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Nutritional Anthropology's Bible:
the previous chapters, we have been building up a case for a
particular pattern of eating which is the ideal for the human beings.
In this chapter we look at our eating patterns today and what is right
and wrong about them.
we look at the foods that have crept into the diet in the last 10,000
years and pass judgment on them. That is, judge whether they can be
admitted to the ‘club’ and if not, if there is anything they can
do to shape up.
Carbohydrates span the whole spectrum of vegetation from lettuce, broccoli and apples through to bread, cakes, and sugar.
carbohydrates either form a natural part of the human diet or are
novelties that happen to conform to the same profile. These are termed
are marginal foods. Either they are novelties that don’t quite make
the grade, or they are modern adaptations that have become marginal.
These are termed ‘borderline’
there is a category of ‘bad’
carbohydrates. These are foods that humans were never designed to
consume. Typically they are sugars, cereals and other starches.
are the categories decided upon? The worst characteristic that a
carbohydrate can have is to be highly
glycemic. This is its power to raise blood-sugar levels to
of the most dangerous dietary errors committed today is the
consumption of bad carbohydrates
on a massive scale. The
result is blood sugar levels
out of control. Why does this happen?
human body chemistry is designed to work with a low octane fuel -
plant food. It cannot cope with large quantities of ‘rocket fuel’
– notably simple sugars and bad starches.
sugars and bad starches are quickly converted to glucose, which
rapidly enters the bloodstream. The bloodstream has to maintain blood
glucose levels within close limits. This is done by the pancreas
releasing the hormone insulin
into the bloodstream. The quantities of insulin are dosed in
accordance with the arrival of glucose. If the arrival of glucose is
rapid, the pancreas cannot maintain this orderly matching of insulin
to glucose. Initially, the pancreas does not react fast enough and
there is an overdose of
glucose in the bloodstream. This condition is known as hyperglycemia. An excess of glucose in the blood kills nerve endings
and damages blood vessels.
Then the pancreas catches up and overcompensates. A sudden excess peak of glucose in the bloodstream is mopped up by a flash flood of insulin which is in excess of that needed. There is now a deficiency of glucose in the blood. This condition is known as hypoglycemia. It is characterized by feelings of drowsiness, dizziness, irritability, exhaustion, cold sweats, depression, headaches etc. These feelings are accompanied by a desperate craving for something sugary.
worse, this switchback of blood sugar levels results in a cascade of
debilitating diseases: diabetes,
heart disease, blocked arteries, kidney disease, obesity and
various immune system disorders
such as cancer, arthritis and
does this come about? High blood sugar levels mean high insulin
levels. This is a biochemical disaster. Insulin is a powerful hormone.
One of its functions is to cause the cells to sweep up excess glucose
out of the blood and so bring the glucose concentration back to
normal. But at the same time it is also sweeping fat into the fat
story gets worse. Insulin floating around in abnormal quantities
(known as ‘hyperinsulinemia’) upsets all other kinds of hormonal
reactions. Remember those diagrams in Chapter Four? Most people who
have high cholesterol levels have it because
their body is making it. The insulin effectively instructs the
liver to make more than necessary. Similar mechanisms increase blood
clotting, damage arteries, suppress the immune system (allowing
cancers to grow), even cause the bones to lose calcium!
problem with hyperinsulinemia is that you don’t even feel it! You
cannot feel if your insulin levels are out of control.
Hyperinsulinemia goes about its work silently, you notice nothing
until it is too late and you have the stroke, the heart attack, the
cancer is expressed, your bones are like Swiss cheese, your arteries
are sludged up.
of the phenomenon like the iceberg that sank the Titanic. You see very
little on the surface, but underneath lurks mortal danger. You just
see some disconnected peaks, but under the surface they are all
how do we avoid ‘abnormal’ blood sugar levels? Very simply by not
consuming foodstuffs which contain
You can start today and you will start to feel the benefits straight
away. If you are already hyperglycemic then be
prepared. At several places throughout the book, food is talked
about as a kind of drug. This is where the truth of that statement
will be borne in on you. Just like any junky going cold turkey you
will get withdrawal symptoms such as cold sweats, headaches, and a
craving for the drug that you are trying to abandon, sugar in all its
do we know what bad carbohydrates
are? A new tool has been developed recently which gives guidance. It
is known as the Glycemic Index.
Index and Peak Blood Sugar Levels
glycemic index is a measure of the sugar rush that a carbohydrate
dumps into the bloodstream. The higher the index, the worse for you.
Originally the index was set at 100 for glucose itself, but later it
was discovered that maltose (as found in beer) is even higher. (This
explains the mechanism by which beer drinkers are more likely to
develop a ‘beer belly’ whereas wine drinkers are less likely to.)
has to be understood that the measurement of glycemic index is not a
terribly precise science. According to the variability of the food and
the variability of the feeder, the glycemic index can vary. However it
is precise enough to tell us all that we need to know. It tells us
enough to confirm or deny our worst fears, and help us to choose
carbohydrates are classified by glycemic index as shown in this table.
The divisions between the categories are necessarily arbitrary, but it
is a good rule of thumb.
are we to know the glycemic index, unless we are told it? The answer
is, we don’t. The only way to know the G.I. for a particular food is
to feed it to volunteers under controlled conditions and then measure
their blood sugar level at half-hour intervals.
this was first done in the early 1980’s it revolutionized the way
carbohydrates were viewed. The researchers were astonished to find
that the ‘common sense’ medical advice to prefer ‘complex
was misguided. It turned out that whole-wheat bread was no better than
white bread, which in turn was no better than sugar itself. Or, that
the cornflake itself was just as bad as the honey coating.
only ‘safe’ foods (surprise, surprise) were the ‘very complex
such as green and yellow leafy vegetables and low sucrose fruits. In
other words, human beings have a biochemistry perfectly adapted to
this kind of carbohydrate. That is how our bodies are made, and that
is the kind of fuel to give them.
beings’ biochemistry is over-stressed by sugars, starchy
carbohydrates (as found in cereals and grains) and some tubers (like
potatoes). These are substances that have intruded into the human diet
very recently. They have major drawbacks and we have no business
the time of the first researches, hundreds of carbohydrates have been
studied and their glycemic indexes evaluated. A short selection is
given in Appendix 1, Tables 3-5. A full list is published in the
Natural Eating Manual.
the food you want is not in any of the tables? You can make a
reasonable assessment by finding analogies with similar foods. But the
real question is, what are you doing eating a food about which you
have doubts anyway?
the food has an ingredient label, that very fact means that it is
processed and is a confection of many additives and ingredients. Its
effect on the body biochemistry is unknowable and therefore such a
food is suspect.
labels need to get a lot more sophisticated before the consumer will
have all the information to make wise choices. In
move to labeling like this would be a tremendous help, not only to
consumers, but also in creating a more frank mentality amongst
manufacturers about their products.
is a tour around the concept of glycemic index (G.I.). Refer
to the tables in Appendix 1 regularly until their contents are
completely familiar to you. Try to get a feel for which kind of
foodstuff falls into which category. That way, you will negotiate your
way with confidence through the minefield of dubious products offered
for consumption today. Take your reading
glasses when you go shopping and READ THE SMALL PRINT!
a conscious effort to ditch the bad
carbohydrates. Make a conscious effort to concentrate your meals on
the favorable carbohydrates.
Be cautious with the borderline
carbohydrates. Paying serious attention to this question is one of the
most important steps in
re-structuring your eating habits.
question of G.I. has been treated at some length in this section on
carbohydrates. It just remains to mention one other criterion for
carbohydrates that humans are designed to eat are high micro-nutrient
density and high in soluble fibers. Classically, they are represented
by fruit, vegetation (salads and vegetables), tubers, nuts and
berries. Many other carbohydrates are micro-nutrient poor (such as
sugars and cereals) and even protein poor (such as yams, cassava and
Indian corn). It so happens that, with very few exceptions, they are
also the foodstuffs that are highly glycemic.
Composite table of ‘Good Foods To Eat In Bulk’ is presented in
Appendix 1 Table 1, and of ‘Good Foods to be Eaten in Controlled
Quantities ’ in Appendix 1, Table 2.
Human race is adapted to get its proteins as much from vegetation as
of the greatest errors committed today is the over-consumption of
protein in general and of animal protein in particular. It is
estimated that on average Americans consume double
the recommended daily amount of protein from all sources. This leads
to negative calcium balance and osteoporosis, kidney disease,
detoxification overload, acidosis and various digestive disorders.
modest quantities of meat consumed by the Human race in its
evolutionary history were quite different in nature from what is
available today. The problem with ‘farm’ meat is that it has been
bred over millennia for high fat content. As bad luck would have it,
the fat is highly saturated and it doesn’t even have the saving
grace of containing essential fatty acids (vitamin F).
game meat has a much lower fat content (4%) and contains a good
percentage of EFA’s. Yet this form of meat is inaccessible to the
vast majority of the Western population.
good compromise is skinless chicken and turkey breast. They are only
4% fat, albeit not the best fatty acid profile.
is more leeway than we are led to believe in the body’s need for
protein. For example, it has remarkable powers to compensate for low
protein intake by resorbing and recycling waste proteins in the gut.
Curiously, the total amount of protein consumed is less important than
the amount of starch consumed with it. A high starch/protein ratio is
more likely to lead to protein deficiency than lack of protein itself.
only peoples in the world who suffer protein deficiency are those
whose staple diet is based on high starch/protein ratio,
protein-impoverished starches such as cassava
and Indian corn. Only worry about protein deficiency if you base your
diet on empty calories (e.g. popcorn, hominy, sugar and alcohol).
consumption of protein needs to fall between quite close limits –
neither too little, nor too much. How do you manage this? You know the
answer. Get your eating pattern right and the quantities work out just
Human race is designed for a very low fat diet.
only fats that the body needs are the essential fatty acids, linoleic
and alpha linolenic acid. (vitamins F1 & F2)
They are polyunsaturated
fats and they need to be consumed in the ratio of between 4 and 1:1.
This is how they occur in nature, present in about every form of
great dietary errors committed today are three-fold:
much fat and oil is consumed
fats and oils are the wrong kind
EFA ratio is hopelessly unbalanced
is unrealistic to think that in today’s world oils and fats are not
going to be used. The defensive strategy is to keep them to a minimum
and to ensure that they have the right nutritive profile.
are two great disasters that have overtaken the Western consumer in
the last fifty years. The first is well known: the increase in
consumption of saturated fat. This comes from two main sources,
increased consumption of farm meat, and increased consumption of dairy
products. Both of these are intruders in the human diet and carry with
them a strong potential for undermining health. The problem with
saturated fat is its potential to drive a coach and horses through the
essential fatty acid hormonal cascade. (Remember the diagram in
Chapter Four?). Saturated fat also depresses the immune system and
other vital metabolic processes.
second disaster s less well known. It is the dramatic increase in the
consumption of vegetable oils, notably the so-called ‘Omega 6’
oils. These are oils like sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil and
safflower oil. Virtually unknown until World War II they now take a
major share of the increased fat consumption. What is the problem with
Omega 6 oils? They are too cheap and easily available! Hence the
seriously, these vegetable oils totally monopolize the Fatty Acid
Hormonal Cascade (diagram in Chapter Four). They crowd out the alpha-linolenic
acid pathway and lead to the over-production of certain hormones,
which then harm health.
you imagine the competing pathways as being on opposite sides of a
see-saw, then the overweight Omega 6 playground bully holds his end
down leaving the Omega 3 lightweight helplessly kicking his legs in
in turn leads to the over production of ‘bad’ hormones. These are
responsible for the roll call of bad effects listed in the box.
humans have no business consuming bulk
is only one bulk oil which really complies with the ideal profile:
canola oil, also known as colza oil or rapeseed oil. It is also
possible to find ‘spreads’ made from it.
oils which are fine are walnut oil and flaxseed (linseed) oil.
Hempseed oil too, has an excellent profile. Olive oil’s main quality
is that it is not Omega 6 or saturated. Its influence on the body’s
metabolism is neutral.
solid fats are suspect.
Their solid nature betrays the presence of large quantities of
saturated fats. Also avoid trans-fatty acid and hydrogenated
fats. They are just as bad as saturated fats. These all have the effect of sabotaging the Hormonal Cascade
altogether. If you eat too much saturated, hydrogenated and transfatty
acids, it doesn’t matter how much of the essential fatty acids you
consume, their metabolisation will be blocked, and you will suffer
vitamin F (EFA) deficiency!
Acids Under the Microscope
have talked a great deal about essential fatty acids (vitamins F1
and F2). They are part of the polyunsaturated
fatty acid series. All you need to hold onto is that all other
fatty acids are just empty calories at best and quite harmful at
are the non-essential fatty acids? We have all heard of the bogeymen
– saturated fats.
It is less commonly known that they form a series. The main ones
present in food are lauric acid, stearic acid,
myristic acid and palmitic
acid. In reality, they have different degrees of ‘badness’.
then, of course, there are the ‘goody’ monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid as found in olive oil. Having read this far, you will
appreciate that their ‘goodness’ resides mostly in the fact that
they do no harm – they are still chiefly empty calories.
know that it is possible to steer your way through the minefield of
modern foodstuffs guided by the curiosities of fatty acid chemistry.
There is not space in this book to go into all the subtleties (for
this refer to the Natural Eating Manual). Here is an overview to give
you a taste of the possibilities.
acids are present in our food and in our bloodstream mostly as triglycerides.
A triglyceride is a molecule of glycerol to which three fatty
acids are attached – in positions 1, 2 and 3. Now comes a clever
part. When we eat a triglyceride, it is split down into its component
parts in the digestive tract and then it gets reconstructed as a
different triglyceride in the bloodstream.
comes a second clever part. Depending on the fatty acid’s position
(1, 2 or 3) on the molecule, so it is more or less bio-available.
Thus, in reality cocoa butter is much less cholesterolemic than in
theory because its saturated fatty acids are in positions 1 and 3. The
digestive system is less efficient at deconstructing fatty acids in
these positions and as a result they are less likely to be absorbed
into the body. This effect is
this might seem complicated – and it is! Indeed, it is so
complicated that the full picture is still being worked out. Once
again, you do not have to try to micromanage these processes. But you
should understand that this is why it is possible to admit some, on
the face of it unpromising, fatty foodstuffs (like avocado and cocoa
butter) into the Natural Eating Pattern. It is also why others, like
coconut (the meat, oil, milk and butter) should be used with caution.
Human race is not designed for the consumption of dairy products. (See
is strictly for unweaned babies. Only babies are supplied with the
enzymes (rennet, lactase etc.) for the proper digestion and treatment
who drink milk run the risk of protein over-consumption and
osteoporosis, indigestion and flatulence, allergies, and clogged
arteries from the saturated fat.
who eats butter and cream is increasing risk of heart disease, clogged
arteries and all the ills attributed to blocked metabolism of
essential fatty acids. (See the horror story in the previous section.)
although an artifact of man’s ingenuity, is probably tolerable in small
quantities. Its saturated fat would appear to be poorly absorbed, and
the lactose problem has been more or less eliminated in the
manufacturing process. However the cholesterol-raising casein (a
protein) content is a concern.
again is a man-made artifact. The low fat variety is probably
tolerable in small
quantities. The protein content is still the cholesterol raising sort,
but the lactose problem has been overcome in the fermentation process.
Migrants to the Human Diet
Chapter Four we had a look at all the ‘novelty’ foods that came
into the human diet since the farming revolution 10,000 years ago. In
this chapter we have so far frightened ourselves by examining the harm
that many of them do to our health. Now let’s give ourselves some
encouragement. Let us grant a passport into our kitchen to favorable
is a selection of the most common together with their pros and cons.
tomato belongs to the nightshade family of plants and is closely
related to bell-peppers, potato, tobacco and deadly nightshade
(belladonna). Most nightshades, including the potato, but excluding
the tomato, contain poisonous alkaloids. The alkaloids are destroyed
tomato was brought to
are packed with valuable health helpful micronutrients.
are flavorful, cheap and readily available.
even in processed form (canned, paste, ketchup) still retain much of
their nutritional value.
can be eaten either as a fruit or a vegetable.
are strongly acidic
and, in susceptible people, can give digestive difficulties either on
their own or in combination with other foods , particularly starches.
is a native of the area bounded by
contains powerful anti-oxidants and other micronutrients which are
helpful to health.
is cheap, flavorful and freely available.
due to its mild caffeine content, has an agreeably stimulating
contains ‘anti-nutrients’ such as tannins, that can inactivate
micronutrients ingested at the same time.
contains a mild dose of caffeine. In moderation this is acceptable.
(See Chapter Seven) (Decaffeinated tea is fine.)
is flavorful and readily available.
consumption of weak (American) coffee has no adverse effects.
due to its caffeine content, has agreeable stimulating properties.
contains micronutrients that are helpful to health.
contains strong concentrations of caffeine that if taken in excess can
have detrimental effects on health. (Decaffeinated coffee is fine.)
Wine (red and white):
were fabricated for the first time about 8,000 years ago in the
today is a flavorful and agreeable beverage.
in moderation, through its modest alcohol content, has a pleasant
contains anti-oxidants and other micronutrients that are health
in excess is health harmful.
was first domesticated about 6,000 years ago in south east Asia.
skinless breast of chicken
and turkey is a low fat meat comparable to the composition of the wild
game of our Pleistocene ancestors.
skinless breast of chicken
and turkey is a good source of animal protein
is of borderline profile.
chicken has an unknown antibiotic and artificial hormone content
oil has been cultivated for several thousand years. It certainly dates
from biblical times.
oil is a tasty, readily available oil.
oil stands up well to cooking,
oil is harmless to human bio-chemistry.
oil is empty calories.
enterprises recently improved on varieties of rapeseed (colza) by
removing a harmful compound, erucic acid to produce Canola oil (whence
oil has an almost perfect essential fatty acid profile.
oil is cheap and freely available.
canola oil in excess of a couple of teaspoons a day is just empty
Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Sardine, Mackerel)
Pleistocene ancestors had occasional access to freshwater fish, but it
is doubtful that they formed a significant part of the diet. Oily fish
are typically cold, sea water fish. These fish only entered the diet
in a big way since the development of ocean going fishing industries
in the last century, and salmon farming in this century.
fish are flavorful and readily available.
fish contain very helpful oils, notably eicosapentaenoic acid, a
surrogate for the much sought-after alpha linolenic acid (vitamin F2).
makes highly appreciated confectionery.
The Acid/Alkali Balance in the Body
over-consumption of acid-forming foods is another major dietary error
today. Note that we are not talking here about foods that taste acid. We mean ‘acid-forming’ foods. These are ones that
only after digestion, absorption and metabolisation by the body, have
the result of acidifying the body.
products of digestion are rarely neutral. All foods will cause the
blood to be either more acidic or alkaline. The body is constantly
juggling to restore a neutral balance.
average westerner is in chronic acid surplus. The body restores the
balance by using an alkali to neutralize the acidity. What is this
alkali? None other than one based on calcium! Consuming a relentlessly
acid diet causes the body to draw down its reserves of calcium.
are acid forming foods? They are ones that contain sulfur, phosphorus
and chlorine. These elements are found chiefly in proteins like meat,
fish, eggs and cheese and starches like bread, flour and cereals. For
example, bland roast chicken is one of the most acidifying foods
are alkali forming foods? Ones that have a predominance of metallic
elements like potassium, sodium, iron and calcium. None other than
fruit, salads and vegetables! Once again, the problem is not
necessarily foods that taste
acid. Many fruits taste acid, but by a curious bio-chemical pathway,
their resultant on the body is alkaline.
For example grapefruit (q.v.) although acid to the taste has a strong
do some acid tasting foods not acidify the body? The answer lies in
what happens to the products of digestion. The acid taste of many
fruits is due to the presence of organic acids such as malic acid.
This acid stays intact through the mouth, through the stomach and into
the intestine. At all points up to here, the effect on the digestive
process and lining is acidic.
the intestine the malic acid passes through the intestinal wall into
the blood stream. Here the malic acid is broken down into smaller
molecules, the net result of which is that the acid component is exhaled through the lungs. The acid fraction of the fruit is thus
excreted, leaving the alkalizing fraction behind in the body.
Natural Eating Pattern, not surprisingly, correctly predicts the
importance of this acid/alkali balance for human beings It ensures
that the ratio of acid-forming to alkali-forming foods is a healthy
one of at least 75% alkali forming by weight.
of acidity and alkalinity have been worked out for most foodstuffs.
This table shows the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a short,
select list of foodstuffs. (A
complete list including such items as cornflakes, cabbage, popcorn and
cookies, is published in the Natural Eating Manual.)
Health and Detoxification.
body is endowed with a remarkable sewage treatment plant, the liver.
Blood vessels carry the products of digestion to the liver. There, the
liver removes most noxious substances. Where it can, it transforms
them step by step into innocuous substances and shoots them out, with
the bile, back into the beginning of the intestinal tract.
is fine so long as the liver can cope with the toxic load. However all
is not well with the way we eat today. Passage through the intestines
is slow and consists of foods which give rise to a high level of toxic
matter. In addition, this environment encourages the growth of
unfriendly bacteria and fungi, which produce their own toxins.
foods, like hot peppers, cause the lining of the intestine to be more
porous, known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’. It doesn’t take much. The
gut wall is as thin as tissue paper. That is all that separates the
gunge in your gut from the your nice clean blood circulation!
under good conditions, after a meal there are always some bacteria that pass through into the blood. For example,
primitive herders (and for that matter wild west ranchers) knew to
starve a beast for 24 hours before slaughter. That way there are fewer
bacteria generalized throughout the carcass and the meat keeps longer.
our dietary errors vastly increase both the porosity of the gut and
the micro-organism load. So it is that abnormal quantities of
digestion toxins, bacterial and fungal toxins, and the bacteria and
fungi themselves, pass into the blood-stream. The liver cannot cope
and the bacteria, fungi and toxins continue on their way to other
parts of the body where they cause mischief.
can be at the origin of various allergies, auto-immune response, or
the simple poisoning of various bodily functions. All kinds of
disorders can arise: headaches, arthritis, tiredness, irritability and
wondered why sometimes the contents of your bowels smell like estuary
sludge? Do you ever worry about it? Well, you should! Recent research
shows that this is due to the abnormal presence of sulfur-reducing
bacteria. Why do they flourish? Because they feed on the
sulfur-bearing amino acids in meat (sulfur again). Does it matter?
Recent research has shown a link with ulcerative colitis, a serious
inflammatory bowel disease. Worse, the toxic sulfides released by
these bacteria promote cancerous changes in gut cells by damaging
this helps to explain why heavy meat eaters are more vulnerable to
colon cancer. So what about vegetarians? They seem to be protected
because plant proteins usually do not contain sulfur, and the protein
comes in a carbohydrate package.
there is another factor, sulfur used as a preservative. Sulfur in many
forms, but collectively baptized ‘sulfur dioxide’, is ubiquitous
in the processed food industry. It is present in everything from
packaged salads to jams, hamburgers, sausages, instant soup, salad
bars, beer and wine. People who eat a lot of processed foods not only
promote sulfur bacteria in their gut, they also raise their
sensitivity to allergic reactions – and that’s probably all part
of the same syndrome.
is important too, that passage of food through the digestive tract be
prompt. What speeds up intestinal transit? Eating plenty of vegetable
fiber! Not only do the indigestible remains provide greater volume, more
importantly, the friendly bacteria get a rich nutritive diet too.
Friendly bacteria are methanogens. They are the ones that produce methane in the gut. They
thrive, multiply fast, and greatly increase the bulk of the faeces.
this right and:
movements will occur once to two times a day
transit time is greatly reduced
ensures that the sewer pipes are kept well flushed out!
The Need for Separating What We Eat.
digestive system can be thought of as a chemical process plant. It has
to break down into their useful component parts a variety of different
‘feedstocks’ each requiring a different process. The processes are
alkali environment / an acid environment
dose of enzyme A / a dose of enzyme B
in the stomach / immediate treatment in the small intestine
our digestive system can perform these feats - but
not simultaneously. A chemical engineer would say that each
feedstock has to be treated on its own
as a batch.
example, a mixed hamper of washing might comprise greasy overalls and
knows to treat this load in batches because the processes required are
know that the washing machine can satisfy all these requirements on
condition that each type of
wash is dealt with separately.
foregoing consideration leads to the concept of eating food in batches, which require the same chemical and
mechanical treatment in the digestive tract. It is known as the
principle of proper food
we have complicated and confounded the process by introducing new
types of food into the diet. Notably starches, dairy products and
fruits with a grossly distorted sugar profile.
can be classified, as can laundry, into the categories which have to
be considered independently.
latest understanding of the biological processes gives the following
should not be eaten in combination with any of the other categories,
Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach.
Fruits are digested in the small intestine, and shouldn’t get held
up waiting in the stomach. If this happens, they will start to
ferment, interfere with other digestive processes, and have their
nutritive value compromised.
have a predominantly acid nature. Acid inhibits ptyalin production in
the mouth, thus conflicting with starch requirements and inhibits
gastric acid production in the stomach, thus conflicting with protein
combinations should be avoided.
the human digestive system is designed for the through-put of a high
volume of low density, easily digestible foodstuff, chiefly plant
food. i.e. fruit and vegetables.
a problem since their digestion starts in the mouth (with ptyalin).
This digestion is stopped by the acid in the stomach, and then
continued in the small intestine, under the action of enzymes like amylase
secreted down the pancreatic duct by the pancreas.
particularly animal proteins, present another problem They undergo a
prolonged churning and exposure to the acids and enzymes present in
the stomach. It can be several hours before the stomach releases the
resulting chyme into the small intestine. The digestion then continues
in the small intestine under the action of enzymes like protease,
again secreted down the pancreatic duct by the pancreas.
the chicken, which has three pancreatic ducts, the single human
pancreatic duct is a bottleneck. A choice has to be made by the
pancreas as to which enzyme to secrete first. If the starch/protein
combination contained predominantly starch (90%), or predominantly
protein (90%) , then the choice is easy, and digestion can proceed as
nature intended. If the meal is an equal mix of starch and protein,
then enzyme secretion by the pancreas is perturbed. The imperfectly
digested remains travel with difficulty through the digestive tract.
The highly sophisticated machinery of enzyme activity, hormonal
feedback and nutrient absorption is perturbed. The balance of the
intestinal flora is disturbed. Bad bacteria multiply. Helpful bacteria
are discouraged. The intestinal wall can become porous and, as
described earlier, bacteria, funguses (such as candida) and undigested
food particles travel through the bloodstream, creating mischief
wherever they go. Dyspepsia, ulcerated colitis, liver disorders,
demineralization, depression of the immune system, candidiasis,
allergies, and general bad health can be the result.
digestive system is designed to work chiefly on fruit and vegetation.
Meat is more problematic. Starch is even more so. It simply is not a
good idea to give it more than one problematic foodstuff at a time to
digest. Here the problem is compounded by the two nutrients having
conflicting treatment processes.
proteins, like starch, also provoke the secretion of insulin. When
starches are ingested at the same time, insulin secretion is
multiplied. All the bad effects of hyperinsulinemia are therefore
almost always fat is present in large proportions with protein. This
fat gets stored immediately and preferentially
into the fat cells.
combinations multiply the fattening effect of fat.
let’s keep things in perspective. There are many times when small
amounts of protein are included in a starch dish. Such is the case
with traditional Asian cooking where there are little bits of chicken,
nuts or fish in the rice. Conversely there are occasions when there
are small amounts of starch in a protein dish,
like a few bits of sweetcorn in a tuna salad. This is
unimportant provided either the starch or the protein dominates. The
trouble arises when the proteins and starches are equally balanced and
they fight each other for priority. This is the case with so much of
what we eat today. For example, bacon and eggs with French fries, hot
dogs, hamburgers or cheese sandwich.
and Vegetables do
not require any special combining measures.
do not require any special combining measures.
Timing: Allow these minimum periods after the meal, if you
are changing to another category with the next meal:
Importance of Small and Frequent Meals (‘Browsing’)
human body anatomy is designed to work with frequent but small
quantities of food. The functioning of the stomach, as it receives food
and processes it, has been closely studied. One thing is clear. The
stomach does not operate as a kind of simmering witches cauldron, where
all that is ingested at a meal is all churned up together.
actually happens is that the first mouthfuls slide down the stomach wall
and settle at the far end, the antrum.
They fill up the space shown in area 1 of the diagram. Here, muscular
churning takes place to thoroughly mix the food with the gastric juices.
next batch also slides down the stomach wall, partly stays clinging to
it, and settles on top of the first batch. This batch too gets good
exposure to the gastric juices secreted by the stomach wall. As the
first batch is evacuated toward the duodenum, the second is propelled by
peristaltic action to take its place in the antrum and to be churned in
you stop eating at this point, then digestion has proceeded as it is
designed to do. However, for most of us that is not the end of the
matter. We are by now only on to the main course. Maybe it is steak and
French fries. These slide down into the stomach. Remember that the first
and second batches have coated the stomach walls. This third batch
settles in the middle (area 2
of the diagram). It is not in contact with the gastric juices. This is
the opportunity for the animal meat to putrefy and the potato to
people than add insult to injury by eating fresh fruit desert. This sits
on top of everything else you have eaten (area 3 in the diagram). The
fruit quietly ferments provoking yet more gas and indigestion.
are major reasons why large meals are at the origin of bad digestion and
is estimated that the ideal volume of a meal is no more than one and a
half pints. This is the volume which just fills the stomach without
stretching it. Increase the quantity to two pints and the stomach has to
stretch but within acceptable limits. Most of us in the opulent West
have been so used to overfilling our stomachs that they have become
permanently stretched and out of shape.
lesson is that we should eat little but often. and always within the
principles of Natural Eating!
 The pancreas is a multifunction organ that secretes a wide variety of hormones and digestive enzymes under instruction from other parts of the body.
 Carbohydrates had originally been classified into ‘simple’ and ‘complex’. The simple carbohydrates are sugars whose molecules are simple in structure and were consequently thought to be rapidly absorbed. The complex carbohydrates are chiefly starches whose molecule is complicated and were consequently thought to take longer to absorb. This assumption ignored the remarkable power of digestive enzymes to speed up chemical processes thousands of times. In reality, bread hits the bloodstream as soon as sugar does.
A new category of carbohydrates has been gaining currency, the ‘very complex carbohydrates’. These are the colored plant foods rich in various oligosaccharides that are both complex and slower to digest.
 Cassava, also called manioc, is an edible tuber from the American tropics probably first cultivated by the Maya. Its flour, bread and tapioca are widely consumed throughout the tropics. People who rely too much on it develop the deficiency disease kwashiorkor.
 In nature oils never occur on their own, they always come associated with proteins (as in fish and nuts) carbohydrates (as in corn and sunflower) or both. It is most unnatural for oils to be available in bulk and our bodies are not designed to cope with that.
 Tomatoes are acid to the taste and to the digestive system but, once metabolized, have an alkalizing effect on body fluids. See the segment later in this chapter, The Acid/Alkali Balance in the Body.
 This is broiler chicken. Free browsing chicken will have a better fatty acid profile.
Alkali forming foods, for the most part plant foods, have a high
percentage of water. Most acid forming foods, the protein-rich ones,
are dense. To strike the balance, the ratio of alkali forming to
acid forming has to be at least 3 to 1, or 75% of the total, by
Soft proteins are largely of vegetable origin. Hard Proteins are
largely of animal origin. See Tables 1 to 5 in Chapter Ten, Ten
Steps to Success