My curiosity was piqued by this book because it is about the oldest trends in healthy eating, rather than the most recent. Fallon bases her cookbook/nutrition text on the first-hand observation of Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who traveled the world in the 1930s researching primitive peoples who, despite having no access to dental care, had near-perfect teeth. Not surprisingly, he also found that these same people had very few of the other disorders that plague modern society. He isolated diet as the primary causative factor, because in each society the native peoples who abandoned their traditional diet in favor of the “western diet” began to suffer the same ills as modern society, including rampant tooth decay.
Price studied peoples on six continents, and from their very different diets isolated a number of nutritional principles that he laid out in his landmark book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Many of these principles directly contradict our cherished notions of a healthy diet. For example, no civilization that he looked at was thriving on a purely vegetable diet—all made use of animal products, with the native peoples of Alaska as well as certain African tribes enjoying splendid health on a diet of almost exclusively animal products.
Fallon brings Price’s time-tested principles into a practical context by explaining how to apply his findings on a daily basis. She presents simple ways to locate in our own society many of the “nutritionally dense” foods of these native peoples enjoyed. She stresses the importance of the source of your food—pasture-fed and drug-free animal products, for example—and also the importance of the preparation. For example, Price found that every society which ate grain did so in some kind of soured, fermented, or sprouted fashion, such as sourdough bread. We now know that such preparation breaks down the phytates in whole grains which are difficult to digest and may contribute to grain allergies.
Carnivores and vegetarians alike will learn a lot from the wide variety of information and recipes in this book. It is a great resource that has an honored place in my kitchen.