Have you heard of Dr. Weston A. Price? He was a dentist who in the 1930’s did some amazing research. He traveled all over the world for over a decade studying the health of cultures who were completely untouched by western civilization. I’ll bet you can guess what he found. Traditional diets turned out to be the key to pristine health, beautiful teeth, and good physiques. Here are photos of some of the healthy and beautiful people he met who had no access to western dental care.
When navigating the world of “holistic health”, and “real food” it is very easy to become distracted by… well, partitioning; the opposite of a holistic approach. In doing research into real food you will easily in one search, find all wheat strains categorically criminalized, the PH level of foods touted as an end-all be-all of whether it is healthy or not with such inflammatory titles as “alkalize or die!”. You will read about the Paleo diet, the 4 hour body diet, the Whole30, and the inflammation inherent in all disease. You’ll read that legumes are to be avoided but quinoa and millet to be embraced, then you’ll read that all grains are bad but maybe some legumes like lentils are OK. You’ll read about the healthiest of people eating nothing but vegetables and seeds and nuts, only to then find that nuts are to be consumed cautiously as they are prone to harboring mold. You’ll read that all meat is actually really bad for you as it is highly acidic to the body and takes up to 3 days to digest within which time it has putrefied in your intestines. Then you’ll learn that meat contains essential amino acids and proteins that are absolutely necessary to a balanced diet including omega 3 fatty acid in a form that is easily metabolized. And after a while you start to realize all on your own… something is really wrong with our food. And with the way that we talk about it.
I’ve seen what you’ve seen out there. It can feel like every scientific food claim is contradicted by another and the best you can do is to muddle through. At least it’s better than giving into the SAD (standard American diet)
When I discovered Sally Fallon via the Weston. A. Price foundation it was a breath of fresh air. Her book Nourishing Traditions has become absolutely indispensable to me. Before we had really mucked things up by abusing technology in the food industry, people were healthier, and stronger and there was less mental illness. Sally’s book is based off of Dr.Price’s research into traditional diets, lifestyles, farming practices, and food preservation methods. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an unbiased, actually holistic guide to eating the foods we were made to eat. I highly recommend her book and also would like to strongly encourage you to read the Weston A. Price Foundation brochure which gives an overview of the differences in the healthy way that traditional cultures live.
You can also read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver for a humorous and heart-warming account of how she and her family spent a year living the “traditional life” eating nothing but what they grew and raised, essentially applying traditional food culture principles.
These educational tools have been one of the most important keys for me finally finding balance in my approach to food.
Step away from all the labels, claims, diets and titles and take a look back in time to see where we went wrong in the first place. The answer really can be as simple as slowing down, reconnecting with our food and sticking to the wise traditions of our ancestors. Be aware that a fundamental shift has occurred in the way that we eat. As the American Author Wendell Berry put it. “People are fed by the food industry which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food.” If we start paying attention, we can create dramatic change.