With heavy influence from Dr. Weston Price, Ron Schmid's Primal Nutrition is a great reference manual for anyone wanting to change their eating habits to something more ancestral. To be quite honest I went into this with much skepticism as a lot of the literature about primal, or "paleo", diets don't often seem well-researched nor do they include verifiable references, however, Primal Nutrition does. On top of that this is a book which anyone can read. You do not need to have a medical degree, a background in nutrition or anything like that to understand this book.
Primal Nutrition is broken into three parts, as well as has four appendices, an epilogue, an index and bibliography. The book beings with two forwards, a preface and introduction. I highly recommend reading the introduction as it helps the reader understand the history of this book, as it is an updated version of a book written by Schmid in the 1980's, not to mention it helps in understanding Schmid's purpose for Primal Nutrition.
Part 1 of Primal Nutrition is called An Ancestry of Primal Nutrition. This section includes six chapters which detail anthropological and archaeological evidence of how ancient societies ate. Schmid includes cultures from all over the world and uses this evidence to show how people can still be healthy without modern necessities and conveniences as well as food which modern, industrial societies see as necessary such as milk.
Part 2 is called Diet and Disease. This section includes three chapters which discuss how food and nutrition can be used as preventative measures. Here Schmid discusses how when a person is giving their body the whole nutrition it needs the body functions better, which includes fighting off disease and illnesses.
Part 3 is called Primal Versus Modern Foods. Theses six chapters are some of my favorites. Here is where Schmid goes into detail about specific foods, showing the differences between such things as "free-range", "organic" and "naturally raised" chickens, pasteurized versus non-pasteurized milk and milk products and if we really need as much fruit and fruit products as we typically eat.
The four appendices are extremely interesting reads. The first discusses the all-meat diet of an arctic adventurer. The second gives a detailed look at selecting seafood, the third is about laboratory testings and food and the fourth is about how we no longer have the daily physical movement that we used to have.
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
~Review by: Jessica Elizabeth
Author: Ron Schmid, ND
Healing Arts Press; 2015