foods on it and let your eight-month-old go at it.
Jonathan: Certainly that is what they will experience for the next ninety years of their lives, so seems to make sense to get some practice early on.
Nina: Right, and they will be omnivores (??). All my children loved salmon roe and that was great, and one by one, they all stopped eating salmon roe, but I don’t despair as long as they get their total nutrients. I’m not going to worry about it. Speaking of anxiety and correctness, there are mothers, fathers and nannies who are in similar dire straits with their obsession with how they feed their children. We can take the pressure off a little bit there. We can tell them what the real junk is and what the good foods are and tell them to relax a bit.
Jonathan: I love it. Well, Nina, this has just been so insightful. I feel like we’re kindred spirits here and could talk and talk for hours but sadly, Skype will not allow that. Actually it will, but I don’t think your schedule will, so I want to let the folks know that if you’ve enjoyed this conversation, which I know you have, please do check out Nina’s wonderful work. There’s three books available.
You’ve got her brand new rerelease of the Farmers’ Market Cookbook. You’ve got Real Food: What to Eat and Why, and then Real Food for Mother and Baby, and of course, you can learn all about that as well as Nina’s awesome story at NinaPlanck and that’s P-L-A-N-K.com. She’s really active on Facebook, so that’s a lot of fun. Nina, thank you so much for sharing your time and insights with us today. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nina: Jonathan, thank you so much for having me, and it’s NinaPlanck.com with a P-L-A-N-C-K like Max Planck. No relation.
Jonathan: Oh, sorry. Yes, I’m looking directly at it, and that was a omission. Yeah, P-L-A-N-C-K. Sorry about that.
Nina: I just want to say to your listeners that I have an active conversation on Facebook, and I very much welcome your public questions. I’m afraid I can’t answer private ones, but if you want to post them, I will answer them for everyone.
Jonathan: I love it. Well, Nina, thank you again for sharing your time and insights with us. Please have a wonderful week. Listeners, please remember, this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Talk with you soon.
This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Nina kaufelt. In her own words:
“Nina was born at home in Buffalo, New York in 1971. She was raised on the family farm in Virginia and fed on simple real foods like raw milk from the family cow and a lot of vegetables. At age 9, Nina sold produce at roadside stands. Business was slow. In 1980, the first proper farmers’ markets opened nearby, and from then on, the Plancks made a living—and sent two kids to college—by selling at farmers’ markets.
Nina left farming to work on Capitol Hill, report for TIME Magazine, and write speeches for the U.S. ambassador to London, but local food was ever on her mind. In 1999, she opened the first farmers’ markets in London and today her company, London Farmers’ Markets, runs 18 year-round markets.
Tempted by England’s finest producers of roast beef and raw milk cheddar, Nina wondered about the advice most Americans get about diet. After some dutiful, dull, and unhealthy years in the vegan, vegetarian, and non-fat wilderness, she came back to real food. Nina explains it all in her acclaimed Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Nina’s vigorous defense of traditional foods opened tasty doors for eaters who’d had enough of low-fat and imitation foods.
In Real Food for Mother and Baby, Nina takes up traditional diets for mother, father, and child. She dismantles common misconceptions and fears about prenatal and weaning foods in typically direct style.
Nina lives in Greenwich Village and Stockton, New Jersey with cheesemonger Rob Kaufelt, owner of Murray’s Cheese. They have three children: Julian (born in 2006) and Jacob and Rose (born in 2009). Nina had VBAC twins at 38.5 weeks at age 38. (It can be done.) Rob and Nina were recently married at home in Stockton.
One personal note for parents in NYC – and everywhere people are looking for a different and better nursery school. The Kaufelt children attend a serene, green, real-food, child-oriented, like-no-other nursery school in the East Village. Learn more about New Amsterdam, the only Waldorf school in downtown Manhattan, at www.NewAmsterdamChildhood.org.”