Food Cost To You
( Originally Published 1930's )
No one realizes more than the writer what the cost of food means to some families. It is a daily struggle to furnish a table with the necessities of life. For that very reason, it behooves the housewife to buy intelligently, even if cheaply.
The basic foods for good nutrition, especially during inflation periods, go up in price more quickly than the so-called solid foods which fill the void created by hunger. Herein lies the possibility of nutritional diseases which break down organic function, and put a family into deep debt for medical care. This is all the more reason for those who must watch their food budget to buy with certainty the kinds of food which protect the family health.
The basic foods, which furnish vitamins, minerals, and amino proteins, are, of course, necessary. These are stressed by all nutritionists. However, an equally important factor in food selection is alkalizing foods. The best alkalizing foods are the tart fruits and soured leafs. Here, the cost differs so widely that we feel you should know how to secure alkali for body need at the lowest possible price.
Alkali is necessary for the digestion of starches and fats. Alkali enables you to obtain more assimilation of these foods. You can not assimilate what you can not digest. Non digested starches quickly produce a putrifactive gas which is the start of indigestion. Since you must have alkaline foods, a low budget means you must know how to get them cheaply.
Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, and many other tart fruits are the best sources of your digestive alkali. But, at 69c up, per dozen, such may well be above the means of some families, especially when each individual should have one dozen oranges and one quart of tomatoes, or grapefruit juice, per week for the best digestion and assimilation.
Therefore, you should use vinegared slaw, vinegared seven minute cabbage, tarted leafs of the beet, turnip, lettuce or other leafs. A hard boiled egg, with two to four teaspoonsful of vinegar, makes the egg taste better and digest easier; also furnishes you with alkali. These tarted foods not only furnish you with alkali, but a liberal supply of vitamins and minerals. If you wish a heavy food with cabbage and other leafs, use navy beans. This combination is easily digested and furnish most needed food elements.
You will hear a great tumult concerning the use of vinegar. "It is poison", the health food specialist will shout. "It will eat out your insides", whispers "they say". I wonder who "they say", are? Why should ignorance, or emotional fanaticism, tell you to stay away from a perfectly good alkalizing food agent which is cheap enough to take the place of all high priced fruits? Did it ever occur to you that the acetic acid of vinegar should be as good as the citric acid of lemon? One is from apple, while the other is from lemon or lime. Both are from fruit, and if "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", vinegar has the edge over citric acid in usefulness and benefit.
True, the acid of the sour apple is malic acid. Acetic acid, or vinegar, is produced by fermentation. However, your digestive enzymes will attend to the fermentation of apple juice. In a contest of worth between malic and acetic acid, the vinegar wins as the most valuable of the two.
Health food devotees will oppose this chapter on account of vinegar, and perhaps, will oppose the entire book. They not only do not like vinegar, but white sugar, meat, and a few other pet peeves. Vinegar is the greatest enemy of mankind, according to these pioneer food educators. Nevertheless, we still say that health food leaders have done tremendous good in changing the bad eating habits of many people. However, that does not mean they can call vinegar a poison without a challenge. Belief does not last when knowledge becomes its master.
Health food followers are greater students of food than the average person, and their efforts to eat correctly are entirely praise-worthy. It is to be regretted that they swallow truth, half-truth, and mistaken food ideas all in the same manner. There is no reason to condemn a fruit acid obtained from the apple and praise the fruit acid obtained from the lemon and the grape. Vinegar, or acetic acid, has equal value with citric and tartaric acids. Each of these three acids aid in maintaining the alkali of the digestive system.
Vinegar, of course, is the product of induced fermentation of the apple juice, while the citric acid of the lemon and the tartaric acid of the grape are a natural acid product. 'Why should either effect the human system differently?
The writer learned of the extreme aversion held toward vine-gar by health food followers when he delivered a lecture to them upon "Alkalizing The Digestive System."
During the lecture, we suggested that each person should use more vinegared leafs and salads. Immediately, a young lady in the audience called out: "Vinegar is a poison. It is only fit to use in washing windows, and that is the only way we use it."
At once, we apologized; substituted lemon juice and continued the lecture. However, after the lecture, the young lady belligerently proceeded to attack the lecturer.
"Why did you say vinegar should be used with salads and leafs? Don't you know it is a poison to the body. Our professor taught us that. And, he was a good chemist. Where did you learn your chemistry?", she finished.
Question, assertion, and condemnation, all came like machine gun bullets. However, we are fairly tolerant of the mistakes and the ignorance of youth. Therefore, we replied with a question:
"Just what reason did your professor of chemistry give for vinegar being a systemic poison?"
"Well, I do not remember the reason, but I know it is, be-cause he said so," returned the now irate young lady.
Then, we issued a challenge: "Please attend our lecture two weeks hence, young lady, and we shall be glad to set you right by performing a chemical experiment before the audience." We were able to terminate the conversation in this manner.
Before starting the next lecture, we carefully placed a number of bottles upon the speakers stand. These contained, a mild solution of potassium hydroxide, colored with phenolphthalein, some lemon juice, some vinegar, a little potassium acetate, a little potassium citrate, a test tube, and a medicine dropper. We were ready for our experiment. (You can perform this same experiment) .
While awaiting the audience to get settled, we placed the potassium citrate and the potassium acetate upon two small pieces of paper. The former salt is made from citric acid obtained from lemon; the latter salt is made from acetic acid, or vinegar, derived from the apple.
"Now, audience, please prepare to count the number of drops of this red liquid which we intend to drop into this lemon juice. When we have dropped a sufficient number of drops within the test tube, the red color will remain. Otherwise, each drop will turn white as soon as it strikes the lemon juice."
This experiment was evidently something new to the audience, and they paid strict attention and made accurate count. They also did the count while we used vinegar instead of lemon juice. Then each one figured percentage against the number of drops used from the red solution. Most of the audience came out with the correct figures. The experiment proved, by their own figures, that vinegar is approximately 6% acid, while lemon juice is 7 % acid.
"Not very likely that 1% difference in acidity would make a poison out of vinegar and a fine food product of lemon juice, do you think?" Perhaps, we said this with just the least bit of sarcasm. The young lady may have squirmed a little bit in her seat.
"Now, (passing the two pieces of white paper over to an attendant) please look at these two papers. Notice that the potassium acetate has caused moist water spots upon the paper, while the potassium citrate has not caused these moist water spots."
When the audience had viewed the papers, we continued: "this proves a slight difference in the physical properties of a potassium salt made from vinegar and the potassium salt made from lemon. The vinegar salt is hydroscopic—taking moisture from the air. You could say it is a de-hydrating agent."
"That's it!" shouted our young lady of doubt. "That's it. It dehydrates the body. That is what our professor said."
"Quite a large order for vinegar to dehydrate your body, don't you think?" The question did not confuse her. In fact, she came back with plenty of fight and shrewdness. If you could have seen the triumphant gleam in that young lady's eyes as she asked the next question, you would have felt sorry for the writer.
"How does it happen that warm vinegar will wilt lettuce and lemon juice will not?"
Our smile should have warned the young lady that she had let herself in for something, but she was too interested in looking over the audience, which in turn were watching her with quite a little satisfaction.
"Just that little dehydrating ability, young lady, which we have brought to your attention with the acetate salt on the paper. Vinegar withdraws some moisture from the lettuce leaf. The moisture of the lettuce leaf is what keeps it crisp. However, the simple action of wilting lettuce does not signify that vinegar is a poison, or that it has the ability to dehydrate the human body. Let us take a fresh, crisp, head of lettuce and cut it in two. Now place one half in the sunshine and the other half in a dark corner. Which half do you think will lose its moisture first?" We had only a second to wait the anticipated answer.
"The half in the sun, of course." The young lady spoke with certain knowledge.
"Then", we returned with a broad smile, "the sun must be a de-hydrating agent, and we would advise you to keep out of it."
Do you know, that young lady has never quite liked this writer since? We have gone to some length to impress upon you that fanatical, or emotional, ideas concerning foods, are sometimes the greater reason for many people not knowing what to believe about conflicting diet statements. A great variety of ideas, true or false, is the main reason for most people deciding to forget all diets and proceed to follow their taste desire to whatever end may await them.
Like type foods have a similar activity within the body. Their chemical and vitamin constituents may vary, but their digestibility is the same. Starches, from whatever source, digest under a given alkaline condition. Proteins, from any source, must pass through an acid digestive process before they may be assimilated. Acid fruits, of any find, furnish you with digestive alkali.
A diet, which says you may have an orange, but not a grape-fruit; rice, but not potato; chicken, but not lean pork, is a dictatorial one. There is no one reason back of such diets as far as digestibility is concerned. However, if your physician withdraws meat, or starch, he has a definite reason. There is no reason to remove tart fruits from any diet, except for a very rare condition called alkalosis.
No; vinegar is not a poison to the human system. It is a valuable, and cheap, means of balancing the alkali of your digestive system. In fact, vinegar is the greater part of a remedy used by a certain clinic for diabetics. This clinic knows that the diabetic per-son is always short of digestive alkali, a very main reason why that person is a victim of diabetes.
If your food budget must be trimmed in cost, do not forget to use plenty of vinegar. It will take the place of high priced fruits. Beet tops and dandelion can be substituted for spinach and lettuce. Potatoes and rice will furnish you the carbohydrates in cheaper and better form than high priced pastries. The cheaper cuts of meat are equal in protein and vitamin content to the higher price cuts. Cook them longer and chew harder.
It is not the cost of food which causes your bellyache. In fact, the family which spends twenty-five dollars a week for food, will often have more bellyaches than the family which spends half that amount. The person, who eats wisely, CAN NOT eat badly. Re-member, WHAT YOU DO NOT EAT HURTS YOU.
If you bellyachers, rich or poor, follow the chemical eating chart you will find sufficient food of all kind, and at a price range to suit every pocketbook. Beside, no indigestion means a saving in cash as well as misery.