Historical Events

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Stefansson describes his experiences living with the Eskimo and eating an all meat diet.

January 1, 1935

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Adventures in Diet

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Eskimo
Carnivore Diet

In 1906 I went to the Arctic with the food tastes and beliefs of the average American. By 1918, after eleven years living as an Eskimo among Eskimos, I had learned things which caused me to shed most of those beliefs. Ten years later I began to realize that what I had learned was going to influence decisively the sciences of medicine and dietetics. However, what finally impressed the scientists and converted many during the last two or three years, was a series of confirmatory experiments upon myself and a colleague performed at Bellevue Hospital, New York City, under the supervision of a committee representing several universities and other organizations.

Not so long ago, the following dietetic beliefs were common: To be healthy you need a varied diet, composed of elements from both the animal and vegetable kingdoms. You got tired of and eventually felt a revulsion against things if you had to eat them often. This latter belief was supported by stories of people who through force of circumstances had been compelled, for instance, to live for two weeks on sardines and crackers and who, according to the stories, had sworn that so long as they lived they never would touch sardines again. The Southerners had it that nobody can eat a quail a day for thirty days.