The continuous struggle with indigestible food mixtures and with the poisonous products of their bacterial decomposition sooner or later wears out the body, for it is a break on the process of nutrition that involves a prodigious waste of the vital forces and draws upon physiological reserves which have been set aside for future use. What are those acid eructations (belchings) that so commonly follow meals of meat and bread, starch and milk, fruit and starch, sugar and starch, and other combinations we condemn? Are they symptoms of good digestion? There is gastric distress ("heart burn"), gas and eructations that cause throat irritation, mucus flow and coughing. The eructations are often so acrid, they cause burning of throat and nose.
Feed these people correctly combined meals and their fermentation with gas and eructations end. Physicians and others who scoff at food combining would show more intelligence if they would study the effects of the indigestible mixtures they prescribe and cease wasting time ridiculing those who are attempting to teach the people sane eating practices. While they sit and scoff the world moves on and leaves them.
Physicians, druggists and patent medicine manufacturers are kept busy supplying the demand for drugs to relieve the discomforts that grow out of wrong food combinations. Millions of dollars are yearly spent for alkalizers, laxatives and anti-gas remedies. Tons of Alkaseltzer, Tums, Bell-Ans, bicarbonate of soda, charcoal, milk of magnesia, syrup pepsin, etc., are swallowed yearly by the American public. Physicians prescribe as many more tons of drugs for the relief of abdominal discomfort.
Fermentation and putrefaction is so well nigh universal in the digestive tracts of our people that many physiologists and physicians have come to look upon the sub-diaphramatic cess-pool as normal. The fermentation and putrefaction is present in the digestive tracts of those who experience no discomfort in the abdomen. These people who experience no abdominal distress will swear that their bad combinations do not bother them.
One of the two chief reasons for careful eating is to prevent fermentation and putrefaction of food. One of the greatest causes of gastro-intestinal decomposition is wrong food combining. It is difficult to exaggerate the clinical picture resulting from the reeking decomposition which begins in the stomach and continues in the intestine as a result of food-mixtures which are all but indigestible.
Must I emphasize that the products of bacterial decomposition of food-stuffs are the same when the decomposition occurs in the stomach as when the food rots outside the body. The putrescence arising in the digestive tract is no less hostile to life and health than when it arises in a swill barrel.
Let us notice an average meal consumed in the average home. It consists of bread, meat, potatoes, perhaps a soup or pie or a dessert of gelatin or ice cream or canned or stewed fruit, and one or more green vegetables. There are the usual gravies and sauces, sugar and cream, catsup, mustard, salt, pepper, and milk, tea or coffee. Indeed, the purpose of eating seems to be to see how great a variety of heterogeneous substances can be put into the stomach at one time. Of course, no digestive system was ever designed to digest such an unholy combination of foods, slops and "relishes." The stomachs of those who eat such meals have been converted into swill barrels and garbage cans. Fermentation and putrefaction are inevitable.
Did you ever notice a garbage barrel; the great variety of substances in it--meats, eggs, several kinds of vegetables and fruits and scraps from the table, coffee and other substances. What a lot of putrescence results when it begins to decompose! Now think of all the putrescence that will develop in your alvine canal, when a similar mixture of food substances undergoes bacterial decomposition therein. Can you imagine good health resulting from such eating? Do you marvel that people are sick?
All the secretions of the digestive tract--saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile, pancreatic juice, intestinal juice--are antiseptic, or bactericidal. Gastric juice possesses an anti-fermentative power to prevent bacterial decomposition in food. The same is true of bile. The hydrochloric acid of the stomach, together with pepsin, the trypsin of the pancreatic juice and perhaps the intestinal juice are normally very destructive to germ life, digesting germs as readily as meat or bread. They resist and prevent bacterial decomposition in this garbage and attempt to digest it. But complete success in either of these efforts is impossible. Digestion cannot be perfect and more or less bacterial decomposition is inevitable. Such eating is better designed to poison than to nourish the body.
The American breakfast of grapefruit and sugar followed by baked apples, or stewed fruit or jam, and completed with coffee and sugar, perhaps eaten hurriedly, while nervously fingering the morning paper, and topped off with a cigarette, is sending millions to the doctors of all schools and ushering many thousands into premature graves.
Orthodox (?) food scientists and their trailers in medical ranks thought that with the discovery of "calories," they had found the master key that would unlock all the mysteries of human dietetics. Basing their work on the calorie standard, physicians would prescribe a diet for a patient about like the following:
Lamb stew with vegetables (400 calories), mashed potatoes (175 calories), sliced tomatoes (100 calories), strawberry shortcake and cream (160 calories), or ice cream (200 calories), a glass of buttermilk (130 calories), stewed prunes (150 calories); this constituting 1115 calories or approximately one-third the estimated required 3500 calories.
With the "discovery" of "vitamins" the same foolish mistake is being repeated. The most deficient and one-sided diets are fed and then small quantities of supposed vitamin-rich substances--orange juice, tomato juice, cod-liver oil, yeast, etc.--are fed in a vain endeavor to render such diets adequate.
The calorie was a fetish. The vitamin has become the same. The older food specialists completely overlooked the important fact that the patient did not secure his calories from his food unless he digested and assimilated it. He fed his patients the most incongruous and indigestible mixtures, which set up fermentation and decomposition, and this completely changed the character of the food and as completely altered its relations to the body and its welfare.
The present day food specialist, feeding vitamins instead of calories, makes the same mistake. He feeds his patients abominable mixtures of soup, potatoes, pies or puddings, preserves, ice cream, coffee, or tea and then, "balances" it up with a teaspoonful of orange juice or a dose of grease of the cod-liver.
Such mixtures as this and the one described before will take on decomposition and turn out such products as carbonic acid gas, alcohol, ammonia, bacterial acids, etc. In order to neutralize, isolate and eliminate these poisons the body will be forced to draw upon its precious vital reserves. Such food mixtures not only do not yield up their calories and vitamins to the body in full measure, but they rob it of its reserves. For, when poisons accumulate in the body beyond its ordinary powers to neutralize and eliminate, its reserves are called upon and expended in freeing the body of the toxins.
The only reason that the great mass of poisons which arise out of the decomposition of our foods in our digestive tracts do not result in speedy death, is that nature has provided us with constitutional reserves with which to resist the recurrent accidents and emergencies of our daily lives. These reserves are especially intended to meet the needs of old age, when the forces of life are feeble and the self-regenerative powers of the body are impaired.
If the body's reserves are carefully hoarded they will carry us well beyond the hundred-year mark with youthful enthusiasm and zest. Their depletion is one of the most common calamities of modern life. The alkaloids and alcohols, with which gastro-intestinal decomposition charges our bodies, rob us of our reserves, greatly weaken our vital resistance and sooner or later produce a state of physiological collapse. We permit the silent, continuous leakage of our vital reserves until, by its sapping influence, we are brought below the line of safety. Our powers of repair and restitution are bankrupted and we are unable to "come back."