lemon cheese wedge

How Weston A. Price Changed My Diet and My World

I haven’t updated about my diet in a long time. Truthfully, I’ve had a few life- and health-altering events since last spring, and it’s been a lot to process. As of the beginning of this year, I am a follower of Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) dietary principles. What does that mean? In a nutshell: I eat real food. Traditional, nutrient-dense foods that heal and protect rather than deplete and destroy. 

“I thought you were into juicing?”

Green juices are still a part of my diet, but I no longer consider juicing the cornerstone of a healthy diet.

I was utterly convinced of the power of traditional foods when I attended a Nourishing Traditional Diets presentation in January at Culture Club 101. It was an introduction to the lifework of Weston A. Price, a dentist and scientist who traveled the world in the 1930s searching for the healthiest populations. His findings are memorialized in the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Basically, he found in every population without exception that those who adhered to their culture’s traditional diet were healthy, well-proportioned, disease-resistant, and had straight teeth with no dental decay. Those whose diets consisted of what he called “displacing foods of modern commerce,” a.k.a. refined sugars and carbohydrates and vegetable oils, had underdeveloped facial bones and dental palates and suffered from all manner of chronic and degenerative diseases.

The common denominator in the healthy people’s diets was the fat soluble vitamins and activators found only in animal fats. They got plenty of vitamins A, D, and K2, calcium and other important minerals through their food. All the cultures had “sacred foods,” synonymous with “fertility foods,” which was always some kind of raw or fatty animal product, e.g. raw milk, raw butter, fish eggs, organ meats.

I was struck by the photographs of people who had traditional diets and how beautiful they were – wide, bright smiles and broad, friendly faces. Without exception, the photos of those on a Western diet, often siblings from the same generation (so as to counter any genetic argument), had narrower faces and crowded teeth.

Amazingly, Dr. Price found that parents who returned to their traditional diet could reverse the damage within one generation. The most important time to be properly nourished is in the womb and during childhood. Babies especially need fat soluble activators for brain and muscle development, which is why breast milk consists almost entirely of saturated fat.

There so much more I could share but I would be writing forever. Suffice to say, I left the presentation filled with an incredible excitement that I had finally “arrived” in my five-year search for the healthiest and most healing foods.

“What have you been eating?”

I consider these the signature foods of WAPF: bone broth, homemade raw yogurt and cheese, homemade lacto-fermented veggies (e.g. sauerkraut) and beverages (e.g. kombucha), ghee and raw butter from grassfed cows, raw egg yolks from pastured chickens, liver, fermented cod liver oil.

I eat mostly: all of the above, grassfed beef, organic or pastured eggs and chicken, heritage pork, wild caught salmon, organic greens and veggies, Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, avocados, coconut oil, raw honey.

I eat on occasion: white rice, potato, sweet potato. I could eat other properly-prepared grains and legumes, but they make me even more bloated.

I avoid: soy, corn, gluten, GMOs, pesticides, vegetable oils, processed foods, iodized table salt, refined sugar, refined carbs, meat, dairy and eggs from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).

Like any sane person I have my “cheat days.” Unless I’m on a temporary intensive protocol like the GAPS diet, I go by the 80/20 rule.

“Is this like paleo?”

Not entirely. Paleo is about eating the way our ancestors ate before the advent of agriculture. I was paleo for a few months last year and mostly ate lean meat, salad, veggies, and sweet potato. WAPF is less restrictive than paleo because you are allowed raw dairy and grains if they’re properly prepared. Depending on where you get your information for paleo, the quality of the meat and eggs allowed can differ. WAPF emphasizes that meat and eggs should be pastured or grassfed.

If you read paleo blogs, you’ll see that a lot of them also talk about bone broth, lacto-fermentation, ghee, and the importance of healthy fats. So there is quite a bit of overlap between paleo and WAPF.

“So this dentist dude changed your world?”

Weston A. Price and I would have gotten along. He was a super-nerdy, photo-crazy, research-obsessed writer and documenter with a passion for teaching others about health. Total kindred spirit.

Since I can’t time travel, I did the next best thing. I found my local WAPF chapter and started attending meetings. I met people who are equally obsessed with nutrient-dense foods and who refuse to compromise their health by allowing corporations or government dictate what goes into their and their children’s bodies.

I learned about food freedom. I learned that growing your own food is subversive, just like taking back control of your health from the medical system. I learned that pursuing optimal, radiant health is a revolutionary act.

Then I became a chapter leader, joining three other co-leaders in bringing interesting guest speakers to monthly potluck meetings. In November, I’ll be attending the annual Wise Traditions Conference in Indianapolis.

I don’t know where all this will take me, but at least I’m doing what I love and following my passion. Finally.

Full speed ahead!

2 comments

    • Chanlee Sutoyo says:

      Thanks! It’s great to hear from you. It’s funny, I was just on the Pomona College campus today. The Coop Store is having a sale on items bearing the old logo. Yes, our logo is now “old.” =P How are you liking Boston?

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