White And Entire Wheat Bread
( Originally Published 1921 )
A good deal has been said, during the past few years, as to the respective merits of entire wheat and white flour breads. Entire wheat flour is simply the whole grain ground' up; white, or so-called refined flour, is obtained by removing the germ and most of the outer covering of the grain. The ordinary "Graham" bread sold by most bakers is merely white flour mixed with bran, and usually a small amount of molasses or malt, to give color and flavor. This is not the same as entire wheat bread, because white flour and bran are only two out of several products of the mill, middlings, shorts, etc., also belonging to the bread.
The analysis of entire wheat and white flour, as given on page 32, shows the removal of the greater part of combined mineral from wheat, in the manufacture of modern white flour; and the same is true of the commercially ground corn meal. This is significant indeed, when so much is heard about "deficiency" diseases, and the association of deficiency of mineral and vitamine with nervous collapse, rickets, etc. The natural result of living on a more or less exclusive diet of white bread, white rice, refined sugars, demineralized breakfast foods, and vegetables that have been depleted of their mineral salts by improper cooking, is a condition of saline starvation; and it often manifests itself in nervous irritability, neuralgia, sciatica, and other complaints of a nervous origin. As one writer (Broadbent) has said, "A whole page could easily be filled with a list of protean maladies due to this condition.''
Thus we may say positively that what is craved by the normal appetite, and fills so important a place in the vital economy, is not the white sugar of commerce, but the saccharine elements in fruits and succulent vegetables. It is not the starch of refined white flour, or polished rice, or degerminated corn meal, that is needed to nourish the body and develop strength, but it is the amylaceous (starchy) matter and oily constituents contained in foods proper, which, when combined in the food entire, give honest, all-round building material.
Nearly one hundred years ago, Sylvester Graham led out in a great health movement in America, in which multitudes who had been considered incurable were restored to health by adopting his dietetic ideas. He advised his followers to eat entire wheat bread (it became known as Graham bread, after his name), which other people despised, just as the nations of the East were despising natural brown rice, and were suffering physical disorders in con-sequence. Graham taught the people the importance of the whole grain, including its outer coverings, and of the fresh green foods in all their strength. He advocated the use of the very foods that contain vitamine, and we are now in possession of evidence as to the scientific reasons for the results he obtained.
Polished rice, white bread, refined sugar, and demineralized foods generally, do not introduce some mysterious germ into the body : their use simply deprives the blood and the tissues of those particular elements which are essential for nutrition and growth in both children and adults, and which are contained in the portions that are removed in the refining process. It is thus that the body's defenses are broken down and its immunity destroyed. These so-called refined cereal foods, flours, flakes, sugars, etc., are but a modern invention. Our grandfathers knew little about them, and suffered less from the present-day deficiency diseases that tax the ingenuity of the medical profession and fill untimely graves.
Nature's remedies for many of the modern ills may be had by all. Unbolted wheat and corn breads, natural brown rice, with an abundance of fruit and succulent vegetables, furnish a combination of body building elements which makes for red blood and all-round general health. The best way to avoid disease, as well as to prepare for any "epidemic," is to build up the body's resistance by the use of wholesome, unprocessed foods, containing the organic ingredients necessary for the maintenance of a disease-resisting vitality, which is the best protective against the diseases that infest our world.