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The Diets of Long-Lived People

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.

Read more: Food, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health

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).

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Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Yes, the closer to the land a diet is the better.
Some vegans continue to rant about how a traditional diet is an unobtainable goal and say that organic is elitist. Vegan views are elitist because of the cult like world view that many of them have by saying vegan is the Only way to go. Many of them simply cannot accept that there are those of us who prefer meat. Well, eat your broccoli and asparagus, quinoa as many of these that are genetically modified-even vegans are not safe unless it is organic...and leave the rest of us who enjoy meat alone. True, factory farming is horrendous but there is nothing wrong with humanely raised meat sources. Yes, the vegan hearts bleed because the animals die but so do plants, seeds and other vegan fare. Well - take it up with Mother Nature as she designed carnivores. Naughty in a vegan world but until Mother Nature sees the "error" of her ways and with a sweep of her sunshine eyes reforms the world into a place where we can all eat pate of rock and stone...then stop whining about people who eat meat, fish and cute birdies. Bad naughty spiders feeding on insect life!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Oh, to add to my previous comment, compassion is not only a vegan quality, many meat eaters are people with compassion as well. Get off the soap box and enjoy your vegan lifestyle--if you stop eating organic living matter to live and then die as a result-then you have compassion--until then, ask Mother Nature to allow you to exist by eating rocks, stones and other inorganic matter. Until then quit telling meat eaters that we are not compassionate because that is self serving propaganda. Even vegans live by feeding on plants and other previously living organisms. Some of that was genetically engineered unless you are lucky enough to find an organic source where the plant you fed on was not laced with chemicals.

11:51AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Thank you

12:37AM PDT on May 4, 2012

Thanks for the article.

6:13AM PDT on May 3, 2012

Thanks for the article.

3:55AM PDT on May 3, 2012

thanks for sharing

5:11PM PDT on May 2, 2012

A good post. Thanks for sharing.

1:15PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

I believe it since diets high in fish, fruits and vegatables and low in salt, sugar and preservatives really work wonders. Thanks.

6:09AM PST on Feb 11, 2011

Thanks for the info.

6:09AM PST on Feb 11, 2011

Thanks for the info.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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