3. And Now For The Truth
The Basic Four diet plan is 75% incorrect. Three of the four food groups it uses (Meat, Milk and Bread) are inimical to human nutrition and well-being. The inclusion of foods from these three groups is the cause of most of the dietary ills suffered in this country today.
Only the group of Fruits and Vegetables can be considered essential for nutritional well-being. The Basic Four Food Group diet plan, then, has a batting average of 25%—perhaps not bad for major league baseball, but a deplorable percentage for your state of health.
Since the Basic Four Food Group plan is still the most popularly recommended and well-known diet plan in the country, you will need some hard facts to convince others that it is a dangerous and incorrect diet to follow. To help you understand why this diet plan cannot promote health or even supply basic nutrient needs, each of the four recommended food groups are examined in great detail in the following sections:
3.1 One Man's Meat Is Everyone's Poison
Meat is one of the most heavily-promoted food groups in the United States. We are told that we must eat meat every day in order to get the necessary "complete" protein that animal food products can supply.
In fact, the alleged need for meat-eating is based entirely on the need for protein in the human diet. Except for a few B-vitamins, protein is the only major nutrient that meat can supply. The meat group of foods that is included in the Basic Four Food Group diet is done so entirely because of an unhealthy obsession with protein foods that is common to American society.
Not only are protein foods heavily promoted, they are so intimately associated with meat that the two are almost synonymous. Tell someone that you do not eat meat, and he will almost assuredly ask, "But where do you get your protein?"
The Basic Four Food diet propagates this misconception that protein comes almost exclusively from meat by naming its first food category, "Meat and Meat Alternatives Group." Notice that the category is not called "Protein Foods" or "Essential Amino Acids Foods" but "Meat." The other protein foods listed in the group which are not animal flesh (such as cheese, dry beans and peas, and peanut butter) are called "Meat Alternatives." An "alternative" is defined as a second choice or something that may be used in place of the first choice. In other words, according to the Basic Four diet plan, meat is the number one protein source. All other protein foods are called alternative (or "second-rate") choices.
Dr. Herbert M. Shelton has stated that "the so-called scientific world is wedded to the carnivorous practice and all of its dietetic advice is designed to induce mankind to eat more flesh, eggs, and milk." Notice that the healthiest sources of concentrated protein, raw nuts and seeds, are not even included in the protean or "Meat and Meat Alternatives" group!
The casual user of the Basic Four Food Group diet plan would probably conclude that the number one nutritional need is protein, and preferably animal protein. Of course that conclusion suits the meat-packing, poultry, and dairy industries just fine. Please remember that the Four Food Group plan was devised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which has a commitment to supporting and promoting cattle-raising, milk and egg production, and other livestock industries. In fact the U.S.D.A. is staffed at the top by members of these industries.
Are protein needs so great that this nutrient should be our number one concern? The Basic Four Diet plan certainly places a strong emphasis on getting plenty of protein (or meat and meat alternatives) in our diet. Do we need concentrated protein sources or alternatives to this Meat group?
Dr. Shelton in his masterwork Human Life: Its Philosophy and Laws tells us that "the adult body requires only enough protein to maintain repairs and that this amount is extremely small if the body is rightly cared for. We can safely say, Dr. Shelton continues, "that if the adult person never touched any of the more concentrated protein foods s/he would never fail to secure all the protein, required by the body, to maintain repairs."
What can we say then about this first food group in the Basic Four Food diet plan? In a "nutshell," just this: Meat-eating is not only nonessential, but is a degenerative practice that leads to illness and disease. There is no need for "alternatives" to meat, and recommendations for other highly-concentrated protein foods are spurious.
If you eat a diet of natural and unprocessed foods, you will receive an abundance of amino acids, or "protein." You certainly do not need to eat two or more servings daily from a food group that consists chiefly of chemically-preserved, hormone-laden, and decomposing pieces of animal corpses.
Bypass the "Meat and Meat Alternative" group—there are biologically correct ways to meet your protein needs.
3.2 If You Don't Eat the Cow, Why Drink the Juice?
The next major food group in the Four Food Diet Plan is the "Milk and Milk Products" or dairy category. Before looking at the reasons for making dairy food items a separate category, you should know one fact:
Over 75% of the world's population—3 out of every 4 people on earth—cannot digest milk (or milk sugar-lactose) after the age of three.
For many people, indigestion, gas, cramping, and/or diarrhea occur after a single glass of milk is drunk. Does this sound like an "essential" food or food group when most people cannot tolerate dairy products, let alone digest and appropriate them?
Let's ask another question. Do the government nutritionists sincerely believe that every human being must have two or more glasses of milk each day to survive in good health? Maybe or maybe not, but one thing is sure: The milk and dairy industries and similar vested interests would certainly like everyone to believe it.
"Milk has grown to become one of this country's staple businesses," Dr. Shelton notes, "and the profits of milk distributing are very high. This industry has fostered the idea that man should be a suckling—should never be weaned, and that he should suck at the teats of the cow even if he lives to be ninety to a hundred years old." Dr. Shelton concludes, "For adults, milk is both an inefficient and uneconomical food. It is certainly not an essential element of the human diet."
Over two-thirds of the world's population never have a single glass of cow's milk. They consume less milk in their, entire adult lives than is recommended for one day by the USDA. Only in the United States is milk-drinking so heavily promoted for adults.
Why, then, did milk-drinking and cheese-eating become so prominent in our society, and why are dairy products named as one of the four important food groups? Well, the obvious reason is money. The best way to get people to buy and consume more of a food item is to convince them that it is absolutely essential for their health.
And how are milk and other dairy products promoted as being essential for our well-being? The answer in one word: Calcium.
Calcium is to the dairy industry what protein is to the meat industry. If you can convince people that a nutrient which is abundant in a specific food category (such as calcium for dairy, or protein for meat) is required in large amounts for optimum health, then foods which contain those nutrients will be consumed in larger and larger quantities.
Except for a few B-vitamins and protein, calcium is the only major nutrient in milk products. Dairy producers try to "beef up" their products by adding vitamin D and fortifying them with other additives. Yet after all is said and done, even the highly-promoted calcium content of milk may be all for naught.
Studies have shown that the calcium in pasteurized and processed milk products is poorly digested and absorbed and used by the body. Indeed, the calcium in such products may be used more to form "stones" or inorganic deposits in the body instead of being used to build strong bones. Is it mere coincidence that patients prone to kidney stone formation no longer have this problem after eliminating dairy products from their diets?
Still, calcium is an essential mineral for our well-being. In fact, it is the most abundant mineral in our body. Among the elderly, especially women, calcium loss is a real problem. Bones become osteoporotic and brittle. Hip injuries often occur due to demineralization and calcium loss. The solution, however, is not in using milk for calcium, but instead, to avoid those foods which increase our calcium requirements and to consume those foods that supply it in its finest form.
That's correct. A diet high in meat products and junk foods is the real culprit in calcium loss and calcium deficiencies.
Many foods eaten in the typical American diet are calcium-poor already, such as meat, starches, refined grains, and high-sugar foods. In addition, the majority of these foods are also acid-forming. To neutralize these acids formed by a poor diet, base minerals such as calcium are needed in excess of the body's normal requirements. Further, the body needs extra calcium and other minerals to metabolize these refined and deficient foods. Moreover, much calcium is deranged and thus unusable when foods are cooked.
When refined foods (already calcium-poor) that are high in acid residues are consumed, calcium needs increase. As a result, we are told to drink large amounts of milk to satisfy the calcium requirements of the twentieth-century diet.
When naturally alkaline foods such as a fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten, calcium needs are lowered because body acidity is lowered. Thus the high calcium recommendations made by nutritionists are not valid for those who follow a natural and unprocessed diet of raw fruits and vegetables.
Writing in his book Superior Nutrition, Dr. Shelton states: "In a condition of markedly lowered alkalinity or so-called acidosis, calcium will not be utilized even though abundant in the diet. Increased alkalinity of the blood increases calcium utilization." A diet of fresh fruits and vegetables keeps the body in an optimum state of alkalinity for the most efficient use of calcium. Thus, although smaller amounts of calcium may exist in a diet that is free of milk and all animal products, the calcium is actually absorbed by the body at a much higher and efficient rate than in the body of the meat-eating and milk-drinking person.
And if you are a vegetarian that persists in using milk and other dairy products, you should ask yourself why. If there is no nutritional need for dairy foods, then why do you drink the juice (milk) if you refuse to eat the cow?
In fact, pity the poor cow. She is raised for both meat and milk, and sold to consumers with a package of lies for the basest of reasons. And, like the cow, the consumers of this animal and its products are also kept in ignorance by the men who raise and promote the consumption of the beast.
Now ignorance is no excuse. You know that two of the four food groups (Meat and Milk) are never essential for our health and well-being and, in fact, are pathogenic. Protein and calcium needs are real, but these needs can be fully satisfied with a natural diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
3.3 The Staff Of Whose Life?
The third food group contains bread, cereals and other grain products. Is this group just as nonessential as the meat and milk groups? Let's see why these foods are considered to be so important in the first place.
The chief reason for including grains arid breads as one of the major four food groups is that such foods are thought to furnish us with the B-vitamin complex, as well as vitamin E and (in the case of "fortified" bread) iron.
Whole, unprocessed, and unrefined grains do contain a significant amount of B vitamins. But are such foods otherwise health-promoting and beneficial to eat?
The truth is that whole grains and their derived products are at best "second-rate" foods. In times of famine or when fresh fruits and vegetables cannot be stored or not available, then grains may be used as a temporary food supply. Whole grains, however, are not a complete or optimum food and cannot support life when eaten cooked instead of sprouted.
"The only grain products that are permissable in the diet of an intelligent and informed individual' are the whole grains in their natural state. However, grains are inferior articles of food and they certainly form no normal part of the diet of man. Every man, woman, and child in the land would be better off by leaving them out of their diet."
If you have doubts about Dr. Shelton's statements, then please look at the case histories of those enthusiastic followers of a macrobiotic diet who have attempted unsuccessfully to live on a 100%-grain diet. Perhaps we should say "ex-followers" since all such attempts to live on a pure grain diet have resulted in poor health or death.
The Basic Four Food Group diet plan does not advocate a total grain diet. Still, why should we be told to eat four servings or more of bread or cereal each day? The reasoning for this recommendation is that the typical American diet consists heavily of sugar and white flour products. These nonfood items actually deplete the body of B vitamins. To get the vitamins back into the body, we are told to eat more breads and cereals.
But the very foods that are recommended, breads and cereals and other flour products, are usually so processed, refined, and cooked that all the B vitamins have been destroyed! The producers of these processed grain products then add artificial B vitamins to the breads and cereals. Of course, as a student of Life Science, you already know how terrible breads and cereals are.
The bread manufacturers also found another way to sell their worthless goods. They started adding iron to the flour so that their processed foods would then be eaten for the iron "content." Why stop there? Just add some calcium, protein and vitamin C. Then you would supposedly obtain all of your nutritional needs from a delicious loaf of "fortified" white bread!
Unlike the Meat and Milk food groups, the Bread and Grain category of food is not totally worthless or destructive. When grains are sprouted and eaten raw, they are an acceptable addition to the optimum diet. If they are eaten fresh and raw from the field while still in their milky stage (as corn sometimes is), then they are digestible and usable food. Even if they are cooked and used whole and unrefined, the negative effects of these foods are still not as great as meat and milk. But if refined and processed flours and breads are introduced into the diet at four servings per day, they become as destructive to the health of the person as pasteurized milk and roasted flesh.
In summary, we should remember these four points that were made by Dr. Shelton in volume two of his book Orthotrophy:
3.4 And The Winner Is...
The last group of food items is Fruits and Vegetables. As a student of Life Science, you know that these food items should actually make up 90% to 100% of your daily diet.
The Basic Four Food Group diet plan instructs its followers to eat four servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A serving is either one piece of fresh fruit or one fresh vegetable or one-half cup of cooked fruits or vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are included in the Basic Four Food diet plan in order to supply the needed vitamin A and vitamin C requirements. The developers of the Basic Four Food Group diet plan also advise people to make sure that one of these servings is a dark green or dark yellow vegetable in order to get sufficient amounts of vitamin A into the diet.
There is nothing wrong with these suggestions, except that cooked vegetables or fruits are not healthful, nor are four servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a sufficient amount of food for a person following a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables should not be merely eaten as vitamin insurance, or to get specific nutrients. They should be included in the diet because they are most suited to man's digestive physiology and have the highest health-promoting qualities of all foods.
Until only very recently, traditional nutritionists and government spokesmen have always downplayed the importance of fruits and vegetables in the diet. The only worthwhile qualities that these foods had, according to these people, were their vitamin C and vitamin A contents.
Vegetables were mere side-dressing to the bread and meat diet of so many people, and fruits were something for dessert or to bake into pies. For many people today, this attitude toward fresh vegetables and fruits as second-rate foods still exists. To suggest that a complete meal can be made on fruits alone, or upon only one fruit, brings raised eyebrows and disbelieving looks.
Yet students of Life Science and Natural Hygiene have long known that a diet that consists almost entirely of fresh, raw foods from this last food group (Fruits and Vegetables) is not only satisfying but conducive to the highest state of health.
Dr. Shelton strongly advises that "the bulk of each meal should consist of fresh fruits or fresh green vegetables." This is so for four reasons, according to Dr. Shelton:
Of course, if your meals should consist chiefly of fresh fruits or vegetables, then the four serving amounts of this food group recommended by the Basic Four diet plan is an absurdly low amount. A person on a well-established all-fruit-and-vegetable diet might eat 20 or more such "servings instead of the four servings suggested by the USDA.
And this brings us to the next question about the Basic Four Food Group Diet plan: Are servings or measured amounts a good way to manage your diet?
3.5 Second Helpings, Anyone?
The woman was surrounded by notebooks, cookbooks, measuring cups, and food scales. She was chopping up a raw carrot and weighing the amounts on a scale and then looking at a diet chart.
"I know I'm supposed to have one serving of a yellow vegetable today, but I don't know if I should eat four ounces of carrots or a half-cup of cut carrots," she said to me as I visited her.
"Why don't you eat the whole carrot and just get it over with?" I joked.
She looked serious. "No, I'm going to do this by the book," she said. "Okay, what's next?" she asked as she reached for her diet plan. "Let's see ... four leaves of lettuce or two stalks of celery make one serving of green vegetables"
I left her with her charts and measuring cups. I wondered if she ever figured out what she was supposed to have for lunch before it got to be suppertime.
Do you also try to "eat by the book?" Many diets today, including the Basic Four Food Group diet plan, are arranged into groups and categories and serving amounts. You can eat one serving of this and two servings of that, and three ounces of meat or eight ounces of milk.
Eating by serving amounts is like making love with a stopwatch, and just about as necessary.
If you are eating the proper and natural foods suited for our physiological constitution and biological heritage, then forget all about servings and helpings and quantities. Eat when you're hungry, eat until you're satisfied, and don't eat again until you're hungry again.
Eating by specified serving amounts is an artificial and meaningless practice. The Basic Four Food Group diet plan recommends these serving amounts so that the person will be "assured" of getting all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed. If you are eating a biologically-correct diet, then such concerns are not needed.
According to Dr. Shelton, "Fresh, uncooked fruits, nuts, and vegetables will supply the body with a super abundance of the known and unknown vitamins, all the minerals, studied and unstudied, with fine sugars, easily-digested fats, and proteins of the highest grade." You don't need to eat one serving from this group or two servings from that group.
Just so long as all of your "servings" come from the fresh and wholesome fruit and vegetable group, then eat what you desire and don't be afraid to reach for "second helpings."
Home > Lesson 84 - The Basic Four Diet
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