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.


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