Nature Cure: Chapter 25

Chapter XXV
Natural Dietetics


The chemical composition of blood and lymph depends upon the chemical composition of food and drink, and upon the normal or abnormal condition of the digestive organs.

  The purer the food and drink, the less it contains of morbid matter and poison-producing materials and the more it contains of the elements necessary for the proper execution of the manifold functions of the organism, for the building and repair of tissues and for the neutralization and elimination of waste and systemic poisons, the more "normal" and the more "natural" will be the diet.

  The system of dietetics of the Nature Cure school is based upon the composition of MILK, which is the only perfect natural food combination in existence.

  In its composition, milk corresponds very closely to red, arterial blood and contains all the elements which the newborn and growing organism needs in exactly the right proportions, providing, of course, that the human or animal body which produces the milk is in good health and lives on pure and normal foods.

  Therefore, if any food combination or diet is to be "normal" or "natural," it must approach in its chemical composition the chemical composition of milk or of red, arterial blood. This furnishes a strictly scientific basis for an exact science of dietetics, and proves true not only in the chemical aspect of the diet problem, but also in every other aspect and in its practical application.

  The "regular" school of medicine pays little or no attention to rational food regulation. In fact, it knows nothing about it, because "natural dietetics" are as yet not taught in medical schools. As a result of this condition, the dietary advice given by the majority of Old School practitioners is something as follows: "Eat what agrees with you: plenty of good, nourishing food. There is nothing in dietetic fads. What is one man's meat is another man's poison, etc."

  However, if we study dietetics from a strictly scientific point of view, we find that certain foods--among these especially the highly valued flesh foods, eggs, pulses and cereals--create in the system large quantities of morbid, poisonous substances, while on the other hand fruits and vegetables, which are rich in the organic salts, tend to neutralize and to eliminate from the system the waste materials and poisons created in the processes of protein and starch digestion.

  The accumulations of waste and systemic poisons are the cause of the majority of diseases arising within the human organism. Therefore it is imperative that the neutralizing and eliminating food elements be provided in sufficient quantities.

  On this turns the entire problem of natural dietetics. While the "Old School" of medicine looks upon starches, sugars, fats and proteins as the only elements of nutrition worthy of consideration, Nature Cure aims to reduce these foods in the natural dietary and to increase the purifying and eliminating fruits and vegetables.

  In this volume we cannot go into the details of the diet question. They will be treated in full in our Vegetarian Cookbook and in our volume on Natural Dietetics. We shall say here in a general way that in the treatment of chronic diseases, with few exceptions, we favor a strict vegetarian diet for the reason that most chronic diseases are created, as before stated, by the accumulation of the "feces of the cells" in the system.

  Every piece of animal flesh is saturated with these excrements of the cells in the form of uric acid and many other kinds of acids, alkaloids of putrefaction, xanthines, ptomaines, etc. The organism of the meat eater must dispose not only of its own impurities produced in the processes of digestion and of cell metabolism, but also of the morbid substances that are already contained in the animal flesh.

  Since the cure of chronic diseases consists largely in purifying the body of morbid materials, it stands to reason that a "chronic" must cease taking these in his daily food and drink. To do otherwise would be like sweeping the dirt out of a house through the front door and carrying it in again through the back door.

  Whether one approves of strict vegetarianism as a continuous mode of living or not, it will be admitted that the change from a meat diet to a nonmeat diet must be of great benefit in the treatment of chronic diseases.

  The cure of chronic conditions depends upon radical changes in the cells and tissues of the body, as explained in Chapter Twenty. The old, abnormal, faulty diet will continue to build the same abnormal and disease-encumbered tissues. The more thorough and radical the change in diet toward normality and purity, the quicker the cells and tissues of the body will change toward the normal and thus bring about a complete regeneration of the organism.

  Anything short of this may be palliative treatment, but is not worthy the name of cure.


Natural Foods

  In the following I shall give the outline a natural diet regimen which has been found by experience to meet all requirements of the healthy organism, even when people have to work very hard physically or mentally. In case of disease, certain modifications may have to be made according to individual conditions. Persons in a low, negative state, whether physical, mental or psychical, may temporarily require the addition of flesh foods to their diet.

Dietetics In A Nutshell


Food Classes
Predominant
Chemical
Elements
Functions in
Vital
Processes
Foods in Which the Elements of the Respective Groups Predominate
GROUP I
Carbohydrates
Starches
and
Dextrines
Carbon
Oxygen
Hydrogen
Producers of
Heat and
Energy
CEREALS: The inner, white parts of wheat, corn, rye, oats, barley, buckewheat and rice. VEGETABLES: Potatoes, pumpkins, squashes. FRUITS: Bananas. NUTS: Chestnuts
GROUP II
Carbohydrates
Sugars
Carbon
Oxygen
Hydrogen
Producers of
Heat and
Energy
VEGETABLES: Melons, beets, sorghum. FRUITS: Bananas, dates, figs, grapes, raisins. DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk. NATURAL SUGARS: Honey, maple sugar. COMMERCIAL SUGARS: White sugar, syrup, glucose, candy. NUTS: Cocoanuts.
GROUP III
Hydrocarbons
Fats and
Oils
Carbon
Oxygen
Hydrogen
Producers of
Heat and
Energy
FRUITS: Olives. DAIRY PRODUCTS: Cream, butter, cheese. NUTS: Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cocoanuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, pignolias, etc. COMMERCIAL FATS: Olive oil, peanut oil, peanut butter, vegetable-cooking oils. THE YOKES OF EGGS
GROUP IV
Proteids
Albumen
(white of egg)
Gluten
(grains)
Myosin
(lean meat)
Carbon
Oxygen
Hydrogen
Nitrogen
Phosphorus
Sulphur
Producers of
Heat and
Energy;
Building Materials
for Cells and
Tissues
CEREALS: The outer, dark parts of wheat, corn, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, and rice. VEGETABLES: The legumes (peas, beans, lentils), mushrooms. NUTS: Cocoanuts, chestnuts, peanuts, pignolias (pine nuts), hickorynuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, etc. DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk, cheese. MEATS: Muscular parts of animals, fish, and fowls.
GROUP V
Organic Minerals
Organic
Mineral
Elements
Sodium
Na
Ferrum (Iron)
Fe
Calcium (Lime)
Ca
Potassium
K
Magnesium
Mg
Manganese
Mn
Silicon
Si
Chlorine
Cl
Flourine
Fl
Eliminators:
Bone, Blood,
and Nerve
Builders;
Antiseptics:
Blood Purifiers;
Laxitives;
Cholagogues;
Producers of
Electro-
magnetic
Energies
THE RED BLOOD OF ANIMALS. CEREALS: The hulls and outer, dark layers of grains and rice. VEGETABLES: Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, green peppers, watercress, celery, onions, asparagus, cauliflower, tomatoes, string-beans, fresh peas, parsley, cucumbers, radishes, savoy, horseradish, dandelion, beets, carrots, turnips, eggplant, kohlrabi, oysterplant, artichokes, leek, rosekale (Brussels sprouts), parsnips, pumpkins, squashes, sorghum. FRUITS: Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, plums, prunes, apricots, cherries, olives. BERRIES: Strawberries, huckleberries, cranb \erries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants. DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk, buttermilk, skimmed milk. NUTS: Cocoanuts.

 In the accompanying table entitled "Dietics In A Nutshell" we have divided all food materials into five groups:

GROUP:
        I.            (Carbohydrates): Starches.
      II.            (Carbohydrates): Dextrins and sugars.
    III.            (Hydrocarbons): Fats and oils.
   IV.            (Proteids): white of egg, lean meat, the gluten of grains and pulses, the proteins of nuts and milk.
     V.            (Organic Minerals): Iron, sodium calcium, potassium, magnesium, silicon. These are contained in largest amounts in the juicy fruits and the leafy, juicy vegetables.

  As a general rule, let one-half of your food consist of Group V and the other half of a mixture of the first four groups.

  If you wish to follow a pure food diet, exclude meat, fish, fowl, meat soups and sauces and all other foods prepared from the dead animal carcass.

  This is brief and comprehensive. When in doubt, consult this rule.

  Also do not use coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, tobacco or stimulants of any kind.

  Good foods are:

  Dairy Products: milk, buttermilk, skimmed milk, cream, butter, fresh cottage cheese. fermented cheeses, as American, Swiss, Holland and DeBrie, should be used sparingly. The stronger cheeses like Camembert and Roquefort should not be used at all

  Eggs: Raw, soft-boiled or poached, not fried or hard-boiled. Eggs should be used sparingly. Two eggs three times a week or on an average one egg a day, is sufficient.

  White of egg is much easier to digest than the yolk, therefore the whites only should be used in cases of very weak digestion. Beaten up with orange juice, they are both palatable and wholesome; or they may be beaten very stiff and served cold with a sauce of prune juice or other cooked fruit juices. This makes a delicious and very nutritive dish.

  Honey is a very valuable food and a natural laxative. It is not generally known that honey is not a purely vegetable product, but that in passing through the organism of the bee it partakes of its life element (animal magnetism).

  Honey is one of the best forms of sugar available. The white sugar is detrimental to health, because it has become inorganic through the refining process. The brown, unrefined granulated sugar or maple sugar should be used instead.

  Figs, dates, raisins, bananas and all the other sweet fruits are excellent to satisfy the craving of the organism for sweets.

  Cereal Foods: Rice, wheat, oats, barley, are good when properly combined with fruits and vegetables and with dairy products.Use preferably the whole-grain preparations such as shredded wheat or corn flakes. Oatmeal is not easily digestible; it is all right for robust people working in the open air, but not so good for invalids and people of sedentary habits.

  Thin mushes are not to be recommended, because they do not require mastication and therefore escape the action of the saliva, which is indispensable to the digestion of starchy foods.

  Avoid the use of white bread or any other white-flour products, especially pastry. White flour contains little more than the starchy elements of the grain. Most of the valuable proteins which are equal to meat in food value and the all-important organic salts which lodge in the hulls and the outer layers of the grain have been refined out of it together with the bran. The latter is in itself very valuable as a mechanical stimulant to the peristaltic action of the bowels.

  In preference to white bread eat Graham bread or whole rye bread. Our health bread forms the solid foundation of a well-balanced vegetarian diet. It is prepared as follows:

  Take one-third each of white flour, Graham flour and rye meal (not the ordinary Bohemian rye flour, but the coarse pumpernickel meal which contains the whole of the rye, including the hull).

  Make a sponge of the white flour in the usual manner, either with good yeast or with leavened dough from the last baking, which has been kept cold and sweet. When the sponge has risen sufficiently, work the graham flour and rye meal into it. Thorough kneading is of importance. Let rise slowly a second time, place in pans, and bake slowly until thoroughly done.

  By chemical analysis this bread has been found to contain more nourishment than meat. It is very easily digested and assimilated and is a natural laxative. Eaten with sweet butter and in combination with fruits and vegetables, it makes a complete and well balanced meal.

  A good substitute for bread is the following excellent whole wheat preparation: Soak clean, soft wheat in cold water for about seven hours and steam in a double boiler for from eight to twelve hours, or cook in a fireless cooker over night. Eat with honey and milk or cream, or with prune juice, fig juice, etc., or add butter and dates or raisins. This dish is more nutritious than meat, and one of the finest laxative foods in existence.

  Nuts are exceedingly rich in fats (60 percent) and proteins (15 percent), but rank low in mineral salts. Therefore they should be used sparingly, and always in combination with fruits, berries or vegetables. The coconut differs from the other nuts in that it contains less fats and proteins and more organic salts. The meat of the coconut together with its milk comes nearer to the chemical composition of human milk than any other food in existence.


Vegetables

  Leguminous Vegetables, such as peas, beans and lentils in the ripened state are richer in protein than meat (25 percent), and besides they contain a large percentage of starchy food elements (60 percent); therefore they produce in the process of digestion large quantities of poisonous acids, alkaloids of putrefaction and noxious gases.
  They should not be taken in large quantities and only in combination cooked or raw vegetables. As a dressing use lemon juice and olive oil.

  Peas and beans in the green state differ very much from their chemical composition in the ripened state. As long as these vegetables are green and in the pulp, they contain large quantities of sugars and organic minerals, with but little starch and protein. As the ripening process advances, the percentages of starches and proteins increase, while those of the sugars and of the organic minerals decrease. The latter retire into the leaves and stems (polarization).

  In the green, pulpy state these foods may, therefore, be classed with Group II (Sugars) and with Group V (Organic Minerals), while in the ripened state they must be classed with Groups I (Starches) and Groups IV (Proteids).

  Dried peas, beans and lentils are more palatable and wholesome when cooked in combination with tomatoes or prunes.

  The Leafy and Juicy Vegetables growing in or near the ground are very rich in the positive organic salts and therefore of great nutritive and medicinal value. For this reason they are best suited to balance the negative, acid-producing starches, sugars, fats and proteins.

  Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, watercress, celery, parsley, savoy cabbage, brussels sprouts, Scotch kale, leek and endive rank highest in organic mineral salts. Next to these come tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, radishes, onions, asparagus, cauliflower and horseradish.(See also Group V in "Dietetics in a Nutshell.")

  Splendid, cooling summer foods, rich in the blood-purifying organic salts, are watermelons, muskmelons. cantaloupes, pumpkins, squashes and other members of the melon family.

  The green vegetables are most beneficial when eaten raw, with a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. Avoid the use of vinegar as much as possible. It is a product of fermentation and a powerful preservative which retards digestion as well as fermentation, both processes being very much of the same character.

  Use neither pepper nor salt at the table. They may be used sparingly in cooking. Strong spices and condiments are more or less irritating to the mucous linings of the intestinal tract. They paralyze gradually the nerves of taste. At first they stimulate the digestive organs; but, like all other stimulants, in time they produce weakness and atrophy.


Cooking of Vegetables

  While most vegetables are not improved by cooking, we do not mean that they should never be cooked. Many diet reformers go to extremes when they claim that all the organic salts in fruits and vegetables are rendered inorganic by cooking. This is an exaggera-tion. Cooking is merely a mechanical process of subdivision, not a chemical process of transformation. Mechanical processes of division do not dissolve or destroy organic molecules to any great extent.

  Nevertheless, it remains true that the green leafy vegetables are not improved by cooking. It is different with the starchy tubers and roots like potatoes, turnips, etc., and with other starchy foods such as rice and grains. Here the cooking serves to break up and separate the hard starch granules and to make them more pervious to penetration by the digestive juices.


How to Cook Vegetables

  After the vegetables are thoroughly washed and cut into pieces as desired, place them in the cooking vessel, adding only enough water to keep them from burning, cover the vessel closely with a lid and let them steam slowly in their own juices.

  The leafy vegetables (cabbage, spinach, kale, etc.), usually contain enough water for their own steaming.

  Cook all vegetables only as long as is required to make them soft enough for easy mastication. Do not throw away a drop of the water in which such vegetables as carrots, beets, asparagus, oyster plant, egg plant, etc., have been cooked. Use what is left for the making of soups and sauces.

  The organic mineral salts contained in the vegetables readily boil out into the water. If the vegetables, as is the usual custom, are boiled in a large quantity of water, then drained or, what is still worse, pressed out, they have lost their nutritive and medicinal value. The mineral salts have vanished in the sink, the remains are insipid and indigestible and have to be soaked in soup stock and seasoned with strong condiments and spices to make them at all palatable.


Fruits and Berries

  Next to the leafy vegetables, fruits and berries are the most valuable foods of the organic minerals group. Lemons, grapefruit, oranges, apples are especially beneficial as blood purifiers. Plums, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, grapes, etc., contain large amounts of fruit sugars in easily assimilable form and are also very valuable on account of their mineral salts.

  The different kinds of berries are even richer in mineral salts than the acid and subacid fruits. In the country homes of Germany they are always at hand either dried or preserved to serve during the winter not only as delicious foods but also as valuable home remedies.

  Fruits and berries are best eaten raw, although they may be stewed or baked. Very few people know that rhubarb and cranberries are very palatable when cut up fine and well mixed with honey, being allowed to stand for about an hour before serving. Prepared in this way, they require much less sweetening and therefore do not tax the organism nearly as much as the ordinary rhubarb or cranberry sauce, which usually contains an excessive amount of sugar.


Cooking of Fruits

  It is better to cook apples, cranberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and all other acid fruits without sugar until soft, and to add the sugar afterward. Much less sugar will be required to sweeten them sufficiently than when the sugar is added before or during the cooking.

  Dried fruits rank next to the fresh in value, as the evaporating process only removes a large percentage of water, without changing the chemical composition of the fruit in any way. Prunes, apricots, apples, pears, peaches and berries may be obtained in the dried state all through the year. Dates, figs, raisins and currants also come under this head.

  Olives are an excellent food. They are very rich in fats (about 50 percent), and contain also considerable quantities of organic salts. They are therefore a good substitute for animal fat.

  Avoid factory-canned fruits. In the first place, they have become deteriorated by the cooking process and secondly, they usually contain poisonous chemical preservatives. Home-preserved fruits and vegetables are all right providing they do not contain too much sugar and no poisonous preservative.

  Bananas differ from the juicy fruits in that they consist almost entirely of starches, dextrines and sugars. They belong to the carbohydrate groups and should be used sparingly by people suffering from intestinal indigestion.

  However, we do not share the belief entertained by many people that bananas are injurious under all circumstances. We consider them an excellent food, especially for children.


Mixing Fruits and Vegetables

  Many people, when they first sit down to our table, are horrified to see how we mix fruits and vegetables in the same meal. They have been taught that it is a cardinal sin against the laws of health to do this. After they overcome their prejudice and partake heartily of the meals as we serve them, they are greatly surprised to find that these combinations of vegetables and juicy fruits are not only harmless, but agreeable and highly beneficial.

  We have never been able to find any good reason why these foods should not be mixed and our experience proves that no ill effects can be traced to this practice except in very rare instances. There are a few individuals with whom the mixing of fruits and vegetables does not seem to agree. These, of course, should refrain from it. We must comply with idiosyncrasies until they are overcome by natural living.

  Eating fruits only or vegetables only at one and the same meal limits the selection and combination of foods to a very considerable extent and tends to create monotony, which is not only unpleasant but injurious. The flow of saliva and of the digestive juices is greatly increased by the agreeable sight, smell and taste of appetizing food and these depend largely upon its variety.

  With very few exceptions, every one of our patients (and we have in our institution as fine a collection of dyspeptics as can be found anywhere) heartily enjoys our mixed dietary and is greatly benefited by it.


Mixing Starches and Acid Fruits

  Occasionally we find that one or another of our patients cannot eat starchy foods and acid fruits at the same meal without experiencing digestive disturbances. Whenever this is the case, it is best to take with bread or cereals only sweet, alkaline fruits such as prunes, figs, dates, raisins, or, in their season, watermelons and cantaloupes or the alkaline vegetables such as radishes, lettuce, onions, cabbage slaw, etc. The acid and subacid fruits should then be taken between those meals which consist largely of starchy foods.


A Word About the Milk Diet

  When we explain that the natural diet is based upon the chemical composition of milk because milk is the only perfect natural food combination in existence, the question comes up: "Why, then, not live on milk entirely?" To this we reply: While milk is the natural food for the newborn and growing infant, it is not natural for the adult. The digestive apparatus of the infant is especially adapted to the digestion of milk, while that of the adult requires more solid and bulky food.

  Milk is a very beneficial article of diet in all acid diseases, because it contains comparatively low percentages of carbohydrates and proteins and large amounts of organic salts.

  However, not everybody can use milk as a food or medicine. In many instances it causes biliousness, fermentation and constipation.

  In cases where it is easily digested, a straight milk diet often proves very beneficial. As a rule, however, it is better to take fruits or vegetable salads with the milk.

  Directly with milk may be taken any sweetish, alkaline fruits such as melons, sweet pears, etc., or the dried fruits, such as prunes, dates, figs, and raisins, also vegetable salads. With the latter, if taken together with milk, little or no lemon juice should be used.

  All acid and subacid fruits should be taken between the milk meals.

  A patient on a milk diet may take from one to five quarts of milk daily, according to his capacity to digest it. This quantity may be distributed over the day after the following plan:

Breakfast:
One to three pints of milk, sipped slowly with any of the sweetish, alkaline fruits mentioned above, or with vegetable salads composed of lettuce, celery, raw cabbage slaw, watercress, green onions, radishes, carrots, etc
10:00 A.M.:
Grapefruit, oranges, peaches, apples, apricots, berries, grapes or other acid and subacid fruits.
Luncheon:
The same as breakfast.
3:00 P.M.
The same as 10 a.m.
Supper:
The same as breakfast. An orange or apple may be taken before retiring.
  
When it is advisable to take a greater variety of food together with large quantities of milk, good whole grain bread and butter, cream, honey, cooked vegetables, moderate amounts of potatoes and cereals may be added to the dietary.


ButtermiIk

  Buttermilk is an excellent food for those with whom it agrees. In many instances a straight buttermilk diet for a certain period will prove very beneficial. This is especially true in all forms of uric acid diseases.

  Sour milk or clabber also has excellent medicinal qualities and may be taken freely by those with whom it agrees.


Drinks

  It has been stated before that coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages should be avoided.

  Instead of the customary coffee, tea or cocoa, delicious drinks, which are nutritious and at the same time nonstimulating, may be prepared from the different fruit and vegetable juices. They may be served cold in hot weather and warm in winter. Recipes for fruit and vegetable drinks will be included in our new Vegetarian Cookbook, now in preparation.

  If more substantial drinks are desired, white of egg may be added or the entire egg may be used in combination with prune juice, fig juice or any of the acid fruit juices. Other desirable and unobjectionable additions to beverages are flaked nuts or bananas mashed to a liquid.

  The juice of a lemon or an orange, unsweetened, diluted with twice the amount of water, taken upon rising, is one of the best means of purifying the blood and other fluids of the body and, incidentally, clearing the complexion. The water in which prunes or figs have been cooked should be taken freely to remedy constipation.

  As a practical illustration, I shall describe briefly the daily dietary regimen as it is followed in our sanitarium work.

  Breakfast consists of juicy fruits, raw, baked or stewed, a cereal (whole wheat steamed, cracked wheat, shredded wheat, corn flakes, oat meal, etc.), and our health bread with butter, cottage cheese or honey. Nuts of various kinds, as well as figs, dates, or raisins, are always on the table. To those of our patients who desire a drink, we serve milk, buttermilk or cereal coffee.

  Twice a week we serve eggs, preferably raw, soft boiled or poached.

  Luncheon is served at noontime and is composed altogether of acid and subacid fruits, vegetable salads or both. We have found by experience that, by having one meal consist entirely of fruits and vegetables, the medicinal properties of these foods have a chance to act on the system without interference by starchy and protein food elements.

  Dinner is served to our patients between five and six. The items of the daily menu comprise relishes, such as radishes, celery, olives, young onions, raw carrots, etc., soup, one or two cooked vegetables, potatoes, preferably boiled or baked in their skins, and a dessert consisting of either a fruit combination or a pudding.

  We serve soup three times a week only, because we believe that a large amount of fluid of any kind taken into the system at meal time dilutes and thereby weakens the digestive juices. For this reason it is well to masticate with the soup some bread or crackers or some vegetable relish.

  As drinks we serve to those who desire it water, milk or buttermilk.

  Prunes or figs, stewed or raw, are served at every meal to those who require a specially laxative diet.

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