Good Food & Nutrition

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The information in this section is often shocking to people who have been used to the messages coming from the alternative & environmental movements for many decades.

We have an abundance of food 'products' in the over-developed countries but most of it lacks nutritional value, as well as taste.      & it isn't just industrial food that is nutritionally deficient but also the soil we're left with AND the kinds of dietary choices we make.

It seems that (as with many other 'discoveries' in permaculture), Nature really had it all very well designed, for ALL (species) concerned, and most of our problems are due to us labouring under a few quite misleading assumptions.

"What would it be like, I wonder, if we all ate only vegetables?”

“We’d break the land and the wild animals would have nowhere to live.”

- Steven Erikson

Elaine Ingham, nutrition in food

It is now undisputed that healthier soils result in more nutritious crops for all of us, and that the 'green revolution' (based on large-scale, chemical fertilizers & pesticides) may have increased quantity, but at the cost of decreasing the nutritional quality of food dramatically.

Lierre Keith on Vegetarianism

Peak Moment 191: What we eat is destroying both our bodies and the planet, according to author Lierre Keith, a recovering twenty-year vegan. While she passionately opposes factory farming of animals, she maintains that humans require nutrient-dense animal foods for good health. A grain-based diet is the basis for degenerative diseases we take for granted (diabetes, cancer, heart disease) - diseases of civilization.  Annual grain production is destroying topsoil and creating deserts on a planetary scale.  Lierre urges the restoration of perennial polycultures for longterm sustainability.

From Observing History in this wiki:

TL: I hear a lot of talk about sustainable agriculture. In your view, is there any kind of agriculture that is sustainable?

LK: No, and I'm going to quote both Toby Hemenway, the permaculture guy, and Richard Manning, who is a wonderful scholar of prairies.  Both use the same sentence, which is: Sustainable agriculture is an oxymoron.

TL: So then we would be going back to a hunting/gathering system for food?

LK: You could have hunter/gatherer, you can have horticulturism, you could have pastoralism. In some way those are all variations on a theme. It's based on perennial polycultures. But the moment that you clear away those biotic communities, you destroy those perennial plants. Then, you are talking about agriculture, and that is inherently destructive.

DJ: The important thing to remember through all of this is that the land is primary. Indigenous people in California and certainly elsewhere have changed their landscape, but they did so with the recognition that they're going to be in that place for the next 500 years. If you are planning on living in place for the next 500 years, you're going to make radical land-use decisions. I can't imagine anyone who would plan on living in place for 500 years who would allow mountaintop removal or agriculture, for that matter, or who would allow rivers to be poisoned or dammed. We have to recognize that life is based on the land and that one can't allow the land to be destroyed, because if the land is destroyed, then you're destroyed.

How Grassfed Beef Will Save the World

Lecture by Chris Kerston, partner at Chaffin Orchards, gives his talk at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference 2012 in Santa Clara. See Links Below...

First 24 minutes - Introduction to Chaffin Family Orchards and how the farm integrates livestock into their old growth olive, stonefruit, and citrus orchards. Their operation is a 2,000 acre permaculture based farm in northern California. The sheep and cows graze and do all the mowing, the goats eat the invasive weeds, and the chickens eat the bugs and fertilize. The farm uses 85% less fuel than it used to. 

24:45 - How Grassfed Beef Saves the World
Compare and Contrast Grass-fed vs. Feedlot CAFO system. See how grazing has the power to sequester carbon, inject organic matter into the soil, and increase water holding capacity and fertility. See the value of being predator friendly and how to use electric fences to mimic predation pressure.

The Meatrix - 
Savory Institure -
Dan Dagget - 
Alan Savory -

1:01:20 Why Eat Grassfed Beef 
Nutritional benefits
Food safety - E Coli O157:H7
Cooking Grass-fed Beef
Dry Aged Beef

1:07:20 - The Cavalry is Coming 

1:10:00 Question & Answer

Eating Our Way To A Healthy Planet 

with Allan Savory

See more Allan Savory

Dr Weston A. Price's Research

Nourishing Traditional Diets

Learn from nutrition expert Sally Fallon about the pioneering work of Dr. Weston Price; the vital role of animal fats in human nutrition; the dangers of modern vegetable oils; the safety and health benefits of raw milk; the dark side of modern soy foods; and practical steps to change your diet for the better.

These are extracts from a longer DVD, "NOURISHING TRADITIONAL DIETS, The Key to Vibrant Health" - Over Five Hours of Life-Changing Information on Diet and Health Based on the Best-Selling Cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.

Dr Price's seminal work is Nutrition and Physical Degeneration 
- A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects, see attached as a pdf

On the Anatomy of Thrift

A beautifully filmed & presented series of documentaries about a young couple dedicated to re-skilling communities in the ancient art of meat-smithery: raising, killing & butchering our own animals with much love & care, & making the very best traditional use of all of the parts of the animal, whilst creating delicious nutritious food for the homestead.

You can see the series here.

Read article here

Dan Barber

How Nature actually designed things for for us ALL (all species) to have optimal diets + optimal environments + wonderfully tasting food ...  (if only we understood Nature better) is beautifully illustrated in these two other examples from Dan Barber's wonderful lectures:

Both outstanding examples of brilliant holistic design we give in other parts of the course.

Dan Barber is a famous chef who is very passionate about food.   
Good tasting food is directly related to nutrient content, so this isn't just about pleasure, but whole-system health. 

How Food Impacts Our Mood

It is predicted that by 2020, the leading cause of death in the US will be from depression.

A huge amount of people lead miserable lives in the opulent west ... and here we consider that it might all principally be related to modern diet, and how we're being told precisely the opposite of what is healthy for us.

The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health

Julia Rucklidge in TEDxChristchurch

Vídeo de YouTube

Primal Body, Primal Mind

A book by Nora Gedgaudas (website:, goes 'beyond the paleo diet' & explains in detail the practical biochemistry behind what works especially in terms of mental health.  A neurofeedback specialist, she realized from her decades of practice that diet was critical in getting her patients well: emotionally & mentally, as well as physically healthy.

From the book "Primal Body, Primal Mind":

"Far & away, the people with the most damaged & intractably disregulated brains & nervous systems I have seen or dealt with in my practice have all been vegans, with strict vegetarians a close second - hands down.   I have numerous colleagues who have made the same independent observation.  Anyone overly enchanted with the supposed findings of the book The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, a vegetarian seeking too prove the superior healthfulness of a vegetarian diet - should read the exhaustively researched and objective analysis of those findings by researcher Denise Minger" (article here in her blog

Paleo Diet with Nora Gedgaudas

Vídeo de YouTube

From the book "Primal Body, Primal Mind":

"Simply put, stress & trauma (whether physical, emotional, or biochemical) basically shove us off whatever cliff we happen to be standing next to.   Wherever our vulnerability lies, in both our inherent makeup & our current state of health, that is the direction we go.   The brain's timing mechanisms & phase relationships can become functionally deranged & help kindle certain tendencies at these points of vulnerability.  Some people, when shoved, fall into a perpetual state of anxiety, others into depression, bipolar disorders, migraines, seizures, addiction or some other condition.  It's a long list.   We are all individuals, and no two people respond exactly the same to any stressor or trauma.
We see the world around us through the lens of our hormones, neurotransmitters, and, to the degree that we are dependent on it our blood sugar.  Unhealthy hormonal patterns generate unhealthy arousal patterns and, consequently, unhealthy emotional & behavioral tendencies."

"Everything you have ever experienced, felt or conducted in life is due to brain function.  The ability to enjoy, perceive, sense, and experience life is dictated by the firing rate and health of your brain. It is impossible for a person to become healthy mentally or physiologically without a healthy brain."  D. Kharrazian, DHSC, DC, MS, Course 'Neurotransmitters & the brain' 

Dental Health & Diet

Weston Andrew Valleau Price (September 6, 1870 – January 23, 1948) was a prominent dentist known primarily for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, dental health, and physical health. 
He founded the Research Institute of the National Dental Association, which later became the Research Section of the American Dental Association, and served as its chair from 1914-1928.

Also see


which are complementary to this one.

People with young children would be well advised to study this section in detail - there is some evidence that very well-intentioned vegetarian parents in the west could be causing long-term (especially neuronal) damage to their children.

Industrially produced food of any kind (vegetable or animal) is not the solution but the basic problem: it turns out that traditional diets were not only ecologically sustainable but also nutritionally superior to any modern dietary fad or ideology.


There's a dialogue related to this page in the Integral Permaculture FB group (click icon to go there)

There's a dialogue in our FB group about the contents of this page (click icon to go there)

The Food Freedom Course

This is a free course on one of the most important and most controversial sustainability topics.

This free course was our contribution to the 2014 International Permaculture Day which had Food Freedom as the theme.

During several presentations we explore this important topic in a more integral (radical, & for some, controversial) way than usual, exploring these different facets:

1. Food Freedom of Other Species
2. Food that Liberates Nature
3. Food that Liberates the Mind & Body
4. How not to be Enslaved by Addictions
5. How to Free our Food from the Multinationals


Integral Health, as we teach it 
in the Integral Permaculture Academy is a process  of de-colonizing our bodies, minds & souls.  If you are interested in being in a support group for this, you can join the FB group IntegralHealthForAll

From "Plows and Carbon"

"Beyond their beauty and inherent worth, intact grasslands supply a great deal to humankind.    

Many pastoral cultures subsist entirely on the animal protein that is so abundant in healthy grasslands. 

In North America, the rangelands that once sustained more than 60 million Bison (and at least as many pronghorn antelope, along with large populations of elk, bear, deer, and many others) now support fewer than 45 million cattle – animals ill-adapted to the ecosystem, who damage their surroundings instead of contributing to them.

Healthy populations of herbivores also contribute to carbon sequestration in grassland soils by increasing nutrient recycling, a powerful effect that allows these natural communities to regulate world climate. 

They also encourage root growth, which sequesters more carbon in the soil.

Just as herbivores cannot survive without grass, grass cannot thrive without herbivores.

Grasslands are so potent in their ability to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere that some believe restoring natural grasslands could be one of the most effective tools in the fight against runaway global warming.

“Grass is so good at building [carbon rich] soil that repairing 75 percent of the planet’s rangelands would bring atmospheric CO2 to under 330 ppm in 15 years or less,” Lierre Keith writes.

The implications of this are immense. 

It means, quite simply, that one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is to move away from agriculture, which is based upon the destruction of forests and grasslands, and towards other means of subsistence. 

It means moving away from a way of life 10,000 years old. 

It means rethinking the entire structure of our food system – in some ways, the entire structure of our culture.

Some ambitious, visionary individuals are working in parallel with this strategy, racing against time to restore grasslands and to stabilize Earth’s climate."

Stella Ne,
9 Nov 2015, 09:51