Health depends to a large extent on nutrition, and nutrition on food. Food, in fact, is the most important single factor in connection with the attainment and maintenance of health. Every drop of blood in the body is conditioned by the food we eat and it is on blood that every tissue, every organ, every gland, and indeed every function of the body fundamentally depends.
By food is meant any material taken into the system that serves to sustain normal bodily processes. It is fallacy of our times to regard that anything and everything called food is good for health.
For any substance to be properly regarded as human food it must be capable of supplying the body with the material needed for the repair of body tissues and maintenance of various functions, while at the same time doing no harm to the body and in no way interfering with its activities. Food in order to replenish the body, therefore, must be food, so in selecting food make sure first that it is really food. We must live on truly nutritious food and not on anything generally considered as food.
To be healthy and in good condition, it is imperative to eat natural, wholesome food making sure that the food supply is in proper proportion and of a character or quality suitable for protecting the body. The chemical elements of the body combine to make brain, muscles, nerve, blood, skeletal tissue and body secretions. The elements of food are spoken of as nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, mineral salts and water. These are often called foodstuffs, indicating that they are stuff from which food is made.
One of the really difficult problems for the present generation is that much of our food no longer reaches us from the field, garden or orchard in the normal state as nature prepared it, to meet man’s nutritional needs. Such foods are now very largely collected and taken on the large commercial centres, where they are altered, preserved, pickled, denatured, cooked, sterilized, pasteurized – thus deprived of their most vital elements. Whatever is left which will stand over long distances transportation and keep indefinitely is sold to us in place of the original things which nature provided as food. Such denatured substances have no nutritive value and are far from being satisfactory substitute for natural foods.
By natural food we mean food as provided by Nature containing all the elements, and not flavoured or doctored or devitalized by man. No form of life can be supported wholly upon laboratory products and man is no exception to the fundamental law.
Few people understand the true meaning of natural foods. For they have been fed from childhood on unnatural, artificially prepared and manufactured foodstuffs which are detrimental to the normal functioning of the digestive organs and gradually impair our health. Our food is generally spoilt even before it is gathered.
Plants and trees often suffer from deficiency or excess of certain elements in the soil. Apart from growing mineral starved food we find that much of it is totally altered in composition. Millers have learnt to take from our grain the surrounding skin, the bran, which is extremely rich in health-giving elements, in mineral substances and vitamins.
Many people live largely on denatured, artificial foods. In ever increasing numbers people live on preserved foods. In order to make these artificial foods more attractive to consumers they are dyed with chemical dyes and flavours added. Thus men are made to subsist on scientific abominations totally unfit for the consumption of man or beast. We eat these foods because they are attractive to the eyes and to the palate and are very convenient because they can easily be prepared for the table.
These devitalized and demineralized foods lower the vitality and sap the health of the people who thereby fall a prey to various diseases and epidemics.
On top of it refrigerated, devitalized, denatured and manufactured foodless foods are relished and consumed day in and day out. Yet another menace is pesticides and spraying of vegetables, fruits, and in farms has been taking a heavy toll in the form of organic and blood diseases and even cancer.
We are living in a polluted world. There is poison in the air we breathe, poison in the food we eat and poison in the water we drink. Where does it all lead to? “Back to nature” is obviously not the solution to this tragic problem. A revision to the diet of primitive man is not a viable proposition but we could try and give preference to foodstuffs which retain their full natural properties and elements without which one cannot expect radiant health and resistance to external influences and diseases.
Natural food properly selected, scientifically combined, and judiciously administered has true remedial value and can cure disease by supplying the proper saline elements in organic form. These organic mineral elements in food preserve the tissues from disorganization and form putrefaction. These vitalizing minerals, salts and vitamins are vital to health, ward off disease and premature old age.
The degeneration of the human race has been brought about by the departure from its natural foods. The only basis of possible regeneration is a return to it.
It is undoubtedly true that our eating habits depend upon our economic status as well as the availability of foods. But it is equally true that beliefs, customs, traditions and prejudices influence our food habits much more than we realize. The general food beliefs of any community are a social product deeply entrenched in the minds of the community and practiced almost like a faith. These beliefs, therefore, significantly influence the nutritional status of these population groups, and become a force to reckon with in any nutrition programme.
Sir Robert Mc Carrison said, “The single factor in the acquisition and maintenance of good health is perfectly constituted food which consists particularly milk, milk products, whole grain cereals, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables.” These are called protective foods as they protect you against disease and epidemics. He adds that most people do not get enough of protective foods and their diet is therefore incomplete and results ultimately in disease.
Science today is finding in its researches a conglomeration of the truths uttered by Nature Cure pioneers many decades ago.
When studying and discussing food in its relation to the basic or fundamental principles:
- We must know what primary elements enter into the composition of the body.
- We must have knowledge of the chemical contents of our food.
- We must know how to combine food correctly in a meal from the standpoint of the chemistry of digestion.
- We must have a correct understanding of the relation food actually has to the body.
- We must understand the principles of alkaline and acid forming foods in their chemical reaction on the body.
- We must have a correct conception and understanding of the function of metabolism or the “science of nutrition.”