The Diets of Long-Lived People
Diets of native groups immune to dental and degenerative disease
have several characteristics in common.
Nearly all foods were whole, unrefined, and unconcentrated. The only modification to
this whole-foods generality was the use of butter and cheese in
Switzerland and of seal oil and other concentrated animal and
fish oils by Eskimos. No imported foods were used.
None of the diets contained large amounts of fruit, which was used when available, though in limited quantities. Even where large quantities of fruit were available, fish and shellfish, animals, and vegetables were preferred.
Native groups used none of many foods commonly used today. The obvious include sugar, white flour, canned goods, and other supermarket standards. Less obvious are vegetable oils and fruit juices, both commonly used by health-conscious people. Nor did they use significant amounts of honey, the only sweetener sometimes available. Alcohol was used moderately if at all, in raw fermented beverages rich in enzymes and mienrals. They took no vitamin pills.
Fish and shellfish were used in quantity by native groups near the sea, supplemented by sea mammals or land animals or both.
Freshwater fish, animals, and sometimes milk and cheese were the most important protein foods for inland groups.
Seaweed was used by every native group living near the sea. Inland groups traded for it or, in the case of certain African tribes, used special iodine-rich freshwater plants.
Green vegetables and plants, in many groups gathered wild, were staples for all. Organs of animals or fish or both were considered vital.
Adapted from Traditional Foods are Your Best Medicine, by Ronald F.
Schmid, N.D. Copyright (c) 1997 by Ronald F. Schmid. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from Traditional Foods are Your Best Medicine, by Ronald F. Schmid, N.D. (Healing Arts Press, 1997).