Weston A. Price Foundation: shills and quacks

Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 17:26 By: Tom Swiss

I've been seeing flyers around lately for a upcoming lecture in D.C. by Weston A. Price Foundation president Sally Fallon. Today I got spam from them about it, which prompts me to post a bit about these shills and quacks.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is one of the primary groups responsible for spreading some of the FUD that you may have heard about soy products. Their interest (both philosophical and financial) is in promoting dairy consumption, specifically raw milk. They make claims about supporting "traditional diets", which would be fine - except that the use of dairy products is fairly new in the 200,000 years history of the human species, dating only to the neolithic revolution of about 10,000 years ago; and of course dairy consumption was just about unknown in many areas of the world where lactose intolerance is common. In fact, Price himself wasn't such an advocate of dairy.

They advocate a diet high in saturated fat, which according to our best scientific knowledge is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. WAPF simply denies that such a link exists, sort of like how tobacco companies simply denied the link between smoking and lung cancer.

On the soy front, they point to studies where animals were injected with extracts of soy protein and got sick, and ignore studies where humans ate traditional soy foods and improved their health. (It is true, though, that overconsumption of processed soy foods is not healthy. Choose tempeh over TVP.)

There's a good series of articles about WAPF at vegsource.com, and a critique of their FUD about vegetarianism at energygrid.com.

Of course, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and they do have a good point about the prevalence of processed food in the standard Western diet. Apart from that, though, it's mostly nonsense.

Aug 2011 update: after three years of comments -- some insightful, some ridiculous -- I've gotten tired of rebutting the same old WAPF propaganda over and over, so I'm closing comments on this post. A final comment here, and a related post here.

In reply to by damien81

I object strongy to your characterization of vegetarians as "lettuce nibblers" and such. It's this type of blanket labeling that gives Weston A. Price followers a bad name. For one, as a lacto-ovo-pescatarian vegetarian I am researching the foundation as a provider and information of whole, unadulterated milk and other dairy. I myself am an advocate of the whole foods diet; however, I draw the line at eating land-based animals that suffer abuse needlessly at the hands of a poorly-regulated industry swamped in every ill that mass commercialization engenders. Today in the US, big agribusiness is a sick patient; an industry contaminated both literally and figuratively. This is my personal philosophy, take it or leave it. Your lunatic rant only mars the Weston A. Price Foundation in the eyes of prospective followers of this philosophy. I hope your future posts will be more in keeping with the vision of acceptance and tolerance fostered by the foundation, and that you reserve your negative and unsupportable viewpoints for those lunatic fringe message boards that tolerate them.

In reply to by damien81

PLEASE get your facts right before posting!!!

Sally Fallen is not a Dr but a smart business women who knows a little about nutrition. To call her an author is not fair she basically takes that which has already been written and makes it her own.

In health and nutrition you need integrity and honesty... Sally Fallen fails on all counts! In my research I find a businesswomen who is more concerned with making money by pushing books under her book firm... yes she owns a publishing firm and most if not all members of the WAP board have books published under her name... this should open your eyes a little too who she is. But let me expand and highlight her coloful history...

Sally Fallen used to work for The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (PPNF)... In total NINE YEARS! YES 9 Years. She wanted to run the PPNF the way she wanted and the PPNF board basically said it would not be right so Sally left the PPNF and registered The Weston A. Price Foundation and website... Guess what? She failed to let anyone know so without explaining her position to the PPNF board which she was a senior member of for some nine years she did the dirty. DO YOU THINK THIS WAS RIGHT? What does Integrity mean?

It wasn't enough for Sally to set up this new foundation (The Weston A. Price Foundation) but she also started her own publishing firm and illegally stated using Western A Prices copyrighted material which was owned in full by the PPNF. On more than one occasion Sally has been warned to show the PPNF as the legal owners of ALL Weston Price literature and it has taken Sally several years to actually add the notice.

The above highlights someone is business minded and not really over concerned with facts and the right and proper thing to do etc.

My point in all this is that Sally Fallen is a businesswomen that I would not trust – period!

So please lets talk about Price-Pottenger and Weston Prices research and debate it...

Price-Pottenger research was based on animals not HUMANS!

Weston Price’s research was based on examining and noting various indigenous cultures around he world and astonishingly finding some societies that had excellent teeth. Primarily Price found only meat eating cultures but found no vegans or raw veggie folk but that is not to say they didn’t live on the planet he just didnt find them... then Price follows want you to believe in the special mysterious vitamin - give me a break!

Dr David Jubb has studied somatotyping most of his working life and will tell you that the human anatomy was never designed to consume meat, wheat and diary cooked or raw – PERIOD! He can demonstrate both in terms of science and visually what happens when we consume these align foods to our body. Dr Jubb has a super huge powerful thing called a microscope and spends 16 hours a day researching and exploring the human anatomy he does not own a book publishing firm or a business selling any products. More on Jubb here: http://www.oneradionetwork.com/blogcategory/dr._david_jubb/ - my point is Jubb shows why cows, chimps gorillas and Humans etc don't eat meat and why Lions, tigers etc do. Its all in the anatomy and physiology of the living organism this is the worlds expert on somatotyping.

Both the PPNF and WAP sell books and bits and bobs – give me a break... if the data they had was so important they would do it all for mankind – FOR FREE! They are both just businesses seeking to grab a crust from us all.

In reply to by Mandy Rue (not verified)

@Mandy Rue

The special mysterious vitamin you refer to, "Activator-X", has since been identified as vitamin K2, aka "menaquinone-4".

Menaquinone-4 can be obtained from animal sources such as grass-fed butter, bugs, pastured chicken eggs, pastured beef tallow, bugs, etc... It's especially concentrated in brains. Menaquinones 7+ are obtained from fermented foods such as hard (like blue) and soft ripened cheeses, sauerkraut, and natto (especially natto).

Look it up if you want to know all of the things the body uses it for.

In short, it's proven to be very important. So, no. You don't get a break.

I'm not sure what to think of your exasperated rant, otherwise. Seems like you don't really know much about what Sally Fallon knows about nutrition if you're not even familiar with basic Activator-X trivia.

PS - Saturated fat is good for you.

In reply to by Sebastapol (not verified)

- Activator-X - was a bit like... here we are selling you the worlds only... last one folks here it is... it's on a special today only two for one... we can offer you some credit or get it now and pay in 2060... garbage! The WPF goons feel its ok to call it vitamin K2 because it sits in with their wonderful world of flesh eating. My point is its marketing at its best... the big build up to.......... - Activator-X - What next - Suckervator K2 - Gave me a break!

Listen Sebastapol if we were meant to eat pork chops, beef, eggs, butter (from cows goats I don't care where) we would have been able to take it right down bugs and all. Further we were not designed to eat cooked food (white blood cell spike proves this argument - period) and we sure as hell can’t eat flesh RAW! Our teeth are not designed to rip and tear like other flesh eating animals but grind because we are not animals for we have souls and can think of what we put into our temporal bodies! Our intestinal lining has protrusions and ridges and this has been proven that meat cooked and raw gets stuck and can rot in some cases for 20+ years (again scientists have proven this)!!! Our anatomy is not designed for it its way too long to process and much to tough on our body - bacterial load is huge from living flesh and rotting flesh - period. Truth is we know now that pathogens are a big deal - case and point - if you don't know anything about parasites before you think about responding do some homework.

Casein is 20 times less addictive than opium! Calves need it for a reason! You don’t think you are addicted to milk, butter, ice cream... You are because it is additive and was not designed for our consumption!

Weston Price told us all that we needed if you listen carefully to his original work! We know now that what we lacked was "nutrient dense" foods not animal flesh!!! Of course Animals are going to be nutrient dense like humans... by eating animals you are not only IN-HUMAN you are boarding a cannibal thinking. For eating any flesh is just simply wrong our bodies have been blessed and we have been gifted with a SOUL to think about that which we put into our temples! Unlike a cow, goat or another animal we have the power to THINK!!! This was our gift. Religion or no belief system its irrelevant but being awake and thinking allows you to look at rights and wrongs... listen to your soul from within and you have the answer. The easy option is to follow an ill educated business women with little integrity or look at nature... with just 1% DNA difference between us and the big guys you have your answer here also.

Why do most folks have reactions to casein (milk protein) - case closed because you don't have an answer and won’t find one just your assumption! As babies we stop consuming mother’s milk 12 - 24 months! If we were supposed to have milk we would be sucking on mothers breast over 2 years - you dig me! If we were supposed to consume ANIMAL milk we would do it right from the animal udders and all not from a PLASTIC container - are we thinking yet... What do you think butter is!!! and a goat is seriously wrong - that's just sick... if you consume milk you are sick or will be for there is a large build up of mucus thought to be several pounds blocking or constricting most organ or causing an inflammation type response. Let’s not talk about all the hormones, puss cells and pathogens like the famous parasites.

Most folks are like walking zombies following other zombies that can’t think for themselves and want to attack anyone who challenges "THEIR" doctrine their normality because "THEY" cant compute their little world is so fragile and sick with twisted and confused thinking laid down by “MY MOTHER TOUGHT ME THIS GARBAGE” – Case and point you know that it’s ok to eat flesh (you think) because your mother brought you on up on beef steak, lamb chops and chicken soup with a little fillet of fish! But you failed your soul if you don’t get the plan now and if it doesn’t feel wrong you are a lost soul!

People like Sally Fallen make a nice little living from selling books on eating flesh - slight conflict of interests don't you think... perhaps you don’t see anything wrong with this way of living and sleeping but it’s the basic premise for a corrupt mind... now if you said to me... Hey have you heard of Sally Fallen... you founded this organisation that don’t sell any books and that don't pull in lots of cash and don’t over sell their doctrine and they are trying to promote good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle and haven’t turned what they are doing into business profiting from it – get the point! I may just listen but we both know that the very foundations of the WAPF are weak because it is a business profiting or not Sally profits from her book sales... on top of this there was already a foundation which Sally worked for which is documented above and makes it clear why there is a HUGE trust issue.

There are way too many people on the planet selling you something they have a vested interest in - therefore they are not impartial or independent for he who comes with nothing has nothing to gain or lose and those who bring everything have everything to lose - use your heads folks it doesn't cost a bean to think and question bad marketing and promoters of something they can lose if they don't sell it to you!

Don’t listen to me... question your soul and what feels right and what feels wrong to you.

In reply to by Doctrination o… (not verified)

Doctrination of My Forefathers,

The value and importance of vitamin K2 is real and can be independently corroborated by sources that have no affiliation with Sally Fallon or the WAPF. To suggest otherwise (because Sally Fallon may or may not have conducted some unsavory business) really has nothing to do with the facts and is merely an irrelevant distraction.

If you're willing to calm down and make an objective, logical argument, rather than attempt to lambaste me with another incoherent diatribe, I'm willing to listen. Otherwise, I'm not having any of it, thank you.

PS - it may bear repeating, as you seem to have innocently missed this the first time I mentioned it, but K2 is also produced in bacterially fermented vegetable products (specifically the longer chain menaquinones - ie Mk-7 though Mk-10 or so...).

I note that you seem very agitated by the notion of "bugs", however - just keep in mind that the nearly every cubic millimeter of the planet from the surface on down many meters is quite literally squirming with bacteria. That and they make up a significant fraction of your body weight. You can't escape them, so it's best to learn to live with them.

If the people who follow WPF & Sally Fallon's diet religiously are healthy, I will take their word for it. I see a contradiction, though, as follows:

Their diet is high in dairy products (good quality, of course). Yet of the many tribes, nations & races that Weston Price himself visited, and who were impressively healthy, the vast majority consumed no dairy products at all. I think there was only one that did, as I remember.

So, it seems to me that they are being dishonest in saying that their dietary philosophy is based on the work of Weston Price.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

No, most tribes, nations & races that Weston Price himself visted did not drink milk. But many did regularly eat some form of raw meat which was often specific to that particular tribe, nation, and/or race. WPFs argument is that raw milk (or some form of raw milk) was the "raw meat" of many northern European groups.

Of the people Weston Price visited there may have been only one group that drank milk (I haven't read his actual writings) but milk drinking appears to have arisen independently in at least two groups (northern Europeans and east Africans).

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

No, most tribes, nations & races that Weston Price himself visted did not drink milk. But many did regularly eat some form of raw meat which was often specific to that particular tribe, nation, and/or race. WPFs argument is that raw milk (or some form of raw milk) was the "raw meat" of many northern European groups.

Of the people Weston Price visited there may have been only one group that drank milk (I haven't read his actual writings) but milk drinking appears to have arisen independently in at least two groups (northern Europeans and east Africans).

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

If you looked more carefully at the information from the Weston A. Price Foundation you might notice that dairy foods are far from the only foods that are recommended. I imagine the raw milk gets emphasized some because consumers rights to obtain raw milk are being threatened in certain parts of the country, so that is an issue right now. Check out the foundation's website and you will see that while they emphasize foods rich in vitamins A and D, (though not at all exclusively) they are very clear about the fact that Price found healthy people eating an incredible variety of different foods. I have read Price's book and it seems like the foundation does a great job trying to help people apply his principles and findings to their food choices today.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes. I believe the reason you hear so much about raw milk from WAPF is because of all the current legality issues around it. Good, small farms are being shut down by public health beaurocrats on the basis that milk is "unsafe" unless it is pasteurized. WAPF is all about eating a real balanced diet rich in nutrient dense foods.

I have a 71-year-old (very frail) sister who has been following the Weston A. Price Org eating regimen for 9 months and she is now suffereing from cryptosporiosis, to a near life-threatening degree because of the severe dehydration and possible resulting kidney disease. I believe the parasite's origin is in the raw milk, which can never be completely free of bacteria, protazoa, parasites, and whatever else may affect us adversely. She is, however, adamant that pasteurizing milk kills ALL nutrients so she will not listen to my (or anyone else's) opinion. Only under her strong protest did we get her to see a doctor and take medication to attack her illness. I will not be surprised if this diet kills her.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Anonymous,
I appreciate your concern for your sister. Unfortunately the cryptosporiosis is probably not coming from the raw milk. As people eating and living in a Western culture age they general have less good bacteria and digestive power. This inability to digest the food or to kill the bad bacteria because of low Hydrochloric acid and low good bacteria is probably more of the problem. The WAPF doesn't exclusively say that raw milk is good for all people. Some individuals have specific food needs based on biology and heritage. Your statements of completely free of bacteria is true. So the solution is to build the immune function and health of the host. If the "terrain" as our bodies have been called, is in a good state of health over all we can handle most bacteria.

Sorry for your sister's illness.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I am sorry to hear about your sisters poor health. It is possible that your sister's immune system was weak prior to this new diet. I strongly suggest reading "The Body Ecology Diet" by Donna Gates. It explains how to balance your body's inner terrain with beneficial bacteria with cultured foods (i.e. Yogurt, Kefir, Sour kraut, etc.) A very helpful book for anyone.. Meat eaters, Vegetarians, Raw milk Drinkers, Vegans. Truly strengthens the immune system!!

I find it funny how soy shills/propagandists never explain the difference between fermented soy and unfermented soy. Asians have been consuming fermented soy for years, and even that is done in moderation.

I am so sick of you soy shills/propagandists encouraging people to overconsume soy products, and I am so sick of you smearing people as "meat/dairy industry shills" when they attack any form of soy at all, including GMO soy. So take your Monsanto dirty money and choke on it.

The soy industry, soy shills/propagandists, CSPI, PETA, National Action Against Obesity, Monsanto, and the Center for Consumer Freedom. ALL Rockefeller fronts.

I just attended the Weston A Price foundation conference in San Francisco last weekend and would like to contribute to this conversation on the basis of what I learned there. I attended a 5 hour talk by Sally Fallon there.

1. This thread complains extensively about the emphasis on milk products but I think the characterization of WAP as being so focused on milk is unfair. Yes, milk is a big part of the agenda. They support this by showing evidence of the health benefits of raw milk from grass fed freely pastured animals. That said, milk is just one small part of the total agenda. In Sally's 5-hour overview, she spent relatively little time talking about milk. It was just one of many topics that were explored.

2. At the conference there were a lot of speakers and some were more knowledgeable than others. Sally Fallon was the most amazing. Very articulate and educated. I was comfortable with her and had confidence in what she was saying. I have a fairly good gut instinct for separating quacks from real teachers, and I definitely do not believe Sally is a quack. I found her to be very credible.

3. I do agree that the overall recommendations of WAP are focused more on what might appeal to the American audience and they don't necessarily have a 360 degree view. In other words, a lot of the material and research fails to comprehensively explore diets of other regions, particularly, Asia. That is an area for further development. But, just because they haven't fully explored Asian (or other) diets does not mean the advice is bad. To the contrary, I still believe everything I learned at the conference from Sally to be sound. There is room to improve by integrating a more global perspective.

4. There was detailed discussion about the difference between Asian use of Soy and American use of manufactured chemical-based soy products and the difference between fermented and non-fermented soy. There was NOT a wholesale dismissal of soy, we had a nuanced and thoughtful discussion of soy and Sally specifically recommended traditional Asian forms of soy like Tempeh and Natto and Miso, she was counseling us to avoid heavily processed artificial soy products that are de-natured and full of toxic chemicals. These products don't exist in the traditional Asian diet.

I have just dared quackbusters to give me one objective way they decide what is mainstream and what is peripheral. As a research scientist myself for 40 years outside the university labs, I find them biased, self-centered, self-laudatory, and often about 15-20 years behind independent science. Regarding WAP, I have yet to find a paragraph they have written that I can reject. On the other hand, the frequent drugging of children is so low that months of reading about Stalin and Hitler has yet to turn up an instance of them drugging children for "mental illness," such as ADD and juvenile bipolar disorder that were unknown before 1960. I will debate before an audience any professional who claims that the mainstream is a 40-fold increase in bipolar disorder in a decade among tiny children, and millions who may be budding geniuses called hyperactive (compared to what?!). 'Nuf said

"WAPF simply denies that such a link exists, sort of like how tobacco companies simply denied the link between smoking and lung cancer."

Uh, no, actually that's a good analogy for what you do in your post, denying the excellent deconstructions provided by Enig and Fallon of highly publicized original research (perhaps simply ignorance in the case of your post, blathering from your apriorisms instead of actually checking it out). Enig particularly, also Fallon, does an excellent job of reporting on the statistical and methodological flaws and biases in original research - not to mention some laughably ridiculous "conclusions" drawn that contradict the papers' own data.

By the way, the vegsource.com articles are pure crap, barely literate FUD. The energygrid one is better. I disagree with the arguments, but at least the author attempted some logical points.

I find it funny how soy shills/propagandists never explain the difference between fermented soy and unfermented soy. Asians have been consuming fermented soy for years, and even that is done in moderation.

This is a good example of the disinformation about soy. The truth is that tofu (unfermented soy) is consumed at levels in china, taiwan and japan roughly equal to the same amount we in the west consume bread. somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 pounds a year per person. This is not including the massive amount of soy milk consumed from some 38,000 tofu shops in Japan. the population in japan has 15 times the number of people over 100 than we do in the west. that alone is quite a dietary study. The people in Japan that consume the most unfermented soy are the people of Okinawa. They eat tofu every day. Okinawa boasts the longest lived population on earth. They have 50 times the people over 100 than we in the US do.

some other actual facts (instead of Weston A. Price Foundation lies) about un fermented soy are:

no studies not one ever have reliably demonstrated an increase in the risk of breast cancer among human women eating soy. There are however reliable studes that have reported a decrease in the risk of breast cancer among human women eating soy compared to women who did not eat soy.

Animals that were given soy phytoestrogens developed fewer mammary (breast) tumors in many studies.

Phytoestrogens are actively being researched by the medical community for beneficial effects on cardiovascular and bone health. Studies are also examining various phytoestrogens for relieving some of the symptoms associated with menopause.

all of the above facts are actually the opposite of the false propaganda put out by the anti soy people and make the anti soy people seem quite evil and point to questionable motives and a desire to do people harm with false information.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Most Asian soy is fermented, a process and art prized by all because it made an inedible, toxic plant used as fertilizer into something edible. Many plants are poisonous, not just soy. Grains are also toxic and filled with phytates that leach nutrients out of your body, and that is why grains were fermented in Old Testament and traditional eating methods. Nightshade plants like tomatoes and peppers are not tolerated by arthritics and peanuts and soy are poisonous to thyroid patients. There is nothing new or surprising in the fact that plants can be toxic, and humans have been ingenious in finding ways to eat them for survival. Recall that some seeds have cyanide!

I can't comment on whether Okinawans eat the largest amount of unfermented soy, but I doubt it, given that Japan is big on ancient miso and other fermenting processes. But Okinawans are not vegans, far from it. They are not vegetarians either. They eat massive amounts of raw fish, the healthiest food in the world before we polluted it. They also eat pork and cook with good old fashioned lard instead of toxic new plastic 'vegetable' oils. Lard, yes, lard.

In reply to by Lorette C. Luzajic (not verified)

In fact, based on my observation in Japan, behind miso the most common form of soy there is edamame - steamed soybeans in the pod. It's commonly eaten as a snack and is not even close to being a fermented food.

The idea that unfermented soy is poisonous is simply nonsense, as is your attempt to label vegetable oils as "new" or "plastic".

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know exactly how tofu is made nowadays, but the literal meaning of tofu is "spoiled soybean". That suggests fermentation to me.

As far as edamame goes, that is hardly daily food. At most a snack before dinner. It is also young soybean, of a different variety that is grown for vegetable usage. So you know nothing about its comparable phytate content.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The anti-soy FUD put forth by the dairy industry continues to amaze me.

Tofu is not and never has been fermented. It is curdled from soy milk by the addition of a coagulant. While the character 腐 can mean "rot", it can also mean "sour"; in this case, "curdled" is the best translation.

There are some foods prepared by fermenting tofu, but they are not commonly eaten.

It is always a hazardous route to try to figure out what a thing is by the origin of its name -- the idea of "tragedy", for example, is not well explained by "goat song".

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

two thoughts and a long screed: a) tofu is NOT fermented but it is not "poison" as a result - for those who digest soy well, and i am among the, it;s a wonderful, versatile food that makes up into all kinds of tasty dishes.

I rather stumbled in on this conversation, after hearing Lierre Keith on KPFA's "Your wn health and Fitness" hosted by Layna Berman. I've been healthily vegetarian, leaning more and mroe toward the vegan diet, for close to 40 years now (!) and would like to weigh in a bit on the soy issue, and on Ms Keith's treatment of vegetarian philosophy and personality.

I'd actually like to hear Ms Keith debate Frances Moore Lappe, who popularized the "Diet for a Small Planet" concepts in the 1970s tat led to an ecological apologetics for vegetarianism. some of Ms Keith's assertions about grain production and industrial agriculture are worthy of consideration, but in my opinion they do not argue ipso facto against the environmental sustainability of a plant-based diet; they merely suggest that we need to look at the total environmental impact of various types of agriculture pro0duct and practice.

now back to tofu. correct on both counts that it's not fermented, just coagulated into curds and whey with minerals (magnesium chloride from sea water, most traditionally, or calcium salts such as calcium sulfate) and that it's eaten as a regualr part of the diet in many parts of the Japanese archipelago including, especially, Okinawa.

for whatever reasons, mostly having to do with digestibility I imagine, most of the Asian countries that use soy as a major source of protein and just good eating do fraction the beans in some way 9with the eveption of green soybeans, known as edamame). the Chinese and Japanese grind the beans for soymilk (though the remaining soy pulp is also used in cooking - known as okara, pronounced like the green African-origin vegetable "okra".) Indonesians, who live in a much warmer climate than most of China or Japan, ferment the beans into tempeh cakes - those who have tried this process at home know that they must maintain an atmosphere of abut 90 F (35 centigrade)for the culture to "take." that's an average ambient humid air temperatre in much of Indonesia.)
the fermented products and sea vegetables that are often eaten as condiments along with tofu and rice in these cultures may indeed increase their digestibility, provide sources of trace minerals, etc. most of the Japanese fermented products are the products of halophilic (salt-loving_)bacteria, and there ma be a downside to their heavy use; some epidemiologists have suggested that there is a relatively high rate of stomach cancer among the Japanese because of the high use of salt-fermented foods. everything in moderation, I suppose. on the ther hand, these foods are sources of favorable lactic-acid bacteria that are hard to obtain otherwise in a non-dairy diet.

I love tofu and it has always agreed with me well. I'm not ethnically East Asian though I often joke that some parts of my family were so far Eastern European as to really BE Asian; my maternal grandfather definitely looked Asiatic, and I have a rather Asian digestion as well as perspective) I grew up in port cities where Chinese food containing tofu was a fairly regualr part of my diet, and Japanese food including tofu an occasional and welcome treat,long before the hippies discovered it (before there WERE hippies, actually - I'm over 50 now.)

my own working hypothesis-approaching-theory about diet is that indiciduals are all somewhat unique in what foods are optimum and in what proportions to each other, and that there are three factors of relatively equal weight in findingone;s own best eating plan.

one's own genetic makeup is a good third of the puzzle; people from northern climates where neither fresh fruits and vegetables nor high-starch and often moderately high protein sources of energy were available may be better adapted to a diet higher in fairy and/or meats than people who live in a more temperate or even tropical zone.

the next important factor is one;s present climate. eating oranges in morocco bu aples in Poland makes good sense, and there is something to be said, with some modifications, for the bioregionalism that the recent "locavore" approach promotes 9thougha ine of 100 miles or 150 miles seems somewhat arbitrary to me for deciding whether a food is :locally produced." there's good environmental sense as well as good health sense to eating with the locally produced.

finally there is the influence of our childhood diet and the climate (and social) conditions around us as well as your family's food traditions. soemone who was raised in Los Angeles, as I was, and ate fresh local citrus almost daily, along with traditional mexican/SOuthwest style food (beans, corn tortillas, shredded fresh cabbage, tomatoes and other subtropical fruits and vegetables) may have a different pattern than someone of similar ethnic background who grew up in New England. I had a friend who excalimed that the Polarity cleansing diet, which uses a lot of orange and lemon juice along with olive or almond oil and garlic, seemed really harsh to him when i suggested it as a 14 day program, many years ago. I thought about it, thought about his upbringing in Massachusetts and Vermont, and said that there is a folk tradition there if using apple cider vinegar 9which doesn't agree with me at all; vinegar is a migraine trigger in my diet!)

getting back to soy: I'm very willing to say that a food that is heath-giving and delicious to one person is not necessarily going to be health giving and delicious to another. for whatever combinations of genetics,childhood exposure, and personal circumstance, I really thrive on a diet that includes goodly amounts of tofu and other soy foods as protein sources. I'm quite happlily vegetarian but find that if I eat whole legumes every day along with the rest of my high-fiber diet, I need to eliminate more often than is convenient (too much information, perhaps...but four such trips to the toilet between 6 AM and 1 or 2 PM can be a distraction, especially for a scholteacher, even more esepcailly if my first "gotta get up and GO" was at 4 AM) so I vary the Mexican-style whole beans and the split pea soup with tofu ranging from fairly traditional stir-fry with a grain to a good toamto-pasta sauce with firm tofu sauteed with onions, garlic, and herbs and used as a sort of "ground meat substitute" to give it texture as well as good protein content. (recipe available on request; it's popular even with omnivores and I served it with good results to 250 or so people at a PTA back-to-scho0ol dinner last year.)

my own guess, based on my studies on epidemiology and public health nutrition as well as common sense, is that eating a diet with a variety of vegetables, grains, and protein sources is a significant improvement over the standard processed-food diet eaten by too many people in the US and, sadly, worldwide today. I honestly believe that people who eat a varied, organic foods-based "mostly plants" diet as Michael Pollan advises, with moderate amounts of organic meats and dairy will be fairly healthy as a population, as will vegans who eat a wide variety of healthy foods including many vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and, yes, tofu and other soy foods. my prediction is that after 20 eyars, as GROUPS, they will both lok pretty good in terms of health outcomes relative to the general population.

I do respect that some people kind they just can;t make it on a vegan, or even a lacto-vegetarian, diet. as I say, we each have a unique dietary "fingerprint" and those reading this are blessed to live in a world where there is an abundance of healthy food available to us.

Lierre Kieth raises some important and interesting issues about the sustainability of various criops, but I balk at her suggestion that "vegans are prone to rage" as she recently suggested n Layna Berman's program on KPFA - to which Ms Berman, who *had* seemed more restrained in her critiques of vegetarian diets recently, averred that veganism was a "type of eating disorder" in whichpeople went into denial about the problems that their dietary beliefs were causing!!!

I'll eat my evening organic natural-nigari tofu burger or Japanese-style grilled tofu with vegetables, or my morning eggless pancakes made with organic soymilk in the bater, without regrets or worries. I even eat the occasional TVP "no-meatball" (my kid, who is a healthy.high-achieving high schooler, likes them in spaghetti sauce for a change.) I like my vegetarian ethos, but I won't lecture or begrudge my omnivorous friends their home-raised eggs or even lamb chops. t;s not how I choose to eat or raise food, but I'm really and truly all right with "live and let live": without calling each other silly names for following different diet practices.

In reply to by JG (not verified)

A few words on tofu and the Japanese diet, both from the knowledge of my ancestry, and with the help of Japan Tofu Association for historical fact-checking (who's agenda is, mind you, to promote the consumption of tofu):

The traditional Japanese diet does NOT include LARGE quantities of pure tofu, which was a luxury saved for special occasions. Soy foods eaten on a daily basis were in soy's fermented forms: miso soup, nattou, soy sauce. It is only in the recent decades of abundance and health-hype that tofu consumption jumped to the level that foreigners believe to be the 'traditional' Japanese diet--along with the invention and popularity soy-based dieting products like 'soy protein shakes,' 'soy milk cookies,' and 'soy bars' like SOYJOY that's also being marketed in the US.

Okinawa is, yes, arguably home to the longest-living and healthiest population, and perhaps it is on that front that people like to refer to the island for an example of a correlation between tofu consumption and health/longevity. But they fail to point out that the 'traditional' Okinawan tofu, the type that the population would consume in large quantities, is actually fermented. (Has a cheese-like consistency, very dense, more smelly than nattou, very flavorful.) The original form of tofu from China was, by the way, fermented as well.

I personally avoid soy because I was a thyroid patient in the past (yes, I am a heretic, because in Japan where soy consumption has become something like a modern national identity, no research or the health risks of soy would ever be promoted widely--much like how the dangers of microwaves are not promoted widely here, because we're a huge exporter of our Panasonic and Sharp microwaves.)

I take absolutely no offense with vegetarianism or people consuming a bulk of their protein from soy or other plant origins. But I do take offense with foreign institutions who twist the image of the traditional Japanese diet to promote their own agenda.

And please do not believe that the nation traditionally consume most of our protein from soy--we historically love our fish and seafood more than anything else, thank you very much. And our Kobe beef and dairy from Hokkaido.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Rubbish. Okinawans are ranked 26th out of 47 Japanese prefectures for life expectancy. The average life expectancy of Okinawan males in 77.64 years. This is lower than many western countries including Israel, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Sweden and Switzerland - all countries with high meat and dairy consumption.

In fact when adjustment is made for road accidents and homicides Okinawans have a lower life expectancy than Americans.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Okinawans are ranked 26th out of 47 Japanese prefectures for life expectancy.

An insignificant difference: according to your link, "The average LE of all Japanese male vs. Okinawan male were 77.71 years and 77.64 years, respectively. The difference was 0.07 year.", or approximately 26 days.

Increased LE in the rest of Japan probably plays a role, as does "modernization" of Okinawa -- an Okinawan born today will probably not eat the traditional diet. What's scientifically interesting about Okinawa is its current population of elderly, especially its high numbers of centenarians.

In fact when adjustment is made for road accidents and homicides Okinawans have a lower life expectancy than Americans.

Again, the question is not LE for those born today, but for those who followed the traditional diet and lifestyle. But if you're going to adjust for American murder and accident rates, you also should adjust for Okinawa's high unemployment (twice the national average) and relative poverty (it's the poorest prefecture in Japan).

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

Veganism is a philosophy of compassion. Eating dead animals and their secretions contributes to the enslavement and death of many sentient beings. A whole foods vegan diet is the healthieset diet on the planet according to "THe China Study", by Dr. Colin campbell. Read "The World Peace Diet " by Dr. Will Tuttle. May all beings be happy and free from suffering.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Granted, many people may turn to veganism out of compassion, but what place does this leave for livestock biodiversity? Check out the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy site (http://www.albc-usa.org/). Latecoming on the grand scale of human evolution or not, livestock animals exist and their sole purpose of existance was/is to provide people with useful food and other items. I'm not talking about the mutant critters currently being raised in overcrowded, unnatural conditions. I'm talking about beautiful and unique animals who were/are as much as part of the family as the family farm. Organizations like the WPF give small family farms a reason to preserve these breeds for their ability to thrive on grass-feeding/natural forage. They make economic sense. Condemn all meat and animal product consumption and you condemn these species to extinction, along with the family farms that preserve them.

Also, according to current studies/observations of the human fossil record (to the best of my knowledge), the indications are that the primate line that developed into homo sapiens did so by switching from a predominantly plant based to an omnivore diet (as discerned by studying the teeth and jaw muscles). It is hypothesized that the higher energy density of the protein allowed more time for other activities beyond foraging and increased the rate of brain development. We certainly (for the most part) have no lack of calories available in the modern diet, but I believe that high quality animal products in moderation should be an important part fo the equation.

Don't condemn heritage breeds of livestock to extinction, and don't condemn WPF unless you have actually read Dr. Price's, Sally Fallon's and Mary Enig's works.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Biodiversity is important to a healthy ecosystem - this consideration does not apply to livestock. While diversity in agricultural applications is important to robust production (to prevent a single disease from wiping out a monocultured crop, for example), there are no biodiversity implications to having livestock breeds go extinct.

It would be far preferable to allow livestock breeds to go extinct than to perpetuate the cruelty and environmental damage that is inherent to animal agriculture.

Your phrase "the higher energy density of the protein" makes no sense - protein and carbohydrates have the same caloric content per mass, 4 kcal / gram.

There is no need for animal products in the human diet.

And the appeal to "family farms" is a sad play to emotions. Yes, small scale farming has its charm and its benefits, but abuse of animals on a bunch of small farms is no more acceptable than abuse on a handful of large farms. A family-owned slave-trading business does not get sympathy from abolitionists.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by RawRebuild (not verified)

I have been vegan since 1989. In over 20 years, I haven't keeled over from lack of protein, vitamin deficiency, or anything else.

I just turned 40 years old. I'm not a pro athlete or anything, but I lead an active life -- I've made fourth degree black belt in a fairly "hard" style of karate. I'd say my overall health is significantly better than an average American man my age.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

Hi Tom,

There is abundant need for animal products in the human diet for our best health, for how our species has evolved thus far. I've been paying attention to dietary practices since 1984 when I was 15, I'm 43 now.
I've seen the evidence with myself and other people here in San Diego, CA.
The evidence is abundantly clear, and I've clearly proved it with myself, beyond question. Though I realize there will be differences of what works best for different people in terms of 'dietary balance'.
People can also go through phases, especially in the modern world with so many choices.

It's all a matter of what works, you're body gives you results based on what you consume in real time: minutes, days, a week, ....not months, not years, not decades, except as affirmations of what's already been confirmed by good awareness in the near times.
That's basically what being 'in-tune' is.
We are human, we are generalist omnivores, fundamentally speaking, for our best health.

There are plenty of studies supporting both sides though. There are lots of variables.
I've only shared just a little bit. I've got plenty of real experience with readily correlate-able results with food and my body. I wanted to figure it out. What causes disease, what causes problems. It's not animal products. What causes disease, many things contribute, some more than others, and it's all a matter of balance and quantity. Animal products, fundamentally speaking are good for us, generally speaking. :o) Plant foods are great for us too. They both are. The basic four food groups works best for me. Cooked and raw, as is customarily with the the respective foods in our culture(s).

Generalist Fundamental Omnivore

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Even plants have defense mechanisms...all living things want to live and procreate for future generations. Just because plants do not have an audible cry of pain or obvious reaction to their circumstance does not mean they want to be eaten.
Is it wrong for a lion to eat a gazelle...the gazelle does not want to be eaten. It is in balance with life...
Respect all life
Eat with Love and Gratitude
Weston A Price Foundation is doing an excellent job telling us about the cultures that have known this for a very long time.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The "killing plants is just as bad as killing animals" nonsense is truly one of the most intellectually bankrupt defenses of animal cruelty ever conceived.

We know that in humans and other animals, the ability to experience life - that thing we call "consciousness" or "being the subject of a life" - arises from brains, from complex nervous systems that perform intricate information processing.

Plants do not have brains. Show me a sentient vegetable from outer space and I promise I won't eat it, but here on Earth there's no evolutionary use for a plant to feel pain (what's it going to do, run away?) or have any other sort of complex experience. The "defense mechanisms" that you mention are no more indications of plant consciousness than a burglar alarm is evidence that a building is conscious.

The "vegetarians kill plants!" apology for carnivory is further undermined by that fact that a meat-based diet requires more plants to be killed, to raise and fatten the animals that will be slaughtered and eaten by humans.

"Eat with Love and Gratitude" - sounds good. But saying grace over a person you killed to eat, and being grateful for their flesh, wouldn't excuse your murder; and any feelings of gratitude you have for the flesh foods you eat do nothing to mitigate the suffering of the animals whose slaughter you have hired.

If you truly eat with love, you will do your best to discourage cruelty by choosing a vegetarian diet. Anything else is a meaningless screen of words thrown over acts of cruelty.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

Dumbass. Typical hippy confusing abuse with sensible animal farming practices. It's just like the femmo hags who consider a smack on the backside the same as a punch in the face. Wake up fucktard.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, thank you for your cogent arguments and insightful commentary. I'm sure your shining example will help deepen people's commitment to veganism -- it's certainly deepened mine.

(By the way, it's "hippie", not "hippy". And they buried the hippie back in the late 60s, so you can relax. I'm not sure what a "femmo hag" is, though.)

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. The previous commenter was right on about our evolution being made possible by the increasing amounts of animal food in our diet. He was wrong that it was protein, it was actually the fat (more than twice the calories from starch) that allowed us to spend less time getting food and more time exploring the tundra, developing tools and social structure. Take an anthropology class you pinhead.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The question of what role animal food in the diet played in evolution is completely irrelevant to the ethical issues involved in the question of how we should eat. (Though you probably ought to update your notion of how much animal food was in early hominid's diets: our early ancestors were scavengers, not hunters.)

The development of Athenian society -- the root of Westerncivilization -- was made possible by slavery. The establishment of the United States was made possible by both slavery and genocide. Does this justify the use of such practices today? Of course not.

It's amazing the straws that people clutch at in order to defend the practice of killing animals for food. If you're trying to justify your actions today by citing the behavior of Homo erectus, that's a pretty good sign that in your heart, you know you're wrong.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

totally depends on what kind of vegan you are. if you are up in inuit country demaning your tofu pup and broccoli be sent via air mail, I think not. I love how everyone here gets so uppity. Just try out any of these diet/lifestyles for size and see how you feel, mentally, physically, spiritually. I think Sally F and WAP are a little too meat/milk oriented, and not enough fresh good veggies, but in the end I'd rather support my local dairy farmer (non-certified organic, grass fed) by buying and drinking his raw milk then supporting the soy-industry conglomerates who have put any kind of crap into their products (e.g., carageenan. Also, why does no one seem to understand that nutrition scince is massively corporately funded? "Science" and Politics go hand in hand folks.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Uh, carrageenan is a seaweed extract, nothing to do with soy.

Much of nutrition science is indeed corporate funded. The USDA exists to increase the profits of agribusiness, not to improve the health of the American people. The vegetarian movement has been pointing that out for decades -- pick up Robbin's Diet for a New America for examples of warning about this from decades ago.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

and because of comments like this I refuse to call myself a vegetarian. I would be too embarrassed.
animals kill animals for food. why should humans be different? we are omnivore. I don't eat meat because of the way meat is produced, mass production that causes unnecessary suffering. If animals are kept in a non cruel environment and killed fast, I don't object eating meat.

To me the type of diet that the Price foundation advocates makes sense. A traditional diet that has been consumed for millenia. In the bible the Promised Land is the "land of milk and honey." I am not able to get raw milk where I live but I certainly would drink it if I could. But with all due respect to Dr. Enig and Sally Fallon, I don't believe they have really made the case with the necessary scientific rigor. I believe they are right but I myself would not be convinced by their writings and I don't expect other people to be. The best case for rejecting the lipid hypothesis--the theory that it is saturated fat and cholesterol that is responsible for heart disease and obesity--was made in the recent book "Good calories, Bad Calories," by Gary Taubes. To say it makes for dry reading is probably an understatement but I found it really gripping because it tears apart the reigning nutritional orthodoxy with such meticulous care. Taubes is a writer for Science Magazine and he has really done his homework. His book more than any other I've read (and I've read books like "The China Study" as well) convinced me beyond the shadow of a doubt that the healthiest diets are traditional diets that include mostly, if not all, whole foods. And meat is not the villain! It is possible to eat more or less meat and either way be eating a very healthy diet--but I think completely abstaining from meat is probably not wise. To me his book and Sally's writings have been have taken the scales from my eyes and let me see what is obvious if people would look with an open mind and not get caught up in fad science. Why would people think that skim milk is healthy but whole milk isn't? Why would one integral component of milk--the protein--be healthy and the other--the fat--not be? Why would meat and saturated fat be unhealthy when cultures such as the Inuit eat these virtually exclusively and thrived until our "civilized" processed foods penetrated their lives?

In reply to by John (not verified)

Consumption of dairy products was unknown for most of the existence of the human species, it began only with the Neolithic revolution. It cames common only in some cultures, and only became a mainstay fairly recently. No other mammal on the planet drinks milk into adulthood, and no other mammal drinks the milk of other species.

"The land of milk and honey" - who drinks several glasses of honey a day? The use of the phrase shows that milk was a rare treat, not a staple food.

As for Taubes, he's the guy who write that famous piece of nonsense in the New York Times Magazine in July 2002, "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?", defending toxic "low-carb" diets. This is a guy who recommends against exercise for weight control, on the grounds that it makes you hungrier. I suppose that why I see all those fat marathoners.

I suggest John Robbin's "The Food Revolution" as a good cure for such nonsense.

Of course, whole foods are healthier than processed junk. Your diet should be built around vegetables and fruits and whole grains.

As for the idea that the Inuit "thrived" on their traditional diet, it's simply untrue. Life expectancy has always been low.

It's true that they did not suffer much heart disease. This is explained by the fact that the flesh foods that they ate were high in monounsaturated fats - lots of fish, and mammals who ate fish.

There is no necessity for meat in the human diet. None. The fact that its production entails the suffering and death of sentient creatures, is a strong reason to completely abstain from it.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

Tom you say

"Consumption of dairy products was unknown for most of the existence of the human species, it began only with the Neolithic revolution".

Then you say

"Your diet should be built around vegetables and fruits and whole grains".

Dairy & whole grains (and modern vegetables & fruits) only began with the Neolithic revolution.

How can you argue on one hand that dairy should not be consumed because it only began with the Neolithic revolution - and on the other hand that whole grains (and modern varities of vegetables & fruits)should be the basis of our diet - again these foods have only been available since the Neolithic revolution.

Talking about the Inuit you say

"It's true that they did not suffer much heart disease. This is explained by the fact that the flesh foods that they ate were high in monounsaturated fats - lots of fish, and mammals who ate fish".

Please read Stefansson & Price. Some Inuit virtually only ate Caribuo whilst others only virtually ever ate Fish. All were almost immune to the diseases of civilisation.

Tom you seem a wonderful human being and your heart is in the right place. But please open your mind to the fact that we are part of nature and we should eat what we have evolved to eat.

Please explore the 'expensive tissue' hypothesis. This elegently sheds light on why we've evolved from around 6 million years ago as a natural 85% of the diet plant eating ape to a natural 85% meat eating Human Being.

Our brains are twice the size of our ape cousins and conversley our intestinal tract is half the size. This is because eating higher quality protein (from meat) has allowed our brains to grow whilst our underused intestines (from less usage because of less plant material) have shrunk.

Please note we have no mechanism to break down cellulose in our intestines. Our ape cousins have billions of bacteria in their intestines that extract nutrients from plant food. This is why meat is our natural food and plants are apes natural food.

In reply to by Dave (not verified)

How can you argue on one hand that dairy should not be consumed because it only began with the Neolithic revolution - and on the other hand that whole grains (and modern varities of vegetables & fruits)should be the basis of our diet - again these foods have only been available since the Neolithic revolution.

My argument is not "dairy should not be consumed because it only began with the Neolithic revolution", my argument was that the "traditional diets include milk so you should drink a lot of milk" argument is bogus.

I don't give a damn what a "traditional diet" is: I care what a compassionate, sustainable, healthful diet is. But, if someone is going to argue that consuming X must be good because people have been consuming X for a long time, and in fact people have not been consuming X for a long time, then their reasoning falls apart.

As for grains, the fact is that we have been eating grains a whole lot longer than the Neolithic revolution. Human consumption of grains goes back at least 23,000, and perhaps as far as 100,000 years. (Interestingly, it's even been suggested that bipedalism in hominids is tied to our ancestors adapting to eat grass seeds, though of course that's ancient enough to not be relevant. But then, so is the paleolithic.) That fact doesn't tell us whether eating grains is or is not healthful; but it does break the back of the "I only eat caveman food!" argument against them.

Some Inuit virtually only ate Caribuo whilst others only virtually ever ate Fish. All were almost immune to the diseases of civilisation.

And, consistent with what I said, caribuo flesh and especially marrow is high in unsaturated fat. (You know, rather than saying "Please read Stefansson & Price", it's nice to give specific links.)

But freedom from the "diseases of civilization" is seen in hunter-gather populations that rely primarily on plant foods, as well as farming populations eating a low-fat diet.

Low rates of obesity and diabetes have nothing to do with meat versus plants, and everything to do with energy density and activity levels.

But please open your mind to the fact that we are part of nature and we should eat what we have evolved to eat.

This teleological argument is, to be blunt, a load of bullshit.

Not only are the beliefs promulgated by "paleo diet" advocates about what out ancestors ate often just plain wrong, but they're irrelevant. Evolution does not care about ethics, nor about your longevity after your offspring are able to fend for themselves. It is an explanation of what did happen, never a guide to what you should do. After all, we "naturally evolved" to murder and steal -- those who eliminated the competition and took their resources had a great advantage. We "naturally evolved" to die after we spawn, to make room for the next generation. We "naturally evolved" to exist in hierarchical packs, but I don't hear many people saying we should do away with democracy.

So, leave the caveman behind. Step on up and evolve your thinking: eat a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate plant-based diet.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by John (not verified)

Newsflash Inuit diet is not solely based on meat containing saturated fat, they cosume a marine diet including a lot of oily fish which probably helps to protect their cardiovascular system. Also they have high energy needs due to the extreme climate and to follow their traditional diet they would need to be far more active than those following a 'western' lifestyle i.e. sedentary, tv and computer watching. There is plenty of evidence out there to show that when indigenous people forsake their traditional diet and adopt the 'western' diet high in meat, low in fish and high in carbs and saturated fats and processed foods, they succumb to the same lifestyle diseases prevalent in 'western' society.