Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Dr Weston A Price
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Dr Weston A Price a dentist who wrote this book in the 1930s as a 70-year-old to demonstrate techniques used by non-civilised cultures to prolong the life of themselves and their offspring. He used teeth health as his gauge of the health of the tribe. He took over 16,000 photos of peoples teeth in non-civilised societies. This book distils the research of Weston A. Price, a dentist and independent nutrition researcher. In a decade of travel around the world, Price and his wife studied the health, dietary habits, and chemical composition of food of dozens of traditional peoples of various racial backgrounds. His research was done at a time when many such groups still lived free of the influence of Western civilization and what he called "foods of commerce," i.e. heavily refined and denatured foods.
One could question whether 60 plus-year-old research is relevant today, but I found his work powerful and persuasive for a very simple reason.
Health problems sent me on a quest to find the best dietary information, but I soon found myself mired in contradictory claims, opposing research and special interest groups, as well as outright deceit. First I would read about how one vitamin or mineral was good for this. Then I would read that the very same item was bad for that. You shouldn't combine X with Y, or needed to add tons of Z or W, except on Sundays when the moon was almost 3/4 full. I became very disillusioned with the incredible complexity of nutrition. As I read more and more deeply, I also became annoyed at all the disinformation and profiteering behind much of the so-called research.
I reached this bottom line: While we understand proteins, carbs, and fats reasonably well, and have a pretty good handle on most vitamins and about a dozen minerals, there is simply an immense amount we just don't know. We are researching minerals at about 5 per decade (around 50 to go - a hundred more years at our current rate). There are around 5000 enzymes in bee pollen alone, and few of them have been researched. There are an unknown number of phytochemicals and other things we have yet to discover that have been constituents of our food for perhaps millions of years. Science moves very slowly, and it could easily be several hundred or 1000 years before we get it all sorted out. And that doesn't take into consideration the power groups who insist on muddying the waters for profit's sake. Modern science is quite obviously incapable of giving us complete answers to our nutritional questions. It just plain doesn't have them to give, nor will it for a long, long time.
Then I found Price's work. Basically, he was the Tony Robbins of diet - he sought out the healthiest people on Earth and studied what they had done for hundreds and thousands of years to stay healthy. He looked at their Traditional diets as well as what happened when they adopted Western diets. The results are in this book, and it is well worth your taking the time to read. While others have followed his work, the changing nature of the world now makes it impossible to duplicate his research today. His work stands as a pivotal piece in science and health as well as in history. This represents the cumulative knowledge of millions of people over thousands of years in a laboratory that includes the entire world. Definitely non-trivial.
There are also books by Ronald Schmid and Sally Fallon that introduce and give overviews of Price's work. I recommend them also. Today, when we must all become advocates for our own health, arming yourself with the best information is vital.
update December 2008
A recent article published by the Weston A. Price Organization not only validates Price's X-Factor research but it also clearly illustrates the point I make above about modern scientific method and nutritional research failing to provide adequate information.
Vitamin K2 has been identified as the X-Factor, and recent research into K2 shows that it is an extremely essential nutrient, not the throw-away that it has long been considered. It is a vital factor in bone and tooth health, heart health, nerve health, and so on. It turns out to be a critical part of so many body processes that physiology texts will have to be rewritten in major ways.
Here is a vitamin discovered nearly 100 years ago, and yet science is just beginning to understand how terribly important it is. The main reasons for this serious error are; a lack of understanding of the chemical tests involved, lack of reading research in other countries, and a lack of interest on the part of researchers. (No money in vitamin research, you can't patent vitamins.)
The article is available from the Weston A. Price Organization and is a very interesting read.
527 Pages, Soft Cover
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