So humans eat vegetables, huh?
One of the silliest arguments I keep hearing against the existence of food chemical intolerance is that it is not “natural” to react to the chemicals in plants – this is usually from Weston A. Price Foundation members.
One of the very few people who actually studied neolithic diets before they died out was the dentist turned anthropologist, Dr. Weston A. Price. He documented his findings in the tome “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration“.
These statistics are courtesy of Chris Masterjohn of Cholesterol and Health, who has compiled them from some of Price’s other documentation.
Indians — 3% plant foods; 97% animal foods
Eskimos — 3% plant foods; 97% animal foods
Swiss alps — 50% plant foods; 50% animal foods (40% rye bread; 45% dairy; 5% barley; 5% vegetables; 5% meat)
Outer Hebrides — 55% plant foods; 45% animal foods
(Expressed as percentage of total calories.) native-nutrition
Note that the diet of the outer hebrides did not contain greens, it consisted of mineral rich oats and fresh seafood. To this day the Scottish remain suspicious of green vegetables, which do not naturally grow in such a climate.
The largest quantity of vegetables was eaten by those in the Swiss alps – and amounts to only 5% of total calories – or around 100 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of 3/4ths of a cup of potato, three cups of cabbage, or one apple: hardly “five a day”. Very few vegetables actually grow in the alps, and only during the summer months. Roots would have been stored for as long as possible, and vegetables like cabbage fermented into sauerkraut for consumption during the winter. The people of the Swiss alps were also considerably more prone to dental caries and ill health than were the Indians, Eskimos, and people of the Outer Hebrides, who ate even less in the way of vegetable matter, so we cannot attribute good health to lots of fruit and vegetables. Looking at the data, seems most likely that dairy is not an adequate substitute for flesh foods, and that carbohydrate consumption is detrimental.
The sheer bulk and the absence of calories in vegetables make them impractical and wasteful to cultivate in comparison to grain or animal products like eggs, dairy, and meat. Only a society in which a surplus of calories is readily and cheaply available can afford to waste time and effort growing high-maintenance low-calorie foods like vegetables.
If you are familiar with the seasonal nature of food chemical intolerance, you’ll know that vegetables are much better tolerated during the summer months, partly because this condition is connected to a need for sunlight, and partly because ripe fruit and vegetables contain lower amounts of salicylates.
Traditional staple vegetables, like those cultivated in Medieval times, are low in salicylates.