Fat is Not the Enemy!

What if I told you that you never had to eat another vegtable again and could still maintain good health?  There are probably some kids out there who would jump up and down for joy if they read that. As far-fetched as it might sound, the truth is there have been people throughout  history, thousands of people, who have done just that.  How can this be possible? Am I really recommending this today? NO! I am not recommending you start skipping the produce aisle or replace your vegetable garden with a koi pond, but I will tell you how it worked for certain populations and how you can use this knowledge to the benefit of your own health and that of your family.

butterFirst of all it is important to understand that all fat is not the enemy.  My goal is to get you to realize some fats are essential.  The best way to illustrate this is to tell you about the research of Dr. Weston Price. For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Price, he was a dentist living and practicing in the first half of the 1900s.  The bulk of his research was between roughly 1920 and 1940.  Just because it is nearly 100 years old in no way negates the importance of what he discovered.  This is because his research was conducted on specific groups of people who, for the most part, no longer exist today as their cultures have been assimilated by the encroaching civilization around them. Studying the research, especially the photographs and physical examination notes he left, gives us a unique insight on the lives of those special people.

Weston and book

Dr. Price and his book

It all started when Dr. Price was examining his own dental patients and noticed that his adult patients who had the most tooth decay often also had serious health problems in other areas of their bodies such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, intestinal disorders and chronic fatigue.  When he examined children he began to notice that the children with pronounced overbites, crowded and crooked teeth and narrow facial structure were much more likely to also have frequent infections, allergies, asthma, wear glasses or have behavioral problems.  Through these observations he concluded that dental problems and deformities were nothing more than physical manifestations of more serious physiological problems.  He began to look for a reason as to why some people would have these problems and others would not.  This led to ten years of world travel for Dr. Price and his team of researchers and culminated in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, still available and worth reading today.  They studied what they called “primitives” who were living in remote communities completely separated from the “civilized society” of that day.  These “primitives” lived only on what they made, hunted, gathered or grew themselves.

Dr. Price and his team began in a Swiss village high in the Alps where the people ate mainly swiss-alpshigh-fat dairy products from cows they tended in the mountain pastures.  Picture little Heidi and her friends frolicking happily in snow and sunshine.  The community lived on unpasteurized whole milk, raw butter and cream, cheese they made themselves and some very dense sourdough rye bread they made from grain they grew. This along with homemade bone broths made up the bulk of their diet.  Once a week they might eat some meat, and in the summer they grew some vegetables in their household gardens. It was remarkable that in a time period when tuberculosis was raging all over the rest of Switzerland there was never a single incidence of tuberculosis in the entire history of that small community.

After the remote Swiss village, Dr. Price traveled to many other places all around the world. He studied Eskimo tribes who ate only fish, fish roe and other marine animals including seal oil and blubber. He saw how the Eskimo mothers gave birth to one sturdy baby after another and how the tribe was without health problems or tooth decay. He studied tribes in Africa such as the Masai who ate no plant foods at all, just meat, blood and milk from the cattle they carefully tended. They grew tall, strong, straight people with clear eyes and broad smiles.

Dr. Price did find communities of “primitives” in all climates that ate many plant foods. Tropical climates produced people who ate plenty of coconut, root vegetables and fresh fruits; the outer islands of Scotland produced people who ate mostly fish and oats. Without exception all around the world in every community where he found superlatively healthy people Dr. Price found some things in common. The foods eaten were whole, natural and emphasized fats as being of primary importance.  When meat was eaten it was eaten along with the fat. Organ meats were delicacies to be savored, milk was always full-fat and never pasteurized, grains were whole not refined.  No one ate white sugar, refined flour or any kind of refined vegetable oil.  What was noteworthy was a laboratory analysis of these foods from all around the world showed these people consumed up to ten times more vitamins and minerals than the modern diets of Price’s time period.  The “primitives” also made the vitamin and mineral content of their food even more available for digestion and assimilation by using special preparation techniques with grains and beans such as fermenting, sprouting, soaking and sourdough.

You can see some of the photographs Dr. Price took of the beautiful teeth and wide smiles from the people he met here at the Price – Pottenger Foundation website. http://ppnf.org/about-ppnf/about-drs-price-and-pottenger/dr-price/price-research-details

Back home in the laboratory Dr. Price carefully analyzed his findings, samples, data and photographs.  He discovered that the fat soluble vitamins in particular acted as catalysts – he called them “activators” – in the assimilation of protein, minerals and other vitamins.

What are the fat soluble vitamins and where are they found? They are vitamins A, D, E, and K. The only source for these vitamins fully formed is from animal foods. You might think that carrots and other orange vegetables are good sources of vitamin A but they are actually good sources of beta carotene which a healthy adult body can convert into vitamin A. this conversion process is complex, require special enzymes and fat to be done, and cannot be done efficiently if you have certain physical conditions. Infants and children cannot make the conversion at all.

The foods that Dr. Price’s “primitives” considered to be essential all contained high amounts of A, D and E and the most important foods in these cultures, some were even considered to be sacred by some tribes, were very high in vitamin K2. According to Dr. Price’s research without these important foods in our own diets all the other nutrients we eat may go to waste as our bodies cannot utilize them effectively.  These “sacred” foods were cod liver oil, fish eggs, organ meats and the deep yellow spring and fall butter from cows eating the rapidly growing grass of those seasons. grass

Nowadays getting braces, wearing glasses, taking medications for behavioral problems, dealing with asthma and allergies, and many other of life’s difficulties are considered just part of a normal childhood. Truth is … it is NOT!  There are families who are taking back the vital, strong, health of these “primitives” by following their dietary examples.  Independent research is currently being conducted to see how these serious health trends are being reversed without medication.

So to bring this into practical terms for our own well fed families, we can look at Dr. Price’s studies and realize that our first focus needs to be on finding sources for these important vitamin-rich foods. We know conventional animal feeding operations are unhealthful, and we can see that what made the foods in these communities Dr. Price studied so healthful for the “primitives” is still true for us today. Animals living in fresh air and sunshine eating foods they were designed to eat produce the highest quality eggs, butter, meat and fat.  Fish living in wild, clean water eating food they find themselves produce the highest quality fish oil, roe and meat. It is important to seek out sources for animals raised in this way. It is important to include one or more of these vitamin-rich foods in our diets every day. To use your money wisely spend more for these crucial components of your diet and not on the high priced but low nutrition “all natural” packaged foods like chips, crackers or cereal.  The exciting part about all of this is that these nutrient-dense foods are delicious and satisfying!  The vibrant, healthy “primitives” knew nothing about low-fat, high-fiber, bland, tasteless meals.  It’s all about real food from real animals living a respected life on real farms giving us delicious, nourishing meals at home everyday.

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