Today we are sharing from one of our favorite authors, Father Denis Fahey, from his book on the Church and Farming, part of his excellent chapter on food and health. We hope to continue through this chapter as time allows.
The Church and Farming
By: Fr. Fahey + Imprimatur 1953
This chapter may fittingly open with a quotation from Man, the Unknown, by Dr. Alexis Carrel. "Modern Man," he writes, "is delicate … Medicine is far from having decreased human sufferings as much as is generally believed. IT is true that the number of deaths from infectious diseases has diminished, but the deaths from degenerative diseases have increased, and the sicknesses consequent on these diseases are gained by the suppression of diphtheria, small pox, typhoid fever, etc., are paid for by the long suffering and lingering deaths caused by chronic affections, and especially by cancer, diabetes, and heart disease … The maladies of the central nervous system are innumerable … Although modern hygiene has considerably prolonged the average length of life, it is very far from having done away with diseases. It has simply changed their nature … The organs, has become more susceptible to degenerative diseases. . The ordinary staple foods do not contain the same nutritive substances as in former times. Mass production and commercial processing haven edified the composition of wheat, eggs, milk, fruit, and butter, although these articles have retained their familiar appearance … Hygienists have not paid sufficient attention to the genesis of diseases. Their studies of the influence of modes of life and of nourishment on the physiological, intellectual and moral state of modern men are superficial, incomplete and of too short curating."
The Factors of Proper Nutrition
In an excellent lecture on the Fundamentals of Nutrition for Physicians and Dentists, Dr. N. Philip Norman says that "Propter nutrition and the role that it plays in the maintenance of good health involve twelve factors:
"1. The ecologic equilibrium of the fauna and flora of the soil.
2. Fertility of the soil.
3. The vigor of the germ plasm of the seed.
4. Climatic factors - temperature, moisture, and sunshine.
5. The proper culture of the flora and fauna which supply man with food.
6. The harvesting and storage of food.
7. The handling of food during transportation and distribution.
8.The methods of processing through which food has gone - milling, canning, brining, salting, dehydration, freezing, sun-drying, curing and smoking, sulfuring, drying, etc.
9. The intelligent selection of food at the market.
10. The proper preparation of the food either for immediate consumption in the raw state or for cooking.
11. Proper methods of cooking different kinds of food.
12. The proper care of left-over food to be used at subsequent meals."
We have already seen something about Nos. 1 and 2. In this section we shall treat briefly of the consequences of processing.
In From the Ground Up, Jorian Jenks points out that the growth of the large towns consequent upon the Industrial Revolution made "the services of the good intermediary a physical necessity. The urban housewife became almost completely dependent on him for the collection, grading, packing, transportation and delivery of foodstuffs that formerly most people had either grown for themselves or obtained from neighbors… TTo these intermediary changes were added as the food trade grew more complex, the cost of "processing," that is, the adaptation of perishable produce to the requirements of transport and storage to meet trade demands for standardized and attractively-presented articles."
Food Processing and Health
"What food processing is doing to our national health," writes Dr. Philip Norman, "was shown recently by a large scale experiment. At the beginning of World War II someone in the Surgeon General's office, probably unfamiliar with the physical manifestations of malnutrition, drew up a list of physical specifications for use by draft examiners. The rejection rate of the first two million selectees soared to a starting figure and a lower standard of physical fitness was formulated. Even so, draft rejection rates in World War II were approximately 14 per cent. higher than those of World War I… I do not think that this unfitness of our youth can be ascribed to a more universally potent factor than the increased consumption of highly processed foods which spiraled upwards between 1918 and 1941. (Lecture on the Fundamentals of Nutrition for Physicians and Dentists.)
More detailed information is given in To-morrow's Food, written conjointly by James Rorty and Dr. Norman. In that work we read: "The six major reasons for rejecting volunteers and selectees, given i nthe order of their importance, were poor eyes, poor teeth, chronic heart disease, musculo-skeletal defects, venereal diseases, and mental and nervous disease and disorders. With the exception of the venereal disease, all of these defects can be either directly caused or directly affected by malnutrition. It is interesting to note that the four major deficiencies of the Anerican diet appear to be closely related to the major causes of the draft-rejections. According to the Steibling-Phipard study of 1936, these deficiencies are calcium, riboflavin, ascorbic acid and thiamin. In the case of mental and nervous diseases and disorders, and in the case of chronic heart disease, which affected one out of twenty of the first eight million volunteers and selectees, the nutritional factor involved is the vitamin B complex, and especially vitamin B1 or thiamin. According to Dr. Williams and Dr. Spies, the vitamin B complex specifically affects three parts of the body: the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, the nervous system and the digestive system…
"One-fourth of the first million draftees were rejected because of defective teeth Not all tooth decay, certainly, is caused by malnutrition. It is generally conceded, however, that the correlation between carious teeth and defiant or badly balanced diets is very district."
In Chapter Four of To-Morrows Food, is given a summary of Dr. Weston A. Price's pleaded work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, from which we take the following passage: "The best diets of primitive peoples are in fact higher in essential vitamins and minerals than the average civilized diet: and so long as the primitives adhere to their diets their teeth are almost free from cavities, their dental arches are perfect, and their health extraordinary when measured by modern scientific standards. As soon, however, as they begin to use white flour, granulated sugar, and canned goods of our civilization, their teeth begin to decay with astonishing rapidity. Tuberculosis and arthritis make their appearance, and in a hundred ways the resistance to disease declines. Within a generation the pregnancies of their workmen become difficult and the dental arches of their children are malformed." Dr. Price, accompanied by his wife, made a study of primitive peoples all over the world. His book was published by himself at 1020 Campus Avenue, Redlands, California.
This is true also of gingivitis, another common mouth disease of the American people. Dentists believe that approximately 75 per cent of American adults have this condition. An experiment made on 341 children between 1929 and 1933 at Mooseheart, Illinois, showed that gingivitis is a vitamin C deficiency disease. At the time this experiment was started, 70.9 per cent of the children were found to have gingivitis. After receiving a pint of orange nice and the nice of one lemon daily for a year, only 10 per cent of the children had gingivitis. In addition, the amount of tooth decay had decreed by one half …
"The prevalence of vitamin B complex deficiencies is believed to be very high, both among the poor and the rich. Among a group of upper-income-class patients studied by Dr. Herber Kelly and Myrtle Shepard in 1943, 76 per cent were found to be deficient in vitamin B1 and 77 percent were found to be deficient in vitamin B2. In addition, Dr. Kelly and Miss Shepard noted that when the patient had only a single food deficiency, it was in the majority of cases a vitamin B deficiency. No practicing nutritionist or dietician will be surprised by this finding. The vitamin C deficiencies are discriminatory; they effect the poor who can't afford orange juice. But the vitamin B deficiencies are democratic: they affect almost everybody who, since about 1890, has been eating refrained white flour and refined white sugar."
"The insufficient ingestion of vitamin B1," he writes, "is a common food fault, due mainly to the extensive use of vitamin-poor or vitamin-less carbohydrate foods, such as polished rice, white flour and sugar. It has to be remembered in this connection that the more carbohydrate eaten the more vitamin B1 is required. The effects of its inadequate provision are loss of appetite, impaired digestion, decreed motility of the stomach, sluggish bowel action, impaired growth of the young during the lactating period consequent on deficiency in the mother's milk, deranged functioning of the adrenal glands (possibly a cause of distressing dreams), nervousness, loss of weight and virgour, and fatigue. In infants there may be stiffness of the arms and legs … fretfulness and pallor. This vitamin has an important relation to the secretion of milk, much more of it being needed during the lactation period than at other times. Its abundant richest natural source is dried brewer's yeast. Rice-polishings, bran and wheat-germ oil are all good sources of it, as are whole cereal grains."
To be continued …. FLOUR MILLING AND BREAD
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