What is the Weston A. Price Foundation and Why Do I Listen to Them?

You may have heard me mention the Weston A. Price Foundation before, but I’ve never really explained who this guy was, what the foundation is about, and why I listen to them.

Okay, so here it is:

Who Was Weston A. Price?

Weston A. Price was a dentist from Ohio, who in the 1930s set out on a mission to find the reason behind all the dental decay and physical degeneration he was seeing in his dental practice. With every generation that was coming through his office, each subsequent one seemed to have more cavities and more dental problems than the generation before. This included crowded teeth and a too-narrow bridge, accompanied by increases in allergies, fatigue, behaviour problems, asthma, and skin issues.

Instead of looking to mainstream science for answers, he decided to look for evidence amongst real people who were free from industrialized influences – in other words, isolated human groups. He traveled extensively, studying groups in Switzerland, Ireland, the Arctic, North America, Melanesia, Polynesia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. 

Everywhere he went, he found beautiful straight teeth that were free from decay, strong bodies, and resistance to disease. All the diseases and health issues that plagued westerners were completely unknown among these completely separate and varied societies. This includes acne, eczema, dental cavities, cancer, heart disease, mental and emotional problems, osteoperosis, diabetes, and the list goes on.

I say that again – all of these completely separate and varied societies had radiant health and were free from degenerative disease. Not only that but they all seemed very happy and lacked any mental or emotional problems.

However, he found that within only ONE generation after modern foods were introduced, signs of physical decay began to show – hints of our western plagues were cropping up and he noticed that the younger generation was displaying a too narrow bone structure in which there was not enough room for all the teeth.

West concluded that these health problems were due to nutritional deficiencies, and these people’s traditional diets were what kept them in such robust health throughout the generations.

And what did he find was a common factor amongst all of the different diets amongst the isolated peoples that he studied?

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated primitive peoples he found that they provided at least four times the water soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat soluble vitamins —vitamin A and vitamin D —from animal foods such as fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats and butter from cows eating green grass.

Dr. Price discovered an additional fat soluble vitamin that he called “Activator X” and which was also referred to by others as the Price Factor or X Factor, and is now believed to be vitamin K2. It is a powerful catalyst which, like vitamins A and D, helps the body absorb and utilize minerals. It was present in the diets of all the healthy population groups he studied but unfortunately has almost completely disappeared from the modern western diet. Sources include organ meats from cows eating green grass, fish eggs and shellfish. Butter can be an especially rich source of Activator X/vitamin K2 when it comes from cows eating rapidly growing grass in the Spring and Fall seasons. It disappears in cows fed cottonseed meal or high protein soy-based feeds. Fortunately, Activator X/vitamin K2 is not destroyed by pasteurization.

The importance of good nutrition for mothers during pregnancy has long been recognized, but Dr. Price’s investigation showed that primitives understood and practiced preconception nutritional programs for BOTH parents. Many tribes required a period of premarital nutrition, and children were spaced to permit the mother to maintain her full health and strength, thus assuring physical excellence to subsequent offspring. Special foods were often given to pregnant and lactating women, as well as to the maturing boys and girls, in preparation for future parenthood. Dr. Price found these foods to be very rich in fat soluble vitamins A, vitamin D and Activator X —nutrients found only in animal fats.

All his findings were summed up in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects, which you can read in full for free right here if you’d like. Even if you’re not going to read it, at least click on that link and check out the tons of stunning comparison photos he took of the tribes and their teeth, before and after modern food, such as these:

          

So anyway, time went on, West died, and all his hard work was pretty much forgotten until…

The Weston A. Price Foundation Was Formed

In 1999, Sally Fallon Morell and nutritionist Mary G. Enig (PhD) decided to form the non-profit Weston A. Price Foundation in order to “disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price…. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.”

In the spirit of Dr. Price’s research, WAPF promotes traditional diets that consist of:

  • pasture-finished red meat and poultry, including organ meats
  • wild game
  • bone broths
  • wild-caught fish and shellfish from unpolluted waters
  • full fat dairy products, preferably raw (unpasteurized) and/or fermented
  • whole eggs from pastured hens
  • organic fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains, legumes, and nuts that have been soaked, sprouted, or fermented
  • unrefined olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, and tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil
  • cod liver oil
  • lacto-fermented fruits, vegetables, beverages, and condiments
  • unrefined salt
  • fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • filtered water

They also recommend all other aspects of a healthy lifestyle including plenty of sleep, exercise, natural sunlight, fresh air, and lowered stress levels.

Things that they do not recommend include:

  • all modern, processed foods
  • refined grains and refined sugars
  • animal products from hormone or antibiotic treated animals
  • soy products, unless they’re completely unprocessed and fermented, like miso
  • hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • polyunsaturated oils
  • vegetable oils made from soy, canola, safflower, corn, or cottonseed
  • artificial food additives, especially MSG and aspartame
  • canned, sprayed, waxed, irradiated, and genetically modified fruits and vegetables

For more info, Sally wrote a really excellent and revered cookbook called Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

Anyway… there’s something special about the WAPF, because it keeps growing at an annual rate of 10% each year (which is a lot), and every single nutrition blogger and “healthy person” that I highly respect seems to highly respect the Weston A Price foundation.

Why I Respect Them

While most people could probably agree that unprocessed foods aren’t good for you, once you get past that point in the nutrition world, everyone fights about which group of natural, unprocessed foods are good or bad for you.

There’s the animal food haters, there’s the grain and legume haters, there’s the cooked food haters, there’s the dairy haters, and there is most certainly the saturated fat haters. This is the point where you begin to go crazy.

What I like about WAPF is that it goes back to basics, because that is what Dr. Price observed amongst the healthy primitive people. It does not exclude whole food groups for no good reason, as long as they are unprocessed and properly prepared to make them as digestible as possible. Animal foods are healthy and nutritious – as long as they are from a healthy animal fed its natural diet. Dairy is healthy – as long as it is raw and unprocessed, unlike that at the store. Whole grains can be healthy – as long as they have been soaked or fermented to remove the phytates, leptins, or enzyme enhibitors that make them difficult to digest. 

I know many of these WAPF ideas, particularly those about saturated fat go pretty heavily against what has been hammered into our popular and medical culture. Everyone “just knows” that saturated animal fats are bad for you – butter will give you a heart attack, cholesterol from eggs will clog your arteries, and if you drink full fat milk… well…. see ya in heaven. Or at fat camp.

What I find, however, is that what the general public “just knows” about nutrition is usually not correct, because so much of it and the scientific studies it comes from are awash in opinion, cherry picking, tunnel vision, incorrect reporting, political agendas, reluctance to change, and … oh yeah…. money and greed. There are TONS of studies showing that saturated fat does not deserve the bad rap it gets. Click here for an entire list of resources to help you bust this myth.

On the other hand, I’m sure we could also find tons that studies that say it does deserve its reputation.

Therefore, I don’t tend to pay too much attention to studies… as you can see, one day the studies say one thing, one day they say another, and to us lay people, deciphering them for the truth – especially about highly debated topics – is damn near impossible. I’d rather see what’s working in application – and studying real people, their health, and their diets, sure makes a lot of sense to me.

And That is Why West, Sally, Mary & Co Will Always Be  Friends of Mine

So… yeah. There you have it! The Weston A Price foundation and why I’m into them and highly recommend their recommendations.

Did you know about the Weston A Price Foundation before now? What do you think about their ideas? (also… did you ever have braces???)

Comments

  1. Ali says

    This is an awesome article! Someone once told me that because I eat no processed foods, just basically meat (grass fed,) veggies (organic,) fruit (organic,) nuts and fats isn’t “normal.” Ha, there is no normal and everyone will have their own opinion about every “diet” which in my case is lifestyle! It’s sometimes so frustrating people judging how much I care about my food preparation and making sure I’m getting in all my vitamins and minerals!
    I actually did know about WAPF before this, but not all the history behind it, so thanks! I have a questions though, referring to the nuts part, do you soak all your nuts before you eat them? I’ve read many times before about doing it but I just haven’t got my butt to do it yet. I buy raw almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, etc, should I soak them all before eating?
    Also it’s been a week since I started my fermentation of sauerkraut, and I tasted it and I think it’s ready to put in the fridge :)!!!
    I can take the rock out and seal the jars with a lid though in the fridge, correct?
    -Ali
    P.s. I did get braces but not till I was 16 because I didn’t NEED them..just my OCD self didn’t like a couple teeth on the top! Lol

    • Tracy says

      Yeah I actually do try to soak my nuts and seeds before eating them… it is a bit of a pain, I admit, and if I feel too lazy to do it for a while, I just don’t eat many nuts.

      As for sauerkraut, that’s right… take the rock out, seal it, and it’ll keep in the fridge for ages :)

      • Ali says

        Okay, I will look into soaking the nuts and figuring out the process, I’ve read about it before, not hard, but kinda a pain lol
        I am enjoying some of my fermented sauerkraut right now as I type..I’ve been pairing it with some fresh cracked pepper, avocado, and a little hot and spicy organic mustard! It is delish! Next up, making your fermented ketchup for my eggs! :)
        Any idea if fruit can be fermented?..Sounds interesting..

        • Tracy says

          Yep, fruit can be fermented. Anything can be fermented, really, if you just add some whey to it and let it sit out for a bit. I look forward to fermenting all kinds of crazy stuff in my future… I feel I’ve only scratched the surface!

  2. Heather C. says

    Tracy,

    Thanks so much for such an interesting post! I find this one to be one of my top favorites so far. Currently, I’m in college studying to become a laboratory genetisist and I had some idea of how foods we ingest mutate our genes and the genes we pass but I had no idea how QUICKLY that could happen! I was really surprised that siblings maybe only 5-7 years appart had such major facial differences but to see such drastic differences between a parent and their child(ren) kind of–ok, REALLY–freaked me out. My brain is still going “WHAAAT?!!?” lol

    • Tracy says

      Yep, it’s crazy… but I’m happy that it’s made me realize just how important it is that I eat VERY well in the time before I decide to have children! It’ll save me money on braces, lol ..

  3. Amber says

    I am glad to see you in support of this foundation. My mother is a nurse and a HUGE supporter of WAPF, and she gave me Nourishing Traditions to read and I loved it. She actually is not practicing nursing (avoiding western medicine) and doing organic farming instead. She is also a leader in the fight for raw milk in the US and goes to the raw milk freedom fighters rallies across the states. Anyway, I am currently trying VERY hard to eat in a nourishing traditions sort of way to clear my skin. It has been a struggle and its still pretty bad (I’ve been on this site before), but I’m more determined than ever because I’m getting married in August! Do you do personal consultations?

  4. Tracy says

    Hi Amber! That’s awesome you have great support from your mom in this regard!
    I find that if you already eat a good WAPF diet and things still aren’t going well, it’s likely digestive problems/gut flora issues leftover from our bad diets/antibiotics that you need to fix before you can get all the nutrients from the nourishing foods you’re eating. So yeah, either the candida diet, or if you want to take to the next level, look into doing the GAPs intro diet. Also yes, I do consultations, email me if you want to and we can set something up

  5. Anna Allen says

    Hi Tracy,
    Did you read “Wild Fermentation” yet?
    http://wildfermentation.com/index.php
    Check it out if you haven’t, I like a lot of his recipes BETTER than Sally’s! (Blasphemy, I know!)
    Also to anyone new to fermentation and trying “Nurishing Traditions” style, go easy on the salt, Sally’s recipes are waaaay too salty for my tastes. You can always add more if you want.
    <3 Anna

    • Tracy says

      Hi Anna! No, I haven’t actually read it, but I’ve know about it and have looked at a few of their recipes. I’ll keep that in mind about Sally going heavy on the salt ;)

    • Tracy says

      Thanks Donna! And thank you so much for mentioning this article on your facebook page. That was really nice of you :)

  6. Meg says

    hey fab post :) ……….. I had braces…. twice and i sure as hell needed them :) this is ridiculously interesting and oh so logical!

  7. Islem says

    Great post! Had to share in my FB!

    I also agree that Sally’s fermentation recipes tend to be too salty for our taste. I do use less than what she recommends, not too much less, but considerably, about 1/3 less. I eye-ball it mostly, not by measurement, but more by taste.

  8. Islem says

    When I have some time I will post how much of a perfect example my family is when it comes to what Weston A Price observed in traditional cultures when they depart from their traditional diets. I and my siblings have been affected by it. That is why I believe, in my heart, in the work of WAP. I see my family in those cultures he wrote about and it brings me to tears, with shock, deep sadness and anger.

    People think I’m crazy and an extremist, but I cannot live with myself passing all of our degenerated health to my children. My sister’s two children get steroid meds EVERYDAY, wear glasses, have had root canals by age 4 and are allergic to a ton of foods. Recurring ear and throat infections. Sudden fevers that come and go for no apparent reason. She spends over $100 (even with a generous prescription health coverage from her state job) in their meds a month. One of them has stunted growth, I suspect it’s celiacs because there are days he has extreme exhaustion among many other symptoms consistent with it, but they don’t believe me and refuse to do anything about it. They are only ages 8 and 6. It breaks my heart.

    I have one son, 17 yo. I had him in my late teens and he was a premie, born at 29 weeks. Vaccines were making him sick and regress in his development in every way. I stopped vaccinating him at age 6 or 7. He suffered from asthma, frequent ear and throat infections and seasonal allergies. Once we stopped vaccines, no more infections. We began eating organic, keeping away from all processed foods as much as possible and using herbs, his asthma was cured. Never used asthma meds/pump at home. We began a WAP-based diet 2 years ago and he’s very healthy. Loves raw milk. He has no food allergies and can eat anything! He does have minor teeth crowding, but has only been to dentist for clean up once. He has had no cavities in his adult teeth whatsoever, and has no clue what tooth ache is. We make our own toothpaste and powder.

    This is a very quick version of my story…

    • Tracy says

      Wow, thanks for this! I love hearing WAPF success stories :) btw, are you the one doing the McDonalds experiment (leaving the burger and fries out for two years?) … or were you just sharing that on facebook? Either way, that’s nutty! And disgusting that anyone eats that if mould won’t!

      • Islem says

        Yes, I’m the one with the McDonald’s Happy Meal experiment. Isn’t it crazy? Makes me so sad that my extended family eat it and feed it to their kids ALL DAY TIME – at least 2-3 a week. The oldest of my brother-in-law’s kids (8 yo) has had kidney issues for 2 years, she has blood in her urine. And I think it’s due to her constant exposure to processed foods/SAD.

        My husband and I are trying very hard to get our bodies healthy before we have more children. He’s very healthy, though. He’s one of those WAP babies (without the mom being aware of it). He has perfect, wide dental arches, straight white teeth, broad shoulders and all. No allergies to anything and never gets sick.

        His twin brother was also born with the same perfect features WAP babies are born with, but he left his traditional/mom’s diet for the SAD McD’s 3 X/week, 3 cans of soda /daily… has lost a lot of his teeth and it’s suffering from high blood pressure among other things, constant headaches and toothaches. He’s now developed allergies to dogs now too. :(

        As for me/my mom, she was born in a traditional diet, perfect dental arches, straight teeth, no allergies… but moved to the city, left her traditional diet for sugary stuff which she loves… Lost some of her teeth before age 45! No fertility problems, but all three of us were born with overcrowding in our mouth. My sister (older than me by 5 years) and my (younger by 1.5 years) brother’s more severe than mine. My sister used braces. I’m the middle child. I was born healthy, and did not get sick nowhere near as as my sister and brother did. All three of us suffer from seasonal allergies, my sister and my brother have severe food allergies, I have none. But I was born with a missing muscle above my right breast, and have had hormonal and fertility issues (diagnosed with PCOS) and have a bicornuate (heart-shaped uterus). They’ve struggled with weight issue, while I don’t… Can you see why eating a WAP/traditional diet is sooo important?!? It’s not just about avoiding braces… it affects the formation of the human body at the skeletal and bone structure level in every way!

        My WAP success thus far is that I am 100% symptom-free from PCOS, perfect cycles, no weight issue, no more colds, less intense seasonal allergies among many, many other stuff! Traditional diet WORKS!!

  9. hardeep says

    hi

    do you use refined or organic coconut oil for cooking as i dont want acne please and organic is generally more expensive?

    thanks

    • Tracy says

      Yeah, it’s a bad idea to use any refined oil. It really does need to be virgin coconut oil. The cheapest stable cooking oil is animal fat, if you can find a farmer near you with grass fed animals and give you the raw fat (for free, or cheap), you can render it down into cooking fat

  10. Lauren says

    Hi Tracy,
    I am mostly vegan and very careful with looking at the facts in an unbiased manner (which is how I came to the conclusion that a vegan diet is best for me. I haven’t been vegan for long at all). I just came across this youtube series and I sincerely hope you take the time to listen to them! The man takes an unbiased look at the research done to back up paleo diets. This link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaiU6RVC2Jk&NR=1&feature=endscreen specifically talks about Weston A. Price (you may need to watch the earlier parts too). I just really got the urge to share because I think everyone deserves a second, honest look at where they’re getting their information from for something as important as diet. Thank you!

    • Tracy says

      Hi Lauren
      It really could be argued back and forth forever (and it is. Each side has excellent points), and I really have looked at both sides carefully myself. In the end, we all just have to go with what our gut tells us. My gut, after everything I’ve read and every counterargument out there, tells me this is right. It makes sense to me. Your gut says veganism. And that’s cool. I want everyone to be happy and healthy and feel right with their choices, so I sincerely do hope that your diet works out for you!

  11. Hannah says

    Hi Tracy, I have a question. My local organinc health food store sells raw and unprocessed dairy foods, however the container are covered with “warning: not for human consumption, for pets and animals only.” Would this warning just be beacuse they are not pasteurized or could there be another reason these products would be dangerous for human consumption

    • Tracy says

      It’s all good – they are only saying that to cover their asses if they are aren’t supposed to be selling raw milk! The raw milk I buy says something like that too “for pet’s only”

  12. says

    Excellent article Tracy! I started following your blog through acne.org and although I am no longer as obsessed with my skin as it I was before (mainly because it has gotten so much better), your posts vary so much that it never stops being interesting! Plus, it is clear that you know exactly what you’re talking about because you manage to explain not so simple things in such a simple way- you’re making important information available to just about anyone!

  13. Nathan says

    Hi Tracy,

    I’ve recently visited Marksdailyapple, where on a recent post the Primaltoad monitored the book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”.

    I remember reading this on your blog and successfully found this article! I’ve kinda lost my way with my lifestyle, I mean, my proper meals are extremely healthy paleo/WAPF style meals, but I’m still eating a fair amount of junk. (sweets and some grains).

    Whilst I’m definitely more open with what I eat (intuitive eating is great!), I feel like I need another kick to really get me back to how I was 2-3 months ago. (full of energy and in general happier. Plus 5 pounds lighter – although I needed to gain weight, I feel I have gained too much – 10 pounds since March)

    Anyway, the question I wanted to ask you is which version of the book do you read? There i one from 1997 and one from 2010. The 2010 version apparently have a few chapter missing, but it a third of the price and much easily found.

    Did you find it very helpful? Is it about lifestyle or just the diet?

    Thanks!

    Nathan

  14. Wendy says

    I’m a fan of replicating what works for others. I love Weston a price idiology of getting back to basics. I like ignoring the research studies arguing one way or another. I prefer real food the way it was meant to be. I never had braces. My mom changed our diet when we were children to follow similar practices though it was more vegetarian. We had chickens,as I do now, goats for milk. I struggle a little because I could never kill an animal or be around the slaughtering of one. But I definitely believe eating meat has added to my health. Only grass feed and properly raised. I’m very choosy.

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