Sarah Pope is a long-time WAPF member in Florida. She also blogs as The Healthy Home Economist.
Transcript: Introduction to Traditional Eating
Welcome! This is Sarah Pope, The Healthy Home Economist and Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation. In the next few minutes, I’m going to talk with you about how what you eat determines your health, for better or for worse – but perhaps not in the way you might expect.
Imagine a community of people where nearly every member was free of chronic disease, mental illness and even dental decay. Children and adults alike were strong, sturdy and attractive with wide faces and perfect smiles with plenty of room even for the wisdom teeth.
Fertility came with ease and robust, intelligent, and happy children were produced generation after generation.
Sound like a utopia?
This is the world discovered by Dr. Weston A. Price during the 1920’s and 1930’s as he traveled across the globe. He discovered fourteen isolated traditional societies still untouched by what he called “the displacing foods of modern commerce”.
Dr. Price was a dentist and the first modern researcher to examine and write about the food choices and preparation habits of nonindustrialized societies. In his pioneering work, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, he carefully noted the superior health these habits bestowed upon native populations.
These population groups existed entirely on nutrient dense, local foods. While the diets of these peoples differed in specifics, they contained several common factors.
First, the groups studied ate liberally of animal proteins and fats in the form of seafood, organ meats and dairy products.
Animal fats in particular were valued as absolutely essential to good health and were revered as sacred in bestowing easy fertility and healthy children to the parents that consumed them.
These fat and cholesterol-rich animal foods supplied three very important vitamins in large amounts—true vitamin A, the animal form of vitamin D, and the animal form of vitamin K. These vitamins are critical to building healthy bone structure and to the prevention of disease, including tooth decay.
The diets of these isolated cultures also all contained at least some animal and plant foods that were consumed in a raw state.
These healthy natives stood in stark contrast to members of the same racial groups who had adopted the food products of the Industrial Revolution – canned foods, pasteurized milk, white sugar and refined grains.
In these natives, Dr. Price found rampant tooth decay, infectious disease, degenerative illness and infertility.
The children of parents who had adopted modern foods into their homes before conception were born with narrowed faces and developed crooked teeth and other deformities of bone structure, as well as high susceptibility to all manner of medical problems.
Even the robust health of children born to parents who consumed only their traditional diet during their growing years rapidly declined if those children chose a more modern diet upon reaching adulthood.
The drastic difference in health between the natives consuming their traditional diets and those who adopted modern foodstuffs was due not only to food choice alone, however.
Traditional societies practiced superior food preparation and storage techniques as well. Grains, milk products and frequently even vegetables, fruits and meats were fermented or pickled through a process called lacto-fermentation.
Traditional fermentation techniques preserved foods so that they were available during the winter months and other times of food scarcity. These methods also enhanced nutrient availability and added health promoting probiotic bacteria, which ensured sound digestive health and function.
Isolated societies almost universally practiced the liberal incorporation of bone broths into their ethnic cuisines as well. Bone broths supply plentiful minerals in the form of electrolytes which are very easy to assimilate. The gelatin in bone broths attracts digestive juices making any cooked foods that are eaten with the same meal easier to digest. Bone broths are very supportive on healthy cartilage and of digestive health.
These wise preparation methods, which enhanced nutrient value and digestibility, stand in sharp contrast to modern processing and preservation methods, which deaden and denature food rendering it high in calories yet low in nutrition.
The dazzling allure of brightly colored boxes and packages in modern grocery stores beckon shoppers to fill up their pantries with convenient and fractionated foods. But this convenience comes a heavy price – our health.
Even listening to the dietary advice of most doctors, dieticians, researchers, and spokesman for government and nonprofit agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, The American Cancer Society and others tends to confuse the issue for those who genuinely wish to leave processed foods behind and embrace a healthier diet.
The approved guidelines of these Diet Dictocrats are visually depicted as a Pyramid and now a Food Plate, which suggest that the healthiest diet is one based primarily on whole grains along with fruits and vegetables, even though no healthy, traditional society studied by Dr. Price ever ate this way.
This is Politically Correct Nutrition – lopsided guidelines that do not distinguish between rancid and fresh, whole fats, irradiated pesticide laden produce and organic fruits and vegetables, pasteurized dairy coming from confinement cows eating genetically modified feed and raw dairy from pastured animals grazing on grass, lean meats from penned animals eating antibiotic laced feed and those from range fed, full-fat animals, and battery produced and free ranging eggs.
Such empty nutritional advice has not in any way stemmed the ever increasing tide of degenerative disease and in many ways has made the situation far worse with our children paying the heaviest price of all.
Only with a return to the nourishing wisdom of our ancestors as discovered and documented by Dr. Price can we hope to reclaim the vibrant health that is our birthright.
Traditional food choices and preparation techniques using modern technology as a generous benefactor surely promise a Golden Age of health to all who heed its call.
For more information on traditional diets, please refer to the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Until next time, this is Sarah Pope, The Healthy Home Economist and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader and I’m wishing you all the best in the kitchen.