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How To Be Healthy: Wholesome Carbohydrates
( Published 1962 )
When I began my own search for better health and physical reconditioning, I very soon became suspicious of the effects of adulterated, refined, and processed foods. By that I mean factory-created and mass-produced edibles such as bread and bakery products of all kinds, white sugar and substances made with it, ice cream, packaged cereals and mixes, soft drinks, french fried potatoes, potato chips, and so forth. Many chemicals are added to these foods without their having been tested beforehand to verify their safety. These food items are generally those from which you should be especially careful to abstain. Remember that using sugary and starchy foods to excess tends to lower the blood-sugar level, which produces heart and circulatory symptoms.
Of course, not all carbohydrates should be avoided. Some of them are valuable to health, because they contain natural vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Natural carbohydrates, in combination with fats, sustain and invigorate the body and supply warmth and vitality. They cannot, however, take the place of protein, so make certain to obtain carbohydrates in foods that also contain a high degree of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
The potato is one of the three great foods whose natural home is the Western Hemisphere. The tomato and corn are the other two.
Potatoes are not included in the group of starches to be excluded from a high-protein meal, because this vegetable contains such primary nutritional elements as vitamins B- I (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), niacin, vitamin C, and the mineral iron. It appears that carbohydrate cannot be utilized profitably unless it is in combination with the B vitamins, and potatoes are therefore one of the best sources of carbohydrates.
Potatoes, in common with almost all vegetables, supply a higher proportion of alkaline mineral elements than any other class of foodstuff, and therefore their consumption helps to maintain an alkaline reserve in the body. The raw potato is the most alkaline or antiacid of all vegetables, due to the very high proportion of potassium. Further, potatoes contain the all-important vitamin C, which places them among what nutritionists call the protective foods...
The potato is very easily digested because the starch of which it is largely composed is very loosely combined with the cellulose, or vegetable fibre, which constitutes the framework, or substance, of the tubers. Because of this digestibility, the potato is readily assimilated. It can be eaten freely without detriment.
The first one of the, superior sugars that comes to mind is honey. It is one of the most perfect foods known. Honey is a vitamin-, mineral-, and enzyme-bearer, as well as a fine natural sweetener. Since the heart works on sugar, honey is the best heart stimulant you can use. It is in the bloodstream in twenty minutes after being taken by mouth, and this rapid absorption prevents fermentation. Because of its high sugar content, it will not spoil, even if exposed to contamination.
It is interesting to note that, while most body cells can receive some food from other sources, the nutriment of the brain is exclusively glucose. Blood sugar, then, is as critical to life as the air we breathe. It is the fuel of the body. Carbohydrates, such as honey, are highly important in the diet if the blood-sugar level is to be kept up to normal. This is where honey has the advantage over sugars having greater amounts of dextrose, because it does not cause the blood-sugar level to climb higher than can be handled by the body.
There does not appear to be any doubt that the first use of honey dates back beyond human records. It is probable that honey-bees and their products precede the appearance of mankind in time. The long chronicle of written history reveals that, for the past six thousand years, honey has been the only sweetener used by man, as well as his favorite sweetmeat and tonic. Honey is often mentioned in the Bible as a beneficial medicine, a health-giving food, and an element of delicious refreshment. It fills any void that may occur in the daily food intake.
Hippocrates, a Greek physician, known as the "Father of Medicine," was born about four hundred fifty years before Christ. In his medical practice he placed great reliance on diet and therapy, and many of his teachings are adhered to at the present day. He was a believer in honey and used it himself. He advocated it for those who wished to live long and for troublesome breathing.
In former ages honey had a notable reputation for imparting clearer eyesight. People in ancient times had firm faith in the potency of honey to increase stamina and manly vigor. From the Middle Ages down to our own times, honey has been more in favor, especially in rural areas, as a curative substance than the learned profession of medicine might suspect.
Honey has three fine qualities: it is a wholesome food; it is a purifying cleanser; and it has regenerative power. In cases of pneumonia and typhoid fever, where digestive functions are below par, honey is of considerable value. It is a favored remedy for hay fever, nasal sinusitis, and throat and bronchial complaints. It is a fine expectorant and soothes irritation. It also benefits intestinal ulcers and gall bladder disease. It is said that there is no cancer or paralysis among bee-keepers.
The medicinal qualities of honey are impressive: for example, when disease bacteria come into contact with honey, vital moisture is withdrawn from them by the potassium in the honey, and they are destroyed. The acid reaction of honey also makes it a poor medium for the breeding of disease bacteria. Hostile germs that attack the body are, for the most part, exterminated in honey.
Honey is predominately fruit sugar, and is the only animal carbohydrate suitable for use as a sweet. It is one of the few sweets that has natural laxative qualities.
Also included in honey are enzymes, so necessary for good digestion, and for this reason it is valuable for persons afflicted with anemia or chronic indigestion, convalescents, or the aged.
It is a tissue- and an energy-builder, chock-full of the material the body requires to construct and rebuild itself, an admirable restorative for all-round physical improvement.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, honey is a general dietary source of the following nutrients:
levulose (fruit sugar)
dextrose (grape sugar)
sucrose (cane sugar)
dextrins and gums
Another valuable sugar is lactose, which is found only in milk. Lactose provides food for the beneficial intestinal bacteria, which convert it into lactic acid. This substance does not ferment, as do the carbohydrates in foods such as spaghetti, rice, white flour, refined sugar, and alcohol. It is one of the rare carbohydrates that actually promote the body's ability to absorb vitamins B-2 and B-6, and the minerals calcium and phosphorus. It leads to the multiplication of the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine, thus fostering a clean, healthy condition, which helps overcome the disease variety of bacteria that cause gas fermentation and sickness.
Another excellent product, which can be used as a sweetener and also as a substitute for chocolate, is carob powder. It is a properly balanced, natural source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and other important minerals and vitamins.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture:
Carob or St. John's Bread (Ceratonia siliqua) is a handsome evergreen tree which belongs to the ... bean family. Known to man since antiquity, it has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region throughout historical times. It is the "St. John's Bread" of Christian tradition, a name derived from the fact that it was supposedly the food of John the Baptist during his sojourn in the wilderness. . . . The seeds are said to be the original carat weight of goldsmiths.
Carob powder is obtainable in health food and diet shops.