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Do you have a favorite food? What makes someone enjoy a particular food? Is it because they grew up eating that food?
I know there are several foods from my childhood that I still enjoy. Particularly I like lemon meringue pie. I have a very vivid memory of my dad making one of these pies and it looked so amazingly delicious. Unfortunately, he dropped it on the way to the table so we never got to eat that particular pie but I really do enjoy that flavor.
Or do we begin to enjoy foods because they are available? It is easy to get a food so we eat it more often and then it soon becomes our favorite.
In this weeks chapter from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, I think ease of access really shows quite a bit in how our diets are affected. Many of these people grew up eating one style of food but then suddenly new foods that they just had to go and pick up were available instead of having to ‘work’ for them.
Chapter 11: Isolated and Modernized Torres Straight Islanders
Dr. Price really showed that having easy access to modern foods was extremely detrimental to this society. He visited one group that had a government store for the past 20 years. That group had 20.6% incidence of cavities with 95% of the people affected. In a different area where a store had only recently been established the incidence of cavities was 5.7%.
Dr. Price gives many examples of people who reported that they had only recently began having dental issues with the addition of more modern stores and contact from the commerical fishing industries where food was provided.
“We are particularly concerned with data that will throw light on the nature of the forces responsible for the production of these deformities. Since they do not appear to their full extent until the eruption of the permanent teeth as part of the development of the adult, it is easy for the abnormality to be ascribed to the period of child growth. As a result, it has been related to faulty breathing habits, thumb sucking, posture, or sleeping habits, of the child.”
The Torres Straight Islanders had a native diet abundant in sea life and plants. Dr. Price reported these to be a wonderfully happy, healthy and sturdy peoples.
Dr. Price starts this chapter off with talking about examinations of ancient skulls done by another individual. In those skulls the incidence of dental caries was only .76 percent. Pretty amazing.
Then we find out that New Zealand has been somewhat modernized and that the incidence of dental caries in the people now is much higher. In addition to the cavities there are many deformities of the arches.
“In the examination of 535 individuals in these twenty-two school districts their 15,332 teeth revealed that 3,420 had been attacked by dental caries or 22.3 per cent. In the most modernized groups 31 to 50 per cent had dental caries. In the most isolated group only 2 per cent of the teeth had been attacked by dental caries. The incidence of deformity of dental arches in the modernized groups ranged from 40 to 100 per cent. In many districts members of the older generations revealed 100 per cent normally formed dental arches. The children of these individuals, however, showed a much higher percentage of deformed dental arches.”
Dr. Price did find areas that were more isolated and still relied on sea food. They had a low incidence of cavities.
“The reputation of the Maori people for splendid physiques has placed them on a pedestal of perfection. Much of this has been lost in modernization. However, through the assistance of the government, I was able to see many excellent physical specimens. …four typical Maori who retained much of the tribal excellence. Note their fine dental arches. A young Maori man who stands about six feet four inches and weighs 230 pounds was examined. The Maori men have great physical endurance and good minds. Many fine lawyers and government executives are Maori. The breakdown of these people comes when they depart from their native foods to the foods of modern civilization, foods consisting largely of white flour, sweetened goods, syrup and canned goods. The effect is similar to that experienced by other races after using foods of modern civilization.”
Dr. Price later states that “the original primitive Maori had reportedly the finest teeth in the world, the whites now in New Zealand are claimed to have the poorest teeth in the world.”
The native Maori put great emphasis on food from the sea especially shellfish. The also ate kelp, grubs and ferns. Physical activity was also very important with the village chief at one location leading the village in exercise.
I continue to be amazed just how quickly things go down hill with the introduction of modern foods. I only wish that by introducing more traditional foods we could reverse the damage that modern foods do just as quickly! But any improvement will help.
You know my love of Lemon Meringue Pies? I’ve found a new alternative. Lemon Meringue Clouds. I make simple meringue cookies and top them with a lemon cream. It is full of healthy fats and natural sweeteners. Plus it is delicious!
What did you find most interesting in these two chapters? And what is your favorite food? Why?