That’s my son Isaac. He’s six years old today. And he’s sporting his Weston A. Price smile. Have you got one? Do your kids? Do you know what one is?
The characteristic Weston A. Price smile is on a wide face with high cheekbones, the dental arch is wide with plenty of room for all the teeth to grow, and the teeth are straight, perfect and clean. It’s THE sign of good nutrition. How do I know that, you ask?
In the early 1900s, Dentist and chairman of the research section of the American Dental Association (then called the National dental Association), Dr. Weston A Price, noticed an alarming trend: more and more kids were coming to him with cavities, crowded teeth, narrow dental arches and facial structures, gum disease, and a host of other problems. Because their parents had such healthy teeth and bones, Dr. Price wondered where the plague of unhealthy teeth came from.
Was it genetic? Not likely, since the parents and prior generations all had healthy teeth and gums. Was it related to hygiene? Probably not since the kids shared the same dental hygiene habits as their parents. Was it caused by diet? He thought so. Most of these children ate radically different diets than the ones their parents had been raised on thanks to the recent advent of industrialized food production & preservation methods.
In order to test his hypothesis, Dr. Price had to find people groups who did not eat a modern diet of white flours, refined sugars, canned vegetables, and processed vegetable oils. So, he traveled the world in search of people groups still shut out of modernized foods to see whether or not they, too, suffered from degenerative diseases and tooth decay.
They did not.
Over the course of many years, Dr. Price conducted a survey of isolated peoples from a wide range of places, including Alaska, Switzerland, Africa, South America, Ireland, and the south Pacific Islands.
What did he find?
These people had almost no cases of cavities, heart diseases, asthma, allergies, cancer, obesity, tuberculosis, or any of the other diseases that had recently started plaguing industrialized civilizations. And they had the Weston A. Price smile.
When they were introduced to industrialized food, sickness, disease, poor teeth, and dental deformities followed. Even siblings raised on different diets exhibited this radical difference in physical health and stamina, so Dr. Price knew it wasn’t merely genetic.
In the pictures above, the first pair are Seminole Indians. The girl on the left ate her native, “primitive” diet, and the boy on the right ate a modernized diet. The second pair are Samoans. Again, the girl on the left ate a diet of traditional foods, while the boy on the right ate a diet of industrialized food. Notice that those who ate their native, nutrient-rich foods have wide faces and straight teeth. Those eating modern foods have narrower faces, crowded teeth, and dental decay.
Dr. Price compared the native, traditional diets to each other to see what they had in common. First, we can note what the diets of healthy traditional peoples didn’t contain: refined sugar, white flour, canned foods, or refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Next, all traditional cultures consumed some sort of animal food from wild or pastured animals. And the whole animal was consumed — muscle meat, organs, bones, and fat, with the organ meats and fats preferred. And, it’s important to note that most of the fats eaten were saturated and monunsaturated fats, with a nearly equal balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Their diets also contained significantly more vitamins, raw foods, and fermented, living foods. If eaten, seeds, grains, and nuts were pre-treated prior to cooking or eating with soaking, sprouting, or fermentation.
These factors form the backbone of a nutrient-dense diet — a diet responsible for that beautiful Weston A. Price smile.
That’s my second son Samuel. He’s got himself a big Weston A. Price smile, too. Don’t you think?
The Weston A. Price Foundation
Dr. Price’s research lives on in the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to teaching, spreading the word about nutrient-rich traditional foods, and supporting research. Each year, they host an AMAZING conference in which they bring together some of the leading thinkers in traditional foods, sustainable farming, and the healing arts.
This year’s is in King of Prussia, PA on November 12th-14th.
Guess who’s speaking? (I wish I could say yours truly, but my new little baby is keeping me at home this year.) But FOUR other Real Food Media bloggers will be there: Kelly of Kelly The Kitchen Kop, Kim Hartke of Hartke is Online, and Jenny of Nourished Kitchen!
Guess who else? It’s like a veritable who’s who:
- Sally Fallon Morrell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and author of Nourishing Traditions
- Joel Salatin, my hero and author of Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal
- Jeffrey Smith, leading anit-GMO activist and author of Seeds of Deception
- Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story
This is your chance to meet the Real Food Media bloggers in person!