Nutrition and Facial Development, Past and Present

Last fall I read Dr. Weston Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (you can read it online). If you haven't read it yet, I strongly recommend it.

To summarize the work of Dr. Price, here's a quote from the Weston A. Price Foundation's brochure:

The groups Price studied included sequestered villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, indigenous peoples of North and South America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maori.

Wherever he went, Dr. Price found that beautiful straight teeth, freedom from decay, good physiques, resistance to disease and fine characters were typical of native groups on their traditional diets, rich in essential nutrients.

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated peoples he found that, in comparison to the American diet of his day, they provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins, from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and animal fats–the very cholesterol-rich foods now shunned by the American public as unhealthful.

These healthy traditional peoples knew instinctively what scientists of Dr. Price's day had recently discovered — that these fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A and D, were vital to health because they acted as catalysts to mineral absorption and protein utilization. Without them, we cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in our food.

Dr. Price discovered an additional fat-soluble nutrient, which he labeled Activator X, that is present in fish livers and shellfish, and organ meats and butter from cows eating rapidly growing green grass in the Spring and Fall. All primitive groups had a source of Activator X, now thought to be vitamin K2, in their diets.

Source: Weston A. Price Foundation brochure

If you don't have time to read the whole book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration go to the website and just click around and look at all the pictures.

You will be astonished. The differences in facial structure between people eating a traditional diet of mostly animal fats and meat and dairy, and those eating modern foods like white flour and sugar, are truly stunning.

Here are just a couple of examples, photos Dr. Price took of children in New Zealand:

These children were raised on a traditional diet which consisted mainly of fish and shell fish:

Primitive New Zealand Maori

Wide faces, excellent facial structure, perfectly straight white teeth.

FIG. 69. Since the discovery of New Zealand the primitive natives, the Maori, have had the reputation of having the finest teeth and finest bodies of any race in the world. These faces are typical. Only about one tooth per thousand teeth had been attacked by tooth decay before they came under the influence of the white man.

Source: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration By Dr. Weston A. Price

Compare those children with the white children in New Zealand, eating modern foods like white flour and sugar:

Whites in New Zealand Eating a Modern Diet

Narrowed faces, crooked teeth, lots of cavities and tooth decay.

FIG. 71. Whereas the original primitive Maori had reportedly the finest teeth in the world, the whites now in New Zealand are claimed to have the poorest teeth in the world. These individuals are typical. An analysis of the two types of food reveals the reason.

Source: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration By Dr. Weston A. Price

Ever since I read the book and saw all those pictures, I often find myself noticing people's faces. I think a lot about facial structure and how people used to look compared to how they look now.

Our dentist, Dr. Raymond Silkman, has a great article on the WAPF website about facial structure and development. He writes about how facial development is impacted by the foods we eat when we are children (and in utero). He goes into detail about how poor facial development due to malnutrition causes an array of problems in later life, including TMJ, deviated septum, sleep apnea and snoring (among many others).

Just look at these two pictures. This first one is the face of a Native American woman raised on a traditional diet:

Excellent Facial Development

Dr. Silkman writes:

Note the broad middle portion of the face, well-developed lower jar and smoothness (lack of sags or circles) under the eyes. These individual illustrate the full expression of our genetic blueprint.

Here's an example of a modern face with poor facial development:

Poor Facial Development

According to Dr. Silkman, “Narrow face, mouth breathing, sclera showing under the eyes.”

I was looking around online to find pictures of faces from a hundred years ago, back when we used to eat a lot of animal fat and didn't have modern processed foods.

Just look at this teenager from 1890:

Magnolia Elizabeth Todd Lowman, ca. 1890

Magnolia Elizabeth (Todd) Lowman, ca. 1890 when she was around 16-18 years old. She lived in the northwest corner of Arkansas in the small town of Farmington.

Looks like the traditional people Price photographed, doesn't she? Notice her broad, wide face and high cheekbones. She probably had very straight teeth and never had to wear braces.

Thinking about people living at the turn of the centuries made me curious to look at cookbooks from around that time. I found a neat Squidoo page that lists cookbooks online.

I was perusing one cookbook, written in 1894. It's called Recipes Tried and True by Presbyterian Ladies' Aid. This book was written by a group of church ladies from the Presbyterian Church in Marion, Ohio.

What's interesting about these meals is they were eating a lot of meat, dairy products, and animal fat at every meal. Most of the recipes call for butter, cream or pan drippings. The most common fats used at this time were beef tallow, butter and lard.

There are over a dozen recipes for doughnuts (including crullers and fried cakes). Every single recipe called for frying in lard.

To give you a visual idea of how many animal products these people ate, I highlighted all the dishes with meat, dairy and/or animal fats in red. Of course, most people took cream in their coffee and many of those vegetables and vegetable salads would have been cooked in butter or lard or dressed with egg yolk and butter dressings — but you get the idea.

Here's a menu plan for a week of breakfasts:


1. Fruit. Muffins. Ham. Eggs. Radishes. Onions. Coffee.

2. Fruit. Light Biscuit. Breakfast Bacon. Scrambled Eggs. Fried Potatoes. Coffee.

3. Fruit. Corn Meal Muffins. Veal Cutlets. French Toast. Radishes. New Onions. Coffee.

4. Strawberries. Lamb Chops. Cream Potatoes. Graham Muffins. Coffee.

5. Raspberries. Oat Meal and Cream. Sweet Breads. Sliced Tomatoes. Hamburg Steak. Fried Potatoes. Coffee.

6. Berries. Breakfast Bacon, Dipped in Butter and Fried. Sliced Tomatoes. Baked Potatoes. Muffins. Coffee.

And here's a week of dinners:


Green Corn Soup. Salmon and Green Peas. Roast Beef. Tomatoes. New Potatoes. Strawberry Ice Cream. Cake. Coffee. Iced Tea.

Lamb Chops. Mint Sauce. Potatoes. Escaloped Onions. Cucumber Salad. Orange Pudding.

Veal Soup. Fried Chicken. Green Peas. Rice Croquettes. Strawberries and Cream.

Broiled Beef Steak. Potato Croquettes. String Beans. Tomato Salad. Fruit Jelly. Cream Pie.

Potato Soup. Roast Veal. Baked Potatoes. Beet Salad. Asparagus. Strawberry Shortcake.

Boiled Fish. Egg Sauce. Lamb Chops. Peas. Escaloped Potatoes. Lettuce, Mayonnaise. Raspberry Iced Tea.

Chicken Pot Pie, with Dumplings. Spinach. Cucumber Salad. Radishes. Lemonade.

Here are a couple of the recipes, one for scalloped potatoes with lots of butter and cream, and another for steak fried in a quarter pound of butter:


Pare and slice thin the potatoes; put a layer in your pudding pan one-half inch deep; sprinkle salt, pepper, and bits of butter over it; then put another layer of potatoes, and another sprinkle of salt, pepper, and butter, until you have as many layers as you wish. Fill in with sweet cream or milk until you can just begin to see it. Sprinkle on top one cracker, pulverized. Bake in hot oven from one-half to one hour.


Have a nice tenderloin or porterhouse steak, one inch and half in thickness, well hacked. Over this sprinkle salt, pepper, and a little flour. Have ready a very hot spider. Into this drop plenty of good, sweet butter (a quarter of a pound is not too much); when thoroughly melted, lay in the meat; turn frequently. While cooking, make many openings in the steak to allow the butter to pass through. When done, place on a hot platter and serve immediately.

Dr. Price wrote that the extremely healthy native peoples he studied were getting TEN times the fat soluble vitamins (found in butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and animal fats) than the people of his day. This was in the 1920s-30s.

And just look at the amount of animal foods and saturated fat and cholesterol people were eating in the 1890s. And compare that to what we eat today. How many people do you know who cook like those Ohio church women did in the 1800s?

Most of us won't even use butter, much less cook a steak in a quarter pound of butter or fry doughnuts in lard.

Most people are eating cereal and skim milk for breakfast and for dinner, skinless boneless chicken breasts with steamed vegetables. We pride ourselves in shunning butter and instead, eating “healthy vegetable spreads” (margarines made from soybean oil) and we try to stuff ourselves with 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Instead of adding cream to our coffee, we add Coffee Mate (full of corn and vegetable oils) or soy milk.

This is the complete opposite of what we used to eat 100 years ago.

It's funny to me that some people think the diet recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation is extreme. Hardly. This is a diet people have followed for centuries.

Unlike our modern low-fat diet, rife with vegetable oils, lots of improperly prepared grains and low-nutrient processed foods, and profoundly lacking in fat-soluble activators.

I think it's much wiser to follow our ancestors who were hardy and healthy and free of disease, than to listen to modern-day pundits espousing a faddish diet with no basis for longterm health.

Photo credit: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Weston A. Price Foundation, Family History Circle

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

14 thoughts on “Nutrition and Facial Development, Past and Present

  1. *sigh*

    This is when people had so much time to do things directly related to the lives of their families, like preparing meals, sewing, farming, etc. Now, cooking is at the bottom of everyone’s list of things to do, since we’re all running around working on meaningless projects to make other people wealthy. It’s so depressing.

    Google this old cookbook, called “The Great Western Cookbook.” The whole book is available online, in PDF format. Some of the recipes seem so crazy to the modern palate! (I’d post the link, but I don’t think it will make it through the spam filter.)

  2. I got it!

    Yeah, I don’t think most people would want to try making Calf’s Head Soup. I have an old Scottish cookbook that has a recipe for Sheep’s Head Soup.

  3. If this is what poor nutrtion does to bones and teeth just think about what it does to more sensitive things like internal organs. Diabetes, learning disabilities, and allergies are caused in part to poor nutrition. There is also evidence now that high homocystene levels and not cholesterol is a leading factor in heart disease. Homocystene levels can be raised by eating sugary junk and hydrogenated oils.

  4. @Lindsay — mortality used to be due to trauma and infectious disease, not degenerative disease (eg heart disease). Here’s a paper on hunter-gatherer mortality, folks who ate a whole lot of animal product. Also, read the chapter on the American Indians, and take a look at the skulls, our ancestors were exceedingly healthy up to the day they died.

    Here’s the hunger-gatherer paper:

    Hiwi mortality data present a very different picture of
    human adaptation than that derived from mortality statistics
    in modern society. Not only are mortality rates much higher
    in the Hiwi, they are disproportionately higher among infants,
    children, and young adults (cf. Gurven and Kaplan, in press).
    The relative importance of major causes of death in the Hiwi
    vs. modern America is also striking. In the U.S., the major
    killers are heart disease and cancers, both almost nonexistent
    among hunter-gatherers. In modern America, respiratory diseases
    are among the top 10 causes of death, but gastrointestinal
    infections are virtually absent as a cause of death. Suicide
    is more important than homicide in modern America, and homicide
    accounts for only 1% of all deaths. Finally, because of
    automobiles, accidents make up almost an equal portion of
    deaths in both modern societies and in hunter-gatherers (all
    U.S. data are from Zopf, 1992).

  5. Im 20 now, if i change my diet to this type of one do i still have time to improve my facial development before its finished? Or does it have to be while you’re a kid?

  6. Catal –

    I’m not sure but I think you have probably stopped growing. That said, there are things you can do to expand your jaw — like an expander appliance.

    Regardless of whether you can change your own facial development, you CAN change your children’s. And there are many, many other health benefits to eating this way.

  7. I’m a 16 year old, and I don’t like how thin my face is, I find it too long, I can notice my cheekbones though they could be more prominent. Is there a chance my face shape will improve if I change my diet?

    1. You are 16 so you are still growing, so I’d give it a shot.

      The best thing you can do is start taking fermented cod liver oil and butter oil and if you can get your hands on it, drink plenty of raw milk. If you can’t get raw milk, I’d eat lots of bone broth (daily, and ideally with every meal). Additionally, eat liver and other organ meats and/or lots of shellfish — particularly bivalves like clams, oysters and mussels.

      If I were you I would also look into an expander. Find a good dentist who is open to this kind of work or who knows about Dr. Weston Price if you can. There are great expander appliances which can help dramatically widen your palate.

      I think with the combination of food and an expander, you can see good results.

  8. It’s funny to me that some people think the diet recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation is extreme. Hardly. This is a diet people have followed for centuries.

    ITA with this!!! Isn’t it more extreme to eat HFCS and soybean oil every day????

  9. Hello again! Thanks so much for the reply.

    Unfortunately here in Portugal it’s extremely hard to get raw milk, and shell fish is too expensive to eat regulary. Though I eat a good dose of diary (cheese, butter, milk, though pastorized) everyday. I eat meat or fish everyday. I never drink sodas, only water. Also, I replaced all sugar stuff with fruit, I avoid sugar at all costs. It’s not perfect, but I guess it’s always better than before.

    Yesterday I talked to my dentist (I use braces), I told him that my upper palate was thin while the lower teeth had a perfect arch. Asked him what he thought of the expander. He kinda laughed at it, he said that it wasn’t a good solution and that expanders aren’t used for those kind of situations. He said that if I wanted a wider palate I would have to do a plastic surgery, which was basically splitting my palate in half and expanding it.

    I find it kinda weird, he didn’t even explain what the expander was used for. But as I’ve looked on the internet, that’s the purpose of it! And there are even adults who have used it, so I don’t really understand. So now I’m telling my parents to ask to another dentist about it. It felt more like of an excuse, what do you think of this?

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