Basics of Ancestral Health

I have been following an ancestral health diet for over two decades after learning about it from the Weston A. Price Foundation. I attribute an ancestral health diet to not only improving my own health but the health of my family as well. You can read a bit about that story here.

Our ancient ancestors, before industrial agriculture came into play, ate a diet that was much more nutrient dense than our own diets today. Weston A. Price was a dentist who traveled the world and visited indigenous cultures that were still eating their native diets. He traveled everywhere from isolated villages in Switzerland and Polynesia to South America and Africa. Wherever he went, Dr. Price found that stalwart bodies’ resistance to disease were typical of primitives on their traditional diets, rich in essential food factors.

Even though these diets were different depending on the location and culture, they all had the same basic tenants. This includes:

  • If they ate grains, they were soaked or sprouted, such as sourdough
  • If they ate or drank dairy products, they were raw dairy
  • They ate a good portion of their food raw, such as raw fish, raw meat, raw fruits and vegetables and raw dairy
  • They all had fermented foods in their diets, such as sauerkraut, kimchee or kombucha
  • Their proteins, such as meat and chicken were pasture raised and fish wild caught
  • The vegetables they ate were foraged and unsprayed
  • They ate real fats from dairy, lard and nutrient rich oils such as olive oil

Industrial food production relies heavily on chemicals such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals are needed because growing the same plant (e.g. wheat, corn, soy, etc.) in the same place repeatedly depletes the nutrients from the soil and causes the field to become attractive for weeds and pests. Research has shown that nutritional content of commercially grown foods that we are eating today have significantly lower nutritional content than these foods had 100 years ago.

To eat the most nutrient dense foods available, I pay very special attention to the tenants of the ancestral health diet in my own diet, and we pay special attention to them at both of my restaurants. At Woods Hill Table and at Adelita, the meats are grass-fed and poultry pasture raised on my farm, The Farm at Woods Hill in Bath, NH; produce is organic from small farms throughout New England; seafood is line-caught from the New England waters; and the menus exclusively feature soaked beans and grain, fermented foods, sustainable oils such as coconut oil and animal fats, as well as raw cheeses and a locally-sourced raw bar.

Following the tenants of ancestral health has greatly improved my overall energy and boosted my immune system. Have you experienced any type of health benefits from following an ancestral health diet? Let me know below in the comments.


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