If you read my post, Why Members of Remote Tribes Make the Best Food Scientists, you’ll understand why I’m fascinated about the diets of people who still eat their culture’s traditional foods – the foods they have eaten for centuries.
And it’s not easy to find people like this anymore. White flour, white sugar, coca cola, and other modern processed foods have arrived to almost every community on earth. Only people who live in extremely remote locations still eat the diet of their ancestors, prepared according to traditional wisdom. It is precisely these people Weston A. Price visited in the 1930, documenting their diet and health.
Oddly enough, Price wasn’t an archeologist, but a dentist. Price visited many tribes in Africa, the inhabitants of the isolated Loetschental Valley in Switzerland, the Outer Hebrides Islands in Scotland, Aborigines in Australia and many more.
I have to say that his book is difficult to read on a few counts. First, though the information is fascinating, it’s written with all the flair of a telephone directory. Secondly, he was a man of his time. While he has respect for the people he visits, he also refers to them as primitives. I cringed just a little every time he used that expression. He could also have used a good copy editor, but let’s move on.
In brief, these were his findings. The various cultures ate very different diets. There is practically no overlap between the diet of the Loetschental Swiss and the Alaskan Inuit. But wherever he went, he found that in traditional cultures:
- Cavities were rare. – one cavity per every three people in Loetschental.
- The faces of the people were wide and well formed, allowing the teeth to come in straight, including the wisdom teeth. – have a look at the faces on the cover of his book.
- He found little or no tuberculosis at a time when the disease was rampant - for instance, zero cases in the Loetschental Valley, though tuberculosis “is the most serious disease in Switzerland.” (Pg. 25)
- The people were hardy – he comments how the Swiss children play barefoot in the ice-cold water of the stream
In case you’re wondering if these people were genetically blessed, no, they weren’t. Weston Price always made a point of comparing these people to genetically similar people no longer eating a traditional diet.
In the case of the Swiss, he visited a valley nearby that had access to white flour, white sugar, jams etc. Tooth decay and tuberculosis was common.
The scope of study and investigation conducted by Weston Price is far greater than what I’ve described above. He analyzed the foods these people ate in his lab and conducted many fascinating experiments. There is much to be learned from the information he left behind.