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YOUR DIETIn Health and Disease
(Member British Association of Naturopaths)
LONDON HEALTH FOR ALL PUBLISHING COMPANY LANGHAM STREET
First digital edition 2016 by David De Angelis
Table of Contents
CHAPTER I - FOOD—ITS DIGESTION, ABSORPTION, AND ASSIMILATION
CHAPTER II - HOW THE BODY WORKS
CHAPTER III - OUR DAILY FOOD
CHAPTER IV - HOW THE NATION'S FOOD IS DEBASED
CHAPTER V - THE NEED FOR "PURE FOOD"
CHAPTER VI - EATING FOR HEALTH, NOT DISEASE
CHAPTER VII - THE ART OF COMBINING FOODS
CHAPTER VIII - VEGETARIANISM AND MEAT-EATING
CHAPTER IX - THE FEEDING OF CHILDREN
CHAPTER X - CONCLUSION
APPENDIX - A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HEALTH
The Short Fast Regime—The All-Fruit Diet—Fruit and Milk Diet—Restricted Diet—A Week's Health Menus—When and What to Drink, and Why—Constipation, and its Cure—The Use of the Enema—Dry Friction—The Sitz-Bath—The Cold Sponge—Remedial Exercises—Breathing Exercises—Epsom Salts Baths—Special Mental Tonic.
IT is only within the last few years, comparatively, that the subject of diet has received any serious attention from the more thoughtful and enlightened members of the human family; the chief reason for the neglect of this all-important and vital branch of our public economy being the inability on the part of those to whom the public look for guidance in these matters, namely, the leaders of medical and scientific thought, to realise and understand the part played by diet, and food in general, in the building up of a healthy or diseased society. This relationship between diet, and health and disease, is now slowly but surely forcing its attention upon all those capable of serious observation. And, in spite of the ignorance displayed by the majority of medical men upon the subject, a belief is spreading among the more advanced of the general public, that in some way or other (rather vaguely and dimly perceived by them) there is really something about the question of diet that is of importance to themselves, although they have little or no idea as to what this relationship actually is.
These first faint stirrings in the public mind have been brought about mainly as a result of the widened and increased publicity which has of late been given to the question of diet and dieting in the columns of the daily press, popular magazines and periodicals; and this especially with regard to the overcoming of obesity, or any tendency thereto, such as might be displayed by ardent followers of Dame Fashion. The slimming
effects of certain foods and the better health obtained as a result of their use have brought home to many people, in this crude and somewhat indirect way, the part which diet can play in regulating the fitness of the body; but in spite of this slight fillip given to the subject, it can be stated generally that at the present time there is still a widespread ignorance on the part of the medical profession, press, and public alike, with regard to the fundamental facts of the science of dietetics and its bearing on the life and health of the individual.
This lack of knowledge manifests itself daily before our eyes in the way in which invalids, children, and grown-ups alike, are allowed to eat, given to eat, and sometimes even forced to eat, articles of food which, by anyone with the slightest knowledge of the subject, would be recognised at once as harmful to the health of the body.
This eating of food without regard to its suitability as food for the body is undoubtedly the main factor at work in the causation of disease in general, and unsound health in particular, in the world to-day; and until it is rectified, there is little hope of -any drastic reduction of the colossal disease bill which this country is called upon to foot every year, and which shows every sign of increasing rather than diminishing as years go by, in spite of all the wonders of modern scientific and medical research.
There is no reason at all, however, for this obscurity in which the whole subject of diet has been shrouded for so many years, or for the manner in which it has been almost religiously kept from the public view. For a science of dietetics has been evolved which deals with the whole question of food, food values, and the relationship of nutrition to health and disease in general; even though its very existence has been completely ignored by the accredited leaders of the public in these matters, attempt has been made by medical men in general to get to grips with the food question.
It has been the work of another body of workers in the field of disease to formulate the various facts and theories relating to the subject of food, food values, and the part played by food in the building up and breaking down of the human organism, so grossly neglected
by the medical profession, into a definite science built upon a foundation of actual experience and direct observation; it is to the pioneers of Natural Therapeutics or " Nature Cure " that the science of dietetics owes its inception and whatever publicity it possesses.
It is thanks to the efforts of the leaders of these new methods of healing that the science of dietetics has emerged fully fledged into the light of day; and the
placing of the whole subject upon a really sound and definite scientific basis has been the work of Naturopaths like Dr. Lindlahr and Dr. Tilden, both of whom have written books on the subject of food and its relation to health and disease, which must be regarded in the nature of classics. Their work has so far received no attention whatever from orthodox medical science, with the result that their invaluable contributions to the welfare and knowledge of mankind have been kept from the people they are intended for by the high-handedness of medical action.
The result is, that what should be common knowledge to all, is unfortunately only the possession of those few who have managed somehow to surmount the barriers placed in their way by a bigoted and shortsighted profession which, in its efforts to preserve what
is customary and traditional in its practice, turns a deaf ear and blind eye upon all new methods for the prevention or overcoming of disease, or theories connected therewith, which conflict with preconceived notions and upset cherished ideas.
The conclusions arrived at by Dr. Tilden and Dr. Lindlahr (both Americans, by the way), about food and its relation to health and disease, have been corroborated again and again by the researches and investigations of other workers in the field of Naturopathy, in Germany, Switzerland, America, and in this country, and remarkable successes have been obtained in the treatment of all kinds of disease, as a result of the application of the principles of the true science of dietetics.
Numberless cases are on record of seemingly miraculous cures effected simply by means of dieting, aided by such simple remedial measures as cold packs, manipulative treatment, sunlight, etc. and it is worthy of note that many of the people thus restored to health had been given up previously as incurable by orthodox medical men.
If an understanding of scientific dieting is so invaluable in overcoming disease, how much more is it valuable in maintaining the health of the body; for disease simply means the absence of health, and it is to enable every individual capable of thinking for himself or herself to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the whole subject of dietetics, either for the maintenance of health or for the curing of disease, that the present volume has been written.
It is the author's intention, however, to make this book as practical and helpful as possible; and to that end, not only has the vital and fundamental relationship between the food we eat and the health or disease of our bodies been dealt with in a manner capable of being easily followed and understood by those who have no pretensions to scientific knowledge, but a dietetic regime has been outlined to enable every reader to maintain his or her health and efficiency at the highest possible level; moreover, a section has been devoted to the actual treatment of all the various common ailments and diseases of to-day, such as constipation, indigestion, anaemia, rheumatism, sciatica, etc. In this section, by means of short fast regimes, specimen diets, fruit diets, eliminative diets, and various auxiliary health measures such as sitz-baths, frictions, exercises, and the like, a comprehensive system of home treatment has been outlined which will enable the reader to undertake immediately in his or her own home the self-cure of any diseases he or she may be suffering from, without having to resort to the use of any outside mechanism whatsoever.
That there is an overwhelming need for a book on diet such as is attempted here, dealing as it does with the subject in a sane, practical, and straightforward manner, and being published at a price which brings it within the reach of all, has been obvious to the writer from the moment he first became acquainted with the philosophy of Natural Cure; and if his book can in some measure help to lift the immense burden of unnecessary suffering under which his fellow-men are now slowly but surely being crushed, he will have considered his work to have been well worth while.
Food—Its Digestion, Absorption, and Assimilation
THE function of food is to supply the body with the materials necessary for the growth, maintenance, repair, and efficient functioning of its various organs and structures, and in this way to ensure the harmonious working of the whole human machine at its highest level."
It follows from the above definition of the purpose and function of food, that to obtain the maximum amount of benefit from the food we eat, we have to discover those foods, and the quantities of such foods, best suited to the needs of the body as revealed by physiological study and investigation; this in brief is the whole purpose of the science of dietetics and the first consideration to be settled in this book.
Given the food most suited to its requirements, the body is supplied with the elemental basis for its full growth and development; but if indiscriminately given substances called food by virtue of custom, tradition, or public opinion, without regard to their reaction once inside the body, we have the seed sown for future trouble and ill-health; the main generative cause of an infinite amount of suffering and distress.
The only way to build a healthy body is to understand why we eat, and what to eat; and once the simple fact is grasped that it is by what we put into our mouths that we decide either for good or evil what is to take place inside our bodies, then the way has been opened up for a sane and intelligent understanding of the facts and considerations to be discussed in the present volume.
THE ALIMENTARY CANAL
As it is impossible to give any opinion worthy of the name on the subject of diet without having first some idea as to what takes place inside the body when food has entered it, the changes it undergoes, and the uses it is put to by the system, it is imperative at the commencement of a book such as this to give a brief but adequate account of the processes whereby food is digested, absorbed, and assimilated by the body, and the means by which the nutrient elements thus obtained are taken up and used by themselves in the process known as metabolism. (The reader need not be alarmed and imagine that he is about to wade through a mass of dry scientific data and material; but without this preliminary understanding of what really happens to food when it is taken into the body, all that follows in the later chapters would not be clearly understood.)
Most people blissfully imagine that once they have eaten anything and swallowed it, and so long as no direct bad after-effects are felt, that is the end of the matter as far as they are concerned; but in reality it is only the beginning!
For once food is taken into the system, a continuous and inevitable series of operations is set in motion which are quite outside our powers to interfere with, except at grave risk to the individual. It is, therefore, in order to dispel any possibility of such ignorance on the part of the reader, that the following incursion into the realms of physiology and anatomy is primarily undertaken.
When food enters the body, it undergoes various metamorphoses or changes before it is broken down into its constituent parts, and the elements necessary for the life of the organism are taken up and assimilated. It is the ultimate object of all food to be assimilated, but before one particle of potential nourishment can enter the body proper, it has first to be digested and then absorbed in that part of our internal economy known as the alimentary canal, whilst the residue unfit for absorption is eliminated from the system. It is essential to grasp this fundamental fact: no food can be assimilated by the system and used by the various structures and organs until it has been first dealt with in the alimentary canal and rendered fit for absorption; which makes it obvious, at once, that it does not depend upon the amount of food we eat, but upon the amount we are able to absorb and assimilate, as to whether our bodies are well nourished or not. The following condensed account of the work carried on in the alimentary canal is designed to show clearly -what is actually meant when we use the terms digestion, absorption, and assimilation, as otherwise they are merely words as far as the reader is concerned, and therefore meaningless.
The alimentary canal is the name given to the continuous series of organs which deal with the digestion, absorption, and elimination of waste residue of food in the body. The organs concerned are the mouth (including the tongue and teeth), pharynx or food-bag, oesophagus or gullet, stomach, small intestine, large intestine or colon, rectum, and anus.
The process of digestion is begun in the mouth through the medium of what is known as mastication. This is performed by the teeth, assisted by the tongue, and helped by a fluid secreted by the salivary glands, and known as saliva.
The saliva, in addition to helping to masticate the food by making it capable of being swallowed easily, has the power to dissolve starch, and to turn it into a form of sugar known as maltose, by means of an enzyme or ferment known as ptyalin which it contains. (All the digestive juices contain these enzymes or ferments; they are their active principles and have the power to change the chemical composition of the various substances taken into the body as food.)
The necessity for thoroughly masticating starchy foods in the mouth, therefore, will be at once apparent, as the ptyalin cannot otherwise carry out its function. It is worthy of note that if starchy food is hastily swallowed into the stomach, the action of the ptyalin goes on for a time, but the hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach soon stops its action, and the starch is not turned into sugar until it passes into the intestines and is acted upon by the pancreatic fluid. Ptyalin does not appear in the mouth until the teeth begin to show themselves (about the seventh month after birth, that is), so that the relationship between starch digestion and thorough mastication is obvious.
After the food has been masticated it is collected into a ball by the tongue and passed into the pharynx, which lies at the back of the mouth, and from the pharynx it is forced into the oesophagus. This is a narrow tube about ten inches long which connects the
The stomach is a muscular bag shaped somewhat like a letter J. The end where the oesophagus enters it is known as the cardiac end, and the other smaller end, as the pyloric end. The food enters by the cardiac orifice, and is stored at the cardiac end. Portions are then gradually introduced into the pyloric part of the stomach and are acted upon by the various sets of muscles in the muscular structure. A kind of churning process is then set up and the food is completely impregnated by the gastric juices secreted by the mucous membrane or innermost lining of the stomach. When the food is dissolved it is passed into the small intestine by the automatic opening of the pylorus, which is a sphincter or constrictive muscle.
The time taken for food to pass from the stomach to the intestines varies from one to five hours according to the substances involved in the food composition. The gastric juices are three in number and are secreted by three different sets of glands in the mucous lining of the stomach. They are:—
1. Mucus for lubricating the stomach.
2. Hydrochloric acid.
3. Gastric juice.
The enzyme or active principle of the gastric juice is pepsin, and this has the power in the presence of hydrochloric acid to dissolve Proteins. There is also present, in children, rennet, which curdles milk and allows the pepsin to act upon it, but in adults this rennet is absent and the hydrochloric acid is called upon to take its place. (The amount of hydrochloric acid present in the gastric juice is about 0,02 per cent.) The gastric juice has no effect upon starches or fats; on the other hand, in the case of starchy foods, it holds up the work of the ptyalin in the saliva, thus making it impossible for the starch to be completely turned into sugar in the stomach. In the case of fats it dissolves the tissues surrounding the fat globules, thus breaking fatty substances up into innumerable small particles of fat which are dissolved finally in the intestines. Very little assimilation of food takes place in the stomach; the actual assimilation begins in the small intestine.
When the food leaves the stomach, it passes through the pylorus into the intestines, which are divided into the small intestine and the large intestine or colon, and the rectum. The fluids secreted by the glands of the intestines are of various kinds, and their combined product is known as the succus entericus. It contains several enzymes or ferments which act each upon a different class of food substance—invertase, lactase, and erepsin are their names.
The digestion (or conversion into a soluble form) of food, commenced in the stomach, is completed in the intestines, and as soon as the chyme—as the semi-fluid contents from the stomach are called—enters the duodenum or upper part of the small intestines, it is acted upon by two very important secretions, the pancreatic fluid from the pancreas, and the bile from the liver. These secretions are conducted, from the organs named, to the duodenum, by means of ducts.
Through the united efforts of the saliva, gastric juices, succus entericus, bile, and pancreatic juice, the food is at last digested or rendered fit for absorption by the system, for that is exactly what digestion means, and now the process of absorption begins in the small intestine. Through the agency of small cells and protuberances on the inner lining of the small intestine, known respectively as epithelial cells and villi, the nutrient elements of the digested food substances are absorbed, whilst the residue is moved on by means of peristaltic action into the large intestine.
The processes of digestion and absorption are finally completed in the large intestine, and the unabsorbed residue is evacuated from the body through the rectum and is known as the feces. It contains all the undigested and unabsorbed parts of the food, excess fats not required by the body, broken-down cells and tissues; dead bacteria, inorganic salts, and the residue of the digestive juices.
The process of assimilation
The process of digestion is performed in the alimentary canal by the action of the saliva, gastric juices, bile, pancreatic fluid, and succus entericus on the foods. The method by which the nutritional elements thus obtained are taken into the system by means of the epithelial cells and villi is known as absorption, whilst the final process by means of which these absorbed elements are carried to all parts of the body by way of the blood stream and lymphatic system and thus utilised by the cells, is known as assimilation.
Absorption takes place practically entirely in the small intestine through the agency of the epithelial cells and the villi in the internal mucous lining. The elements taken up by the former enter the blood stream direct through the agency of the blood capillaries with which