Monday, February 6, 2012

Was It Always This Way?

I started reading Weston A. Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  In the 1930s, Price, a dentist, travelled around the world studying groups of "primitive" people who still lived on their traditional diets. In many cases, he found groups untouched by outside influence, and was able to compare them to groups who had established trade with "white" people. His discoveries blew my mind.

Ever see Dances with Wolves? Yes, that was my favorite movie in high school... Remember his first meeting with the Lakota Indians? They come in peace, he makes them coffee, gives them gifts, and we sit at home and wish every white man would have acted that way. How different would our country be? Well... probably not much. It turns out Lt John Dunbar would have happily poisoned every last Indian and left their culture ravaged and decaying just the same. Wait... what?! Was this the ending in an alternate universe?

Seminole Indians on Native Diet
Let's get back to Price. In 1931 he found a group of Swiss living in the Loetschental Valley in the Alps relatively unexposed to outside trade. They lived on a diet of dairy, whole grain rye bread, a few summer vegetables, and meat about once a week. The remarkable thing about these people was that they had almost no incidences of tooth decay, tooth crowding, tuberculosis, arthritis, or joint pain.

He compared this community to several villages that had begun trading with "plains" peoples and had added white flour, sugared fruit, and chocolate to their diets. The degeneration was remarkable. The more outside products that were incorporated into their diet, the higher incidence of tooth decay and disease. This was the case in every "untainted" primitive culture he was able to locate and study (Eskimos, American Indians, African tribes, Aborigines, etc.).

Seminole Indians after being exposed to a Western Diet

What did Kevin Costner give those Indians?


Yeah, I know, that one bag of sugar wouldn't have brought down the entire Lakota tribe. But what if all our ancestors had settled here peaceably instead. What if they had come bearing bags of sugar instead of muskets and smallpox blankets?

Would we have slowly moved our way West through trade instead? Would the Indians still be living free on the plains, healthy and robust as we had found them? Not likely.

I guess this is what I mean by wanting to live Ultra Retro. I want to live in the optimal conditions for the development of my body and mind. I don't want to abuse my body with the foods that I eat and then try and fix it with pills and fad diets. Clean-eating for the body and self-directed education for the mind.

And yet I still made Peanut Butter, Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies this weekend.

And they were yum….

No comments:

Post a Comment