Despite the fact that a Weston A. Price diet is probably the farthest from a raw vegan diet, I still have to admit that I believe that he made a lot of important points, that can help ANY diet out. Here I discuss the points made by the late dentist, and go over how they can contribute to an even better raw vegan diet.
** Please note that I am paraphrasing Weston A. Price statements as best I can.**
First item on the menu, so to speak…
#1. Most people are not getting enough vitamin D:
I actually believe this statement, after many years of eating a raw vegan diet, and still testing low on vitamin D, despite my best efforts to get out into the sun. Perhaps if I lived closer to the equator, but even with the use of a vitamin D sunlamp (Sperti), I still feel that adding in a supplementary source of vitamin D is beneficial. Especially since there may be a possibility that we are washing away out vitamin D when we bathe (which I also will continue to do!). I’ve began supplementing with oral vegan vitamin D3 in addition to my raw diet for this reason. I’ve found that most recommendations for vitamin D intakes are low. I have relied on the advice of the Vitamin D Council, who have higher recommendations for adults, theirs being around 5000 IU, as opposed to 1000 IU, which is often the norm. I’ve written about this in a previous blog entitled Let’s Talk D.
#2. People need high amounts of vitamin A:
I believe that we actually DO need high levels of vitamin A, and I even agree that perhaps we are less efficient at absorbing vitamin A from plants, and that is why we need to eat copious amounts of it… which is exactly what happens when you eat a high fruit and greens raw food diet! On an average day, I can get around 7000 IU of the plant form of vitamin A (which is nontoxic). That’s 3000% the recommendation for true vitamin A. And assuming some of that vitamin A is not absorbed, and the rest is simply excreted out, it seems like this is a good range to be eating. Not to mention that wild monkeys also get around 6000 IU of vitamin A in their diet, so this is comparable. No need for high-vitamin cod liver oil to supply both vitamin A and vitamin D, especially since it has several other side effects, such as hemorrhage and other blood issues.
#3. We need a source of vitamin B12:
I absolutely think that humans need a source of vitamin B12, and most of the vegan community, I would say, is in agreement with this as well. Vitamin B12, of course, is a bacterial issue and, although it is found in meat and animal products, is not due to a lack of animal products per se, but rather a lack of B12-producing bacteria. For this reason, I supplement B12 and all is good! You can read my article entitled Should You Supplement B12 on a Raw Diet? for more on this subject.
#4. We need a good source of calcium in our diets:
I believe that most people don’t consume enough leafy green vegetables in their diet. I think that leafy greens should be their own food group. Greens are an excellent source of folate, iron, and many other minerals and vitamins, they are also a great source of calcium. My recommendations for greens are much higher than most nutrition sources, and I go over this in my course on this website in more detail. A properly structured raw food diet absolutely CAN have all of the nutrients recommended by official health guidelines. The science that is currently accepted can support a raw food diet if desired, it just takes a little planning ahead.
#5. We need a source of vitamin K2:
This is the coveted “factor X” that Weston A. Pricers always talk about, and the reason they seek out grass-fed animal products in order to get their vitamin K2. After reading a bit more about vitamin K2, I have to agree that it is NOT the same as vitamin K1, and perhaps we do need a source in the diet as they perform different functions in the body. Although it is possible to make vitamin K2 by stomach bacteria, some people may have compromised flora due to years of antibiotic or other drug use, and could potentially benefit from supplementing. K2 requirements are possibly much higher than recommended doses, so you may have to take more than one pill to see any benefit. Most people are not getting K2 even on an animal product based diet, as it is not found in most conventionally raised animals.
#6. We need to have raw foods (ferments/raw animal products) in the diet for optimal digestion and absorption:
Weston A. Price actually AGREES that we need to add in raw foods in order to absorb our nutrients properly. While W.A.P. suggests adding in fermented foods as well as raw animal products, it makes much more sense to me to eat the most easily digested raw foods — fruit and vegetables — for optimal digestion. Many vegetables can be hard to digest for some people, and I can agree with this statement, but leafy greens, especially baby greens, are very easily digested by most people. Price actually sites the Pottinger cat studies to show that raw foods are necessary to proper growth and development; however, they go on to say that they do not recommend an all raw diet for humans, as we are different. While I agree that humans are different, I think that perhaps our difference comes from the fact that we can process our foods to meet our dietary needs, but not necessarily cook our food. Blending, grinding, using tools to open nuts, are all different way raw foodies process their food, while still keeping the majority of the food’s integrity.
As you can see, we can all get along. Weston A. Price, while being huge meat advocates, still have some good advice that we raw foodies can use, if we so desire. I personally, have incorporated some of this advice into my own diet, while still avoiding eating meat or other supplements they suggest, AND still keeping it vegan.
Hopefully this article has inspired some to look at different health advice as simply a guideline, and to take what you need and leave the rest. Surely, there is good advice almost anywhere you look, and we can find ways to appreciate the wisdom that others have to offer, while agreeing to disagree in other ways.