Have you heard of the Weston A. Price Foundation? – I hadn’t either until I was asked to speak at a regional WAPF conference here in Ireland in Co Limerick in 2015. At the time I was spearheading a campaign with several others to protect people’s right to sell and buy raw milk should they so choose to do so for any number of health and culinary reasons.
I was invited to speak and so met Sally Fallon Morell MA who is Director of the WAPF and heard about Dr Weston A. Price, a Cleveland dentist who died in the late 1940s.
America was the first to introduce processed food into the market, so the impact of the change in diet on people’s health became evident sooner over there. Dr. Weston A. Price observed the dramatic decay in his patients teeth. He suspected it was connected to the increased sugar and ultra-processed foods in their diets and began his lifelong research and documentation of his observations.
For over 10 years he travelled widely to study the diets of isolated, primitive and indigenous people. Comparing the food and culture of aborigines, the New Zealand Maori, Inuits, several African tribes, Polynesians, pygmies, Lotschueld in Switzerland and the Native Americans. He had planned to help with their teeth problems but found little decay.... Even though each group were eating very diverse foods he observed definite similarities between each one. All were eating an ancestral diet, none included ultra- processed, refined and denatured foods.
The 11 principals for the Weston A. Price optimum nutrition were based on these observations.
I was intrigued to find an organisation that espouses similar values around nutrition to my own particularly their advice around fat consumption at a time when the received wisdom was that low fat was detrimental to our health
Despite the fact that it now appears that there was not a jot of scientific evidence to link butter or any good natural fat to cardiovascular disease, rather the opposite.
There were similarities common to each culture. Each ate natural fats, offal, from healthy pasture fed animals and poultry and prized them above other meat, drank gelatine rich bone broths, raw milk, and ate fermented foods…
Here are the Weston A. Price 11 Principals of optimum nutrition:
1. The diets of healthy, non-industrialised peoples contain no refined or denatured foods or ingredients, such as refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; synthetic vitamins; or toxic additives and artificial colourings.
2. All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal food, such as fish and shellfish; land and water fowl; land and sea mammals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects. The whole animal is consumed—muscle meat, organs, bones and fat, with the organ meats and fats preferred.
3. The diets of healthy, non-industrialised peoples contain at least four times the minerals and water-soluble vitamins, and TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins found in animal fats (vitamin A, vitamin D and Activator X, now thought to be vitamin K2) as the average American diet.
4. All traditional cultures cooked some of their food but all consumed a portion of their animal foods raw.
5. Primitive and traditional diets have a high content of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria from lactofermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30 percent to 80 percent of calories but only about 4 percent of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
8. Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
9. All traditional diets contain some salt.
10. All traditional cultures make use of animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.
11. Traditional cultures make provisions for the health of future generations by providing special nutrient-rich animal foods for parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children; by proper spacing of children; and by teaching the principles of right diet to the young.
Source as much chemical free food as you can find and afford. You’ll easily save the extra cost on supplements and added vitamins and minerals.
Finally, the big new thing in the US is – Real Food – everyone I spoke to was desperately trying to source real unadulterated food. We still have wonderful produce but even here in Ireland it takes more and more of a concerted effort to find unadulterated, nourishing, wholesome food but it’s certainly worth it.