I was so excited about the Bittman “Vegan Before 6” article, and then I saw in the comments that someone posted a link to The Weston A. Price Foundation philosophies of eating.
So I spent some time reading up about Mr. Price’s research and now I feel really confused. Mr Price and his foundation have done research that shows in fact that, among other things: eating lots high-fat meat is good for you, our diets should be based in animal proteins, soy is bad for you, and whole grain bread is bad for you, among other things. This is why I feel like I need to take a liberal art course about nutrition — there is so much contradictory information out there. Who is right?
Before you go out and buy a bunch of bacon, spend a couple minutes on the Weston Price Foundation website. They don’t advocate the type of meat-eating that most Americans do; on the contrary, their diet could best be summed up in one word as paleolithic. It’s whole foods to the extreme. Here are their 20 Dietary Guidelines (copied from the site):
- Eat whole, natural foods.
- Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
- Eat naturally-raised meat including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats and eggs.
- Eat whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses and fresh and sour cream.
- Use only traditional fats and oils including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil and the tropical oils-coconut and palm.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups, or lightly steamed.
- Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
- Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
- Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces.
- Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation.
- Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
- Use unrefined Celtic seasalt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
- Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and expeller expressed flax oil.
- Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder.
- Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
- Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel.
- Use only natural supplements.
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light.
- Think positive thoughts and minimize stress.
- Practice forgiveness.
I can get behind a lot of that stuff (especially forgiveness), but some of it I find downright confusing. What is Celtic sea salt and why is that better than normal sea salt? How do I “sour-leaven” a grain? What the heck is enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermentation? Are roasted nuts out? The thought of steamed or soaked walnuts does not appeal to me at all.
I also noticed some inconsistencies. For example, they talk about embracing traditionally fattier meats like red meat, but then emphasize that those meats must be grass-fed/pasture-raised. Well, grass-fed beef is naturally a much lower-fat meat its corn-fed, CAFO-raised counterpart.
Also, the primitive people that Price studied probably needed more calories to sustain them than we cubicle-dwelling moderns. Anybody out there familiar with this diet? Practice it? I’d really like to see a recipe book that espouses these ideas; it would help me understand some of these principles a little better.
One guideline that I really liked was “eat only foods that will spoil” — guess that rules out Twinkies, huh?