Grandma’s Story Shows Senior Citizens Can Beat Arthritis, Lose Weight


Grandma Before, and After Rejecting Modern Processed Foods

90 Year Old Grandma Returns to her Traditional Diet Loses 10 lbs and Arthritis Pain

By Guest Blogger, Caitlin Weeks,

In a time where all we hear about is obesity and disease in seniors, I wanted to share an uplifting story about longevity due to a whole foods diet. My Grandma who just celebrated her 90th birthday is an example of how we should all live and eat. She has had near perfect health her whole life and has taken no medications. She is still very active doing housework, gardening, driving, volunteering at her church and walking her dog. Grandma has never had a weight problem and has always been petite at about 5 feet 2 inches. She grew up an hour outside of Raleigh, NC on a 25-acre farm in Greene county with no electricity or refrigeration. She was raised eating a diet very close to what Dr. Weston A. Price would have recommended which I believe is why she enjoys such excellent vitality today.

Growing up with WAPF* principles

Editors Note *WAPF Refers to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit, based on the research work of Dr. Weston A. Price

-She was breastfed until two years old
-She ate milk fresh from grass fed cows daily
-Her family raised pastured chickens and turkeys for food
-She ate 100% grass fed beef weekly
-She ate lots of organ meats, not wasting any parts of the animal
-Her father grew and ground his own grain at his mill from corn or wheat
-She did not eat store bought packaged cereal until age 25
-She did not have store bought vegetable oils until adulthood
-She ate fresh churned cream and butter
-Animal fats were consumed daily such as beef tallow and lard
-Ate foods rich in gelatin such as broths, bone marrow, aspics
-She regularly ate fermented vegetables and dairy while growing up
-She colorful organic fruits and vegetables at every meal
-All her food growing up was free of GMO’s (genetically modified ingredients)
-Her food was mostly organic until moving away from the farm
-She did not snack between meals
-She got lots of sun from doing farm work
-She exercised a lot doing farm work and walking to school
-She went to bed early and rose with the sun

Following healthy habits

My Grandma moved away from the farm when she was 19 to become a keypunch operator in Newport News, VA. She and got married to my grandpa at age 21. After the war they moved to Richmond, VA and had a family (which included my mom). My grandma has always used her economical skills, which got her through the depression to stretch every food dollar. Her approach of eating fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables kept her lean and healthy. She also never ate much sugar and was not into purchasing store bought sweets. She also never ate much fried or fast food. She commonly packed picnics when she was away from home to save money and eat healthy. Throughout the years there have been some food trends that influenced Grandma’s whole foods diet. It is impossible not to be by our powerful media, government and pharmaceutical obsessed doctors.

Convenience and mainstream media led her astray over time

Despite many of Grandma’s healthy habits she fell for the low fat, healthy whole grain mantra of the 80-90’s such as:

• Using mayo and margarine made from soybean oil, canola, and corn oil
• Commercial salad dressings full of HFCS, vegetable oils and GMO’s
• Eating store bought processed cereals
• Pasteurized low fat pasteurized milk, yogurt, half and half
• Using Crisco for baking
• Using the microwave for convenience
• Using improperly prepared wheat germ or oatmeal
• Forgetting about fermented foods

Some of the negative symptoms she was experiencing from her modern diet

Gas and bloating after meals
Painful arthritis nodules on hands that restricted her hobbies like sewing, gardening, cooking
Bouts of painful knee swelling and limited motion

Her Nutritionist (and granddaughter) to the rescue

In the fall of 2011 I visited my grandma and she was complaining about the pain in her joints. I urged her to follow an elimination diet to see if it would make a difference in her arthritis symptoms. In December 2011 she finally decided to give it a shot. She cleaned out her cabinets and gave the processed food to neighbors. She found that she felt better on a grain free diet similar to Full Gaps or paleo.

Typical day of her new diet


Local pork sausage patty
Egg fried in coconut oil
1 piece of seasonal fruit
Coffee with cream


Wild salmon cake
Seasonal greens in coconut oil
Apple Cider Vinegar coleslaw
Butternut squash with grass fed butter


Baked chicken
Turnip greens with bacon
Baked Sweet potato with butter
Garden zucchini cooked in coconut oil


Water from her 575 ft well
Decaf iced tea with lemon
Bone broth
Herbal tea

Exercise:  Housework, gardening, walking the dog

Supplements recommended by her nutritionist

Vitamin D 3000-5000 IU per day
Professional strength Digestive enzymes/hcl with meals
Food based B-complex vitamin
Magnesium Citrate powder such as Natural Calm before bed

(Check our resources page for trusted supplement vendors)

3 Month Results Dec 2011-March 2012

Weight down 10 lbs from 136 to 126
Pain and swelling disappeared from her hands
Aching gone in her knees
No more gas and bloating after meals
No more frequent heartburn
Better regularity
More energy through the day

Nutritionist’s Comments

For the past 30 years Grandma has lived in rural South Carolina where many people are obese and unhealthy. She bucked the diabetes and high blood pressure trend and has outlived many of her peers who were more reliant on prescription drugs than real food. By returning to a Dr. Weston A. Price foods diet Grandma’s system naturally found it’s appropriate weight. Most people tend to eat less and have fewer cravings when they eat nutrient dense foods. Symptoms of an inflamed gut such as arthritis pain and stiffness also tend to disappear when we eliminate the common food allergens for a period time and allow the digestive tract to heal. A diet full of healthy fats and pastured proteins will provide the raw material for the body to rebuild itself. Grandma has always been fairly healthy but when she returned to a WAPF diet similar to the one she ate on the farm where she was raised, we catch a glimpse of what is possible for a 90-year-old woman.

Most people don’t make it to 90 and if they do they are hunched over a walker, in a wheel chair, or hooked to an oxygen tank. We live longer now due to advances in modern medicine but I wonder what is the point of longevity if we spend our later years in chronic pain or immobile. If we follow a traditional diet with foods like pastured butter, eggs and grass fed beef, we will be able to add life to our years. I hope this post will inspire you or someone in your family to incorporate ancient wisdom into their diets to improve their quality of life.

Click here to get grandma’s Grain Free Sweet potato pancake recipe.


Caitlin Weeks

Caitlin Weeks is a certified nutrition consultant and personal trainer serving the Bay Area and beyond through skype/phone. She studied holistic health at Bauman College in Berkeley CA. She has great empathy for her clients after losing 80 lbs in 2001 and dealing with Hashimoto’s disease since 2009. She specializes in therapeutic health coaching using a WAPF, paleo, low-carb, and Gaps approach with specific efficient exercise recommendations. Contact Caitlin at


  1. I LOVE THIS! I sincerely wish my grandmother would do the same thing. She has so many bowel issues. WAPF would help her tons

  2. She looks amazing, strong and vibrant. You can tell she feels good.

  3. God bless your grandma. She’s beautiful! I often thought this about my own grandma who died last year at the age of 88. She ate animal fats her whole life (I can remember being absolutely disgusted when she fried my french toast in bacon fat!). She was a baker’s daughter so she did have a lot of bread and baked goods growing up (and also going through the depression, I’m sure that was a large amount of what they ate), she and my grandpa owned a slaughter house and grocery store so ate a lot of red meat, they always gardened up until Grandpa passed away in 1997 so ate a lot of fresh veggies too. It was after he passed that her health took a turn when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 75 (?) or around there. She beat it and lived many more years–this in spite of smoking 1-2 packs of cigarettes a day. When she went, she went over the course of a year. These are the lessons from that year: she was eating processed crap because she didn’t have the motivation to cook. She stopped being involved in the local food bank for lack of energy. Grandma had done that for many years, and I think stopping that made her lose her ‘purpose’. She stopped moving. The grapes stayed on the vines, the laundry got thrown in the dryer instead of being hung out, she wasn’t cleaning her house. Grandma died with a huge tumor in her chest that had grown out from her lung. She didn’t tell anyone about it, and once it was found out about, didn’t want anything done. There are so many things to learn from this generation that is passing. I love your account because it demonstrates what traditional vs conventional diets can do for and to you. Thank you for sharing your Grandma.

  4. Way to go Caitlin! Am forwarding this to my grandmother right away!

  5. Joyce Ann says:

    Good for your Grandma! I bet she is happy she has such a knowledgeable granddaughter! Wishing her many years of healthy living!

  6. Great Story. One question — Why such a high dosage of Vitamin D? I’ve heard that it’s not good to get too much of it.

  7. Debra Taylor says:

    Great story on Grandma, Caitlin. We love how healthy and fit she is!

  8. What a great story! I love seeing people’s health change with real food, and this just goes to show that it can be done at any age! Yay for your grandma being willing to make changes to improve her health and her life!

  9. This is an amazing story! I think that a diet like this could help a lot of people suffering with arthritis, among other health problems. I’m so glad that you were able to help your grandmother, and that she listened to the advice that you gave her! I feel like frequently, dietary advice like this is ignored or people decide that it’s too hard to do, so it’s great to see a positive example.

  10. Congratulations to your grandmother and her wonderful example, and to you also for caring about her and helping her regain her healthy, active life again! Such a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it!

  11. Hi Julie
    It just depends on the person. Most women are extremely low. A healthy level is about 60ng/dl. You can check your level at the doctor or vitamin d for $40. Vitamin d is very important for the immune system and healthy weight maintenance. It is also good to balance vitamin D with vitamin a from cod liver oil and grass fed butter. Traditional diets included much more vitamin D than our diets today from foods like salmon, raw milk, organ meats and eggs.

  12. Hey! great article as always.. I think more and more of us in their mid-50?s are starting to realize the importance of health as we get older… But I have realized the change in mind life, my grandson even talking me into making a motivational lol, of course he had to help me upload it.


  1. […] was honored to guest blog for Hartke is Online, a blog about real food freedom and Dr. Weston A. Price principles. I wrote about my grandma who […]

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