Traditional Wellness Wisdom

Take responsibility

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responsibility

I’m well aware that what I’ve written here may open myself up to criticism. That’s okay. I’m not worried about winning a popularity contest. I’m only asking for those who read this to take an objective view at the situation as it has unfolded over the last couple of weeks regarding the inquiry made about the safety and authenticity of fermented cod liver oil.

For a number of years, Green Pasture Products has provided fermented cod liver oil, a food that my family has come to rely upon for health and well-being.  We have consumed their products for nearly 8 years without incident.  We have definitely noticed an improvement in our health as a result of consuming this and other nutrient-dense foods.

Others have reported remineralizing of teeth and recovery from bone problems, thyroid disorders, mental and brain changes, and anti-inflammatory support, just to name a few.

Why I believe in making informed decisions about what we put in our bodies

I believe the recent exposé prepared by Kaayla Daniel on fermented cod liver oil has created alarm and confusion, has used accusations that come across as personal in nature, and has not provided scientific facts.  What this situation has needed from the beginning is reasoned discourse where all concerned parties have open lines of communication without personal attacks, assumptions drawn without facts, or fear-based statements that can lead to mass hysteria.

I want to be clear that I’m not suggesting no concerns should be raised. I firmly believe there are some valid questions that need answering. Those who have been accused have shown they are more than willing and open to the conversation. Sally Fallon Morell has answered reasonably and has provided at least some of the data requested in her response. David Wetzel has shifted his focus to this situation and is committed to providing answers. He has spent time preparing an online response and also on the phone, one-on-one with various individuals who requested contact.

Read Sally Fallon Morell’s response here, and David Wetzel’s response here.

The reason the Foundation has supported Green Pasture Products is not because they have financial gain to protect.  Some years ago, the Foundation selected Green Pasture Products as a sponsor and recommended product for a reason: the product was pure and unadulterated, and offered nutritional support not available in the current market.

Defense of Green Pasture Products by the Foundation isn’t for reasons they have been accused (monetary), but because if this product was no longer available, many, many people who have experienced improvement in health issues would experience great loss. If fermented cod liver oil isn’t for you, try something else.

Sally Fallon Morell has been clear on this point, and I’m not at all a fan of the notion that the Foundation has issued edicts that everyone must take fermented cod liver oil “or else”. If you don’t agree with something, make your own choice. Continuing to insist that an organization or company is deceiving the public because some intractable reports or sources say so is not enough evidence for trial.

Financially, the statement made by Sally Fallon Morell reveals that only 1.1% of the Foundation’s annual budget comes from Green Pasture Products’ contributions. This amount doesn’t cause concern for me.

What about those who have reactions to fermented cod liver oil?

One of the criticisms I’ve heard frequently during this situation is that some cannot tolerate fermented Cod Liver Oil and have even become ill after taking it.  I’ve read some commentary where individuals have lamented the fact that they subjected their children or other family members to this substance. Some have even mentioned the word “lawsuit”.

I’d like to offer a story from my own experience which I think is quite relevant.

At the Wise Traditions Conference last year, a friend gave me some water kefir and poured into two small glasses that were half full. The glasses were small hotel size. The amount I drank is something I believe most would not consider excessive. Within 20 minutes, I developed hives all over my body and mild itching. Then gradually, but fairly quick, my mouth, gums, and lips swelled up. It looked as though I had been given botox. The swelling did not go away for about 4 hours. It was in the middle of the night, so I know that nothing else could have caused this but the water kefir.

Although this is a reaction I don’t ever wish to have again and will avoid water kefir in the future, I won’t advise others to avoid it.  As with FCLO, I know many, many people who consume water kefir and don’t have any reactions whatsoever, and believe they have experienced health benefits from consuming it. There are also individuals who cannot consume a number of healthy, nutrient-dense foods such as raw milk, kombucha, fermented vegetables, and others. But that doesn’t mean those foods are harmful to consume. What it does mean is that each person is individual and unique, and no one dietary prescription will benefit everyone. I am grateful for the response provided by the Foundation, and in particular, their statement that clearly supports the idea that fermented cod liver oil and even cod liver oil is not necessarily for everyone. Chris Masterjohn also reiterates this in his own response.

I have consumed fermented foods and beverages for many years, so I know it’s not that my body isn’t used to them. I simply know that this is not a substance my body can tolerate, and I won’t consume it again.

End of story. No lawsuit threats to the merchant who produced the water kefir, no angry commentary online, and no attempts to strong arm others into not consuming it.

I am a believer in taking responsibility for my own actions, rather than looking for ways to shift blame to other parties or individuals. If I make a decision that causes myself or my family some harm or unpleasant reaction, I know not to make that choice again in the future. I believe each of us has a responsibility to try to make the most sound and informed decisions we can about everything we do. If we make mistakes, we pick up and go on. Hopefully those experiences are teaching moments for us all.

Does this mean I’m a member of a cult, or that I can’t think for myself?

You can certainly make your own decision on this. I may not necessarily agree with every last topic the Weston A. Price Foundation promotes or shares on their web site.  As with any organization, group, individual or party, no one is ever going to agree 100% with everything that comes from any one source.  Simply because I don’t agree with every article published or word spoken by representatives by the Foundation doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon writing and posting about the principles that were discovered by Dr. Weston A. Price, as well as other pertinent content shared by the Foundation. I’m willing to continue advocating information circulated by the Foundation, because in general I believe those philosophies are sound and beneficial to the world.

From my own experience and the testimonials of others I know, I believe the Foundation has provided life-changing information for many people, including myself and my family, and promotes the kind of information I want to share with others. If the day ever comes that I find a breach in ethics or factual information released by the Foundation that causes me to change my mind, I will carefully consider that situation as possible grounds for discontinuance of my support. Today is not that day.

Is there a conflict of interest in anything I’m doing?

My family started taking fermented cod liver oil in 2007. At the time, I had not yet become acquainted with Green Pasture Products or David Wetzel. In 2010, I visited the facility and observed first hand with my family how the business produces its product. There was nothing in the way this product was produced that caused any cause for concern in myself or my husband.

A few years after our family began taking this product. Since then, I have become a resource in my local community for information about fermented cod liver oil. I regularly receive questions and contacts regarding this product. I have provided responses to those interested, and will continue to do so as long as I can into the future. David Wetzel has visited Boise, Idaho, where I live and presented information about his product to our community. I am grateful for the opportunities this has provided for those who were interested to learn about this nutrient-dense food.

In 2012, David asked me if I would support his business once a year at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions conference in exchange for accommodations at the event. The reason I have agreed to support Green Pasture Products is because I believe in the product after having years of experience consuming it, and seeing the health benefits it confers.

So, is there a conflict of interest? I don’t believe so. I am not compensated by the Foundation nor Green Pasture Products for the information I share. I only provide the information and testimonials that I do because of my own personal experience and desire to help others.

If you have other questions or concerns about fermented cod liver oil, I encourage you to read the responses linked above or contact the Weston A. Price Foundation and Green Pasture Products.

You can also read Chris Kresser’s response to the Daniel report here.

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4 Comments

  1. Alex

    THANK YOU for adding your exceedingly reasonable voice to the discussion!

    I think it is important to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, until proven otherwise. It is also very important to conduct all discussions with respect and dignity, and as much precision and rigor as we can manage.

    It is also important for our community to tolerate differences of opinion. It’s also important for vendors to provide as much transparency as is practical; then people can make their decisions based on the information they have and their comfort levels with the unknowns.

    And as you rightly point out, what works for one person might *really* not work at all for someone else.

    Chris Masterjohn’s initial thoughts are also a good read:

    http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2015/08/weighing-in-on-fermented-cod-liver-oil.html

    Alex

    Reply
    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Thank you, Alex! Much appreciated. 🙂

      Reply
    2. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      I also really appreciate what David Wetzel has to say in his follow-up commentary on the Green Pasture Products web site, published today. There are many important points, I think, but this one really stands out:

      “I wonder when the blogging world will launch an attack on other foods that are derived through fermentation? Or is this a single effort for a single purpose. But why discriminate?”

      http://www.greenpasture.org/utility/showarticle/?eid=4202&usid=9bf462f237fa47f706230cddc680b803&objectID=9350

      Reply
  2. Sandrine Love

    Hi Raine,

    This hasn’t been an easy time for many of us in our community, and I know that has been true for you. Thank you for sharing your perspective with us, and the experience you had with the water kefir you drank. From what I recall when you recounted this episode to me at the time it happened, not everyone who had the very same water kefir experienced it the way you did. Is that correct? It wasn’t the water kefir itself but, how you responded to it since others who drank it didn’t have any adverse reaction?

    Clearly, we don’t want to recommend unsafe products.

    I continue to believe that Fermented Cod Liver Oil is a safe product that works quite well for some, and clearly not for others.

    I trust that we’ll continue to learn more about these products over time. Meanwhile, I would love for the discourse to be more compassionate and cooperative!

    Reply

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