Gleaning From the Food of Yesterday: Dr. Francis Pottenger
Updated: Mar 4, 2020
How often have you thought that the health or disease you experience is based upon your parents’ health (your genetics) rather than your own dietary choices? Well, the reality is, it’s a combination of the two—which should leave us both sober and hopeful. Even though we reap the consequences of the previous generation we still have the responsibility to take care of our own health and the health of the generations after us. This principle was powerfully revealed through the research of Dr. Francis Pottenger.
Dr. Pottenger was a physician who proceeded Dr. Weston Price (discussed last week) and applied Dr. Price’s findings to his patients with great success. In 1940, Dr. Francis Pottenger conducted extensive research on laboratory cats--commonly known as “Pottenger's Cat Study.” His work evaluated the effects of processed foods on several generations; raising the question, “Can we be well-fed but malnourished?” If the answer is yes, then what are the consequences of that malnourishment on each generation and can we reverse it?
His study consisted of one group of cats fed only raw milk and raw meat, while other groups received part of the diet in various denatured forms. He discovered that the cats fed only raw milk and raw meat continued in good health generation after generation. They had excellent bone structure, freedom from parasites, easy pregnancies and gentle temperaments. However, the cats whose raw food diet changed to the denatured form, allergies and skeletal deformities occurred in the first generation. The offspring of these poorly fed cats developed glandular problems - thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic issues. The next generation experienced a whole host of degenerative diseases, and the fourth generation exhibited behavioral disorders and was no longer able to reproduce. Sound similar to what we are experiencing? This supports what Dr. Price discovered with human subjects and we increasingly face the same issues today.
Here are the precise diets that the different generations were fed:
ADEQUATE DIET A: ⅓ raw milk, cod liver oil and ⅔ raw meat
DEFICIENT DIET B: ⅓ raw meat, cod liver oil and ⅔ pasteurized milk
DEFICIENT DIET C: ⅓ raw meat, cod liver oil and ⅔ evaporated milk
DEFICIENT DIET D: ⅓ raw meat, cod liver oil, and ⅔ sweetened condensed milk
DEFICIENT DIET E: raw metabolized vitamin D milk only (either from cows on dry feed or cows on green feed.)
To further the study, the cats on diets B and C (with processed milk) after experiencing health issues, were placed on diet A (with raw milk). Dr. Pottenger found that it took four generations for the cats to return to restored health. This demonstrates that it is possible to reverse diseases, although it may take several generations. (I want to note that some people might focus on the trauma that the cats suffered. Allow this to not distract us from the results but affirm the need to return to an unadulterated diet for everyone—pets, livestock, and families.)
In America we have so much food at our fingertips. As the cats in all of these studies, we are well-fed but some of us are still malnourished. This is because every organ in the body requires key nutrients for development, growth, and function. Now, certainly we do not have to eat a diet exclusively of raw food as the cats did--we are humans not felines and have different needs. However, it is vital that we eat food in it’s unadulterated, nutrient-dense form (which does include raw milk.) If the generation or two before you was not doing this, you may be reaping some of the consequences. Nevertheless, our bodies are wonderfully designed to repair and restore. When we choose to eat healthy today, we not only rebuild our health but sow into the generation proceeding us. This is a very precious investment!
This concludes our last evaluation of the history of our food industry and nutritional research. The purpose of sharing this information is that it will change us. Truth has the potential to set us free—if we will invest the effort to change.While there is always more to learn, I believe this has laid a foundation of understanding for you to implement significant change for your health. I am very excited for you! Moving forward, we will continue to explore topics of nutrition and the body, as well as practical tips for integrating change that will lead to thriving health.