vintage children

Image by Beverly & Pack

One of my sets of grandparents hails from Newfoundland, Canada (that’s on the East coast, in the Maritimes). This particular Papa used to work on a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean after they moved to the Vancouver, BC area, many years ago. Though many of the things that I grew up on were not so healthy, one of the nutritional highlights of my childhood was a whole lot of fish. Fresh fish. Amazing fish. And thankfully, I became a lifelong eater of these incredibly nutritionally-dense creatures.

Last night, we were over at my Nana and Papa’s for dinner, where they served us (what else?) delicious sockeye salmon steaks. For some reason or other, I asked them whether they took Cod Liver Oil as children.

My Papa immediately answered “Oh by heavens, yes!” (Try, if you will, to imagine that said quickly, in a thick rogue accent, not too dissimilar from Irish. His Newfie accent is still strong as ever!)

He went on to tell me about how along the fishing wharfs, the livers from the large Atlantic cod would be put into barrels. The livers themselves and any other impurities would sink to the bottom, and the cod liver oil would rise up the the top, perfectly clear and absolutely nourishing. As children, they were expected to take spoonfuls, which they diligently did, while plugging their noses. This was the real stuff, after all. No frou-frou lemon or orange or cocoa flavoring that we’re so lucky to enjoy. (Yes, I do know that enjoy is too strong of a word to associate with cod liver oil!)

As we finished up our delicious dinner, my 5 year old started to get full. I encouraged her to forget the rest of her broccoli and rice, and instead finish up as much as she could of that wholesome sockeye salmon. I was pleased to see that my grandparents agreed with my choice, that such a nutrient-dense food like salmon was more important than a few more bites of broccoli.

If we want to learn more about the ways that people have kept themselves strong and healthy, and free from so many of the chronic and degenerative disorders of our current culture, we need to learn from the wisdom of past generations. That includes eating those traditional foods that were favored and valued for their nutritional composition, like liver and farm fresh eggs and fish and clean raw milk.

So what are you waiting for? Go take your cod liver oil, and I won’t tell if you pinch your nose when you do it (or sneak a few chocolate chips like we do in our home). Your body will thank you.

(And speaking of past generations and nutrient-dense food, I’m really looking forward to sharing what I’ve been learning as I read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price! Coming up soon!)

Do you agree that the traditional foods of past generations far surpassed ours in nutritional wisdom? Do you try to make these foods a part of your diet? Why or why not?