Article #1: Fruit Eating By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Fruit is food. Indeed, fruits are among the few substances produced in organic nature that seem to be designed specially to serve as food. The old medical prejudice against fruit, so strong during the last century that cities passed ordinances against bringing fruits into the cities during the summer months, was hammered down by Hygienists, and Americans learned to relish fruits. Unfortunately, in certain Hygienic circles this old anti-fruit prejudice has been revived. Some of our Hygienists have developed a groundless fear of a number of wholesome fruits.
Fruits supply the body with an abundance of minerals, sugars, vitamins and, in the case of some of them, considerable high-grade protein. The sugar in fruit is ideally associated with minerals and vitamins and need not be rejected as one does (or should) refined sugars. Fruit sugar is superior as human nutriment to honey, which is so ludicrously lauded in many quarters. Indeed, honey, when compared with the sugars of fruits, ranks about on the level with white sugar.
Most fruits are abundant in minerals, also containing important trace minerals, so that they form important and vital ingredients in the diet of the growing child. Most of them are deficient in calcium, but this is easily compensated from other wholesome sources. Fruits are commonly rich in vitamin C but contain less of other vitamins. They are, however, on the whole, excellent sources of vitamins.
They are commonly low in protein, rarely containing over two to two and a half percent and many of them containing much less than this. The date, banana, avocado and a few other fruits contain small amounts of excellent proteins. Supplemented with nuts and green leaves, their proteins become valuable additions to the diet. A fruit and nut diet is improved by the addition of green leafy vegetables. A large green salad each day makes such a diet almost ideal.
Most fruits contain more or less acid—such as malic, citric, tartaric, etc., being present. The prejudice that has grown up around fruits is a revival of the medical prejudice against acid fruits. They were declared to cause “acid diseases,” and were regarded as especially objectionable in rheumatism.
Fortunately, the body is able to oxidize the organic acids of fruits, at least of those fruits that we commonly use as food. These leave an alkaline ash upon being oxidized. There is often some difficulty with the acid of prunes, but there is no ground for the prejudice that has been revived against oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, tangelos, tomatoes and similar citric-acid bearing fruits.
The acids of berries are also easily oxidized and these, also, leave an alkaline ash. The acid radical of organic acids is expelled as carbon dioxide through the lungs; the alkaline salts left help to alkalinize the blood. Teeth have been kept uninterruptedly immersed in lemon juice for as long as six months and the acid had no effect on their enamel. There would seem to be no foundation for the idea that eating oranges or drinking orange juice injures the teeth.
It should be generally known that when acids are taken into the mouth there is a copious outpouring of an alkaline saliva, which bathes the membranes of the mouth and the tongue. This secretion of saliva is kept up long after the acid has been swallowed. Any acid left on the teeth or in the mouth is quickly neutralized by the alkaline saliva. We are too prone to overlook the body’s own provisions for its safety.
In the late spring and summer, when such fruits as peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, the various berries, canteloupes, watermelons, grapes, figs, etc., are plentiful, it is well to make a large part of the diet fruits. In the fall, when pears, apples, persimmons and the citrus fruits come into season, these should constitute a large part of the diet. Certain of these fruits, like the tomato, grapes, oranges, and grapefruits are plentiful throughout most of the year and may be eaten all the time. The avocado is abundant through most of the year, but is best eaten during the cooler periods of the year. Such sundried fruits as figs, dates, raisins, peaches, apricots, pears, etc., may be freely eaten during the winter months.
The melons make an excellent breakfast during the season of the year when they are ripening. They are best eaten alone. A large piece of watermelon makes an adequate breakfast, even for the physical worker. Canteloupe, banana melon, casaba, cranshaw and the Persian melon, in season, make a delightful and satisfying breakfast. If more food is desired for breakfast, it should be taken half an hour after eating the melon.
Nearly all of what we see of so-called allergy to fruits is indigestion resulting from wrongly combining the food eaten. Fruits with starches, fruits with sugar, fruits with proteins, and similar combinations are prone to decompose, producing gas, discomfort, skin eruptions. Melons with other foods may cause marked distress—eaten alone, they digest with the greatest of ease. In very young children there may sometimes be a short period during the development of a child, when its digestive system cannot handle a certain fruit, for example, an apple. It is well to leave some fruits out of a child’s diet until its development has progressed to a point where it can easily digest the fruit that gives trouble.
Great improvement in the ability to digest and handle foods follows a fast. It is no uncommon thing to find that an individual who has trouble with a particular article of food, can take it with the greatest of ease after a fast. If we can learn that what is called allergy is not a permanent possession, but that when its causes are removed, it ceases, we can understand that it is possible for us to become able to enjoy any wholesome food. It amazes those who are “allergic” to strawberries, for example, to see no trouble develop if they are placed on a strawberry diet.
When fruit is eaten with a meal of bread, flesh, potatoes, butter and the rest of the usual meal, the fruit usually being taken at the end of the meal, but often at the beginning, the indigestion and discomfort that result from such combining of foods will almost certainly be blamed on the fruit, which may be the only wholesome article of diet in the meal. The discomforts following such a meal may range all the way from a little gas formation that scarcely attracts the attention of the eater, to a painful indigestion accompanied with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The fruit, kept away from the other foods, and eaten as a fruit meal will digest easily and result in no discomfort.
Fruits that are peeled and sliced and permitted to stand for long periods of time before eating are hardly wholesome foods. They change color, lose flavor, undergo oxidation with resulting loss of food value and tend to decompose readily. Fruits added to breads, cakes, pies and various other kinds of pastires can also occasion considerable indigestion and distress. In this latter case, not only is the food spoiled in preparation and cooking, but the combination is indigestible. Fresh fruits, with cleaning as the only preparation, are most easily digested. The addition of sugar, syrups, honey and other sweeteners to fruits can also result in indigestion and discomforts.
Fruits have fallen into disrepute with many people for the reason that they find that they suffer with discomfort after eating them. It was Dr. Dewey who said that fruits demoralize digestion. He was especially opposed to eating apples. This trouble with fruits grows out of the practice of wrongly combining them. Strawberries and melons are commonly singled out as fruits that “I am allergic to,” and these foods are wholesome and toothsome. If taken alone as in the case of melons, or properly combined as in the case of strawberries, they almost never cause any trouble. Skin rashes and intestinal disturbances that often follow the eatings of fruit or that follow a particular fruit may, almost always, be traced to wrong combining. In the few cases where this is not so, a correction of the way of life, so that normal digestive power is reestablished, soon enables the individual to eat fruit. I do not think that there is anyone who cannot eat freely of fruits if due care is taken in combining them.
- 1. Humans Developed To Their Hight State Entirely On Fruits
- 2. Fruits Still Best Meet Our Needs Despite Their Present Lower Quality
- 3. Some Charges Made Against Fruits And Fruit Eaters
- 4. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Fruit Eating By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Fruit: Best Food Of All By William L. Esser
- Article #3: Proteins In The Fruitarian Diet By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton