A recent New York Times article surveyed a panel of nutrition “experts” and the general public about which foods they thought were good or bad. There was vast disparity between, as well as within, the two groups. Foods that the “experts” generally considered less healthy (e.g., granola bar, coconut oil, frozen yogurt, granola) were considered very healthy by the public. Foods considered healthy by the “experts” (e.g., quinoa, tofu, sushi, hummus, shrimp) were designated less healthy by the public. While both groups pretty much agreed on the goodness of foods like kale, apples, oatmeal, “experts” and the public were nearly equally unsure about the healthfulness of basic items like butter, red meat, whole milk, pork chops, etc. – foods, coincidentally, containing saturated fat, which many well-publicized studies have shown to be good for heart and overall health, contrary to myths propagated by the food processing industry.
What’s missing from all this is any awareness of overarching principles. Most people really want to eat more healthfully, but are caught up in mixed signals. The constantly changing and often totally contradictory dietary guidelines in the media, from government agencies and celebrity gurus, have fed skepticism. Yet, inevitably, a lot of the hype du jour gets absorbed. Is it any wonder that many people just throw up their hands and wing it?
For clarity on this issue, we look to the expertise of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), an organization founded on the wisdom of traditional cultures, unburdened by TV, fast food producers, certified nutritionists or dieticians. Weston Price was a dentist from Cleveland, Ohio whose 1939 book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, documents the fieldwork he did in the 1920’s and 1930’s among many pre-industrial populations around the world, including tribal Africans, Pacific islanders, Inuit, North and South American natives and Australian aborigines. He was concerned about the deteriorating dental and overall health he was seeing in his American patients who were consuming more and more refined, denatured foods increasingly available in the modern industrialized world.
What he found was that indigenous cultures eating their traditional diet had near perfect health, including rarely any incidence of dental or chronic degenerative disease. In fact, their languages had no words for today’s common diseases like cancer, arthritis, heart disease, etc. Though these widely diverse cultures ate foods native to their particular geography, Dr. Price uncovered basic dietary principles common to all. He believed these principles were the key to their superb health and longevity and could be applied to modern societies.
Sally Fallon, president and co-founder of WAPF, has dedicated her life to spreading the lessons of Dr. Price about how nutrient-dense foods hold the key to restoring and maintaining excellent health. We strongly urge you to watch this video in which she answers with great acuity the universal question “What is a healthy diet?”