Day 45: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Weston Price, DDS: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Study of Health Impact of a Westernized Diet on Indigenous Cultures; Manifestation of Poor Nutrition and How the Degeneration Process Can Be Prevented and Reversed

Today we have for you an overview on Weston A. Price and his historic book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

This book is important on many fronts, and is cited most often when the modern fallacious argument is made that the poor health of Western society has nothing to do with nutrition, and much more to do with our polluted environment and genetic realities.

Weston Price showed conclusively that when indigenous cultures–free of “Western” diseases–took on Western dietary habits, they developed many if not all of the same problems which ravage our nation today.

Briefly from the attached file:

Weston Price: “In my search for the cause of degeneration of the human face and the dental organs I have been unable to find an approach to the problem through the study of affected individuals and diseased tissues. . . . The evidence seemed to indicate clearly that the forces that were at work were not to be found in the diseased tissues, but that the undesirable conditions were the result of the absence of something, rather than the presence of something. This strongly indicated the need for finding groups of individuals so physically perfect that they could be used as controls. In order to discover them I determined to search our primitive racial stocks that were free from degenerative processes with which we are concerned in order to note what they have that we do not have. These field investigations have taken me to many parts of the world though a series of years. The following chapters review the studies made of primitive groups, first when still protected by their isolation, and, second, when in contact with modern civilization. (p. 21)”

What proved to be the something missing was nutrition. Remember, dear reader, that Price (and interestingly, Rudolf Steiner) began practice shortly after a massive change occurred in peoples’ food habits. The degenerations observed during the 1920s came about thirty years after the introduction of the roller mill and the consequent wide-spread consumption of denatured white-flour products. Price started researching Nutrition and Physical Degeneration around 20 years after nationally-distributed devitalized brand-name prepared packaged food products began to dominate the food shops and peoples’ dietaries.

Weston A. Price did humanity a great and largely-unappreciated service by establishing an easily-understandable standard of human health, clearly demonstrated with photographs. A really good picture really is worth many thousands of words and Price offers the reader a narrated slide show of over a hundred photos, many of them of extremely healthy people contrasted with degenerated ones, photos taken all over the world, of people of different races living in climates eating totally different dietaries, accompanied by sensitive, compassionate narration. This coupling of the visual image with narration increases the power of Price’s argument by a hundred-fold. Price’s book is basically a photographic travelogue, the story of a world-wide search for a standard by which to judge human health. This makes Nutrition and Physical Degeneration the most convincing and powerful awakener of health-consciousness I have ever encountered.

Please enjoy this file, and consider purchasing Weston Price’s important book as a reference and support for you. Never again will anyone convince you that genetics is driving our Western health crisis – or lead you to believe that food plays second or third fiddle in your health reality.

Deficient Diet: A Cause of Mental and Physical Degeneration

Today we are also pleased to offer you this excellent chapter from Conscious Eating by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D. to address two very critical concerns: one regarding the poor state of health in the United States; and the health implications of live/raw foods vs overcooked foods as verified by some astounding research.

When the question is asked, “Why are we so sick in the U.S.?” you will often hear the answer that what we eat has nothing to do with it – that our sickness has everything to do with things outside of our control, such as pollution, stress in the American workplace, or our genes. What this file will help you to answer for yourself and those you discuss this important matter with is this: The level of our health as individuals and as a society is determined more greatly by the foods we eat than any other factor.

It is not our genes 99.5% of the time, though the Medical Pharmaceutical model does heavily benefit financially from our believing that genes determine the fate of our health.

Across the lines of gender, race, age, culture, and religion, we have been kept down by the propaganda of modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, which has not only promoted symptom management with drugs and surgery, but has downplayed or lied about the importance of food for our health. It is the worst form of institutionalized abuse in western society today.

For some incredible reading, enjoy the highlighted file available for you!

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Book and National Geographic Documentary

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Based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.

Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.

+ Why were Europeans the ones to conquer so much of our planet?

+ Why didn’t the Chinese, or the Inca, become masters of the globe instead?

+ Why did cities first evolve in the Middle East?

+ Why did farming never emerge in Australia?

+ And why are the tropics now the capital of global poverty?

As he peeled back the layers of history to uncover fundamental, environmental factors shaping the destiny of humanity, Diamond found both his theories and his own endurance tested.

The three one-hour programs were filmed across four continents on High Definition digital video, and combined ambitious dramatic reconstruction with moving documentary footage and computer animation. They also include contributions from Diamond himself and a wealth of international historians, archeologists and scientists.

Guns, Germs, and Steel is a thrilling ride through the elemental forces which have shaped our world – and which continue to shape our future.

Enjoy the historical and current perspectives on culture, food, and health.

See you in The Green Room!

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The Price-Pottenger Story

Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist and dental researcher who went on an investigation that spanned the globe to determine why native populations, who ate traditional foods, exhibited perfect physical health well into old age.

His research took him to remote tribal communities -- Swiss, Eskimos, Polynesians, Africans, New Zealanders, and more -- and what he discovered made him one of the foremost authorities on the role of foods in their natural form, and the development of degenerative illnesses as a result of the addition of processed foods to your diet.

His book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, stands as a classic work on the subject. The videos above and below delve into Dr. Price’s work in greater detail, and provides insight into why eating your traditional diet of locally grown, seasonal, raw foods is so important to your health.

Final note: Pottenger and westerners of his era used the word “primitive” when speaking about Native, Indigenous and First Nations Populations. Our generation recognizes that this is the term and perspective of a bygone era of westerners. But the data holds: westernized diets adopted by indigenous peoples worldwide are often detrimental to health.

Weston A Price | Actual Footage

Theme Music: “Drum Song” by Earth Wind and Fire.

Introduction to Traditional Eating. Weston A. Price Chapter Leader Sarah Pope overviews the importance of traditional eating to health and vitality.

“Say No to Corndogs” from Go Further

Paul Hawken: The High Cost of Cheap Food

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Michael Pollan: Twinkie vs. Carrot. Have you ever wondered why a bunch of carrots costs more than a package of Twinkies? Food journalist Michael Pollan connects the dots between food policy, high-fructose corn syrup, and our health.


Today’s Downloads

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nutrition and physical degeneration: An overview

First published in 1939, this monumental but highly readable book is designed to preserve the classic study of Dr. Price’s worldwide investigation of the deleterious effects of processed foods and synthetic farming methods on human health, and the promise of regeneration through sound nutrition. Contains guidelines for approaching optimum health and reproduction, now and through future generations, as did the primitives. Dr. Price has been universally accepted as one of the foremost authorities on the role of foods in their natural form in the overall health pattern and the development of degenerative illnesses as a result of the addition of processed foods to our diet.


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deficient diet - a cause of mental and physical degeneration

by Gabriel Cousens, M.D.

IN THIS CHAPTER WE DISCUSS the implications of physical and mental degeneration documented in animal and human studies. This is high lighted by the Pottenger Cat Study of raw- vs. cooked-food diets and the Price Study, which surveyed the results of introducing processed foods into the diets of indigenous people. A link is made between these studies’ results and our current health crises, including hyperactivity and widespread drug addiction. The chapter ends with suggestions for reversing this process and the affirmation that the addictive brain can be healed.


Online Articles

[Article] The Greatest Nutrition Reseacher of the 20th Century by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dr. Weston A. Price was one of the major nutritional pioneers of all time.

He was a dentist around 1900 who noticed something that health care practitioners still try to deny today: that with the introduction of processed food, health started to decline.

Specifically, Dr. Price noticed an incredible increase in tooth decay when people began eating processed foods. When he began his journey around the world, he found that, as he suspected, native people who were still eating their traditional diets had nearly perfect teeth.

I am constantly amazed at how powerful a predictor of health your teeth are!

[Article] Introduction to Traditional Eating by Sarah Pope

Imagine a community of people where nearly every member was free of chronic disease, mental illness and even dental decay. Children and adults alike were strong, sturdy and attractive with wide faces and perfect smiles with plenty of room even for the wisdom teeth.

Fertility came with ease and robust, intelligent, and happy children were produced generation after generation.

Sound like a utopia?

This is the world discovered by Dr. Weston A. Price during the 1920’s and 1930’s as he traveled across the globe. He discovered fourteen isolated traditional societies still untouched by what he called “the displacing foods of modern commerce”.


Great Books

David and Katrina Rainoshek: You can see that food and nutrition are at the heart of a successful personal life, and are of vital importance for the survival of any society. We want to suggest some resources for you for further information on this reality, which will be very engaging and enlightening.

Maynard Murray, author of Sea Energy Agriculture said, “Health begins in the soil.” When I mentioned this to 45+ year organic farmer Eliot Coleman, he agreed entirely. By health, we mean personally or societally. Follow up on these great resources:

By Vernon Gill Carter and Tom Dale

This classic survey of world history should never have been allowed to fall out of print. It demonstrates how every civilization from Mesopotamia to Rome has destroyed its agricultural resource base and thus destroyed itself. The book also looks at modern-day Europe and the United States with considerable uncertainty about the sustainability of our own system.


By Jared Diamond

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Guns, Germs, and Steel is a brilliant work answering the question of why the peoples of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their peoples. This edition includes a new chapter on Japan and all-new illustrations drawn from the television series. Until around 11,000 BC, all peoples were still Stone Age hunter/gatherers. At that point, a great divide occurred in the rates that human societies evolved. In Eurasia, parts of the Americas, and Africa, farming became the prevailing mode of existence when indigenous wild plants and animals were domesticated by prehistoric planters and herders.

As Jared Diamond vividly reveals, the very people who gained a head start in producing food would collide with preliterate cultures, shaping the modern world through conquest, displacement, and genocide.The paths that lead from scattered centers of food to broad bands of settlement had a great deal to do with climate and geography. But how did differences in societies arise? Why weren’t native Australians, Americans, or Africans the ones to colonize Europe? Diamond dismantles pernicious racial theories tracing societal differences to biological differences.

He assembles convincing evidence linking germs to domestication of animals, germs that Eurasians then spread in epidemic proportions in their voyages of discovery. In its sweep, Guns, Germs and Steel encompasses the rise of agriculture, technology, writing, government, and religion, providing a unifying theory of human history as intriguing as the histories of dinosaurs and glaciers.


By David R. Montgomery

Dirt, soil, call it what you want–it’s everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it’s no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are–and have long been–using up Earth’s soil.

Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations.

A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil–as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.


By Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is the glass-half-empty follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns, Germs, and Steel explained the geographic and environmental reasons why some human populations have flourished, Collapse uses the same factors to examine why ancient societies, including the Anasazi of the American Southwest and the Viking colonies of Greenland, as well as modern ones such as Rwanda, have fallen apart. Not every collapse has an environmental origin, but an eco-meltdown is often the main catalyst, he argues, particularly when combined with society’s response to (or disregard for) the coming disaster. Still, right from the outset of Collapse, the author makes clear that this is not a mere environmentalist’s diatribe. He begins by setting the book’s main question in the small communities of present-day Montana as they face a decline in living standards and a depletion of natural resources. Once-vital mines now leak toxins into the soil, while prion diseases infect some deer and elk and older hydroelectric dams have become decrepit. On all these issues, and particularly with the hot-button topic of logging and wildfires, Diamond writes with equanimity.

Because he’s addressing such significant issues within a vast span of time, Diamond can occasionally speak too briefly and assume too much, and at times his shorthand remarks may cause careful readers to raise an eyebrow. But in general, Diamond provides fine and well-reasoned historical examples, making the case that many times, economic and environmental concerns are one and the same. With Collapse, Diamond hopes to jog our collective memory to keep us from falling for false analogies or forgetting prior experiences, and thereby save us from potential devastations to come. While it might seem a stretch to use medieval Greenland and the Maya to convince a skeptic about the seriousness of global warming, it’s exactly this type of cross-referencing that makes Collapse so compelling.


By Weston A. Price

An epic study demonstrating the importance of whole food nutrition, and the degeneration and destruction that comes from a diet of processed foods.

For nearly 10 years, Weston Price and his wife traveled around the world in search of the secret to health. Instead of looking at people afflicted with disease symptoms, this highly-respected dentist and dental researcher chose to focus on healthy individuals, and challenged himself to understand how they achieved such amazing health. Dr. Price traveled to hundreds of cities in a total of 14 different countries in his search to find healthy people.

He investigated some of the most remote areas in the world. He observed perfect dental arches, minimal tooth decay, high immunity to tuberculosis and overall excellent health in those groups of people who ate their indigenous foods. He found when these people were introduced to modernized foods, such as white flour, white sugar, refined vegetable oils and canned goods, signs of degeneration quickly became quite evident. Dental caries, deformed jaw structures, crooked teeth, arthritis and a low immunity to tuberculosis became rampant amongst them. Dr. Price documented this ancestral wisdom including hundreds of photos in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.


By Denise Minger

Shoddy science, sketchy politics and shady special interests have shaped American dietary recommendations-and destroyed our nation’s health-over recent decades. The phrase Death by Food Pyramid isn’t shock-value sensationalism, but the tragic consequence of simply doing what we have been told to do by our own government – and giant food profiteers – in pursuit of health.

In Death by Food Pyramid, Denise Minger exposes the forces that overrode common sense and solid science to launch a pyramid phenomenon that bled far beyond US borders to taint the eating habits of the entire developed world. Denise explores how generations of flawed pyramids and plates endure as part of the national consciousness, and how the “one-size-fits-all” diet mentality these icons convey pushes us deeper into the throws of obesity and disease. Regardless of whether you’re an omnivore or vegan, research junkie or science-phobe, health novice or seasoned dieter, Death by Food Pyramid will reframe your understanding of nutrition science, and inspire you to take your health, and future, into your own hands.


By Ken Wilber

The point of this book: Awareness evolves in each of us – it unfolds in cycles and stages. These same stages play out over millenia for entire societies and cultures, as written in the next book, below (Up From Eden). The Atman Project attempts to integrate the work of developmental psychology with pre-egoic, pre-rational structures of consciousness with the experience of the mystical traditions with post-egoic, post-rational structures, to form a picture of how the individual evolves from structure to structure “up” the hierarchy, or “holarchy” in Wilber language, of these stages. There is a discussion of how “Spirit” “involves” itself downward through these structures and creates the imperative to evolve back up through them to Self-realization.


by Steven Pinker

David Rainoshek, M.A.: We have placed this book here for an ever larger perspective on the present moment. Lest we think that it’s all bad news as we have moved forward to the modern and post-modern eras, there is a tremendous amount of good news, and Steven Pinker excels at pointing out the incredible promise of humanity. Here’s the overview of the book:

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.


Media, Films, & Documentaries

How Big Pharma Deceives | A Conversation with Joe Rogan & Chris Kresser

Be Careful of What you Put into Your Bodies. JRE Chris Kresser Discuss How Big Pharma Deceives you and Keeps you Unhealthy for Profit. Clip From JRE/#1037 W/Chris Kresser.

[Documentary] Processed People

This is the full 2008 documentary Processed People: The Antidote to American's Toxic Lifestyle, featuring several noted vegan doctors and experts talking about health and plant-based diets.


Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat | Documentary

Obesity is the most substantial epidemic in healthcare today. It's contributed to record instances of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and a host of additional chronic conditions. Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat takes a lively and occasionally tongue-in-cheek approach to this deadly serious topic. As a result, its narrative isn't dulled by endless medical jargon, and the wealth of advice it offers doesn't feel like a sermon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by the year 2050. Meanwhile, childhood obesity rates have tripled during the past two decades. This is a crisis that will impact the longevity of future generations. The film explains the factors that led to this disturbing epidemic, and the steps we can all take to reverse it.

The crisis of diet-related illness isn't limited to the obese. The foods we eat can have a negative impact on any one of us regardless of weight. One of the film's most illuminating revelations involves the scourge of metabolic syndrome, an affliction that may seize more than a third of the U.S. population. This problematic condition is a silent threat to many who aren't even aware they have it. As it turns out, none of us are immune to the unhealthy effects of larger portion sizes, and increased intakes of sugar and processed carbohydrates.

The filmmakers reveal the common misconceptions about exercise and its role in promoting weight loss. While regular trips to the gym are certainly crucial for instilling a sturdy sense of overall health and stamina, one's diet is ultimately responsible for maintaining an ideal weight.

In addition, the film investigates the cultural and economic factors that determine our eating habits. In many cases, unhealthy foods are cheaper and readily available around every corner.

The root causes of our current health crisis might be multi-faceted, but the solutions are simple. Food experts offer their suggestions for adopting the perfect diet, and it's more easily attainable than you might think.

Adorned with playful animations and sound medical insights, Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat provides a common sense and inspiring approach to healthy eating.


Is the balance of power in the world, the essentially unequal distribution of wealth and clout that has shaped civilization for centuries, a matter of survival of the fittest… or merely of the luckiest? In Guns, Germs, and Steel, UCLA professor (and author of the best-seller bearing the same title) Jared Diamond makes a compelling case for the latter.

Diamond’s theory is that the predominance of white Europeans (and Americans of European descent) over other cultures has nothing to do with racial superiority, as many have claimed, but is instead the result of nothing more, or less, than geographical coincidence. His argument, in a nutshell, is that the people who populated the Middle East’s “fertile crescent” thousands of years ago were the first farmers, blessed with abundant natural resources (native crops such as wheat and barley, domesticable animals like pigs, goats, sheep, and cows). When their descendents migrated to Europe and northern Africa, climates similar to the crescent’s, those same assets, which were unavailable in most of the rest of the world, led to the flourishing of advanced civilizations in those places as well.

Add to that their ability to control fire, and Europeans eventually developed the guns and steel (swords, trains, etc.) they used to conquer the planet (the devastating diseases they brought with them, like smallpox, were an unplanned “benefit” to their subjugation of, for instance, Peru’s native Incas).

Spread out over three episodes and two discs and presented with National Geographic’s usual style and thoroughness, the program uses location footage (from New Guinea, South America, Africa, and elsewhere), interviews, reenactments, maps, and Diamond’s own participation to support his thesis. And while one might disagree with his conclusions, there is no doubt that Guns, Germs, and Steel is a provocative piece of work.

A PBS documentary.


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