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A Book Review: “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” by Weston A. Price, DDS

  “How different the level of life and horizon of such souls from those in many places in the so-called civilized world in which people have degraded themselves until life has no interest in values that cannot be expressed in gold or pelf, which they would obtain even though the life of the person being cheated or robbed would thereby be crippled or blotted out. One immediately wonders if there is not something in the life-giving vitamins and minerals in the food that builds not only great physical structures within which their souls reside, but builds minds and hearts capable of a higher type of manhood in which the material values of life are made secondary to individual character.” (Price, 26). I recently endeavored to read an epic book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston A. Price, DDS (1870-1948). Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist who dedicated his life to the scientific and anthropological study of nutrition and its effects on dental health; specifically the incidence of dental cavities, the breadth of the dental arch, and the crowding of teeth. Poignant and thought-provoking, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration details the basic principles of indigenous diets, as they were originally composed before the advent of what Dr. Price called “the displacing foods of modern commerce”. What I learned from this book was strikingly self-evident – it revealed wisdom that I imagine is already contained within all of us, yet begs the illumination that has historically been imparted between generation upon generation of our ancestors. At times, the book is beautiful; regaling the reader with imagery from Weston Price’s inspired travels to remote parts of the world, where he compulsively sought to document the dietary habits of the last remaining isolated cultures on earth; from the Eskimos to the Maori of New Zealand, to the Gaels of the outer Hebrides of Scotland, among many others. Using a number of predetermined metrics, Dr. Price compared the dental health of isolated groups to that of their nearby, modernized counterparts. What he discovered was clear-cut evidence that modern foods, such as white flour, jams, sugar, canned vegetables, condensed milk, and vegetable oils, when introduced into a culture’s diet, were detrimental not only to the dental health of the people, but also to their physical, mental and societal well-being. Accompanying photographs record the enchanting faces and hearty physiques of persons with bright, even, decay-free smiles, … Continue reading

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