§ 24 -- Commercialism Disarms Nature
BABIES and small children are handicapped if their parents or nurses ignore the meaning of the thyroid gland. Animals cannot live without the thyroid under certain conditions, yet one of the elements necessary to the normal, healthy thyroid is deliberately removed from the diet every day.
The grains of the field, barley, rice, wheat, corn and rye, contain normal traces of iodine before they are refined, but there is not a chemist in the country who can discover a trace of this indispensable food mineral in a ton of refined white bread, biscuits, crackers, cakes, table syrups, cornstarch, tapioca, glucose, or sugar candy or in any of the other denatured foods upon which man is now striving to sustain a normal body under dreadful handicaps.
The thyroid gland is a protecting policeman on guard in the human body. The young child eating food unnatural to its requirements possesses no such police protection. It lives in a state of physiological anarchy. Excess meat in the diet affects not only the thyroid but the liver as well.
In the ingenious experiment conducted by Eck a ligature was applied to the portal vein close to the liver, thus cutting out the liver from the portal circuit of a dog. It was found that a dog thus treated died in three days when fed upon meat, whereas another when fed upon bread and milk lived in excellent health for an indefinite length of time, notwithstanding the cutting off of its liver functions.
Pavlov showed that the liver has three times as much work to do on a meat diet as on a meatless diet.
According to Bryce, flesh foods, at the time they are consumed, contain on an average of 200,000,000 putrefactive bacteria in every gram. But he shows that nature has not left us to the tender mercies of these poison-producers. This is proved by the fact that auto-intoxication does not disturb people in normal health, all of whose organs and glands, including the thyroid, either by good fortune or by the exercise of intelligent discretion are normally nourished, thereby enabling them to carry on their functioning.
The people of America are consuming more meat than any other nation of the world and whether they know it or not they are consuming meat and meat products that have entered into advanced stages of putrefaction.
Frequently they attribute cases of ptomaine poisoning to canned tomatoes, condensed milk, huckleberry pie, cheese sandwiches, and other foods. The real truth is never suspected.
In twenty-six months I was able to obtain forty-seven convictions in the courts against meat packers, sausage manufacturers, and wholesale provision merchants for selling deodorised rotten meats and meat products, chemically treated, so as to disguise from the unsuspecting purchaser their true condition.
I have also obtained the removal from office of veterinarians and inspectors in the employ of health departments and of the Bureau of Animal Industry for the assistance given by them to influential but conscienceless food panderers who have not heeded these laws of life in their pursuit of dollars.
The details of these convictions are a matter of court record. In the meantime, even when meat is honest, fresh, wholesome, and cut from carcasses of animals free from infectious and contagious diseases at the time of slaughter, it requires normal organs to dispose of it properly.
These normal organs require the elements found in natural food to keep them normal. Modern commercialism helps to put putrefactive products into the human body and then by refining food takes away many of the tools with which nature fights these putrefactions.
The thyroid gland, through the many serious diseases which follow a disturbance of its functions, helps to emphasise the necessity in the diet of every individual, adult or child, of the food minerals which are squandered by modern civilisation with reckless abandon.
Spring time is the season of high spirits in nature. Man alone in the spring complains of lassitude. All around him under the action of nature's unmolested law he witnesses the miracle of rising sap, the quickening strength that swells the bud, the impelling energy that forces the spear of grass to lift itself upward through the lately frozen clod.
Man contrasts his weariness with the power and mastery, the sparkle and glow, the warmth and buoyancy of spring, yet just as the earth has the green grass in its depths so has he the freshness of nature in his heart. He is just as much a part of nature; nature's law grips him just as tightly in its grasp. He needs his "tonic," or thinks he does, because he does not follow the laws of life, but closes his eyes upon them and sets up standards of his own. Unhappily his standards are at war with heaven, and so he pays his price in death.
The time has come when we must teach the child that if he wishes to live and grow strong and be useful he must eat the food God has made necessary to the growth of his body. We shall soon learn how to select that food.
In the bodies of animals and plants the twelve food minerals are built up into many highly complex combinations, and as they are being built up they are also being broken down. In disease they break down faster than in health.
As the tissue is destroyed by daily wear and tear it is transformed into simpler chemical compounds and passed out of the body. In order that the living body may replace its broken down cells it must find a constant new supply of the elements from which those cells are evolved.
These elements, as we find them in the soil, can be called non-living matter. The chemical processes which transform this non-living matter into living tissues are the same in plant and animal with this one difference:
Plants are capable of taking the non-living matter from the earth, compounding or organizing it into the wonderfully complex substances which form their structure.
Animals do not possess this power. Animals depend for their existence upon foodstuffs prepared from the non-living matter of earth by the plants that have the power to prepare them. Otherwise man could eat earth, stone, or clay and thus obtain all the elements necessary to his existence. We have seen why he cannot do this.
Plants obtain the energy which enables them to perform their mysterious work of organising the non-living matter of earth from the sun. Only in the presence of sunlight can they carry on the upbuilding processes which give them their tissues. Green grass will not grow in the dark.
We know under the influence of sunlight plants are capable of combining the carbonic gas and nitrogen of the air with water and the mineral salts of the soil into such substances as starch, fat, and albumen. They always do this in the presence of the food minerals.
Their ability to bring about these changes depends upon the presence of a chemical substance found in their green part which is called chlorophyl. We know that chlorophyl requires exposure to the sun's rays in order that it may be able to perform its serious work, but of the processes by which it does that work we know little.
We know various parts of the plant and various organs of the body contain substances that can be extracted. These substances are called enzymes or ferments or vitamines. Some of them are pepsin, trypsin, ptyalin. There are many others which need not be mentioned here.
These ferments and vitamines are found in the germ and bran of grains, in the marrow of bones, in egg yolk, in leaves, fruit juices, whole milk and greens, and are just as indispensable to the health of the body as the food minerals.
We now know positively that in the human body they serve the purpose of changing the various foodstuffs which are furnished to the animal by the plant into substances that can be absorbed and built up into animal tissues.
Ordinary bakers' yeast is a ferment having the power to transform starch and sugar into alcohol and carbonic gas. It possesses the power to rearrange the molecular composition of sugar and starch.
It is a strange but interesting fact that formaldehyde and wood alcohol, which are deadly poisons, contain exactly the same elements as those which make up the composition of grain alcohol, and acetic acid, whiskey, and vinegar.
Starch, cane sugar, glucose, lactic acid, and carbolic acid also contain the same elements exactly -- carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The only difference among them is in proportion and arrangement. It is this arrangement which makes some of them beneficial foods and some of them deadly poisons.
Ordinary starch can be converted into sugar by the action of ferments. Sugar can then be converted by the action of other ferments into lactic acid, alcohol, and acetic acid, depending entirely upon the character of the ferment employed.
In other words, there are good and bad ferments. That we sometimes allow the bad ferments to develop and kill off the good ones with so-called "harmless" preservatives will be shown as we proceed.
It was thought at one time that the ferments found in the digestive glands were the only ferments to be found in the animal body. Accordingly our knowledge of their conduct in the processes of digestion was limited and in the treatment of many diseases the symptoms alone were treated for the reason that the cause was never suspected.
It has been determined in recent years that ferments are of many kinds, are present in every cell and are intimately concerned in all the manifestations of life.
As many as a dozen different ferments have been found, for example, in the liver cells.
It has also been demonstrated that for the maintenance of life in the case of the higher plants the organised ferments are of profound importance. Through them the higher plants obtain their nitrogen from the air in a form which they can utilise.
So it is seen that even in the presence of all the necessary food minerals, if the ferments be absent or destroyed or decomposed, vegetable or animal life cannot be normal.
Each of these ferments has a special function to perform. In the animal body, for instance, some of them, such as pepsin, can act to advantage only under acid condition. Others, such as ptyalin, require an alkaline condition. Still others can act under acid, alkaline, or neutral conditions. Fixed laws control them.
Certain ferments will act only upon certain definite substances and under the proper conditions.
Fat-splitting ferments, for instance, act only upon lard, butter, cream, oil; diastase ferments act only upon starch and sugar; proteolytic ferments act only upon albumen.
Of their chemical composition little is known that is definite and just as little is known of the equally important vitamines. We do know, however, that food of the wrong kind, food badly prepared, food which has suffered an unnatural loss of some of its elements, can set up conditions hostile to the action of these ferments, and that in setting up these conditions we invite physiological discord, disease.
We know that human gastric juice is acid in action, that it contains sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and chlorine, and depends upon these elements for its physiological activities.
We know if we remove any of these elements or change any of them or prevent the body from finding any of them, by removing them from our food, we thereby establish unnatural conditions in the gastric juice and inevitably bring about disorder.
We know that pancreatic juice, unlike gastric juice, is alkaline in action and contains sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and lime.
From this fact we learn that one part of the digestion is carried on in an acid medium while another part is carried on in an alkaline medium, and our conception of the intricacies of the human laboratory increases in admiration and amazement.
In our continued contemplation of these mysteries it becomes more and more evident that man has no right to ignore the wonderfully complicated structure of the human body when he decides to go into business and manufacture for profit the hundred foodless foods which have become so popular on the breakfast, dinner, and supper tables of unsuspecting Americans.
The enzymes, ferments, and vitamines exert such a profound influence upon digestion and assimilation that we receive a shock when we learn that in the preparation of many of our most commonplace foods we destroy them or so completely change their nature that the functions which they are expected to perform are so modified as to make them useless.
The mineral salts that we have described; the ferments, enzymes, and vitamines -- let us put it bluntly -- are removed from our daily food by commercial practices that pander to false taste standards. The industries that remove them have succeeded, to some extent at least, in establishing high-sounding justification for their work and up to this stage of the world's enlightenment have been equal to the task of fogging the atmosphere sufficiently to cloud any attempted work of reform under the darkness of controversy.
Chemists and pathologists are found willing to go on record with some such statements as these: "Of the metabolism of foods, of chemical change, of the exact action of enzymes and bacteria, we are profoundly ignorant, therefore we should not give consideration to the mineral contents of our diet.
"We derive so many minerals from so many articles of food that we can afford to remove most of them from our diet; and, furthermore, so little is known about the conduct of these minerals when ingested with food that the subject is at least not important enough to occasion grave alarm.
"There are so many offsetting foods which completely replace the mineral salts and vitamines lost through commercial methods of food refinement that we need not worry about the presence of these substances in our food supply."
Signed statements and magazine articles appearing regularly in the magazines of uplift, the purpose of which is everlastingly to quiet natural anxieties concerning commercial foodstuffs, in spite of the death of 400,000 children under ten years of age in the United States every year, constitute the defence of those whose food industries would suffer if the people enacted state and national laws that would forbid them to denature their food supply.
For reasons of their own these men tell us we have sufficient carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (bread, meat, and butter), so we need not bother about the minerals or ferments of our food.
Yet they admit they know nothing about the food minerals. Prior to 1912 the only thing the public ever heard of in connection with a description of food was the academic division made by dietitians. This division consisted of three groups -- carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. There was another division to which some of them, on rare occasions, slurringly referred. They called this fourth division "ash."
The division of ash was always exasperatingly ignored and apparently had little if any meaning for dietitians and was not considered by them as significant or important.
As it began to dawn upon various investigators working at different places in Europe and America that a diet of pure carbohydrates, pure proteins, and pure fats would not support life, the subject of "ash" grew more formidable and more fascinating.
Physicians and chemists everywhere admitted that personally they knew nothing about ash in relationship to food and did not know where to obtain information.
It is the ash of food that contains the mineral salts of that food. When the mineral salts are removed they take the vitamines with them.
Tons of ashless food, denatured food, demineralised food, debased, impoverished, foodless food, were consumed along with good and adequate food by the 400,000 children under ten years of age who died in the United States last year.
How many of them would be alive and well to-day if none of their foods had been denatured, if all of it had been good and adequate? That is the question we must answer here.
The history of life on this earth, including the history of micro-organisms, or germs, as they are popularly called, is the history of food.
As the bodies of men are built from the building materials found in food, so the bodies of bacteria are also built from the building materials found in their food.
Bacteria may become violently active, or feeble to the point of exhaustion, in accordance with the kind of food offered them. Man is affected by his food in the same way.
The blushing maiden of sixteen and the trained athlete of thirty are physically but the sum-total of the food they have assimilated.
The old man, normally approaching the hour of dissolution, represents all that is left of the processes of assimilation and elimination which, even prior to birth, were carried on only by virtue of the food energies presented to the embryo from which he came.
The new-born babe, in all the pink freshness of its little sleepy life, represents only that fragment of the food appropriated by its bones and tissues during its embryonic existence.
The bacteria that convert milk, eggs, meat, fish, and other foods into poisons, represent, according to their activity, the ease with which they are able to find the kind of food necessary to their rapid growth or the difficulty placed in the way of their normal nutrition and reproduction.
Bacteria, with a significance worthy of noting here, depend upon the mineral salts and colloids precisely in the same manner as that in which the bodies of men depend upon them.
As we go along we shall encounter many interesting, not to say fascinating, proofs of this statement.
For the present we have learned that a certain combination of some twelve mineral elements is surrendered by our food for the building processes of our bodies.
All foods contain some of these building materials; other foods contain all of them.
Many foods, for instance, contain calcium in the highly organised combinations which are acceptable to the needs of the human body. Commercial methods of manufacture remove this calcium from their products.
Absurd methods of home-cooking also remove them. That such calcium loss should not be tolerated is disclosed by a study of the functions performed in the body by calcium.
Calcium assists the digestive ferments to perform their duties. When food is robbed of its calcium normal digestion does not progress. This influence on ferments is not confined to the digestive tract. In the laboratory and the food factory also we see it at work.
Rennet, for instance, is a ferment. It is used to make curd from milk. Curd is the first step in the manufacture of cheese. That the rennet may perform its duties in the manner expected by the cheese-maker it is necessary that the calcium natural to all normal milk be perfectly soluble. To make sure of this solubility the cheese-maker adds hydrochloric acid to the milk. He knows that if the calcium is thrown out of solution the curd will never become cheese.
Oxalic acid would throw the calcium out of solution. So would sterilisation at the boiling point. In any mixture of milk so treated the ferment rennet, thus deprived of the influence of calcium, refuses to operate and the cheese maker makes no cheese.
If, while in a state of health, you should cut your finger, the soluble calcium in your blood would cause it to coagulate at the surface of the wound and you would not bleed to death, as you would if it were not for the interference of the calcium at the disposal of nature.
In certain diseases where the normal content of calcium is no longer present in the blood the wound refuses to heal. One of the commonest symptoms of anaemia, acidosis, nervous prostration, etc., is the refusal of even the slightest wounds to heal promptly.
Surgeons, realising the importance of this function performed by calcium, frequently attempt to introduce it into the blood before serious operations in the form of calcium lactate. They do this in order to prevent hemorrhage following the use of the knife.
No hint of the function performed by calcium is ever found on a bill of fare in a restaurant or hotel.
No placard hangs on the wall in the office of the food factory cautioning the factory manager against the toleration of any process of refinement through which calcium or any of the other mineral elements of prepared food are removed and lost to the human family.
Yet when we diminish the proper quantity of calcium in our blood we correspondingly lower our vitality and reduce our resistance to disease.
In every kitchen, restaurant, hotel, boarding house, hospital, orphan asylum and commissary food, through ignorant methods of cookery, is not only robbed of its calcium but it is also robbed of many of its other mineral salts and colloids. Before food reaches the kitchen the manufacturer robs it of a large percentage of these priceless mineral elements.
Dr. James R. Mitchell, while lecturer of chemistry at Fort Worth University Medical College, supplemented the work of other investigators by a study which showed 86 percent of the school children of Louisville were suffering from defective teeth, in spite of the fact that they live in the "limestone" state.
It has been said that Kentucky is a veritable quarry of calcium. Yet, in the presence of millions of tons of bone and tooth-building material the children of this calcium kingdom had so much difficulty in finding sufficient calcium for their needs that 86 percent of them, in the calcium capital itself, manifested the most conspicuous symptoms of calcium starvation.
With a zeal born of indignation, and therefore, because of its ardor, considered in high places unethical, Mitchell pointed out how dentists prescribe tooth washes and tooth-pastes; how they advocate oral hygiene; how they fill cavities and fit bridges, while all the time the primary cause of tooth-destruction remains ignored.
We know if there is a deficiency of calcium salts in the food the body will actually tear down its own structure in order to obtain the calcium necessary to maintain the integrity of its internal secretions.
In the case of a calcium deficiency in the food the body goes to the only available source of calcium supply, the lime of the teeth and bones. That lime is gradually consumed until, weakening the structure of the teeth, it finally leaves but a shell of fluoride enamel over a honey-combed structure.
In Ireland, where calcium deficiency is conspicuous, there is an old saying among the peasantry. "With every child goes a tooth," runs this adage. The fact that maternity is so frequently followed by tooth troubles, a result of the demand of the unborn upon the mother's tissue for bone-building calcium, has been noted by many observers and probably accounts for the quotation credited to Irish women.
Where calcium is abstracted from the tooth under-structure, the thin enamel, made thinner by fluorine starvation, sooner or later cracks or breaks under pressure, thereby opening an avenue for the entrance of putrefactive bacteria, which begin the work of true decay. The ruin is really accomplished long before any evidence of decay is disclosed.
Sugar and fruit acids have no effect on the enamel of normal teeth. Sound teeth can be immersed in a solution of sugar or fruit acids for months and suffer no erosion. The experiments of E. Howard Tunison and others have proved this.
Sugar does not act directly on the teeth at all, and the dentist treats the symptom, not the cause, of bone destruction when he plugs up cavities and fits bridges.
This observation is not intended to minimise in any manner the importance of skilful dental treatment, keen appreciation of which is not wanting by the writer.
Sugar and calcium possess a remarkable affinity for each other. When refined sugar or glucose, both of which are mineral-free and, therefore, like distilled water mineral-hungry, are consumed in generous quantities they attack the soluble calcium of the tissues.
The tissues retaliate in turn by sapping the calcium of the blood. The blood, which demands a minimum calcium content, with never relaxing energy steals calcium from the teeth and bones. The experiments of Voit and others prove this.
Druggists know how wonderfully calcium combines with sugar. Accordingly they manufacture what is known as syrup of lime. One thousand parts of water will take up approximately one part of calcium. When sugar is added the water will take up approximately thirty-five times as much calcium.
Children will suffer and prospective mothers decline as long as they consume an excess of refined or denatured, mineral-free sugar, glucose and starch in their diet or as long as food industries continue to remove the soluble mineral elements from the chief sources of their food supply.
As we advance step by step in our study of the indispensable food minerals we shall approach one of the prolific causes of infant mortality; one of the prolific causes of pallor and anaemia among women and, as shall be conclusively proved in its proper place, one of the greatest single causes behind the difficulties of maternity as well as one of the greatest single causes of many preventable ills which attack child and adult alike.
Butcher shops grind the bones of the ox, sheep, and hog into what they call "chicken bone." It has been noted by poultry and egg producers that if hens are not fed a plentiful supply of calcium in the form of such "chicken bones" or in the form of cracked oyster shells or other similar calcium food, they will lay soft-shelled eggs for a while, then cease to lay eggs of any kind.
The dog which on a meat diet is not also fed bone will, like the human, suffer tooth decay. His skin will be tettered; his hair will fall out, his disposition will be mean.
The lioness of the circus cage fed with meat alone brings forth cubs with cleft palates. Meat does not provide the calcium necessary to the formation of the bones of her cubs.
Caged mice fed with distilled water and processed corn meal, such as is purchasable in every grocery store in the United States, develop "nerves" just as men and women robbed of their calcium also develop "nerves." As the calcium-free diet is continued the mice are stricken with convulsions, passing in the meantime through all the symptoms of pellagra, beri-beri, acidosis, and general prostration.
What are the effects of the removal of the calcium from the food consumed by the large army of adults afflicted at the age of forty and beyond with hardening of the arteries, heart disease, Bright's disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.?
In the laboratory when pneumonia germs are studied it is found that a little sprinkle of calcium will revive a culture in a stationary state.
Calcium is necessary for the strength of the bones, for the hardness of the teeth, for the firmness of the muscles, for the tone of the nerves, for the coagulation of the blood on demand, for every pulsation of the heart, for the digestion of the food, for the functioning of the kidneys and other vital organs, for the health of the body.
When a baby is deprived of its necessary calcium its bones are softened. The muscle deprived of its calcium quivers and twitches. The nerves under such deprivation act in similar manner.
We know how oxalic acid acts on the body when introduced with food. We do not know how other chemicals act upon tissue calcium, yet the food manufacturer who employs other chemicals gives no thought to the manner in which his germicidal agents may interfere with the integrity of life's processes.
Food manufacturers declare their chemical preservatives are "harmless." Scientists are found to agree with them. Thus they set up arguments of such plausible and convincing character that the government has been prevailed upon to permit them to employ chemicals in the manufacture of a hundred food products.
One thing is certain. There is premature and untimely death everywhere. Men and women suffer out fifty years of more or less misery instead of living the same fifty years in a state of bounding, buoyant energy and health. Yet eminent professors declare it is unscientific to connect untimely death and preventable ills with the follies of our diet system.
We shall see as we progress whether it is unscientific to establish such a connection between food folly and disease or whether it is the refusal to admit such connection which is unscientific.
This we know. Some dozen drugs can now be legally put into food intended for interstate commerce and another dozen are permitted by various state governments in the manufacture of foods not intended for interstate commerce.
At least twelve necessary mineral elements can be legally taken out of foods intended for interstate commerce. Thus the manufacturer is permitted to add to nature's formula or subtract from it at will, depending entirely upon what he considers necessary in attaining the commercial results desired.
The 400,000 children under ten years of age who died last year loved their "innocent" cakes, cookies, crackers and biscuits; their "innocent" white bread smeared with syrup and factory jam; their "innocent" gorgeously coloured candies.
We smile at the very thought of the farmer mixing with his carefully and scientifically prepared food the red, blue, green, yellow, brown and purple ribbon dyes of the coal tar family which the law permits the manufacturer of foods intended for human consumption to use.
We smile at the thought of his adding to his cattle food borax, sulphurous acid, saccharine, sodium benzoate, copper sulphate, aluminum sulphate, anhydrous sodium sulphite, butyric ether, amyl ether, cenanthic ether, ethel ether, valarienate ether, formic ether, benzoic ether, acetic ether, esters, aldehydes, coumarin, vanillin, pyrolygneus acid, soap bark, furniture glue, lamp black, shellac, gum benzoin, paraffine, stearic acid, hydrogenated fats, hydrolised starch and other foodless substances so frequently mixed with the food of the growing child and the nursing mother.
All these substances at this hour are now in use in the United States. With the exception of borax and copper sulphate they are all legal.
Little pigs are tenderly cared for; the young colt, the baby calf, the wee chicks, are watched with a solicitous eye. Caution, vigilance, common-sense, scientific knowledge, are exercised to produce stock that will yield a profit. In consequence, when money is invested in animals they are fed on a diet carefully arranged and their young do not die untimely deaths when their food is of a proper kind.
But human beings! That is another matter. The law says, "You shall not consume carbolic acid, arsenic, opium, cocaine, morphine or heroin, nor shall you purchase them under any circumstances whatsoever unless the law's restrictions are removed by trained and licensed physicians."
The law also says in substance: "The food of your children may be whatsoever the food manufacturer sees fit to sell you."
You are now prepared for the long neglected truths concerning that great human destroyer -- the white bread of America. You will now learn exactly how your daily bread is robbed of its vitalising mineral elements, not its calcium alone but its iron, potassium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, iodine, its ferments, enzymes and vitamines.
You will now learn how to go about the work of getting your share of straightforward, honest food such as nature provides for you and desires your children to consume.
Three times each day for three hundred and sixty-five days each year a table is spread in each of twenty million households in the United States. This means that sixty million meals, however simple, are served for the pleasure and nutrition of the family between the rising and setting of every sun.
At each of these annual billions of occasions -- the exceptions are too few to count -- 21,900,000,000, to be exact, the housewife places one article of food on the table. Whether that table be set in a mansion or in a hovel, whether it be loaded with an abundance of the luxuries of life or whether its contents be confined to one or two simple articles of food, there is one food always present.
Is it to be wondered at, therefore, that bread is called the "staff of life"?
What then if the staff on which humanity leans so trustingly be broken?
The flour advertisements with which the magazines are crowded tell us peculiar and wonderful things about flour. Millions of dollars are spent annually to inform us that our flour is washed, brushed, scoured, screened, and sifted through grits gauze and silk bolting cloth until nothing leaves the mill but utterly perfect flour! As late as August, 1918, The Saturday Evening Post published an advertisement of the Quaker Oats Company, frankly telling the public that "Quaker Best Corn Meal" contains none of the fibrous outer coat, none of the oily germ, nothing but the flinty starchy part.
Millions of dollars are spent annually to exploit the virtues of anemic crackers, denatured biscuits, and foodless cakes. Devoted mothers, believing the statements made to them through the highly coloured printed page and the gaudily decorated bill-board, rely with a profound faith upon the demineralised nutriment which advertising art extols. Their babes, from the very beginning, are taught with a broken staff to walk.
Thus is reared a race of such vigour that it sends in one year nearly 400,000 children under ten years of age where white bread and starchy biscuits are no longer needed.
Nature never made a white grain of wheat and man never knew the meaning of white flour until he conceived the fetching idea of startling his guests with bread as white and lifeless as the aristocratic napery on which it is served.
The unrefined grain of wheat as it comes from the field contains in organic form the twelve mineral substances needed for the health, growth and life of the animal body. Chickens, guinea pigs, white mice, or monkeys fed on bread made from the unrefined wheat thrive indefinitely, but chickens, guinea pigs, white mice, or monkeys fed on an exclusive white bread diet perish in from five to seven weeks.
Wherefore the whiteness of white bread? How is this whiteness obtained? These are questions which we have set out to answer.
White bread becomes white because from the ground grain of wheat three-fourths of the mineral salts and colloids, including the salts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, chlorine, fluorine, sulphur, magnesium, manganese, etc., are removed. These mineral substances are contained in the brown outer skin, the cells underneath this skin and the germ of the wheat berry. They are sifted and bolted out of the ground meal leaving behind the white starchy cells and the refined gluten of the interior part of the berry.
Nature, in her most benevolent efforts to teach man that he cannot trespass with impunity against the laws of life, through thousands of years of agricultural experience, has failed to impress him with the priceless value of these subtle substances in the assembling of which for his needs she travels through so many subtle and divers paths.
In the whitening of flour not only are the mineral salts and colloids removed from the wheat, but its ferments or vitamines, one of which was discovered by M. Mege Mouries in the inner cortical part of the wheat, are rejected.
The millers who make our flour and our corn meal assure us that they are conferring a great blessing upon humanity in preparing a refined white product. To obtain a still whiter whiteness they even go so far as to bleach by an electro-chemical process the demineralised flour which passes through their silk bolting cloths.
To confront them with 400,000 children under ten years of age who died in the United States last year, notwithstanding the daily familiarity with white breadstuffs which these children suffered without resistance, is but to provoke a smile fortified by "proofs" of the benevolence of their conduct. These "proofs" usually bear the signature of scientists.
What scientists' signatures can open up those little graves and deliver back to the fond and empty arms of grieving parents the million five hundred thousand children that have died in this country during the past four years?
What will scientists' signatures do for the enfeebled soldiers who survive the European war or for their half-fed widows and orphans during the reconstruction period that faces them?
In the many public controversies which I have had with the millers they have frankly admitted that they do not give the people white flour or white bread products through their own choice. They say that because the people think they want white flour and white bread they are obliged to cater to such wants. These admissions are nevertheless usually accompanied by a statement that white bread as contrasted with bread made from the whole grain possesses "superior digestibility."
Nothing is said of the alarming increase of cancer, diabetes, Bright's disease, heart disease and hardening of the arteries now causing so much concern among life insurance companies on account of the fact that their chief victims are found in middle age.
Nothing is said about the fact that at the age of forty, when man should be at his best, and continuing until his fiftieth year the increase in these diseases is at its height.
There is much evidence to indicate that middle-age mortality is directly associated with denatured food. All of such evidence will be submitted here in its proper place.
Of course there are other causes also at work in the production of some of these increasingly prevalent middle-age diseases but the facts which will be treated with sufficient detail, indicate conclusively that demineralised and refined food is chief among these causes.
There are many prejudices to overcome before whole wheat bread, whole wheat cakes, whole wheat biscuits, whole wheat muffins, whole wheat waffles and other whole wheat breadstuffs, with all their wealth of vitality, can be restored to the people.
Some of the millers declare the bran of wheat is a powerful irritant and, therefore, people not in normal health cannot use it without injury.
They say whereas bran in whole wheat might be advantageous in special cases -- an admission suggested by the recent appearance on the market of numerous brands of bran -- it is an undesirable element in bread because it is "indigestible."
Pepper is "indigestible," so is nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, mace, allspice, cloves. The fibre of orange, pineapple, celery, string beans, asparagus, canteloupe, is "indigestible." The seeds of strawberries, raspberries, figs, grapes, are "indigestible," just as the bran of wheat is "indigestible" and for the same reason, if the word "indigestible" is assumed to mean that in their journey through the body none of these substances is taken up by the body and transformed into tissue.
None of such substances is actually indigestible. In its course through the body the bran surrenders its soluble extractives which are taken up by the tissues and the residue which remains behind is a water absorber. As such it performs a most important and necessary function in the intestines.
Every time we eat a roasted or boiled ear of corn we eat the bran. Every time we eat Boston baked beans or fresh peas we eat the bran of these legumes. It is well that we eat these things because, while they are not digested in themselves in the sense of being taken up and oxidised in the production of heat or energy, they nevertheless contribute to the body the soluble salts and colloids which they contain and without which energy-producing foods are useless to the living body.
Let us take an animal membrane such as a bladder and fill it with a solution of any of the food minerals and hang it on a nail against the wall. It will hang there for days, weeks, or months, and there will be no leakage of its contents through the skin. Not a drop will ooze through the membrane to appear on the outside. We see that it guards its contents as faithfully as would a glass bottle properly corked.
If we now take the filled bladder and immerse it in a tub containing another solution of different density a remarkable phenomenon will be observed. The contents of the bladder will begin to pass out through the membrane into the solution on the, outside, and the solution on the outside will begin to pass through the membrane to the inside, so that eventually the solution on the outside and the solution on the inside will be identical in character.
The dissimilar liquids will be thoroughly diffused. The process by which this diffusion is brought about is called osmosis. Osmosis is going on in the body all the time.
We create and thus change the mineral constituency of the internal secretions every time we eat. We thereby continue to change the character and density of the fluids in which the cells are bathed. Thus do the cells obtain their nutriment. As long as life continues osmosis does not cease. Protoplasm derives its nutriment through this process of osmosis.
In fevers or wasting diseases accompanied by extreme exhaustion as the result of inability to consume food, or in cases of starvation, the fluids inside the cells gradually become identical in specific gravity with the fluids in which they are bathed so that osmosis becomes very feeble. When it ceases altogether death ensues.
The minerals nature has put into wheat and the other grains and man so deliberately removes from his diet are lost to all his needs and the vitalising mission they are designed to perform are not performed.
Just as chopped meat surrenders its mineral salts to the water in which it is immersed so also does the bran of the grain surrender its minerals to the internal secretions of the body.
But bran not only furnishes indispensable mineral salts to the body. It also acts as a regulator of the peristaltic action of the alimentary tract by which the contents of the intestines are kept moving onward and downward.
One of the curses white bread and refined grain foods impose upon humanity is constipation. A thousand ills are traceable to this disorder. Patent medicines by the hundreds have been marketed in order to help pill-consumers bridge over the misery their white bread inflicts upon them.
Constipation is the malevolent origin of the woes of many American women who, through the congestion set up by inhibited peristalsis, are afflicted with uterine and ovarian disease that make their lives miserable. Constipation is not the trifling disorder the public foolishly believes it to be. We are about to see how grave it really is and to what extent it undermines the health and vitality of America. A proper understanding of the significance of constipation will destroy the white bread superstition.
The world little suspects the gravity of constipation, or the readiness with which it submits to correction. Even the physician needs to be reminded of the serious nature of this preventable and entirely unnecessary evil.
Listen to what Drs. John H. Musser and George Morris Piersol of the University of Pennsylvania have to say to their brother physicians throughout the United States if you would appreciate the folly of looking upon constipation as a trifling disease. Here are their words:
"No clinical symptom is more frequently encountered in the practice of medicine than constipation. The commonplace and obstinate character of the affection is perhaps responsible for the prevalence of the idea that constipation is a necessary evil rarely capable of permanent cure.
"As a result of this false and dangerous attitude the people are prone to look upon the condition with indifference, which allows them to be content with a certain degree of temporary relief, too often brought about by the easiest means at their disposal, namely, the use of purgative drugs.
"This attitude is not only erroneous, it is harmful. Constipation is but a symptomatic expression of some underlying disorder, and any treatment to be efficient must be directed, not to the temporary removal of the symptom, but at the cause.
"Dietetic errors are among the most frequent general causes of constipation. These consist in food which is deficient in residue (bran) by reason of which the bowel is deprived of the mechanical and chemical stimuli necessary to promote proper intestinal activity.
"A diet suitable for constipation must be one which will furnish adequate stimuli to the intestinal mucosa by means of undeposited residue and the various chemical substances elaborated during its digestion."
Do these words of Drs. Musser and Piersol, directed in such serious manner to the medical profession, clash with the philosophy of ridicule preached by the millers? To the victims of constipation who are so easily influenced by plausible assertions I leave the answer.
"Be careful," say the millers, "on your journey, John, not to eat any white bread. If you do your teeth will fall out. Be sure somewhere to get a spoonful of bran in your grub or you will become a victim of the Philippine itch. Keep a sharp lookout for that brown, brindled, spotted rough stuff known as whole wheat bread or you will surely perish."
In the face of this sort of attack, aimed at the weakness of human nature to withstand the assaults of ridicule, however far-fetched, great truths are content to be smothered and old evils abide with us unmolested.
Drs. Musser and Piersol are explicit in their advice to their fellow-physicians. Here are their plain statements:
"Whole wheat bread, whole rye bread, or pumpernickel should be used in preference to white bread.
"Whole oatmeal and the coarser cereals, such as whole corn-meal, are important adjuncts."
The scoffers must surely experience difficulty in dismissing such statements when they emanate from recognised authorities.
What we want, however, are not statements, but proofs. This is why we began at the beginning, why we are content to make progress step by step, why we are dealing only in established facts.
The references of Musser and Piersol to whole oatmeal, whole corn meal, and the coarser cereals will, in their proper places, release a volley of proofs, each one of them sufficiently startling in itself to provoke a panic among the commercial beneficiaries of denatured breakfast-foods and breadstuffs.
It has been conclusively established that bread made of the whole wheat, just as it comes through the cleaning machines from the field, together with the other unrefined foods to which these words are dedicated, will save our daughters and our daughters' children from the hundred evils which food follies have imposed upon them.
Dr. Albert Westlake, in his paper on "Babies' Teeth to the Twelfth Year," says:
"Babies' teeth should receive consideration at least six months; before the child is born. Necessary elements in their building are furnished at this period by the mother's blood.
"Teeth require more organic phosphates, particularly the phosphates of calcium, and more calcium carbonate than other parts of the body; therefore, bone food is necessary for the mother (cows' milk, eggs, especially yolks, peas, beans, lentils, whole wheat, outer grains, etc.). Dietetic treatment for the mother is very important at this period while bone is forming.
"The intestines of the child are also undergoing vital changes at this period and earlier. This includes, as has been established by Dr. Herbert D. Pease, the primary fixation of the child's intestine in the left hypochondriac region.
"It is therefore vital to the off-spring to establish perfect peristalsis of the mother's intestines. Elimination and evacuation should be regular without drugs. Constipation is the enemy of both mother and child."
Because constipation in the United States causes more human misery than drunkenness we shall not dismiss the subject until it is considered in connection with the prevalence of acidosis and cancer, now on the rapid increase from coast to coast.
The demand for laxative pills, cathartics and heart depressors for the relief of constipation and the headaches due to the absorption of retained toxines from congested intestines overloaded with decay, is greater than the demand of the "morning after" for bracers.
It is needless to reassert this truth, for all of us know that if we ask any druggist what one so-called remedy is most coveted by the human race we shall be told that "constipation pills" sit on the mountain top of popular clamour for relief from distress.
The average creature, who lives largely on food deficient in cellulose, fibre, and mineral salts, needs no description of the misery constipation begets, but there is another warning for such creatures which should not be ignored.
Diagnosticians are agreed that many of the ills that plague human nature are preceded by a history of constipation. They also agree that freedom from constipation averts many ills.
They are not agreed upon the cause of cancer. Some of them believe cancer is a premature aging and breaking down of the cells. They hold that certain cells become aged while the tissues around them are still in a state of comparative youth. The aging cells they say express their senility by returning to a more embryonic form and as they do so increase in number, thus resulting in the morbid growth they call cancer.
In the opinion of many cancer specialists this faculty of multiplication is one of the manifestations of degenerating cells.
Other cancer specialists hold that cancer is the direct result of irritation, either mechanical or chemical, and that it may be produced by the absorption of an unidentified poison.
Still others believe that it is produced by the invasion of a parasite yet unrecognised and too small to be discovered by the most powerful microscope. While they are all in doubt about the origin of cancer, they all know it is increasing at the rate of 2.4 percent a year in the United States.
Dr. Horace Packard of Boston University, discussing the cancer question before the Surgical and Gynecological Society of the American Institute of Homeopathy at Chicago, June 28, 1915, declared that demineralised foods form a factor in the development of cancer.
"The human family is underfed in mineral food salts," he said. "A momentous fact is that the flour mills of the civilised world are busy eliminating every particle of iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, silicon, calcium, chlorine, magnesium and sulphur (mineral salts) from our staple food supply and sending out food material rich in heat units but pitifully meagre in energising and immunising material.
"Since a critical examination of the habits of life of civilised cancer-plagued people in comparison with the habits of primitive cancer-free people shows that the main difference between them is in a dietary poor in mineral salts among the cancer-plagued people and a dietary rich in mineral salts among the cancer-free people, the most logical and rational course is to adopt this as a keynote to cancer treatment.
"All forms of malignant disease are possible only because of absence of or loss of immunity. All animal life in normal state of environment and supplied with nutriment bearing all the organic ingredients necessary for the maintenance of disease-resisting vitality possesses in itself a protective immunity to cancer.
"In view of the well established fact that in the vegetable world an adequate supply of the earth's salts, phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium, silicon, calcium, etc., acts as a distinctive deterrent of parasitic life and makes for vigorous disease-resisting life, may we not assume as much for the animal world ?"
There is indeed a direct relationship between the known causes of constipation and the suggested causes of cancer. This relationship is based upon the loss of cellulose, mineral salts, colloids, and vitamines in our breakfast foods and breadstuffs.
Take, for instance, the bran of wheat, one of the food elements lost to modern cancer-plagued civilisation. Wheat bran consists of three layers, all of which contain larger proportions of cellulose or fibre than the interior of the grain.
The two outer layers contain more of the phosphorus, calcium, and iron compounds than the other parts of the grain; while the innermost layer contains a special kind of protein, which is the seat of the indispensable vitamines lost in the milling of wheat.
As we have seen, bran is not so "digestible" as first-patent flour for the reason that all of first-patent flour is absorbed whereas all of the bran is not absorbed. The mistake of estimating the food value of any food by its ability to undergo complete absorption has already been recognised by many authorities and it is to be hoped the medical profession will soon give to the non-absorbable food elements the importance that belongs to them.
Next: Three: Why Modern Refining Processes are More Deadly than War
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