Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Pt. I

One of the comments at the bottom of the blog post meditating-in-the-garden-of-self-loathing on refers to a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration [written by Weston A. Price in 1939] and how the doctor’s grandkids look very healthy and natural.

I visited and am checking out a copy of the book online. It can also be found at

There is a very interesting review of it below:

I think it is elegant and simple as most truths are found to be. Essentially, our “modern” diet and lifestyles are the cause of physical degeneration, disease etc. etc. This may not be a new idea today but I bet you it was a pretty new idea in the 30s when he wrote this book!

I think that ideas are vitally important, much more so than facts (while facts are important because they are the foundation of knowledge) and that it is truly rewarding to come upon universal truths, as rare as they may be and if they even exist . . .I am not sure yet if this general thrust represents one but I suspect it does.

As I read more of this Nutrition and Physical Degeneration book review I am struck by how much more there is to it than just an examination of the physical effects of poor nutrition.

It is also an examination and almost a swan song to character. It is striking and it is powerful. It is romantic and it is just another thing that we crave so badly for but are deprived of in the modern and “civilized” world-community; belonging and a devotion to values over wealth.

The italics and bold are my emphasis.

“Price began nearly a decade of travels and research by journeying to Switzerland, where, on his first “expedition” he began to sort out a mish-mash of suspected causes of superior dental health. He initially supposed that living at high elevations might produce greater physical health. Better food also would have something to do with it. He said:

“In order to study the possibility of greater nutritive value in foods produced at a high elevation, as indicated by a lowered incidence of morbidity, including tooth decay, I went to Switzerland and made studies in two successive years, 1931 and 1932. It was my desire to find, if possible, groups of Swiss living in a physical environment such that their isolation would compel them to live largely on locally produced foods. . . . at a little less than a mile above sea level, a group of about 2,000 people had been made easily accessible for study, shortly prior to 1931. Practically all the human requirements of the people in that valley, except a few items like sea salt, have been produced in the valley for centuries. “(p. 23)

Price discovered that he accorded the people of this valley unusually deep admiration.

“The people of this valley have a history covering more than a dozen centuries. The architecture of their wooden buildings, some of them several centuries old, indicates a love for simple stability, adapted to expediency and efficiency. Artistically designed mottoes, many of them centuries old, are carved deep in the heavy supporting timbers, both within and without the buildings. They are always expressive of devotion to cultural and spiritual values rather than to material values. These people have never been conquered, although many efforts have been made to invade their valley.” (p.23)

“If one is fortunate enough to be in the valley in early August and witness the earnestness with which the people celebrate their national holiday, he will be privileged to see a sight long to be remembered. These celebrations close with the gathering together of the mountaineers on various crags and prominences where great bonfires are lighted from fuel that has been accumulated and built into an enormous mound to make a huge torchlight. These bonfires are lighted at a given hour from end to end of the valley throughout its expanse. Every mountaineer on a distant crag seeing the lights knows that the others are signalling to him that they, too, are making their sacred consecration in song which says “one for all and all for one.” This motive has been crystallized into action and has become a part of the very souls of the people. One understands why doors do not need to be bolted in the Loetschental Valley.

How different the level of life and horizon of such souls from those in many places in the so-called civilized world in which people have degraded themselves until life has no interest in values that cannot be expressed in gold or pelf, which they would obtain even though the life of the person being cheated or robbed would thereby be crippled or blotted out.”


~ by notrous on April 9, 2009.

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