Journal, Spring 2008, Dangers of Vegetarianism

Wise Traditions, Volume 9, Number 1

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President’s Message: Dr. Price’s Greatest Disappointment

by Sally Fallon Morell

When Dr. Weston Price embarked on his worldwide investigations of nonindustrialized peoples, he did so with an open mind. When his patients asked him that all-important question, “What is a healthy diet?” he did not know the answer. He knew that a healthy diet produced freedom from dental decay, attractive facial structure, protection against disease and ease of reproduction, but he could not, before his investigations, tell his patients with assurance what to eat.

Dr. Price was a highly spiritual individual with leanings towards vegetarianism. He had hoped to find healthy peoples whose diets contained only plant foods. What he discovered instead was that all so-called primitive cultures consumed animal foods in one form or another. In some cultures, such as native tribes in Alaska and northern Canada, animal foods comprised almost 100 percent of calories; in others, such as the agricultural tribes in Africa, animal foods comprised only a small portion of the diet. However, all of the cultures he studied valued certain foods as sacred, necessary for healthy reproduction and the optimal growth of children, and these sacred foods were always animal foods. This discovery has been called “Dr. Price’s greatest disappointment.” He did not, as he had hoped, find a single vegan culture.

This issue of Wise Traditions examines the various arguments for vegetarianism and veganism, especially the proposition that avoidance of animal foods will make us healthier and will benefit the environment. Unfortunately, many people—especially young people entering the childbearing years—believe these arguments and adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, a decision that can have severe adverse consequences for the next generation. The Weston A. Price Foundation has consistently issued strong warnings about the dangers of veganism. Some individuals may do well on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet if the eggs and dairy foods they consume are of very high quality (and the dairy foods should be raw). However, most people need other sources of animal protein, especially seafood. Those born with a very high requirement for zinc and vitamin B12 will need to consume liver and red meat frequently.

The question of whether or not to eat animal foods is highly charged with emotion and often involves tenuous arguments about spirituality. The most spiritual act of all is to put one’s ideals into practice, to be active for beneficial change in the physical world. Without the good health and mental clarity that comes from a healthy diet, one that includes animal foods, this is very difficult if not impossible to do. And the responsibility for imparting this good health and mental clarity to the next generation rests on the shoulders of all those who would be parents. We hope that the articles in this issue will provide future parents with the requisite understanding well before their children come along—and not as a tragically disappointed aftermath.

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