Celebrate Wisdom from the Past

| July 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

In the course of recovering from “the big C,” I have done a huge amount of reading about the history of health disorders. And I have discovered that much was known and proven seventy five and even a hundred years ago that has been lost along the way. In the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, many researchers were investigating the process of disease and finding nutrition to be a key factor in prevention and treatment. Their findings were ignored due to being “an inconvenient truth.”

The facts that they found about individual and public health were not welcome to the business interests of newly emerging pharmaceutical industry, the growing food conglomerates, and political power. The statistics on the increase of health problems that have occurred since they made their recommendations (and were ignored or ridiculed) bear out the wisdom of the eating habits that they recommended.

Our local treasure, the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, (www.ppnf.org) preserves the writings of two dedicated visionaries from the 1920’s and 1930’s who came to similar conclusions through different paths. Weston Price was a dentist who dared to ask, not why do people get cavities, but what is the situation with populations who do not. He traveled worldwide to find isolated groups of people who still adhered to their traditional diets of local, fresh and unprocessed foods.

While he found a wide range of difference in the contents of the diet, depending on climate and geography, he found that the common denominator of health was due to simple ingredients eaten in close-to-nature form, such as oats, raw milk, sea food and fish. Consistently, he documented that those of these groups who had contact with “Western” or “Modern” conveniences, such as white flour and refined sugars, canned and boxed processed foods and other modern refinements, had immediate and devastating destruction of their teeth. Not only were the teeth affected. He found a correlation between tooth decay and susceptibility to Tuberculosis.

He also noted that the children of those who adopted these foreign diet habits, regardless of DNA group, had narrowed jaws that crowded their teeth. The crowding resulted in the need to remove wisdom teeth and deal with eruptions of teeth through the gums. These “second generation” poorly nourished kids often had sinus problems and even difficulty breathing through the nose such that they had to leave their mouths open all the time. Reversing the diet back to the “primitive” version would begin to correct the problem by the next generation.

Dr. Weston’s counterpart, Dr. Francis Pottenger, stayed closer to home and raised many generations of common house cats, studying the intergenerational effect of various diet factors. He also noted that a more “primitive” diet resulted in robust and healthy animals, compared to those given cooked and processed foods.

Pottenger observed that poorly nourished mothers produced kittens with narrowed jaws, flattened skulls and out-of-proportion hind legs. This effect exaggerated with each generation until the poorly-fed line of cats could no longer procreate or function naturally. And, when switched back to raw foods, it took numerous generations for that lineage of cats to regain health and produce vigorous offspring.

Earlier work by Dr. John Beard, an embryologist, scientific researcher and professor at University of Edinburgh in England, focused his attention on pancreatic enzymes and their function in protecting the body from aberrant cell development, including cancer. He received a Nobel Prize nomination for his book “The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer” in 1911. He ended up with the similar conclusions regarding the benefits of consuming food close to its raw form whenever possible.

From his studies he observed that the ingestion of processed and cooked foods, particularly cooked animal protein, diverted the pancreatic enzymes from immune-oriented duties to food digestion. Eating only de-natured foods allows cancer to take hold.

These are just a few examples of the well-structured and validated research that was ignored at its inception and forgotten or suppressed subsequently. Although almost a hundred years old, the findings of these researchers are still true and useful. The concepts explained by their research have been re-surfacing as relevant to our current lifestyles.

Take a look at the “Loco-vore” trend towards fresh vegetables sourced from Farmer’s Markets and the so-called “craze” for juice bars that whip up Kale concoctions. Community gardens are an old idea that is new again. This is correcting the health crisis from the root of the problem.

While it flies in the face of big Pharma, big Agri-Biz and big Corporations, it serves to prevent and treat disease for us as individuals. It will succeed in so far as we are willing to put our convictions where our mouths are. As you celebrate Independence Day on July Fourth, think about these brave founding fathers and the legacy that they left us in terms of our right to pursue the happiness of good health.

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Category: Health & Fitness

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