Salmon and Seal Oil

“As each piece of fish is broken off, it is dipped in seal oil.”

Chapter 5 of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price is Isolated and Modernized Eskimos.

As we have seen in the previous chapters, the people living in this area have their own ‘local’ foods.  We previously learned that the Swiss ch consumed dairy and bread and the Gaelics  had fish and oatcakes.  The Eskimos consumed a diet largely of smoked salmon dipped in seal oil. Seal oil.  They did have the addition of stored greens and berries plus greens from the sea but the bulk of their diet was the fish/seal oil.  The incidence of tooth decay?  In some areas it was less than 1%. But as we discovered in the ‘modernized’ areas that rate jumps dramatically.

This short excerpt really shows the differences between primitive and modern;

“These thrifty people have physical features quite unlike the Indians of central, southern and eastern Alaska. Of the twelve individuals studied here, ten had lived entirely on the native foods or practically so. In their 288 teeth only one tooth was found that had ever been attacked by tooth decay, or 0.3 per cent. Two had come up from the Kuskokwim River, of which the Stony River is a branch. There, they had received a considerable quantity of the “store grub” that had been shipped up the Kuskokwim from Bethel. Twenty-seven per cent of the teeth of these two had been attacked by dental caries.”

Such a huge difference that the ‘store grub’ made in their teeth!

Chapter 6: Primitive and Modernized North American Indians

“When I asked an old Indian, through
an interpreter, why the Indians did not get scurvy he replied promptly that that was a white man’s disease. I asked whether it was possible for the Indians to get scurvy. He replied that it was, but said that the Indians know how to prevent it and the white man does not…He then described how when the Indian kills a moose he opens it up and at the back of the moose just above the kidney there are what he described as two small balls in the fat. These he said the Indian would take and cut up into as many pieces as there were little and big Indians in the family and each one would eat his piece. They would eat also the walls of the second stomach. By eating these parts of the animal the Indians would keep free from scurvy, which is due to the lack of vitamin C. The Indians were getting vitamin C from the adrenal glands and organs.”

It is amazing to me that these people knew what their bodies needed.  I assume that this method was handed down from previous generations but how did they know this in the first place?  In addition, the people that he studied from the quote above had almost zero incidence of cavaties. He examined 2,464 teeth and only 4 teeth had any evidence of decay. 4 out of 2,464. Amazing.  Unfortunately, as he moved to areas with more contact the evidence of tooth decay and physical ailments increased. Substantially. Dr. Price studied several other groups of North American Indians with similar results.  The more modernized, the more decay.

Final Thoughts

I can’t say that I’d be excited to eat seal oil or the moose parts mentioned. But I do continue to be amazed at the difference in the primitive cultures verses the modernized. 

Next Wednesday we’ll read Chapters 7 & 8.

What jumped out at you from Chapters 5 & 6? Anything you care to share?

Discussion to Chapter 2
Discussion of Chapters 3 & 4

I’m sharing this post at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday. I’d say it doesn’t get much more real food than this! 🙂

Photos: Salmon; Moose

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