In the late 1920s a Cleveland dentist named Weston A. Price was troubled by what he found when he looked into the mouths of his patients. In adults he found rampant tooth decay, often accompanied by serious problems elsewhere in the body such as arthritis, diabetes and chronic fatigue.
He was more alarmed by the dentition of younger patients. He observed that crooked teeth were becoming more and more common, along with facial deformities such as overbites, narrowed faces, underdevelopment of the nose, lack of well-defined cheekbones and pinched nostrils. Such children invariably suffered from health complaints such as allergies, anemia, asthma, poor vision, fatigue and behavioral problems.
He heard that there were a few communities around the world that were renowned for having healthy teeth. He decided to investigate in person. So, for about 10 years he and his wife (Mrs. Price) traveled more than 100,000 miles to study the diets and health of isolated primitive peoples in Africa, South America, Australia, Polynesia, Europe and northern Canada.
Wherever he came across communities that followed a traditional way of life and ate a traditional diet he found that the people were not only exceptionally healthy but also very happy and content.
The Loetschental Valley, Switzerland: “In this valley they have neither physician nor dentist because they have so little need for them; they have neither policeman nor jail, because they have no need for them.”
“The characteristics of the Polynesian race included straight hair, oval features, happy, buoyant dispositions and splendid physiques.”
“I have seldom, if ever, seen such happy people as these forest Indians of the far North.”
“It would be difficult to find a more happy and contented people than the primitives in the Torres Strait Islands … They not only have nearly perfect bodies, but an associated personality and character of a high degree of excellence. One is continually impressed with happiness, peace and health while in their congenial presence.”
In contrast traditional communities that had begun to incorporate processed foods into their diet showed signs of physical and mental degeneration.
He documented his observations in the classic book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. This book is filled with pictures of the people he studied.
The healthy cultures he studied all had certain factors in common: They didn’t eat any refined or processed foods. They valued animal foods – the whole animal was eaten with the organ meats and fats preferred. They cherished animal fats like lard, tallow, egg yolks, cream and butter.
Traditional cultures gave special nutrient-rich animal foods to parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children: small whole fish, fish eggs, liver and organ meats, raw milk, eggs and animal fat.
The value of the Weston Price diet from the perspective of treating depression and anxiety is that it is really easy, cheap and simple to follow. The foods are delicious and nourishing.