Back to Basics

Copy right Weston Price Foundation

I have been writing about the health effects of processed food but it was not clear to some people how processed food changes one’s life. So, I thought sharing this book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”,  makes more sense to those who still eat processed food.

Dr. Weston Price is a dentist who traveled around the world to examine the teeth of primitive people in 1930 because he noticed from his practice that there is a strong correlation between dental health and physical health: a mouth full of cavities went hand in hand with a body either full of disease, or generalized weakness and susceptibility to disease.  Dr. Price and his wife traveled to isolated villages in the Swiss Alps, to cold and blustery islands off the coast of Scotland, to the Andes Mountain in Peru, to several locations in Africa, to the Polynesian islands to Australia and New Zealand, to the forests of northern Canada, and even to the Arctic Circle. They visited a total of fourteen groups of native peoples.

What Dr. Price found was quite amazing. These primitive people didn’t have tooth paste or tooth brushes, but on average, less than 1 % of the people he visited had tooth decay. Dr. Price also found that these people’s teeth were perfectly straight and white, with high dental arches and well-formed facial features. Moreover, all the people he met were hardy and strong. Getting pregnant and giving birth were nothing difficult for them. Despite exposure to TB (it was the most common disease at that time); there hadn’t been a single case of tuberculosis in any of them.

From his surprising discovery, Dr. Price took great care to observe what these people were eating. Even though most of the people Dr. Price visited were very different in terms of where they lived and what they ate (e.g., the Swiss mountain villagers ate primarily on unpasteurized and cultured dairy products and rye bread, while Maori of New Zealand consumed sea food of every sort – fish, shark, octopus, sea worms, shellfish), he discovered that there were common dietary elements  in all primitive people.

The diets of these healthy people contained 10 times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins, and at least 4 times the amount of calcium, other minerals, and water soluble vitamins than Western diets at that time.  Because of the consumption of fermented and raw foods (including raw animal products), Dr. Price noted that native diets were rich in enzymes.  You could imagine how they ate with limited sources and understand why they were healthy. But this is not a conclusion.  I haven’t mentioned about “processed food” yet. Here comes another discovery Dr. Price made.

Then Dr. Price had an opportunity to compare the natives who lived close to or were living alongside Caucasian colonialists. These native people lived eating a modern diet.  Dr. Price had the unpleasant but tremendously valuable opportunity to observe many primitive populations transition to a modernized diet that included foods like white flour, sugar, polished rice, vegetable fats, and canned goods. In these populations, he noticed a very disturbing increase in a number of problems including tooth decay, incomplete development of the face and body, mental disability, deadly infections of tuberculosis, crippling cases of arthritis, and extreme difficulties with childbirth.

The following table shows the rise in tooth decay observed by Dr. Price among primitive cultures transitioning to modernized foods.

Percentage of Tooth Decay

  Primitive Modernized
Swiss 4.6 29.8
Gaelics 1.2 30
Eskimos 0.09 13
Northern Indians 0.16 21.5
Seminole Indians 4.0 40
Melanesians 0.38 29
Polynesians 0.32 21.9
Africans 0.2 6.8
Australian Aboriginies 0 70.9
New Zealand Maori 0.01 55.3
Malays 0.09 20.6
Coastal Peruvians 0.04 40+
High Andes Indians 0 40+
Amazon Jungle Indians 0 40+

The first generation of offspring from the primitives who switched to modern foods often had uncharacteristically narrow faces, overcrowded teeth, narrow and restricted nasal passages, high susceptibility to illness and disease, and even mental and physical disabilities. These characteristics were practically nonexistent in those who were born and raised exclusively on native foods.

Dr. Price noted that parents and children who had adopted modern foods were highly susceptible to tuberculosis and other degenerative disease.

So, please re-observe what you eat daily.  Are you eating a lot of white pasta, white bread, box cereal, while rice, and sugar? Are you eating high pasturazed milk or dairy? I totally believe that most useful easy health advice is ‘Back to Basic”. A simple meal, fresh raw vegetable, fresh raw fruits, fresh raw fish or grass-fed or pastured meat, fermented grains, beans and vegetables. Stay away from boxed, canned, and packaged food as much as possible.

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