Sally Fallon: the ultimate anti-aging diet (a podcast)

Posted on May 2nd, 2012

You could say I’m a little obsessed with Sally Fallon. She’s the aunt I’ve never had (a lot of Y chromosomes in my family). The goddess of the kitchen I want to pull up a stool in. The author of the cookbook – Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats – with the zaniest subtitle ever. She’s also founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation (for more on Weston A. Price go here), an organisation I have a lot of respect for.

image via

*This blog post has been updated on February 5, 2016 and now reflects my current stance on eating raw foods.

She bangs on about eating whole food. Unadulterated REAL food, as our grandmother’s used to. And I really like to listen when she does. Because it’s real.

Oh, and FYI…Sally’s contributed a recipe to my I Quit Sugar Cookbook, which you can pre-order here.

Anyway, this morning I talked to her about enzymes: how eating them makes you age more slowly and gracefully and how to get more of them into your diet.

Listen in here:

For those wanting it nice and clear, here’s a cheat sheet for you

Why do we care about enzymes?

The short answer: they affect how long we live, and how well we’ll be in the process. This is how…

There are two types of enzymes for digestion

1, Digestive enzymes: Mostly manufactured by the pancreas, they break down food leaving the stomach.

2. Food enzymes: These exist in the raw food itself and they help our bodies break down that particular food as we eat it. Eg: lactase in milk helps us process lactose (which is why low-fat milk is such an issue…in the de-fatting process much of the lactase is lost).

Know this:

We have limited digestive enzymes in our bodies AND when these stores are used up, it ages us.

The aging process is the depletion of digestive enzymes, more or less.

Which means…

Eating food with lots of their own enzymes saves our bodies (our pancreases) from doing the work.

Thus saving us from aging more than we damnwell have to.

As Sally writes in Nourishing Traditions:

A diet composed exclusively of cooked food puts a severe strain on the pancreas, drawing down its reserves, so to speak. If the pancreas is constantly overstimulated to produce the enzymes that ought to be in foods, the result over time will be inhibited function. Humans eating an enzyme-poor diet, comprised primarily of cooked food, use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in the outpouring of secretions from the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result, according to the late Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in the field of enzyme research, is a shortened life-span, illness, and lowered resistance to stress of all types.

Also know this:

Enzymes are at a wet-heat temperature of 48 C and a dry-heat of 65 C.  As Sally says, “It is one of those happy designs of nature that foods and liquid at 47 C can be touched without pain, but liquids over 48 C will burn. Thus we have a built-in mechanism for determining whether or not the food we are eating still contains its enzyme content. “ I love perfect human body set-ups like this.

Sally shares this:

Aim for a diet that is 50 percent raw or enzyme-enhanced.

Although, when we spoke, she also conceded that some people just don’t like raw food, or have trouble digesting it (I’m in this camp). This is cool, she says, so long as….

If the meal you serve consists entirely of cooked foods, then a lacto-fermented condiment is a must.

A good rule is to start your evening meal with a dish containing enzymes—either a salad with homemade dressing, raw meat or fish, or soup containing cultured cream. If your next course includes a sauce made from gelatin-rich stock, easy digestion and a peaceful night’s sleep will be assured.

She mentions her four favourite ways to up her enzymes are:

  1. Beet Kvass
  2. Sauerkraut (here’s my recipe)
  3. Raw milk
  4. Kombucha

21 more ways to increase enzymes in your diet:

  • Raw milk
  • Eating tropical fruits (they contain more enzymes than other fruits): pawpaw is relatively low in sugar and, of course, avocados are just wonder fruits!!
  • Fermented sauerkraut and vegetables (see my recipe)
  • Sushi
  • Oysters
  • Beef tartare
  • Prosciutto
  • Coconut water
  • Raw butter
  • Ceviche
  • Homemade cream cheese (see my recipe here)
  • Sprouted legumes
  • Pesto made with fresh basil, raw Parmesan, and raw pine nuts (soaked and dried)
  • Fresh guacamole
  • Steak, cooked medium rare
  • Gazpacho
  • Avocado on toast
  • Caviar
  • Hollandaise or mayonnaise made with raw egg yolks (Sally points out that raw egg whites can actually be enzyme de-activators)
  • Raw egg yolks added to smoothies or milk shakes
  • Tzatziki

Me, I personally like warm mushy foods… An argument can also be made about some vegetables requiring heating in order to make their vitamins and minerals available, such as starchy veg like potato. The valuable nutrients are contained in the starch and in order for out bodies to absorb them we need to cook the vegetable to make it easier for our body to break down.

I suggest having a combo of both raw and cooked veg so you get the best ban for your buck.

Perhaps you have some ideas, too? And perhaps some thoughts on the raw food diet…

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  • Thank you for this post! I am so conflicted about what I should and shouldn’t be eating and what is best for my health. I was a vegetarian for many years and as soon as I upped my daily meditation practice i started craving meat… So I am back on the steak… I do a lot of reading on what is best to put in our bodies but everything seems to conflict with everything else!

    Although I have been sugar free and loving it for 3 weeks now 🙂

    Thanks for the post – I always welcome new information – and this appears perfectly proportioned between the paleo’s and the raw foodies. Love it!


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Kylie, at some point we all have to stop listening to everyone else and trust our own guts…in the literal sense. I like to use the whole food, least number of ingredients approach as a guide…everything else is my own experimenting…


  • Anon

    Hey Sarah,

    I think it fantastic that you are trying to help people with their diets, and eating a range of different foods containing a variety amino acids and compounds is definitely a good thing.

    BUT…I don’t think the information you have provided is 100% scientifically sound. There are more then 2 types of enzymes in the body, and I’m sure you know this but you are trying to make it as accommodating as possible to people from all wakes of life to understand. Enzymes all have their own unique function, and catalyze every reaction in our body (not just food digestion), without them we couldn’t survive. Also they are not the cause of aging, scientists are still unclear as what causes senescence and to state that it is “enzymes” is just false.

    Secondly, we don’t maintain the enzymes we ingest, we break them down into amino acids and proteins. Both of which are important in our diet as our body is limited in what it can synthesize, and we need these external compounds to be able to produce the full complement of enzymes and other compounds needed to live a healthy life

    I won’t go on, because this is your post and I don’t want to overstay my welcome, but I know there are lots of people on the internet who will believe everything they read. And as a well followed blogger I think its your responsibility to double check the facts before making such a broad and false statement to mislead the public.

    p.s. If I am wrong on any of these statements please feel free to correct me 😀


    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    I’m not convinced on the raw thing either. Partly because a lot of raw foodies I meet look about 25 years older than they actually are. But also because some of our closest primate relatives live on an entirely raw diet and they still age at a predictable rate. And they actually have the gut to process large amounts of raw food, humans are built differently.

    Nigella Lawson for example, who is a big fan of cooked foods, sugar, saturated fat and meat, looks nowhere near 50. I think genetics, stress levels, environment and other factors should be taken into account as well.

    I have nothing against raw food per se, but as a portion of a healthy diet that also includes proteins and healthy fats. I dont think enzymes alone are responsible for the entirety of humans aging. Of course, that is only my opinion, more research is definitely needed!


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Thanks Anon, your points are sound and, yes, I simplify to get a message across. If people find it interesting I provide mentions of other links/experts etc. I also try – as a general vibe on this blog – to encourage everyone to work out what works best for them. I just plant ideas. AS you’ll see above, I don’t eat a raw diet. But I do ferment veggies. I t hink there’s a lot of worth in this because I’ve tried it for 3 months before writing about it. IN the case of this blog…It’s an iv with an expert…


    Joey Thomas Reply:

    She didn’t actually say that there were only 2 types of enzymes in the body. If you read it again you will see that she said that there are 2 types of enzymes for digestion – and then she elaborates on them – as this is the focus of her discussion. Debate is healthy but I suggest reading things twice over before deciding to start one.


  • Kimberley

    I’ve been making kombucha for a few months after trying some for the first time at a farmers market and I just love it. It tastes so good, I swear it’s addictive.

    If anyone is in Auckland and is keen to try making it, I’d be happy to give you a starter (scoby).


  • What’s the deal with avocado? Is it super enzymy?
    So glad you put the part in there re people who can’t digest raw foods, hurts my stomach far too much. What about Indian tradition at Vata inclined people who would also suffer, you mention Vata before, how would those on a vata balancing regime get their enzymes?


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    April, agree re the vata thing… I think warm, soft foods are best for me, too.


    Kelly Reply:

    Hi Sarah,

    So how would a vata-person get their enzymes? Regular cabbage or other raw vegetables are out, but would fermenting them make a difference?

    Thanks in advance,


  • Meg

    How do you make kombucha?


  • Sue

    I’ve always had a problem with this concept.

    A normal stomach is highly acidic. It would denature most
    enzymes as described on that site. Enzymes occur in all living things. Mostly they are involved with oxidation of compounds into energy, for the cells. They are peptides, which are acid unstable for the most part. Here is an example of one metabolic path in humans:
    This is the conversion of glutamine to glutamate. Every box with a number is an enzyme involved in adding or removing a portion of the substrate during conversion.
    Most of the enzymes in the body do things like this. They do not digest food. Most of the enzymes in the food we eat also exist for many purposes other than digestion.

    Digestive enzymes do not get added to food until the stomach dumps its contents in the beginning of the small intestine. There the pancreas serves up high bicarbonate to neutralize the acid
    and also adds the digestive enzymes at that point.

    However, modern man now tampers with the stomach and millions of people have no acid to speak of.

    This theory therefore confuses me. There are people who cannot digest raw food well. And there have been legal cases of children taken away from parents who fed them raw only and those children died (failure to thrive). There was just a huge trial from Florida about this involving a husband and wife.
    Raw food also carries potential serious pathogens. Cooking food evolved to make it safer to consume.

    Here is a more thorough discussion of the pros and cons of raw food movement:


  • Linda

    Hey Sarah, so loving your blog! Tried ordering the cookbook, although Paypal not playing fairly, and wont accept my details? I previously purchased the IQS book and all went through? Any suggestions on how I can preorder my copy? I live in the Middle east, so maybe an issue with an overseas credit card?
    ALso, I am seriously considering the Integrative Nutrition course after watching your video. I am faccinate dby the course contents and the possibility of moving out of my crazy corporate world and into the world of wellness – its a bit of an expense for me, but I keep getting drawn back to it over and over – I am thinking the Universe is telling me something :-).


    Karen Reply:

    Hi Linda I’m thinking just the same! Do you know the cost of the course I couldn’t see it anywhere. Thnx K


    anon Reply:

    You are looking at around $5000 for the IIN course


    Karen Reply:

    Thanks for that

  • Lisa Ingram

    Hi team,
    I have never heard or read anything suggesting we have a limited ‘enzyme activity bank’ or any of the stuff the esteemed Dr. Howell has come up with. This reminds me of the crowd (was it the Victorians?) who believed you only had so many breaths before death so exercise was therefore bad! Mind you, I’m a big supporter of un-stuffed-about-with food, so I suspect the outcome of the pseudo science (harsh? send proper research and I shall humbly accept it!) is fortuitously positive. Love your work Miss S, always thought-provoking and has led me to lots of lovely things like cacao nibs and my Miss Kensington bike sash and basket from Joyce at Cyclestyle. Lisa


  • Matt

    I’m not a scientist, but have studied nutrition subjects at university. There is no (current day) evidence of lactase existing in milk, it’s an enzyme our own bodies produce. Besides, how could lactase exist in milk, and not break down the lactose prematurely? It doesn’t really make sense… And even if it did exist in milk, lactase works in the small intestine. So there is no way that it would pass through our acidic stomach to the the small intestine without being denatured first.

    Definitely not having a go at you Sarah (and I know you don’t even predominately eat this way!), but I don’t think the science is sound. I get the gist of what you’re saying, but our bodies can’t just use enzymes in food/plants/meats as if they are our own (in most cases). Dr. Edward Howell came up with these theories in the 80s and they’ve since been thrown out as scientific advancements have proven otherwise. He even touted that enzymes in raw food also carry the “life force,” which can be transferred to the body, enhancing vitality and longevity; and that the body must use up some of its own “life force”/”enzyme potential” to compensate whenever cooked foods (that have no life force/live enzymes) are eaten. I’m not a “buzzkill” kinda guy, but a scientist basing his theories on “life force” of enzymes are a little far fetched…

    In many cases, cooked food actually requires less enzymes for digestion than raw food, as cooking often alters the cell structure so that the nutrients become more accessible to our own body’s digestive enzymes (such as gelatinizing starch), or it can destroy anti-amylases or anti-proteases.

    Digestive enzymes, like any catalyst, are reused/recycled multiple times. Thus, any supposed “savings” of energy in the production of digestive enzymes to make up for food enzymes lost to cooking (assuming the latter are of much use to digestion in the first place) would be very small and mostly illusory given that enzymes are reused during digestion anyway. (Note: Tortora and Anagostakos [1981, pp. 46-47] discusses reuse of enzymes.)

    Finally, the idea that the body has a limited enzyme potential is, to say the least, dubious. Digestive enzymes in food are just what they are: a possible help in digestion. Obviously enzymes do indeed help – inside or outside the body: ripening of fruits, sprouting of seeds, legumes and grains, and aging of meat are examples of important actions of enzymes that occur prior to consumption. But some types of food processing can also improve digestion, including cooking in some cases.

    So really, I’m just throwing this all out there and people can make up their own minds. Just reading it from the point of view of current science makes it seem a little silly! Truly not having a go at you at all Sarah, just the whole idea of raw foods and food enzymes. Raw food totally has its merits, but shouldn’t be justified by false science (in my opinion).


    Nutrition by Nature Reply:



    Michelle (Health Food Lover) Reply:

    I agree as well 🙂


  • Kate

    I was suffering from severe fatigue and I had a live blood analysis, it showed that I wasnt digesting my protein from my food so I needed to take digestive enzyme tablets. Since taking them my energy has skyrocketed! I feel calmer and happier too.
    Im now in my second trimester with my second baby so I have stopped taking them as unsure if ok to take in pregnancy? If anyone knows Id love to know if I can or not!
    Thanks Sarah, I love your site!


    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Depends entirely on what is in them! Check with your pharmacist or doctor as supplements differ.


    Kelly Reply:

    Hi Kate – I had the same thing, re low energy and sluggish digestion. An enzyme supplement made a HUGE difference for me too. Not sure on the pregnancy side of things though.


  • I have stuck this on facebook – the world should know 🙂


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  • From some of the comments from thise with nutritional knowledge it seems that Sally Fallon is demonstrating some seriously flawed science. I’m not a nutritionist, but I am a breastfeeding support worker and found the views she holds on breastfeeding extremely worrying. The kind of information she puts out there destroys women’s confidence in their breastmilk and their ability to nourish their babies.

    Women have enough to deal with already with the anti-breastfeeding stance of mainstream culture and the media (at least here in the UK), let alone getting it from the alternative health community too. It has certainly made me regard any information from Sally Fallon and Weston Price with suspicion.

    And any women out there who are struggling with breastfeeding, please see a trained breastfeeding counsellor, go to a breastfeeding cafe or consult a breastfeeding organisation. You can find the help and support you need. 🙂


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  • i love this article and i’m actually surprised that enzymes is good for diet and also an anti aging. I’ve been trying to loose some weight but have never succeeded and this is something new for me to try.. thanks and i’ll be back to let you know my experience..


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  • lara

    Hi Sarah

    I was wondering with you not eating any sugar do you drink kombucca as it is made with sugar and although alot is used up some still gets left over.

    I love getting your weekly newsletter and cant wait for your book


  • Mirium

    I think this woman looks NICE. Better n me ! Nice blonde hair . I eat lotsa meat and dont like vegebles. The fat is the best part !! I put butter on evrything an I eat much cheese. A few canner beans is ALL you need on your plate. Thats PLENTY of vegebles. My doc says I better knock it off and I got lessen five years .Baloney I’m 54 that’s nearly 60. SIXTY !! That is longer than I ever expected to be round, all my family gone in there 40′s of this or that, yeah some heart things whichis normal so I’m happy. so i take cholesterol pills and insulin needles this kind of thing is NORMAL when you get older ! EVERYONE I KNOW is like this !! All peoples get OLD !! I lived through even one bout of congestive heart failure. If it wasn’t for FOOD, what would I have to live for? I cant walk barely so I need to eat !!!! What else am I gonna do ? Stare at the walls ????You have to cook meat. Everyone goes on medications when they get old likeme , every one gets FAT and the ones the vegetarians runing around with all this silliy energy and saying they dont eat meat are lying and look ridiculus!! I want to sit , watch the tv, relax, eat and LIVE !!! taht say they dont eat meat are LYINg. Vegtarians also LyE BOUT THEIR AGE IN MY opinoin, lots LYE.This kind a thing just happens when you get old they lye to selfs and its gonna bite them in the butt in the end, theyll see.


    Joanna Reply:

    If you are interested in Weston A Price’s work, you should seek out the Price Pottenger Foundation and most definitely NOT the Weston A Price foundation which barely even resembles the great dentist’s life long work. I also think that you need to re-read Nourishing Traditions. Sally Fallon is most definitely NOT pro Raw food, unless of course you are talking about raw dairy.
    You should really google a current image of Sally Fallon. Vastly different than the very old book jacket photo that continues to be used to promote her work. Not a shining image of health.


  • Kelly


    With all due respect, different people need different diets. There isn’t one metabolic type…we’re all different. If you’re not an Okinawan, it’s unlikely you’ll benefit from their type of diet.


  • Sally Fallon looks like the pillar of health. Just look up her before and afters. Wherever do I sign up?! I’d like to gain 40 pounds and age 40 years too like she did. please!?