May 23, 2005 12:29 PM   Subscribe

is the weston a. price foundation on to something, or are they half-baked? organic foods and whole grains good (sure), accurate labels important (check), soy deadly (huh?), and something about a board member's unique form of "magnetic, intuitive, spiritual or psychic healing" (groan).
posted by subpixel to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
Anecdotal, but I know lots of people that swear by the food aspect (sprouted grains, organic meats, unpasteurized dairy, natural fermentation whenever possible) of the foundation. Soy is something like the most genetically-modified crop in the world, and it is processed pretty heavily to be made into many of the things we use it for, so that's the kind they advocate avoiding... but my understanding is that they consider fermented soy to be just fine (soy sauce, miso).

I haven't done it myself because it's preparation-intensive, but I don't happen to eat bread at all, nor dairy (apart from yogurt and cheese), nor processed soy. And, anecdotally, I am entirely healthy (no addictions, not overweight, no cavities, no colds, no allergies, no headaches, good stamina, plenty of iron, low blood-pressure, regular digestion, regular periods, etc.)

I know nothing about the freaky healing part you mentioned -- everyone I know who has heard of it just uses the diet aspect.
posted by xo at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2005

I'm not sure how rigorous the science is—not saying it's good; not saying it's bad either—but I recently skimmed Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and was impressed by some of his arguments and anecdotes, and especially by the comparative photographs of individuals who had grown up on indigenous, unrefined diets and others who had grown up on modern, refined diets. I'd say that at the least, you'd want to look at that book.

Another book I'd recommend (by a Price acolyte) is Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Butter (from organic milk) is good for you, dammit! The tone of the book, as you can guess from the subtitle, is a mite strident but, like the Price book, it advances some considerable arguments and evidence that modern eating habits are robbing us of a good part of our physical well-being. And it has some yummy recipes. On the whole, I found many of its propositions well-supported and consonant with common sense, but many others too speculative or even (apparently) ideologically motivated.

If you Google around on "soy" a bit, I think you'll find some studies in mainstream journals that tend to the same conclusions as those of the Price foundation. Soy, while often painted as a miracle "schmoo" by its promoters, may not be that good for you after all, especially as a dietary mainstay.
posted by bricoleur at 2:54 PM on May 23, 2005

Mefite stbalbach thinks there's something to it. Mefite Soyjoy does not. See this thread, for instance (though I think there might be better ones where they discuss their differing viewpoints on Weston Price).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2005

comparative photographs of individuals

I'm a complete outsider on this issue (I likes me the fake stuff) but this strikes me as highly suspicious. Give me a large enough pool of individuals to take photos of, and I can "prove" that even cancer makes you healthier and happier.
posted by squidlarkin at 5:55 PM on May 23, 2005

Give me a large enough pool of individuals to take photos of, and I can "prove" that even cancer makes you healthier and happier.

No argument from me on that. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the subjects of these photos were chosen because their appearance tended to support the author's hypothesis.

However...as I perused the photos—and YMMV, of course—I was reminded of many other photos I've seen through the years in all kinds of publications, which could also be adduced as evidence for his hypothesis. In other words, while he almost certainly did choose those subjects who most strikingly illustrated his point, I think the general difference he tried to illustrate really does exist. And I think his contention that diet accounts for this difference is, prima facie, the most reasonable explanation. So while (as I noted in my comment above) Price's principles may not rest on the kind of extensive and objective research that we'd like to see, they nevertheless seem plausible, would explain a lot, and, to my knowledge, are not inconsistent with any other well-replicated research (this last bit being controversial, of course). At the least, I think the claim that dental caries is relatively rare among populations whose diets have remained primitive is pretty well accepted.

All this applies to the general thesis that refined foods—specifically, refined flour and sugar, the most ubiquitous—are inadequate, and even positively pernicious, substitutes for their unrefined counterparts. As to the specific claims about the health benefits of specific foodstuffs, well, I would really like to see some research.
posted by bricoleur at 4:42 AM on May 24, 2005

As someone that agrees with many of the ideas put forth in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and by the Weston Price group, I find the tendency toward stridency, in my opinion bordering on shrillness, dishearting. Why they can not understand that vegetarianism and veganism are viable and valid options for some people is beyond me. The hostility that I perceive toward these ideas does nothing but alienate a natural ally on the whole foods front.

As far as Weston Prices's research is concerned I have to emphasize the use of the word "anecdotal" in the comments above. My sense of Weston Price is that he hung compelling and provocative theories on a hook composed chiefly of anecdote. The use of Anecdote is good for inspiration but nothing makes me run away faster then when it is used as the linch pin of an argument. That said many of his ideas do make sense and deserve further investigation, ( which I think Sally Fallon does make a attempt at. )
posted by flummox at 7:28 AM on May 24, 2005

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