Chapter 2-1 of Healing Foods by Walter Last
There are three groups of carbohydrates: starches, dextrines and sugars. Sugars consist either of simple sugar molecules, the monosaccharides, or two of these linked together as disaccharides. Household sugar (sucrose) consists of one molecule each of glucose and fructose, while milk sugar or lactose contains glucose and galactose. In dextrines up to 50 glucose molecules are linked together, and in starches several thousand.
Starches are broken down into water-soluble dextrines by cooking, sprouting or fermenting. Dextrines occur naturally in sweet vegetables, and in seeds during germination and ripening. Examples are green peas and sweet corn. The basic starch foods are cereal grains, potatoes, sago, taro, tapioca and to some degree also the non-oily legumes. On the one hand, starches are excellent slow-digesting food, on the other hand our digestive systems have not yet well adapted to a diet high in grains, especially in those with blood group O.
In our society, wheat is predominantly used.
However, gluten, the protein in wheat, often acts like sandpaper on the
absorption villi in the small intestine, and this is a main cause of
malabsorption, intestinal inflammation and allergies. All of us are to some
extent affected by gluten and in this context wholemeal products are no better
and usually worse than refined flour. Therefore, it is generally recommended
that you use only a minimum of wheat products and that you also be careful with
the other gluten grains, mainly rye, oats and barley. Oats are very high in
gluten and in this way not much better than wheat.
Rice and millet may be used as staple grains. Maize and potatoes are valuable additions, especially for those allergic to wheat. Buckwheat is generally good, but causes problems in some gluten-allergic people. Potatoes should not be peeled or only the skin removed after cooking. Small potatoes and the mineral-rich outer parts are preferable to the acid-forming inner parts.
Legumes are best sprouted. Cooked dried beans often cause wind. This may be reduced if you discard the soaking water and possibly replace the cooking water after 20-30 minutes. Sago and tapioca are especially suited for individuals who are not doing well on grains. However, tapioca needs to be peeled, as the outer parts tend to contain cyanide compounds.
The term 'sweet food', as used in this book, includes sugars, sweetened food, dried fruit, sweet fresh fruit and the juices of sweet vegetables. It does not include the sweet vegetables themselves - carrot, onion, sweet pepper, turnip or red beet as their sweetness comes mainly from dextrines and they release any sugars slowly. Most commonly used sugars quickly enter the bloodstream and cause a serious strain on the blood-sugar regulation. It is important for our wellbeing to keep the daily fluctuations in our blood sugar level as small as possible. For people with a poor sugar metabolism, this means restricting the intake of sweet foods to the barest minimum.
However, a poor blood sugar metabolism is not restricted to an inappropriate rise in the blood sugar level. An equally dangerous component is a high insulin level especially after ingesting sucrose and, to a somewhat lesser extent, when combining glucose with fructose. A high insulin level either leads to a strong fall in the blood sugar level sometime later (hypoglycemia) or to conversion of sugar into fat. With this, it either leads to overacidity or overweight. A third outcome is increasing insensitivity to insulin and diabetes type 2.
However, maltose or barley sugar, made from sprouted barley, should have a less harmful effect if used to sweeten starches. It consists of two joined glucose molecules and does not induce a strong insulin response but it would still cause a stronger rise in the blood sugar level than unsweetened starches.
Some of the symptoms associated with a poor sugar metabolism are overweight and underweight, high or low blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and hypoglycemia, dental caries, colds, allergies, weak eyes, cold hands and feet, lack of energy, over-sensitivity and overacidity.
For most individuals sweet food is harmful, because sugar is released too quickly. Therefore, sweet dessert or sweetener eaten with protein or fatty food is less harmful than sweet food such as fruit juice) taken on an empty stomach or as sweetened starches (for example, sweet porridge, bread with honey, cake). Most affected are individuals with low blood pressure, sensitivity to cold and skin irritants or who are emotionally unstable, while insensitive individuals benefit from naturally sweet foods.
However, I regard artificial sweeteners such as aspartame as much worse than any natural sweeteners and would avoided them completely. For more details on this see the next chapter.
One natural sugar that appears to be relatively harmless and possibly even beneficial if used in small amounts is xylitol. It occurs naturally in fruits such as plums and strawberries and tastes like normal sugar; it also helps to prevent tooth decay and possibly ear infections and is acceptable for diabetics. However, it may cause diarrhea in larger quantities, you need to experiment to see how much is acceptable for you.
The Glycemic Index (G.I.)
The G.I. lists foods according to the increase in blood glucose levels caused by the carbohydrate content 2 – 3 hours after eating. A high G.I. means a rapid increase in blood glucose levels and vice versa. Theoretically it is preferable to eat mainly low G.I. foods that produce a small or slow rise in blood sugar. Fats and proteins do not directly cause a rise in the blood sugar level.
Here are a few key examples with white bread used as standard with a G.I. of 100: Glucose and maltodextrin 137, sucrose (common or household sugar) and rye bread 92, honey 83 and fructose 32. Legumes and nuts generally have a low G.I.
From this short list you can easily see why I have no faith in the G.I.: rye bread and sugar have the same G.I! The reason for this is the low G.I. of fructose. Sucrose consists of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. Fructose produces a strong insulin response that keeps the blood sugar level low partly by converting sugar into fat and partly by channelling glucose rapidly into muscle cells. Depending on the individual metabolism, the combination of fructose and glucose in large amounts either produces overweight or over-acidity. In addition it increasingly leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Nevertheless, conventional nutritionists use this to argue that sugar is not really harmful because its G.I. is as low or even lower than bread. I would not be surprised if it eventually turns out that the G.I. was developed on the instigation of the sugar industry. Most foods listed in the G.I. are processed carbohydrates that I do not advise to eat anyway. If you select your carbohydrates according to the following rules than you do not need to be concerned with the G.I.:
· Eat mainly legumes and vegetables
· Eat (fresh) fruits on their own and not with or after meals
· Minimise sweetened food, grains and cereals
Proteins from animal sources are vastly oversupplied in traditional Western diets. Initially this causes stimulation - you feel energetic and even aggressive - but later in life it leads to enzyme exhaustion, putrefaction of bowel contents, toxemia, breakdown of the immune system, gout and cancer. Protein deficiency, on the other hand, causes slow growth, fatigue and debility.
Good sources of protein are grass juice, fresh or dried, pollen, spirulina, chlorella, almonds, lentils and other legumes, traditionally fermented soy products, sunflower and sesame seeds (tahini), raw egg yolk, naturally fermented and unpasteurized goats’ cheese and yogurt, fish, (organic) liver and other organ meats.
Use red meat and predatory species of fish in small amounts only. Nuts are generally difficult to digest, except if soaked. Soybeans and broad beans should not be eaten raw except if sprouted or fermented. Cooked soybeans may cause indigestion, except if discarding the soaking and cooking water. Also processed soy products are not recommend because of their high content of anti-nutrients and genetic engineering, although traditionally fermented soy foods are fine.
The best sources of protein are grass juice fresh or dried, sprouted seeds, pollen, spirulina and chlorella or other edible algae. Individual protein requirements differ. More is needed during pregnancy, in childhood and during convalescence. With advancing age and degenerative diseases use any flesh food in an easily digestible form, such as broth of fish, liver or meat. It is good to combine legumes with starches as for example, lentils with brown rice. However, mixing different proteins to obtain improved amino-acid compositions is generally not required. Preferably have flesh foods no more than once a day and avoid products from feedlots or containing growth promoters.
Most individuals can remain healthy on a diet with moderate amounts of flesh food, or as vegetarians without eating flesh food. However, a strict vegan diet without any animal products is advisable only if there are no obscure health problems, because some people require certain nutrients to be supplied from animal sources (such as taurine, carnitine or vitamin B12).
Vegetarian Hindus may obtain vitamin B12 from stale water, bacteria in soil and cow dung as well as from insects in fruits and vegetables. When fruit bats were raised hygienically on clean fruits and water, they became seriously vitamin-B12 deficient. Spirulina is very high in vitamin B12 and recommended as a source of this vitamin for vegans.
Generally, sensitive people have weak adrenal glands and feel more energetic and emotionally balanced by using flesh foods. If these are excluded, they should have a high intake of spirulina, bee-pollen, legumes and complex carbohydrates (slow-digesting food) in their diet.
People with alkaline and insensitive conditions, on the other hand, benefit from a vegetarian diet, possibly with some seafood and poultry. A fruitarian diet, based on tree fruits, nuts and berries, is suitable as a temporary or extended cleansing diet for alkaline, insensitive individuals.
Many vegetarian diets are not conducive to good health because of a high intake of sweet foods, milk products, wheat, oats and anti-nutrients in a soy-based diet. Furthermore, minerals are better absorbed if the meal includes flesh food or gelatin. A diet high in nuts, oily seeds and cereals can cause a deficiency in lysine (an essential amino acid) and predispose you to herpes and other viral infections; this can be rectified by using more legumes. Individuals with blood group O are basically meat-eater types and have great difficulty with a grain-based vegetarian diet, while those with blood group A can usually live very well as vegetarians.
FATS AND OILS
Oils are best supplied by eating products in which they naturally occur. Most recommended is extra-virgin olive oil. Otherwise use cold-pressed oil in brown-glass bottles. Avoid 'light' oils because they are more highly refined and also oils sold in plastic bottles. Oils can leach chemicals out of plastic. Store oils in a cool, dark place and in full containers. Refrigerate oil in daily use, except varieties that easily solidify.
Preferably, use only small amounts of saturated fats that are hard at room temperature, such as fat in hard cheese, beef and mutton, except if these fats have not been heated. Unpasteurised butter and cream actually are health foods, and also unheated coconut oil and palm oil are very good. Avoid all chemically hardened (hydrogenated) fats, including margarine. Use mainly oils high in oleic acid, such as olive oil, almond oil and, to a lesser extent, peanut oil. Peanut oil helps against arthritis but is not suitable for insensitive, alkaline people in whom it may contribute to the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries.
Use polyunsaturated oils (high in linoleic acid) sparingly if you are sensitive. They easily oxidize, especially if the vitamin E intake is low, and then contribute to the development of cancer. However, it is recommended to use more fish oils or linolenic acid, as in linseed, together with adequate vitamin E. You may obtain fish oils by eating raw fish, when buying oils, such as cod liver oil, the label should state that it has been cold-pressed, and preferably that it has been processed under nitrogen. The stronger the taste or smell, the more rancid is it.
People who are insensitive and alkaline (for example, cardiovascular diseases), but who also suffer from obesity, skin and liver diseases should be even more careful than others in avoiding hydrogenated and highly heated fats and oils. They are advised to use lecithin and vitamin E supplements. Really beneficial are only fats and oils, including saturated fats that have not been heated. Cod-liver oil rubs are beneficial for fat malabsorption.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
While vegetables are good for everyone, the more the better (except if sprayed with pesticides), fruits must be treated with caution by those with overacidity and a poor blood-sugar regulation.
Use mainly fruit and vegetables in season that are grown in your district. Include plenty of green-leaf vegetables. Gradually increase the amount of fresh raw vegetables, as in salads. Cook or grate root vegetables with their skins, and use the cooking water. Red beets are highly recommended for their positive effect on cell respiration and energy production.
Fruits, especially acid fruits and berries, are excellent for those with alkaline and insensitive body conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and often cancer and diabetes.
Those who are overacid, on the other hand (usually with low blood pressure, allergy problems, lack of energy and tendency to colds) easily become even more acid on fruit. They may minimize fruit and mainly use subacid varieties or, better still, neutralize acid fruit as explained in The Acid-Alkaline Balance. Also they may tolerate sweet fruit, such as bananas, better if they are not fully ripe. Oily fruit such as avocados are usually well tolerated.