What we can Learn from Traditional Diets
In the 1930s, a Cleveland dentist named Weston A. Price, DDS, traveled to isolated parts of the world to study the dental health of people unaffected by Western civilization. His studies revealed that dental caries and deformed dental arches, which resulted in crooked teeth, were the result of nutritional deficiencies and not genetically inherited as previously believed.
Dr. Price studied sequestered villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, indigenous peoples of North and South America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines, and the Maori people of New Zealand. He found that beautiful, straight teeth, freedom from decay, good physiques, and resistance to disease were typical of native groups who consumed traditional diets rich in essential nutrients.
The isolated people Dr. Price photographed – with their healthy bodies, ease of reproduction, emotional stability, and freedom from degenerative ills – stand in sharp contrast to civilized modern people subsisting on the “displacing foods of modern commerce,” which includes sugar, white flour, pasteurized milk, low-fat foods, processed vegetable oils, and chemical and additive-filled food like products.
Compared to the average diet at this time, the indigenous diet provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium, and other minerals, and ten times the amount of fat soluble vitamins from foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs, and animal fats. These cholesterol-rich foods are the very same foods now shunned by our current food guides.
These healthy traditional people knew instinctively what scientists of Dr. Price’s day had just discovered – that fat-soluble vitamins were vital to health because they acted as catalysts to mineral absorption and protein utilization.
Without them, we cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in our food. Dr. Price discovered an additional fat-soluble nutrient, which he labeled Activator X, to be present in fish livers, shellfish, organ meats, and butter from cows eating rapidly growing green grass in the spring and fall. All primitive groups had a source of Activator X, now thought to be vitamin K, in their diets.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A HEALTHY TRADITIONAL DIET?
1. No refined foods or ingredients
- No refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup
- No white flour or canned foods
- No pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low-fat milk
- No refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils
- No protein powders or synthetic vitamins
- No additives and artificial coloring's
2. Animal protein (a portion of which should be consumed raw)
- Reptiles and insects
- Eggs and whole milk products
- Land and sea mammals, including land and water fowl
- Fish and shellfish
- Whole animal consumption preferred (e.g., muscle meat, organs, bones, and fat)
3. Abundance of minerals and water
- Fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and Activator X – now known as vitamin K)
- Water-soluble vitamins (e.g., vitamin B and vitamin C)
4. Food enzymes and beneficial bacteria
- Dairy products and meat
- Lacto-fermented vegetables
- Fruit and fruit beverages
5. Non-animal protein
- Sprouted and soaked seeds, nuts, and grains
This traditional style lifestyle is now called many things like the “Caveman Diet”, the “Paleolithic Diet” or just “Paleo”. I truly believe that by moving back towards a more wholefoods way of eating, by consuming real food that the body can recognize, our digestion will improve, our absorption will improve and therefore our whole body with run better and have less inflammation.
This can seem like a daunting task with so many processed and refined foods being sold to us each day. Let’s face it, those processed foods ARE delicious. It’s not to say that we should never indulge, but to bring the body back into health we need to follow the 80/20 rule. Eat purely whole unprocessed foods 80% of the time.
Do you want to get even healthier? Would you like to know more about what how you can fit whole foods into your life? Let’s chat about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can work unprocessed foods back into your daily meals. Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. I work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!
1| Adapted from Sally Fallon Morell’s Principles of Healthy Traditional Diets Principles of Healthy Diets - Weston A Price. (2000). Retrieved from http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/ principles-of-healthy-diets-2/