Traditional Diets

Since there is no single essential food, good nutrition requires that one be aware that whole foods nearest their natural state are best able to supply essential nutrients for the highest state of well-being. Dr. Price's primitives demonstrated that there are many dietary patterns which meet the needs of the body. Where optimum health was maintained, however, all dietary practices showed the following similarities:
  1. In general, all the native foods were found to contain two to six times as high a factor of safety in the matter of body building materials as did the displacing foods brought in by civilization.

  2. All groups studied consumed minerals and fat-soluble vitamins from high vitamin butter or from sea foods, cod liver or seal oil, or animal organs with their fat.

  3. Foods were grown on soil which was naturally high in minerals, and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides were used.

  4. All food was eaten liberally in the natural season in which it grew.

  5. Sweets (even good, natural sweets) were used rarely or sparingly, only for occasions of ritual, celebration or special feasting.

  6. In each diet there was some daily source of raw, unaltered protein from sources such as meats, sea foods, nuts, cheeses, eggs, milk, or high quality sprouted seeds. (Foods containing essential amino acids must be included in the food choices for each meal, or it will be impossible to assimilate the total values of the incomplete proteins. It is important to balance the amino acid patterns when vegetable proteins are eaten.) Some sort of sea plant or mineral was a part of most diets. Inland sea deposits were treasured and used thriftily.

  7. Methods of food preservation and storage were used which altered the nutrients very little: Earth storage, drying, freezing in the cold climates, or making nutrients more available by culturing, pickling, fermenting, or sprouting.

  8. Each life style was such that people engaged in vigorous physical exercise on a regular basis, either in work, play, dances, games, sports, or hunting and food-gathering.

  9. All had access to pure air and sunlight. Even in the 1930's, Dr. Price perceived the problems of air pollution and lack of sufficient radiant energy from the sun, due to pollution already present at that time. The situation is far worse today, and that has affected the deterioration of our food quality and our health as well.

  10. Each group observed periods of partial abstinence from food, or regulated periods of under-eating. For some, this came about as a natural result of summer crops being in short supply before the new crops were harvested. For others, certain rituals began or ended with days of fasting. Still others taught the value of periodic under-eating by taboos or other means.

  11. Some diets contained some form of ferments. This would include milk cultures, pickling, and other methods of fermenting. Dr. Pottenger recommended using some of these foods for both children and adults to aid in maintaining good gastric acidity.

  12. They all breast-fed their young. Most of them fed special protective foods to their young of child-bearing age in preparation for conception, pregnancy, and lactation. Most of them had some means of spacing the children at least three years apart, to protect the health of the newborns and their mothers.

  13. All ate whole foods, not fractionalized parts of foods. They did not remove the fiber content of their natural foods by refining them. Most foods were eaten raw or very gently and lightly cooked.

  14. Last but not least, the primitives were able to instruct their young in these important principles, thereby protecting their genetic heritage. They ate the foods of their ancestors.