Nutrition And Condiments
( Originally Published 1954 )
Condiments may be defined as seasonings for food that deprive the food of much of its wholesomeness. In the ordinary home kitchen, the following condiments are among those used to make food "tasty" but actually impair its quality: (1) mustard, (2) pepper, (3) cayenne, (4) capsicum, (5) horseradish, (6) ginger, (7) spices, (8) mint, (9) thyme.
The first seven—and ordinary table salt as well—are irritant poisons; and all of them except salt contain non-volatile oils. The last two contain volatile oils.
The reason these seasonings are used is to excite the taste buds. But the first effect of these food accessories is to "stimulate the contractile activity of the stomach"; the after-effect is a depressing, morbid effect on the inner surface of the stomach and intestines.
Various scientists have studied the bad effects of pepper, salt, mustard, vinegar, etc. The medical profession is realizing that there is something wrong with conventional food preparation. Therefore, the sick are sometimes forbidden to use salt, pepper, vinegar, etc.
In order to prevent disease, healthy people should not use any spices and sharp seasonings on food. One can hardly pick up any diet feature in a daily paper or monthly magazine and find a recipe without pepper, vinegar, mustard or salt.
When foods are properly prepared, they do not require any seasoning. Freshly made raw salads, prepared with sweet carrots, properly grown tomatoes, lettuce, celery, cucumbers and radishes, will not require any vinegar or salt or mustard seasoning. Cooked foods, like-wise, taste delicious when they are not boiled in swimming water mixtures. The cooking of any fresh vegetables should be done with a minimum of water and a minimum amount of time, in order not to spoil the foods.
Properly prepared foods that are only slightly cooked will taste delicious without any special seasoning. Fresh sweet butter tastes better than salted butter. Slightly cooked vegetables cooked in a little water—just enough to steam them—taste very good without salt; in fact, salt destroys the natural flavors of foodstuffs. Cooked cereals and soups may require a dash of vegetable salt.
According to many authorities, salt and other condiments have the following bad effects on the body. Here is a quotation from The New Dietetics by Dr. Kellogg:
"Condiments of all sorts should be rigorously excluded from the table. The essential oils found in condiments are all irritant poisons. When applied to the skin in concentrated form they produce irritation or blistering, inflammation and even serious destruction of tissue if the contact is prolonged. The effect upon the stomach is similar.
"Through absorption into the blood, the poisonous oils of condiments are brought into contact with every cell and fiber of the body. The first effect is produced upon the delicate walls of the blood vessels. A defensive effort causes these to become thickened, a change known as arteriosclerosis, because the primary thickening is followed by hardening through a deposit of chalk. The eminent Professor Huchard, of Paris, the world's greatest authority on this subject, showed that mustard and other condiments when administered to animals pro-duce changes in the blood vessels within a few months' time.
"The same poisonous effects produced upon the blood vessels are also produced in the kidneys, the delicate cells of which, being brought in contact with the poisons in more concentrated form through their elimination by way of the urine, are made to undergo degenerative changes through which their efficiency is impaired and Bright's disease and other disorders produced."
This quotation points to the fact that in order to prevent the diseases that plague mankind it is necessary to throw out the little boxes and cans of spices and condiments from the home, from restaurant kitchens and hospital pantries. It is true that the medical profession has realized in the last couple of decades that the treatment of disease is sometimes helped by removing condiments from the diet.
The so-called "salt-free diet" is not often as free from salt as it might be, and besides, conventional medical diets include other things beside salt that are bad for the sick. Meat and eggs, with or without salt, are bad. So is fish of any and all kinds.
Yes, the so-called medical "salt-free diet" is not as good as it could be. Doctors must learn that anyone who suffers from hardening of the arteries, together with inadequate output of fluids by the kidneys, must be put on a regenerative diet that should consist of two or three fresh raw fruits, such as grapefruits, oranges and pineapples, and raw vegetable salads, such as lettuce, celery, cucumbers and radishes, and a few cooked- vegetables such as squash, celery and parsley. Only these few foods must be used to plan an adequate salt-free diet that can remake bad kidneys or a bad liver or a bad heart, and that can prevent a stroke and untimely death.
A healthy}, body can be rebuilt, or remade, with the proper dietetic care, including rest—thorough rest, and not simply advice to "go easy" on this and that, as conventional physicians often say.
Healthy individuals, if they were properly fed from childhood or from infancy on, would have no craving for salt—and certainly not for pepper, mustard and vinegar. The prevalent belief that salt tablets are a kind of cure for hot-weather depression or weakness is entirely erroneous. During hot weather, men and women who work should live on fresh raw fruit juices, drinking them by the glassfuls instead of soft-drink concoctions.
The body requires a certain amount of minerals, including the mineral compound known as salt. Every food that grows, particularly the vegetables, contain a percentage of salt compounds. A mixed fruit-vegetable diet will furnish the body with the necessary and wholesome food accessories.
People are apparently waking up to the realization that fruit juices are wholesome as well as delightful drinks; so are raw vegetable juices and raw salads. When people know how to exercise correct judgment on their food intake, they will not eat anything that is seasoned with condiments of any kind.
Dr. Kellogg, whose book The New Dietetics has been one of my sources of reference, has the following interesting paragraph on condiments, with which I will close this discussion:
"Man is the only animal that deliberately commits suicide by self-poisoning. He is the only one that spoils his food before he eats it. The average man suffers constantly from chronic poisoning. He doses himself with poisons of various sorts which in the aggregate make a per capita dose of more than fifty grains of poison every twenty-four hours for every man, woman and child in the United States. He begins the day with a poison dose in the form of coffee to wake him up. After breakfast he smokes a cigar to settle his stomach and quiet his nerves. Before dinner he swallows half an ounce of whiskey or bitters to get an appetite. lie finds an afternoon cup of tea necessary to cure after-dinner stupor, and at night needs an opiate to get to sleep, and in the morning a cathartic to move his bowels. With his other poisonings, he deliberately spoils his food by putting into it toxic substances, and excretions of plants, which by means of acrid, biting and burning flavors are labeled by Nature as belonging to the poison class and unfit to be eaten. These products, used only for their flavoring properties, having no food value, are known as condiments."