Adelle Davis-The First Lady of Nutrition

by Laura

My personal connection to Adelle Davis is one I that I feel rather obligated to pay forward as a legacy of sorts; one of great importance, because one single person made such an impact on the future of the way we think about food and our bodies. I was raised in the 60′s when Adelle was in her peak of popularity in certain circles. Nobody knew what true nutrition or “healthy” eating was back then really, and there were conflicting opinions about how to feed newborns, toddlers and children especially. My mother being the progressive, hip, well read woman that she was, always stayed on top of the latest innovations, and Adelle Davis was considered “cutting edge” thinking back then.

Adelle Davis, one of the country’s best known nutritionists, was an American pioneer in the fledgling field of nutrition in the 50′s and 60′s.  She advocated whole unprocessed foods, criticized food additives, and claimed that dietary supplements were essential to good health.

Adelle Davis was the author of four best selling books: “Let’s Cook It Right”, “Let’s Have Healthy Children”, “Let’s Get Well”, and “Let’s Eat Right To Keep Fit”.

I have heard stories, and could not possibly remember, but my mother made Adelle’s famous baby formula for me, which consisted of goat’s milk, black strap molasses, and brewer’s yeast. Blahhhh!!! I am sure they flipped coins for changing those nappies!!! I was the ONLY kid at school with whole grain bread on my sandwich, no sugar or sweets in my lunchbox, and would go on  trips to “The Health Food Store” after school to buy fruit leather or granola for a real treat..oh boy!! Now granola back then was not what people think of it now…it was so much better, with lots of seeds, nuts and dried fruit! Some time I will publish a true granola recipe on here.

Mom relaxed a little when I got older, because of social pressure, BUT the FOUNDATION was laid inside me nutritionally. This fantastic foundation, both mental and physical, has been with me my entire life, and I have passed it on to my children as well. Have I been perfect? Far from it. I did not restrict their diets at all. I did however educate them on what was healthy, and how to make healthy choices from a very early age. All three of my children love vegetables and it’s because they enjoyed from the time they started solid food, and trained their palettes for them. I know I am judging, but I cringe when I see mothers giving their children kool-aid in bottles, candy and sugar laiden things to quiet toddlers, and processed packaged baby foods and snacks etc.

Adelle Davis was a visionary. When going back through her history it is amazing to realize the impact Adelle had on the most recent and popular diets that are the craze now. Dr. Barry Sears, author of “The Zone” speaks very highly of Adelle Davis and her impact on his discoveries. Thirty years ago Adelle Davis was a supporter of Dr. Atkins, founder of “The Atkins Diet”. Adelle Davis was the pioneer of the nutritional revolution. Her teachings and writings influenced people striving for health and wellness long before our time.

Adelle Davis’s Nutritional Philosophy

Adelle lived and wrote in the post-World War II era, which was enthralled with freedom of choice. The motto of the Health Food Movement, if indeed one of the many could be chosen, was “Freedom of Choice in Nutrition.” Blind freedom is “not freedom, but license”, and Adelle was determined that her clients and readers would not be in the dark about the scientific basis of nutritional education.

Adelle Davis gives us the kernel of the research in nutrition, based on experiments and scientific writings that she read voluminously and thoroughly. She received her Masters Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California, and practiced professional nutritional counseling for 35 years, applying to thousands of cases, the solid scientific research she had made herself thoroughly responsible for.

Adelle Davis noted that the body does best when all of the known nutrients have been available, as well as fresh food sources for obtaining nutrients yet to be discovered by science. She writes so often, “When the diet is made adequate…” The key to this philosophy is knowing the amounts of nutrients that the body requires under given conditions, one can make educated decisions about what substances to include in the diet. This is true freedom of choice in nutrition. Without knowing the research, one cannot judge what amounts are necessary to avoid vitamin deficiencies.

The crux of her findings boil down to this: deficiencies in vitamins, mineral elements, or other nutrients can cause illness that is reversed when the nutrients are added to the diet in an educated way, and “when the diet is made adequate” in all other respects.

Since the 60′s and 70′s the world has gone through a nutritional awakening, with thousands and thousands of authors, programs, supplements, diets etc. Health food stores that used to be in small strip malls are getting harder to find, at least where I live in Salt Lake City, with the overtaking of Whole Foods Market and other large chains offering us a full line of everything nutritious and organic under the sun! In urban areas, most restaurants have organic produce in regular super markets, and a health food and supplement section. Restaurants are catering to nutritional eating and health menu choices, or even entire faire that is for those clientele.

The world has arrived at the conclusion that we must take care of the temple that is our body, with supplementation, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and lots of exercise. Adelle Davis dedicated her life to contributing to  changing the consciousness of America, and I believe she accomplished what she set out to do.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eloise T. Dilling, President December 13, 2012 at 8:00 am

Please contact me I am sure we can work together, I look forward to working with you!
Eloise T. Dilling
Adelle Davis Foundation


2 Tess December 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for sharing this… I raised both of my babies (1980 & 1982) on her Baby Formula in “Let’s Have Healthy Children”… She was an awesome lady! My oldest is having her 1st baby & I just sent her the recipe & also the link to this page! She has tome to read. Dr has her in bedrest & baby will be “induced” :( on 7th… Pray he turns so dr doesn’t do “surgical” method! Both of mine were all-natural!!! But not being able to get up and WALK bothers me! Oh, well…


3 Eloise T. Dilling, President May 13, 2013 at 3:53 am

Please provide me with your contact information, the Adelle Davis Foundation is contacting any and all support groups, health minded organizations etc. in order to promote the soon to be released republication of Adelle’s books and other projects.
We appreciate your devotion and dedication to our pursuit.
Yours Truly,
Eloise Dilling
Adelle Davis Foundation


4 Maria Blair July 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I am looking for Adelle Davis “The Organic Baby Food Book” I used for my daughter in 1974. That was the best most nutritional book I have ever seen for babies and would love a copy for my grandson who is to be born in November. Is it possible to get a copy from you?

Best Regards

Maria Blair


5 Deb Witter August 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Thank you for writing this article about Adelle Davis. I too am an ardent follower of her works with them now being used by a third generation of our family. Let’s Get Well is a trusted reference book for many ailments in our home.

She truly, single-handedly created the vitamin revolution in America, which has spread far and wide.



6 Patricia Gausnell February 24, 2014 at 6:56 am

I read all 4 of Adelle Davis’ books in 1970 and applied her principles with the last 6 of my 8 children. I was able to raise them without antibiotics and perscription medicines. They did not get broken bones, or serious illnesses. I was also able to give birth to healthy triplets, and take them home from the hospital at a few days old. I do realize that some of her ideas may be outdated, but I think she was a genius to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude.


7 Patricia Gausnell February 24, 2014 at 7:03 am

I should also say that using her ideas, I have been able to help myself and many others solve some serious and not so serious health problems. I have been able to help myself and several others solve serious thyroid problems, using her ideas about iodine, kelp powder and Vitamin E. Also, I completely quit using refined flours and grains. The wheat grinder in the kitchen is used for freshly ground whole wheat flour, as well as whole corn meal, etc.


8 tess March 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

In 1980, I was introduced to this wonderful woman’s “Let’s Have Healthy Children”… for my 1st child, and then the 2nd, I made her baby formula. At first my dr was skeptical, but I showed him!! She thrived on 1 qt/day until she was a yr old & then foods were introduced! Both babies thrived & I have shared the “formula” with both daughters for their babies!!!


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