Traditional Diets

Notes from a Seminar conducted by Sally Fallon author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
Auckland, New Zealand, Feb 2003

Breast fed Baby

Traditional Diets generally:

  1. Used no refined and denatured foods
  2. Contained some sort of animal protein and fat from fish or other seafood
  3. Contained four times the calcium and minerals and ten times the fat-soluble vitamins as the current U.S. diet
  4. Cooked all or some of their foods, and also ate raw dairy or meat
  5. Had high food enzyme content
  6. Soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened seeds, grains and nuts before consumption
  7. Had a fat content that varied between 30-80% of the total calories
  8. Consisted of nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids
  9. All contained some type of salt
  10. All cultures made use of bones, usually as a bone broth
  11. Made provisions for future generations

The information from this seminar is based on the research done by Dr. Weston A. Price and detailed in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Dr. Weston Price was a highly respected dentist from the 1930s who did a ten year study of traditional people around the world. He found that people eating their traditional diets had little to no tooth decay. Sally Fallon’s work in Nourishing Traditions is based on his studies and she has formed the Weston A. Price Foundation to continue the research that he began.

The above is Sally Fallon’s general outline of traditional diets which she was using in 2003. Since that time she has continued to research and refine her work. Although the main changes that I have noticed in the last 4 years is that mainstream nutrition is beginning to admit that what she has said is absolutely spot on! I highly recommend that you get a copy of her book Nourishing Traditions for more detailed and practical applications to bring health into your home. She has also done a lot of work with the highly respected lipid researcher Mary Enig who’s book Know Your Fats, I also highly recommend.

The following are some of my notes from this seminar and as a result are mostly in outline form, which I hope will make it quick reading. The work that the above mentioned people have done is also the basis for the information and recipes in this website. We all need to re-learn how to nourish ourselves. I hope this will help to establish guidelines for us in our processes of getting to know our own traditions and our own body’s needs.

The Traditional Diet

1. Traditional diets contained no refined and denatured foods.


In the US this is the 3rd generation on the modern diet. 25% of couples are infertile. Before the 1930’s there was no refined vegetable oil in the U.S. diet.

Refined and Denatured Foods

  • condensed milk
  • refined sugar and flour
  • canned foods
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • pasteurized milk
  • skim and lowfat milks
  • hydrogenated fats
  • refined vegetable oil
  • additives

2. All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal protein and fat from fish and other seafood; water and land fowl; land animals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects.

These nutrients are found only in animal products:

  • Vit A and D
  • Cholesterol
  • Vitamin B12
  • Long chain superunsaturated fatty acids: AA, EPA, DHA.

Nutrients that are more easily absorbed from animal products:

  • Calcium — dairy and bone broths
  • Vit B6
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc shellfish and red meat
  • Copper lining of arteries for liver

Vitamin B12:

  • is only found in animal products
  • needs intrinsic factor
  • deficiency= fatigue, tingling in hands and feet, irrational anger, sleep disorders.
  • Alzheimer’s patients are B12 deficient
  • deficiency = multiple sclerosis, anemia, cancer and heart disease
  • is destroyed by pasteurization

3. The traditional diet contained

  • Four times the calcium and other minerals and
  • Ten times the fat-soluble vitamins as the modern U.S. diet does

The traditional diet was nutrient dense. Traditional sacred foods are being denied to us. In China, pregnant women eat more than 10 eggs a day. American Indians eat bear fat for fertility. The fat soluble vitamins A and D are activators, catalysts to utilize minerals in the body. The body can starve for minerals if it doesn’t have these activators.

Vitamins A and D can be found in

  • Liver and organ meats
  • Insects
  • Fish eggs
  • Cod liver oil
  • Seafood
  • Bird fat: duck, geese
  • Mono-gastric animals (pig, bear)
  • Butter and cream from pasture fed Animals
  • Eggs

Cholesterol is the mother of all hormones and Vitamin A is needed for all conversions. Trans fats inhibit all these conversions. When the body is properly nourished we thrive on stress. There is no such thing as a genetic defect. Different people have higher levels needed for certain nutrients. The Price Factor or Activator X is a catalyst for vitamin and mineral absorption from the green grass. It is in high vitamin cod liver oil and butter oil. It can be used for tooth decay, bone and growth problems, can repair teeth and arthritis. Heavy Norwegian cod liver oil and X-factor butter oil can re-mineralize teeth.

4. All cultures cook all or some of their foods.

They always ate some animal food raw and generally cooked most plant foods. Raw animal foods included:

  • cheese, dairy
  • carpaccio, tartar
  • kibbeh etc

Vitamin B6 is found in animal foods and is destroyed by heat. Deficiencies are linked to:

Nourishing Traditions

  • diabetes
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • PMS, morning sickness
  • kidney failure
  • alcoholism
  • asthma
  • sickle cell anemia

Raw/Real Milk:

  • Cows on pasture
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Used for treating illness
  • High in fat soluble activators
  • Old fashioned cows
  • High in butter fat content
  • Friendly bacteria
  • Enzymes intact
  • Good for babies

5. High food enzyme content.

We can never fully avoid toxins, but if we are healthy we can deal with them. There are thousands of metabolic enzymes, 22 digestive enzymes and 3 types of food enzymes. When the diet contains food enzymes, the body is spared from making some digestive enzymes and so has more energy. Enzymes are destroyed at 118º wet heat and 150º dry heat.

Enzyme rich foods:

  • raw dairy products
  • raw meat and fish
  • raw honey
  • tropical fruits (apples, peaches and salad greens not so good)
  • cold pressed oils
  • wine and unpasturized beer
  • lacto-fermented foods (enzyme enhanced)
  • aged meats

6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened before consumption.

The proper preparation of seed foods needs: Moisture, warmth, slight acidity and time. This process:

  • deactivates enzyme inhibitors
  • neutralizes phytic acid (blocks mineral absorption)
  • neutralizes tannins
  • pre-digests

Note: Soy foods (legumes) have high levels of toxins which are difficult to get rid of. In traditional diets these are gotten rid of by fermentation for 6mths to 3 years. Soy can cause breast cancer. In women 45mg (1c) of soy milk a day for a month changes hormones causing premature development in girls (before 8 years old even to 3 yrs old), learning disabilities, allergies. Hormones need up to 3 months to readjust. Soy Protein Isolate: -protein rich powder extracted from waste product of soy oil.

7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30-80% of calories.

Only 4% of calories come from polyunsaturated fatty acids. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are stable and good for cooking. Omega 3 and polyunsaturated oils are unstable and can easily become rancid causing free radicals in the body.

Shorter chain fatty acids protect the body from antigens and bacteria.

  • Butyric Acid
  • Lauric Acid (from coconut) is the strongest antiviral substance ever tested. Good for candida and for weight loss. Converts into energy not fat.

Saturated Fatty Acids are not villains they are good for you.

Kid and Cow

  • 50% of cell membranes are saturated fats, if not the cells become floppy and droopy
  • 50% of the brain is saturated fat
  • bone modeling
  • Lp(a)-lowers it. Saturated fats lower Lp(a)
  • Protects the liver
  • Enhances the immune system
  • Needed for proper utilization of EPA
  • Needed for function of lungs and kidneys

Dairy industry goes back 35,000 years at least (goat milk is really good). Most artery clogging is from calcium. Avoid olive oil if you get fat easily.

Polyunsaturated Oils

  • Increased cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Depressed learning ability
  • Damage to reproductive system and lungs
  • In the diet cause lung cancer etc.

8. Consisted of nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Free-range eggs have equal amounts of omega-6 and 3 proportions. Farmed salmon is not a good source. For more information see Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglandin Pathways. Diabetics need cod-liver oil, butter and GLA

9. All traditional diets contained some salt.

Salt is critical — essential for protein, carbohydrate digestion and development of brain. Salt is very important for development of nervous system and brain synapse connections. Salt should be grey, pink or beige not white. With Celtic sea salt blood pressure normalizes. Some traditional salts:

  • sea salt
  • salt flats
  • ashes of marsh grasses
  • blood and urine

10. All traditional cultures made use of bones, usually as a bone broth.

Bone broths provide minerals in ionic form. They are rich in gelatin, especially when using feet and easy to digest. They are good for people suffering from fatigue and chronic fatigue.

Gelatin is good for:

  • fatigue
  • diabetes
  • TB
  • Allergies
  • digestion

11. Traditional cultures made provisions for future generations.

  • special foods for parents to be, pregnant women and growing children
  • spacing of children it is shameful to have a child more than one every three years. Ideal spacing is every 3 years.
  • proper diet taught to the young

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