Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Price-Pottenger Story: Quotes from 'Pottenger's Cats'

(Above: The good folks at PPNF)

To augment this splendid video, here are some of my favorite quotes and passages from Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition--don't forget to remember when he lived; we're talking like 1945, but most of this sounds like something that I said just the other day (!):

"Conceptual visualization in scientific research is rare. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., had such vision. Dedicated to the cause of preventing chronic illness, he made significant contributions to the understanding of the role nutrition plays in maintaining good health."--pg. ix

"Now, what are some of the indications that the average human diet is deficient? Surface indices easily recognized by a large portion of our population are: thin, splitting, peeling nails due to disturbance in protein assimilation, especially lysine; thick skin due to lack of fat, or the reverse, thick skin, which cannot be picked up between the fingers due to lack of iodine, or to excessive carbohydrate intake; and dry, brittle, lack-luster hair caused by too little unsaturated fatty acid. Moreover, a poorly nutritioned individual is apt to be irritable and unpredictable without cause. Exhaustion, in varying degrees, is a universal symptom of deficiency."--pg. 46

"Our clinical experience demonstrates that it is perfectly possible for a child to improve his physical fitness, tighten his ligaments, strengthen his muscles and harden his bones. It also demonstrates that as a child's health and well-being improve, his activity level improves and many academic and social 'problems' begin to resolve. But before these improvements can occur, he must be placed on a optimal nutritional program."--pg. 48

"Dentofacial deformity requiring mechanical reconstruction by the use of braces, retainers and bands is a wide-spread problem. There can be no doubt that modern dentofacial problems are encouraged, if not actually caused, by defective diets, by pathologic conditions of the nose and throat and by general poor health. There also can be no doubt that the study we conducted on 327 patients reveals that the wholesale bottle feeding of our infant population is contributing to this problem."--pg. 55

"To the bacteriologist, milk has been a source of much inquiry because of its great potential as a culture medium for all kinds of bacteria. ... The destruction of bacteria in milk by heat processing is assumed to be essential in preventive medicine because of the findings of Pasteur. However, there are many good properties of milk which also are affected by heat-processing because the entire physiochemical state of the milk is altered."--pg. 57

"Health officials can no longer in good conscience ignore the possibility that pasteurization of milk may be menacing the proper growth and development of many more individuals than it is protecting. It is time to take a fresh look at milk and milk production, and at other methods of insuring its quality and safety."--pg. 57

"My own definition of an optimal diet is one which provides man with the nutrients essential to regenerate his body cells; to enable him to mature regularly as determined by normal osseous, physical and mental characteristics; to resist disease; to reproduce his kind in homogeneity and to enable him to produce a livelihood for himself and his family. Healthy human beings have been known to fulfill these standards on various dietaries: (1) vegetarian with small amounts of eggs, milk, meat or fish, (2) carnivorous including fish, crustacea, mollusks and small amounts of vegetation, and (3) omnivorous including many combinations of vegetarian and carnivorous foods."--pg. 93

"The American people have become great faddists about diet. What may be a medical necessity for some frequently becomes a fad for others, not in need of treatment. When I was a child, cod liver oil was considered essential for all children. The chemist discovered that other oils contained similar physical properties and the cult of cod liver oil waned. About the time I entered medical school, salt was believed to cause high blood pressure and some diets were restricted in salt; this belief waned only to revive recently. Meanwhile, chemists were able to concentrate on vitamins A and D from fish livers, and vitamin preparations began their ascendancy and have remained popular as vitamin after vitamin has been synthesized. When dentists demonstrated that sugar caused tooth decay, there was a prompt decline in the use of sugar. One of the most recent fads is based on the assumption that excessive cholesterol is caused by foods including animal fat, cream, butter, eggs and by implication, all fats. Countering this is the discovery that unsaturated fatty acids, especially those found in vegetable oils and cod liver oil, reduce cholesterol in the blood stream."--pg. 94

"We know for sure that if we are to be a nation of healthy human beings, self-confident in our abilities to meet life's challenges, we must start searching our souls for ways to insure that unborn generations of Americans can still obtain and metabolize an optimal diet."--pg. 95

"Fats are present in every living cell and are essential to its life. ... Intracellular fat is an important constituent in tissues such as muscle, brain, pancreas, and skin. Nerves are surrounded by a myelin sheath largely composed of fats; and the leukocytes, the life-protecting scavengers of our body, are also largely composed of fats."--pg. 97

"Adequate fat intake not only provides the plastic surface covering for the skin, it provides the skin with bacteriacidal properties that prevent invasion by the myriad of surrounding pathological organisms. Likewise, the plastic layer prevents dirt and grime from penetrating layers of the skin. Consequently, not only does insufficient intake of fats produce a rough, unattractive skin, but it can cause the skin to develop painful cracks and abrasions."--pg. 98

"The prevailing fear of coronary disease causes people to avoid eating the fat of meats though it is a valuable source of fat."--pg. 99

"In our experience, dry skin provides an index of disturbed fat metabolism. Most patients attribute their dry skin disorders to one of the following causes: hard water, improperly neutralized soaps, detergents, various household chemicals, exposure to the sun or wind, dry weather, dust and incompatible or excessive cosmetics. Few suspect deficiencies in their fat intake. Recognizing that fatty acids have largely disappeared from our modern dietary, we have worked out a high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet for general rehabilitation. ... In our experience, the conscientious patient usually shows skin improvements in one week and may recover completely within two months."--pg. 99

"The food habits of our populations have undergone a marked change in the last decades. The amount of carbohydrate consumed has been increasing steadily with subsequent decrease in the consumption of fats and protein, particularly the latter. People have become vitamin conscious and in trying to obtain the necessary amounts of these compounds have neglected other food elements which are essential."--pg. 103

"3. Avoid soft drinks which are nutritionally valueless, provide excess calories and endanger the teeth."--pg. 106

"While he was attending medical school, he developed a 'hatred' for the way civilized man treated himself and his children. He wondered why people, so capable of advancing their technology, failed so miserably in promoting their biological health. He felt a driving need to know and to understand how man could maintain good health and eliminate chronic illness and so prevent children from suffering as he had. This missionary zeal led him to direct his inquiry towards the field of nutrition."--pgs.116-117

"In the 1940's, Francis became acquainted with Dr. Weston A. Price, a practicing dentist with a congenial spirit of inquiry. In his desire to explain the prevalence of tooth decay and facial inadequacies among his patients and 'civilized peoples,' Price set upon a worldwide odyssey to study the dietary habits of fourteen isolated and primitive peoples. He found that those natives who still ate their customary natural foods--whether primarily fish, meat or vegetable--showed broad facial structures, a 'perfection' to their dental arches and virtually no tooth decay; while those who had been exposed to the civilized diet of commerce based on refined white sugar, white flour, canned and packaged foods, showed narrowing of their faces, crowding of their teeth and a high incidence of cavities. They also showed increasing susceptibility to tuberculosis and other degenerative diseases."--pg. 118

"Appreciating the importance of Weston Price's findings and their confirmation of his own experimental and clinical findings, Francis became chairman of a committee established for the purpose of disseminating Price's work through exhibits, lectures and printed materials. Later, the Weston A. Price Foundation was organized as a non profit organization to further this educational purpose. At his death, Francis's extensive library of research data, slides, X-ray studies, papers and articles were entrusted to the foundation by his family. In response, the Board of Directors changed the foundation's name to Price-Pottenger Foundation and later to the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. The foundation now actively disseminates the work of both men."--pg. 118

Quite forward-thinking, indeed. It's worth a read; and a re-read.

We'd be wise to learn from our ancestors.

To good health,


1 comment:

  1. haha, 1901 - how fitting! Thanks for the hat-tip :)