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Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition Paperback – April 1, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A provocative contribution to the debate on what constitutes a healthy diet. It deserves to be widely read."
(The Boston Herald )

"In our rapidly changing world where technology is king, we have forgotten that native peoples once thrived, disease-free, until the introduction of refined foods into their diets. This is dramatically revealed in Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine. . . . I've reviewed dozens of books on nutrition over the years, but Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine put a lot of things in perspective for me."
(Irene Alleger in The Townsend Letter for Doctors )

"An excellent, comprehensive book. Dr. Schmid blends the wisdom of traditional eating patterns with modern scientific knowledge."
(Annemarie Colbin, author of Food and Healing)

About the Author

Ronald F. Schmid, N.D., a licensed naturopathic physician and Jungian psychotherapist, is a graduate of M.I.T. and has taught at naturopathic medical schools in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. He lives in Connecticut and practices in Westport and Greenwich. He is the host of "Just Past High Noon," a radio show about alternative medicine and psychology.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press; New Edition of Native Nutrition: Eating According to Ancestral Wisdom edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892817356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892817351
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in 1987, when it was initially published. I'd picked it up in a bookstore on Fifth Avenue (that's how well I remember the occasion, 16 years later), started to read, and couldn't put it down. So I bought what for me then was an expensive book and finished it that night.

It was difficult to know who to admire more after after I'd completed it, Ron Schmid, who so lucidly and modestly outlined the accomplishments of Weston Price (really, the centerpiece of the book), or Price himself, an extraordinary man whose self-supported, worldwide investigations of the food traditions of native cultures were nothing less than revolutionary in what they implied for how most of us eat--and live--today. In any case, I felt oddly moved by this book--a strange thing to say considering its subject--as if some real portion of an invaluable truth had been exposed to me.

Three years later, I used this book to develop an eating plan for my pregnant wife, including cod liver oil every day and a lot of fish and raw milk cheeses (the closest we could come, even in Manhattan, to any raw milk products). With all of that, our son decided to wait two weeks beyond his due date to make his appearance--21 1/2'' long and weighing over nine pounds--with the obstetrician remarking that my wife's placenta was twice the normal weight, in fact was the largest she'd seen in all her years of delivering children.
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Schmid's book was the first one I read on the work of Weston A. Price and Francis Pottenger. It is a very good overview of the subject of Tradtional diets. If you are wondering what "Traditional diets" are, they are simply the way people ate before big business took over food production, and made shelf life and profit margin more important than the nutritional quality of food.
Price was a dentist who embarked on a decade long research project in the late 1930s to find the healthiest people on Earth and study what they ate and how they ate it. His studies ranged all over the world, covering all different races. Schmid has done a good job of giving an overview of Price's findings.
The only issues I have with this book are that Schmid falls for the cholesterol scam in discussing heart disease, and that he also falls for the idea that the term "life expectancy" as used in statistics means the average age of death. (page 66) It doesn't. Life Expectancy as an arithmetic average would be reasonably close to the median age of death in a perfect Bell curve population sample, but such perfect samples only exist on paper, not in reality. The median age of death, that is the age by which half of the population died, was 57 in 1900. This means that half the population lived to be 57 or older. Kind of different than saying the average age of death was 45-50. In 2000, the median age of death was only 78, so there hasn't been as much gain as we are led to believe. Neither figure addresses the health or quality of life of people at those ages, either. A minor point in the grand scheme of this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is well-written and provides an excellent synopsis of Dr. Weston Price's research into traditional diets from many peoples around the world. Dr. Schmid writes lucidly and shows the benefits and limitations of traditional diets in treating various diseases.
The book goes wrong, like so many others, in its demonization of saturated fat. Schmid is simply wrong about saturated fats causing heart disease, cancer, and ill health in general. He is also wrong in asserting that our ancestors did not eat a lot of saturated fat. This is strange coming from someone who is so obviously familiar with Price's research which showed every population group to be eating diets rich in saturated fats and these people, as Schmid knows, were supremely healthy.
I think a better book to get would be Lutz and Allan's LIFE WITHOUT BREAD or Fallon and Enig's NOURISHING TRADITIONS.
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By A Customer on July 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's disappointing that this review is only the first to appear on this extraordinary book; after three editions in twelve years, one would think more people would know about it. Unfortunately, Truth rarely basks in the spotlight: Of the minority of Americans who actually pay attention to their health habits, most will look to mainstream sources in the news, or take the bait offered in high-powered advertisements. A few will read alternative magazines and subscribe to vegan or macrobiotic diets and think they've found the answer. And all these people will have missed the mark, in whole or in part.
We in modern society, with some exceptions, tend to look for answers, for knowledge, from modern sources--the media, "experts," establishment research. How many of us look to our ancestors? What? Who are they? Ladies and Gentlemen, our ancestors have much to teach us--and in the case of diet, I will put 100,000 years of wisdom up against a modern "expert" any day. And my conviction in making such a statement stems largely from reading this book, TRADITIONAL FOODS ARE YOUR BEST MEDICINE.
In 250 pages, Dr. Schmid lays it out: the history of human evolution and diet, and how Dr. Weston Price, who researched indigenous cultures worldwide early in this century, found them enjoying wonderful health and resistance to disease by eating their native foods; why most of today's popular diets--macrobiotics, veganism, the Pritikin diet, and others--are lacking; and how you can make the correct food choices (including organically produced animal products, which our ancestors relied upon and are FAR superior to their factory-farmed cousins). Dr. Schmid also discusses specific health problems and how to best address them.
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