Was Weston Price a closet vegetarian?
Weston Price, author of the classic 1939 book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and patron saint of those who believe in a diet rich in unprocessed animal products, particularly butter and liver, turns out to be – according to John Robbins author of Diet for a New America – someone who favors a diet based on whole grains rather than the high fat meat diet promoted by his present-day followers – at least so far as his own family are concerned. It would appear to be a remarkable turnaround.
In Robbins’s article which, according to the hosting website, shows how Weston Price actually recommended a vegetarian diet as the healthiest, and not the meat-heavy diet the Foundation recommends today, Robbins quotes from a letter Price wrote to his nieces and nephews:
“The basic foods should be the entire grains such as whole wheat, rye or oats, whole wheat and rye breads, wheat and oat cereals, oat-cake, dairy products, including milk and cheese, which should be used liberally, and marine foods.”
While there may be reasons you will want to resist Weston Price’s better-known recommendations, this quotation should not be one of them. The reason? Weston Price’s next sentences, the one’s Robbins has NOT quoted are:
“All marine or sea foods, both fresh and salt water, are high in minerals and constitute one of the very best foods you could eat. Canned fish such as sardines, tuna or salmon are all excellent; also the fresh seafood such as oysters, halibut, haddock, etc. The protein requirement can be provided each day in one egg or a piece of meat equivalent to the bulk of one egg a day.”
This is called selective quoting. It’s part of the art of deception, more commonly known as spin. With this technique you can make Joseph Stalin sound like the Dalai Lama or, in this case, Weston Price sound like a vegetarian. Did Robbins read the quote elsewhere and run with it without checking it against the original? It seems nitpicking to add that Weston Price’s letter was written in 1934 before his experience with ‘isolated primitives’ persuaded him that a high fat, animal food diet supplemented by vegetables and minerals would provide us with perfect health, but isn’t that just good reporting. Much as we might disagree today with his views, the man was sincere and it seems unfair to make him out to be a hypocrite. Oddly enough, as far as I can google, no Weston Price followers have commented on the omitted lines. Perhaps it is because, in the practice of war, rebuttals never regain one lost ground.