By: Herbert M. Shelton
We have become so artificial in
our habits of thinking that it
almost invariably occurs that
when a discovery of the value of
some type of food is made, we think
immediately of some artificial way to
secure the benefits of the discovery.
We seem to be afraid of natural foods. Food manufacturers find us easy
dupes and sell us all manners of patented foods that are guaranteed to be
"just as good" as or even better than the natural product.
Another group exploit seaweeds as supplements to our diet and sell
enormous quantities of these unpalatable substances.
When false nutritive elements such as iron or synthetic vitamins, are added to
a food of which they are natural constituents but from which they have been
removed in the processing of these foods, these foods are said to be
When such pseudo food factors are added to foods in which these elements
exist naturally in sparse quantities, the food is said to be enriched.
When elements are added which do not naturally occur in the food at all the
food is said to be fortified. When one food is used to enrich another, the food
is said to be supplemented. Two foods that enrich one another are said to
supplement each other.
For the most part, restoration, fortification and enrichment of foods is a farce.
The inorganic lime salts, iron salts, etc., used in these processes are non-
usable; the synthetic vitamins employed for these purposes are of no value.
Supplementing foods is a mere game. Since no one ever lives on but one or
two foods and since no one food, is of and by itself, adequate to meet the
nutritive needs of man, we live upon a diet composed, at all times, of a variety
We need only to make sure that the tout ensemble of the foods we consume
meets the tout ensemble of our nutritive needs and should cease the parlor
game of supplementing one food with another.
Back to natural eating, should be our rallying cry. Are we such fools that we
are going on forever removing from natural foods essential nutritive factors
and then replacing them with "Just as good" Synthetic substances? Shall we
forever bow the neck to the yoke of commercialism and a false science
created by this same commercialism?
After going to great lengths to spoil nature's food products we seek to
supplement them with brewer's yeast, wheat germ, black molasses and yogurt
made from boiled milk. We eat white bread, white sugar, pasteurized milk,
canned vegetables, etc., and expect to render such a diet adequate by the
addition of cod-liver oil or other fish oil, a small amount of orange juice, or rice
We cook our spinach until it is black and mushy, boil our cabbage until it is
unrecognizable, peel and boil our potatoes, bake our apples and drown them
in a syrup made of white sugar and then eat brewer's yeast and convert our
intestinal tract into a beer vat. Or, we eat black molasses, which is as efficient
as brewer's yeast in producing fermentation.
Martin Frobisher, Jr., in his Fundamentals of Bacteriology says that yeast cells
"synthesize several vitamins which are of great value in the maintenance of
health" and that "yeast may therefore be taken if the diet is otherwise deficient
in these vitamins."
But he adds that: "normal foods, in good variety, including eggs, milk, butter,
vegetables such as spinach and lettuce, whole cereals and citrus fruits, furnish
practically everything offered by yeast, and in a more rational form."
The fact is that a good variety of natural, unprocessed, uncooked foods
furnish everything offered by yeast and much that yeast does not offer. That
they furnish these things in a "more rational form" hardly needs be added.
Why, then, say yeast may be taken, “if the diet is otherwise deficient in these
vitamins?" Why not resort to the more rational forms of dietary substances to
make the diet adequate?
It was found by certain British and German investigators that the addition of
fresh carrot juice or raw spinach juice to the diet of children suffering with
severe scurvy results in recovery.
The addition of fresh vegetable juices to the diet has given excellent results in
many cases of malnutrition. The same is true of fruit juices. It is amusing to
see the "discovery" of their value trumpeted to the world as a "brilliant medical
discovery" thirty years after it was rejected by the medical profession as
nonsense of the faddists and quacks. We faddists and quacks were not
dismayed by their taunts and are now triumphantly right.
Changes in the urine prove positively that metabolism is unproved by the
liberal use of fruits and green vegetables or their juices. The urine finds
particularly indicate a more complete protein transformation and oxidation.
The improvement in adults is not so quickly gained as in the young, but is
finally by just as positive.
These juices are valuable not alone in malnutritional states in children, but
also in chronic diseases in children and adults. Their excesses of bases
supply needed basic salts to the body and enable it to sweep itself free of
acids. But the juice of no food is as valuable as the food itself.
The child-feeding tests carried on by experimental nutritionists are merely
tests of supplemental feeding. No great or radical change is made in the
conventional, inadequate diet. They merely supplement the diet the children
are eating, with milk or fruit juice or some other such food and compare the
children so fed with those not so fed.
It is unfortunate that the discovery of the value of fruits and vegetables or their
juices has not lead to a revolutionizing of our feeding and eating practices, but
to an endeavor to supplement the inadequate diet now employed.
There is altogether too much effort to "improve" the conventional white-flour-
white-sugar-mashed-potato diet by adding a few drops of cod-liver oil or a few
spoonfuls of tomato juice or orange juice or a few powdered seaweeds.
It is urged that: "even unsuitable food can be favorably influenced by the
addition" of so-called "food adjuncts." Commercial houses and dietitians have
been quick to take advantage of this claim.
Doctors and false dietitians have used this as a barrier to true food reform.
These adjuncts or accessories may be manufactured, prescribed and sold at
It was shown in a previous chapter that it is impossible to eat sufficient
"offsetting" foods to completely compensate for the deficiencies of a
predominantly denatured diet, such as is commonly eaten in this country.
Supplements of the right kind are useful to those who are situated so that they
cannot get a proper diet, or to those who are unable to digest and assimilate
certain essential foods.
But a really correct dietary requires no supplements. It is complete in itself
and fully adequate to meet all the food needs of the body.
Today we are being offered "accessory foods" rather than food reform.
Commercial firms have placed their "food accessories" on the market to be
taken in doses of a spoonful or more at a time, just like drugs.
The "accessory foods" are supposed to adjust an "ill balanced diet." Why not
balance the diet? We need to thoroughly revolutionize and completely reform
One house advertises that its product "is not a substitute, but is the
quintessence of the green leaf in a palatable and assimilable form." This is not
a dietetic, but a drug conception.
No process can take the "quintessence of the green leaf" and give it to us so
that it will be as valuable as the green leaf. Besides, the green leaf exists in a
palatable and assimilable form.
Dr. Oswald says:
"Ours is an age of extracts. We have moral extracts in the form of Bible-House
pamphlets; language-extracts in the form of compendious grammers; exercise
extracts under the name of gymnastic curriculums; air-extracts in the shape of
oxygen-bladders, any a vast deal of such food-concentrations as Liebig's soup,
fruit jellies, condensed milk, and flavoring extracts. But, somehow or other, the
old plan seems after all, the best."
Artificial food preparations are advertised to contain just the food elements
required and to contain these in just the right proportions. This claim has
weight only with those who do not know that the makers of the foods do not
know what the right proportions of these elements are.
One firm advertises that one of its "accessory foods" is "concentrated to more
than 400 times the potency of the fresh, raw vegetables from which it is
derived." There is no reason to believe that such concentration can be
helpful. Man is correlated with and adapted to foods as Nature - the plant
kingdom - produces them.
"All artificial (food) preparations are more or less unbalanced, simply because
the fundamental knowledge necessary for their manufacture is entirely lacking.
Only living plants can give us all the factors necessary for the maintenance of
He further says:
"Physiologically, we have not the slightest idea how many in what proportion
mineral substances are required by the human being. It is identically the same
Consistent with our artificial thinking habits one company that produces and
sells prepared spinach juice, after supplying much unimpeachable testimony
showing the great value of spinach, supplies four reasons why we should
reject fresh spinach as unsuitable, and should employ their processed and
inferior product instead.
The shelves of the so-called health food stores of the land are groaning under
their load of bottled, canned and powdered foods and food juices; each one
guaranteed to be good for dozens of so called diseases; each one a
necessary adjunct to our diet.
Their minerals and vitamins are said to be concentrated so that only small
amounts of them supply the deficiencies in the conventional diet.
Instead of adding bottled spinach juice, powdered seaweeds and other such
inferior products to the conventional, deficient diet, we need to revolutionize
The real health foods do not come in cans, bottles, boxes and capsules. They
are grown in garden and orchard, are irradiated by the sun, rather than by an
ultra-violet lamp, and are more suited to the nutritive needs of our bodies as
they come, ready-made, from the lap of mother nature, than after they have
been dried, powdered, canned, bottled and cooked.
Superior nutrition can come only from a fundamentally correct and fully
adequate dietary and no amount of supplementary additions to our, at present,
largely denatured diet can give us superior nutrition.
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Article: Diet Reform vs. Supplemental Feeding