In this post, I will share a little of my story, and why I chose the Weston A. Price diet as foundational to my nutritional philosophy.
About 1995, I was exposed to veganism. I was becoming increasingly health conscious. I had heard several guru's speak on the benefits of veganism and vegetarianism, and I bought into it. For the next ten years, I served my family a lot of beans, whole grains and vegetables and a little bit of dairy and meats on occasion. Over all, we were fairly healthy, although I developed lower back problems.
Around 2009 I came into contact with Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. Immediately, I felt at home. What I read ringed true to me, and she had thousands of years of history, and cultural evidence from all over the world to testify to the validity of the Weston A. Price philosophy of healthy diets. I will share briefly the essence of Dr. Price's discoveries.
Dr. Price was a dentist practicing in Ohio in the 1920's when he observed many children in his practice with cavities. Dr. Price had heard of cultures around the world who ate their native diets and who had excellent dental health and immunity. He and his wife set off to discover if this was true by visiting cultures around the world who still ate their native diets- no refined foods such as white flour or sugar.
To follow Dr. Price through his wonderful adventures and discoveries, please read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. I will give you the highlights.
Dr. and Mrs. Price visited cultures from Switzerland to Scotland, from Africa to the Pacific Islands, from Alaska to Florida's Seminoles and from South America. He found little to no cavities, excellent dental formation and physical health, great immunity and resistance to the diseases of the day. Conversely, when these same people groups moved into the city and began to eat the "foods of commerce", they experienced rampant cavities, lower immunity and as the first generation was born to them, overbites, under bites and crowded teeth. All this is well documented with photographs and descriptions in Dr. Price's book.
Dr. and Mrs Price had found the answer to their question. Nutrition does indeed affect dental health! And immunity and overall physical and mental health as well. I will give you an overview of the Nine Commonalities of Healthy Diets. These are the observations that Dr. Price made about all the healthy cultures he visited. But first, his greatest disappointment...
Dr. Price's greatest disappointment was that he found no truly healthy vegan people group. Healthy diets had a lot of variation, from almost all animal food to very little. One African tribe ate mostly milk, meat and blood, while another ate all plant sourced foods except for the insects that they collected and dried to eat throughout the year. From the diet of the Swiss, eating rye bread, butter and cheese to the diets of many coastal peoples who ate mostly fish and shellfish, they were all healthy and shared certain commonalities. I will list them here for you to ponder, and in the future will go into more detail about each one.
First a few of Dr. Price's observations:
1) A great variety of diets are healthy.
2) Certain dietary laws are inflexible: We must get our fat soluble factors from animal sources and in order to
healthy, foods must be properly prepared and in their whole forms.
1) Traditional diets contained no refined or denatured food.
2) They all used some kind of animal foods, with some raw (examples- meat, dairy, blood).
3) Their diets were four times as high in calcium and other minerals, with ten times the amount of fat-soluble
vitamins as the modern diet.
4) Their diets included foods with high enzyme content.
5) Seeds, grains and nuts were sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened.
6) Fat content varied from 30%-80% of total calories and only 4% was polyunsaturated.
7) Traditional diets contained nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats.
8) All traditional cultures used some salt.
9) All traditional cultures made use of bones, usually as bone broth.
When I learned all of this, I immediately saw the sense that it all made. What is true is based on what is. These observations were documented and recorded, and they leave very heavy evidence for us to weigh. I have found no dietary philosophy that makes more sense and that rings more true than that described by what cultures have done in common for thousands of years all around the world.
In light of this, when I evaluate a modern dietary philosophy, I weigh its validity in light of certain truths.
1) Biblical truth
2) Cultural and historical truth
3) Common sense
4) Modern science
And in that order!
By the way, a little post log to the Weston A. Price story. He returned to his clinic in Ohio and set up a feeding program for disadvantaged children. He fed them one lunch time meal per day, and through that one meal, he began to reverse cavities in those children. He simply applied the principles he had observed in those healthy cultures that he visited. After all, the Truth is in the Word and the proof is in the eating of the pudding.