Nutrition - Germs And Food
( Originally Published 1954 )
Bacteriology is one of the basic sciences which is covered thoroughly in a medical course of study. It is a very practical science; the science of bacteriology is important in everyday eating and living, as well as to an understanding of those diseases of the body which are supposed to be caused by germs.
The food we eat and the water we drink must be unpolluted by germs. When meat or fish is not kept under proper conditions of refrigeration, its bacteria multiply by the millions and billions within a matter of hours.
Some of these bacteria are able to live in the human alimentary canal. Some of them may be destroyed or neutralized by the digestive juices, such as the bile, and by some foods such as fresh raw fruits and fruit juices and raw salads.
The fresh raw foods are supposed to be powerful germicides. Hence, the reader can see how important it is to drink freshly made fruit juice for breakfast, and to have similar fruit courses for the other meals of the day. Canned fruit-juice mixtures or cooked fruit mixtures do not have the same potency as the fresh variety in killing bacteria.
The science of bacteriology teaches, among other things, the kind of substances that make good or proper "culture" media for the colonization of germs. In the proper temperature gelatine will be a good food for germs. A few germs dropped on a laboratory tray full of gelatine will multiply into colonies, live a certain span, and then die. And when germs die, they are not always innocuous or harmless.
Ordinary expectorant—that is, yellow, greenish, grayish, or bloody—takes on this appearance because of its particular germ content. Similarly, nasal discharges, when examined, are at times found to be a mixture of various harmless and harmful or disease-producing bacteria.
In fact, the healthy body inhales all sorts of disease-producing germs which are weakened or destroyed when exposed to the normal secretions of the nose, throat and stomach. When germs invade the blood, body temperature may go up to a mild or severe extent. A person with strong vitality can neutralize disease-producing germs that have entered the blood within a few hours or a few days-when the management or treatment is right.
In olden days, physicians used to make a regular ritual of studying a person in fever. They would wait for the disease to develop fully, allowing it to run a "natural course" or characteristic "incubation period." Today, rather, physicians act more quickly and aggressively. They quickly prescribe one or another of the "wonder drugs."
Believe me, dear reader, a glass of freshly made grapefruit juice or orange juice, or the juice of a lemon with a glass of cold or hot water, is far superior for the purpose of killing germs and aborting disease that may be incubating within the body than any of the "wonder drugs" that are developed every so often.
Of late, there has been a very vigorous campaign of education in favor of innoculating all children and adults with vaccine against polio. It would be better for people to spend as much money as possible on lots of fresh raw fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, pine-apples and raw apples and use them for between-meal snacks and for mealtime desserts. Sugar-sweetened desserts, candy bars and soft drinks, jellies, cakes and cookies are the main foods that contribute to the breeding of germs in the body.
There are two large classes of germs: those that can live and multiply only in airy spaces, and those that live in spaces that are airless. The bacteria that enter the deep-seated structures of the body, such as the blood stream, the heart, the liver, the kidneys and the intestines, belong in the latter category. They are known as anaerobic germs. The germs that breed in air spaces are known as aerobic germs.
The mouth is a culture medium for both kind of germs; so is the nose and other spaces that are accessible to air. The tubercular germ, for example, is destroyed by fresh air and sunlight, but it does live in dark spaces. In other words, it is an aerobic germ. Since it can also live inside the lungs, the bones and other organs and tissues, it also has the characteristic of being an anaerobic germ.
Animal meat, fish, milk and cheese may have a variety of bacteria. Pasteurized milk may retain some germs which have been weakened by the pasteurization process. Fresh raw milk, when it is prepared under ideally sanitary conditions, is safe because it contains few germs as compared with milk that has been prepared under ordinary farm-house conditions.
Milk is an exceedingly good culture medium for bacteria. When you drink milk, wash the mouth or eat a piece of raw fruit as dessert, because the raw fruit cleanses the mouth of the milk and leaves the teeth and mouth with few germs to colonize in them.
Children who are properly fed do not develop tooth decay to the same extent as children who are allowed to eat candy, cake and other sugar-sweetened food and drink. Bits of animal meat and fish that remain between the teeth are excellent culture media for germs, and therefore cause decay and destruction of the teeth. It is a fact that people who do not eat any meat and who do not eat any sugar-sweetened foods have healthier teeth than those who indulge in the ordinary American food mixtures.
It is true that we have excellent dentists who can cover up rotten teeth, but it is better to prevent tooth decay. The dental profession is, in fact, stressing correct diet as a basis for healthy tooth structure more than does the medical profession.
People who develop pyorrhea, which means a pus condition between the teeth and gums, do so because their blood streams, which must nourish the teeth and gums, are weakened by acid-waste by-products of faulty diet; these wastes, in turn, are good culture media for germs that can live and thrive in any part of the interior of the body. The interior of the body means the blood stream, the heart, the nervous system and other vital organs on which health and life depend.
Anything that is contaminated with germs usually acquires a bad odor and a bad appearance. Polluted water has a bad taste. Polluted milk may taste bitter or sour, or it may smell bad. Fish, meat or eggs that have been polluted by bacteria stink. Fresh vegetables and fruits do not smell bad even when they get old and wilted be-cause germs cannot easily attack them.
Of course, a rotten apple has been so decomposed by bacteria or worms, but an apple that has not been contaminated by embryonic worms in its budding stage will be free from rot in its core and, there-fore, in its substance. Fruit growers and vegetable growers who spray their products have a good argument for using sprays, because the spraying of fruit trees and immature vegetables such as corn, beans and tomatoes prevents the contamination of these garden and orchard products by the various destroying organisms of nature. The tiny little worms and larvae and other insects in embryonic stages that invade fruit and vegetables must be destroyed by modern chemical sprays.
The proponents of "organic gardening" may not be as correct as they think in their claim that those who eat ordinarily produced fruits and vegetables are "poisoning" themselves. I am impelled to take issue with the advocates of "organic agriculture." Large-scale vegetable and fruit production seems to require a certain amount of spraying of gardens and orchards. I live in an orchard country, and I have discussed that question with honest farmers who would like to pro-duce unsprayed fruits and vegetables. It cannot be done, they claim.
Of course, a properly prepared soil, one that has just enough lime and other mineral content and not too much manure or nitrogenous fertilizer, will be freer from bugs of all sorts than haphazardly prepared soil. Fruit growers, particularly, find that they must spray their trees or else they will have no fruit.
The consumer must know that garden and orchard products bought on the market must be washed and rinsed several times. Grapes, cherries, peaches and apples should be washed and rinsed several times before one bites into them. Some people eat out of their fruit and vegetable bags, without cleaning their produce adequately. Celery may sometimes have on its surface a powder spray that may be an arsenic compound. Wash your celery with a clean vegetable brush several times; rinse it in a large basin of clean water before using.
It is not wise to give way to fears or phobias because food is sprayed. I have seen people who believe in "organic gardening" who consume animal meat with relish. In my opinion, the dead wastes of beef or chicken may be worse than chemical sprays which can be washed off from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Perhaps, in time, scientific methods of agriculture will be so perfectly developed that pests and bugs will be eliminated. Until such an ideal time arrives, we can do well to eat without fear properly chosen foods that are as free from germs and bugs and other poisons as they possibly can be.
Boiling water and cooking vegetables and fruits may destroy germs to some extent. For example, cooked prunes will remain fresh longer in the refrigerator than soaked prunes. Properly prepared vegetable soup will keep fresh in the refrigerator when it is stored in a clean bowl that is covered and not exposed to the air. Milk, cream, cheese and butter will keep fresher when stored in clean covered utensils. The air, even in the refrigerator, may contain bacteria that can colonize on foods that are exposed.
A loaf of bread will keep fresher in the refrigerator than at room temperature because bread molds are weakened by the refrigerator temperature and cannot multiply as readily. Bread baked with yeast is particularly prone to become moldy at room temperature because yeast is a mass aggregate of molds that are not unwholesome. Egg shells are porous; at room temperature eggs may turn stale and rotten within a week if the temperature is above 70. It is therefore wise to keep eggs in the refrigerator or in a cool pantry or cellar.
There are some wholesome germs. These are the germs that participate in the process of souring milk into clabber or "yogurt." The butter-making process depends on certain wholesome bacteria. The cheese-making process depends on a variety of bacteria. The smell of Limburger or other sharp cheeses depends on their bacterial content.
When one eats any kind of "store" cheese or ripe cheese, it is advisable to eat a half grapefruit or even a whole grapefruit or a couple of oranges for dessert, because these fresh fruits will attenuate or weaken the germs that may be present in the cheese. These germs may either be dead or alive, or a mixture of dead and living bacteria.
Certainly, when one eats cadaverous animal substance, meat or fish, it is wise to eat raw fruit or salad with it, but why eat cadaverous substances at all? Meat, whether cooked or broiled or baked, decomposes readily in the human digestive tract. There are many classical works in medical literature stressing that animal meats are causes of such diseases as hardening of the arteries, cancer and skin diseases.
We are indeed living in -a more enlightened age than that not very long ago when professors of medicine would say from their teaching platforms that "diet has nothing to do with disease." Today some teachers admit that diet has a great deal to do with disease. Foods that are likely to be contaminated with microbes, living ones or dead ones, are not to be eaten, if possible.
Speaking of cheese, it may be pointed out that fresh-made sour-milk cheese, such as cottage cheese, farmer cheese or pot cheese, is the safest kind of cheese. The cheeses that are next in safety are those that do not smell too strongly.
Much more could be written on germs in relation to food and nutrition, but the reader should have a pretty good idea: germs are to be found everywhere; there are friendly germs and unfriendly germs; the body maintains its inherent natural-defense mechanisms against disease-producing germs when it is normal in its chemical composition. The human race can build good health or bad health depending on whether we apply the simple knowledge and principle that the safest foods for good health are fresh, raw fruits and vegetables and slightly cooked fresh vegetables, or properly cooked or baked vegetable products such as beans, potatoes and other tubers.
The vegetarian diet, including nuts that are free from rot, is the ideal diet to foster a healthy blood stream, healthy organs and tissues; a really healthy body cannot become a haven for microscopic organ-isms or for other parasites of a vegetable or animal nature.
Animal parasites, various kinds of worms, sometimes invade the intestines, the liver or the blood itself, because of faulty, unhygienic habits of eating and living. With modern methods of producing food, clothing and shelter, no one need suffer from any kind of parasitic disease, in any climate in the world.
This book is being written in the temperate climate of suburban New York. The principles that I have tried to explain throughout the pages of this book can be used to good purpose in tropical and subtropical climates as well as in severely cold climates and seasons.