Article #1: Coffee, Tea, And Cocoa by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
In the United States, which appears to be the most drug-addicted nation of the world, about 96 percent of the families drink coffee daily. Eight out of ten adults drink coffee each day, as do one in four children. At the present time Americans are drinking, on the average, 50 percent more coffee than they did ten years ago. Someone figured that Americans are drinking about one thousand million more gallons of coffee a year than milk.
Within recent years the Indian government, in a land that suffers with perpetual famine, has destroyed whole forests of jack fruit trees to make room for coffee trees. The jack fruit, a large melonlike fruit, is delicious. Both pulp and seeds are edible. But it cannot be exported. When I asked an Indian banker why his government was destroying so many food plants to make room for coffee, his reply was: "Coffee brings in American dollars." This is a striking example of the stupidities of an economy in which production is for profits. It is not conceivable that in an economy devoted to production for use such a stupid action could occur.
In our profit-mad world, millions of acres of land are devoted to the production of tobacco, coffee, tea, and similar poison substances. Millions of tons of grains and fruits are converted into alcoholic drinks, in a world that is even now struggling with the spectre of a population explosion and worldwide food scarcity. It is impossible to conceive of such a thing being carried on in an intelligently ordered social system.
Tea drinking has spread over the earth, apparently from China, in much the same way that coffee and chocolate drinking spread. Tea was introduced into Europe about the same time as coffee.
These three substances, coffee, tea and cocoa Or chocolate, all contains an almost identical alkaloid. Called caffeine in coffee, theine in tea, and theobromine in chocolate, this alkaloid can be fatal to man or animal. Classed by pharmacologists as a stimulant, it is taken by those who think they need stimulation. We frequently hear it said that tea and coffee "excite the exercise of thought."
Although it is customary to include such narcotic habits as tobacco, alcohol, opium, and marijuana under the general designation of stimulant habits, this does not seem to be the reason these substances are taken. It is not stimulation, but relief from discomfort that is sought when they are taken.
On the other hand, when coffee, tea, chocolate and cocoa, and the stimulating soft drinks are taken, it would seem to be a different type of relief that is sought, relief from weakness and exhaustion. When such stomach stimulants (irritants) as pepper, mustard, pungent spices, and pepper sauce, are taken, there would seem to be a need for stimulation.
Because there is a tendency for discomfort to grow and for the relief afforded by these poisons to decrease, there is a natural and inevitable tendency to increase either the size or the frequency of the dose, or both. As this ultimately fails to provide the desired relief, a stronger poison is resorted to. This is the reason that employment of one of these substances can lead to the employment of another. The coffee drinker, the cocoa drinker, the addict to chocolate candy, although himself a tobacco chewer or smoker, may condemn his neighbor for his alcohol habits. When we thus choose narcotics or stimulant addictions, what right have we to assume superiority to those who choose different stimulants or narcotics? All are addicts, regardless of the nature of the addiction.
The search for relief is the essence of drug addiction. There is no craving for poisons; there is only unease, discomfort, and misery which drive the victim to more frequent and larger doses of his favorite poison in his search for relief. Some addicts have been known to take as much as 96 grains of morphine daily without harmful effects, other than the stupefaction which rendered them oblivious to pain. When the drug is withdrawn, obstinate vomiting, violent purging, and other distressing symptoms follow. These are falsely called withdrawal symptoms.
They are, in sober reality, symptoms of poisoning, and are present all the time. But they are kept repressed by repeated doses of the drug. Such symptoms follow, in varying degrees of severity, a discontinuance of any poison habit—tobacco, alcohol, morphine, heroin, marijuana, coffee, tea and chocolate.
Untold thousands of people go about their daily duties so tired they hardly know how to work unless driven by stimulants. They mourn their enthrallment to work and business and wish they could omit these. If they knew enough to discontinue eating wrong foods and desist from stimulant habits, and if they knew enough to supply their bodies with adequate nutrients and secure more rest and sleep, in two months they would find themselves new people. The "coffee break" would no longer seem "necessary" to them. They would soon discover the truth of Dr. Samuel Johnson's remark that it is easier to be abstinent than temperate. They have already learned that the tendency of all poison habits is progressive.
The fact that almost every tribe of man has been found addicted to some poison habit has been offered as proof positive that there is a normal taste for these poisons, and therefore a natural necessity for their use. How absurd! Why not argue that because lying is such a universal vice, it is necessary and good? Every substance man employs in his vain search for relief from self-caused discomforts is to be judged not by any assumed universal taste for it, but by its ultimate effects.
We are frequently reminded that, since the time of Hippocrates, physicians have considered opium invaluable in alleviating acute human suffering. It is customary to add that, "like many others of God's greatest blessings to mankind," opium must be used with reason or with discretion, or "it will be found to be one of man's greatest curses." It never seems strange to these devotees of the drugging cults that God should wrap his greatest curse in the same package as his greatest blessing. Perhaps God made a mistake or, maybe it is man who makes the mistake. Certainly the effects of habitually taking opium are not desirable.
The cocoa chewer is damaged by his practice scarcely less than the opium eater by his. He is known by his uncertain steps, sallow complexion, his hollow, lusterless, black-rimmed eyes, deeply sunk into his head, trembling lips, incoherent speech and stolid apathy. He is irresolute, suspicious and false; in the prime of life he appears senile and in later years into complete idiocy.
Having asserted that stimulants are natural needs of the system, it becomes necessary to find some apology for their employment. So we are told that they are not only foods themselves, but that they aid in the digestion of other foods. That this is false may be seen from the following facts. Even in small quantities, tea completely paralyzes salivary secretion. When the infusion amounts to as much as one-fifth of the contents of the stomach, tea retards stomach digestion. Coffee and cocoa have little effect on salivary digestion, but interefere as much as tea with stomach digestion.
To the alcoholic drinks of the ancients we have added tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, tobacco, absinthe, chloral, opium, the pungent spices and a host of other drug habits intended to provide evanescent relief from the discomforts of our wrong eating. The soma drinking, prominently mentioned in the Rig Veda, was made from a plant which is today unidentified. The drink was intoxicating and played an important role in the ritual life of early Iranians as well as the Indians. We have gathered our poison habits from all corners of the earth. Every year sees an increase in them.
The feeling of exaltation that follows the taking of a stimulant has led to the fallacy that stimulants must be good. The depression which follows, and which is in exact proportion to the degree of stimulation occasioned, is either ignored or attributed to some other cause. It is likely to be met with another dose of the same stimulant that caused it. So imbued are we with the idea that stimulants are wholesome, that we are frequently told that "food is a stimulant." This statement is based on a totally wrong conception of the character of stimulation.
Stimulation is irritation; a stimulant is a substance that temporarily occasions an increased vigor of action by means which exhaust the power of action, thereby actually reducing vigor. When this occurs, there must be a corresponding period of rest and sleep. Exhaustion necessitates depression; stimulation must be followed by debility. All of our poison habits have debilitating effects on the organism and increase the precariousness and fragility of life.
Reprinted from Health For The Millions
Home > Lesson 69 - Nutritional Approach To Overcoming Addictions
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