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Primal Nutrition

Paleolithic and Ancestral Diets for Optimal Health

Published by Healing Arts Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Explores how the traditional foods of ancient cultures can naturally help prevent and treat degenerative disease and chronic conditions

• Examines the protective nutrients inherent in primal foods, such as wild seafood, grass-fed meat, and raw dairy, explaining how they differ from Western refined foods

• Explains how to create your own commonsense primal diet, tailored to your specific needs and conditions, such as allergies, eczema, arthritis, and even cancer

• Builds upon the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, Dr. Francis Pottenger, and other nutritional health pioneers

The human body’s innate mechanisms for healing and immunity extend beyond the mending of cuts and broken bones or recovery from colds and flu. Given the foods we evolved to thrive on, foods our ancestors knew well, the body can naturally prevent and overcome a host of degenerative conditions and chronic illnesses, from allergies, eczema, and arthritis to dental caries, heart attack, and even cancer.

Drawing on the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, Dr. Francis Pottenger, and other nutritional health pioneers, Dr. Ron Schmid demonstrates that the strongest and most disease-resistant indigenous cultures around the world lived on whole, natural foods--seafood, wild game, healthy grass-fed domestic animals, and, in some cases, whole grains and raw dairy. He explores how modern refined diets differ from ancestral ones, the dramatic declines in health seen in indigenous cultures that adopt modern diets, and the steps you can take to build health with traditional foods. He observes that the foods considered essential and “sacred” in native cultures--the foods around which rituals and ceremonies evolved and that were emphasized prior to and during pregnancy--were invariably animal-source foods such as seafood, liver, and raw milk products, thus underscoring the importance of these foods to overall health and immunity, a fact that modern nutritional science has overwhelmingly proved true.

Blending the wisdom of traditional eating patterns with modern scientific knowledge, Dr. Schmid explains how to apply these principles to create your own commonsense primal diet, tailored to your specific needs, to rebuild health and improve longevity.


Chapter 8


The body’s needs constantly change, and an optimal diet is dynamic. To maintain balance, a sense of which foods are most needed now is required. Foods eaten at the last meal, and in the last day or two, strongly affect this sense. But there are longer cycles during which a need to emphasize certain foods may be felt. Some cycles relate to seasonal availability of foods; others are internal and may last for a few days, months, or even years.

Several signals may be monitored as a guide in food selections. Difficult bowel movements with hard stools and straining may signal a need for more fats, raw vegetable salads, fermented vegetables, or cooked vegetables.

Appearance of excessive mucus in the respiratory system--sinus or nasal congestion, postnasal drip, or early symptoms of a cold--is often a sign the body is reacting poorly to dairy products. Raw milk products too may cause these symptoms when they are from grain-fed animals.

Abnormal redness on the skin--pimples, rashes, small blemishes--may be a sign of eating sugar and sweets. Honey and other sweeteners, fruit juices, dried fruits, and excessive amounts of fresh fruit may cause this sign. The skin is an organ of elimination and often is the first part of the body to reveal an imbalance. The person eating no concentrated sweets for a time may have the quickest reaction when sweets are eaten--the body is well balanced and immediately eliminates excesses.


I divide all foods into the following six groups that lead us to what I call the Primal Principle.

1. Grassfed Animal Foods and Fats. Wild fish, shellfish, and fish eggs; grassfed meat, organs, bones, fat, and broth; pastured fowl and eggs; raw milk, yogurt, kefir, cheese, butter, lard, and ghee.

2. Salad Greens, Raw and Cooked Green and Other Vegetables, Fermented Vegetables, Sprouts, Fruits, and Sea Vegetables. These include lettuces and other leafy greens palatable raw in salads, parsley, celery, and sprouts. Cooked green vegetables include kale, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and others. A wide variety of fruits eaten in moderation are both tasty and healthful. Sea vegetables include dulse, kelp, nori, and others. Fermented vegetables are wonderful traditional foods.

3. Foods Made from Whole Grains, Nuts, Seeds, and Beans. The key to healthy use of these foods is proper preparation (typically involving soaking) and moderation. These foods may be part of a healthy diet, but they are not for all people at all times.

4. Healthy Oils and Vinegars, Spices and Seasonings, and Alcoholic and Other Fermented Beverages. One hundred percent extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed coconut oil are essential in daily food preparation. Other healthy and beneficial oils to use in moderation include macadamia nut, avocado, sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin oils. Raw apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar are used in salad dressings. Sea salt may be used to taste. Freshly ground black pepper and other spices enhance the taste of many foods. Wine is a traditional drink that enhances appetite and the flavors of foods and is enjoyed the world over in its own right. Beer too may be enjoyable and generally presents no problems, though beer is grain based and those avoiding grains may wish to avoid beer. Indeed, handcrafted unpasteurized microbrew beers are a healthful addition to kombucha and other fermented beverages when used in moderation.

5. Special Foods, Vitamins, Minerals, and Food Supplements. When carefully selected for individual needs, these items may complement even the best primal diets to aid recovery from health problems, build optimal health, and enhance longevity. Examples relevant for most people include carefully crafted cod liver oil, krill oil, organ and gland supplements, iodine supplements, and nutrient formulas that help protect vision and memory as we inevitably age. Others benefit from supplements that help in correcting dietary deficiencies or deal with environmental stresses.

6. Everything Else (refined and manufactured foods, particularly sugar and white flour). Foods not included in the above five groups are not natural foods and are for the most part best avoided. The degree to which one can tolerate their occasional use depends on the state of health of the individual. Recovery from most medical problems is greatly enhanced when “Everything Else” is studiously avoided. Sugar in particular is highly addictive and indeed poison for many people if even the smallest amounts lead to overconsumption, a common occurrence.


1. Foods in groups 1 and 2 are the most primal, fundamental, basic foods, essential for prevention, healing, and recovery from disease. Most of your diet should consist of foods in groups 1 and 2.

2. Use the foods in groups 3 and 4 in moderation.

3. Take advantage of modern wisdom about primal diet and health to help correct medical problems and achieve optimal health by utilizing the items in group 5.

4. Avoid the foods in group 6 like the plague.

The proportions of different foods most appropriate for each person vary from individual to individual, depending on one’s genes, state of health, stage of life, tastes and inclinations, and health goals. Those ideal proportions will change as you go through life. I believe that by following the framework outlined in this chapter, you will find your way to the best proportions. It helps to have an experienced guide, a mentor if you will. He or she might even be a physician. Doctor is, after all, the Latin word for “teacher.”

About The Author

Ronald F. Schmid, N.D. (1946-2017), was a licensed naturopathic physician, Jungian psychotherapist, and author of two books, The Untold Story of Milk and Primal Nutrition: Paleolithic and Ancestral Diets for Optimal Health. A graduate of M.I.T. and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, he taught at all four accredited naturopathic medical schools in the United States. He was also the former Clinic Director and Chief Medical Officer at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, a longtime member, sponsor, and honorary board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and the owner of a supplement company, Dr. Ron's Ultra-Pure.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press (October 5, 2015)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620555194

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Raves and Reviews

Primal Nutrition presents the principles of healthy traditional diets that continue to work today.”

– From the foreword by Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation

“I know of no better introduction to the works of Weston Price, or a better and more thoughtful discourse on traditional diets, than this book.”

– From the foreword by Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind

Primal Nutrition is a well-researched, comprehensive resource for achieving better health with the use of traditional foods and time-honored methods of preparation. Dr. Schmid clearly explains why understanding and implementing the ancestral dietary principles outlined by Dr. Weston A. Price in his worldwide travels is critical if we are to overcome many of the health challenges of our time. This essential book is especially useful for anyone who desires to adopt all or part of a ‘paleo diet’ but is confused by its various interpretations.”

– Edward Bennett, president of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation and editor of the Journal of H

“In Primal Nutrition, Dr. Ron Schmid has done a superb job of integrating the work of Weston Price, D.D.S., and Francis Pottenger, Jr., M.D., with recent research and a variety of popular diets, such as the macrobiotic diet, the Atkins diet, and the Pritikin diet. This book will be of great value for all clinicians interested in healing their patients or clients. In my opinion, it should be required reading for all medical students, dental students, nutritionists, chiropractors, naturopaths, dentists, and others in the healing arts. It will also be valuable to anyone interested in improving his or her health. I recommend it without qualification.”

– Michael B. Schachter, M.D., CNS, director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine and cer

“Throughout my years of research and teaching food energetics, I am often asked to recommend books on the subject. Naturally and without hesitation my suggestions include Weston Price’s seminal work, along with Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, and a few other authors who extol the many benefits of traditional foods. Ron Schmid’s Primal Nutrition is a welcome addition to my list.
With so many diet books available we are often confused with which direction to turn, whether it’s for general health maintenance or more personal health issues. Primal Nutrition is a great book for helping you get past the confusion inherent in making these choices. Schmid has a great respect for all traditional primal foods and knows well their historical role in health and their nutritional benefits. He leaves few stones unturned when it comes to supporting you in making wise and sensible decisions with diet and traditional foods.”

– Steve Gagne, author of Food Energetics: The Spiritual, Emotional, and Nutritional Power of What We E

Primal Nutrition brings you back to the basics of a good and healthy diet. It is well grounded and invaluable.”

– Christopher Vasey, N.D., author of The Acid–Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health and Natural Remed

"Confused about the paleo diet fad? Dr. Ron Schmid, now a retired naturopathic physician, has a broader perspective on what has worked well for traditional cultures for millennia. He's informed by the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who studied indigenous people's good health and disease resistance with their diets of whole, natural foods including meat from wild game and grass-fed domestic animals, seafood, raw-milk dairy products and, to a lesser extent, whole grains. As Schmid explains, modern diets with processed foods are at odds with ancestral diets. In some traditions, certain nutrient-dense foods such as seafood, liver and raw milk products had a sacred quality with rituals that revolved around them, reinforcing their importance for health and immunity. And yet when indigenous cultures shunned their traditional foods, ill health resulted. Today, the modern diet is so often industrialized and denatured, so Schmid's dietary advice is particularly relevant. We have to be increasingly aware of the source of our foods: for example, seafoods from Pacific Ocean waters affected by Fukushima nuclear radiation are to be avoided. In this substantially updated fifth edition, originally titled Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine, Schmid reaffirms the role of ancestral diets in overcoming ill health, chronic disease and degenerative conditions. He has a wealth of advice supported by scientific studies to help us tailor-make our diets to our specific needs to support our health and longevity."

– Nexus, December 2015

“In this substantially updated fifth edition, Schmid reaffirms the role of ancestral diets in overcoming ill health, chronic disease and degenerative conditions. He has a wealth of advice supported by scientific studies to help up tailor-make our diets to our specific needs to support our health and longevity.”

– Nexus, Ruth Parnell, January 2016

"All in all I don't think I can recommend this book highly enough. Not only is it well-researched and based in cultural history, but Schmid allows for each person having their own unique dietary needs; he does not in any way put forth this book as a one-way-fixes-all manner. He also allows for the differences in what's available to us now versus what was available, food wise, in ancestral times. Not only that but he encourages the reader to slowly make small changes so they are better able to see what works, what doesn't and to adopt the changes slowly so as to make permanent lifestyle changes. While it is always recommended to check with your doctor before starting any major diet change, I do still highly recommend this book to anyone interested in health, nutrition and/or ancestral ways."

– Facing North, Jessica Elizabeth, February 2016

“Schmid brings together traditional stories with modern scientific research to provide recommendations of food for today’s society.”

– New Dawn, Sandy Brightman, May 2016

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