Nutrition - A Guide To Eating
( Originally Published 1954 )
The calorie is a heat unit. In relation to food, it means that when food is oxidized or chemicalized in the body, it produces heat energy, the amount of which varies with various foods, as measured in heat or calorie units.
For example, a gram of protein or carbohydrate yields over four calories of heat when metabolized. This can be measured by burning the substance in a laboratory apparatus called a calorimeter. In the human body, food yields an equivalent amount of energy, under ideal conditions of metabolism.
In a similar manner, a definite amount of coal in a steam-heating furnace yields a definite number of heat units which are carried by the air or water or steam to the house or rooms to be heated. A definite amount of food furnishes heat to the animal or human body. Just as there are various factors on which perfect burning of coal depends, there are also various factors on which perfect digestion and metabolism of food depend.
The furnace may be a good one; the coal may be of good quality. However, good or bad results in heat production may follow, depending upon the management of the furnace. If the draft is properly regulated, if the ashes are removed regularly, if the fire is banked properly-the operation will be successful, the result economical and in every way satisfactory.
The same principle applies to food and its metabolism in the animal or human body. Two individuals of the same age, weight, and occupation may eat the same varieties and amounts of food. Yet each may get different results in digestion and other physiological ways.
One person may have been under strain preceding the meal. He is rather tired. Tiredness is an indication of the body's need for rest before food is eaten. Tiredness indicates that there are accumulated wastes in the body similar to the wastes or ashes of the furnace. Rest before food is eaten is just as great a necessity as the removing of ashes before starting a fire. The tired person does not as a rule heed this serious demand. He eats a meal when he is tired and the meal has the same effect on his physiological furnace as perfectly good coal when thrown on a fire that has burned to ashes. Such a fire cannot burn properly. It burns with a slow fire, or incompletely. A similar chemical change takes place in the digestive and nutritional system of the tired animal or human body.
A person eating when tired will often feel rather chilled and increasingly tired after food. Under normal conditions of health, a person should have a physiological glow, a state of comfort and well-being of the entire body after food is eaten. Food is a normal stimulus to the body. It imparts immediate energy, when eaten under the condition that the digestive tract, and the body as a whole, can take care of the food economically, not wastefully.
When one is in good health, no coffee, tea or other drug stimulant is necessary to exhilarate the body. A wholesome meal will do it. Yet comparatively few people feel normally vitalized after a meal.
Animal substances, such as meats, have an immediate stimulating effect upon the body, but the after-effect of a meat meal is often one of depression, fatigue, and drowsiness. Meat, in this respect, is similar to coffee. The first effect is an increased sense of good feeling, but the after-effect is one of increased tiredness.
Fatigue interferes with the efficient energy yield of heat from food to the body economy.
Another result of fatigue is constipation. Constipation is indeed similar to the results of an improperly operated furnace. The latter, when neglected, will have an accumulation of clinkers and ashes on its grate that interferes with proper burning of the coal. The same rule applies to the human furnace—with respect to the proper production of heat, energy, and a subjective sense of comfort. A constipated colon is a similar interference to proper digestion and metabolism of food eaten under such circumstances. A diseased condition is created when people who are constipated eat their usual meals. The blood-stream and liver are poisoned by absorbed gases, alcohols and acids which are generated in the debris of a constipated colon.
The blood as well as the liver has to furnish materials out of which the glands of the stomach and intestines manufacture their digestive juices. Under abnormal conditions of auto-intoxication from constipation, the blood and liver are greatly impaired in their workings; correspondingly, the digestive organs are limited in their efficiency. Therefore, eating regular meals while in a state of constipation is wrong, unhygienic. The food will not yield the expected calories, though it will do so after a fashion, with accompanying waste, just as the same is true analogously of the poorly tended furnace.
An important guide to eating is a sense of well-being at meal-time. Another vital factor is the choice of foods with relation to quality, biological values.
A portion of pork and beans may furnish a great many more calories than a portion of lettuce, but the former is poor in minerals and vitamins. A glass of milk may furnish only 150 to 160 calories, but it is far better than an equivalent caloric amount of white bread (two slices). The milk furnishes important minerals, valuable protein and fat, and vitamins. A raw apple is equivalent in heat value to a slice of bread, but in nourishing value it is far superior. It supplies the body with a proper content of minerals, vitamins, good-quality proteins and carbohydrates. These are more important factors than the mere quantity of heat or calories.
Calcium and iron must be supplied in daily bills of fare in order to replace the normal losses of these minerals by way of the body's daily excretions. In order to supply calcium and iron adequately to the human adult or child, liberal amounts of vegetables, milk, milk products, and fruits must be eaten daily. One or two meals of the day with dairy products (milk, cheese) as a major course will supply not only the calcium but other important minerals and also valuable protein-far better than the protein of meat or fish.
A pint of milk or two to four ounces of freshly made cottage cheese is an excellent basis for supplying the calcium and protein ration of the body. A dinnerplateful of green vegetable salad, eaten in combination with milk or cheese, will contribute valuable iron for the body's needs.
The yolk of one or two eggs a day is also an excellent source of iron and other valuable nutriments. In states of constipation, of toxic conditions of the blood and liver, egg yolks or entire eggs may not be easily digested. Regardless of the excellent nutritional value of egg yolk, it should not be taken until the body is regulated and brought to a normal state of receptiveness for such a complex food.
One needs a certain amount of starchy foods, summer and winter. They should be chosen from proper sources. The potato, brown and "wild" rice, whole-rye products, whole-wheat products, buckwheat, barley and millet are staples which are good when they are not de-germinated, demineralized, bolted, refined or bleached. These hearty foods are needed in larger rations by active physical workers; and more of them can be handled by the body in cool or cold weather than in warm weather.
In warm weather, the sun furnishes heat energy directly to the body. That is why it is unnecessary to eat as much sweets as people consume in the form of soft drinks and ice cream. The sweetness and coldness of those products is an inducement for taking them, but the sugar as well as the fat in them are unwholesome and excessive nutriments. After their immediate cooling and stimulating effects wear off, there is often a state of greater discomfort than before. During the summer people constantly gorge themselves with stimulating beverages and ice cream, and this brings even more discomfort to the body, through after-effects that are ultimately disease-producing.
During the summer months when nature is so lavish in her gifts to mankind, there is sunshine in abundance; vegetables, berries, fruits and milk are plentiful. At this time, people could build vitality and resistance to disease for the adverse climatic conditions of fall and winter, if the proper food and drink were taken. Yet how few, even in good economic circumstances, profit by summer to the fullest extent in health values!
Eating of sweets is an acquired habit in civilization- According to Dr. Kellogg, primitive peoples have no taste for such abnormally sweet commodities as soda-fountain products. The American people, rich and poor, are victims of the sugar industry in a greater measure than are other countries. The United States consumes more sugar per capita than any other civilized country. A reliable health survey would, no doubt, disclose the fact that the health of our people is not as good as the health of the people of other nations who use fewer sugar products.
A proper guide to eating is not the caloric value of foods. A fit, energetic state of the body is the most important guide. Then, the choice of foods is also important- A liberal supply of raw fruits, salads, and dairy products, as the major portion of the day's food, should be included. Some starch of the whole-grain varieties, or properly cooked (baked or steamed) potato, should be eaten once a day in amounts regulated by appetite, physical activity, and by a sense of well-being.
As far as sugars are concerned, commercial sugar products are unwholesome, especially when they are consumed in such a variety of foods as Americans can.
What other people of civilized countries can match Americans in their daily consumption of pastry, pie, candy, jams, ice creams, and soft drinks?
In a rational dietary there is a place for sweets, but not as a dessert! Sweets are heavy; they are also acid-forming- They should therefore be eaten as the main: course of a meal, balanced with raw fruit and salad.
When the proper food is chosen, when it is properly masticated, when it is eaten under the right conditions-that is, when the body is rested and comfortable, the appetite keen, the surroundings whole-some and pleasant—digestion and absorption will take place ideally. There will be no heart-burn, no thirst, no flatulence, no pain, no pressure, no gas, no foul odors, no constipation, no auto-intoxication disease.
Surgery of the stomach and intestines would then become obsolete, since there would be no ulcers, no tumors, no cancers, no piles, no fissures. Ambitious surgeons will study the reasons why, after "successful" operations are performed, their patients are still ailing, still suffering, still sick and tired. They will honestly try to discover why they failed in their efforts to relieve the pain and suffering of their patients, who had given them all their faith. Their knives merely removed effects. The causes required painstaking study of the patient's habits, mistakes of the past and present with regard to eating, living, thinking and worrying.
The specialists may examine the patient's acids, gases, fluids, excretions and secretions, but they are doomed to failure as long as they ignore the subjective symptoms of the sick persons, as long as they feed him to the stuffing-point when his stomach is in agony, in a state of fatigue, inflammation or degeneration. Milk, cream and starch diets are an abomination in ulcer cases. Stuffing the diabetic is another crime. Feeding high-protein diets in cases of disease of the kidneys is another irreparable mistake. High caloric diet in case of fever is still another. Yet such is the dietetic practice of "scientific" physicians and surgeons and of their hospitals.
Not until physicians and surgeons correlate the individual patient's subjective symptoms with his digestive and assimilative powers, not until they recognize the basic causes of disease, namely, accumulated cellular and tissue wastes or toxins-not until then will the sick receive correct treatment at the hands of their doctors of medicine and surgery.
A person in good health will accomplish much toward maintaining well-being and comfort if he rests from moderate fatigue before eating, and does not go to the table feeling tired.
The mother or nurse of an active child will be more efficient when she makes certain that her charge does not take food while tired. "Food under the influence of fatigue turns into a mild poison," observed a well-known Chicago surgeon and medical authority. It is true.. Yet how many medical doctors teach their patients the importance of rest? They seldom apply the principle of rest in their own lives—if we except a few who fall into an above-average class. The distinguished men in the healing professions generally practice a more correct personal hygiene than the majority in the profession. The latter eat, drink, smoke, and dissipate in other ways. How can they teach the truth when they do not practice it themselves?
A certain great health authority at Yale University said: "Dietetics will replace Materia Medica." It is already doing so more and more. What kind of dietetics? Not stuffing according to stereotyped standards, nor feeding people so many calories to meet apparent physiological needs, when the organism is really in need of rest from food, in order to throw off retained accumulated body wastes. As long as physicians persist in feeding the sick when natures demand is rest from food, so long will food defeat its purpose, which is to build and maintain good health. The hygiene of eating presupposes hygiene of the blood, the tissues, the organs, and of the entire organism.