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The eliminating diet is now frequently miscalled a fast--a fruit fast, an orange fast, a grape fast, etc. It is also often called a cleansing diet. It is a diet of juicy fruits, or green vegetables or both.
There is a sense in which the orange diet, for example, is similar to a fast in its effects. During a fast the cells feed on the accumulated reserves stored in the body and do not secure their sustenance from fresh supplies which have just arrived by way of the digestive tract.
An orange diet is a true fast in the sense of abstinence from proscribed foods, but it is not an orange fast. Considered, however, from the point of view that such a diet turns the cells away from freshly arriving food supplies to the stored reserves, to meet their food needs, it has very much (not all) the same effects as a complete fast. Milo Hastings has very nicely illustrated this matter in the following words:
"The essential action might be explained by likening the body to a store. If the manager of a store has been too ambitious a buyer he is very likely to have accumulated certain stocks of goods until his shelves are too crowded, and the general efficiency of the store's activities is impaired. So he decides to put on a sale, mark down his prices and have a general housecleaning--all of which is often a very wise move for the health of the business.
"A complete fast or abstinence from all food would be like a clearance sale during which a store ceased entirely to purchase new stocks. But a partial fast would be like a clearance sale during which the store continued to purchase new stocks, but less new stock than the sale was consuming. Good management in a store would indeed often suggest the wisdom of just such clearance sales during which the major inflow of new goods was shut off, but in which the supply of certain new goods much in demand and which had not been accumulated to excess was still continued from an outside source.
"This last condition nicely pictures the argument for the partial fast. But as in store management, so in nutritional management, the wisdom of such a clearance or such a partial fast would depend on whether one used wisdom in choosing what new material should be supplied while the old accumulations were being used up."
The purpose of the eliminating diet is not to see how many glasses of juice one can take in a day in an effort to "alkalinize" the body, or to supply an excess of minerals or vitamins. Indeed, this method of drinking juice largely defeats the purpose of the diet. The nearer the diet approaches a complete fast, the more effective it becomes. Juice salesmen and sellers of juice extractors will deny this, but they are in no position to know what they are talking about.
The food substances that are consumed in greatest excess and which are likely to accumulate in the body are fats, sugars, starches and proteins. Proteins can never accumulate in amounts as great as can the fats and carbohydrates, but the excess of protein may be most harmful. The eliminating diet accomplishes more than merely compelling the utilization of excesses of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
There are two sides to the story of nutrition. One side deals with the building up of the body and the manufacture of secretions. The other side deals with the elimination of waste-matter from the blood and tissues. This latter part is accomplished by the use of food substances that never really become part of the body but are held in solution in the blood. The protein wastes of the cells are carried to the liver where they are combined with the alkaline, organic mineral elements which convert them into soluble salts. These salts are then easily eliminated by the kidneys and skin. A diet rich in bases and poor in acids is an eliminating or "curative" diet.
It is often difficult to distinguish between normal body waste and a mere excess of food. The normal wastes of the body are commonly assumed to be the usual daily excretions from a conventionally fed man. But average conditions are often far from the ideal. In the case of the element, nitrogen, for example, excreted through the kidneys, it was for a long time assumed that the average daily wastes represented normal and necessary wastes from true physiological processes. Later investigations have shown this to be a mistake. It has been found that by reducing the intake of protein, from which the nitrogen is derived, the nitrogen excreted through the kidneys could be reduced to less than one-fourth of the quantity which was formerly assumed to be necessary and normal. Similar facts are true of common table salt and other mineral elements.
These things are quickly brought to light during a fast. After the first few days, during which time there is usually an increase in elimination, the elimination of waste rapidly drops to levels much lower than the amounts daily eliminated by individuals who are customarily over-fed.
.A house cleaning process is inaugurated. The body throws off its surplus elements after which it strikes a new balance of elimination, one which probably represents the actual daily wastes of the processes of life. Much of the former greater amounts of waste eliminated presumably represented the overflow of a surplus of material consumed by the individual, which had reached the danger line of active poisoning from excess.
The striking benefits produced by fasting are attributable largely to the cleaning out of these excess materials which have been accumulated by habitually eating in excess of the actual body requirements.
This surplus material may quite accurately be spoken of as toxins or poisons, for it definitely injures the body if it is not promptly eliminated. It may even result in some degree of injury, other than the waste of energy and secretions in handling it, by passing through the body when performing no useful function.
Of the three main groups of food elements (carbohydrates, hydrocarbons, and proteins), carbohydrates offer the least danger of creation of possible toxic substances and proteins the most danger. Both of these are commonly consumed greatly in excess of requirements, the carbohydrates usually in the greatest excess, and these are capable of producing much trouble if they are permitted to ferment in the digestive tract.
Keep in mind that the most healthful food may be harmful if consumed in excess. Excesses of proteins and carbohydrates are especially likely to produce harm. That life continues in spite of the fact that we are constantly putting into the body a surplus of food and introducing poisonous substances therein, is due to its possession of an elaborate system of getting rid of the surplus and toxins.
It is often assumed that the digestive organs are able to reject any substance that would prove injurious to the body. Unfortunately their capacity to do this is very limited. Otherwise, the thousands of drugs poured into human stomachs, would have no effect beyond irritating the lining surfaces of the digestive organs. That they are absorbed by the blood and do produce their injurious effects throughout the body is evident enough.
Most of such substances that are absorbed into the blood are later excreted through the kidneys. Some are oxidized in the tissues and excreted in part through the lungs. Others, after being absorbed from the intestines, are later cast back into the intestines as excretions and pass out into the stools.
All of this is a very wonderful and complicated process. Most "diseases" and deaths are due to an over-strain and breakdown of the organs and functions of elimination, or, more correctly, when the processes of elimination are impaired and the poisons permitted to accumulate, we sicken and die from the accumulation of a toxic over-load. This is equally true of what we designate normal wastes of the body as it is of poisons which should never have been introduced into the organism.
Oranges and other fruits have very minute quantities of proteins while the juicy fruits are all comparatively low in carbohydrates. Their real cleansing and detoxifying effects are obtained largely by forcing the body to consume its surplus of proteins and "fuel foods." As soon as the supply of these foods is cut off and the body is given nothing but fruit juices or fruit, the accumulated excesses are called upon to supply the cells with protein and sugar.
Fruits and fruit juices are rich in alkaline bases and in vitamins and quickly replenish any deficiency of these that may exist and also overcome the acidosis (hypoalkalinity), usually present in those living on the modern dietary.
This principle need not be limited to oranges, or grapes, nor even to juicy fruits, but may also be extended to include all green, non-starchy vegetables. Mr. Hastings says that "All scientifically planned weight reducing diets are in this general class, but weight reducing is not the only purpose for using such types of diets. As temporary measures they may be beneficial to general vitality, even when the weight lost is to be later replaced."
The eliminating diet is as near protein-starch-fat-sugar free as can be fed, in order to enable the body to use up and throw off its surplus of these elements. It is also rich in organic salts and organic acids thus supplying to the body an abundance of alkalinizing elements, so that "acidosis" is overcome and the accumulated toxins in the body are prepared for elimination and thrown out.
The foods most commonly used in eliminating diets are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, apples, grapes, carrots, spinach, chard, lettuce, celery, cabbage, beet greens, onions, etc. Melons are sometimes used, as are peaches. The fruit chosen is taken at regular intervals during the day in varying quantities depending on the individual case.
All of these foods are valuable for their pure water, organic acids, minerals, vitamins and cellulose. They are all low in fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Since the food elements abundant in these foods are the ones chiefly lacking in the conventional diet and the food elements in which they are deficient are the ones that predominate in the conventional diet, salts and vitamins are supplied while at the same time utilization of the surpluses of carbohydrates, fats and proteins is compelled.
An eliminating diet may be a mono-diet. (The citrus fruit diet is perhaps the best-known of these); or it may be a diet consisting of a variety of the unconcentrated foods.
These fruits are rich in organic salts, which are liberated during digestion, and supply the body with the elements necessary to the neutralization and chemicalization of the toxins preparatory to their elimination. They are at the same time extremely limited in the amount of proteins and carbohydrates which they possess and are well-adapted to a curative purpose. There is absolutely no foundation for the old medical delusion that acid fruits should not be given in "acid diseases." We often find that to give acid fruits where hyper-acidity of the stomach is present increases the distress in the stomach and for this reason are forced to use a diet of a different kind. Hyper-acidity of the stomach is not, however, "acid-blood," and fruit acids (organic acids) do not enter the blood as acids. The fruit diet proper consists of the exclusive use of any juicy or acid fruit.
Acid fruit diets are often distressing to patients with hyperacidity. They are also often hard on nervous patients, making them irritable and preventing sleep. In rare cases the acids seem to get into the lymph unchanged and cause skin eruptions. In cases of this kind, other diets are preferable.
The Orange Diet: The orange, because of its palatableness, because it is available at all seasons of the year, and, because it may be had in all parts of the country, is the most popular, at least in this country, of eliminating diets. Usually as many oranges as one desires are consumed. Sometimes the number is limited. From three to sixteen oranges a day are permitted. Not only the amount of oranges permitted, but the intervals between feedings must be determined by the condition of the patient.
The patient may be fed several oranges at each of three meals a day; or, he may be given an orange every half hour, or every hour during the day. Some may be given the whole orange, others must be given only the juice.
Due, perhaps, to the sugar in the orange, many people are troubled with gas while on this diet. Unless there is considerable distress, this need not cause the diet to be changed. Unripe oranges are likely to cause considerable distress, making lips, tongue and perhaps the stomach, raw in a few cases. I prefer Texas oranges; next to these in the order named, California and then Florida oranges.
The Grapefruit Diet consists in taking grapefruit exclusively. It is given in the same manner as is the orange diet (without sugar), and almost never causes gas.
Grapefruit are often preferable to oranges and many are able to take grapefruit who cannot take the orange diet. Grapefruit seems to hasten elimination even more than do oranges. I prefer Texas grapefruit; next to these, in the order named, Arizona, Florida and California grapefruit.
The Lemon Diet, consisting of eating lemons only, is usually too much for the average patient. The procedure is to begin with one half of a lemon three times a day and increase this by one and a half lemons each day until nine lemons are taken. The process is then reversed and one and a half lemons are dropped off each day until the starting point is reached. After ten days of feeding, this regimen may be repeated if necessary. This diet is especially recommended in rheumatic conditions and in liver disorders.
The Tomato Diet: This diet consists in the use of ripe tomatoes. These are given as in the orange diet. Tomatoes should be employed only during the tomato season. Hot house tomatoes are not advisable.
The Grape Diet: This consists in living for several weeks at a time on nothing but grapes, swallowing the seeds and skins. This diet has won great renown in European Nature Cure Institutions, particularly those in France and Southern Germany. Many, including the author, in this country have used it with excellent success. It was heralded as a specific for cancer a few years ago. This was unfortunate. It is not a specific for cancer nor for anything else.
On the upper Rhine they have Trauben Curen--sanitaria where people are fed almost exclusively on ripe grapes in order to purify their blood. The grapes generally used for this purpose are of the variety known as Musketeller, with big, honey-sweet berries, of a most enticing flavor. It is the opinion of those who employ this diet that their patients cannot hurt themselves by eating all of the Muskatellers they may desire.
Grapes are rich in iron and have proven very useful in anemia and chlorosis. The grape diet has also been found very serviceable in such conditions as gout, rheumatism, dyspepsia, constipation, catarrh, stones and gravels, malaria, liver and lung troubles including tuberculosis. General Booth employed the grape diet to "cure" inebriates. He was not only successful in breaking the drink habit in this way but his patients gained in weight.
Fresh, vineyard ripened grapes should be used. Hot house grapes, and those shipped long distances--from Africa, Spain or South America--being pulled very green, are not so good. The grape diet should be employed only during the grape season.
Five to eight pounds of grapes are fed daily, beginning with a pound and increasing the amount used each day until the capacity of the patient is reached.
Some patients develop large quantities of gas on this diet. Others develop a diarrhea which persists as long as the diet does. In such cases some other diet should be employed.
The Apple Diet, consists of eating apples exclusively. In cases where this diet does not cause too much gas it is excellent.
Fruit-Vegetable Diet: This consists in feeding fruits and green vegetables at separate meals. Any fruit in season may be used. Fruit may be used at one meal and vegetables at two meals; or fruit at two meals and vegetables at one.
The vegetable meal should consist of a large raw combination salad, without oil or dressing, and two cooked non-starchy (green) vegetables. Or, it may simply be a large salad. In some nervous disorders the raw vegetables may have to be temporarily excluded. In other such cases the raw salads may be eaten if lettuce is omitted. Lettuce causes much gas and discomfort in some cases.
Vegetable broths are sometimes used instead of fruit and with practically the same results. These are used to distinct advantage En those cases where the digestive tract is so sensitive that the acid fruits cause distress.
Vegetable broths are of two kinds--cooked and uncooked. The cooked broths are made by chopping one or a combination of the succulent vegetables up fine and boiling them. It is usually strained after cooking to remove the cellulose.
The uncooked broths are made by finely chopping one or a combination of the succulent vegetables and pressing out their juices.
There should be no great hurry about breaking away from an eliminating diet. One who is actually desirous of regaining health will continue on such a diet long enough to secure the desired results. After the body has been thoroughly cleansed and the forces of the organism recuperated; when all or nearly all symptoms of trouble are gone, then, a gradual return to a normal.diet should begin.
Obviously a diet composed exclusively of oranges or grapefruit or lemons cannot be continued as long as a grape diet or a fruit and vegetable diet; although, it may usually be continued long enough to bring about the desired results. (I had one man on a grapefruit diet for forty-five days). Or, else they may be employed for a period and followed by a less frugal diet, after which they may be resumed.