By: Herbert M. Shelton
Excerpted From: Superior Nutrition
The Devil builds chapels wherever
God erects a house of prayer, and,
as Defoe has it, "it will be found,
upon examination, the Devil has
the largest congregation."
This is strangely true in the realm of diet.
It is not only true that the great majority
of people eat and prefer the common
denatured and inferior foodstuffs that are everywhere eaten, but it is also true
that, when some of them break away from the conventional diet and make an
attempt to find a more wholesome mode of eating, the majority of them are
misled by the claims made for the superiority of the many substitutes for
natural foods that are now offered the public by manufacturers and salesmen.
One of my correspondents once very seriously urged me to give more
attention, in the Hygienic Review to such "high pressure vital foods" as cod-
liver oil, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, blackstrap molasses, and yogurt.
Today certain of these foods, among which is powdered skim milk, are now
frequently referred to as "wonder foods." Honey and apple cider vinegar are
also included by some among the "wonder foods".
The many exaggerated claims made for the healing virtues of these foods are
made by those whose motives are purely commercial.
Like synthetic vitamins and mineral concentrates, they are offered to the
public as supplements to their diet of white sugar, white bread, white rice,
denatured cereals, canned vegetables, sulphured fruits, embalmed meats,
pasteurized milk, candy, cake, pie, etc.
Instead of teaching the people the truth about their diet and trying to lead them
into rational eating practices, they offer them supplements, so that their diet of
foodless foods may be rendered adequate.
There are diet compounds, also, that are said to "contain all the minerals for
the body in organic form" which are offered to the people as a substitute for a
much needed dietary revolution.
There is also a search for long-life foods and the people are being led to
believe that they can prolong their lives by eating freely of high grade proteins,
brewer's yeast, powdered skimmed milk, yogurt, black strap molasses, honey,
The modern Ponce de Leon’s search, not for a magic spring, the waters of
which restore and prolong youth, but for foods that have this magic power.
This search is of a piece with the ancient search for an elixir vitae that would
enable man to live for hundreds of years, if not forever. It is the same as the
search for the Fountain of Youth.
As soon as men give up the effort to discover special chemical compounds, or
a special pool that will guarantee them long life in spite of every possible
reason why they should die young, they turn to something else in their age-
long quest for some holy grail.
Gland extracts, gland transplantations, rays of various kinds and foods, have
been looked to as sources of length of life.
Perhaps Metchnikoff started this food way to long life when he popularized the
sour milk fad. He asserted that it was responsible for the long life span of the
Bulgarians, who actually take but little sour milk and are not a long-lived
Not until the present frenzied search for food specifics and food panaceas has
run itself out can we hope for sanity in the approach to food and feeding.
Food is now the new magic-it is the mysterious compound that will do what
we once expected drugs to do. Foods now cure without the necessity of
removing cause; they now prevent, also without the necessity of avoiding
cause. They are replacing drugs and serums in the armamentarium of the
This absurd eulogizing of special articles of food in each case, being greatly
altered products, and imputing to them peculiar virtues, is, when not a purely
commercial trick, the expression of childish credulity.
One of these peddlers of "wonder foods" urges proteins and more proteins
emphasizing, with the exception of yeast, only animal proteins: meat, eggs,
He stresses the fact that powdered skim milk is a rich source of protein and
points out that besides being a rich source of protein, yeast also contains
He also stresses the richness in minerals and vitamins of blackstrap
molasses. But, with all the vitamins contained in these foods, he urges
fortifying the diet with vitamin extracts taken daily. He urges vitamins and
His scheme of feeding is to get a redundancy of amino acids, vitamins and
minerals, it seems not to matter what kind of minerals, into the body.
Take the proteins and vitamins in great quantities, even if you do not need
them. As nature made no provision for us to get adequate vitamin D, he
advises fish-liver oil in capsules.
The idea is rapidly gaining ground that, if a thing is good, we must over-eat of
it. We must have a super-abundance of this or that vitamin, or of this or that
amino acid, or of this or that mineral in order to get enough.
The evils of redundancy are being completely ignored by the new school of
overfeeding. Today, they dose their patients with special foods or special
food factors as the medico's dose theirs with drugs, and for the same reason.
They are not feeding people to nourish them but to cure them. Foods are no
longer nutritive substances, but medicines. They are elixirs of one kind or
Your gum-willies, who write and talk about diet, have decided that all human
ailments are the results of deficiencies. To prevent them, to remedy them, we
need only provide ourselves with a super abundance of the vitamins, minerals
or amino acids that are deficient and, presto, we can live longer and look
They have created a fool's paradise in which they sport themselves for a brief
time and then pass to that borne from which no man returns.
That life is more than food and the body more than raiment, that man shall not
live by bread alone, is a principle that these men never heard of.
That living is more than eating, that we cannot eat ourselves into the
millennium, that we need something in life other than the B complex and
amino-acids-these are matters that these men seem incapable of thinking
In their works they talk only of foods and they write about their foods as a De
Kruif might write about an anti-biotic.
These miscalled dietitians offer the people only altered and denatured food
products. Not only this, but one of them actually declares that natural foods
are dangerous and unusable.
One man declares that salads are harmful to many people, acid fruits are
harmful to many more, spinach robs the body of lime, coffee stimulates the
adrenals and is needed by many people, sunbaths are harmful to many more.
He finds that at least seventy-percent of people are harmed by salads. Of
course, if nature's products are hurtful, we must depend on the manufacturers
for their "superior" products.
Honey, which is a poor food and much inferior to sweet fruits as a source of
sugar, is urged upon the gullible public as a miracle food.
Yogurt, which is an inferior form of sour milk (having been pasteurized and
boiled before culturing), is another "superior-food” that is sold at big profits.
Cider vinegar, the poisonous product of fermentation of apple juice, is urged
in certain quarters as a superior source of food values.
A large part of the nutritional problems of both the North and the South grow
out of our refusal to eat natural foods.
Our preference for the manufactured articles-those that have been
demineralized, devitaminized, denatured, standardized, pasteurized,
homogenized, cooked, canned, frozen, and in other ways rendered less
valuable as foods-creates dietary problems that are not adequately solved by
the present reliance upon supplements and substitutes.
We go to great lengths to spoil our foods and then complain about the
climate. We live on a diet of white flour products, degerminated and
demineralized corn meal, denatured cereals ("breakfast foods" that stick to
your ribs), white sugar, pasteurized milk, embalmed flesh foods, canned fruits
and vegetables, candies, cakes, pies, etc., and expect to render such diets
adequate by "supplementing" them with oils, brewer's yeast, wheat germ,
black strap molasses, honey, yogurt, powdered skimmed milk, cider vinegar,
If we purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the stores and vegetable and
fruit markets, or if we take these from our own gardens and orchards, we
refuse to eat them until they have been cooked out of all resemblance to food.
Spinach is cooked until it is black and mushy and no one is able to tell from its
taste, what it was before cooking; cabbage is boiled until it is unrecognizable;
potatoes are peeled, boiled and mashed, apples are baked and then drowned
in sugar (white sugar), peaches are stewed and plenty of white sugar added,
nuts are roasted, perhaps salted.
We eat so little unchanged, unspoiled foods that we can't possibly have
optimum nutrition and, then, we blame our poor nutrition upon the climate.
If it were not for the so obvious fact that the same kind of diets produce poor
nutrition in warm climates, it might be possible to sustain such a position.
How true it is that he who fills his belly with substitutes often abolishes his
hunger for real foods. The food manufacturers and the physicians feed
people on counterfeit "foods" so that the people know not the value of the
It is like the receipt of truth-people reject truth because they are so filled with
fallacy that they cannot receive truth- "there was no room at the inn" for the
mother pregnant with the savior child.
Truth is often born in a manger (and all too often left there to languish)
because the inn is so filled with crowds of thoughtless revelers that there is no
room there for its birth.
We are offered all manners of supplementary food factors ranging all the way
from supplementary roughage to supplementary vitamins, minerals, amino
acids, chlorophyll etc.
Even if these things possessed all the value their manufacturers say they
possess, their use would not make the conventional diet of denatured foods
On the other hand, natural foods will be adequate without the addition of the
supplements. It is important that we teach people how to get back to a normal
mode of eating rather than that we offer them substitutes for a natural diet.
The "compensatory" program is a commercial program, not a program of sane
It must be emphasized that science does not yet know all of the factors
essential to human nutrition, nor does it understand all of the correlations of
the various food factors, so that it cannot, at least in its present state of
ignorance, put together arbitrarily, a balanced system of diet.
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Excerpted From: Superior Nutrition