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The question, How shall I begin the new way of eating?", is asked by thousands who first become acquainted with the principles of right eating. Just how shall they begin? How shall they prepare their new dietary? Shall they change to the new diet gradually or abruptly? How much shall they eat? What reactions may they expect? These are important questions, which, unfortunately, most of the literature of the subject does not help them to answer. We have many vegetarian cook books and books filled with vegetarian recipes and menus; but too often these imitate the old diet rather than lead the neophyte into correct eating practices. These books represent a compromise with perverted tastes, false appetencies, and wrong practices. This is, perhaps, the chief reason so many vegetarians fail to realize the full benefits of the vegetarian way of life. I get mental vertigo when I go through these books and read all the recipes for making meat substitutes, mock turkey, etc. What do we need with a "meat substitute?" Either vegetarianism is a correct way of life, or it is not. Either meat is the substitute, or it is a normal part of man's diet. There can be no need to imitate the old diet if it is wrong. We need to discard the substitute and return to the original, the genuine; we need to make a complete break with the old dietary practices.
Dr. Philip Norman refers to "The American Home Diet," an "excellent work" prepared by McCollum and Simonds, and says of the balanced menus" which "have been introduced with instructions for their use," that: "These meals are ordinary meals fortified with green vegetables, fruit and milk. Custom has so shackled the thought of investigators that they have not been able to break away from the bread, meat and potato type of diet. The balanced meal, therefore, is simply an improvement as regards the balance of dietary essentials. It does not take into account the physiologic process of digestion." It does not, in other words, pay the slightest regard to combinations. These "investigators" are so conservative and so shackled by custom and convention that they are afraid of radical revision of the dietary.
Hygienists are not so timid. They have not hibernated in antiquity. They are not bound by traditions and outworn customs. They long ago got rid of the meat, potato and bread type of diet. "Bread is the staff of death," declared Emmit Densmore, many years ago. Meat we have rejected for over a hundred years. Combinations we have developed.
Household hints, dietetic advice, etc., as dished up to the public, in the columns of the daily press, and, as sent out over the radio, are all designed to sell the goods of the advertisers. These pernicious pieces of propaganda encourage people to go on blindly, as they have always done, and prepare their foods to tickle their palates. The advice thus given the public is actually criminal.
I do not mean to say that the conventionally healthy cannot eat such things and maintain the conventional health standard; but I do insist that they cannot be as well with them as they can be without them. I say also that every meal of such food renders them more liable to various forms of chronic "disease."
The usual doctor-prescribed diet is not a diet at all. The average diet prescribed by the average doctor, contains the same foods, denatured and adulterated, and the same reckless combinations, which the patients have been eating all their lives, and which have built the nutritional states which form the biological ground work for the affections with which they suffer. Doctors, often oppose real eating reform for selfish reasons, and the people are so bound in voluntary or self-forged chains of slavery to the palate that they are easily taken in by the ludicrous diatribes of their natural enemies, the heresy-hunting medical high priests, and are easily induced to leave in the lurch their true helpers and benefactors, the dissenters.
What can they know of food-reform who know it only from hearsay--what can they know of food reform who have seen it only in a few isolated cases of superficial and eleventh-hour changes of eating habits?
Happily trophologic knowledge increases and spreads from week to week. As time passes ever increasing numbers of people become interested in the proper care and feeding of their bodies. Unfortunately, those who are seeking increased knowledge are flooded with such a mass of conflicting theories and practices and confronted with so much disagreement between those who pose as leaders in the field of dietary science and are the loudest in trumpeting their own horns, that they often become confused and discouraged and give up in disgust.
The market is flooded with cook books and menu books, the newspapers and magazines carry innumerable menus and recipes. Food manufacturers issue free cook books, the recipes and menus of which all contain their own products as essential ingredients.
For the most part, the authors of these books and newspaper and magazine articles are busy multiplying stimulating dishes for the palsied tastes and waning appetites of gluttons. In most such works, the greatest effort of their authors seems to have been to mix and mingle together the greatest number of articles of foods, seasonings, saltings, spicings, greasings, etc., into a single dish; and jumble the greatest possible variety of heterogenous substances into the stomach at a single meal.
To counteract, therefore, to some extent at least, the misinformation and the demoralizing tendency of the ordinary cook book and the great mass of rubbish that is written on diet, and to aid the young particularly, in an understanding of the true relations of food to health, this chapter has been prepared.
It is asserted by orthodox authorities that most of the native diets of the different races are far superior to the conventional American diet, even at is best. What a blow this must be to the smug complacency of that great mass of me-and-God physicians who assume that the American diet is an adequate diet and that any diet that radically differs from this is hopelessly inadequate.
These same authorities recognize the possibility of securing an adequate diet in a variety of ways, but they seem to overlook the important fact that the conventional American diet is inadequate, not because it is lacking in variety and amount, but because it is almost wholly a denatured diet. This failure to recognize the source of the inadequacies of the American diet leads them to say that, instead of trying to improve the diets of foreign peoples, who come to this country, by persuading these people to conform to American standards, a thing demanded by ignorant doctors, ignorant labor leaders and selfish food manufacturers (food spoilers); the "more logical procedure would be to persuade each nationality group to return to the best features of the diets of their native land."
This "more logical procedure" is not an ideal solution of nutritional problems. If the native Irish diet and the native German diet are both good, there is no reason why the German cannot eat the Irish diet and the Irishman eat the German diet. But if neither of these diets is the best possible, why not present both the German and the Irishman with the best diet instead of persuading him to eat as always? We want optimal growth and optimal health and the dietetic excellence upon which these depend.
Food reform involves many changes in personal and social habits and these often come in conflict with the habits of thinking and acting of your family and associates. Unless, however, you are afraid of being lost out of the social package on the way down town, you have nothing to fear. You do not need to become a social outcast and should not do so unless you are big enough to be an outcast.
Edgar J. Saxon of England well says: "Food reform begins and ends with discrimination, choice and pleasure. Abstinence from unwholesome food is not a good beginning, and it is a very bad end. Abstinence is healthy only when it easily and invariably results from choice of something better." The emphasis should be placed on the positive side--on the side of wholesomeness, integrity, pleasure and fitness to supply the needs of the body; not on the negative side--that of mere abstinence from unwholesome foods, as essential as this is.
Food reform can take place without altering the way of feeding. White bread can be supplanted with wholewheat bread and one may then go on eating excessively of bread and eating it in all possible wrong combinations. Eating reform may and may not accompany food reform. Eating reform occurs only when one begins to eat properly.
Is it true that "one man's meat is another man's poison?" Is water one man's poison and food another's? Is calcium? Is phosphorus? Is sodium? No one makes such absurd claims, yet the foods that are said to be boons to one man and banes to another never enter the blood stream as whole foods. They are broken down in the process of digestion and enter the blood as amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. Little fish never swim around in the blood streams of fish eaters. Potatoes are not rolled through the arteries and veins like marbles.
It is protested that "we are not all constituted alike." But physiologists have not found evidence that life is as chaotic as this implies. We each start life as a fertilized ovum, pursue the same course of orderly evolution, are born with the same number and kinds of organs and with the same functions. We possess the same glands and the same digestive systems. We are composed of the same chemical elements in the same proportions. Each of us secretes the same number and kinds of digestive juices and the same digestive enzymes. Structurally and functionally, our digestive systems are so much alike that the physiologists cannot find that different constitution we hear so much about. Everything points to the conclusion that we are constituted upon the same principles, are constructed alike, have the same nutritive needs and are equipped to digest and utilize the same kinds and classes of foods.
No man has the constitution of the dog or the cow. All men have human constitutions. No one ever proclaimed that cows are so differently constituted that while some of them live well on grasses and herbs, others must have flesh-foods. No one pretends that while most lions live on flesh, blood and bones, some lions are so constituted that flesh is their poison and they must graze like an ox.
What is constitution? It is the composition of the body. It is the tout ensemble of organs and functions that constitute the body. Every organ and every function in the body of one man is subject to the same laws as are the organs and functions of the body of any other man. The laws of nature do not require one kind of practice in one man and another and opposite kind of practice in another man. Habits and circumstances that are precisely adapted to the laws of life in one man are practices and circumstances that are precisely adapted to the same laws in another man.
Because of this false doctrine that there are many kinds of human constitutions, requiring different habits and circumstances to conform to the laws of life, we are misled into all kinds of errors. "Tobacco does not harm my constitution" says one, while another confidently asserts that "coffee agrees with my constitution." Another possesses a constitution that requires large quantities of food, while another is so constituted that he requires very little sleep. There is hardly an injurious practice and indulgence in the whole long catalogue of man's abuses of himself, that is not defended by those who practice them, or indulge, on the ground that it agrees with their particular and peculiar constitution. None of them, so far as I have been able to ascertain, have ever found that jumping from the top of the Empire State Building agrees with their constitutions. But if life is as chaotic as they seem to think, there seems to be no reason why some constitutions should not be found that would need and require such jumps.
Life being what it is and natural laws being what they are, what is really and permanently best for one is best for all; and what is injurious for one, is so for all.
None of the above is to be interpreted to mean that human needs do not vary under different conditions and circumstances of life. No one would be foolish enough to declare that the three days old infant and the fifty years old man have identical needs; or that the needs of man in the tropics and his needs in frigid regions are identical. Nor are the needs of the sick and those of the healthy identical. This is not due to any change in the law, but to change in conditions. The same man has different needs under different conditions.
There are individual weaknesses and differences in resistance that call for temporary modifications of any program of living, but it is essential that the modifications comply with the laws of life. All programs or parts of programs that violate these laws are ultimately ruinous. Variations within the law are legitimate. No variations that step outside the law are ever permissible.
Your success or failure in your effort at dietary reform will hinge largely upon your attitude to your own life. You will have to form and fix new habits at the same time you uproot and cast out the old ones. This requires that you go through periods of readjustment which you will never go through except on the conditions that you really desire to go through them and that you have the trophologic knowledge essential to guide you through this period. Iron in your will is often more important than iron in your food.
Habit will accustom you to whatever is best if you "stick it out," but you must be able to resist the temptations of the lunch-counters of "commercialized kitchendom" and withstand the taunts of your ignorant and misguided, though often well-meaning friends and family. Persist in your determination to form good habits as you did in forming the tobacco habit over the protests of your organic instincts, and you will certainly succeed. You can learn to like any good food which you may not now relish, even more quickly than you learned to like the taste of beer.
By a recognition of the simple rule that what is not for me is against me, it becomes easily possible to cultivate proper attitudes towards dietary practices.
Our food tends to become more and more a matter of taste and appetite, the latter trained and perverted by the cook and the chef. We eat what we like, or what has been prepared so that we will like it, or what we have cultivated a taste for, rather than what we need. We force ourselves to acquire a taste for things that are not good for us, but, which, are often positively harmful to us.
There may be intuitive dislikes or aversions to foods which should not be disregarded. But most of our likes and dislikes are so conditioned by habits that our dislike for fruit may and frequently is due simply to our habit of using tobacco. But an innate repugnance to a special dish, or even a special class of foods, may be safely indulged, so long as other foods are adequate. Abnormal antipathies may indicate constitutional abnormalities or else emotional complexes.
Whatever may be true of our dislikes, our likes are not always to be respected. As Dr. Oswald says, "a child's whimsical desire to treat innutritious or injurious substances as comestibles should certainly not be encouraged * * *. For, it is a curious fact that all unnatural practices--the eating of indigestible matter as well as poisons--are apt to excite a morbid appetency akin to the stimulant habit. The human stomach can be accustomed to the most preposterous things--Physical Education, p. 61.
The acquisition of new tastes is not at all difficult, not nearly so difficult as is the acquisition of the taste for tobacco, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, etc. If we go at eating reform with the same determination we employed in learning to smoke, there will be no failure. A taste for any wholesome substance may be acquired in much less time and with much less effort than can the taste for unwholesome substances.
It is easier to acquire a relish for wholesome substances than for unwholesome ones, Plutarch advised "choose out the best conditions you can and custom will make it pleasant for you." Again, "accustom your appetite to obey reason with willingness."
King Cyrus asked the ambassador of a luxurious potentate: "Do you know how invincible men are who can live on herbs and acorns?" Simplicity should characterize the meals. A variety of foods at a variety of meals should be the rule. Too many foods at a time complicate the digestive process. Great variety always encourages overeating.
I have coined the term monotrophic meals to designate the practice of eating but one food at a time as distinguished from the mono-diet where only one food is consumed (as the milk diet) at all times. The monotrophic meal simplifies matters but is not essential if the meal is properly combined.
The strictest monodiet tends to become extremely monotonous and will not be long adhered to. Moses fed the Hebrews on a mono-diet in the wilderness--a diet of manna--against which they were in constant rebellion.
The milk diet is an example of a real mono diet. Monodiets have certain value in various conditions, but they are by no means an ideal diet for long, regular and continued use, not alone because they are monotonous, but, also, and more importantly, because they are very inadequate.
There are other reasons why a variety of foods should not be eaten besides the fact that they induce overeating. The greater the variety of foods consumed at a meal, the more complicated and, consequently, less efficient, becomes the digestive process. Simple meals digest better and with less tax upon the digestive organs than complicated meals. Digestion is most efficient when but one food is eaten at a time. Where the limitations of the digestive enzymes are not respected, as is the case with millions, and no consideration is given to the proper combinations of foods, the more foods that are eaten at the meal the more complicated the digestive process becomes.
The reader will please bear in mind that I offer no objection to eating a variety of foods. I believe, on the contrary, in eating a wide variety of them. I am here discussing the evils of the common practice of trying to secure the whole variety at one meal. Properly managed, a variety of foods guarantees better nourishment than only a few foods.
To return to our main theme, that of overeating induced by great variety at meals, let us point out that it is practically impossible to avoid overeating so long as appetite is constantly tempted and stimulated by a great variety of foods. So long as we insist on having a great variety of foods at the same meal, the evils of overeating will remain within us.
Every adaptation to habits, agents and influences which are inimical to life is accomplished by changes in the tissues which are always away from the ideal. The renovating and readjusting processes that must follow a reform in living is accomplished by the tearing down and casting out of these unideal tissues. New and more ideal tissues take their places. The body is renewed.
This process of readjustment is not always smooth. Aches and pains, loss of weight, skin eruptions, etc., may result. Helen Densmore truly says that, "If it were true that, after many years of abuse, we could stop the wrong course of living and all the blessings of health follow immediately, it would be proof that this disobedience is not so bad after all."
As she says, "With the drunkard the curative action is recognized at once; all know that it is not the water that is making him ill, but the alcoholic poison which he had been before accustomed to. So mother, sister, sweetheart and friends with one accord appeal to him to keep up his courage, notwithstanding his apparently bad symptoms. How differently is the poor dyspeptic treated when he attempts to reform in diet. With one accord his friends try to prevail on him to abandon it; assure him that he is killing himself; read him tomes of medical authorities to show that he is impoverishing his blood by his 'low diet' and when he returns to the old injurious diet, just as with the dram of spirits in the case of the drunkard, the effect is to stop the curative action; he feels braced up, and this is taken as proof that he was all wrong, and the accumulation of disease commences again."
These renovating crises are seldom severe and are always followed by better health. Persistence and determination are required when they come. Most people, particularly young and vigorous ones, will make the change with very little or no discomfort.
Such are our prejudices and prepossessions, and so strong is our tendency to cling to old forms and old schools, that when these manifestations appear, as they sometimes do, even though we have been forewarned and prepared to expect them, many more fail through fear born of ignorance or lack of comprehension of these curative crises than continue with the reform.
The appetite may be depraved to an almost unlimited extent, as exemplified in the dietetic habits of the various peoples of the earth. Pica is a form of perverted appetite which manifests itself in the eating of chalk, clay, sand, coal, charcoal, hair, paint, cloth, dirt, acids, cinders, ordure, fire, bits of wood, candles, paper, leaden-bullets, glass, beads, stone, knives, marbles, pieces of money and various other indigestible and non-nutritious substances. Akin to this is the eating of spiders, lice, toads, serpents, leeches, snails, etc. No doubt the eating of salt, pepper and other condiments and the use of tobacco, betel, or other such substance, should also be classed as perversions of the sense of taste.
The depraved appetite is sometimes the result of deliberate cultivation as in the use of salt, condiments and tobacco. It is sometimes a symptoms of "disease." In hysteria, chlorosis, pregnancy and certain mental and nervous ailments, the appetite often craves the most singular and disgusting articles.
Disturbed or inadequate nutrition may be at the base of much of this perversion. A lack of minerals or vitamins may give rise to a vague, ill-defined craving that causes the victim to eat anything in an effort to satisfy his craving. In pregnancy and chlorosis the abnormal cravings seem certainly to be due to nutritive deficiencies and soon yield to proper feeding. Frequent sun bathing of children is claimed to aid in preventing abnormalities of taste in them.
Dirt eating or African Cachexia, is a form of depraved appetite (pica) that prevails among the negro population of hot climates and appears to belong to the negro race almost exclusively. The individual so depraved experiences an irresistible craving for substances of an indigestible and disgusting character. Clay, earth, mortar, dust, ashes, chalk, slate, bricks, and shells are often devoured in enormous quantities, while food is almost wholly rejected as disgusting and worthless. The appetite seems to be wholly depraved. The condition has long been known in tropical America and has been observed in the southern part of the United States.
Of a similar character to filth eating is that perversion of the sense of taste that manifests itself in salt-eating, condiment using, tobacco chewing, snuffing and smoking, pickle eating, drinking of alcoholic and soft drinks, and the use of other such substances. None of these things supply any need in the human body. None of them are essential to normal enjoyment of food. All of them are harmful. A taste for them must be cultivated before they can be enjoyed, after which they enslave their victims as truly as the coffee habit, tea drinking or morphine using.
What Jennings called a "good physical conscience" is the sum total of an individual's unimpaired, unperverted instincts and reflexes. It may be well to impress the reader with the importance of maintaining a clear "physical conscience." The advantages of a good physical conscience are too obvious and too numerous to need or admit of a full notice here. The individual who is so fortunate as to possess one, is in much less danger of violating physical law than one who does not. If the former were to receive into his stomach hut a small particle of black pepper, though ultimately mixed with his food, unperceived by him at the time,'it would inflict a pang on the tender, upright sensibility, that would be remembered a long time, and operate as a caution against further transgression. Another benefit derived from a good physical conscience, is that while it guards against the admission of noxious substances into the system, it also imparts a very high relish to those plain, simple substances, that are adapted to the wants of the body."
Make the change to the natural diet as abruptly and fully as your circumstances permit.
There need be no transition period. Nothing is gained by "tapering off" of the old diet and "tapering on" the new. There is no danger in an abrupt change. The quicker and more fully you get away from the harmfulness of the latter and begin to receive the benefits of the former the more satisfactory the outcome.
Whether you abandon a stimulating diet for a non-stimulating one or abandon overeating for moderation in eating, you will at first, in almost every case, feel a want of "sufficient" food. There is likely to be faintness and a feeling of weakness. There may be a loss of flesh although, there is a frequent gain. There are often discomforts and unpleasant sensations in the stomach, headache and other symptoms that may alarm the reformer and his friends. All of these symptoms may occur while you are still taking much more than enough food to meet all the demands of your body.
But if you will continue with your efforts until the body has had time to re-adjust itself and repair the damages of the prior unwholesome food or excessive quantities of food you will not be long in realizing the actual and lasting benefits of your change of eating.
I am convinced from years of experience that the easiest way to make the transition from the old and unwholesome mode of eating to the new and hygienic mode of eating is to first undergo a fast. Cleansing of the system, nervous readjustment, repair of damages and fading away of cultivated and abnormal longings and cravings are much more rapid in the fast than while eating.
It is not easy for the habitual user of salt, pepper and other condiments to learn to relish unseasoned foods if he stops using condiments and goes on eating. But after a fast he finds keen relish in uncondimented foods and does not miss the condiments. He can overcome his craving for stimulating foods, coffee, tea, etc., quicker by fasting just as by fasting he can more easily and quickly get away from his cravings for tobacco, alcohol, opium, etc. Fasting not only speeds up the systemic readjustments, it makes them easier and more bearable. If the fast lasts long enough, even the old desire for large quantities of food comes to a natural end.
No reader should get the idea from this that he should put off reforming his eating habits until some time in the future, when he can find time to undergo a fast. There is no time like the present to change from unwholesome to wholesome habits and anyone can do it who is determined. It is as difficult as pictured above in only the worst cases and will become more difficult the longer the old habits are persisted in.
Young people can adjust themselves to a change of habits much more readily and in less time than old people, not alone because their bodies are more pliable but also, because they have not, as a rule, become so thoroughly enslaved to the habits that they need to break. Break your bad habits early and cultivate good ones that will sustain you in health and strength throughout a long, happy and useful life.
In the great main the difficulties that one encounters in breaking bad habits are determined by the condition of the body. The less enervated and enslaved the body, the easier the transition to good habits. For this reason, also, the sooner you abandon your imprudent eating habits and begin to cultivate habits that are in harmony with your highest and best physiological requirements, the easier will be the switch-over.
Eat simple meals of few items of food.
It is a matter of common experience that we tend to eat much less food when we take but one at a meal. If we are eating but one vegetable we eat just so much and we are satisfied; but if we are eating two vegetables we tend to eat as much of each as we would of a single vegetable if we have only the one or the other at a meal. For example, if we are eating carrots and have consumed all we want of these, we can go back for a serving of asparagus or spinach and apparently start eating all over again. Variety is the spice of gluttony.
This common experience does not prove that we need a variety of foods to supply our demands at the time; but that a variety of foods tends to induce overeating.
This is only one of the reasons why the common habit of eating desserts at the end of a meal is an unwholesome practice. We can always eat a piece of cake or pie or a dish of ice cream or other dessert, even after we have consumed so much of other foods that we experience a sense of uncomfortable fullness. The greater the variety of foods we take at a meal the more we are likely to eat. If we have six foods in our menu we are likely to eat much more than if we have only three. We are a nation of gluttons and much of our overeating is due to the great variety of foods that are placed on our tables at each meal. This practice stimulates the appetite and the gustatory sense to the utmost at each meal.
Indeed, it is the custom to serve the foods in a regularly graduated scale of gustatory relish. Starting with the food that gives least enjoyment and gradually working up to the food that gives the greatest relish, we end by eating two, or three and four times as much food as we actually require and more food than we would take except for this stimulation of our appetites.
Having eaten all he wants of one food, the eater turns to another and still another, until he has eaten several foods. Having eaten all he needs or much more, he takes as a final part of his meal, the article he relishes most. After eating two or three times the quantity of food he requires, he can still "top off" his meal with a piece of pie or cake or some other dessert.
It is the rule that our people continue to eat in this manner until appetite is so depraved and diseased that it becomes an imperious master. This is especially true of those on the conventional diet of stimulating foods. They establish a nervous "craving" for stimulation which is referred to the stomach for satisfaction and is in every way like the craving of the drunkard for his alcohol or of the morphine addict for his morphine.
A morbid appetite, thus established, which is in reality nothing but a morbid longing of enervated nerves for their accustomed stimulus, which they receive by means of food, is not satisfied when the body has received sufficient food to meet its needs, but is satisfied only when the nervous system has received enough stimulation to bring it up to its ordinary tone. When this stage has been reached it is all but impossible to avoid overeating. He is now a food addict and his appetite is a despotic, even painful master. He has a powerful and painful craving or longing of an outraged and diseased nervous system, not for food, but for the accustomed stimulant.
Normal hunger and appetite are never the despotic master that the food addict slaves for. While the addict has a depraved, diseased, despotic, intolerably painful passion; the normal person experiences a healthy, mild, pleasant desire which is never painful and outrageous and which conforms perfectly to the real wants, the physiological needs, of the body. The difference is the same as that between the "craving" of the inebriate for his alcohol and the desire of the normal man for a glass of pure water. Normal demands are never painful.
Begin the day's eating with a meal of luscious fruits.
These foods are abundant in minerals and most vitamins, contain sugars in their most wholesome and readily assimilable form and are a delight to the gustatory sense. They are easily and quickly digested and present no problem to the man or woman who must go to work soon after eating. They are usually lacking in complex albumens, most of them are low in calcium and many of them are deficient in vitamin A. Fruits are not complete foods and no one should attempt to live exclusively upon them, except for short periods for special purposes, to the exclusion of all other foods.
Fruits should be eaten in their natural state--uncooked, unsalted, unseasoned--and they should be eaten whole. It is not wise, save in certain exceptional circumstances, to extract and take only their juices. Fresh fruits are superior to dried fruits. Canned fruits are practically valueless and often are only confections.
Fruit is best eaten at a fruit meal with not too great a variety of fruits at a time. Three fruits at a meal should meet the demands of everyone.
Have at least one large raw vegetable salad each day.
If three meals a day are eaten, unless two of these are fruit meals, two salads a day should be eaten. Green leaves are indispensable to the biologic diet. Fruits will not take their places. Green leaves supply complex albumens, offering all the essential constituents of human albumen.
The simple albumens of grains, tubers, roots, and fruits either do not contain them all, or contain but inadequate quantities of essential constituents such as tryptophane, lysin, etc.
It is asserted that green leaves contain sufficient quantities of complex albumens to meet human requirements. This is so only if the leaves are eaten in large quantities as they are by the cow or horse. We lack capacity for such bulk and could acquire it only by developing a large, unsightly abdomen.
Green leaves supply the tender cellulose that gives the needed bulk to food. They supply the different essential vitamins, A, B, C, etc., are abundant in alkaline salts, iron and lime in particular, in particularly assimilable form. The green coloring matter (chlorophyll) they contain is also essential to perfect nutrition.
Salads should be raw, composed of not more than four vegetables and should be eaten without salt, vinegar, oil, lemon juice or dressing and condiments of any kind.
The following vegetables are especially adapted to salad making: cabbage, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, radishes, onions, French endive, tomatoes, cress, parsley and others. Cabbage contains ten times more lime than lettuce and is easier for most people to digest. Onions should not be used often or in large quantities. The same is true of radishes and other "hot" foods.
It was not until the "Exhibition of 1851" that salad-oil was known to any save the aristocracy of England; yet, so firmly fixed has become the habit of putting oil on salads in the short time that has since elapsed, many people cannot conceive of enjoying a salad without oil. Nevertheless, the habit should be abandoned.
Consume nuts as the chief protein supply.
Most nuts are rich in the complex albumens so essential to the building of human tissues. The proteins of practically all nuts are adequate and any slight deficiency that may exist in a particular nut will be compensated by the albumens of green leaves.
Nuts are also valuable for their rich stores of minerals and vitamins and for their easily digested oils. Most nuts also contain readily assimilable sugars.
Consume fats in moderate quantities..
Fats--butter, cream, oils, etc.--retard digestion, especially protein digestion, thereby increasing gastro-intestinal putrefaction and thus overtaxing the liver and kidneys with the resulting poisons.
Fats are best added to foods after they are cooked, not while they are cooking, and should not be taken with a protein meal.
Cook but few foods and cook these but little.
This rule is given for those readers who are not yet ready to completely abandon cooked foods. There is no doubt in my mind that an exclusively uncooked diet is the ideal. Those who are not yet ready to wholly abandon cooking must learn to cook in a way to damage foods least.
Drink pure water only.
There is but one drink--water. All other "drinks" are either foods (fruit juices, milk, etc.), or poisons (coffee, tea, cocoa, soda fountain slops, beer, wine, etc.). The coffee and tea user is likely to suffer from headaches when these poisons are discontinued. These will not persist for more than a few days and there should be no thought of returning to these poison habits.
Drink water when you are thirsty. It should not be taken with meals. Water should not be cold. Cool water is well. Drink it slowly, take all thirst demands. Do not force yourself to drink in the absence of thirst and do not get into the habit of routine drinking. Drink pure, not hard and not drugged waters.
Exclude table salt, pepper (all kinds), cloves, spices condiments and dressings from your diet.
These things have no value and serve no useful purpose in the body. They are one and all irritating. They pervert the sense of taste, retard digestion and induce overeating. Irritating condiments are potent factors in producing cancer of the stomach.
A normal person, eating natural foods and eating only when hungry, will find no need for "appetizers." The person who cannot enjoy his meal without the assistance of an "appetizer, would do well to miss the meal. Hunger is the best sauce.
Without the accustomed salt, vinegar, pepper, and other condiments, the food is likely to taste flat, dull and insipid at first. But soon the palsied nerves of taste are renewed, the thickened skin of the tongue is removed, and the eater discovers fine delicate flavors in his foods that he never dreamed were there.
Salt eaters who give up salt and return to a vegetable diet are almost sure to find that they will be forced to urinate frequently at night. As soon as the body has freed itself of its accumulated salt, this annoyance ceases.
Avoid harmful and useless vegetable and fruit substances.
Not everything in the fruit and vegetable world can be considered food. The poppy plant, nightshade, tobacco and numerous other plants are poisonous. There are numerous poisonous berries and fruits.
Vegetable and fruit substances that are in common use that are best omitted from the diet are rhubarb and cranberries. These foods contain such an excess of oxalic acid that they are more or less poisonous. There are poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms. The non-poisonous are not foods as they are absolutely indigestible. They pass out in the stools exactly as they were swallowed. There is reason to believe that beets, also, are indigestible.
Vinegar, made by fermentation of fruit sugars, contains alcohol and acetic acid. The acid is more damaging to the liver than the alcohol. Vinegar also retards digestion.
Acid absorption, either an excess of wholesome organic acids, or the absorption of vinegar acid and drug acids, is gravely detrimental and is doubly so to those with impaired livers. Robust individuals may, without the slightest advantage to themselves, consume such things and eliminate them with only imperceptible losses of vitality. They should keep in mind that not even the most powerful constitutions can be abused with impunity.
This should not be interpreted to mean that acid fruits are not wholesome foods. The warning with reference to these foods is against excess.
There are many articles of food that both the well and the sick may eat without killing them instantly, but the problem of the trophologist is to discover what is best to eat--what will assure the highest degree of vigor and the longest life.
Sugar-cane was introduced into Europe by Alexander the Great. It was planted in the West Indies in the fifteenth century, Sugar has become an article of every-day use only within the past sixty or seventy years. Before this time its price was too high to be used except by the rich. In one of his annals, Sir Walter Raleigh gives the market price of sugar at that time at fifty shillings (about $12.00) a pound. White sugar is a "starvation food," like white flour and polished rice. It is lacking in salts and vitamins. Sugar is not an essential addition to the diet.
The penchant for sweetmeats which children share with monkeys and savages may best be satisfied with sweet fruits, rather than with the unwholesome concoctions of the baker's and confectioner's art.
All adulterated and denatured foods should be studiously and consistently avoided. Sugar and other products are used in equal abundance as denatured cereals. Cakes made of denatured cereals, white sugar, cold-storage eggs, pasteurized milk, coal tar dyes, synthetic flavors, poisonous baking powders, and decorated with embalmed fruit or fruit wastes are especially popular. The dietary reform needed is a radical revolution--a complete return to nature.
Refrain from eating left-over cooked foods from the previous meal.
Unless chilled immediately, they undergo an insidious fermentation from one meal to the next. If chilled and then warmed over the deterioration is equally as great. Economy as well as superior nutrition dictates that meals be prepared so that little or no food is left over.
Fruits that have been cut, melons that have been opened, and salads that have been shredded also decompose quickly. Discard these.
Reject canned foods.
Canned foods usually contain industrial poisons, preservatives, artificial flavorings, colorings, etc., and are often produced from inferior foods. Due to long storage they undergo much deterioration and are especially lacking in protective qualities. Some of them, especially fruits, are put up in sugar (white sugar), and others contain salt, vinegar, spices and various condiments. They are commonly overcooked.
Eschew animal foods.
Meats (fish and chicken are also meats), eggs, milk and milk products form no normal part of man's natural diet. They are certainly not essential to the highest degree of physical and mental strength and efficiency. Heavy physiological and biological penalties are exacted for continued violation of legitimacies of nutrition.
Eggs and flesh have a tendency to putrefy in the intestine. Flesh is a fruitful source of parasitic contamination. Alimentary allergy is almost wholly a reaction against foods of animal origin.
Always eat moderately.
It is easy to train yourself to eat more and more and by so doing create an imperious, but false, appetite. It is equally possible to cultivate moderation and be satisfied with only enough food to meet your needs.
Exuberance of nutrition, as of many of the other good things of life, is frequently rather a curse than a boon to the body.
Wisdom dictates that we cultivate moderation in the consumption of intelligently chosen natural foods. Choose foods of good quality, cleanse them and prepare them properly and enjoy them fully, but do not make the pleasures of eating an end and aim of life.
Heavy muscular effort and cold weather increase food needs, especially do they increase the need for fat starches and sugars. Hot weather and disease diminish the need for food. It is wise and safest to fast when ill. Drugs and artificial treatments are harmful. Only natural processes are acceptable.
Many people eat large quantities of bulk foods merely to "fill up." They are not "satisfied" unless they feel full. This is not necessary. It is not healthful. It does not improve function. We ought to get away from the idea that our main object in life is to be forever filling up and emptying out again.
The man who has been accustomed to eating stimulating foods and whose nervous system has become accustomed to this form of stimulation until there is a marked longing for stimulation, and who, then undertakes to reform his mode of eating and live upon a natural, unstimulating diet, will find this most difficult at first. His craving and longing for the customary stimulation will be very strong and hard to resist. Herein lies the danger.
Unless he exercises great caution and the most rigid self-control and self-denial, he will establish the habit of eating enormous quantities of his new foods, in his efforts to meet the "demand" of his enervated nervous system for stimulation. Overeating on the new diet will be as difficult to overcome, once the habit has become established, as was the prior habit of overeating the stimulating foods.
We tell these people, when they attempt to reform their eating habits, to eat only what food their bodies require. But we might as well tell them not to get wet while they are standing in the rain. We never supply them with a knowledge of how much food their bodies require.
Set a man down to a table loaded with good things to eat and let him have an appetite trained by years of overeating to be satisfied only after large quantities of food have been consumed, give him no valid guide to the amount of food he should eat, and where will he stop? Certainly not until he has eaten two or three times as much food as he needs. Every mouthful of food he eats convinces him that his body requires a "little more." Or, he may think that this time, at least, he may indulge in a full allowance.
His tendency is always to try 'experiment' in the wrong direction. He is more likely to attempt to see how much he can eat without killing himself immediately than he is to try to see if he can be well-nourished and satisfied on less food.
He certainly cannot depend upon his appetite; neither in the selection of his food nor in determining the amount of food to eat. For this voracious creature of habit and miseducation is both a blind and a false guide. It will lead him back to the abandoned flesh-pots and urge him, always, to eat more and more. His appetite must be re-directed and re-educated and this will call for knowledge, determination, will power and persistence.
If he depends upon his feelings and cravings he will find, like the man who attempts to abandon a long-established tobacco habit and depends upon his feelings to guide him, that his system demands large quantities of food, even the unwholesome foods he is trying to abandon. The feelings of the tobacco addict easily convince him that his system demands tobacco. He finds that he cannot do without this poison.
The immediate feelings following a change of diet determine nothing. They do reveal whether the former diet was healthful or unhealthful. No disagreeable "reactions" follow a change from one healthful diet to another healthful diet.
The true method of determining whether or not the body needs tobacco is to abstain from its use until the body has become accustomed to do without it, until it has had ample time to recover its normal tone and repair the injury done by tobacco and eradicate its effects. Having abstained this long, compare the body in its present state with its state while using tobacco. This will decide the real influence of tobacco upon the body.
In the same way when changing from the conventional eating practices to hygienic eating practices, the immediate feelings determine nothing. Only the final results of a long-continued experiment will reveal the real effects of the two modes of eating.
Eat your food in proper combinations.
Study carefully the chapter on food combining and make regular use of it until proper combining of foods becomes an automatic habit. Thereafter, conscious attention to the matter will not be so necessary.
It is a good plan to serve one (at most two) cooked vegetables along with a salad and a protein or starch; or, better still, serve the salad and protein or starch only and no cooked food. This kind of eating does not tempt to overeating. If a large salad is had at the beginning of the meal it tends to prevent over-eating of the more concentrated food-stuffs.
The bulk of each meal should consist of fresh fruits or fresh green vegetables. If an exclusive raw food diet is not adopted, the diet should be at least three-fourths raw. Foods should be combined properly.
Oils and acids should not be added to salads as a general thing. Acids interfere with both starch and protein digestion. Gastric secretion of hydrochloric acid is feeble or lacking when unemulsified fats are taken in the food. Vinegar or lemon juice should be omitted. Oils and acids interfere with protein digestion.
The juices of cabbage and other vegetables, added to a meal, greatly increase the gastric secretion. Not only do they cause more gastric juice to be poured out, but the enzymic content of the juice is markedly raised. Hence, the wisdom of feeding an abundance of green vegetables with protein foods. Cabbage juice actually completely neutralizes and counteracts the inhibiting effects of fat upon gastric secretion and motility and, as before stated, even small amounts of some fats slow down gastric secretion.
Fruit, notwithstanding its high value as food, if eaten with a regular meal, may cause the whole meal to become a reeking mass of decomposition. Because of the ease with which it decomposes after its investing membrane is broken, and because of its chemistry, it is best eaten as a fruit mealacid fruits at one meal; sweet fruits at another.
Fruits require from sixty-five to eighty minutes for complete digestion. To throw such foods into the stomach with foods which require hours of digestion works havoc with the chemistry of digestion. If fruits "don't agree" with you, try eating them correctly and learn what a wonderful food fruit really is.
The neophyte in trophology is usually bewildered by the conflicting claims of the "authorities" and by the vast array of cleverly advertised "health foods" offered for his use. These "health foods" are "indispensable," in fact, to round out his diet and assure him of adequate nourishment. Most of the claims made for the patent foods offered as indispensable adjuncts to the diet are false. These foods are far inferior to fresh fruits and green vegetables and some of them are positively harmful.
Dietetic tricks--pep cocktails, potassium broths, horse-mint tea, etc.--are offered as miracle workers. These are mere catch-penny devices and do not possess the virtues ascribed to them. One doctor makes a great fuss over what he calls the twenty-twenty-sixty diet. It is this in name only. The name is a catch-penny device. Its promoters do not even figure out the matter or disclose how one is to figure it out for himself. Indeed, figuring it out would be impossible.
The authors of recipes and cook books know nothing of the newer knowledge of nutrition. They throw their materials together in more or less haphazard fashion according to time honored custom in preparing tasty indigestibles. Their cooking recommendations spoil much of the food in the process.
The following sample menus will be found adequate to supply the nutritive needs of the hardest worker. Chronic sufferers should eat much less. Mental workers will require less starch. By using only wholesome foods and following the rules for food combining given in a previous chapter, the reader may easily work out a great variety of menus.
The object aimed at in this book is to teach the reader the principles of trophology, particularly the principles of food combining, so that he may work out his own menus from the food at hand. Menus must change with the seasons, as foods come into and go out of season. Foods differ in various parts of the country, so that a menu prepared for one part of the country cannot always be prepared in another. The reader is urged not to live by charts, but by principles. Learn the principles and you can work out your own menus. Don't be dependent, all your life, on the menus prepared by another.
In employing the menus herewith given, bear in mind that any green vegetable may be substituted for any other in preparing menus. If the starch given in one of these menus is not available, any other starch may be substituted. If you cannot procure the protein given in the menu, any other protein may be used. Thus: if pecans are not available use almonds or Brazil nuts; if Hubbard squash is not available, use potatoes or peas; if spinach is out of season, use chard or beet greens, or kale. Making up your own menus is so simple that you should never have to puzzle over how to create your own. Vary the menus from day to day. Do not permit your diet to become monotonous.
When vegetables are cooked in the waterless cooker they are steamed in their own juices. To avoid the clumsy statement in directing the preparation of cooked vegetables: "cooked in the waterless cooker," I shall employ the term, steamed. The reader must bear in mind that I do not have reference to the regular practice of steaming vegetables.
Those who desire to use meat or eggs may substitute these for nuts or cheese in the foregoing evening menus, except where fruit salads are used. Strict vegetarians will exclude cheese from these menus.
Large raw vegetable salad
4 oz. shelled pecans
1/4 lb. grapes
4 oz. Brazil nuts
1 well-ripened banana
Hubbard squash (baked whole)
4 oz. almonds
Men who work hard, or who work long hours, insist that they require large quantities of food to meet their needs. They insist that they need foods that "stick to the ribs." They work hard and can't live on hay. Men who work hard need more food than the idlers. Men who do physical work need more food than those who do mental work. But the differences in the food needs of these two classes are not as great as they suppose. The fact is the men who so loudly proclaim their need for so much food are food drunkards. They habitually eat two, three, and four times as much food as they actually use.
They reduce their energy by their overeating and poison themselves thereby at the same time. When they miss their accustomed food stimulus and feel weak, dizzy, or have pains, they mistake these morbid symptoms for an indication that they need the great quantities of stimulating foods they actually eat. They are enervated and toxemic from overeating and mistake the symptoms of these for the normal demands of the body for nourishment.
These people suffer much, age early and die prematurely because of their overeating. Heart diseases, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, Bright's disease, cancer, etc., finish them off years before they would reach the end if they ate prudently. These are the endings of those who live by "the belly's gospel of three squares plus and go by your appetite." These people should bear in mind Graham's words: "A drunkard may reach old age, but a glutton, never."
Food is often used as a "pick-up." Stimulation and nutrition are confusedly identical in the minds of almost everybody. Unless the meal is too heavy, a "pick-up" of energy follows immediately upon eating. To eat when there is no actual need for food merely for its stimulating effect is a misuse of food.