Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Healthiest Cultures in the World - In the Early 1900's

Healthiest Cultures in the World - In the Early 1900's

In Weston A. Price's book "Nutritional and Physical Degeneration", he describes his experiences as a Dentist traveling the world and meeting the "Healthiest Cultures in the World" in the early 1900’s.  What started out as an experiment to discover effects of the food on dental cavities, became an amazing collection of research that showed the nutritional content and type of food that was consumed, the effect that it had on the teeth, but most importantly, it showed the physical degeneration of each generation that introduced "processed food" into their "native" diets.

Some of the interesting things I learned was that it IS possible to live your entire life, eating food as God made and intended it to be eaten, you have ALL of your teeth (with no cavities) at the time you die, plenty of space for your wisdom teeth and No DENTIST is necessary.  100's of catacombs validated this fact.

The people studied had beautiful face structure and nasal structures (in many different parts of the world), but as soon as ground flour, sugars, and canned food was introduced into their native diets, each generation had more crowding of the teeth, less nasal and jaw area, and with each generation the health issues, both physical and mental would become prevalent. Each generation, in my eyes, became uglier and uglier.  It was a great motivator for me to cook healthy so I can have beautiful children and grandchildren :) .

Men and women were able to withstand incredible obstacles (climate wise) in order to obtain food. Alaskan Eskimos would brave the waters of a hurricane in search for food in their canoe like boats. When a crushing wave would come upon them, they would turn themselves under water while the waves beat upon them and then turn their canoe back over when the wave would pass. Amazing strength and resilience in all of the cultures studied as well as mental alertness throughout ones ENTIRE life. Those that died would slow down and become weakened just days before passing away at an old age.

When I read this book it seriously changed my view of God.  I had served a proselyting mission to Chile in 1996-1998.  There were so many people, in the areas I served in, that had horrific teeth.  I remember looking at one lady who was extremely beautiful, but when she laughed it was void of almost all of her teeth and the ones left were black with only small spots of white.  I didn't understand why God would have people suffer just because they lacked modern medicine...the doctors, the dentists etc.  Now I know it wasn't God that caused the suffering, but how man changed food from what it originally was that was causing the health problems.
So, how do we eat like they did?  Referring to the people studied in the early 1900's all over the world.  Their diet varied according to the animal protein eaten, the fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, etc. available to each population, but there were similarities.

The meat whether it was scavenger, animal, bird, fish etc. was all taken from a place where there was no contamination, no man-made food for the animals.  Most of the populations valued the organ meats as the most nutritious - like the liver.  The milk products that came from the cows had vitamins in them that Dr. Weston Price called the "X Factor" - since it wasn't a vitamin he was familiar with.  This "X Factor" is now sold in Real Foods Market by companies that raise cattle on the grass lands and the milk is raw.  I don't buy the X-Factor product, but I DO BUY RAW MILK - raw milk from a dairy I trust.  It's extremely important that the animal be feed pasture - free range food.  Grains cause the cow to have acidic stomach(s) and that is where the disease starts (in an acidic animal).

The people grew their own fruits, vegetables, and would obtain sea greens if they lived by the ocean.

To preserve these items through the winter, they had a "fermentation" process.  It's been wonderful to learn how to make foods by fermenting them.  They also would not eat their grains unless they had been SOAKED or sprouted first.  Sally Fallon, the current President of the Weston Price Foundation, co-authored a cookbook called "Nourishing Traditions".  This cookbook really helped me how to understand how to cook the way the people did in the 1900's.  I learned how to ferment vegetables like Kimchi, Gingered Carrots, Cabbage, and how to preserve Garlic with sea salt and water etc. using the fermentation method as opposed to bottling with high pressure heat and killing all the natural enzymes.  I learned to make breads using whey (from the raw milk) to break down the grains, causing a natural fermentation process, as opposed to traditional ways.  It's been fun for my family to learn how to make fermented drinks like beet kvass, and Kombucha.  It's really not that hard to cook in a way that would be like the cultures in the 1900's, but it has taken a little bit of time to change the way I "use to cook" with the new and wonderful ways mentioned in Nourishing Traditions.

It's funny to say, but I had no idea how to make butter, yogurt, buttermilk, or cheese from milk.  I remembered tossing a bottle of milk back and forth to my friend (when I was a young girl - we lived in the country), and knew it was because the Mom wanted milk, but I'd never done it myself.  It was a THRILLING day when we scooped butter from our Vita-mix (set on the lowest speed) and put it into our french butter ball container that didn't require refrigeration.  What?  No refrigerator?  It was so exciting to learn.  Then the day I made curd cheese for my kids....I felt SO empowered!  It was SO delicious, and my kids loved it.  Then learning to separate milk curd from the whey - and to find that milk left in sippy cups for several days didn't go bad it just made curds and whey. 

The early 1900's cultures would eat their fermented foods with their meat dishes.  This helped in the break down and digestion of the meat proteins.  One popular dish in Hawaii, for breakfast, is Kimchi and eggs.  Kimchi in the stores is about $20 for a quart jar of it.  I follow Sally Fallons recipe for Kimchi and can make about $80 worth of it for probably under $10 - and it's SO easy to make, and tastes MUCH better than the Kimchi in the stores.  I find that when I eat Kimchi with the eggs I don't have the heavy feeling in my stomach after eating them.  It's also fun to eat on salads and in sandwiches.

Sally Fallon has a wealth of advice in the columns on either page - opposite the recipes.  I feel like she has written 2 books in one.  I could set down and read the columns and soak up a lifetime of information.  The research is complex and extremely well researched and detailed- a serious lifetime effort of research that she's made that we can learn as we read her words.

For any of you wanting to implement all of the items Weston Price discovered as the "secret to health and longevity" in the people he researched, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the two books listed...

"Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and
"Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Dr. Weston A. Price

The above books are absolute diamonds in my book collection.  A book called "Traditional Foods are your best Medicine" summarizes these and other books we like and so we purchased many copies for friends and family one Christmas, but I don't think it does justice or give the impact that reading and seeing all the pictures of the actual patients in Dr. Price's journeys throughout the world does.

Thank you Mr. or Mrs. "Anonymous" for your question :).  I am so happy that you asked, and hope this helps.  I really hope that anyone reading this will purchase the above two books.  I also recommend you sing up for the Weston A. Price's newsletter.  Jewels of information are sent out regularly via email.

With much love,

-Steffanie

No comments: