Chapter 1-5 of Healing Foods by Walter Last

Understand the principles of healthy selection, preparation and combining of foods

GENERAL DIET RULES

In a nutshell, the most important diet rule is to eat our food as much as possible whole, live, organic and free of added chemicals. Other important rules are to chew well, enjoy what we eat, combine the food correctly and deliberately under-eat rather than over-eat.

WHOLE FOOD

Whole food means that there should be as little refining as possible. To give an example: natural brown rice is the preferred whole food. White rice has the bran and germ removed together with most of its vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B1, for instance, is about 450% higher in brown than in white rice. This means that the body may not use the deficient food efficiently. This can lead to overweight or underweight and poor blood-sugar regulation. The lack of fiber in refined rice contributes to constipation. In varying degrees this also applies to other commonly eaten foods.

Over thousands of years our metabolic and enzyme structures have evolved on whole foods and rely on certain combinations of ingredients being supplied together. Protective or synergistic (co-operative) factors are present in whole foods. Vitamin C is much better absorbed and retained if taken together with bioflavonoids. Both nutrients naturally occur in the same food. The sensitive polyunsaturated oils are protected from oxidation and structural damage as long as they remain in the whole seed. They also naturally occur together with protective vitamin E. When extracted and refined, they are partly oxidized and harmful trans-fatty acids are formed in addition.

Carnivorous animals do not just eat meat but also bones. They would quickly become mineral deficient and diseased without the bones. The same applies to us if we just eat flesh high in phosphorus or low-mineral commercial food. We then need to use mineral supplements or become deficient and prone to diseases.

As relates to root vegetables, 'whole' means using the vitamin-and mineral-rich outer parts, usually discarded as peel, as well as the inner parts and the cooking water. Pouring out the cooking water loses all the vitamins and minerals down the drain.

A story, presumably true, has been published about the crew in one of the early submarines. After a long crossing they were utterly fatigued and disease-prone; they had lived on tinned and dried food. The health authorities were at a loss about the cause as there had been sufficient of the known vitamins in the food. A nature-cure practitioner offered his advice, which quickly corrected the problem. He told them to peel a lot of potatoes, discard the potatoes and cook the peels; strain, discard the peels and drink the broth. How many of us do it the other way around?

However, there is also a downside to some whole foods and in particular to seeds. Seeds contain reactive proteins, called lectins, which are mainly in the outer hull or bran. Individuals with certain blood groups tend to react to specific lectins. Also other food allergies develop mainly against the outer parts of seeds that are removed in refining. Furthermore, if seeds are not sprouted or fermented, then minerals tend to remain bound by chemicals in these outer parts and cannot be absorbed. Therefore, if we have a sensitive digestion and eat food that is not really suited for us, then refined food tends to cause less immediate problems than whole food.

LIVE FOOD

'Live' means that the food is still high in vitality and naturally occurring enzymes. These are destroyed when food is heated above 1200 F. While milk may be heated initially in making yogurt, added lactic-acid bacteria provide a new complement of enzymes to revive food, although I prefer to make yogurt from unheated milk.

Food has different stages of 'aliveness' or vitality. A dry viable seed is alive but dormant, the enzymes are inactivated by inhibitors. During soaking and sprouting the seed awakens to full life with an abundance of enzyme activity. Like an embryo, it is at the height of its vital and restorative functions.

A young, growing leaf or plant still has a high level of growth hormones and enzyme activity, but in a mature plant or fully-grown leaf there is little growth hormone and reduced enzyme activity. Wholemeal flour that has not been unduly heated during milling (stone mill) has some residual kind of life, but inhibitors block any enzymes. Enzyme activity will be enhanced and starch predigested during sourdough baking. Live food is basically the same as raw or uncooked food and will be discussed in more detail later.

ORGANIC FOOD

'Organically grown' food means that it is free of toxic agricultural chemicals and has been grown in good soil without the use of water-soluble fertilizers. Very harmful are nitrogen fertilizers, especially nitrates. In one scientific experiment hens were fed blueberries that were either unfertilized or fertilized with nitrate. Hens fed large amounts of nitrate-fertilized berries died within three days. Those that received only small amounts of fertilized berries laid eggs with defective missing shells. Hens fed unfertilized berries in any quantity maintained normal health and eggs. What will a low-dose long-term intake of such fertilized foods do to us?

It is well known to organic growers that their plants and the animals fed these plants are much more resistant to pests and diseases than chemically fertilized plants. It has been published that cattle on an organic farm remained disease-free while cattle on surrounding properties were badly affected with foot-and-mouth disease.

Most damaging are pesticide residues, or the interaction between different chemicals. Many natural therapists believe that organically grown food is an important part in the successful treatment of degenerative diseases. The term 'organic' is generally understood to mean that such food also has not been irradiated and is free of genetically engineered components and any added chemicals that are normally used during storing or processing.

COOKING

Food ideally suited for human nutrition does not require cooking, such as sprouted seeds and fresh shoots, ripening seeds (sweet corn, green peas), oily seeds and nuts, sweet root vegetables and fruits. Cooking damages many proteins. They coagulate and harden and their complement of digestive enzymes is destroyed. This makes them more difficult to digest.

However, cooking also makes some foods more easily digestible by breaking down cellulose in plant food and connective tissue in meat This enables our digestive juices to get more easily to the nutrients and is especially important for people with weak digestive organs. A further advantage of cooking is the preservation of food, easier chewing and enhanced flavors. All this means that cooked food generally is more convenient and tastes better and for most of us that is more important than any long-term health concerns.

Nevertheless, here I try to show how these harmful effects can be minimized by combining the least damaging use of cooking with the more acceptable forms of raw food eating.

Steaming is the most recommended method of cooking. You may add sufficient water to cover the bottom of the pot, even without special steaming equipment. Then most of the vegetables will be steamed and if you use the remaining water, nothing will be lost anyway. By adding vegetables after the water has started to boil less vitamins will be destroyed. However, I do not see a problem with simmering vegetables submersed in water as long as you also ingest this water, preferably soon after cooking.

Pressure cookers are acceptable; their main disadvantage is that they are usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. Microwave ovens are suspected of causing harmful radiation in the kitchen while in use. In addition, they may contribute to health deterioration by scrambling the delicate structures of sensitive food molecules in unnatural ways. Therefore avoid or minimize microwaved food. It is also safer to discard any outer part of meat or fish after grilling or broiling.

When cooking grains or legumes, always soak the seeds beforehand overnight and discard the soaking water. In this way we ingest less potentially harmful anti-nutrients, such as phytates, which make minerals unavailable, protease inhibitors that interfere with the digestion of proteins or lectins that cause unpleasant symptoms with some blood groups. If beans cause wind, change the water during cooking once or twice. The main disadvantage of all cooking is that it destroys food enzymes and some vitamins. This significantly contributes to more rapid aging and the development of degenerative diseases if the diet consists predominantly of cooked food. Therefore try to use only a minimum of cooked food.

Most harmed by cooking are animal products and polyunsaturated oils; least harmful are cooked starches. Eat your food, but especially vegetables, as soon as possible after a short cooking time; try to minimize steam or fumes escaping from cooking food. Except baked grains avoid leftover food from a previous meal.

A large amount of aluminum dissolves in the water during cooking in aluminum cooking ware, the more so, the more acid the water is. This is also a problem with stainless steel pots. While it is more resistant to acids, it can still release harmful amounts of nickel. Nickel is implicated in weakening the immune system and promoting cancer. Enamel cooking-ware is generally fine, except that cheap Asian imports reportedly may contain high levels of lead; this is also a problem with ceramic pots. Glass cooking-ware is the safest.

Here are some important cooking rules:

        Avoid soda in cooking or baking, it destroys B-vitamins

        Add salt or minerals after cooking to preserve vitamins

        Save and use the cooking water; it is rich in minerals

        Cook for the shortest period possible

        Do not keep food warm for long, cool quickly for storage

        Avoid aluminum and minimize stainless steel cooking utensils, use enamel or glassware instead

        Do not leave acid food in contact with metal surfaces

        Do not cook what can conveniently be eaten raw

        Do not fry or heat oils or fats

        Do not cook with microwave

 

CHEWING AND ENJOYING THE MEAL

Good chewing is of vital importance. It is necessary to break down food particles to a fine pulp and at the same time insalivate it sufficiently for proper enzyme activity. Furthermore, trace elements and vitamins are already partly absorbed through the mouth tissue, while the stomach needs adequate advance warning of the expected composition and quantity of the food. So, even if the food is already liquid (soups, broth), chewing is important. Keep and move such liquid food in the mouth for several seconds. Solid food needs chewing until it is thoroughly liquefied. Teach your children early to chew thoroughly; possibly check the stool to see if it contains large pieces and whole seeds.

You should not only chew thoroughly but also eat slowly and in a leisurely fashion. This not only improves digestion but helps prevent overeating. A certain amount of time is needed for the body to form the message that it has enough. Therefore, if you stuff yourself within a short period, your body has no time to prevent you from overeating. Overeating may also occur if you do not pay attention to the eating itself but to a conversation, to a book or the television. Then you cannot hear when your body says 'enough'.

It is also important to have a peaceful mind at mealtime. Before the meal, completely relax for a minute or more with eyes closed; if able to meditate, raise your awareness to a joyful meditative state. During the meal pay attention to the process of chewing and enjoy the various flavors as they develop.

It is beneficial to enjoy what one eats. Unpalatable food is not well digested. Neither is it good to continue eating poor food just because one has acquired a preference for it. For many, this is the most difficult problem to overcome during health improvement: to acquire a liking for what is nutritionally good. There is no doubt that taste buds are adaptable and can be re-educated, but this comes gradually. Introduce unfamiliar foods and supplements in very small mounts only, well mixed with familiar foods.

Be imaginative and experiment with new ways to prepare food. Do not eat if you are not really hungry, if you are extremely agitated or emotionally upset, if you are unwell with a fever or comparable condition or if you are still full from the previous meal. Always prepare food lovingly.

FOOD COMBINING

Food muscle testing, experience with patients as well as my own body have shown me the importance of correct food combining. The fundamental biochemical considerations with regard to food combining are as follows:

1.      Typical protein foods (usually containing oil or fat) require strongly acid gastric juices.

2.      Different types of protein foods may need differently composed gastric juices for digestion.

3.      Starches need B vitamins and chlorides, calcium and magnesium, for enzyme activation.

4.      Sweeteners or sugars as well as acids inhibit the digestion of starches.

Disregarding these facts by mixing foods indiscriminately may be contributing to infections and degenerative diseases - especially allergies, arthritis, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Initially, most people have a reasonably strong digestive system and do not feel any ill effects, no matter what they eat or combine. This is also true if bodily responses have become dull by being ignored for many years. However, sooner or later the unpleasant effects and degenerative symptoms will appear.

There are three main groups of food to consider when working out correct combinations:

1.      proteins, sweet and acid foods, sweet vegetables, fruits

2.      neutral foods such as fats and oils, non-sweet vegetables, avocados olives, cream cheese

3.      starches such as cereals, potatoes and dry legumes

The neutral foods may be combined with either one of the other groups while the two extreme groups should be kept apart. Observing this simple rule will already prevent the more serious consequences of incorrect food combining.

In poor health and during health improvement, however, it is advisable to be even more careful. With few exceptions, most foods are best digested as a moderated mono-diet - only closely related foods are eaten together, for example different kinds of grains. With severe digestive problems one may temporarily adopt a strict mono-diet, one kind of food only at a meal, and observe its effects.

The next best possibility is to eat foods correctly combined, but still separated during the meal. This is most important with meat, fish or nuts. These are best eaten at the beginning of the meal for proteins to receive the strong gastric juices in the pit of the stomach. The rest of the meal, if not too liquid, will remain in distinct layers on top. Remember this if you have proteins and starches at the same meal.

You may mix a small amount of flavoring vegetables 'with meat or fish, or eat a fruit together with some nuts. Generally it is preferable to have either some fresh vegetable juice or a small amount of raw vegetables before a cooked meal.

For those with a sluggish metabolism, a small amount of sweet food or fruits as dessert after a protein meal will provide energy for the digestion of slow-burning protein-fat combinations. This, however, is not advisable after a starch meal or for those with blood-sugar problems. Glucose and maltose (as in barley sugar) do not contain fructose and therefore cause less of a problem if combined with starches. If the digestion is sluggish, a small amount of fruit acids, such as lemon juice sprinkled over meat or fish, or ascorbic acid with or after protein meals, may be beneficial as well as half a cup of a bitter herb tea afterwards. Cooked subacid fruit that is low in fructose, such as apple, does not react in the same way as sweet fruit that is high in fructose. Therefore, most individuals will be fine using this as a flavoring with cereals or starches, for example apple puree with rice.

 

FOOD-COMBINING CHART

Direct connections between groups indicate good combinations.

Connections between groups with one interception are fair.

Connections between groups with two interceptions are poor.

FOOD GROUPS

'Hard' proteins meat, fish, nuts, oily seeds, soybeans

'Soft' proteins eggs, milk proteins, meat/fish broth, tofu, soymilk, nut butters, fermented soy or nuts

Acid fruit lemon, grapefruit, pineapple or acid berries

Subacid fruits apricots, peaches, pears, bananas, cooked apples

Sweet food sweeteners, foods with added sugar, molasses, honey, dried fruits, oranges, figs and other sweet fruits and berries, juices of sweet vegetables

Sweet vegetables sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onion, carrot, turnip, beetroot, tomatoes, green peas

Neutral foods fats and oils, non-sweet vegetables (mainly green), sprouted seeds, avocados, olives

Starches grain products, potatoes, dry legumes, food yeast, sago and taro.

?

Some factors that make food combining less important are:

        A strong digestive system and being physically active

        Chewing extremely well

        Only eating small meals

The opposite factors will, of course, increase the importance of correct food combining. Being able to eat just about anything, however, is not a guarantee of strong digestive powers; the system may be too weak to react. If you are in good health, you may forget about food combining by omitting just one group of foods from a mixed meal - the cooked starches; most others combine reasonably well with each other. However, it is generally acceptable to eat starches at the end of a meal, separated from the protein part by a vegetable or sprout salad or by some cooked vegetables. If you are rather sensitive, then this middle part of the meal may consist of neutral vegetables rather than sweet ones.

Foods are classified as hard proteins, soft proteins or starches according to the amount of gastric acid and pepsin that is needed for their digestion. The actual percentage of protein in a food is less important in this respect than the amount of fat, oil and fiber surrounding the protein.

Meat, nuts and cooked soybeans, for instance, are difficult to break down. They need the full strength of gastric acid and pepsin and, therefore, are called 'hard proteins'. Eggs, uncooked dairy proteins, broth of meat and fish, fermented soy products, soy milk and fine nut butters, on the other hand, need less acidity and may be called 'soft proteins'.

Proteins in processed cheese, in cow's milk used as a drink, but especially in milk added to coffee or tea, are very difficult to digest and thus become hard proteins. Non-fatty fish, especially if marinated, is easy to digest and almost a soft protein, while fatty fish is closer to meat in its gastric requirements.

Food yeast with a 50% protein content and also the non-oily legumes are grouped with the starches because their fat-free proteins are relatively easy to digest and require only slight acidity.

INTESTINAL FERMENTATION

Combining food high in fiber with sweet food is likely to cause wind. This gave rise to the frequently quoted rule not to combine vegetables with fruit. In this case some of the sugar from the fruit may not be absorbed and then may over-stimulates bacterial activity in the large intestine, causing excessive wind, flatulence or bloating. Some intestinal fermentation is desirable in order to keep our beneficial bacteria happy. This is best done with a moderate amount of fiber in the diet. It breaks down at a slow rate and greatly helps to maintain regular soft bowel motion.

However, trouble brews if we add a large amount of sugar in any form. This is like adding petrol to a slow, controlled burn-off of bush land that then gets out of control and becomes a raging wildfire. It is very similar in our intestines. Because fiber remains in the large intestine for a long time, excessive fermentation may even happen if we have sweet food several hours after a raw salad. How much sweetness we can tolerate together with fiber is very individual. The more efficient we absorb our food, the larger the amount of sweetness that we can handle without getting into trouble.

For individuals with a weak sugar metabolism it is not good to have much sweetness on an empty stomach as that drives the blood sugar level too high, followed by symptoms of hypoglycemia. In this case it is best to completely separate food high in fiber from sweet food and have the fiber meal after the sweet meal. Therefore, breakfast is safest as a moderately sweet meal, for instance by flavoring cooked rice or sago with banana or apple puree. The evening meal is then safe as a fiber meal, such as combining potatoes and other cooked non-sweet vegetables with a vegetable salad. Lunch may be a protein food together with sweet vegetables, such as pumpkin.

It may also be acceptable to have a piece of fruit or a fresh juice of sweet vegetables (e.g. carrots) some time before a meal that also has a vegetable salad or other high-fiber food at the end of the meal. Because fresh juice does not have much indigestible fiber, there should be no fermentation problem by combining vegetable and fruit in the same juice. However, if fruit high in fructose is combined with vegetables, then the juice is high in glucose as well as fructose and can cause a strong insulin response and hypoglycemia in susceptible individuals.

The main rule in all this is to have the fast digesting food first and the slow digesting fiber afterwards. You need to experiment to see how strictly you have to apply this rule to avoid intestinal distress.

When eating cooked beans we may encounter a similar fermentation problem. These do not need any added sugar to start a strong fermentation. They are high in long chains of carbohydrates (oligosaccharides) that are not absorbed in the small intestine but are easily broken down by the bacteria in the large intestine. To avoid problems with beans, these may either be sprouted or fermented before eating or the water in which they have been cooked may be renewed and discarded several times.

PLANNING MEALS

Our digestive powers are strongest in the morning and weakest in the evening. Therefore, it is advisable to eat difficult foods such as meat, nuts, sweet food, large vegetable salads, during the daytime and have a light, early evening meal. This will also improve your sleep, while a heavy, late dinner often results in a restless or 'drugged' sleep with a feeling of tiredness in the morning.

If you are not normally hungry in the morning, just omit the evening meal for several nights and have 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity before breakfast. If you do not need to leave home for work, you may also spend an hour in the garden or want to engage in some other outdoor activity before breakfast. Together with the time required to drink your juice or herb tea or water, it will be one to two hours before you finally sit down for breakfast. It is definitely not advisable, especially with a sluggish digestion, to eat a heavy breakfast without sufficient stimulation to your circulation beforehand.

With a sluggish thyroid and weak adrenal glands, of course, it is more difficult to get going in the morning, but it is not too hard if you are determined to make the effort. Immediately after awakening start with some positive autosuggestion. Then mentally look forward to something that you would like to do during the day. If necessary, promise yourself a treat. Lack of enthusiasm can be a main factor in suppressing your metabolic rate. Therefore, try to become enthusiastic about something - anything!

Do some deep breathing, stretching and muscle-tensing while still in bed. Then jump out and immediately start some lively activity such as circling the arms or gently pummeling the body all over. Also stimulating are arousing music, skin brushing with rapid strokes as well as cold water applications.

Do not rush your breakfast. For many people it is the most important meal of the day. Make it a habit to rise sufficiently early so that you have at least two hours before needing to leave the house. You may also divide the food and use a portion of your breakfast as mid-morning snack.

A certain amount of food eaten in the morning may produce a weight loss while the same food in the evening is more likely to convert to body fat and cause weight gain. Therefore, if you want to keep your weight down, eat all your high-calorie food during the day and have only some non-starchy vegetables or a few apples in the evening. If you want to gain weight, on the other hand, then have a starch meal in the evening. There will be some, however, for whom these recommendations are not suited; you must find out in what way you feel best and can cope most efficiently with your daily activities.

Carbohydrates cause a greater weight gain than a protein-fat diet of equal calories. Also the higher the amount of roughage (for example rice bran, linseed meal, raw vegetables), the greater is the weight loss on any slimming diet. These factors should be taken into account in your meal planning.

It is desirable to have about 30 minutes of rest or light, relaxing activity after a meal before starting more heavy manual work or a more stressful activity. I agree with the advice of Edgar Cayce: 'After breakfast work a while, after lunch rest some time and after dinner walk a mile'. Try to fit in at least 15 minutes of rest in the horizontal position after lunch, relax or try to meditate or contemplate. If in poor health, a sleep after lunch is highly desirable. If you wake up tired from this, next time give yourself positive autosuggestions before falling asleep. Even after breakfast you should not immediately start rushing around. Some kind of steady physical activity, such as walking or gardening, will be quite acceptable after the meal. But what is harmful is stress - the feeling of being late for school or at the office.

FOOD BALANCING

The concept of food balancing arises from the fact that the various food groups have different effects on our metabolism, hormonal and nervous system as well as on our emotions. Food balancing is vastly different from what is described as eating balanced meals - proteins, carbohydrates and fats - as recommended by conventional dieticians. To give some examples: meat stimulates the adrenal glands and the sympathetic nervous system, thus increasing tension and readiness for action. Fruits have the opposite effect. They stimulate the release of insulin, which counteracts the effect of adrenal hormones. While vegetables, especially those high in chlorophyll, make us more relaxed, fruits make us physically, emotionally and psychically more sensitive.

Both fruit and vegetables increase our intuition. Meat, on the other hand, makes us more insensitive and possibly materialistic, and less emotional and intuitive. Red meat especially has a strong 'grounding' effect and is therefore balancing for those who are oversensitive, overemotional and open to negative psychic or occult influences. It is, however, unsuitable for those who are already too tense or insensitive either physically or emotionally or who are aggressive or overly materialistic.

Acid and acid-sweet fruits have the strongest sensitizing effect while subacid fruits are less sensitizing and avocados are neutral. In this way lemons and grapefruit are more sensitizing than oranges, while oranges sensitize more strongly than do mandarins.

Flesh foods are more suitable for those who cannot efficiently use glucose, such as the fast oxidizers or hypoglycemics, while fruit and sweet vegetables are best for those with a slow metabolism. This means that those with an unbalanced metabolism should not generally eat a balanced diet; they become balanced by selecting foods that are either more slowly or more rapidly digested. However, it is not necessary for sensitive individuals to eat flesh foods to be in balance. They can do very well on oily seeds, legumes, grains, green vegetables and raw sweet vegetables but less on cooked sweet vegetables.

Grains and legumes are neutral in their effects on our metabolism and on the glandular and nervous systems. In this respect, they may be grouped in the middle between meat and fruits. They are balanced in themselves. This shows why one can be balanced on a macrobiotic rice diet with few additions of other foods.

Between meat on the one end of the scale and fruits at the other, we may arrange our basic foods in the following order of their sensitizing effect on body and emotions:

RED MEAT - FOWL & FISH - EGGS & DAIRY PRODUCTS - OILY SEEDS - LEGUMES - GRAINS - GREEN VEGETABLES - SWEET VEGETABLES - SUB-ACID FRUIT - BERRIES, SWEET & ACID FRUIT

Someone with a normal metabolism may eat in a balanced way by having mainly the neutral grains and legumes, and balancing eggs and dairy products with vegetables. However, it is also possible to balance meat, fowl and fish with sweet vegetables and fruits, eating very little of the in-between foods. Another possibility is to eat a greater quantity of a food group that is closer to the neutral position and replaces a smaller amount of a more unbalanced food. For instance, instead of balancing meat with fruits, you may use an increased amount of sweet vegetables. However, you do not need to worry about accurately balancing and measuring quantities. This is not an exact science but more a rule of thumb. Its main importance is to show you in which direction to move in your food selection if you feel that your health or emotions are out of balance.

Chapter 1: BASIC HEALTH IMPROVEMENT

        The Road Towards Disease

        The Road Towards Health

        Intestinal Sanitation

        Fasting and Cleansing

        Allergy Testing

        General Diet Rules

 

HOME

BODY

DISEASES

HEALING FOOD

ENERGIES

EMOTIONS

MIND

SPIRITUALITY