What do we eat and why?

 

I subscribe to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) nutritional recommendations. I am a big believer in this way of eating because I have seen such huge changes in my health since I switched over in about 2003.

I grew up as a vegan / vegetarian and developed lots of health problems in my teens and early twenties. After lots of research, I decided to convert my diet to that recommended by the WAPF. Actually, I switched my dogs to their version of a species-appropriate diet (what an animal’s ancestors ate) first: basically, home-made and grain-free with plenty of raw bone and organs. I was astounded at the degree of improvement in their health.  The younger one, who had been wasting away from irritable bowel syndrome until the vet put him on meds, was able to go off his meds and gained needed weight. The older one went from needing help to get in the car, to once more leaping over the yard fence if anything was placed up against it. I had never imagined that diet could have such an effect on anyone’s health, and it made me wonder what the human version could do for me, my new husband, and the kids we hoped to have.

The WAPF bases its recommendations on the work of Weston Price, who was a widely renowned dentist back in the early 1900s. He was known as the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition.” He noticed that dental problems generally corresponded with other health problems in his patients and that the dental and general health of his patients had deteriorated over the course of his practice. Price wondered about this and suspected that the increase in “modern” foods such as canned foods, processed sugar, syrups, and white flour could be the cause. He noticed the excellent teeth in photographs of native peoples from around the world and started traveling to remote places all over the world. He compared the teeth and health of native groups living traditionally with closely related people living in trading towns on “white man’s food.” He found that the narrow faces, crowded teeth, cavities, and health problems were a result of inadequate diet, not genetics. He discovered that the traditional diets varied significantly, but all contained (when brought home and tested in a lab) several times the minerals and ten (!) times the fat-soluble vitamins of the typical American diet of the time. He also noticed that most of the groups had certain sacred foods that tended to be highest in these fat- soluble vitamins (A, D, K) that were especially prized and preferentially fed to newlyweds, pregnant women, and children. Shellfish, organ meats, insects, and spring dairy products were the most common foods in this category. See Weston A. Price’s book NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL DEGENERATION  or the wapf website for further information on his fascinating research. Based on this and similar studies, the WAPF recommends that people:

1) eliminate processed foods and severely restrict sweets 2) emphasize home-cooked, high quality (organic, pastured, grass-fed) meats, grains, vegetables, dairy, and eggs 3) eat regular meals of organ meats, especially liver, and seafood 4) make and eat bone broth regularly 5) eat some raw animal products, particularly dairy 6) eat generous amounts of fat, especially high-quality animal fats such as butter, cream, tallow, and coconut oil 7) soak / sprout all seeds (grains, nuts, seeds, beans)

After I converted from my lifelong, low-fat vegetarian diet to this high-fat, omnivorous diet (not an easy task!), I found that the cavities that had defied all previous attempts at control (frequent brushing and dental visits, lots of fillings, etc) just stopped developing, my chronic urinary tract infections and bronchitis either stopped occurring or were easily controlled through herbal means, my back pain improved significantly, and my mood stabilized quite a bit.

Now, in my mid 40s, I can’t take missed sleep as easily as in my 20s, don’t recover as quickly from injuries, and gimp around for a minute after sitting or squatting on the ground for a while – however, overall I feel stronger and healthier than I did twenty years ago – I would call that a major success on par with the improvements my dogs had on their species-appropriate-diet.

Since my kids didn’t have 20 years of vegetarianism before eating this way, it’s a little harder to tell how they would otherwise feel, but at 8 and 12, neither one has ever needed antibiotics, and they have had only one cavity, one minor broken bone, and one ear infection between them in their lives.

We aren’t perfect. We eat out, go on vacation, visit family, get busy. These all involve compromises. We do the best we can. We eat a lot of grass-fed beef and (raw) dairy, pastured pork, chicken, and eggs, beans, rice, oatmeal, yogurt, home-made granola (made from the awesome sprouted rolled oats sold by To Your Health Sprouted Flour, soups, stir-fries, and vegetables from our garden. We eat some fish and liver pate, some fruit and dessert. We try to eat things we like. Life is too short to eat bad tasting food, and too valuable to eat poor quality food.

 

 

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