≡ Menu

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price MD (1939): Outline and food list

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration book by Weston A. Price MDNutrition and Physical Degeneration (1939) is an epic written after a decade of traveling the world and studying the diets of healthy people in isolated locations, compared to the unhealthy diets and bodies of “modernized” people eating highly processed foods.

  • Eat animal foods (dairy products, seafood, meats), especially animal fats, that contain high vitamins and minerals.
  • Watch the quality of the animal foods you eat, which depends on what the animals eat – highest quality of milk products comes from cows eating fast-growing green grasses on well-fertilized land.
  • Eat whole grains; whole grain flour should be freshly ground.
  • Eat green vegetables liberally.
  • To improve the health of your child, follow dietary recommendations before, during, and after pregnancy.

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the diet. There’s a lot more in the book.

Get a copy of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration for a fascinating historical snapshot – the book is long but easy to read for a book of that time, with short sentences and easy language. The full text of the first 21 chapters can also be found online at Project Gutenberg.

The reasoning behind Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Dr. Weston A. Price was a leading dentist based in Cleveland, OH. He spent the 1930s traveling the world and observing the health and diets of “primitive” people, to see the effect of their diet on their teeth and general health. He found them much healthier than “modern” peoples, and stated that this was because they complied with Nature’s laws of which foods to eat. He set out to prove that it was possible to eat a plant-based diet without any animal products and maintain optimal health; however he found that all healthy cultures he visited ate at least some animal products. He found that vitamins and other substances in animal fats are vital for fetal development and general health.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration diet plan – what to eat and foods to avoid

What to eatFoods to avoid  |  Avoiding tooth decayBefore, during, and after pregnancy

What to eat to improve health and reduce risk of disease and deformity

Foods to eat in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

  • Basic foods –  whole grains such as whole wheat, rye, or oats, whole wheat and rye breads, wheat and oat cereals, oat cake, dairy products, including milk and cheese, which should be used liberally, and sea foods. The meals can be amply modified and varied with vegetables, raw and cooked. Use lentils in soups.
  • Fat-soluble nutrients – Eat animal foods with fat-soluble vitamins and other fat-soluble “activators” (possibly vitamin K2) that render the minerals in the food available to the human system. It is possible to starve for minerals that are abundant in the foods eaten because they cannot be used without an adequate quantity of the fat-soluble activators. Vitamin D is not found in plants, but must be sought in an animal food. Sources of fat-soluble activators include dairy products, animal organs, eggs, and seafood.
  • Animal nutrition – the quality and vitamin content of foods from animal sources depends on what the animals ate. Herd feeding (pasturage) is better than stall feeding with shipped fodder. Note that there is a seasonal rise and fall in vitamin content of animal foods such as butter, which is highest in the spring and summer when there is rapidly growing green grass. Also, where land has lost its fertility due to overuse without fertilization, such as the East Coast of the USA in the 1930s, there is a lower vitamin content than from pasturage in more fertile regions
  • Milk is the most efficient single food known, nature’s only complete diet for mammalian infants and by far the most important single item of food for growing human beings in all periods of stress. Drink whole milk for tooth health, as it is the fat in the milk that provides the benefits – mostly if the animals are fed fresh rapidly growing green grass. Children should drink about a quart of milk each day. A small amount of high-vitamin butter produced from this milk, added to an otherwise satisfactory diet, improves vitality and general health and checks tooth decay. Ideally, create a butter-oil: Melt a high vitamin diet and allow it to crystallize for 24 hours at a temperature of about 70 degrees F. Then centrifuge it to separate an oil from a solid crystalline layer. The oil is much higher in the activating factor (activator X / vitamin K2) than the whole butter. The use of this butter or oil strongly reduces tooth decay and increases Lactobacillus acidophilus. The best source for the feed for cows producing high-vitamin milk and butter is a pasturage of wheat and rye grass, or green alfalfa. If hay is not carefully dried to retain its chlorophyll, which is a precursor of vitamin A, the cow cannot synthesize this fat-soluble vitamin
  • Animal fats – eat certain fatty parts of animals, including bone marrow and liver. One of the richest sources of vitamin A in the entire animal body is that of the tissues back of the eyes including the retina of the eye
  • Seafood – eat fresh or well-preserved seafood, such as oysters, halibut, haddock, etc. . Primitive methods of drying fish preserved the food value, including vitamins. Canning does not efficiently preserve some of the fat-soluble activators, particularly vitamin A – although in a letter to his nephews and nieces Dr. Price recommends canned fish such as sardines, tuna, and salmon. Liver oils can be a good source of vitamins and activators. They can be used in winter if good quality butter is not available. – take it with the meal rather than before or after. A highly recommended food is a teaspoonful of a mixture of equal parts of a very high vitamin natural cod liver oil and an especially high-vitamin butter, to be eaten at the beginning of a meal – or ½ teaspoon 3 times a day with meals. This mixture is more efficient than either product alone
  • Eggs are recommended – in a letter to his nephews and nieces, Dr. Price says that the protein requirement can be provided each day in one egg or a piece of meat equivalent to the bulk of one egg a day. However they are not listed as foods that can provide you with necessary fat-soluble vitamins
  • Whole grains – eat foods made with freshly ground or cracked whole grain wheat or oats – this way you get the maximum vitamin content from the embryo (germ) of the grain. If it’s not freshly ground, there’s a considerable loss of vitamins B and E because of oxidation of the embryo or germ fat. Preferably grind the same day – in cold climates it may keep up to a week, but in hot weather it oxidizes rapidly. Refining the flour removes 80% of the phosphorus and calcium content, together with the vitamins and minerals in the wheat germ. A suggestion in the book is to have a cooked cereal made from freshly cracked wheat or oats, eaten with cream or milk and a limited amount of sugar sufficient to flavor the cereal. Recently baked whole wheat muffins made from freshly cracked wheat and spread liberally with a high vitamin butter are also recommended; they can be eaten with cooked applesauce or other cooked fruits not too highly sweetened
  • Vegetables – eat a liberal supply of green vegetables, raw and cooked. Recommended vegetables include lettuce (most highly recommended), cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and celery. Fill up with bulky foods such as potatoes and vegetables if the daily mineral and vitamin requirements from other foods have been eaten first
  • Fruit – eat fresh fruits in moderation – most of them are low in minerals.
  • Beverages – don’t wash your food down with drinks; chew food well to produce saliva instead. Drink after or between meals
  • Not supplements – eat real foods to get vitamins and minerals, not supplements. Human beings cannot absorb minerals satisfactorily from inorganic chemicals. Nature has put just the right amount of vitamins and minerals in the embryo in each grain of wheat to accompany that quantity of food
  • Keep eating – our bodies need a certain amount of fresh minerals every day with which to manufacture blood. The days that these minerals are not provided in the foods they will be taken from our storage depots, the skeleton. Young girls in particular should not go on strict diets, as this may lead to softening of the bones, curvature of the spine, or stooped shoulders

Foods to avoid or limit with Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

  • Processed foods – eating a processed diet instead of the recommendations above leads to an average 35-fold increase in susceptibility to dental caries
  • White flour – eliminate white flour as much as possible
  • Sugar – eliminate sugar and sweets as much as possible, as well as highly sweetened marmalades and jams
  • Low-fat – avoid skim or partly skimmed milk – drink whole milk instead
  • Don’t over-consume fish oils such as cod liver oil in too large doses, as this may cause serious structural damage to the heart and kidney and lead to depression. Also, fish oils that have been exposed to air may develop toxic substances

At the time the book was published, there was a “fad” of using only alkaline producing foods, which believed in the danger of eating acid producing foods. The author found practically no difference between the acid balance meat diet of the isolated Eskimos of the far north and the less acid vegetable and milk diet of other groups as efficient factors in control of caries – he said it’s important to keep in mind that our bodies have a mechanism for maintaining proper acid and alkali balance in the blood and this varies through only a very narrow limit whether the balance of the total food eaten is acid or alkaline.

Adding good foods appears to be more important than eliminating bad foods. In chapter 16 and also in chapter 22, a chapter added in the second edition in 1945, “A New Vitamin–Like Activator,” Dr. Price described providing a nutrient-rich supplemental meal for some children. The nutrition provided these children in this one meal included the following foods. About four ounces of tomato juice or orange juice and a teaspoonful of a mixture of equal parts of a very high vitamin natural cod liver oil and an especially high vitamin butter was given at the beginning of the meal. They then received a bowl containing approximately a pint of a very rich vegetable and meat stew, made largely from bone marrow and fine cuts of tender meat: the meat was usually broiled separately to retain its juice and then chopped very fine and added to the bone marrow meat soup which always contained finely chopped vegetables and plenty of very yellow carrots; for the next course they had cooked fruit, with very little sweetening, and rolls made from freshly ground whole wheat, which were spread with the high-vitamin butter. The wheat for the rolls was ground fresh every day in a motor driven coffee mill. Each child was also given two glasses of fresh whole milk. The menu was varied from day to day by substituting for the meat stew, fish chowder or organs of animals. Their home meals were not changed – highly sweetened coffee and white bread, vegetable fat, pancakes made from white flour and eaten with syrup, and doughnuts fried in vegetable fat. On this diet, and despite their eating processed foods in their other meals, their physical health and brain function improved dramatically.

What to eat to avoid tooth decay

  • Follow the recommended diet above as a natural way to avoid future tooth decay
  • Eat a sufficient variety of foods to supply the body’s demand for those elements which it needs
  • Tooth decay is caused not by sugars and starches, but by the quality of saliva. Natural immunity to tooth decay is lost when a highly processed diet is adopted. Fat-soluble vitamins have been deficient in practically every case of active tooth decay.
  • Teeth harden if the saliva is normal. This occurs by a process of mineralization much like the process by which petrified wood is produced; exposed dentin (under the tooth enamel) takes on a hard glassy finish. With an adequate improvement in nutrition, tooth decay will generally be checked provided two conditions are present: in the first place, there must be enough improvement in the quality of the saliva (from the improved diet); and in the second, the saliva must have free access to the cavity

What to eat before, during, and after pregnancy

The author claims that following this diet leads to healthy children. Not providing these nutrients may lead to abnormalities in the child including the narrowing of the entire body, malformation of bones in the face, disturbances in the pituitary gland, and changes in the soft tissues, particularly the brain. Many of these abnormalities, especially facial deformities, may not be displayed until young adulthood, and they all lead to the child being less healthy than they could have been.

  • Before pregnancy
    • Eat the recommended diet above
    • The nutrition of both parents before conception plays a part in a healthy embryo
    • Avoid pregnancy when very young, as the body has not yet developed or collected all the nutrients it needs for pregnancy. Children of fathers below 20 or above 40 years of age are weaker than the children of fathers between these ages. Also, the children of mothers over 40 years of age are weaker than those born to mothers below this age, especially if they have older siblings. Down syndrome is more common in children born last in a large family
    • Additional dietary needs before pregnancy: Fish eggs (fresh or dried) were in many cultures given to girls and young women to aid fertility, or other seafood such as spider crabs. Cattle tribes depended on a very high quality of dairy products – in some cases girls were required to wait for marriage until the time of the year when the cows were on the rapidly growing young grass and to use the milk from these cows for a certain number of months before they could be married
    • Lack of proper nutrition before pregnancy may lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, premature births, and physical deformities or congenital malformations
    • Note that even if the parents have physical deformities or reduced brain function because of less-than-adequate nutrition during their conception, early gestation, and childhood, if they have enough nutrition their own children are unlikely to show the same issues. E.g. pigs born blind due to vitamin A deficiency, fed an adequate diet with vitamin A, gave birth to piglets with healthy eyesight. Other generational issues that may be overcome include club foot, over-shot or under-shot jaws, cleft palate, palate deformities, chest deformity, and other physical malformations including the frequent human deficiency of lack of development in the middle third of the face
  • During pregnancy
    • Continue to eat the recommended diet above
    • Eat sea foods liberally
    • Ensure that you get enough vitamin E – one of the best sources is wheat germ
    • A diet of this type, before and during pregnancy, may make the birth process easier and faster – especially if the mother does not have narrow pelvic arch/hips caused by nutritional deficiencies in her own conception and early gestation
  • Nursing and food for babies
    • Continue to eat the recommended diet above
    • Eat foods high in minerals – e.g. red millet with high calcium content, or quinoa
    • Avoid highly processed baby foods, as they may lead to later growth defects in adult teeth
  • Between pregnancies
    • Continue to eat the recommended diet above
    • Leave a sufficient gap between pregnancies for the mother to recuperate her strength and nutrients such as vitamin A completely. If this does not happen, there is an increased risk for physical deformities and reduced brain function. Many primitive cultures expect from 2½ to 4 years between children

Studies of the diets of isolated and modernized people around the world in the 1930s

The book contains fascinating snapshots of some indigenous cultures that have since disappeared because of modernization – there are descriptions of how these people behaved, and photos (mostly of people showing their teeth). Listed below are the foods the indigenous and modernized peoples in each region ate, and observations on their health. Dr. Price collected samples of these foods for chemical analysis, either drying them or preserving them in formaldehyde.

  • Swiss – chapter 3 / III
    • Isolated people in high Alpine valleys such as the Loetschental Valley – nutrition was dependent largely on entirely rye bread and dairy products – mostly a slice of whole stone-ground rye bread and a piece of the summer-made cheese (about as large as the slice of bread), eaten with fresh cow’s milk or goat’s milk in the summer when the cows were away in the higher pastures near the snow line. They ate meat about once a week, usually Sunday, usually a sheep shared among several families. Bones and scraps were used for making soups to be served during the week. They ate potatoes and various green vegetables, fresh in the summer season and stored for the winter season. The milk was produced from green pasturage and stored green hay with exceptionally high chlorophyll content. The milk and the rye bread provided minerals abundantly, these people had almost no tooth decay and were very healthy.
    • Modernized people in St. Moritz ate an abundance of white-flour products, marmalades, jams, canned vegetables, confections, and sweetened fruits, all of which were transported to the district, plus chocolate produced locally. Only a limited supply of vegetables was grown locally. Local cattle were stall-fed, and very little milk was drunk. Most people were suffering from dental caries.
  • Gaelics – chapter 4 / IV
    • Isolated people in the Outer Hebrides – the diet consisted chiefly of oat products such as porridge and stone-milled oat cakes eaten at every meal, and sea foods from the wide variety of fish available there at the time, including small sea foods such as lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, and also fish livers. An important and highly relished article of diet was baked cod’s head stuffed with chopped cod’s liver and oatmeal. They lived in thatched-roof homes (straw roofs) heated by peat fires, so the homes were always smoky – the thatch was used to fertilized the oats, which would not grow well in the local soil. A little barley was eaten. This diet included generally no dairy products since the pasture was not adequate for maintaining cattle. Some green foods were available in the summer and some vegetables were grown and stored for winter; fruits were practically unknown. The oats and fish, including livers, provided minerals and vitamins. They had remarkably fine physiques and no lung problems.
    • Modernized people in Stornoway ate angel food cake, snow white bread, many other white-flour products, sugar, canned marmalades, jams, syrup, chocolate, coffee, canned vegetables, sweetened fruit juices, jams, confections of every type, some fish without livers, and eggs. They had bad teeth and were often mouth breathers, and tuberculosis was common.
  • Eskimos – chapter 5 / V
    • Isolated Eskimos in Alaska – the diet consisted of a liberal use of the organs and other special tissues of the large animal life of the sea, as well as of fish. Fish such as salmon were dried in large quantities in the summer and smoked and stored for winter use. The fish were also eaten frozen. Seal oil was used freely as an important part of their nutrition – pieces of fish and other foods were dipped in seal oil. Seal meat was specially prized and was usually available. Caribou meat was sometimes available; the organs were eaten. Fruits were limited largely to a few berries including cranberries, available in the summer and stored for winter use. Several plant foods were gathered in the summer and stored in fat or frozen for winter use. A ground nut that was gathered by the Tundra mice and stored in caches was used by the Eskimos as a vegetable. Stems of certain water grasses, water plants and bulbs were occasionally used. Blossoms of flowers were preserved in seal oil, as was sorrel grass. Very limited seeds were used. The bulk of their diet, however, was fish and large animal life of the sea from which they selected certain organs and tissues with great care and wisdom. These included the inner layer of skin of one of the whale species, which has recently been shown to be very rich in vitamin C. Fish eggs such as salmon eggs were dried in season. They were used liberally as food for the growing children and were recognized as important for growth and reproduction. This nutrition provided ample amounts of fat-soluble activators and minerals from sea animal life. They were very healthy.
    • Modernized Eskimos in settlements such as Crooked Creek ate “store grub” had high levels of tooth decay and a low birth rate.
  • North American Indians – chapter 6 / VI
    • Isolated American Indians living inside the Rocky Mountain Range in the far North of Canada – the successful nutrition for nine months of the year was largely limited to wild game, chiefly moose and caribou and also bear. Winters reached 70 degrees below zero, so dairy animals could not be kept and seeds and fruits could not be grown. During the summer months the Indians were able to use growing plants. Very limited seeds were used. During the winter some use was made of bark, dried berries, and dried buds of trees. Price found the Indians putting great emphasis upon the eating of the organs of the animals, including the wall of parts of the digestive tract and moose livers; they were getting vitamin C from the adrenal glands and organs of animals; they also made use of the walls of the second stomach. Much of the muscle meat of the animals was fed to the dogs. Skeletons are rarely found where large game animals have been slaughtered by the Indians of the North – the skeletal remains were found as piles of finely broken bone chips or splinters that had been cracked up to obtain as much as possible of the marrow and nutritive qualities of the bones. These Indians obtained their fat-soluble vitamins and also most of their minerals from the organs of the animals. An important part of the nutrition of the children consisted in various preparations of bone marrow, both as a substitute for milk and as a special dietary ration. They were healthy and did not have arthritis, and when women gave birth it was very easy.
    • Modernized American Indians living in modernized settlements in the same area ate processed foods including pop, candy, and confections. They had crowded teeth, and often had arthritis and tuberculosis. Labor for pregnant women was very difficult.
    • In an American Indian reservation in upper New York State, people had stopped growing wheat and keeping cows to provide natural cereal and milk; instead they were using white flour, canned vegetables, commercial vegetable fats, jams and marmalades, sweetened goods, syrups and confections very liberally; milk was only available for small babies. They had very bad teeth.
    • In an American Indian reservation in Winnipeg Lake in Manitoba, people no longer ate as their ancestors by fishing; instead they ate modern foods, imported white flours, jams, canned vegetables and liberal quantities of sugar. Over 90 per cent of the individuals had rampant dental caries. There was a similar pattern seen in a modernized American Indian settlement in Vancouver Island.
    • In Alaska, the native diet had consisted chiefly of fish, fish eggs, seaweed, and deer, leading to good health. The modernized diet depended on white flour and sugar, jams and canned vegetables; they had bad teeth. In another district the native diet had been principally moose and deer meat, fresh and dried fish, a few vegetables and at times some cranberries; the modern diet consisting largely of white bread, syrup, and potatoes. Tuberculosis was common in the modernized areas.
    • A similar pattern was seen in the Seminole Indians in Florida, but there’s no description of their diets in this book.
  • Melanesians – chapter 7 / VII
    • Melanesians traded copra, sea shells, and some other products for trade goods – 90% white flour and sugar and 10% clothes or material for clothes. Missionaries had told them they had to wear clothes, instead of coconut oil on their bodies – irradiation of that coconut oil by the sun had been considered an important source of nutrition.
    • Fiji Islands – isolated people had a trade system amongst themselves despite bitter wars – every 3 months, people of the interior would bring down during the night choice plant foods from the mountain areas and place them in caches and return the following night and obtain the sea foods that had been placed in those depositories by the shore tribes. Among the sources of animal foods was the wild pig from the bush; also coconut crabs which grew to a weight of several pounds. Fresh water fish of various kinds were used.
    • In modernized areas, people eating imported modern foods such as white-flour products, sugar and sweetened goods, canned foods and polished (white) rice, lost their immunity to dental caries – it was much worse in growing children and mothers. Abscessed teeth often caused suicide.
  • Polynesians and Hawaiians – chapter 8 / VIII
    • Isolated Polynesians in the various archipelagos of the South Pacific, the diet depended greatly on shell fish and various scale fish from adjacent seas, and sea worms. These were eaten with an assortment of plant roots and fruits, raw and cooked. Taro was an important factor in the nutrition of most of these groups. In several of the islands the tender young leaves of this plant were eaten with coconut cream baked in the leaf of the tia plant. In the Hawaiian group of islands the taro plant is cooked and dried and pounded into powder and then mixed with water and allowed to ferment for twenty-four hours, more or less, in accordance with the stiffness of the product desired. This is called poi. For these South Sea Islanders fat-soluble vitamins and many of the minerals were supplied by the shell-fish and other animal life from the sea.
    • In the Marquesas Islands which include Tahiti, people living on trade foods including white flour, sugar, and canned goods, who had largely stopped depending on the sea for food, many teeth were decayed and there were serious epidemics of small-pox and measles.
    • In the Samoan Islands, the native foods were shell fish, including octopus, sea crab, and beche-de-mere/sea cucumber, which were eaten raw. The people who ate this diet had good teeth.
    • In the Hawaiian islands, isolated people ate taro cooked and fermented as poi, and they had much lower tooth decay than modernized people eating white flour, sugar, sugar products, syrup, sweetened goods, and white rice, who also had a higher incidence of tuberculosis.
  • African tribes – chapter 9 / IX
    • Isolated Africans in eastern and central Africa – Price visited about 30 tribes, and most of the descriptions are brief. For some tribes, the diet included large quantities of sweet potatoes, beans, and some cereals. Where they were living sufficiently near fresh water streams and lakes, large quantities of fish were eaten. Goats or cattle or both were domesticated by many tribes. Other tribes used wild animal life quite liberally. Some very unique and special sources of vitamins were used by some of these tribes. For example, in certain seasons of the year great swarms of a large winged insect develop in Lake Victoria and other lakes. These often accumulated on the shores to a depth of many inches. They were gathered, dried and preserved to be used in puddings which are highly prized by the natives and were well spoken of by the missionaries. Another insect source of vitamins used frequently by the natives was the ant which was collected from great ant hills that in many districts grew to heights of ten feet or more. In the mating season the ants developed wings and came out of the ant hills in great quantities and went into the air for the mating process. These expeditions were frequently made during or following a rain. The tribes had developed procedures for inducing these ants to come out by covering over the opening with bushes to give the effect of clouds and then pounding on the ground to give an imitation of rain. Price was told by the missionaries that one of the great luxuries was an ant pie but unfortunately they were not able to supply us with this delicacy. Parts of Africa like many other districts were often plagued by vast swarms of locusts. These were gathered in large quantities, to be cooked for immediate use or dried and ground into a flour for later use. They provided a rich source of minerals and vitamins. The tribes of Africa used the cereals maize, beans, linga linga, millet, and Kaffir corn, cooked or roasted. Most of these were ground just before cooking. These people did not suffer from appendicitis, gall bladder trouble, cystitis or duodenal ulcers, and malignancy was rare.
    • Some tribes in the Nile area, including the Masai, were chiefly herders of cattle and goats and lived primarily on dairy products, including milk, and blood, with some meat (especially organ meats), and a varying percentage of vegetable foods. They milked the cows daily and bled the steers at regular intervals – the blood was defibrinated by whipping in the gourd, and the fibrin (clotted blood protein) was fried or cooked much as bacon or meat would be prepared. The defibrinated blood was used raw just as the milk was, except in smaller quantities. When available, each growing child received a day’s ration of blood as did each pregnant or lactating woman – previously, the warriors were the only ones with access to this food. Masai men eat the sex glands of male animals. These people were tall and strong and dominated the surrounding tribes. The Muhima tribe in Uganda were similar.
    • The Kikuyu tribe, to the north and west of the Masai, were primarily an agricultural people. Their diet consisted mainly of sweet potatoes, corn, beans, and some bananas, millet, and Kafir corn, a variety of Indian millet. The women used special diets during pregnancy and lactation. These people had good dental arches, but many of them had dental caries. Some other tribes had a largely vegetarian diet that was supplemented by cow’s milk and/or goat’s milk.
    • Arabs in several areas of north Africa used camel’s milk extensively.
    • Modernized Africans, eating imported foods of white flour, sugar, white rice, and canned goods, had rampant tooth decay.
  • Australian aborigines – chapter 10 / X
    • Isolated Aborigines on the coast of Australia – used animal life from the sea liberally, together with the native plants and animals of the land, and water birds such as wild ducks and swans. They had not cultivated the land plants.
    • Isolated Aborigines in the interior of Australia – used freely the wild animal life, particularly wallaby, kangaroo, small animals, rodents, insects, beetles and grubs, and birds and birds’ eggs. All of the edible parts, including the walls of the viscera and internal organs are eaten.
    • Aborigines who had adopted the foods of the white man suffered extremely from tooth decay and gum disease, as did the whites. Where they had no opportunity to get native food to combine with the white man’s food their condition was desperate and extreme – malnutrition, bodily deformities, and tuberculosis, as well as greatly reduced fertility.
  • Torres Strait Islanders – chapter 11 / XI
    • Isolated Torres Strait Islanders, between Australia and Papua New Guinea – the diet consisted of liberal quantities of sea foods, including large and small fish, shellfish, and sharks. These were eaten with a variety of plant roots and greens such as bananas, pumpkins, and pawpaws, together with fruits which grew abundantly in that favorable climate. Few places in the world had so favorable a quantity of food for sea-animal life, fed by currents coming from the ice fields of the Antarctic ice cap – the fish in the water at times formed such a dense mass that they could be scooped into the boats directly from the sea. Fishermen wading out in the surf and throwing their spears into the schools of fish usually impaled one or several. Another important sea food in these waters was dugong, referred to as sea cow in northern waters. This animal was very highly prized but was already becoming scarce. Price found its meat very much like lamb. It lived on the vegetation of the sea floor in shallow water.
    • Torres Strait Islanders eating modern foods including white flour, white rice, canned goods, and sugar – most had tooth decay, and many had abnormal dental arches
  • New Zealand Maori – chapter 12 / XII
    • Isolated Maori in New Zealand – diet included large quantities of foods from the sea, especially shellfish, including lobsters, abalone, and a mollusk called toharoa, wherever these were available. Even in the inland food depots, mutton birds were still available in large quantities. These birds were captured just before they left the nests. They developed in the rockeries about the coast, chiefly on the extreme southern coast of the South Island. At this stage, the flesh is very tender and very fat from the gorging that has been provided by their parent. The value of this food for the treatment of tuberculosis was being heralded quite widely in both Australia and New Zealand. In undeveloped areas of the islands large quantities of land birds were available and because of the fertility of the soil and favorable climate, vegetables and fruits grew abundantly in the wild. Large quantities of fern root were used, as was kelp. They ate a species of grubs. Where groups of Maori were found isolated sufficiently from contact with modern civilization and its foods to be dependent largely on the native foods, they selected with precision certain shell-fish because of their unique nutritive value. They were strong and healthy.
    • Maori eating the modern diet consisting largely of white flour, sweetened goods, syrup, and canned goods had bad tooth decay and a very high incidence of tuberculosis.
  • Ancient civilizations of Peru – chapter 13 / XIII
    • In ancient civilizations of coastal Peru and surrounding area, sea foods were used in conjunction with the land plants and fruits raised by means of irrigation in the river valleys. Plant foods included corn, beans, squash, and other plants. Together these foods provided adequate nutrition for maintaining high physical excellence.
    • In ancient civilizations in the highlands of Peru and surrounding area including Aymara and Quichu, llamas, alpacas, and vicunas were used for food; also guinea pigs. They regularly ate dried fish eggs from the sea, as they didn’t have access to fresh fish. Dried kelp was also available, to supply iodine and copper useful for them to live at those high altitudes. An important part of their dietary consists today as in the paste of potatoes which are gathered and frozen, dried and powdered, and preserved in the powdered form. This powder is used in soups with llama meat and other products. Guinea pig was a common source of food – this is probably the most efficient animal at synthesizing vitamin D from plant foods. Corn and several varieties of beans and quinoa were eaten.
  • Peruvian Indians and Amazonian Indians – chapter 14 / XIV
    • Isolated coastal people in Peru and surroundings at fish eggs and other seafood such as angelote or angel fish, which in classification is between a skate and a shark.
    • Isolated people in the highlands of Peru and surroundings ate llamas and alpacas,. They ate cold, dried foods such as parched corn and beans – these foods wore down their teeth but they didn’t have tooth decay or issues, just short teeth.
    • Isolated people in the Amazon ate a wide variety of fish, animals, birds including water fowl and their eggs, tropical fruits, vegetables including yucca, and some seeds. They had fine teeth. Those on the edge of civilization, who ate refined flour products, sugar, sweetened goods, canned goods, and white rice had tooth decay and changed facial and dental arch forms.
  • USA
    • Examples of foods eaten in various parts of the USA include: highly sweetened strong coffee and white bread, vegetable fat, pancakes made of white flour and eaten with syrup, doughnuts fried in vegetable fat, other refined white flour products, corn bread, corn syrup, white rice, canned goods, some fat pork, a limited amount of meat. With this diet there was no adequate provision for a normal amount of such body-building materials as minerals and vitamins.
  • Cross-culture
    • Isolated people in the Andes and central Africa, and Aborigines carried a ball of clay, a little of which was dissolved in water – into this they dipped their morsels of food while eating. Their explanation was to prevent “sick stomach.” This was the medicine that was used in these countries for combating dysentery and food infections. This is compared in the book with the use of kaolin in the medicine of the time.
    • The diets of the isolated groups studied provided nutrition with at least 4 times the minimum requirements for minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron) – this is particularly important for growing children and during pregnancy, lactation, and sickness

Health benefits claimed in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for diseases common in the 1930s, many of which are still seen today: allergies, arthritis, difficulty in breathing, cancer, chicken pox, diphtheria, endocarditis (heart inflammation), epilepsy, heart disease, influenza/flu, congenital insanity, measles, nephritis (kidney inflammation), nervous system issues, general physical degeneration, pneumonia, retropharyngeal absess RPA, rheumatic fever (post-strep throat inflammatory disease), scarlet fever, tetany (muscle cramps), tooth issues (crowded teeth, dental-arch deformities, dental caries, facial deformities, gingivitis, gum disease, pyorrhea (periodontis), tooth decay), tuberculosis. The book claims that the recommended diet improves attention and the capacity to learn, and reduces the presence of juvenile delinquency and the need for prisons and asylums

According to chapter 27: (Group 1) Diseases and conditions caused chiefly by the faulty nutrition of the affected individual include dental caries, peridontal inflammations, pyorrhea alveolaris, types of eye inflammations, failing vision, scurvy, un-united fractures, recurring spasmodic fractures, skeletal affections, joint pains, beri beri, pellagra, and sterility, amongst other conditions. (Group 2) Diseases and conditions caused in a large part by parental deficiencies which affect function include hare lip, cleft palate, narrow hips, narrow face, constricted nostrils, mental backwardness, juvenile delinquency, skull defects of the face and the floor of the brain, brain defects, mongoloidism (Down’s syndrome), idiocy, etc.

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration for a fascinating historical snapshot. The full text of the first 21 chapters can also be found online at Project Gutenberg.

Buy now from Amazon
How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment