The book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and the Weston Price Foundation have played a huge role in my life and in my “food conversion” story. In that post I mentioned finding a website that made so much sense, something inside me changed the day I discovered it – I spent hours reading the information I found there.
Who is Weston A. Price?
Weston A. Price was a dentist who did research years ago, comparing the health and eating habits of those in America to those in traditional cultures. (Meaning people in remote areas who still ate the way their ancestors did.) His findings and the information in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, are the basis for the teachings found on the Weston Price Foundation website and in their quarterly publication, “Wise Traditions.”
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration describes his research and these comparisons:
- His Patients ate: refined/white sugar, white flour, canned condensed milk, canned foods, vegetable oils, skim or low-fat milk
- People in traditional cultures ate: no refined foods, nutrient dense foods, foods with a higher healthy fat content, high enzyme content foods, foods higher in vitamins and minerals, animal foods, eggs
- Health of his patients: weak immune systems/not resistant to disease, narrow bone structures (narrow jaw = call the orthodontist; narrow pelvis = difficult childbirths, narrow nasal passages and constricted ear canal = frequent upper respiratory infections), digestive disorders, weak dispositions
- Health of people from traditional cultures: resistant to disease/strong immune systems, healthy digestive systems, no infections, wide bone structure, hardy & strong
- His Patients' teeth: tooth decay, crooked teeth, narrow jaw, narrow palates, overcrowding, underbites, narrow faces
- Teeth in traditional cultures: no tooth decay, straight teeth, wide jaw, wide palates, room for all the teeth, no overbites or underbites, round faces
What does this mean for us?
In a recent e-mail from Sally Fallon, President of the WAPF, she summarized the main principles of the WAPF diet:
- Use of organ meats
- Use of bone broths
- Use of good fats
- Use of properly prepared nuts, grains and legumes
- Use of lacto-fermented foods
Basically, they teach us how to cook foods the way our ancestors or great great grandparents did.
Since most of us are so unfamiliar with this (along with our mothers and even many of our grandmothers), this cookbook is one I refer to often: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.
In the beginning…
I owe a huge thank you to my friend, Kathy, who first told me about Dr. Weston A. Price and the Nutrition and Physical Degeneration book in early 2004. When I began reading their website something in me “clicked” and I haven’t been the same since! I’ve always been drawn to finding the Truth (I tend to question everything), and what makes sense with whatever it is that I’m researching at the time.
Here are some of the wild and crazy things I learned that day…
- Butter is actually good for me?
- Red meat is nutritious if you buy from a farmer who knows how to raise his animals on nutrient-dense pasture (as in NO mystery meat from factory farms)
- Dieting should not include “fat-free sugar-free” (FAKE) foods?
- Soy is not a health food?
Those topics and all the “politically incorrect” information there blew me away. It made sense and I knew I’d found what I was looking for.
Chicken feet anyone?
One thing though… As much as I believe in the wisdom at the WAPF and its teachings and all I learned in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, I have to admit that a few of the suggestions I'm just not sure I'll ever do. For example, in the cookbook it talks about making bone broth (read more about this superfood here) and how you can make it even more nutrient dense by throwing in some chicken feet – ICK! I just don't see me tracking down some chicken feet at a foreign food market, supposedly where those are found. HOWEVER, I'll bet that if I, or someone I love, had arthritis issues or a joint disease or a digestive disorder, I might just make it happen! All the “odd” foods we hear about in other cultures, now it makes you wonder if they aren't traditions handed down through generations for their healing wisdom! (GET THIS: my friend Lyn just told me that she found some chicken feet in the freezer at the farm where she gets her meat and she bought them! I told her I'm so proud of her to try something that sounds so gross to most of us. She said they made really good broth!)
UPDATE: Read about when I finally did it and added chicken feet to my stock!
Since that day when I first found the Weston Price Foundation site (and read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration), that's where I go first now when researching any topic. Their articles are highly referenced and researched. As a member you get the WAPF quarterly journal, Wise Traditions, which I happily read cover to cover. By becoming a member you also help support all they do and help them to continue. For us Real Foodies, this is no small thing.
Also, if you take the time to read through the site, you may wonder, “Why haven't I heard any of this stuff before?” I wondered that too, yet at the same time everything made so much sense, so I stuck with it. Through the past few years, however, there has been an explosion of this same common sense information coming out. I've seen WAPF research quoted in various publications and websites, not to mention that other more recent researchers are coming up with similar results pointing to the same conclusions about whole, nutrient dense foods, healthy fats, etc. The word is finally getting out! (Update: here's a post with new saturated fat research!)
Lastly, the main reasons this site has credibility in my eyes is because:
- The main people who benefit from their information are local farmers who are growing/raising nutrient-dense food to help people be well again, often after years of feeling like crap!
- The articles on their site and in their quarterly publication, “Wise Traditions”, are full of references, clearly showing where they get their solid information.
- As I mentioned before, I happen to think that the teachings from the WAPF just make sense. (Read more here about the criteria I use to find the truth on health & nutrition .) Why would foods that have nourished people for centuries become taboo in the last few decades? (Meat, butter, eggs, etc.) With the increase in refined and processed foods (and things like, “I can't believe it's not butter“), we've had MORE heart attacks and cancer, not less! (Read more about healthy fats here.)
If you want to find farms in your area and other stores selling more nutritious foods, go here.
Just doing the best we can…
All this is why I often refer to the Weston A. Price Foundation site and why many of my recipes are made using the healthy ingredients and traditional food preparation techniques recommended there. Sometimes this is simple to implement, other times much more time-consuming. As time goes on I see there are areas that I'm doing well in, but I also see many areas where I have a long way to go.
God has it right, again!
The bottom line is that we don't need to accept the road that would've been ahead for us and our children, had we continued on our processed and refined food diets. There is a better way, and as you would expect, it's all about getting back to the way God intended us to nurture the bodies we've been given. I hope you'll keep reading and sending your comments, so we can all learn together on this journey toward better health.
Watch this video for more about Weston A. Price and his studies:
Become a member of the WAPF here!
More you might like:
- Q & A with Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation
- Raw milk series – part #1
- Find and get involved at your local WAP chapter (monthly meetings, etc.)
- A lengthy, but well-written article on the findings of Weston A. Price & dental health
Michael Cohen says
A great article !! but a Minor point; You stated that in the into W.P. ‘s patients ate “high fructose corn syrup”. HFC was not invented or used in food until the 1970’s.
Good catch! I just made the correction, thank you. 🙂
Cream Puff says
Hi KitchenKop! Thanks for being so informative about the WAPF way of eating. I have a health and wellness blog, http://www.MavenRaves.com, and we are doing a series called Eating with a Purpose. We recommended our readers come to your site for additional information on WAPF diet. What a great resource you have here!
Maybe you can just take a peek at some, like a first step, see if they really squeege you out like you think they will. Mine usually come frozen in a pack with some backs. Not quite so creepy that way.
And then do you dump them in without looking??? 🙂 OK, I’ll email my farmer after all….. thanks for the nudge!
Kelly, I was just coming to post and find out if you were using feet yet, since your original post is about 2 years old; I see you’re still on the fence 🙂 The chicken feet aren’t all that bad, especially mixed in with other random carcass pieces/bones. Yes, they look like feet but there is a reason that the Chinese serve them at tea time 🙂 I figure it’s better than eye balls or such floating in my broth. They do add some wonderful gelatin, although I usually pressure cook mine until most of the bones are crumbly which breaks the gelatin down (still there, just not gelling).
Rachel, that’s too funny that you were wondering if I did it yet! I’ll have to get some soon just to say I did to show that I can be a big girl after all……..maybe…… LOL!
OK, I’ll start by emailing my farmer to see if he has them around…no wait, the thought of them going into my pot still makes my stomach turn. Give it another couple years maybe!
Kelly, I just have to laugh at the chicken feet! They really do make fantastic gelatinous stock. Have you gotten over your squeemishness and tried them yet? I don’t find them gross, I find them very cute and sweet, which makes me a little sad, and very grateful for the chickens. Now that I have my own chickens I doubly appreciate them.
Not yet, but I might now… 🙂 My stock is so nice and gelled already though, I don’t feel a strong motivation to do it!!!
Great article! Found it via the Weston A. Price group on Facebook. I love your statement, “God has it right…again.” YES! This is what drew me into this way of eating — it pointed straight at God’s creation, not at something man invented.
You might enjoy reading my latest blog article about this very issue:
By the way, I have been using chicken feet in my stock for years. They really add to the nutrition and flavor, in a very good way. Our local farms sell the chicken feet by the bag. I buy several bags per year, and add enough feet in each pot of stock to generally count for the number of “chickens” in the pot. 🙂
Thanks for a great post!
Joyce, that reminds me of that phrase I love, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
I always thank God for that kind of “coincidence”. 🙂 FUN!
Just last week I just saw chicken feet at an asian market in my town and had no idea what anybody would use them for! Then today I stumbled onto your site while reading about raw milk (just started drinking it a few days ago). I just bought some virgin coconut oil today to use for cooking and then came home and read amazing things about it here. What a lot of happy coincidences! Is that serendipity?
I read that olive oil isn’t good to cook with because it is not heat stable. Butter, extra-virgin coconut oil or meat fats are better options. The point of buying cold pressed olive oil would be mute if you cooked with it.
Joel Fuhrman was an athelete who treated a broken ankle by fasting. Talk bout outdated science! Not all people do well on the same diet. I agreed with him during my raw food dogma days but the books that he’s written, that I bought, are going on eBay! The Nourishing Traditions diet makes much more sense than a deprivation diet which is what Joel Fuhrman promotes. Why would anyone think that eliminating Frankenfoods and replacing them with whole foods is outdated? Some sympathetic dominant people might do better with alkaline foods but if a person is parasympathetic dominant, meat is key. If you are a normal, healthy person, eat a variety of foods from all groups. Make the ingeredients whole food and prepare them properly. Stay far away from genetically modifiied foods and foods sprayed heavily with chemicals or medicated with hormones, steroids and antibiotics.
I order chicken feet from an organic Amish farm whose phone number was given to me by a WAPF group leader. I also purchased raw milk, cheese, fermented beets, kefir grains, whey, sour dough bread…. You dont have to eat the feet! Give them to your cats when the broth is made.
Musings of a Housewife says
I love this post! I’ve been wanting to write a similar one. Now I think I’ll just link to this. 🙂
Sounds like you’re on the right track, for sure! You’re doing great. 🙂
I want to find some palm sugar! I have to look harder, but I think that would be great for baking.
Regarding your question about Coc. milk – no I don’t think the liquid on the top of coconut milk is oil, I’m fairly sure it’s not, but don’t know for absolutely positive. You could call the company on the can? Just an idea.
I love your site. I’ve been browsing for a few weeks now.
I have a question for you about coconut oil. I have 3 cans of coconut milk (full fat version) in my pantry, and I was wondering if the solid at the top 3/4 of the can is coconut oil, or if it is referred to as something different. Right now, buying the oil itself is out of my price range. I’m working on it, though. We already use butter and olive oil for almost all of our cooking (95% or so), and I’ve been making bone broths for the last month. I’ve soaked steel cut oats and made baked oatmeal.YUMMM! I make homemade yogurt, with storebought milk, two gallons at a time because we go through it so fast. Hmmmm, what else?? Oh, I soaked and barely sprouted some lentils my boys, ages 7, 4 1/2, 3 & 2 wouldn’t touch them warm in a bowl, but the youngest two loved them cold out of the fridge!! Who knew??
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!
Kimber & the boys
p.s. I just found the solid palm sugar at an asian market, and am eager to try it out. It was only $1.99 for a 17.5 oz block!!
Janet W says
US Wellness Meats often has chicken feet. I’m not sure what I think about looking into my stock pot and seeing chicken feet there (I remember what it was like to look at the cow tongue my mother was cooking), but I think one day I will try it.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Olive oil is good to cook with, but even better is coconut oil. Depending on what you’re cooking, you could use the full-flavored virgin coconut oil, or the refined unflavored coconut oil. Both have many health benefits.
I fry in butter a lot, too. Soon I am going to try tallow.
Whenever anything is heated, you lose some of the nutrients, but not all.
Thanks for writing!
I cook with olive oil. does that remove the healthy benefit of olive oil?
I love knowing that eating healthier isn’t ONLY a benefit for our quality of life as we age, but even for right NOW it’s making a difference. It all makes sense, though, the WAPF principles really build our immune systems so our bodies can fight things off the way they were made to.
Michigan Mom2three says
Cool! Small world eh? (‘specially in West Michigan it seems…..)
Re: illness, we went to visit my family in Kansas (where I’m from), and my sister’s children (in daycare, and typical SAD diet) had been sick, even in the hospital off and on with respitory flu and secondary infections. They spiked HIGH, HIGH fevers, and just couldn’t knock it. Sure enough while we were there, the baby spiked a fever again for several days. Well, then my 4yo daughter spiked a high fever, but she got over it in 36 hours…… has not been sick at ALL since then. She regurly consumes coconut oil in foods, stocks, raw milk, whole unprocessed foods….. and her immune system was able to kick it in 36 hours, ON HER OWN, with no doctor visit. I was amazed. We’ve been eating like this for a good year now (probably longer, as we started making small changes 2 years ago, so it’s been progressively getting better over the 2 years), and I noticed a DEFINITE change in our health and ablity to fight off common infectious disease.
Your farm IS the place where Lyn got her chicken feet. 🙂
Bone broth is one of my strong areas, too. I’m still learning more about soaking, fermenting and other various WAPF ideas, but the broth I’ve got down! We’ve also been blessed with good health all winter (none of the 6 of us have even had a cold!), and although I’m not superstitious at all, I’m still a little hesitant to say that too loud!
Michigan Mom2three says
Kelly, I’m in your area, and when I was at my farm the last time, I saw some chicken feet in a bag in the freezer. I almost got some, but didn’t! I wonder if your friend and I go to the same farm??? (It’s where our cow share is).
Nourishing Traditions took me a year to digest too. I’m still reading some of the sidebars. However, bone broths are one thing that I have done WELL with. Through the winter months, we have foods with bone broths in them atleast 3-4x per week! I make homeade soups all the time with them (I”ve got a large variety now!) and I also use the bone broth to cook ALL my rice in. It’s wonderful. Between the raw milk, and the bone broths, I can say that our family hardly EVER gets sick in the winter, and infections that take most people down for weeks will affect us for a couple days at most.
I would think that a good place to find chicken feet would be a Chinese grocery store. The Asians do not waste any part of the animal. I have been on a quest to find a good Chinese market here in NH, but I may have to look in Boston .
Thanks for your comments! Between your chicken feet story and my friend, Lyn’s, I may just try getting some of those soon…I surely won’t tell the kids either!
Great post! I just found your site while googling for something else. I’ve been making bone broth for several years now and just made it with chicken feet this week. I finally convinced the woman who sells me “backyard chickens” to also give me the feet. It was a bit strange at first, but my 9 yo son said it was the best chicken soup I had ever made (no I didn’t tell him – you know how kids are).
A friend gave me the cookbook Nourishing Traditions several years ago. It took me almost a year to read it all and “digest” it. But it changed everything about how I cooked, shopped, and thought about food and nutrition for my family. I also dove into the research, looking for corraboration from credible sources, and found it, sometimes in surprising places. The more I read, the more it made sense to me, and the more I found completely unrelated info sources that agreed with the WAPF info.
I’m glad you liked my post, thank you for YOUR great info too – I added the link for the free book online!
You may want to add an addendum:
N&PD is available ONLINE for FREE!!!
Isn’t that cool? I have the book, too but it’s nice to know that you can read it online.
Also, re: chicken feet and bone broth…
There are SO MANY other health-giving benefits of bone broth, especially bone broth with LOTS of gelatin (which is why you use the chicken feet).
Too many to list here but one very very important one is the gelatin helps to heal the lining of the intestine. Many of us today have leaky gut, diverticulitus, and other intestinal problems. By helping to strengthen the gut walls, this also supports immunity. It also strengthens digestion which helps you absorb more nutrients.
Gelatin also helps people digest milk and dairy products.
Oh, I could go on and on!
I have been trying to find chicken feet but it’s not so easy. I am a member of a local organic buying club and I get my eggs and chickens from a local chicken farmer (she has all-pastured chickens that are not fed soy). I requested the chicken feet so hopefully one of these next times I go in, I’ll get them!
In the meantime, I’ve been using powdered gelatin (Bernard Jensen brand — not all brands are good; many contain MSG). I add this to my broth and it turns it into jello. Obviously if you warm it, it’s liquid.
What’s really cool about this is I can pour it into ice cube trays and I have portable chicken broth for my baby! She loves it and I know it is so healthy for her.
See, chicken feet are REALLY good!!!
Thanks again for your excellent post.
Sounds like you’ve already figured out the “bone” broth, even though you didn’t call it that! Also, you could add some veggies as it’s boiling and a splash of vinegar too – this draws more nutrients from the bones. More details are in the cookbook and I’ll put out a post on the topic soon.
I love your comments and wish it would catch on with others too!
Double UCK on the chicken feet! As far as bone broth, I guess you are just talking about boiling bones and then getting the broth?!? When I cook a turkey or whole chicken, after we have dinner and I clean all the meat off, I sometimes return the bones to the roasting pan, cover the whole thing with water and set to simmer for a few hours. (Usually until I go to bed) I put the whole thing in the fridge, then the next day I bring it up to room temp, strain it and make soup or use the broth to make rice for another meal. It is really tasty! I have never called it “bone broth”, that sounds gross! Ha-Ha!