Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2nd principle of a nourishing traditional diet - Nutrient density

Did you miss the first post in this series? Read about the 1st principle of a nourishing diet here.

Dr Weston A. Price timed his study of health and nutrition well. On each of the six continents he visited during the 1920s and '30s, Price found extremely healthy isolated cultures eating their traditional diets. From them he was able to take food samples back to his laboratory in Cleveland to analyse.

From Nutrition and Physical Degeneration:  "Note the marked difference in facial and dental arch form of the two Samoan primitives above and the two modernized below. The face bones are underdeveloped below causing a marked constriction of the arches with crowding of the teeth. This is a typical expression of inadequate nutrition of the parents.

At the talk I went to recently, Sally Fallon Morell gave us Price's key finding from this analysis.

Nourishing diets contain nutrient dense foods 
Price discovered that primitive diets contained four times the calcium and other minerals compared with the modern American diet of his day.

They also contained ten times the fat soluble vitamins.

Some primitive cultures got their fat soluble vitamins A and D from seafood, including fish eggs, fish liver, fish heads, shell fish, oily fish and sea mammals. Others got them from grass-fed land animals - from butter and cream, egg yolks, liver, organ meats and animal fat. (Every culture Price studied ate some form of animal food, which was a big disappointment to Price who was hoping to find at least one healthy traditional vegetarian culture.)

In her talk, Sally made the point that the nutritional differences between traditional foods and ours would be even more pronounced today, and that got me thinking about some of the reasons why:

  1. We've had a further eighty-odd years of industrial agriculture stripping nutrients, microbes and bacteria from our soil.
  2. We live in a saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-phobic society, so we're deficient in crucial fat-soluble vitamins A, K, D and E.
  3. We eat a much more limited diet: only certain parts of an animal, rarely making use of the organ meats, bones, fat or marrow; as well as a much smaller range of fruit and vegetables.
  4. We eat so many empty/detrimental calories in white flour, white sugar, fake sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, soy, artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, additives and pesticides.
  5. In many cases we've shifted animals from their natural environment to raise them in convenient (for us) confinement, making the animals sick and the meat/milk/eggs they produce less nutrient dense as a result.
  6. We pasteurise the goodness out of our dairy products, turning them into allergens instead of nourishing food.
  7. We've forgotten how to prepare grains, beans, legumes and nuts to make them digestible, so we don't get the nutritional benefits they could provide.

But the list above has made me sad. So now I'm going to focus on the positive.

Dr Weston A. Price did conduct his research at the ideal time. And his research was so well done that it has lead to a ground-swell of change around the world. Thanks to Price's inquisitive nature, ordinary people like you and I are learning what's been lost from our modern diet, and are taking steps to redress the balance.

And we have the wonderful efforts of Sally Fallon Morell and the Weston A. Price Foundation to aid us on our journey. That makes me pretty happy indeed.

Want to know more about the work of Dr Weston A. Price and how to apply it today?

This post is linked to Traditional Tuesdays.


  1. yay, I thought that the last post was all your learnt, now I don't know how many more posts there will be :) very comprehensive list. Even taking on some of the recommendations in NT has to help, when you see how many things we are doing wrong!

  2. Great post, thanks for passing the info on.

  3. great post Emma. I was so surprised about the face bones, wow!
    and that list makes me sad too.

  4. Wow, really interesting post!

    I nominated you for an award! I think you've gotten nominated for this before, though, but extra blog love was needed because your blog is amazing :)



Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.