I’ve done more book-throwing this week than any week prior. First, there was a little post-alcohol and refined sugar crash that involved an argument and me throwing, not in any particular direction or with malicious intent toward the author – a copy of Julian Whitaker’s Reversing Diabetes. The book wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read, but after hearing all this miraculous diabetes reversal talk from Whitaker, I almost threw it again when I got to the end and read a selection of his Auschwitz recipes – many of which were under 300 calories.
The real tear-jerker was Primal Mind-Primal Body, by Nora Gedgaudas. I was already a little wary of it after it received accolades at world champion artificial sweetener consumer Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb site. But then I flipped open the front cover of the book to see her theft of my favorite Weston A. Price quote. Yeah, the one at the top of the page across my head. Sure, it’s public property I guess, but I felt a little violated.
Then the book goes on to quote repeatedly from Weston A. Price schools of thought and my other favorite, Diana Schwarzbein. All of this was used as supporting material for a, get this… low calorie, very low-carb diet that excludes all grains and starches. Good luck getting 10-100 times your daily allowance of vitamins and minerals on that fare as Price recommended we do.
This was killing me. If I have one pet peeve, it is parading around as a Price-revivalist while completely turning your back on his observations. Using my token Price quote was serious salt on my wounds. Glorifying Schwarzbein who advocates eating a lot of food, “gagging it down,” in fact, while never eating a meal without either a whole grain or starchy tuber was more than I could stand. I committed imaginary suicide with an imaginary gun about 48 times reading this book. Gedgaudas calls two eggs in a pat of butter breakfast? That’s 250 calories by modest guesses. Enough already! I threw that biatch across the room.
Then I open up Michael Murray’s The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, an ode to phytochemical antioxidants in plant foods. By page 6 this chisel-chest is talking about Weston A. Price. He uses Price, if you can possibly even believe this, in support of a theory that rising disease during the 20th century was attributable to the displacement of fruits and vegetables with meat and fat! WTF man! That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard! Price’s plain-as-day observations are all about ensuring sources of meat and fat and underemphasizing fruits and vegetables. This guy has eaten way too many blueberries and chia seeds. He’s bananas. I nearly fell off the couch in disbelief before committing imaginary suicide with an imaginary gun again.
Wait, it gets better. On pages 8 and 9 he lays out tables comparing U.S. per capita food consumption in 1909 vs. 1999. Not only does this chart obliterate any pitiful theory that he could’ve built in support of pomegranate seeds and spirulina, it bitch slaps almost every major health fad on the planet – from low-fat to low-carb to Paleo to you name it. When I go over the changes, you’ll really see how FD (friggin’ delusional) this guy really is. It boggles the mind, because he talks about how factory farming has caused animal fat to have more saturated fat than wild animals, who typically have higher levels of polyunsaturated body fat. Switching from saturates to veggie PUFA’s was the most radical dietary shift during that time jerky!
So let’s take a look at the changes from 1909, when Americans were vastly healthier, to 1999 when we were walking disasters. Let me know if you think it supports the ideas at 180DegreeHealth or if low-carb, vegetarian, low-fat, or Paleo nerds should claim victory for this piece of data. To reiterate, 180 is about displacing vegetable-based fat with saturated fat, particularly from animal and dairy fats, eating lots of starchy whole plant foods, including even the dreaded whole wheat, corn, and potato, eating fruit in moderation, and avoiding refined sugars and syrups like the plague…
In the American diet from 1909 to 1999, as reported by the USDA:
Consumption of whole milk dropped 49.8%
Consumption of skim milk increased 57.8%
Consumption of butter dropped 72.2%
Consumption of margarine increased 800%
Consumption of shortening increased 275%
Consumption of lard and tallow dropped 50%
Consumption of salad and cooking oil increased 1,450%
Consumption of fruit increased 29%
Consumption of vegetables increased 15.6%
Consumption of potatoes dropped 23% (of fresh, unprocessed taters, it fell by 73%)
Consumption of grains dropped 30.6% (corn by 50%, wheat by 30%)
Consumption of pork dropped 19%, eggs dropped 13.5%, beef increased by 22%, poultry increased 278%
Consumption of legumes and nuts increased 37.5%
And, drumroll please…
Refined sugar and syrup consumption increased by 74.7% (up about 1,600% from 1809)
And for the low-carb people especially, overall carbohydrate consumption fell from 57% of calories to 46% of calories. High-glycemic starches were displaced by lower glycemic high-fructose corn syrup and crystalline fructose.
To eat a 1909 diet today then, we must, as a nation, eat less margarine, shortening, vegetable oil, fruit, vegetables, skim milk, poultry, nuts, legumes, refined sugars, and beef…
And eat more butter, lard, tallow, potatoes, corn, whole wheat, pork, eggs, and whole milk.
I’m not saying I agree that we should do exactly that, or that changes from pork to poultry is even of any particular significance, but everyone has the right to know what changed in the American diet as we got sicker. The data makes it a tough feat to accuse dietary cholesterol, saturated fat, high-glycemic carbs, dairy, grains, or lack of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. It’s damn easy to blame it on vegetable oils and refined sugars though, which I think I’ll continue to do.
And a personal message to The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods:
“Consider yourself tossed m’fer!” Ca-thunk goes 900 pages against the wall!