Recently, my younger (adult) daughter asked my advice choosing between a root canal or having a bridge made. This led to a discussion of her eating habits in general. Defending her currently less-than-optimum diet against my gentle criticism, she threw me a tough riposte. "Why," she asked, when I was raised so perfectly as a child, "when I ate only Organic food until I was ten and old enough to make you send me to public school where I could eat those lousy school lunches" (her unfeeling, heartless mother home-schooled her), "why even at that young age, (before she spent her adolescent rebellion eating junk food) why at that point did I still have a mouthful of cavities?" And she did. At age ten my daughter needed about ten fillings.
This beautiful daughter of a practicing naturopath had received what, at the time, I considered virtually perfect nutrition. She suckled hugely at her mother's abundant breast until age two. During this time her mother ate a natural foods diet. After weaning my daughter got only whole grains, a little fresh goat's milk from my goat, fruits and lots of Organic vegetables. I started my spa when my daughter was about five years old and from that point she was, like it or not, a raw fooder. And all that raw food was Organic and much of it from Great Oaks School's huge vegetable garden.
For my daughter to develop cavities on this diet is reminiscent of Woody Allen's joke in his movie "Sleeper." Do you recall this one, made about 1973? The plot is a take off on Rip Van Winkle. Woody goes into the hospital for minor surgery. Unexpectedly he expires on the operating table and his body is frozen in hopes that someday he can be revived. One hundred and fifty years later he is revived.
The priceless scene I always think of takes place in his hospital room immediately after he comes to consciousness. The doctor in charge of his case is explaining to Woody what has happened. Woody refuses to believe he died and was frozen, asserting that the whole story is a put on. Woody insists that the 'doctor' is clearly an actor hired by his friends! It absolutely can't be the year 2123. 'Oh, but it really is 2123,' insists the doctor. 'And it is no put on by his friends; all his friends are long dead; Woody knows no one at all in 2123 and had better prepare himself to start a new life.'
Woody still insists it is a put on. "I had a healthfood store," he says, "and all my friends ate brown rice. They can't be dead!"
And my perfectly nourished daughter couldn't have developed cavities! But she did. And if she cheated on her perfect diet, bad food could not have amounted to more than two percent of her total caloric intake from birth to age ten. I was a responsible mom and I made sure she ate right! Now my daughter was demanding to know why she had tooth decay. Fortunately, I now know the answer. The answer is rather complex, but I can give a simplified explanation.
The Confusions About Diets and Foods
Like my daughter, many people of all ages are muddled about the relationship between health and diet. Their confusions have created a profitable market for health-related information. And equally, their confusions have been created by books, magazine articles, and TV news features. This avalanche of data is highly contradictory. In fact, one reason I found it hard to make myself write my own book is that I wondered if my book too would become just another part of the confusion.
Few people are willing to tolerate very much uncertainty. Rather than live with the discomfort of not knowing why, they will create an explanation or find some answer, any answer, and then ever after, assert its rightness like a shipwrecked person clings to a floating spar in a storm. This is how I explain the genesis of many contemporary food religions.
Appropriately new agey and spiritual, Macrobiotics teaches the way to perfect health is to eat like a Japanese whole foods vegetarian–the endless staple being brown rice, some cooked vegetables and seaweeds, meanwhile balancing the "yin" and "yang" of the foods. And Macrobiotics works great for a lot of people. But not all people. Because there's next to nothing raw in the Macrobiotic diet and some people are allergic to rice, or can get allergic to rice on that diet.
Linda Clark's Diet for a Small Planet also has hundreds of thousands of dedicated followers. This system balances the proportions of essential amino acids at every, single meal and is vegetarian. This diet also works and really helps some people, but not as well as Macrobiotics in my opinion because obsessed with protein, Clark's diet contains too many hard-to-digest soy products and makes poor food combinations from the point of digestive capacity.
Then there are the raw fooders. Most of them are raw, Organic fooders who go so far as to eat only unfired, unground cereals that have been soaked in warm water (at less than 115 degrees or you'll kill the enzymes) for many hours to soften the seeds up and start them sprouting. This diet works and really helps a lot of people. Raw organic foodism is especially good for "holy joes," a sort of better-than-everyone-else person who enjoys great self-righteousness by owning this system. But raw fooding does not help all people nor solve all diseases because raw food irritates the digestive tracts of some people and in northern climates it is hard to maintain body heat on this diet because it is difficult to consume enough concentrated vegetable food in a raw state. And some raw fooders eat far too much fruit. I've seen them lose their teeth because of fruit's low mineral content, high sugar level and constant fruit acids in their mouths.
Then there are vegetarians of various varieties including vegans (vegetarians that will not eat dairy products and eggs), and then, there are their exact opposites, Atkins dieters focusing on protein and eating lots of meat. There's the Adelle Davis school, people eating whole grains, handfuls of vitamins, lots of dairy and brewers yeast and wheat germ, and even raw liver. Then there's the Organic school. These folks will eat anything in any combination, just so long as it is organically produced, including organically raised beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, rabbit, wild meats, milk and diary products, natural sea salt in large quantities and of course, organically grown fruits, vegetables grains and nuts. And what is "Organic?" The word means food raised in compliance with a set of rules contrived by a certification bureaucracy. When carefully analyzed, the somewhat illogical rules are not all that different in spirit than the rules of kashsruth or kosher. And the Organic certification bureaucrats aren't all that different than the rabbis who certify food as being kosher, either.
There are now millions of frightened Americans who, following the advice of mainstream Authority, have eliminated red meat from their diets and greatly reduced what they (mistakenly) understand as high-cholesterol foods.
All these diets work too–or some–and all demonstrate some of the truth. The only area concerning health that contains more confusion and contradictory data than diet is vitamins. What a rats nest that is!
The Fundamental Principle
If you are a true believer in any of the above food religions, I expect that you will find my views unsettling. But what I consider "good diet" results from my clinical work with thousands of cases. It is what has worked with those cases. My eclectic views incorporate bits and pieces of all the above. In my own case, I started out by following the Organic school, and I was once a raw food vegetarian who ate nothing but raw food for six years. I also ate Macrobiotic for about one year until I became violently allergic to rice.
I have arrived at a point where I understand that each person's biochemistry is unique and each must work out their own diet to suit their life goals, life style, genetic predisposition and current state of health. There is no single, one, all-encompassing, correct diet. But, there is a single, basic, underlying Principle of Nutrition that is universally true. In its most simplified form, the basic equation of human health goes: Health = Nutrition / Calories. The equation falls far short of explaining the origin of each individuals diseases or how to cure diseases but Health = Nutrition / Calories does show the general path toward healthful eating and proper medicine.
All animals have the exact same dietary problem: finding enough nutrition to build and maintain their bodies within the limits of their digestive capacity. Rarely in nature (except for predatory carnivores) is there any significant restriction on the number of calories or serious limitation of the amount of low-nutrition foods available to eat. There's rarely any shortage of natural junk food on Earth. Except for domesticated house pets, animals are sensible enough to prefer the most nutritional fare available and tend to shun empty calories unless they are starving.
But humans are perverse, not sensible. Deciding on the basis of artificially-created flavors, preferring incipid textures, we seem to prefer junk food and become slaves to our food addictions. For example, in tropical countries there is a widely grown root crop, called in various places: tapioca, tavioca, manioc, or yuca. This interesting plant produces the greatest tonnage of edible, digestible, pleasant-tasting calories per acre compared to any other food crop I know. Manioc might seem the answer to human starvation because it will grow abundantly on tropical soils so infertile and/or so droughty that no other food crop will succeed there. Manioc will do this because it needs virtually nothing from the soil to construct itself with. And consequently, manioc puts next to nothing nourishing into its edible parts. The bland-tasting root is virtually pure starch, a simple carbohydrate not much different than pure corn starch. Plants construct starches from carbon dioxide gas obtained the air and hydrogen obtained from water. There is no shortage ever of carbon from CO2 in the air and rarely a shortage of hydrogen from water. When the highly digestible starch in manioc is chewed, digestive enzymes readily convert it into sugar. Nutritionally there is virtually no difference between eating manioc and eating white sugar. Both are entirely empty calories.
If you made a scale from ideal to worst regarding the ratio of nutrition to calories, white sugar, manioc and most fats are at the extreme undesirable end. Frankly I don't know which single food might lie at the extreme positive end of the scale. Close to perfect might be certain leafy green vegetables that can be eaten raw. When they are grown on extremely fertile soil, some greens develop 20 or more percent completely digestible balanced protein with ideal ratios of all the essential amino acids, lots of vitamins, tons of minerals, all sorts of enzymes and other nutritional elements–and very few calories. You could continually fill your stomach to bursting with raw leafy greens and still have a hard time sustaining your body weight if that was all you ate. Maybe Popeye the Sailorman was right about eating spinach.
For the moment, lets ignore individual genetic inabilities to digest specific foods and also ignore the effects stress and enervation can have on our ability to extract nutrition out of the food we are eating. Without those factors to consider, it is correct to say that, to the extent one's diet contains the maximum potential amount of nutrition relative to the number of calories you are eating, to that extent a person will be healthy. To the extent the diet is degraded from that ideal, to that extent, disease will develop. Think about it!
Lessons From Nutritional Anthropology
The next logical pair of questions are: how healthy could good nutrition make people be, and, how much deviation from ideal nutrition could we allow ourselves before serious disease appears? Luckily, earlier in this century we could observe living answers to those questions (before the evidence disappeared). The answers are: we could be amazingly healthy, and, if we wish to enjoy excellent health we can afford to cut ourselves surprisingly little slack.
Prior to the Second World War there were several dozen sizable groups of extraordinarily healthy humans remaining on Earth. Today, their descendants are still in the same remote places, are speaking the same languages and possess more or less the same cultures. Only today they're watching satellite TV. wearing jeans, drinking colas–and their superior health has evaporated.
During the early part of this century, at the same era vitamins and other basic aspects of nutrition were being discovered, a few farsighted medical explorers sought out these hard-to-reach places with their legendarily healthy peoples to see what caused the legendary well-being they'd heard of. Enough evidence was collected and analyzed to derive some very valid principles.
First lets dismiss some apparently logical but incorrect explanations for the unusually good health of these isolated peoples. It wasn't racial, genetic superiority. There were extraordinarily healthy blacks, browns, Orientals, Amerinds, Caucasians. It wasn't living at high altitude; some lived at sea level. It wasn't temperate climates, some lived in the tropics, some in the tropics at sea level, a type of location generally thought to be quite unhealthful. It wasn't a small collection of genetically superior individuals, because when these peoples left their isolated locale and moved to the city, they rapidly began to lose their health. And it wasn't genetics because when a young couple from the isolated healthy village moved to town, their children born in town were as unhealthy as all the other kids.
And what do I mean by genuinely healthy? Well, imagine a remote village or a mountain valley or a far island settlement very difficult to get to, where there lived a thousand or perhaps ten thousand people. Rarely fewer, rarely more. Among that small population there were no medical doctors and no dentists, no drugs, no vaccinations, no antibiotics. Usually the isolation carried with it illiteracy and precluded contact with or awareness of modern science, so there was little or no notion of public hygiene. And this was before the era of antibiotics. Yet these unprotected, undoctored, unvaccinated peoples did not suffer and die from bacterial infections; and the women did not have to give birth to 13 children to get 2.4 to survive to breeding age–almost all the children made it through the gauntlet of childhood diseases. There was also virtually no degenerative disease like heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, senility, cancer, arthritis. There were few if any birth defects. In fact, there probably weren't any aspirin in the entire place. Oh, and there was very little mortality during childbirth, as little or less than we have today with all our hospitals. And the people uniformly had virtually perfect teeth and kept them all till death, but did not have toothbrushes nor any notion of dental hygiene. Nor did they have dentists or physicians. (Price, 1970)
And in those fortunate places the most common causes of death were accident (trauma) and old age. The typical life span was long into the 70s and in some places quite a bit longer. One fabled place, Hunza, was renowned for having an extraordinarily high percentage of vigorous and active people over 100 years old.
I hope I've made you curious. "How could this be?" you're asking. Well, here's why. First, everyone of those groups lived in places so entirely remote, so inaccessible that they were of necessity, virtually self-sufficient. They hardly traded at all with the outside world, and certainly they did not trade for bulky, hard-to-transport bulk foodstuffs. Virtually everything they ate was produced by themselves. If they were an agricultural people, naturally, everything they ate was natural: organic, whole, unsprayed and fertilized with what ever local materials seemed to produce enhanced plant growth. And, if they were agricultural, they lived on a soil body that possessed highly superior natural fertility. If not an agricultural people they lived by the sea and made a large portion of their diets sea foods. If their soil had not been extraordinarily fertile, these groups would not have enjoyed superior health and would have conformed to the currently widely-believed notion that before the modern era, people's lives were brutish, unhealthful, and short.
What is common between meat-eating Eskimos, isolated highland Swiss living on rye bread, milk and cheese; isolated Scottish island Celts with a dietary of oat porridge, kale and sea foods; highland central Africans (Malawi) eating sorghum, millet tropical root crops and all sorts of garden vegetables, plus a little meat and dairy; Fijians living on small islands in the humid tropics at sea level eating sea foods and garden vegetables. What they had in common was that their foods were all were at the extreme positive end of the Health = Nutrition / Calories scale. The agriculturists were on very fertile soil that grew extraordinarily nutrient-rich food, the sea food gatherers were obtaining their tucker from the place where all the fertility that ever was in the soil had washed out of the land had been transported–sea foods are also extraordinarily nutrient rich.
The group with the very best soil and consequently, the best health of all were, by lucky accident, the Hunza. I say "lucky" and "accident" because the Hunza and their resource base unknowingly developed an agricultural system that produced the most nutritious food that is possible to grow. The Hunza lived on what has been called super food. There are a lot of interesting books about the Hunza, some deserving of careful study. (Wrench, 1938; Rodale, 1949)
Finding Your Ideal Dietary
Anyone that is genuinely interested in having the best possible health should make their own study of the titles listed in the bibliography in the back of this book. After you do, award yourself a BS nutrition. I draw certain conclusions from this body of data. I think they help a person sort out the massive confusion that exists today about proper diet.
First principle: Homo Sapiens clearly can posses extreme health while eating very different dietary regimens. There is no one right diet for humans.
Before the industrial era almost everyone on Earth ate what was produced locally. Their dietary choices were pretty much restricted to those foods that were well adapted and productive in their region. Some places grew rye, others wheat, others millet, others rice. Some places supported cows, others goats, others had few on no domesticated animals. Some places produced a lot of fruits and vegetables. Others, did not. Whatever the local dietary, during thousands of years of eating that dietary natural selection prevailed; most babies that were allergic to or not able to thrive on the available dietary, died quickly. Probably of childhood bacterial infections. The result of this weeding out process was a population closely adapted to the available dietary of a particular locale.
This has interesting implications for Americans, most of whose ancestors immigrated from somewhere else; many of our ancestors also "hybridized" or crossed with immigrants from elsewhere. Trying to discover what dietary substances your particular genetic endowment is adapted to can be difficult and confusing. If both your parents were Italian and they were more or less pure Italian going way back, you might start out trying to eat wheat, olives, garlic, fava beans, grapes, figs, cow dairy. If pure German, try rye bread, cow dairy, apples, cabbage family vegetables. If Scottish, try oats, mutton, fish, sheep dairy and cabbage family vegetables. If Jewish, try goat dairy, wheat, olives and citrus. And certainly all the above ethnic derivations will thrive on many kinds of vegetables. Afro-Americans, especially dark-complexioned ones little mixed with Europeans, might do well to avoid wheat and instead, try sorghum, millet or tropical root crops like sweet potatoes, yams and taro.
Making it even more difficult for an individual to discover their optimum diet is the existence of genetic-based allergies and worse, developed allergies. Later in this chapter I will explain how a body can develop an allergy to a food that is probably irreversible. A weakened organ can also prevent digestion of a food or food group.
One more thing about adaptation to dietaries. Pre-industrial humans could only be extraordinarily healthy on the dietary they were adapted to if and only if that dietary also was extraordinarily high in nutrients. Few places on earth have naturally rich soil. Food grown on poor soil is poor in nutrition; that grown on rich soil is high in nutrition. People do not realize that the charts and tables in the backs of health books like Adelle Davis's Lets Cook It Right, are not really true. They are statistics. It is vital to keep in mind the old saying, "there are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics. The best way to lie is with statistics."
Statistical tables of the nutrient content of foods were developed by averaging numerous samples of food from various soils and regions. These tables basically lie because they do not show the range of possibility between the different samples. A chart may state authoritatively that 100 grams of broccoli contains so many milligrams of calcium. What it does not say is that some broccoli samples contain only half that amount or even less, while other broccoli contains two or three times that amount. Since calcium is a vital nutrient hard to come by in digestible form, the high calcium broccoli is far better food than the low calcium sample. But both samples of broccoli appear and taste more or less alike. Both could even be organically grown. Yet one sample has a very positive ratio of nutrition to calories, the other is lousy food. (Schuphan, 1965) Here's another example I hope will really dent the certainties the Linda Clarkites. Potatoes can range in protein from eight to eleven percent, depending on the soil that produced them and if they were or were not irrigated. Grown dry (very low yielding) on semiarid soils, potatoes can be a high-protein staff of life. Heavily irrigated and fertilized so as to produce bulk yield instead of nutrition, they'll produce two or three times the tonnage, but at 8 percent protein instead of 11 percent. Not only does the protein content drop just as much as yield is boosted, the amino acid ratios change markedly, the content of scarce nutritional minerals drops massively, and the caloric content increases. In short, subsisting on irrigated commercially-grown potatoes, or on those grown on relatively infertile soils receiving abundant rainfall will make you fat and sick. They're a lot like manioc.
Here's another. Wheat can range from 7 to 19 percent protein. Before the industrial era ruined most wheat by turning it into white flour, wheat-eating peoples from regions where the cereal naturally contains abundant protein tended to be tall, healthy and long-lived. Wheat-eating humans from regions that produce low protein grain tended to be small, sickly and short-lived. (McCarrison, 1921, 1936, 1982; Albrecht, 1975)
Even cows have to pay attention to where their grass is coming from. Some green grass is over 15 percent protein and contains lots of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium to build strong bodies. Other equally or even better looking green grass contains only six or seven percent protein and contains little calcium, phosphorus or magnesium. Cows forced to eat only this poor type of grass can literally starve to death with full bellies. And they have a hard time breeding successfully. The reason for the difference: different soil fertility profiles. (Albrecht, 1975)
When people ate local, those living on fertile soils or getting a significant portion of their diet from the sea and who because of physical isolation from industrial foods did not make a practice of eating empty calories tended to live a long time and be very healthy. But those unfortunates on poor soils or with unwise cultural life-styles tended to be short-lived, diseased, small, weak, have bad teeth, and etc. The lesson here is that Homo Sapiens can adapt to many different dietaries, but like any other animal, the one thing we can't adapt to is a dietary deficient in nutrition.
So here's another "statistic" to reconsider. Most people believe that due to modern medical wonders, we live longer than we used to. Actually, that depends. Compared to badly nourished populations of a century ago, yes! We do. Chemical medicine keeps sickly, poorly nourished people going a lot longer (though one wonders about the quality of their dreary existences.) I hypothesize that before the time most farmers purchased and baked with white flour and sold their whole, unground wheat, many rural Americans (the ones on good soil, not all parts of North America have rich soil) eating from their own self-sufficient farms, lived as long or even longer than we do today. You also have to wonder who benefits from promulgating this mistaken belief about longevity. Who gets rich when we are sick? And what huge economic interests are getting rich helping make us sick?
The Human Comedy
|I know most of my readers have been heavily indoctrinated about food and think they already know the truth about dietetics. I also know that so much information (and misinformation) is coming out about diet that most of my readers are massively confused about the subject. These are two powerful reasons many readers will look with disbelief at what this chapter has to say and take no action on my data, even to prove me wrong.|
Let me warn you. There is a deep-seated human tendency to put off taking responsibilities, beautifully demonstrated by this old joke.
A 14 year old boy was discovered masturbating by his father, who said, "son, you shouldn't do that! If you keep it up you'll eventually go blind!" ` "But father, came the boy's quick reply. "It feels good. How about if I don't quit until I need to wear glasses?"
The Organic Versus Chemical Feud
Now, regrettably, and at great personal risk to my reputation, I must try to puncture the very favorite belief of food religionists, the doctrine that organically grown food is as nutritious as food can possibly be, Like Woody Allen's brown-rice-eating friends, people think if you eat Organic foods, you will inevitably live a very long time and be very healthy. Actually, the Organic vs. chemical feud is in many ways false. Many (not all) samples of organically grown food are as low or lower in nutrition as foods raised with chemical fertilizers. Conversely, wisely using chemical fertilizers (not pesticides) can greatly increase the nutritional value of food. Judiciously used Organic fertilizing substances can also do that as well or better. And in either case, using chemical fertilizers or so-called organic fertilizers, to maximize nutrition the humus content of the soil must be maintained. But, raising soil organic matter levels too high can result in a massive reduction in the nutritional content of the food being grown–a very frequent mistake on the part of Organic devotees. In other words, growing nutrition is a science, and is not a matter of religion.
The food I fed to my daughter in childhood, though Organic according to Rodale and the certification bureaucrats, though providing this organic food to my family and clients gave me a feeling of self-righteousness, was not grown with an understanding of the nutritional consequences of electing to use one particular Organic fertilizing substance over another. So we and a lot of regional Organic market gardeners near us that we bought from, were raising food that was far from ideally nutritious. At least though, our food was free of pesticide residues.
The real dichotomy in food is not "chemical" fertilizer versus "Organic," It is between industrial food and quality food. What I mean by industrial food is that which is raised with the intention of maximizing profit or yield. There is no contradiction between raising food that the "rabbis" running Organic certification bureaucracies would deem perfectly "kosher" and raising that same food to make the most possible money or the biggest harvest. When a farmer grows for money, they want to produce the largest number of bushels, crates, tons, bales per acre. Their criteria for success is primarily unit volume. Many gardeners think the same way. To maximize bulk yield they build soil fertility in a certain direction (organically or chemically) and choose varieties that produce greater bulk. However, nature is ironic in this respect. The most nutritious food is always lower yielding. The very soil management practices that maximize production simultaneously reduce nutrition.
The real problem we are having about our health is not that there are residues of pesticides in our food. The real problem is that there are only residues of nutrition left in our foods. Until our culture comes to understand this and realizes that the health costs of accepting less than optimum food far exceeds the profits made by growing bulk, it will not be possible to frequently find the ultimate of food quality in the marketplace, organically grown or not. It will not be possible to find food that is labeled or identified according to its real nutritional value. The best I can say about Organic food these days is that it probably is no less nutritious than chemically-grown food while at least it is free of pesticide residues.
The Poor Start
For this reason it makes sense to take vitamins and food supplements, to be discussed in the next chapter. And because our food supply, Organic or "conventional," is far from optimum, if a person wants to be and remain healthy and have a life span that approaches their genetic potential (and that potential, it seems, approaches or exceeds a century), it is essential that empty calories are rigorously avoided.
An accurate and quick-to-respond indicator of how well we are doing in terms of getting enough nutrition is the state of our teeth. One famous dentally-oriented nutritional doctor, Melvin Page, suggested that as long as overall nutrition was at least 75 percent of perfection, the body chemistry could support healthy teeth and gums until death. By healthy here Page means free of cavities, no bone loss around the teeth (no wobblers), no long-in-the-teeth mouths from receding gums, no gum diseases at all. But when empty calories or devitalized foods or misdigestion cuts our nutrient intake we begin experiencing tooth decay, gum disease and bone loss in the jaw. How are your teeth?
I suppose you could say that I have a food religion, but mine is to eat so that the equation Nutrition = Health / Calories is strongly in my favor.
Back to my daughter's teeth. Yes, I innocently fed her less than ideally nutritious food, but at that time I couldn't buy ideal food even had I known what I wanted, nor did I have any scientific idea of how to produce ideal food, nor actually, could I have done so on the impoverished, leached-out clay soil at Great Oaks School even had I known how. The Organic doctrine says that you can build a Garden of 'Eatin with large quantities of compost until any old clay pit or gravel heap produces highly nutritious food. This idea is not really true. Sadly, what is true about organic matter in soil is that when it is increased very much above the natural level one finds in untilled soil in the climate you're working with, the nutritional content of the food begins to drop markedly. I know this assertion is shocking and perhaps threatening to those who believe in the Organic system; I am sorry.
But there is another reason my daughter's teeth were not perfect, probably could not have been perfect no matter what we fed her, and why she will probably have at least some health problems as she ages no matter how perfectly she may choose to eat from here on. My daughters had what Dr. G.T. Wrench called "a poor start." Not as poor as it could have been by any means, but certainly less than ideal.
You see, the father has very little to do with the health of the child, unless he happens to carry some particularly undesirable gene. It is the mother who has the job of constructing the fetus out of prepartum nourishment and her own body's nutritional reserves. The female body knows from trillenia of instinctual experience that adequate nutrition from the current food supply during pregnancy can not always be assured, so the female body stores up very large quantities of minerals and vitamins and enzymes against that very possibility. When forming a fetus these reserves are drawn down and depleted. It is virtually impossible during the pregnancy itself for a mother to extract sufficient nutrition from current food to build a totally healthy fetus, no matter how nourishing the food she is eating may be. Thus a mother-to-be needs to be spending her entire childhood and her adolescence (and have adequate time between babies), building and rebuilding her reserves.
A mother-to-be also started out at her own birth with a vitally important stock of nutritional reserves, reserves put there during her own fetal development. If that "start" was less than ideal, the mother-to-be (as fetus) got "pinched" and nutritionally shortchanged in certain, predictable ways. Even minor mineral fetal deficiencies degrade the bone structure: the fetus knows it needs nutritional reserves more than it needs to have a full-sized jaw bone or a wide pelvic girdle, and when deprived of maximum fetal nourishment, these non-vital bones become somewhat smaller. Permanently. If mineral deficiencies continue into infancy and childhood, these same bones continue to be shortchanged, and the child ends up with a very narrow face, a jaw bone far too small to hold all the teeth, and in women, a small oven that may have trouble baking babies. More importantly, those nutrient reserves earmarked especially for making babies are also deficient. So a deficient mother not only shows certain structural evidence of physiological degeneration, but she makes deficient babies. A deficient female baby at birth is unlikely to completely overcome her bad start before she herself has children.
So with females, the quality of a whole lifetime's nutrition, and the life-nutrition of her mother (and of her mother's mother as well) has a great deal to do with the outcome of a pregnancy. The sins of the mother can really be visited unto the third and fourth generation.
This reality was powerfully demonstrated in the 1920s by a medical doctor, Francis Pottenger. He was not gifted with a good bedside manner. Rather than struggling with an unsuccessful clinical practice, Dr. Pottenger decided to make his living running a medical testing laboratory in Pasadena, California. Dr. Pottenger earned his daily bread performing a rather simple task, assaying the potency of adrenal hormone extracts. At that time, adrenaline, a useful drug to temporarily rescue people close to death, was extracted from the adrenal glands of animals. However, the potency of these crude extracts varied greatly. Being a very powerful drug, it was essential to measure exactly how strong your extract was so its dosage could be controlled.
Quantitative organic chemistry was rather crude in those days. Instead of assaying in a test tube, Dr. Pottenger kept several big cages full of cats that he had adrenalectomized. Without their own adrenals, the cats could not live more than a short time By finding out how much extract was required to keep the cats from failing, he could measure the strength of the particular batch.
Dr. Pottenger's cats were economically valuable so he made every effort to keep them healthy, something that proved to be disappointingly difficult. He kept his cats clean, in airy, bright quarters, fed them to the very best of his ability on pasteurized whole milk, slaughterhouse meat and organs (cats in the wild eat organ meats first and there are valuable vitamins and other substances in organ meats that don't exist in muscle tissue). The meat was carefully cooked to eliminate any parasites, and the diet was supplemented with cod liver oil. However, try as he might, Pottenger's cats were sickly, lived short and had to be frequently replaced. Usually they bred poorly and died young of bacterial infections, there being no antibiotics in the 1920s. I imagine Dr. Pottenger was constantly visiting the animal shelter and perhaps even paid quarters out the back door to a steady stream of young boys who brought him cats in burlap sacks from who knows where, no questions asked.
Dr. Pottenger's assays must have been accurate, for his business grew and grew. Eventually he needed more cats than he had cages to house, so he built a big, roofed, on-the-ground pen outdoors. Because he was overworked, he was less careful about the feeding of these extra animals. They got the same pasteurized milk and cod-liver oil, but he did not bother to cook their slaughterhouse meat. Then, a small miracle happened. This poorly cared for cage of cats fed on uncooked meat became much healthier than the others, suffering far fewer bacterial infections or other health problems. Then another miracle happened. Dr. Pottenger began to meditate on the first miracle.
It occurred to him that cats in the wild did not cook their food; perhaps cats had a digestive system that couldn't process or assimilate much out of cooked food. Perhaps the problem he had been having was not because the cats were without adrenal glands but because they were without sustenance, suffering a sort of slow starvation in the midst of plenty. So Dr. Pottenger set up some cat feeding experiments.
There were four possible combinations of his regimen: raw meat and unpasteurized milk; raw meat and pasteurized milk; cooked meat and raw milk; cooked meat and pasteurized milk, this last one being what he had been feeding all along. So he divided his cats into four groups and fed each group differently. The first results of Pottenger's experiments were revealed quickly though the most valuable results took longer to see. The cats on raw meat and raw milk did best. The ones on raw meat and pasteurized milk did okay but not as well. The ones on cooked meat and raw milk did even less well and those on all cooked food continued to do as poorly as ever.
Clearly, cats can't digest cooked food; all animals do better fed on what they can digest. A lot of people have taken Pottenger's data and mistakenly concluded that humans also should eat only raw food. This idea is debatable. However, the most important result of the cat experiments took years to reveal itself and is not paid much attention to, probably because its implications are very depressing. Dr. Pottenger continued his experiments for several generations. It was the transgenerational changes that showed the most valuable lesson. Over several generations, the cats on all raw foods began to alter their appearance. Their faces got wider, their pelvic girdles broader, bones solider, teeth better. They began to breed very successfully.
After quite a few generations, the healthiest group, the one on all raw foods, seemed to have improved as much as it could. So Dr. Pottenger took some of these cats and began feeding them only cooked food to study the process of nutritional degeneration. After three "de"generations on cooked fodder the group had deteriorated so much that the animals could barely breed. Their faces had become narrow, their teeth crooked, their pelvic girdles narrow, their bones and body structure very small, and their dispositions poor. Mothers wouldn't nurse their young and sometimes became cannibalistic. They no longer lived very long.
Before the degenerating group completely lost the ability to breed, Pottenger began to again feed them all raw food. It took four generations on a perfect, raw food diet before some perfect appearing individuals showed up in the group. It takes longer to repair the damage than it does to cause it and it takes generations of unflagging persistence.
I think much the same process has happened to humans in this century. With the invention of the roller mill and the consequent degradation of our daily bread to white flour; with the birth of industrial farming and the generalized lowering of the nutritional content of all of our crops; our overall ratio of nutrition to calories worsened. Then it worsened again because we began to have industrial food manufacturing and national brand prepared food marketing systems; we began subsisting on devitalized, processed foods. The result has been an even greater worsening of our ratio of nutrition to calories.
And just like Pottenger's cats, we civilized humans in so-called advanced countries are losing the ability to breed, our willingness (or the energy) to mother our young; we're losing our good humor in the same way Pottenger's degenerated cats became bad tempered. As a group we feel so poorly that we desperately need to feel better fast, and what better way to do that than with drugs. Is it any wonder that the United States, the country furthest down the road of industrial food degeneration, spends 14 percent of its gross domestic product on medical services. Any wonder that so many babies are born by Cesarean, any wonder that so many of our children have crooked teeth needing an orthodontist? The most depressing aspect of this comes into view when considering that Pottenger's cats took four generations on perfect food to repair most of the nutritional damage.
In the specific case of my daughter, I know somethings about the nutritional history of her maternal ancestors. My daughter's grandmother grew up on a Saskatchewan farm. Though they certainly grew their own rich wheat on virgin semi-arid prairie soil, I'm sure the family bought white flour at the store for daily use. Still, there was a garden and a cow producing raw milk and free-range fertile eggs and chicken and other animals. There probably were lots of canned vegetables in winter, canned but still highly nutritious because of the fertility of their prairie garden. My mother consequently had perfect teeth until the Great Depression forced her to live for too many years on lard and white bread.
During this time of severe malnutrition she had her three babies. The first one got the best of her nutritional reserves. The second, born after the worst of the malnutrition, was very small and weak and had a hard time growing up. Fortunately for me, for a few years before I (the last child) was born, the worst of the economic times had past and the family had been living on a farm. There were vegetables and fresh raw milk and fruit. My mother had two good years to rebuild her nutritional reserves. But "Grannybell" did not managed to replace enough. Shortly after I was born my mother lost every one of her teeth all at once. The bone just disappeared around them.
Thus, I was born deficient. And my childhood and adolescent nutrition was poor too: soda crackers, pasteurized processed artificial cheese, evaporated milk from cans, hotdogs and canned beans, hotdogs and cabbage. It wasn't until I was pregnant with my first baby that I started to straighten up my diet. I continued eating very well after my first daughter, so my youngest daughter had another three years of good diet to draw on. Thus both my own daughters got a somewhat better start than I had had.
My teeth were not as good as my mother's had been before those years of malnutrition took them all. Instead of perfect straight undecayed teeth like a healthy farm girl should have, mine were somewhat crowded, with numerous cavities. My jaw bone had not received enough minerals to develop to its full size. My pelvic girdle also was smaller than my mother's was. I had had a poor start.
My daughters did better. The older one (the first child typically gets the best of the nutritional reserves) has such a wide jaw that there are small spaces between her teeth. My second daughter has only one crooked tooth, she has wider, more solid hips, stronger bones and a broader face than I do. If my younger daughter will but from this point in her life, eat perfectly and choose her food wisely to responsibly avoid empty calories and maximize her ratio of nutrition to calories, her daughter (if she gives us granddaughters as her older sister already has done) may exhibit the perfect physiology that her genes carry.
Along the lines of helping you avoid empty calories I will give you some information about various common foods that most people don't know and that most books about food and health don't tell, or misunderstand.
Butter, Margarine and Fats in General.
Recently, enormous propaganda has been generated against eating butter. Its been smeared in the health magazines as a saturated animal fat, one containing that evil substance, cholesterol. Many people are now avoiding it and instead, using margarine.
Composition of Oils
This is a major and serious misunderstanding. First of all, margarine is almost indigestible, chemically very much like shortening–an artificially saturated or hydrogenated vegetable fat. Hydrogenated fats can't be properly broken down by the body's digestive enzymes, adding to the body's toxic load. Margarine, being a chemically-treated vegetable oil with artificial yellow color and artificial flavorings to make it seem like butter, also releases free radicals in the body that accelerate aging. So, to avoid the dangers of eating cholesterol-containing butter, people eat something far worse for them!
There are severe inconsistencies with the entire "cholesterol-is-evil" theory. Ethnic groups like the Danes, who eat enormous quantities of cholesterol-containing foods, have little circulatory disease. Actually, the liver itself produces cholesterol; it's presence in the blood is an important part of the body chemistry. Cholesterol only becomes a problem because of deranged body chemistry due to the kind of overall malnutrition Americans usually experience on their junk food diets. Avoiding cholesterol in foods does little good, but eating a low-fat, low-sugar, complex-carbohydrate (whole foods) diet high in minerals does lower blood cholesterol enormously.
Actually, high quality fresh (not rancid) butter in moderate quantities is about the finest fat a person could eat. But high quality butter is almost unobtainable. First of all, it has to be raw, made from unpasteurized cream. Second, butter can contain very high levels of fat-soluble vitamins, but doesn't have to. Vitamin-rich butter's color is naturally bright yellow, almost orange. This color does not come from a test tube. Pale yellow butter as is found in the commercial trade was probably almost white before it was artificially tinted. Butter from grass-pastured cows naturally changes from yellow-orange to white and back again through the year as the seasons change. Spring grass, growing in the most intense sunlight of the year contains very high levels of chlorophyll and vitamins. Cows eating this grass put high levels of vitamins A and D into their cream, evidenced by the orange color of vitamin A. By July, natural butter has degraded to medium-yellow in color. By August, it is pale yellow. Industrial dairy cows fed exclusively on hay or artificial, processed feeds (lacking in these vitamins), produce butterfat that is almost white.
I prefer to obtain my butter from a neighbor who has several dairy cows grazing on fertile bottom land pasture. We always freeze a year's supply in late spring when butter is at its best. Interestingly, that is also the time of year when my neighbor gets the most production from her cows and is most willing to part with 25 pounds of extra butter.
In general, fats are poor foods that should be avoided. Their ratio of nutrition to calories is absolutely the worst of all food types, except perhaps for pure white sugar, which is all calories and absolutely no nutrition (this is also true for other forms of sugar. Honey, too, contains almost no nutrition.). Gram for gram, fats contain many more calories than do sugars or starches. Yet gram for gram, fats contain virtually no nutrition except for small quantities of essential fatty acids.
The perverse reason people like to eat fats is that they are very hard to digest and greatly slow the digestive action of the stomach. Another way of saying that is that they have a very high satiety value. Fats make a person feel full for a long time because their presence in the stomach makes it churn and churn and churn. Fats coat proteins and starches and delay their digestion, often causing them to begin fermenting (starches) or putrefying (proteins) in the digestive tract.
The best fats contain high levels of monosaturated vegetable oils that have never been exposed to heat or chemicals–like virgin olive oil. Use small quantities of olive oil for salad dressing. Monosaturated fats also have far less tendency to go rancid than any other type. Vegetable oils with high proportions of unsaturated fats, the kind that all the authorities push because they contain no cholesterol, go rancid rapidly upon very brief exposure to air. The danger here is that rancidity in vegetable oil is virtually unnoticeable. Rancid animal fat on the other hand, smells "off." Eating rancid oil is a sure-fire way to accelerate aging, invite degenerative conditions in general, and enhance the likelihood of cancer. I recommend that you use only high-quality virgin olive oil, the only generally-available fat that is largely monosaturated. (Pearson and Shaw, 1983)
When you buy vegetable oil, even olive oil, get small bottles so you use them up before the oil has much time being exposed to air (as you use the oil air fills the bottle) or, if you buy olive oil in a large can to save money, immediately upon opening it, transfer the oil to pint jars filled to the very brim to exclude virtually all air, and seal the jars securely. In either case, keep now-opened, in-use small bottles of oil in the refrigerator because rancidity is simply the combination of oil with oxygen from the air and this chemical reaction is accelerated at warmer temperatures and slowed greatly at cold ones.
Chemical reactions typically double in speed with every 10 degrees C. increase in temperature. So oil goes rancid about six times faster at normal room temperature than it does in the fridge. If you'll think about the implications of this data you'll see there are two powerful reasons not to fry food. One, the food is coated with oil and gains in satiety value at the expense of becoming relatively indigestible and productive of toxemia. Secondly, if frying occurs at 150 degrees Centigrade and normal room temperature is 20 degrees Centigrade, then oil goes rancid 2 to the 13th power faster in the frying pan, or about 8,200 times faster. Heating oil for only ten minutes in a hot skillet induces as much rancidity as about 6 weeks of sitting open and exposed to air at room temperature. Think about that the next time you're tempted to eat something from a fast food restaurant where the hot fat in the deep fryer has been reacting with oxygen all day, or even for several days.
Back to butter, where we started. If you must have something traditionally northern European on your bread, you are far better off to use butter, not margarine. However, Mediterranean peoples traditionally dip their bread in high-quality extra-virgin olive oil that smells and tastes like olives. Its delicious, why not try it. But best yet, put low-sugar fruit preserves on your toast or develop a taste for dry toast. Probably the finest use for butter is melted over steamed vegetables. This way only small quantities are needed and the fat goes on something that is otherwise very easy to digest so its presence will not produce as many toxins in the digestive tract.
Milk, Meat, And Other Protein Foods
Speaking of butter, how about milk? The dairy lobby is very powerful in North America. Its political clout and campaign contributions have the governments of both the United States and especially that of Canada eating out of its hand (literally), providing the dairy industry with price supports. Because of these price supports, in Canada cheese costs half again more than it does in the United States. The dairy lobby is also very cozy with the medical profession so licensed nutritionists constantly bombard us with "drink milk" and "cheese is good for you" propaganda.
And people naturally like dairy foods. They taste good and are fat-rich with a high satiety value. Dairy makes you feel full for a long time. Dairy is also high in protein; protein is hard to digest and this too keeps one feeling full for a long time. But many people, especially those from cultures who traditionally (genetically) didn't have dairy cows, particularly Africans, Asians and Jews, just do not produce the enzymes necessary to digest cows milk. Some individuals belonging to these groups can digest goats milk. Some can't digest any kind except human breast milk. And some can digest fermented milk products like yogurt and kiefer. Whenever one eats a protein food that is not fully digestible, it putrefies in the digestive tract, with all the bad consequences previously described.
But no one, absolutely no one can fully digest pasteurized cows milk, which is what most people use because they have been made to fear cow-transmitted diseases and/or they are forced to use pasteurized dairy products by health authorities. I suspect drinking pasteurized milk or eating cheese made from pasteurized milk is one of the reasons so many people develop allergic reactions to milk. Yet many states do not allow unpasteurized dairy to be sold, even privately between neighbors. To explain all this, I first have to explain a bit more about protein digestion in general and then talk about allergies and how they can be created.
Proteins are long, complex molecules, intricate chains whose individual links are amino acids. Proteins are the very stuff of life. All living protoplasm, animal or plant, is largely composed of proteins. There are virtually an infinite number of different proteins but all are composed of the same few dozen amino acids hooked together in highly variable patterns. Amino acids themselves are highly complex organic molecules too. The human body custom-assembles all its proteins from amino acids derived from digesting protein foods, and can also manufacture small quantities of certain of its own amino acids to order, but there are eight amino acids it cannot make and these are for that reason called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be contained in the food we eat.
Few proteins are water soluble. When we eat proteins the digestive apparatus must first break them down into their water-soluble components, amino acids, so these can pass into the blood and then be reassembled into the various proteins the body uses. The body has an interesting mechanism to digest proteins; it uses enzymes. An enzyme is like the key for a lock. It is a complex molecule that latches to a protein molecule and then breaks it apart into amino acids. Then the enzyme finds yet another protein molecule to free. Enzymes are efficient, reusable many many times.
Enzymes that digest proteins are effective only in the very acid environment of the stomach, are manufactured by the pancreas and are released when protein foods are present. The stomach then releases hydrochloric acid and churns away like a washing machine, mixing the enzymes and the acid with the proteins until everything has digested.
So far so good. That's how its supposed to be. But. Dr. Henry Bieler, who wrote Food Is Your Best Medicine, came up with the finest metaphor I know of to explain how protein digestion goes wrong. He compared all proteins to the white of an egg (which is actually a form of protein). When raw and liquid, the long chains of albumen (egg white) proteins are in their natural form. However, cook the egg and the egg white both solidifies and becomes smaller. What has happened is that the protein chains have shriveled and literally tied themselves into knots. Once this happens, pancreatic enzymes no longer fit and cannot separate all the amino acids. Cooked proteins may churn and churn and churn in the presence of acid and pancreatic enzymes but they will not digest completely. Part becomes water soluble; part does not.
But, indigestible protein is still subject to an undesirable form of consumption in the gut. Various bacteria make their home in our airless, warm intestines. Some of these live on protein. In the process of consuming undigested proteins, they release highly toxic substances. They poison us.
What is true of the white of an egg is also true of flesh foods and dairy. Raw meat and raw fish are actually easily digestible foods and if not wrongly combined will not produce toxemia in a person that still has a strong pancreas. However, eating raw meat and fish can be a dicey proposition, both for reasons of cultural sensibility (people think it is disgusting) and because there may be living parasites in uncooked flesh that can attack, sicken and even kill people. It has been argued that a healthy stomach containing its proper degree of acidity provides an impenetrable barrier to parasites. Perhaps. But how many of us are that healthy these days? Cooked flesh and fish seems more delicious to our refined, civilized sensibilities, but are a poor food.
In my household we have no moral objection to eating meat. We do have an ethical objection in that meat eating does not contribute to our health. But still, we do eat it. A few times a year, for traditional celebrations we may invite the children over and cook a turkey. A few times for Thanksgiving when the children were going through their holier-than-thou vegetarian stage, I purchased the largest, thickest porterhouse steak I could find at the natural meat store and ate it medium-rare, with relish. It was delicious. It made me feel full for hours and hours and hours. I stayed flat on the couch and groggily worked on digesting it all evening. After that I'd had enough of meat to last for six months.
When milk is pasteurized, the proteins in it are also altered in structure. Not so severely as egg white is altered by cooking because pasteurization happens at a lower temperature. But altered none the less. And made less digestible. Pasteurizing also makes milk calcium far less assimilable. That's ironic because so many people are drinking milk because they fear they need more calcium to avoid osteoporosis and to give their children good teeth. What pasteurized milk actually does to their children is make them calcium deficient and makes the children toxic, provoking many colds, ear infections, sinusitis, inflammations of the tonsils and lung infections, and, induces an allergy to milk in the children.
The Development Of Allergies
There are three ways a body can become allergic. (1) It can have a genetic predisposition for a specific allergy to start with. (2) It can be repeatedly exposed to an irritating substance such as pollen when, at the same time, the body's mechanism for dealing with irritations is weakened. Generally weak adrenals causes this because the adrenal's job is to produce hormones that reduce inflammation. Once the irritating substance succeeds at producing a significant inflammation, a secondary reaction may be set up, called an allergy. Once established, an allergy is very hard to get rid of.
(3) in a way very similar to the second, but instead of being irritated by an external substance, it is irritated by repeatedly failing to properly, fully digest something. Pasteurized milk for example, basically impossible to completely digest even in its low-fat form, often sets up an allergy that applies to other forms of cows milk, even raw, unpasteurized cows milk or yogurt. Eating too much white flour can eventually set off a wheat allergy. My husband developed a severe allergy to barley after drinking too much home-brewed beer; he also became highly intolerant to alcohol. Now he has allergic reactions to both alcohol and barley. And gets far sicker from drinking beer (two separate allergies) than from wheat beer, hard liquor or wine (only one allergy).
Eating too much of any single food, or repeatedly eating too much of an otherwise very good food at one time, can eventually overwhelm the body's ability to digest it fully. Then, the finest whole food products may set up an allergic reaction. Worse, this allergic reaction itself subsequently prevents proper digestion even when only moderate quantities are eaten.
An allergy may not be recognized as an allergy because it may not manifest as the instant skin rash or stuffy nose or swollen glands or sticky eyes. that people usually think of when they think "allergic reaction." Food allergies can cause many kinds of symptoms, from sinusitis to psychosis, from asthma to arthritis, from hyperactivity to depression, insomnia to narcolepsy–and commonly the symptoms don't manifest immediately after eating. Frequently, allergic reactions are so low grade as to be unnoticeable and may not produce an observable condition until many years of their grinding down the vital force has passed. When the condition finally appears it is hard to associate it with some food that has been consumed for years, apparently with impunity.
Thus it is that many North Americans have developed allergies to wheat, dairy, soy products (because many soy foods are very hard to digest), corn and eggs. These are such common, widespread, frequently found allergies that anyone considering a dietary cause of their complaints might just cut all these foods out of the diet for a few weeks just to see what happens. And individuals may be allergic to anything from broccoli to bacon, strawberries to bean sprouts. Unraveling food allergies sometimes requires the deductions of a Sherlock Holmes.
However, food allergies are very easy to cure if you can get the suffered to take the medicine. Inevitably, allergic reactions vanish in about five days of abstinence. Anyone with sufficient self-discipline to water fast for five days can cure themselves of all food allergies at one step. Then, by a controlled, gradual reintroduction of foods, they can discover which individual items cause trouble. See Coca's Pulse Test in the Appendix where you'll find step-by-step instructions for allergy testing that are less rigorous, not requiring a preliminary fast.
Flour, And Other Matters Relating To Seeds
One of the largest degradations to human health was caused by the roller mill. This apparently profitable machine permitted the miller to efficiently separate wheat flour into three components: bran, germ and endosperm. Since bread made without bran and germ is lighter and appears more "upper class" it became instantly popular. Flour without germ and bran also had an industrial application–it could be stored virtually forever without being infested by insects because white flour does not contain enough nutrition to support life. Most health conscious people are aware that white flour products won't support healthful human life either.
Essentially, white flour's effect on humans is another demonstration of Health = Nutrition / Calories. When the bran and germ are discarded, remaining are the calories and much of the protein, lacking are many vitamins and minerals and other vital nutritional substances.
Whole wheat bread has been called the staff of life. In ages past, healthy cultures have made bread the predominant staple in their diet. Does that mean you can just go to the bakery and buy whole grain bread, or go to the healthfood store and buy organically grown whole wheat flour, bake your own, and be as healthy as the ancients? Sorry, the answer is almost certainly no. There are pitfalls, many of them, waiting for the unwary.
White flour has one other advantage over whole wheat flour. It not only remains free of insect infestation, it doesn't become stale (meaning rancid). In the wheat germ (where the embryo resides) there is considerable oil, containing among other things, about the best natural source of vitamin E. This oil is highly unsaturated and once the seed is ground the oil goes rancid in a matter of days. Whole wheat flour kept on the unrefrigerated shelf of the store is almost certainly rancid. A lot of its other vitamin content has been oxidized too. If the wheat flour had flowed directly from the grinder into an airtight sack and from there directly to the freezer, if it had been flash frozen and kept extremely cold, it might have a storage life of some months. Of course that was not the case. Maybe you're lucky and your healthfood store is one of the very few that has its own small-scale flour mill and grinds daily. Probably not.
How about your baker's whole wheat bread? Where does the baker get flour? From the wholesaler's or distributor's warehouse! In fifty pound kraftpaper sacks! How much time had elapsed from milling to wholesaler to baker to baking? The answer has to be in the order of magnitude of weeks. And it might be months. Was the flour stored frozen? Or airtight? Of course not.
If you want bread made from freshly ground flour you are almost certainly have to grind and bake it yourself. Is it worth the trouble? You bet. Once you've tasted real bread you'll instantly see by comparison what stale, rancid whole wheat flour tastes like. Freshly ground flour makes bread that can be the staff of life and can enormously upgrade your health–if the wheat you use is any good.
But before we talk about wheat quality, a more few words of warning. If you think wheat goes rancid rapidly, rye is even worse. Rye flour goes bad so fast that when you buy it in the store it usually is the rye equivalent of white wheat flour. The germ has been removed. The bag may not say so. But it probably has. If you are going to make rye breads, even more reason to grind your own. Corn meal from the grocery store has usually been degerminated too. If it hasn't been, the oil in the seed's germ has probably gone rancid.
Grinding flour at home is easy these days. There is an abundance of at-home milling products and no shortage of hype about them. You'll find staunch advocates of stone mills. These produce the finest-textured flour, but are costly. The sales pitch is that stones grind at low temperature and do not damage the oils (remember the development of rancidity is a function of temperature) or the vitamins, which are also destroyed at high temperature. This assertion is half true. If you are going to store your flour it is far better to grind it cool. However, if you are, as we do, going to immediately bake your flour, what difference does it make if it gets a little warm before baking. That only accelerates the action of the yeast.
On the negative side, stone mills grind slowly and are very fussy about which grains they will grind. If the cereal is a bit moist or if the seed being ground is a little bit oily, the mill becomes instantly blocked.
Steel burr mills grind fast and coarsely and are inexpensive. Coarse flour makes heavy bread. The metal grinding faces tend to wear out and have to be replaced occasionally–if they can be replaced. Breads on the heavy side are still delicious; for many years I made bread with an inexpensive steel burr mill attachment that came with my juicer.
Some steel burr mills will also grind oily seed like sesame and sunflower. However, oily seeds can be ground far more easily half-a-cup at a time in a little inexpensive electric spice/coffee mill, the sort with a single fast-spinning propeller.
I currently think the best compromise are hammermills. The grain dribbles into a chamber full of fast-spinning teeth that literally pound the grain into powder. Since air flows through with the grain the flour is not heated very much. This type of mill is small, very fast, intermediate in price between steel mills and stone mill, lasts a long time, but when grinding, sounds like a Boeing 747 about to take off. It is essential to wear hearing protectors when using it.
Awareness of bread quality is growing. One excellent new U.S. business, called Great Harvest Bakery is a fast-growing national franchise chain. They bake and sell only whole grain breads; all their wheat flour is freshly ground daily on the premises in the back. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this book, they do not grind their rye flour but bring it in sacks. I can't recommend their rye breads. The founder of Great Harvest is a knowledgeable buyer who fully understands my next topic, which is that wheat is not wheat.
There are great differences between hard bread wheats; being organically grown is no cure all for making good or nutritious bread. Great Harvest understands this and uses top quality grain that is also Organic.
When I first stated making my own bread from my own at-home-ground flour I was puzzled by variations in the dough. Sometimes the bread rose well and was spongy after baking like I wanted it to be. Sometimes it kneaded stickily and ended up flat and crumbly like a cake. Since I had done everything the same way except that I may have bought my wheat berries from different healthfood stores, I began to investigate the subject of wheat quality.
The element in the cereal that forms the rubbery sponge in risen bread so it doesn't crumble and rises high without collapsing, is gluten. The word glue derives from gluten. The gluten content of various wheats varies. Bread bakers use "hard wheat" because of its high gluten content. Gluten is a protein and gluten comprises most of the protein in bread wheat; the protein content and the gluten content are almost identical.
Try this. Ask your healthfood store buyer or owner what the protein content is of the hard red wheat seeds they're selling. You'll almost certainly get a puzzled look and your answer will almost certainly be, "we have Organic and conventional." Demand that the store buyer ask this question of their distributor/wholesaler and then report back to you. If the distributor deigns to answer, the answer will be the same–I sell Organic or conventional hard red wheat. Period. When I got these non-answers I looked further and discovered that hard bread wheats run from about 12 percent protein to about 19 percent and this difference has everything to do with the soil fertility (and to an extent the amount of rainfall during the season), and almost nothing to do with Organic or conventional.
This difference also has everything to do with how your dough behaves and how your bread comes out. And how well your bread nourishes you. Thirteen percent wheat will not make a decent loaf–fourteen percent is generally considered #2 quality and comprises the bulk of cheap bread grain. When you hear in the financial news that a bushel of wheat is selling for a certain price, they mean #2. Bakers compete for higher protein lots and pay far higher prices for more protein.
We prefer our bread about 25% rye, but rye contains no gluten at all. Mix any rye flour into fourteen percent wheat flour and the dough becomes very heavy, won't rise, and after baking, crumbles. So I kept looking for better grain and finally discovered a knowledgeable lady that sold flour mills and who also was a serious baker herself. She had located a source of quality wheat with an assayed protein content and sold it by the 50 pound sack. When I asked her if her wheat was Organic she said it was either sixteen or seventeen percent protein depending on whether you wanted hard red spring wheat or hard white spring wheat. Organic or conventional? I persisted. No, she said. High protein!
So, I said to myself, since protein content is a function of soil fertility and since my body needs protein, I figured I am better off eating the best quality wheat, pesticide/herbicide residues (if there are any) be damned. Think about it! The difference between seventeen percent and fourteen percent protein is about 25 percent. That percentage difference is the key threshold of nutritional deficiency that makes teeth fall out. We can't afford to accept 25% degradations in our nutritional quality in something that we eat every day and that forms the very basis of our dietary.
Please understand here that I am not saying that high protein wheats can't be grown organically. They certainly can. The founder of Great Harvest Bakery performs a valuable service locating and securing high-protein lots of organically grown wheats for his outlets. But often as not Organic products are no more nourishing than those grown with chemicals. Until the buyers at Organic whole food wholesalers get better educated about grain, obtaining one's personal milling stock from them will be a dicey proposition.
Sometimes Organic cereal can be far worse than conventional. To make a cereal Organic is a negative definition; if it hasn't had chemicals, then its Organic. Grain is one of the few foods that will still produce economic yields of low quality seed on extremely infertile soil or when half-smothered in weeds because herbicides weren't used for reasons of ideological purity. Vegetables will hardly produce anything under those conditions; carelessly grown fruits and vegetables are inevitably small, misshapen, unmarketable. But seed cleaning equipment can remove the contamination of weed seeds in cereal grains (at a cost.)
The price the farmer receives for Organic cereal grain is much higher, so it is possible to accept rather low yields or expend more money for cleaning out high levels of weed seeds from the field-run harvest, and still make a good profit. A lousy Organic cereal crop like this might even make a higher profit because the farmer has been spared the expense of fertilization, of rotation, of weed control. I remember once I bought a sack of Organic whole oats that were the smallest, most shriveled, bitterest oats I've ever tried to eat. We ended up throwing out that tiny, light (lacking density) seed in favor of using the "conventional" whole oats that were plump, heavy and sweet.
Wheat is not the only cereal that is damaged by industrial milling. So are oats. Most consumers have never seen whole oats; they look very much like wheat berries. But rolled oats become rancid and stale on the shelf much like wheat flour on the shelf.
Another pitfall about using whole grains is that to be nutritious they must still be fresh enough to sprout vigorously. A seed is a package of food surrounding an embryo. The living embryo is waiting for the right conditions (temperature and moisture) to begin sprouting. Sprouting means the embryo begins eating up stored food and making a plant out of it. All foods are damaged by exposure to oxygen, so to protect the embryo's food supply, the seed is surrounded by a virtually airtight seed coat that permits only enough oxygen to enter for the embryo's respiration (yes, seed breaths slowly). Often the embryo is located at the edge of the seed and has its own air intake port. When the seed coat is removed or damaged, the innards are exposed to air and begin deteriorating rapidly. In the case of oats, especially rapidly, because oats are the only grass-based cereal that contains large quantities of oil–five percent oil, more or less. That's why oats "stick to your ribs." Rolled oats become stale and lose their flavor (and nutritional content) and perhaps become rancid very rapidly. So we make porridge from whole oat groats that we coarsely grind to grits (steel-cut oats) in an electric seed/spice mill just before cooking.
It is not easy to cook oat grits. They take a lot longer than rolled oats and if not done exactly to the recipe I'm about to give you, will almost inevitably stick to the pot badly and may also froth over and mess the stove. Here's how to cook them. Coarsely grind (like corn meal) your whole oats until you have one cup of oat grits. Bring exactly four cups of water (no salt) to a very hard boil at your highest heat. You may add a handful of raisins. Light or turn on a second, small-sized burner on the stove and set it as low as possible. Into the fast boiling water, slowly pour the ground oats, stirring continuously. Take about 30 seconds to pour it all or you'll make clumps. Keep on the high heat until the water again boils vigorously. Suddenly, the mixture will begin rising in the pot and will try to pour all over the stove. This means it is all at boiling temperature again. Quickly move the pot to the low burner; that instantly stops the frothing. Then cover. Let the porridge cook for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Then, keeping it covered, turn off the heat. They can be eaten at this point but I think it is better to let the oats finish soaking on the stove for at least two to four hours. Then reheat in a double boiler, or warm in a microwave.
We usually start a pot of oats at bedtime for the next morning. See why people prefer the convenience of using rolled oats? But once you've eaten oats made right, you'll never prefer the flavor of rolled oats again. And if the human body has any natural method of assaying nutritional content, it is flavor.
Nutritionally, millet is almost the same story as oats. Millet seed is protected by a very hard hull. Cooking unhulled millet is almost impossible. After hours of boiling the small round seeds will still be hard and the hulls remain entirely indigestible. Worse, the half-round hulls (they split eventually) stick in your teeth. But prehulled millet, sitting in the sack for weeks and months, loses a lot of nutrition and tastes very second-rate compared to freshly-hulled millet. It is possible to buy unhulled millet, usually by special order from the health food distributor–if you'll take a whole sack. Millet can be hulled at home in small batches. Here's how we figured out how to do it. There probably are better ways.
Using a cheap steel-burr flour mill, set the burrs just far enough apart that the seed is ground to grits, but not flour. This pops the hulls loose. An old mill with worn-out burrs works great for this job. Then you have to get some hand seed cleaning screens just large enough to pass the grits but not pass the hulls (most of them). Window screen or other hardware cloths won't work. Seed cleaning screens come in increments of 1/128 inch; we use a 6/64" round screen. Other batches of millet might work better with a screen one step larger or smaller. It will take you a little ingenuity to find hand-held screens. They're used by seed companies and farmers to clean small batches of seed for inspection and are usually about one square foot in size with a quality wooden frame. Larger frames made of the same screening material are used in big seed cleaning machines. (The hulls could also be winnowed out by repeatedly pouring the grit/hulls mixture back and forth between two buckets in a gentle breeze.)
After you've screened out most of the hulls, the rest will rinse out, floating off as you wash the grain prior to cooking. We never hull more than enough millet for two or three meals and keep the uncooked (unwashed) millet in the freezer in an airtight jar. It is interesting how people will accept poor nutrition and its consequent sickness as the price of convenience.
If you eat much buckwheat you should also figure out how to hull (sometimes called groating) it yourself. Someone should write a thorough book on the home milling of cereals. And perhaps sell the equipment by mail. Probably would be a good little homestead business.
Something else you need to keep in mind about seed. Even though the embryo's food supply is protected by the seed coat, it still slowly deteriorates, steadily oxidizing and losing nutritional value. Eventually old seed looses the ability to sprout. The decline in germination ability matches a decline in nutritional quality. Any seed you are going to use for eating should possess the ability to sprout, strongly and rapidly. (After you've comparatively sprouted a few grain samples, you'll know what I mean by this.) Fortunately, cereal grains usually sprout well for quite a few years after harvest if they have been stored cool and dry. Eating dead or near-dead seeds will help move you closer to the same condition yourself.
Finally, one more warning about buying store bread. Salt-free bread tastes "funny" to most people. It bakes fine, salt is not necessary to the leavening process, but no bakery could stay in business without salting their bread. The standard level of salt is two percent by weight. That is quite a lot! Two percent equals one teaspoonful per pound. I'll have more to say about the evils of salt later on.
I imagine some of my readers are feeling a little overwhelmed by all these warnings and "bewares ofs," and intricacies. They are used to taking no responsibility for securing their own food supply quality and have come to expect the "system" to protect them. I believe it is not because of lack of government intervention, but because of government intervention itself, our food system is very perverse. Until our mass consciousness changes, if you wish to make yourself and your family truly healthy, you are going to have to take charge and become quite a discriminating shopper. Unconscious consumers are on a rapid road to the total unconsciousness of death.
And again, let me remind you here that this one small book cannot contain everything you should know. The bibliography at the end of should become your guide to earning your post-graduate education in nutritional health.
Freshness Of Fruits And Vegetables
Most people do not realize the crucial importance of freshness when it comes to produce. In the same way that seeds gradually die, fruits and vegetables go through a similar process as their nutritional content gradually oxidizes or is broken down by the vegetables own enzymes, but vegetables lose nutrition hundreds of times more rapidly than cereals. Produce was recently part of a living plant. It was connected to the vascular system of a plant and with few exceptions, is not intended by nature to remain intact after being cut. A lettuce or a zucchini was entirely alive at the moment of harvest, but from that point, its cells begin to die. Even if it is not yet attacked by bacteria, molds and fungi, its own internal enzymes have begun breaking down its own substances.
Vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, are far more critical in this respect than most ripe fruits. All, however, deteriorate much like radioactive material; they have a sort of half-life. The mineral content is stable, but in respect to the vitamins and enzymes and other complex organic components, each time period or "half life" results in the loss of half the nutrition. Suppose a lettuce has a half life of 48 hours, two days after harvest only 50 percent of the original nutrition remains. After two more days, half the remaining half is gone and only 25 percent is left. After two more days half of that 25 percent is lost. Thus six days after harvest and a lettuce contains only bout 12 percent of its original nutrition. A two day half-life is only hypothetical. Those types of produce I classify as very perishable probably do have a half-life of from 36 to 48 hours. Moderately perishable produce has a half life of about 72 hours; durable types of produce have half lives of 96 hours or longer.
Vegetable Storage Potential
The half life of produce can be lengthened by lowering its temperature. For that reason, sophisticated produce growers usually use hydrocooling. This process dumps a just-cut vegetable into icy water within minutes of being harvested, lowering core temperature to a few degrees above freezing almost immediately. When cut vegetables are crated up at field temperatures, and stacks of those crates are put in a cooler, it can take the inside of the stack 24 hours, or longer, to become chilled. Home gardeners should also practice hydrocooling. Fill your sink with cold water and wash/soak your harvest until it is thoroughly chilled before draining and refrigerating it. Or, harvest your garden early in the morning when temperatures are lowest.
Still, when you buy produce in the store it may have been sitting at room temperature for hours or possibly days.
The bottom line here: fresh is equally as important as unsprayed or organically grown!
The Real Truth About Salt And Sugar
First, let me remind certain food religionists: salt is salt is salt is salt and sugar is sugar is sugar. There are no good forms of salt and no good forms of sugar. Salt from a mine and salt from the sea both have the same harmful effect; white sugar, natural brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, whatever sweet have you. All are sugars and all have the similar harmful effects. I know of no harmless salt substitute that really tastes salty. Nutrisweet is basically harmless to most people and can be used as a very satisfactory replacement for sugars. (A few people are unable to tolerate nutrisweet, causing the anti-chemicalists to circulate much anti-nutrisweet propaganda, but you should carefully consider this thought before dismissing nutrisweet–there is almost no food substance that some people are not allergic to or unable to digest. The fact that nutrisweet is made in a chemical vat and the fact that some cannot handle nutrisweet does not make it "of the devil."
And its not all black and white with the other items either. Sea salt does have certain redeeming qualities not found in mined salt and under certain very special conditions, eating small quantities of salt may be acceptable. Similarly, some forms of sugar are not quite as harmful as other forms, though all are harmful.
The primary health problem caused by table salt is not that it contributes to high blood pressure in people with poor kidneys, though it does that. It is not that eating salt ruins the kidneys; salt probably does not do that. The real problem with salt is that sodium chloride is an adrenal stimulant, triggering the release of adrenal hormones, especially natural steroids that resist inflammation. When these hormones are at high levels in the blood, the person often feels very good, has a sense of well-being. Thus salt is a drug! And like many drugs of its type, salt is a habituating drug. However, we are so used to whipping our adrenals with salt that we don't notice it. What we do notice is that we think we like the taste of salted food and consider that food tastes flat without it. But take away a person's salt shaker and they become very uncomfortable. That's because the addict isn't getting their regular dose.
What's wrong with repetitive adrenal whipping is that adrenal fortitude is variable; many people's adrenals eventually fail to respond to the prod of salt and the body begins to suffer from a lack of adrenal hormones. Often those inheriting weak adrenals manifest semi-failure in childhood. The consequence is that ordinary, irritating substances begin causing severe irritation. The person becomes allergic to pollen, dust, foods, animal danders, etc. We see asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, etc. Though one can then discover specific allergens and try to remove them from the environment or diet, often this case can be solved far more easily by complete withdrawal from all salt. This rests the adrenals and they may recover their full function; almost certainly their function will improve. The asthma, allergies and etc., gradually vanish.
Most of us don't need to eat salt as a nutrient. There's enough sodium in one dill pickle to run a human body for a year. There's enough natural sodium in many types of vegetables to supply normal needs without using table salt. Perhaps athletes or other hard working people in the tropics eating deficient food grown on leached-out depleted soils, people that sweat buckets day after day may need a little extra sodium. Perhaps. Not having practiced in the humid tropics myself, I have no definitive answer about this.
Unfortunately, the average American is entirely addicted to salt and thinks food tastes lousy without it. To please the average consumer, almost all prepared foods contain far too much salt for someone suffering from exhausted adrenals. Interestingly, Canadians do not like their foods nearly as salty as Americans, and prepared foods like soups and the like in cans and packages that look just like the ones in American supermarkets (though with French on the back panel) have to be reformulated for our northern neighbors. I've observed that Canadians are generally healthier than Americans in many respects.
We would all be far better off consuming no salt at all. Those with allergies or asthma should completely eliminate it for a month or two and discover if that simple step doesn't pretty much cure them. The trouble is that bakery bread is routinely two percent salt by weight. Cheese is equally salted or even more so. Canned and frozen prepared food products are all heavily salted. Restaurant meals are always highly salted in the kitchen. If you want to avoid salt you almost have to prepare everything yourself, bake your own bread, abstain from cheese (though there are unsalted cheeses but even I don't like the flavor of these), and abstain from restaurants. My family has managed to eliminate all salt from our own kitchen except for that in cheese, and we eat cheese rather moderately.
Sugar is a high-caloric non-food with enormous liabilities. First, from the viewpoint of the universal formula for health, no form of non-artificial sweetener carries enough nutrients with it to justify the number of calories it contains, not even malt extract. White refined sugar contains absolutely no nutrients at all; the "good" or "natural" sweets also carry so little nutrition as to be next to useless. Sweets are so far over on the bad end of the Health = Nutrition / Calories scale that for this reason alone they should be avoided.
However, healthy people can usually afford a small amount of sin; why not make it sweets? In small quantity, sugars are probably the easiest indiscretion to digest and the least damaging to the organ systems. Although, speaking of sin, as Edgar Guest, the peoples' poet, once so wisely quipped, (and my husband agrees) "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." Sugar is a powerful drug! People who abuse sweets set up a cycle of addiction that can be very hard to break. It starts when the body tries to regulate blood sugar. Kicked up to high levels by eating sugar, the pancreas releases insulin. But that is not the end of the chain reaction. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels but also raises brain levels of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is the raw material the brain uses to manufacture a neurotransmitter called serotonin. And serotonin plays a huge role in regulating mood. Higher brain levels of serotonin create a feeling of well-being. Eating sugar gives a person a chemical jolt of happiness. Heavy hits of high-glycemic index starch foods are also rapidly converted to sugar. So don't give your kids sweets! Or huge servings of starch to mellow them out. It is wise not to start out life a happiness addict with a severe weight problem.
Now that the chemistry of sugar addiction is understood, there currently is a movement afoot to cast the obese as helpless victims of serotonin imbalances and to "treat" them with the same kinds of serotonin-increasing happy drugs (like Prozac) that are becoming so popular with the psychiatric set. This promises to be a multiple billion dollar business that will capture all the money currently flowing into other dieting systems and bring it right back to the AMA/drug company/FDA nexus. The pitch is that when serotonin levels are upped, the desire to eat drops and so is weight. This approach is popular with the obese because it requires no personal responsibility other than taking a pill that really does make them feel happy. However, the same benefit can be had by strict adherence to a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Eventually, the brain chemistry rebalances itself and serotonin levels stabilize.
(compared to glucose, which is 100)
|whole wheat spagetti
||whole rye bread
Remember, the pancreas has another major service to perform for the body: secreting digestive enzymes to aid in the digestion of proteins. When the diet contains either too much protein or too much sugar and/or high-glycemic index starch foods, the overworked pancreas begins to be less and less efficient at maintaining both of these functions.
Sometimes a stressed-out pancreas gets overactive and does too good a job lowering the blood sugar, producing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is generally accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, irritability, confusion, headache, etc. This condition is typically alleviated by yet another hit of sugar which builds an addiction not only to sugar, but to food in general. If the hypoglycemic then keeps on eating sugar to relieve the symptoms of sugar ingestion, eventually the pancreas becomes exhausted, producing an insulin deficiency, called diabetes. Medical doctors treat diabetes with insulin supplements either oral or intramuscular plus a careful diet with very low and measured amounts of sugar and starch for the remainder of the persons inevitably shortened and far less pleasant life. However, sometimes diabetes can be controlled with diet alone, though medical doctors have not had nearly as much success with this approach as talented naturopaths. Sometimes, long fasting can regenerate a pancreas. It is far better to avoid creating this disease!
The dietary management of hypoglycemia requires that not only refined but also unrefined sugars and starches with a high glycemic index be removed from the diet. (The glycemic index measures the ease with which the starch is converted into glucose in the body, and estimates the amount of insulin needed to balance it out.) This means no sugar, no honey, no white flour, no whole grains sweetened with honey, no sweet fruits such as watermelons, bananas, raisins, dates or figs. Potatoes are too readily converted into sugar. Jerusalem artichokes are a good substitute.
People with hypoglycemia can often control their symptoms with frequent small meals containing vegetable protein every two hours. When a non-sweet fruit is eaten such as an apple, it should be eaten with some almonds or other nut or seed that slows the absorption of fruit sugar. Hypoglycemics can improve their condition with vitamins and food supplements. See the next chapter.
Allergies to foods and environmental irritants are frequently triggered by low blood sugar. Mental conditions are also triggered by low blood sugar levels, frequently contributing to or causing a cycle of acting out behavior accompanied by destruction of property and interpersonal violence, as well as psychosis and bouts of depression. It is not possible to easily deal with the resulting behavior problems unless the hypoglycemia is controlled. Unfortunately most institutions such as mental hospitals and jails serve large amounts of sugar and starch and usually caffeinated beverages, with a high availability of soda pop, candy, and cigarettes at concessions. If the diet were drastically improved, the drugs given to control behavior in mental hospitals would be much more effective at a lower dose, or unnecessary.
The insulin-cycle overworked pancreas may eventually not be able to secrete enough enzymes to allow for the efficient digestion of foods high in protein. As stated earlier, poor protein digestion leads to a highly toxic condition from putrefied protein in the intestines. This condition is alleviated by eliminating animal proteins from the diet and taking digestive aids such as pancreatin pills with meals to assist in the digestion of vegetable proteins.
Food Combining And "Healthfood Junkfood."
This brings us to a topic I call healthfood junkfood. Many people improve their diet, eliminating meat and chemicalized food in favor of whole grains and organically grown foods, but they then proceed to make these otherwise good foods into virtual junkfood by preparing them incorrectly. In my travels, I've noticed this same thing happens everywhere on Earth. What should be health-producing dietaries are ruined by frying, salting and sugaring.
Healthfood junkfoods include organically grown potato chips deep fried in cold pressed organic unsaturated canola oil (made rancid by frying) sprinkled with natural sea salt; organically grown oat and nut granola roasted with cold-pressed unsaturated oil (made rancid by roasting) hideously sweetened with honey; carrot cake made with rancid whole wheat flour, cold pressed unsaturated oil (made rancid by baking), honey, and cream cheese (salted); whole wheat cookies (stale, rancid flour) sweetened with honey, made with vegetable oil baked at high heat (rancid); whole wheat pizza vegetarian style with lots of soy cheese; whole wheat pizza vegan style with lots of real raw milk cheese; organically grown corn chips deep fried in cold pressed vegetable oil with or without natural sea salt, yogurts made from powdered milk without an active culture of beneficial bacteria and covered with highly sugared fruits, etc. These foods may well represent an improvement over the average American diet, but they still are not healthy foods, and should never be used in a diet for a sick person. Nor are they worthy of a person attempting to maximize health.
The problem with healthfood junkfoods is not their major ingredients, but how they were combined and processed and adulterated. Remember, fats, animal or vegetable, subjected to high heat become indigestible and toxic and make anything they're cooked with indigestible; salt is a toxic drug; cheese, hard enough to digest as it is, when raised to high temperatures as it is when making pizza, becomes virtually indigestible and cheese inevitably contains a lot of butterfat which, though saturated animal fat, when raised to high temperatures, still becomes slightly rancid. And all these foods represent indigestible combinations.
My clients almost never believe me when I first explain the idea of food combining. They think if it goes in one end, comes out the other, and they don't feel any unpleasant symptoms in between, then it was digested. But bad food combinations have a cumulative degenerative effect over a long period of time. When the symptoms arrive the victim never associates the food combination with the symptom because it seems to them that they've always been eating the food.
Mainstream nutritionists have brainwashed the public into thinking that we should have a representative serving from each of the "four basic food groups" at each and every meal, plus a beverage and a desert. Or, as my husband Steve is fond of quipping, a "balanced meal" has four colors on every plate: something red, something green, something white and something yellow. But the balanced meal is a gastronomic catastrophe that can only be processed by the very young with high digestive vitality, the exceptionally vital of any age, people with cast iron stomachs which usually refers to their good heredity, and those who are very physically active.
Few seem to realize that each type of food requires specific and different digestive enzymes in the mouth, stomach, and intestine. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins–each requires differing acid or alkaline environments in order to be digested. Proteins require an acid environment. Starch digestion requires an alkaline environment. When foods in complex combinations are presented to the stomach all together, like a meal with meat, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, bread, butter, a glass of milk, plus a starchy sweet desert, followed by coffee or tea, the stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine are overwhelmed, resulting in the fermentation of the sugars and starches, and the putrefaction of the proteins, and poor digestion of the whole. It is little wonder that most people feel so tired after a large meal and need several cups of strong coffee to be able to even get up from the table. They have just presented their digestive tract with an immensely difficult and for some an impossible task.
For the most efficient digestion, the body should be presented with one simple food at a time, the one bowl concept, easily achieved by adherence to the old saying, "one food at a meal is the ideal." An example of this approach would be eating fruits for breakfast, a plain cereal grain for lunch, and vegetables for supper. If you can't eat quite that simply, then proper food combining rules should be followed to minimize digestive difficulty, maximize the adsorption of nutrients from your food, and reduce or eliminate the formation of toxemia, and of course foul gas.
In general, fruit should be eaten alone unless you happen to be hypoglycemic or diabetic in which case fruit should be eaten with small quantities of a vegetable protein such as nuts, or yogurt and/or cheese if able to digest dairy. Starches should be eaten with vegetables, which means that a well combined meal would include a grain such as rice, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, corn, wheat, rye, oats, spelt, potatoes, or starchy winter squash combined with raw or cooked vegetables. Protein foods such as meat, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, split peas, should be combined with vegetables, raw or cooked. But protein should never be combined with starches. The most popular North American snacks and meals always have a starch/protein combination, for example: meat and potatoes, hamburger in a bun, hot dog with bun, burrito with meat or cheese, meat sandwiches, etc. It is little wonder that intestinal gas is accepted as normal, and that over time these hard to digest combinations eventually cause health problems that demand attention.
Another sure fire way to ruin any food, including the very best available is to eat in the presence of negative emotions generated by yourself or others. Negative emotions include fear, anger, frustration, envy, resentment, etc. The digestive tract is immediately responsive to stress and or negative thoughts. It becomes paralyzed in negative emotional states; any foods eaten are poorly digested, causing toxemia.
It is natural for a person who has lost a loved one or suffered a great loss of any kind to lose their appetite for a period of time. This reaction is pro-survival, because while grieving, the body is griped by powerful negative emotions. There are people who, under stress or when experiencing a loss, eat ravenously in an attempt to comfort themselves. If this goes on for long the person can expect to create a serious illness of some kind.
Individual sensitivity to this type of overeating is dependent upon genetics and personality and who is generating the negative emotions. Self generated negative emotions are very difficult to avoid. If you are unable to change your own emotional tone or that of others around you, then it is important to eat very lightly, eat only easily digested foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, raw juices, steamed vegetables, and small servings of whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Diets To Heal The Critically Ill
A critically ill person is someone who could expire at any moment; therapeutic interventions are racing against death. Can the body repair itself enough before some essential function ceases altogether? If there already exists too much damage to vital organs the person will die. If there remains sufficient organ function to support life, enough vital force to power those functions, and a will to live, the body may heal itself if helped by the correct therapeutic approach. But the therapy does not do the healing; the body does that by itself–if it can. This reality is also true of allopathic medicine.
I believe fasting is the therapy that almost invariably gives a critically ill person their very best chance of recovery. If a patient dies while fasting they almost certainly would have died anyway, and if death comes while fasting, it will be more comfortable, with less pain, and with more mental clarity.
Critically ill people may have, among other things, any of the following diagnoses: advanced cancer, advanced aids, heart failure, very high blood pressure, kidney failure, advanced liver disease, advanced emphysema, pneumonia or other catastrophic infections, especially those that seem unresponsive to antibiotics, strokes, emboli, sclerotic vessels as found in arteriosclerosis, severe nerve degeneration interfering with nerve transmission to vital organs.
Treating the critically ill does not have to be an all or nothing, ideological choice between holistic medicine and AMA style medicine. It is important for the critically ill and their families to know that if they use standard medical treatment such as drugs or surgery, these measures can and should be combined with natural healing methods. It is always desirable to quit all addicting substances, start a whole foods diet, (as light as possible), and add meganutrition (supplements) to the medical doctor's treatments. Few medical doctors are so arrogantly partisan as to assert that natural measures will do any harm as long as the MD is still allowed to prescribe as they please.
Holistic support will not only lessen the side effects of the medical treatments but will speed up healing and often reduce the required dose of prescribed drugs. I have had several clients with cancer who chose to have surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but stayed on a raw food diet and took high doses of supplements throughout the treatment. These people amazed the attending physician by feeling good with little if any fatigue, no hair loss, or flu symptoms. The same can be true of other conditions.
Food In The Order Of Digestive Difficulty
Individual digestive weaknesses and allergies are not taken into account in this list.
- Hard To Digest: Meat, fish, chicken, eggs (if cooked), all legumes including soy products, peanuts and peanut butter, beans, split peas, lentils, chick peas, dairy products such as cheese, milk, butter milk, nuts and seeds and their butters.
- Intermediate: all grains–quinoa, amaranth, millet, spelt, rye, wheat, oats, barley.
- Fairly Easy: Brussels sprouts, green beans, green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, raw cultured milk products, asparagus, cabbage, sprouts especially bean sprouts, kale, other leafy greens.
- Very Easy: fruits, vegetable juices, fruit juices, broth (clear).
- No Effort: herb tea, water.
Ethyl always comes to my mind when I think of how much healing power can still be left in a dying body. She (accompanied by her husband for support) came to Great Oaks School with terminal cancer, heart failure, advanced diabetes, extreme weakness, and complete inability to digest. Any food ingested just came back up immediately. Ethyl had large tumors taking over the breast, sticking out from her skull, and protruding from her body in general. The largest was the one in the left breast which was the size of a big man's fist.
She did have one crucial thing going for her, Ethyl was a feisty Irish red head who still had a will to live, and a reason to do so. She and her husband, who had just retired, had dreamed their whole life of touring the US and Canada in their own RV the minute he retired. The time had finally arrived but Ethyl was too ill to support her own weight (only 90 pounds) and to top it off was blind from diabetic retinopathy. The doctors had done everything they could to her, and now judged her too weak to withstand any more surgery (she had already had her right breast removed). Radiation or chemotherapy were also considered impossible due to heart failure. They sent Ethyl home to die, giving her a few days to a month at most.
Any sensible hygienist trying to stay out of jail would have refused to take on this type of case because it was a cancer case where death was likely. Treatment of this highly lucrative disease is considered the AMA's exclusive franchise, even when the medical doctors have given up after having done everything to a body the family can pay for or owe for. Whenever a person dies under the care of any person who is not a licensed M.D. there must be an autopsy and a criminal investigation in search of negligence. If the person dies under the care of an M.D. the sheriff's assumption is that the doctor most assuredly did everything he could and should have done and death was inevitable. By accepting Ethyl I had a reasonable likelihood of ending up in trouble; but being foolish, brave and (stupidly) feeling relatively immune to such consequences (I was under 40 at the time), it seemed important to try to help her. So, undaunted by the task, regardless of the outcome, I proceeded logically, one step at a time. Today, with more experience and a modest net worth I wouldn't want to have to defend in a lawsuit, and at age 55. possessing no spare five to ten years to give to the State to "pay" for my bravery, I would probably refuse such a case. Fortunately I have not been confronted with this problem lately.
Since Ethyl was unable to digest anything given by mouth, she was fed rectally with wheat grass juice implants three times a day. She was carried to the colonic table for a daily colonic. Wheat grass and clay poultices were applied to her tumors three times a day. She received an acupressure massage and reflexology treatments during the day, plus a lot of tender loving care. This program continued for a month during which the tumors were being reabsorbed by the body, including the large, extremely hard tumor sticking out the flesh of the right breast.
Ethyl complained of severe pain as the large tumor in her breast shrank. While it had been getting larger and pressing ever harder on all the nerves, she had little or no sensation, but as it shrank, the nerves were reactivated. Most people think that a growing tumor would cause more pain than a shrinking one. Often the opposite is true. Pain can be a good sign that the body is winning, an indicator to proceed.
By the second month, Ethyl, gradually gaining strength, was able to take wheat grass and carrot juice orally, and gradually eased into raw foods, mostly sprouts and leafy greens such as sunflower and buckwheat greens grown in trays. She started to walk with assistance up and down the halls, no longer experiencing the intense pain formerly caused by a failing heart, and most surprising of all, her eyesight returned, at first seeing only outlines, and then details.
The third month Ethyl enlarged her food intake to include raw foods as well as the carrot and wheat grass juice and sprouts, plus vitamin and mineral supplements to help support her immune system and the healing process. All the tumors had been reabsorbed by her body and were no longer visible, her heart was able to support normal activity such as walking, and nonstrenuous household chores, and her diabetes had corrected itself to the point that she no longer required insulin and was able to control her blood sugar with diet.
Her husband was then instructed in her maintenance and they went home to continue the program. The last I heard from them they had made two lengthy trips around the US in their RV and were enjoying their retirement together after all.
My treatment worked because the most important factor in the healing of the critically ill person is not give them more nourishment than their body is able to process. The moment the digestive capacity of the sick person is exceeded, the condition will be exacerbated and in a critically illness, the person is likely to die. If the body still has sufficient organ integrity and vital force to heal itself, it will do so only if given the least possible nourishment that will support life–provided no essential organs are hopelessly damaged. If the liver and kidneys are functional, and the person has done some previous dietary improvement and/or cleansing, success is likely, especially if the person wants to live.
A person in critical condition does not have time to ease into fasting by first spending a month or two on a raw foods diet. This means that the person who is taking care of the critically ill person must be experienced enough to adjust the intensity of the body's healing efforts and accurately assess the ability of the person to process toxic waste products clamoring for removal so the ailing body is not drowned in it's own poisons. It is often necessary to use clear vegetable broth, vegetable and wheat grass juices, and fruits juices, or whole sprouts to slow down the cleansing gradient and sometimes, to resupply the tissue's exhausted nutritional reserves.
I wish all cases of critical illness had such a positive outcome as Ethyl's, but unfortunately they don't. I had Marge on the same program at the same time. She also had cancerous tumors all over her body and had similarly been sent home to die. In some ways Marge's body was a more likely candidate for survival than Ethyl's. Marge did not have heart failure or diabetes and was still able on arrival to at least take small amount of water orally and walk to the bathroom. Put on a similar program, her tumors also shrunk and were reabsorbed and she too went home.
But Marge did not really have a strong reason to live. Although her husband was by her side throughout the treatment program, Marge was deeply upset because she was estranged from one of her sons who she had not seen for over 10 years. When she went home from Great Oaks, the son finally consented to see his mother, went to the effort of trying to work things out with her, and finally confessed that under it all he still loved her.
At that point Marge died in peace. She had accomplished the last thing she wanted to take care of and her will to live did not extend beyond that point. Had she died several months earlier as predicted by the medical profession, Marge would have been unable to resolve this relationship. This was what Marge's life was pivoting on at the end. I was glad to assist her in doing what she needed to do. Her husband and other family members found it difficult to understand, and they were hurt that Marge did not wish to continue her life with them.
Diet For The Chronically Ill.
The chronically ill person has a long-term degenerative condition that is not immediately life threatening. This condition usually causes more-or-less continuous symptoms that are painful, perhaps unsightly, and ultimately will be disabling or eventually capable of causing death. To qualify as "chronic" the symptoms must have been present a minimum of six months, with no relief in sight. People with these conditions have usually sought medical assistance, frequently have had surgery, and have taken and probably are taking numerous prescription drugs.
Some examples of chronic conditions are: arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, early onset of cancer and aids, asthma, colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, some mental disorders, arterial deposit diseases, most of the itises (inflammations).
Before fasting, the chronically ill often do have time to prepare the way with limited dietary reform, and frequently begin to feel relief quite quickly. Before actually fasting they should limit their diet to raw foods and eliminate all toxic foods like alcohol, coffee, tea, salt, sugar and recreational drugs for two months if they have been following a typical American diet.
If the chronically ill had been following a vegetarian diet, perhaps a diet including with eggs and dairy, if they had been using no addicting substances, then one month on raw foods is sufficient preparation for fasting. If the person had water or juice fasted for at least a week or two within the last two years, and followed a healthy diet since that time, one or two weeks on raw foods should be a sufficient runway.
During preparation for a fast, I never recommend that a chronically ill person quit taking prescription medicines because doing so can seriously disrupt their homeostasis. However, if their symptoms lessen or vanish during the pre-fasting clean up, the person might try tapering off medications.
The length and type of fast chosen to resolve a chronic illness depends largely on available time, finances, availability of support people, work responsibilities, and mental toughness. If you are one of those fortunate people 'rich' enough to give their health first priority, long water fasting is ideal. If on the other hand you can't afford to stop working, have no one to take care of you and assist with some household chores, and/or you are not mentally tough enough to deal with self-denial, compromise is necessary.
Ideally the chronically ill person would fast for an extended period under supervision until their symptoms were gone or greatly improved, with a fall-back plan to repeat the whole process again in three to six months if necessary. If you are not able to do that, the next best program is to fast for a short period, like one or two weeks, with a plan to repeat the process as often as possible until you are healed.
I have had clients with potentially life-threatening conditions such as obesity with incipient heart failure, or who came to me with cancer, that were unable to stop work for financial reasons, or who could not afford a residential fasting program, or who felt confident in their own ability to deal with detoxification in their own home. These people have fasted successfully at home, coming to see me once a week. Almost inevitably, successful at-home fasters had already done a lot of research on self healing, believed in it, and had the personal discipline to carry it out properly, including breaking the fast properly without overeating.
Foods To Heal Chronic Illness
Fruits should be watery and lower in sugar. Some examples of poor fruit choices would be pineapple, ripe mango, bananas, dates, raisins, figs. Fruits should not be combined with vegetables.
Vegetables should not be starchy, packed-full of energy. Poor vegetable choices would be potato, parsnip, turnip, corn, sweet potato, yam, beet, winter squash. Sprouts and baby greens are vegetables and may be included in salads.
Juices should not be extremely sweet. Apple, orange, beet and carrot juice should be diluted with 50% water. Fruit juices should not be mixed with vegetable juices or with vegetables at the same meal.
Salads should include no fruit. Salad dressings should be lemon or lime juice, very small quantities of olive oil, and herbs. No salt, soy sauce nor black pepper. Cayenne can be okay for some.
I have also helped chronically ill people that were not mentally prepared to water fast, but were able to face the long-term self-control and deprivation of a raw food cleansing diet that included careful food combining. These people also regained their health, but it took them a year at minimum, and once well they had to remain on a diet tailor-made to their digestive capacity for the rest of their life, usually along with food supplements.
Jim was such a case. He was 55 years old, very obese, had dangerously high blood pressure poorly controlled with medication, and was going into congestive heart failure. He was on digitalis and several other heart medications plus diuretics, but in no way was his condition under control. He had severe edema in the feet and legs with pitting, and fluid retention in the abdominal region caused a huge paunch that was solid to the touch not soft and squishy like fatty tissue.
Jim had dreamed of having his own homestead with an Organic garden, now he had these things but was too sick to enjoy them or work in his garden without severe heart pain and shortness of breath. Jim had retired early in order to enjoy many years without the stresses of work, and he was alarmed to realize that he was unlikely to survive a year.
The day Jim came to see me the first time I would have classified his condition as critically ill because his life was in immediate danger; but he responded so quickly to his detox program that he was very soon out of danger and would be more accurately described as a chronically ill person. Jim was not prepared to water fast. He was attached to having his food and he was aware that at his extreme weight he was going to have stay on a dietary program for a long, long time. He also wanted to choose a gradient that he could manage by himself at home with little assistance from his wife. He had been on a typical American diet with meat, coffee, etc., so that in spite of his dangerous condition it did not seem wise to me to add the heavy eliminatory burden of a water fast to a body that was already overwhelmed with fluids and waste products.
Jim immediately went on a raw food cleansing diet, with no concentrated foods like nuts, seeds, or avocados, and with one day each week fasting on vegetable juice and broth. He did enemas daily even though it wasn't his favorite thing. In one month he had lost 30 pounds, his eyes had started to sparkle, and his complexion was rosy. The swelling had disappeared from his feet and legs, and he had to buy new pants.
Starting the second month he gradually withdrew from prescription medications. From the beginning I had put Jim on a program of nutritional supplements including protomorphogens (see chapter on vitamins and food supplements) to help the body repair it's heart and the kidneys. In only four months he had returned his body to glowing health, and looked great for his age, though he was still overweight. At the end of one year he had returned to a normal weight for his height, and only cheated on the diet a couple of times when attending a social event, and then it was only a baked potato with no dressing.
He was probably going to have many qualitative years working his garden and living out his dreams. The local intensive care ward lost a lot of money when they failed to get Jim.
Diet For The Acutely Ill
The acutely ill person experiences occasional attacks of distressing symptoms, usually after indiscretions in living or emotional upsets. They have a cold, or a flu, or sinusitis, or a first bout of pneumonia, or a spring allergy attack. The intense symptoms knock them flat and force them to bed for a few days or a week. If they are sick more often than that, they are moving toward the chronically ill category.
People who are acutely ill should stop eating to whatever extent that they are able until the symptoms are gone. During an acute illness, the appetites is probably pretty dull anyway, so why not give a brief fast on water or fruit juice a try.
Most acute conditions are short in duration, usually not lasting more than a week. Allergy attacks, some types of flu, and a first bout of pneumonia may well last for three weeks or a month. The general rule is to eat as little as possible until the symptoms have passed, self-administer colon cleansing, even if you have a horror of such things, and take vitamin supplements, including megadoses of Vitamin C, bioflavinoids, and zinc. (See the chapter on vitamins.) Those having a little experience with natural medicine make teas of echinacea, fenugreek seeds and red clover and quit eating. Eating as little as possible can mean only water and herb teas, only vegetable broth, only vegetable juice or non-sweet fruit juice, even only cleansing raw foods. If you eat more than this you have not relieved your system of enough digestive effort.
After your symptoms are gone it is very important to change your life-style and improve your diet so that you aren't so toxic and don't have to experience an acute illness several times a year when your body is forced to try an energetic detox.
Diet For A Healthy Person
I doubt that it is possible to be totally healthy in the twentieth century. Doctors Alsleben and Shute in their book How to Survive the New Health Catastrophes state that in-depth laboratory testing of the population at large demonstrated four universally present pathological conditions: heavy metal poisoning, arteriosclerosis, sub-clinical infections, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Those of us who consider ourselves healthy, including young people, are not really healthy, and at the very least would benefit from nutritional supplementation. In fact the odds against most people receiving adequate vitamin and mineral nutrition without supplements are very poor as demonstrated by the following chart.
Problem Nutrients in America
||Percent Receiving Less than the RDA|
A genuinely healthy person almost never becomes acutely ill, and does not have any disturbing or distracting symptoms; nothing interferes with or handicaps their daily life or work. A healthy person has good energy most of the time, a positive state of mind, restful sleep, good digestion and elimination.
Healthy people do not have to live simon-pure lives to remain that way. Healthy people can afford 10% dietary indiscretions by calorie count–eating or drinking those things that they know are not good for them but that are fun to eat or are "recreational foods or beverages." Such "sinning" could mean a restaurant bash twice a month, having a pizza, French bread, beer or wine in moderation, ice cream, cookies, cake, turkey for festive occasions, etc. The key concept of responsible sinning is keeping within that ten percent limit.
A diet for a healthy person that wants to remain healthy should not exceed the digestive capacity of the individual, either in terms of quantity or quality. All foods that can not be efficiently digested should be removed from the regular diet and relegated to the "sin" category, including those you are allergic to and those for which you have inadequate digestive enzymes. I have encountered very few people that can efficiently digest cooked meat, chicken, or fish, but some can, and some can with the assistance of digestive enzyme supplements. In order to digest meats, the stomach must be sufficiently acid, there must be enough pepsin, pancreatin, and bile, etc., and the meat should be eaten on the extremely rare side (not pork), in small quantities (not more than five or six ounces), and not combined with anything except nonstarchy vegetables. If you must include meat in your dietary, it should represent a very small percentage of your total caloric intake, be eaten infrequently, with the bulk of the calories coming from complex carbohydrates such grains, legumes and nuts, as well as large quantities of vegetables and fruits.
The healthy person that wants to stay that way for many, years is advised to fast one day a week, to give the organs of elimination a chance to catch up on their internal housecleaning. If water fasting seems impossible, try a day of juicing it; if that is too rigorous, try a day on raw foods. A similar technique, though less beneficial than even a one day each week on raw foods, is delaying breaking your overnight fast for as long as possible each day. Try giving up breakfast altogether or postponing breaking your overnight fast, because from the time you stop eating at the end of one day to the time you start eating the next is actually a brief, detoxifying fast.
Eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt can be assimilated by some healthy people with or without digestive aids. It is possible to take lactase to break down the milk sugars for example; sometimes aids such as hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and pancreatin help. If you can buy it or are willing to make it raw milk yogurt containing lactobacillus bulgaris or acidophilus may be digested more readily, especially if it prepared from healthy cows or goats fed on unsprayed food, and served very fresh. Eggs should come from chickens that run around outside, eating weeds, and scratching bugs. The yokes of those eggs will be intense orange, not yellow. Few people these days have ever eaten a real egg. Surprisingly, for those of you who fear cholesterol, the healthy way to eat eggs is use just the raw yolk from fertile eggs. It is enjoyed by many people in a smoothie–fresh fruit blended up with water or milk. Eggs contain lecithin, a nutrient that naturally prevents the body from forming harmful fatty deposits in the arteries.
Sea weeds are a wonderful source of minerals and should be eaten in soups and salads. Other invaluable fortifying foods are algae of all kinds (such as chlorella and spirulina), lecithin, brewers yeast, and fresh bakers yeast. Many people have had very unpleasant experiences trying to eat living bakers yeast and so use brewers yeast instead. But brewers yeast is cooked and the proteins it contains are not nearly as assimilable as those in raw yeast. Raw yeast is so powerful, it feels like pep pills!
It takes a special technique to eat raw yeast because in the stomach and intestines the yeast does the job it is supposed to do: convert sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. The entire digestive tract then bloats with gas and the person will feel very uncomfortable for some time. However, raw yeast is a marvelous source of B vitamins and proteins and can make someone feel very energetic–if they know how to use it. The secret is to eat live yeast very first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then, not eat anything at all for about two hours, giving the stomach acids and enzymes time to kill the yeasts and digest them before adding sugars from another meal. Some like to eat yeast in fresh cake form, buying it from a bakery. Others prefer dry granular baker's yeast blended with water into a sort of "shake." This is not a bad place to put your raw egg yoke either. If you need it sweetened to drink it, use an artificial or herbal sweetener like nutrisweet or stevia. Live yeast cannot consume milk sugars very well. So if you can handle dairy, try one or two tablespoons of granulated live yeast, an egg yoke and a little raw milk or yogurt, well whizzed.
Wheat germ is also a great, rich food, but is usually rancid unless it is taken out of the refrigerated display; unless it is refrigerated, in a dated package and fresh, don't eat it. Herb teas and roasted grain beverages are healthy beverages, along with mineral and distilled water avoiding where possible chlorinated and fluoridated water.
Diet Is Not EnoughThose isolated, long-lived peoples discovered by Weston A. Price had to do hard physical labor to eat, had to walk briskly up and down steep terrain to get anywhere. But today, few North Americans output very much physical energy in process of daily life or work. Not only cars, but all of our modern conveniences make it possible to live without ever breaking into a sweat. We pay for this ease; it costs us a significant degree of health.
Exercise has many benefits when combined with excellent nutrition. It creates an overall feeling of well-being that can not be created by diet alone. Exercising temporarily makes the heart beat faster, increasing blood circulation throughout the body right out to the tips of your fingers and toes. This short-term elevated flow of blood flow brings increased supplies of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, facilitating healing and repair. Without revving up your engine every day many of the body's systems never get the sludge burned out of them and never perform optimally.
Exercise also changes the metabolic rate so your body burns more calories–not only while you are exercising, but also for a 24 hour period following exercise. This maintains a healthful body weight into old age, or helps to lose weight. Most people find that exercise in moderation does not increase appetite, so that it is possible to consistently burn more calories in a day, and gradually reduce weight if that is desirable. It is necessary to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of weight. Most forms of exercise allow you to burn 300 to 600 calories per hour at a moderate pace which would be achieved by doubling the resting pulse. Without even considering the weight-loss benefit of achieving a raised metabolism, an hour of daily exercise continued for a week or two dependent upon the type of exercise and pace should lead to one pound of weight loss if the caloric intake is held constant.
The flip side of having a higher metabolism is rarely appreciated but is extremely important. Recall the basic equation of health: Health = Nutrition / Calories. Exercise permits a person to eat somewhat more while not gaining weight. If the food is nutrient rich, the body has a chance to extract more vitamins, more minerals, more amino acids. The person who remains slender by rigidly reducing their food intake to near starvation levels may lack vital, health-building nutrition.
And only exercise moves lymphatic fluid. The blood is pumped through the body by the heart, but the lymphatic system, lacking a heart, requires muscular contractions to move from the extremities of the body to the central cavity. The lymphatic system picks up cellular waste products and conducts these toxins to disposal. Frequently, people with rheumatic aches and pains or other generalized muscular discomforts physicians like to give Latin diagnostic names to can give up taking pain pills if they will but begin exercising regularly. Only when they begin moving their lymph can they begin to detoxify properly.
There is another benefit from exercise which is not to be ignored, and that is that it gives the person a chemical sense of well being. It actually will help to emotionally boost up people who are chronically depressed and make them smile. After a good workout, especially one done outside, everything seems brighter, more positive; whatever was bothering you somehow just doesn't seem like that big of a deal now. I am not making pro-exercise propaganda. This is not a figment of the imagination. An exercising body really does make antidepressant neurochemicals called endorphins, but only after about 45 minutes to an hour of aerobic workout.
Endorphins are powerful, with painkilling and euphoric effects equal to or greater than heroin, but without any undesirable side effects. If chemists could learn to cheaply synthesize endorphins I'm sure that millions of people would want to become addicted to them. Because I make such a point of getting in my workout every day, my husband has accused me of being an endorphin junkie, and he is right! I admit it, I'm really hooked on the feeling of well being I consistently get from any sustained exercise. I defend my addiction staunchly because it is the healthiest addiction I know of.
I have also been accused of carrying exercise to extremes, and I admit to that also. For a few years I trained for Ironman triathlons. I now think doing ironman distances is immoderate and except for a few remarkable individuals with "iron" constitutions, training that hard can only lead to a form of exhaustion that is not health promoting. I have become much more sensible in my "old" age, and in recent years have limited my participation to the Olympic distance triathlons. I was on the Canadian team at the World Championship in 1992, and intend to do it again in 1995. I do not find the Olympic distance exhausting, in fact I think it is great fun and truly exhilarating. I get to see all these wonderful age group competitors from all over the world who look and feel fantastic. It does my soul good to see a group of people aging so gracefully, not buying into the popular notion that old age is inevitably disabling, depressing, and ugly. Sport brings a degree of balance to my life after spending so much time in the presence of the sick. I plan to maintain my athletic activities into old age, barring accident or other unforeseen obstacles to fitness.
To maintain basic fitness it does not matter so much what form of exercise is chosen, as long as it is not damaging to the skeletal system or connective tissues. Many people are unable to run due to foot, knee, hip, or back problems, but almost everyone can walk. Walking outside is better than inside on a treadmill, and walking hills is better than walking on flat ground. Exercise machines such as stationary bikes, cross country ski machines, and stair steppers work well for a lot of people who live in the city, especially in the winter, or for those who hate exercise. Whatever you choose to do, it is important to at least double the resting pulse for 30 minutes no less than four days a week. This is the absolute minimum required to maintain the health and function of the cardiovascular-pulmonary system. If your resting pulse is 70, you must walk, jog, ski, bike, swim or what have you, fast enough to keep the pulse at 140 beats per minute for at least 30 minutes.
I have a strong preference to exercising outside in isolated places where there is only me and the forest, or only me and the river. Running along logging roads in the hilly back country, or swimming in the green unpolluted water of a forest river is a spiritual experience for me. It is a time to meditate, to commune with nature, and to clear my mind and create new solutions. The repetitive action of running or walking or swimming, along with the regular deep breathing in clean air, with no distractions except what nature provides is truly health promoting. Sharing these activities with friends or family can also be great fun and some of the best in social interactions. It is one of my favorite ways of visiting with people. I don't expect other people to be as enthusiastic about exercise as I am, but I do hope that everyone will make an effort to be minimally fit as an ongoing part of their health program into old age.
Diet For A Long, Long Life
Some people not only want to be healthy, but they want to live in good health long past the normal life span projected by statistical tables for Homo Sapiens. Dr. Roy Walford, a well-respected medical research gerontologist who has been actively studying longevity for many years, is one of those. He has scientifically demonstrated with accepted studies that a qualitative life span up to at least 115 years of age is reasonably attainable by the average person if they start working on it no later than about 50 years of age, though earlier is much better.
Walford's principles of extending life are very simple. All you have to do is restrict your caloric intake to about 1,500 per day, and water fast two days a week. Or alternatively, reduce your caloric intake to 1,200 per day and fast only one day a week on water. And make sure that every single bit of food you do eat is packed with nutrition, every single calorie, without exception. You continue this program for the rest of your life along with moderate daily exercise and high but reasonable dosages of vitamins, minerals, and also take a few exotic food supplements. The supplement program is not particularly expensive nor extreme, Walford's supplement program is more moderate than the life extension program I recommend for all middle-aged and older people. The best foods for this type of program is a largely raw food diet (80%) with a predominance of sprouts and baby greens, some cooked vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds. And make sure you get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every other day.
While Dr. Walford's focus is on caloric reduction while maintaining sufficient nutrition, most other life extensionists focus on increasing the nutrition side of the equation for health without bothering to reduce caloric intake. This approach is much easier because essentially, it involves gobbling nutritional supplements by the handfuls without requiring self-discipline, though it can get quite expensive. I'll have more to say about this approach in the next chapter, which is about vitamins.
In this book I can't explain all the aspects of prolongation of life through conscious life-style choice. Those who are interested are referred to the Bibliography.
Go To Chapter Six