Traditional Diets

food

Examples:  Weston A. Price Foundation, Deep Nutrition. This is how most people in the world ate between the time of the birth of agriculture (as long as 10,000 yrs ago) and the birth of industrial food processing (about 150 yrs ago). Discover what these healthy diets had in common.

STRATEGY:

Post-agricultural whole foods, emphasizing healthy animal foods and fats

FOODS:

Healthy meat, animal fats, and eggs from animals fed their ideal diets
Pastured, raw or fermented full-fat dairy products
Traditionally processed (soaked, sprouted, fermented) grains and legumes
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds
Discourages use of seed oils, such as canola, corn, and flax
No soy

POTENTIAL BENEFITS:

Specifically encourages whole foods and discourages modern processed foods and refined carbohydrates, therefore this diet is substantially healthier than the typical diet.

Eliminates soy, which is a potential health culprit for some people

Traditional processing of grains and legumes reduces “anti-nutrients” in these foods and improves nutrient availability.

Compared to other post-agricultural diets, this diet is much higher in omega-3 fatty acids and much lower in omega-6 fatty acids, providing a healthier omega fatty acid balance.

POTENTIAL RISKS:

This diet is nutritionally rich, therefore if you are having trouble losing weight on this diet you may need to reduce fruit/starchy vegetable intake, dairy intake, and or caloric intake in order to lose weight.

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Who was Weston Price?

Weston Price (1870-1948) was a dentist who studied the dental health of traditional societies around the world. He found that people who were isolated from modern civilizations had strong, straight teeth free of decay and that they were far healthier in general than people who ate the modern diets of his day. He looked at what the diets of these healthy traditional peoples had in common with each other and how they were different from the modern “civilized” diets of his day so that he could understand why modern diets were less healthy. His dietary recommendations are based on his observations about these diets and are summarized at the top of this page.

His observations led him to believe that meat and fat from naturally-raised animals is healthy.

I am not aware of any modern scientific studies which have explored the potential health risks or benefits of this dietary pattern.

Dr. Price’s work is documented in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  You can learn more about his philosophy and the diet he recommended at:  www.westonaprice.org.

One modern-day physician who writes and blogs about the health benefits of traditional dietary strategies is Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition.  Her blog provides useful information and support at www.drcate.com.

To read about other popular diets, visit the Diets page.

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Last Modified: Sep 3, 2015