8. A Survey Of Unconventional Dietic Schools And Their Fallacies
There are many schools of thought concerning the content of the human diet. We have viewed conventional eating which embraces the concept of the four basic food groups. Other schools are called macrobiotic, vegetarian, fruitarian, vegan and yet others. Let’s take a brief look at some of these one by one.
8.1 The Macrobiotic School
This school was founded by George Oshawa, a native of Japan. The emphasis is on a so-called perfect diet consisting mainly of cooked rice, along with some cooked vegetables. Such a heavy diet of cooked rice provides primarily fuel (carbohydrates), but carbohydrates from cooked foods also render the toxic by-products of heat degeneration. Very few fruits are included in this diet, and, while the macrobiotic diet is a great improvement over conventional diets on many counts, it is far from ideal.
Even a brief discussion of the macrobiotic diet would be incomplete without the mention of the concepts of yin and yang. These concepts represent many sets of qualities, such as acid & alkaline, sweet and salty, and hot and cold. Without going into the subject, suffice it to say that, in macrobiotics, determinations of wholesome foods are made based on this yin-yang concept.
8.2 Supplementation and Special Foods
This might well be called the megavitamin or megafeeding school. Even though the only way to render a deficient diet adequate is to eat a diet adequate in natural nutrient factors, this school goes beyond that.
They say that if it’s a good thing there is no such thing as too much. For example, the RDA for vitamin C may be 60 milligrams daily. People in this school, such as Dr. Linus Pauling, advocate up to 10,000 milligrams daily. If 4,000 international units of vitamin A are the RDA, the megavitamin people advocate 100,000 to 200,000 units daily.
However, the body cannot use more than it needs, and it must excrete that which is in excess of needs. But the massiveness of the dosages is just one aspect of the harm wreaked by the supplementation advocates. The synthetic products that dominate the market are treated as outright drugs by the body! Even if these supplements were extracted entirely from natural sources, they’d still be unusable. The body uses foods, not individual nutrients. It uses them synergistically as nature puts them up, not as extracted or laboratory synthesized and compounded in imitation of nature.
8.3 Herbs Used as Alternate Medications
Some health seekers eat poisonous plants daily in the belief that they need “medicines” for health. Entrepreneurs harvest weeds from the wilds and from cultivated fields by the hundreds of tons for people who believe in “natural medicines.”
Herbs are not consumed for their nutrients and none could be consumed as foods in themselves. Death could result from an “overdose” if too much of any of these were eaten as a food. People have died on rather small amounts of some herbs.
8.4 The Vegetarians
There are about 25 million people in this country who eat only fruits and vegetables or who consume either what is known as an ovo- or a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. Vegetarians who eat no animal foods whatsoever are called vegans; lacto-vegetarians include dairy foods in their diet; ovo-vegetarians include eggs but not dairy products; and lacto-ovo vegetarians include both eggs and dairy foods in their diet.
Many, if not most, vegetarians are ethical vegetarians, but this is especially so with the vegans, as they
refuse to cause suffering to animals. Vegetarians may eat lots of cooked foods, or they may consume an all-raw or almost all-raw diet. Many, if not most, vegetarians use herbs, especially if they are vegetarians for, or partly for, health reasons. Some vegans are Natural Hygienists. The common bond of vegans is non-exploitation of animals.
Vegetarians generally are healthier than the population at large, for, while many of their practices are not healthful, per se, they are less harmful than those of conventional eaters. Some vegetarians will eat just about any kind of non-animal food, even alcoholic beverages (really drugs and not foods) and junk foods (also more like drugs than foods in the system). These people are vegetarians, not for health reasons, but for moral reasons relating to the killing of animals. However, most people who are vegetarians are more health oriented than non-vegetarians.
8.5 The Bircher-Benner School
This school is essentially a vegetarian school that is heavy on grains with some fruits.
8.6 The Mucusless Diet
The founder of this school, Arnold Ehret, reasoned that anything which results in mucus formation is unhealthy. This reasoning is correct, for anything that causes the system to secrete mucus is an indication that toxic or unwelcome materials are in the organism. Ehret thought that the foods themselves formed mucus, however, when, in fact, the organism creates the mucus in response to unwelcome foods.
Through trial and error Ehret discovered that a diet of non-oily fruits and some vegetables built high-level health and function and did not result in mucus formation. Thus he called his diet the mucusless diet.
8.7 The Waerlanders
Ebba Waerland of Sweden spent most of his life studying the touchstones of health. He was greatly influenced by the Bircher-Benner school and advanced their dietary philosophy to include more fresh raw vegetables and fruits. However, though he still advocated the use of various grains, he recommended they be prepared in a more conservative manner.
In many of his teachings Waerland added to the science of nutrition and health and paralleled the teachings of the Natural Hygienists. As a worldwide traveler and a deep student, he undoubtedly was well acquainted with the philosophy and practice of Natural Hygiene and added to his own system those features he liked. Especially did he advocate fasting as a course to follow during illness (and in good health!) as a health measure.
8.8 The Fruitarians
There are relatively few raw food fruitarians, but there is much interest in fruitarianism and sentiment for it. Humans are naturally frugivores and there is a sound basis for fruitarianism. But, except for the most ardent of fruitarians, most are likely to eat some nuts and vegetables. Many fruitarians are Natural Hygienists, though many Natural Hygienists are not fruitarians. The primary difference between the fruitarians and the fruit-eating Hygienists is that many fruitarians do not adhere to principles of compatible food combining. Raw food fruitarianism is a fast burgeoning element in our society though, as yet, their numbers are only in the thousands.
8.9 The Natural Hygienists
This dietary school embraces many divergent outlooks on dietary fare. All Hygienists advocate a mostly raw diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts, although some advocate the eating of cheese and raw egg yolks. Some Hygienists advocate “complex carbohydrates” as important items of fare. They feel that conservatively cooked rice, squashes, potatoes, yams and other starches are good in the diet if eaten in conjunction with hearty vegetable salads. Likewise, they are often heavy eaters of nuts and avocados if consumed in conjunction with a hearty salad of green leafy vegetables and some fruit fare popularly considered vegetables.
Hygienists originated and fostered the concepts and practices of food combining. Also, they advocate regimes in which diet comprises only a part. As a Life Scientist you’ll also call yourself a Natural Hygienist, for these are identical philosophies. But the dietary score has yet to be settled in practice although many Hygienists are idealistic raw fruitarians. It is our endeavor in this course to present data sufficient to settle this score for you. Even the least healthful Hygienic diet is such a great improvement over conventional diets that those who adopt it must improve their health. Almost no one is so far down the road of life that they cannot improve dramatically upon the adoption of the Hygienic regime, even if they adopt a less than ideal version of it.
As a health professional you must keep in mind that anything less than ideal begets less than ideal results. But, on the other hand, every improvement you inspire in your clients will result in corresponding improvement in well-being.
8.10 Foods as Medicines
Like the herbal school which looks upon herbs as medicines, this school tries to employ foods as therapeutic tools. There are those who swear by the use of raw egg yolks; there are those who swear by blended salads, often with egg yolk. Many look upon fruits as cleansing foods. A multitude of foods are taken with the idea that they will prevent or “cure” diseases.
We must repeat that foods are raw materials which the organism acts upon. They have no actions of their own, much less cleansing and healing abilities.
8.11 The Juice Therapy School
This school advocates a diet heavy in or consisting primarily of juices extracted from fruits and vegetables. It was founded nearly a century ago, and Benedict Lust was one of its luminaries. Today N. W. Walker is perhaps its most articulate exponent.
Juices are fractionated foods subject to oxidative deterioration. Oxidation occurs quickly. For example, orange juice can lose up to 60% of its vitamin C within an hour after juicing. Iron is oxidized very quickly in all foods. This may be observed visually if an apple is broken open and exposed to air. Oxidation creates toxic byproducts. An example of this is cooking, which is a much accelerated process of oxidation as well as heat degeneration.
Juices are not whole foods. Many valuable nutrients are lost in the pulp. Further, those who “drink” their foods are often guilty of consuming inordinate amounts of it to secure satiety. While we can safely partake of several pounds of watermelon and like amounts of some juices, there are other juices that a few pounds of constitutes far too much food. Carrot juice drinkers are notorious over-eaters.
Nature did not furnish humans with juicers outside of those implicit in chewing.
8.12 The Blended Salad Diet
There is a small school that believes that blended salads three times a day are beneficial in the human dietary. While blending involves the whole food, it still has the objection of oxidation and enzymic degeneration.
Blended foods are never as tasty as their whole counterparts, even if eaten immediately after blending because enzymes and oxygen degenerate foods and destroy their goodness so quickly.
As you can see, there are many different schools of thought on diet and nutrition. The macrobiotic school is based on the concept of yin and yang and is rooted in Oriental tradition; vegetarian diets are based either on the ethics of killing animals or on the unhealthfulness of meat (and, for some vegetarians, dairy foods and/or eggs) or both; the mucusless diet is determined by which foods do and don’t result in mucus formation by the body; and the herbalists and “foods as medicines” schools base their diets on the supposed curative properties of foods.
However, the only diet that is totally based on sound physiological principles, that is based on science and not on tradition, is the Natural Hygienic diet, which is the same as the Life Science diet. Some Hygienists are fruitarians, most are vegans and all are vegetarians. Oftentimes individuals adopt and popularize diets that reflect their own individual ideas and experiences with diet, and the best of these diets have some commonalities with the Hygienic diet.
The diet of the Natural Hygienists is the only one that is particularly concerned with food combining, and this aspect of the diet is not only unique, but it is based on physiological principles.
- 1. What Constitutes Nutrition? (Definitions And Concepts)
- 2. Food Is An Element Of Nutrition
- 3. Physiological Criteria Foods Must Meet
- 4. Nonfood Nutritional Factors
- 5. Discussion Of Conventional Nutritional Teachings
- 6. Discussion Of Human Eating Habits The World Over
- 7. Negative Nutrition: Harmful Foods And Practices
- 8. A Survey Of Unconventional Dietetic Schools And Their Fallacies
- 9. The Physiological Necessity Of Proper Food Combining
- 10. Nutritional Miscellany
- 11. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Paradise Diet by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: The Elements Of Nutrition by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Nutrition, A Hygienic Perspective by Ralph C. Cinque, D.C.