2. What Is Food?
Food is any substance which is eventually convertible into such end-products as tissues, body fluids, etc., and can be utilized by the organism in the performance of its functions. To be correctly classified as a food, a substance must:
- Be capable of liberating energy when oxidized;
- Be capable of being utilized for growth, maintenance and repair;
- Be capable of being stored within the body and
- Produce no nutritionally significant toxic effects
For example, some plants contain large amounts of oxalic acid (see definition) and should not be used as food. Many plants which contain smaller (nutritionally insignificant) amounts of oxalic acid are excellent foods. On the other hand, tobacco, which is a plant, contains proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and water, which are the constituents of food. But tobacco also contains considerable quantities of poisons. Dr. Shelton says that one of these is one of the most virulent poisons known to science. Therefore, tobacco cannot be a food.
Nutrients in foods are chemical substances of known composition and structure, classified as carbohydrates (such as sugar, starch and glycogen); lipids (fats); proteins (amino acids linked together); salts (minerals); and vitamins, needed in small quantities (or, traces) by the body. In addition, foods contain indigestible materials—cellulose (fiber).
Water, oxygen and vitamins, together with proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals, form the constituents of the body—the blood, tissue, bones, organs, muscles and so forth. Foods must be taken into the digestive tract and prepared for use by the organism before their constituents may be used by the body.
2.1 The Best Food Is Raw Food
In our discussion of food combining, cooked foods and flesh foods will be mentioned. Uncooked foods from the plant kingdom constitute the ideal Hygienic diet, for those not yet ready to use exclusively raw plant foods, information on food combining of other foods is included.
People with impaired digestion may have been advised to avoid raw food. If serious pathological conditions exist, or if there are organic limitations caused by surgery, it would probably be advisable for such people to seek the help of a Hygienic doctor. Most such people can be helped by Natural Hygiene, but some of them may need careful supervision in changing from conventional eating and living patterns.
People whose digestive impairments limit the use of uncooked food should utilize raw foods to whatever extent they can while they aim for restoration of as much normal function as possible. The rational approach to such restoration of normal function is not drugs or surgery, but rest and fasting, followed by a gradual implementation of improved eating and living practices, adapted to the limitations of that individual.
The goal should be the gradual achievement of a diet predominating in uncooked foods, because the nutrients available in raw foods are several hundred percent greater than those remaining after food has been cooked or otherwise processed. More details about the damage done by cutting, cooking, seasoning and flavoring food will be given in future lessons.
Raw foods improve the total inner environment. Sluggish bowels begin to move, eventually cleaning out waste that may have been lodged in the folds of the intestine for months. The layer of mucus that forms in the intestines when cooked food predominates is removed, greatly increasing efficiency in the absorption of nutrients. Food wastes don’t stay in the bowel long enough to putrefy. The transit time of raw food in a healthy body is 20 to 24 hours, while cooked food may take three days or longer.
Many scientific researchers arid medical doctors now, recognize the value of raw food, both in health maintenance and for improvement or remission in chronic illnesses.
John M. Douglass, M.D., internal medicine specialist at the Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Los Angeles says, “It’s a sad commentary that we think we can compensate with a pill for all the heat-labile nutrients and enzymes that are lost in cooking.” He says also that experience shows that the raw food diet works for many diabetics, although it’s not always easy for them to follow and must be planned carefully.
Dr. Paul Kouchakoff, medical researcher of the Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Lausanne, Switzerland, revealed circa 1930 that after eating cooked food, the human body develops leucocytosis, the abnormal proliferation of white blood cells. Leucocytes are created and rushed to the intestine. When he fed patients on an 80 percent raw diet, no leucocytosis developed.
More details about Dr. Kouchakoff’s experiments, and other reports about the phenomenally superior value of raw food, will be given in future lessons. The above preliminary information is included in this lesson so the student may, at the outset, be motivated to apply his newly-acquired knowledge of food combining principles to the best food available, which, undeniably, is food that is utilized in its unchanged raw state.
The 80 percent raw food diet: For those who are not yet ready, or willing, to change to an all-raw diet, a good start would be the achievement of an 80 percent raw diet. For most people, this is not difficult to achieve. It can be appetizing, interesting, varied, satisfying and economical. The information in the two lessons on food combining will contain all the details you need about utilizing both raw food and (if you use it) cooked food, so that you may work out your goal of eventually achieving an all-raw diet, even if you must take a roundabout route by first implementing the 80 percent raw diet.
The best and quickest way to achieve an 80 percent raw diet is to never eat cooked food more than once a day, and as part of only one meal. One should try for more and more days on raw food only. Even the people who are coping with digestive problems may eventually achieve these goals as they learn to apply the principles of Natural Hygiene to their own needs.
2.2 Food Classification
Foods vary widely in character and nutritional constituents. In order to intelligently implement the principles of food combining, reference points are necessary. A food classification chart will be included with Lesson No. 23, listing and classifying specific foods. In this current Lesson No. 22, we will classify the broad categories in which foods can be placed. This classification of food categories will provide clarification and greater understanding of our discussion of the principles of digestive physiology and chemistry that decree correct food combining.
Proteins: All foods contain some protein, and the amounts of protein in different foods vary widely. We classify as protein foods those that contain a comparatively high percentage of protein—these are the concentrated protein foods. Such foods include:
- Nuts and edible seeds
- Animal proteins
- All flesh foods (except fat)
The less concentrated proteins include avocados, olives, coconuts and milk. Combination foods (starchy proteins, to be combined as starch) include legumes, grains, peanuts and chestnuts: Green vegetable proteins (to be combined as starch) include peas in the pod, lima and other beans in the pod, and mature green beans in the pod. Sprouts contain significant amounts of protein, especially in the early stages. (More about sprouts later in this lesson and in Lesson No. 23)
Bananas (1.1 percent) contain almost as much protein as avocados (1.3-2.2 percent) and olives (1.4 percent). Dried fruits (2-5 percent) may contain twice as much protein as avocados. Broccoli (3.6 percent), brussels sprouts (4.9 percent), collards (4.8 percent), sweet corn (3.5 percent), kale (6 percent) and a number of other vegetables contain more protein than avocados. Romaine lettuce (1.3 percent) contains valuable protein. None of these foods are classified in the protein category, but should, nevertheless, be regarded as excellent sources of protein.
Starches: The carbohydrates are the starches and sugars. The combination foods (starchy proteins) referred to under the protein category are classified as starches for purposes of food combining. These include dried and fresh legumes, grains, peanuts and chestnuts. The starchy vegetables are potatoes, mature corn, parsnips and salsify, as well as Jerusalem artichokes; the mildly starchy vegetables are carrots, globe artichokes, beets, winter squash and several others (complete list in the classification charts in Lesson No. 23).
Nonstarchy and green vegetables: Lettuce, celery, cabbage, broccoli, summer squash, turnips, green beans, kale and a long list to be found in the classification charts.
Fats: The recommended fats are nuts, seed and avocados. No other fats are recommended. (See charts)
Fruits: Divided into three categories—sweet fruits, subacid fruits and acid fruits. Bananas, persimmons, sweet grapes and fresh figs, as well as all dried fruit, are in the sweet fruit category. Sweet apples, sweet peaches, pears, sweet cherries, some grapes and several other fruits are subacid fruit. Citrus, pineapples, strawberries and all tart fruits are in the acid fruit category. (See classification charts for complete listings.)
Tomatoes: Acid fruit without the sugar content of other acid fruits. Used with vegetable salad or any green nonstarchy vegetables, but not at a starch meal. May be used with nuts or seeds, as well as with avocados.
Melons: Watermelon, canteloupe, honeydew and many others. (See charts)
Syrups and sugars: All kinds of sugar, syrup and honey—not recommended.
- 1. The Basis Of The Food Combining System
- 2. What Is Food?
- 3. The Chemistry And Physiology Of Digestion
- 4. Food Combining Rules
- 5. The Crux Of Food Combining
- 6. Question & Answers
- Article #1: Skin problems? Tell me about them! By Richard Hill
- Article #2: The Hygienic Diet By Dr. Alec Burton
- Article #3: Food Combining By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #4: Protein-Starch Combinations By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #5: Basic Considerations In Food Combining By Virginia Vetrano, B.Sc.