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My great-grandmother Elma lived to be 91. She was raised on a Minnesota farm, where she participated in all the activities kids did back then on the farm. In the cold. Make that, in the bitter cold. (Clearly the family blood has thinned since then.)

When I knew her, though, she lived in Denver, and each year she would come and spend three weeks with my family in Tennessee. It was always a magical three weeks, as she would stand behind the stove with her walker and make us amazing Swedish food. (Swedish food is not normally amazing, but hers was.) I wish I had stood by her side and watched every movement of her hands as she made us rice pudding.

I have this one vivid memory where Gramma was telling us about what they ate when she was a child and, I kid you not, I said to her, “It’s really surprising that you’ve lived this long without having a heart attack because of all that fat you ate as a kid.”


Clearly, the evidence that she was SITTING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME IN HER LATE 80s was not sufficient to persuade me that the anti-fat crusade of the 1990s might possibly be wrong.

I chuckle at myself for that one now, and hope Gramma knows somehow that butter and lard have a place in my kitchen these days.

But that goes to show you the chokehold that the “low-fat” and conventional nutrition wisdom has. Despite thousands of years of human history where people consumed “saturated fat,” “cholesterol” and “animal products” (THE HORROR!) we as a species have persisted.

But it begs the question, how did this relatively new idea that we need to avoid animal products, eat low or no fat, and deprive ourselves of nourishment gain traction?

That’s exactly the question that Liz Wolfe, NTP explores in her fun, informative and sassy book Eat the Yolks.

As I have done in the past, instead of offering up a full review of this book, I pulled out some particularly impactful quotes that I thought convey Liz’s message well.

It’s a fantastic read, and if you still feel a tug of shame when you smear butter on your sweet potatoes, it’s one you want to read ASAP.

From the Introduction

“From the time we’re young, we place far more faith in so-called authorities than we do in our own common sense. This would make sense if we were talking about brain surgery, but when it comes to eating – a basic, primal act that we are programmed to do, instinctively, from birth – it’s simply outsourcing something that, deep down, we already know how to do.”

p. 12

“I knew how to be ‘on the wagon’ and .. ‘off the wagon,’ but I didn’t know how to live happily and healthfully without all that diet drama. I thought I was supposed to have willpower, but it seemed to fail me every time.”

p. 15

“Turns out, it wasn’t about willpower. It was about eating some emotion-balancing, hunger-regulating, body-nourishing real food, and, above all, learning what junk was – and eliminating it.”

p. 16

“Animals should be raised on their natural diets, in their natural environments, with the freedom to engage in their natural behaviors. … A healthy animal makes healthy food, and this concept is vital to eating and living well.”

p. 19

“Today’s fallible studies on diet and health have distracted us from looking at what else matters when it comes to food: how food works in the body (biology), what we evolved to eat (evolutionary biology), the long-standing record of what humans ate for millennia (anthropology), and, of course, the forgotten science of common sense, which takes into account the history of today’s nutrition dogma and the silly, often shady dealings behind it.”

p. 28

“We’ve lost sight of what we really need to be healthy and happy: real, nutrient-dense food. The kind of food that balances the body and mind. The kind of food that has been nourishing humans for thousands of years. We don’t need more dogma or another diet plan. We need nutrition.

p. 29

Chapter 1, Fat

“That the low-fat dogma had unintended consequences is not at all surprising considering that our bodies need fat to utilize fat-soluble vitamins, which are everything to our health.”

p. 34

“Cholesterol is a lifesaving, health-promoting substance, and it performs incredibly important functions in the body. Every one of our cells needs it at every stage of our lives, whether we’re talking in the diet or in the blood.”

p. 51

“Mother Nature’s no dingbat. She didn’t package the good stuff with the bad stuff so she could watch us struggle for thousands of years until the invention of Egg Beaters.”

p. 52

“Human breast milk is high in cholesterol because babies need plenty of it to develop healthy brains and sharp eyesight. In fact, breast milk even contains a special enzyme ensuring that babies absorb as much cholesterol as possible.”

p. 52

“Your body uses it (cholesterol) to make bile and vitamin D, and it plays a major role in serotonin production and brain function. It’s also a powerful antioxidant.”

p. 54

“Cholesterol is the key player in brain synapse formation, and synapses are the orchestrators of our ability to learn and remember, two faculties that truly enable us to function in the world.”

p. 55

“Animal fats are dense in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2, which are critical to human health. Contrary to popular belief, we do not get these vitamins from plants. … Not to worry though, because plant-eating animals raised in their natural environments use their unique digestive machinery to turn vitamin building blocks into their active, fat-soluble forms, and they store these active forms in their tissue. We get vitamins A, D, and K2 by eating those animals.”

p. 74

“But we’ve been obsessed with calories for so long that we’ve forgotten what’s supposed to come with our calories: nutrients.”

p. 77

Have I given you enough? Hardly! Liz has more amazing quotes which I will share with you in a post tomorrow, because I want you to have plenty of time to “digest” this info.

(I’m so punny.)

One Response to “Still Not Convinced? Then, EAT THE YOLKS! (Part 1)”

  1. on 30 Apr 2014 at 4:30 pmSheri Goff

    Love your story about Grandma Elma. Did you ever know that her real name was Alma? She changed it to Elma because she did not like the way Alma sounded! (Susie and I think Alma is prettier!) When she was in her 80’s she went for an annual physical and then told us all that she and the doctor agreed that she would cut back on having bacon and eggs so many days of the week. We all laughed and told her to eat as much bacon and eggs as she wanted to and to heck with the doctor! As for Swedish food, we experienced the same thing. She and Grandpa would often come to see us in either NY or PA before or after coming to stay with you in TN. Rice pudding was such a treat! My sister makes it from Grandma’s recipe. Not sure why I don’t ever make it. I am currently helping our grandson, Cameron, with a 5th grade “heritage” product about his Swedish heritage. He chose Swedish so he can give his classmates Swedish fish! I offered to make a crock pot of Swedish meatballs for him to serve also. (Grandma’s recipe) I am going to have him make a menu of our Christmas Eve dinner we had every year and explain what the foods are. I have some Swedish linens and other things for him to show plus some kids’ books about Sweden.

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