A Fascinating Look into Traditional Diets | Eat Better
In the early 1930s, a Cleveland dentist named Weston A. Price began a series of unique investigations. For over a decade, he traveled to isolated parts of the globe to study the health of populations untouched by Western civilization. He wanted to find the factors responsible for good dental health.
He learned that dental problems like cavities and overcrowding are the result of nutritional deficiencies rather than inherited genetic defects. He visited islands west of Scotland, remote Swiss villages, and indigenous peoples from North and South America. He also visited Melanesia, Polynesia, Australian Aborigines, and New Zealand Maori. Wherever he went he noticed beautiful straight teeth free from decay. He also noticed the people had strong physiques, resistance to disease, and fine characters.
These were all common traits of people on traditional diets that included essential nutrients. Naturally, Price compared his new discoveries with his experience of Western diets. Traditional diets contained four times the water-soluble vitamins and minerals. They also contain ten times the fat-soluble vitamins from the animal foods abundantly available, such as:
- Fish eggs
- Organ meats
- Animal fats
Aren’t these foods loaded with cholesterol? Aren’t they shunned by American dietary advisers as unhealthy? But these fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A and D, are vital to health. That’s because they act as catalysts for mineral absorption and protein utilization. Without them, we cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in our food.
Price discovered an additional fat-soluble nutrient, which he labeled Activator X. All primitive groups had a source of Activator X, now thought to be vitamin K2, in their diets.
Isn’t it interesting that the traditional foods of these peoples were instinctive choices? This demonstrates the value of observing traditions. It’s the essence of wisdom gained over time and preserved for future generations.
A surprising finding for Price was the idea of a pre-conception diet, something unheard of today. Many tribes required that their young parents-to-be consume nutrient-dense animal foods for six months before conception. This expectation extended to lactating women and growing children—a stark contrast to his observations of Westerners subsisting on nutrient-deprived, commercial foods.
- White flour
- Pasteurized milk
- Low-fat foods
- Vegetable oils
- Convenience items (filled with extenders and additives)
Price’s discoveries and conclusions are presented in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.”
The book has striking photographs reminding us how physical degeneration occurs when human groups abandon traditional diets in favor of modern convenience foods.
So, given all this research by Price, what are the dos and don’ts of eating to prevent the degenerative diseases so prevalent today? Is it complicated? Not really. Let’s start with Price’s don’ts. This may reflect what’s in your cupboards or your food-buying preferences.
- Do not eat commercially processed foods and make sure you read the labels:
- TV dinners
- Soft drinks
- Packaged sauce mixes etc.
- Avoid all refined sweeteners:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juices
- Avoid white flour and white rice.
- Avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats or oils and foods cooked in these oils.
- Avoid all industrial polyunsaturated vegetable oils made from soy, corn, safflower, canola, or cottonseed.
- Do not practice veganism. Animal products provide vital nutrients not found in plant foods.
- Avoid products containing protein powders as they usually contain carcinogens or damaged proteins formed during processing. Likewise, avoid:
- Lean meat
- Skinless poultry
- Reduced-fat milk
- Egg whites without the yolks
- Protein powders
Consumption of these products can lead to deficiencies, especially of vitamin A.
- Avoid processed pasteurized milk, do not consume:
- Ultra-pasteurized milk products
- Low-fat milk
- Skim milk
- Powdered milk
- Imitation milk products
- Avoid factory-farmed eggs, meats, and fish.
- Avoid highly processed lunch meats and sausage.
- Avoid rancid and improperly prepared seeds, nuts, and grains found in granolas, quick rise breads, and extruded breakfast cereals, as they block mineral absorption and cause intestinal distress.
- Avoid canned, sprayed, waxed, and irradiated fruits and vegetables. Avoid genetically modified foods (found in most soy, canola, and corn products).
- Avoid artificial food additives, especially MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and aspartame, which are neurotoxins. Most soups, sauce, broth mixes, and commercial condiments contain MSG, even if not indicated on the label.
- Minimize caffeine and related substances in coffee, tea, and chocolate.
- Avoid aluminum-containing foods such as commercial salt, baking powder, and antacids.
Do not use aluminum cookware or deodorants containing aluminum.
- Do not drink fluoridated water.
- Avoid synthetic vitamins and foods containing them.
- Avoid distilled liquors.
- Do not use a microwave oven.
And the dietary dos?
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods.
- Eat beef, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry, and eggs from pasture-fed animals.
- Eat wild fish (not farm-raised), fish eggs, and shellfish from unpolluted waters.
- Eat full-fat milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as raw milk, whole yogurt, kefir, cultured butter, full-fat raw cheeses, and fresh and sour cream.
- Use animal fats liberally, examples include:
- Egg yolks
- Use only traditional vegetable oils:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Expeller-expressed sesame oil,
- Small amounts of expeller-expressed flax oil
- The tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil)
- Take cod liver oil regularly to provide at least 10,000 IU vitamin A and 1,000 IU vitamin D per day.
- Eat fresh, preferably organic vegetables. Use them in salads, soups, or lightly steamed with butter.
- Use whole grains, legumes, and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting, or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, and other anti-nutrients.
- Include enzyme-rich lacto-fermented foods (for example sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles) as condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
- Prepare homemade stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb, and fish and use liberally in soups, stews, gravies, and sauces.
- Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
- Use unrefined salt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
- Make your own salad dressing using:
- Raw vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Expeller expressed or cold-pressed flax oil
- Use traditional sweeteners in moderation, such as:
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
- Maple sugar
- Date sugar
- Dehydrated cane sugar juice (sold as Rapadura)
- Stevia powder
- Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
- Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass, or good quality enamel.
- Use only natural, food-based supplements.
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and natural light.
- Think positive thoughts and practice forgiveness.
So, there you have it and the last suggestion about thoughts? That’s pretty crucial too. Polluting our minds is heightened these days. Humanity appears to be lost, anxious and over-stimulated by technology. Poor food choices and too much misinformation make for a toxic cocktail few of us can survive long-term.
For more information visit: https://www.westonaprice.org/
Parts reprinted with kind permission from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
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