This weekend, November 11-14, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) is holding its 12th Annual Wise Traditions Conference in Dallas. As has become my pattern with events I'd love to attend, I learned about this one too late. After taking a look at the list of distinguished speakers scheduled to present, I'm wishing more than ever that I were there. Anyone who has seen the movie Fat Head (if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend watching it) will surely remember the discussion about the healthful aspects of fat and cholesterol by WAPF co-founders Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD.
For those unfamiliar with the WAPF, it is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the research of Weston A. Price, a dentist who in the 1930s-40s performed extensive studies of several diverse societies worldwide in an attempt to discover why some people thrived while others in nearby regions suffered from various diseases. Not surprisingly, the healthfulness of one's diet was found to be the prevailing factor. High intake of whole plant foods including fruits and vegetables rich in enzymes, unprocessed or raw animal foods, and liberal amounts of butterfat and other saturated fats were determined to be highly health promoting by Dr. Price. He photographed families who were isolated from civilization and consumed traditional diets as well as nearby "civilized" groups who consumed "modern" ( processed) foods, and the differences in the quality of their teeth and facial bone structure were striking. Dr. Price discovered that cavities and crooked or crowded teeth were due to nutrient deficiencies and that the state of one's teeth closely mirrored the health of the rest of the body.
Now, I know this website is called Low Carb Dietitian. The WAPF is not really advocating a low-carbohydrate for most people, although they certainly advise against consuming all refined sugar and processed grains and suggest that people people with diabetes or sensitivity to carbohydrates cut down on them. But I feel the emphasis on whole, unprocessed, sustainably raised foods rich in vital nutrients is ultimately the most important factor in achieving optimal health for all of us. It's very easy to follow WAPF principles and continue a low-carb lifestyle by simply foregoing any problem foods (these are different for each of us depending on our unique genetic makeup, physiology, and presence of various disease states).
Below are ten WAPF recommendations I feel we can all benefit from:
1. Daily use of cod liver oil as a rich source of vitamins A and D
2. Choosing butter instead of margarine (even "healthy" spreads)
3. Using small amounts of natural sweeteners (if at all) rather than artificial sweeteners
4. Eating fermented foods
5. Consuming grass-fed meat and pastured eggs
6. Eliminating soy
7. Consuming bone broth regularly
8. Eating organ meats
9. Consuming raw and/or organic dairy
10. Limiting or eliminating caffeine
So am I doing all of these things? Not quite, but I am close. I haven't yet embraced organ meats. I only recently began eating meat again, and I've never liked liver (and have never even tried any other organ meats), so I'm not in a hurry to try this, although the health benefits are huge. I also haven't tried raw dairy yet, mostly because it's difficult to find. As far as caffeine, I drink one weak cup of green tea every morning.
For those interested in learning more about Weston A. Price and his foundation, please check out the WAPF website. Also, I just finished one of the best books I've read all year, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D. It's more than 10 years old, but it's packed with highly relevant information about the benefits of traditional diets and contains hundreds of recipes along with interesting sidebars by some of the leading authors and researchers on whole foods and traditional diets.
On a final note, there are a number of registered dietitians who belong to a WAPF Yahoo group that is trying to promote change within the American Dietetic Association. One of the group's primary goals is to sever ties with sponsors like
Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE