Many of us are unnecessarily ill and weak because we aren't eating the right foods. It has been over one year since the first article on foods appeared in the Good News So many have asked questions that we want to have a series. Here are some of the questions sent us.
Are Dried Fruits Good Food?
A common idea is that sulphur-dried fruits should not be used because vitamins have been destroyed by this method. You probably know that sulphur fumes are used during the drying of light colored fruits such as peaches, apricots and pears to preserve the natural color. This affects vitamins A and C only slightly, but vitamin B1 is entirely destroyed. Since prunes, raisins and most figs are naturally dark, they are not processed with sulphur but are dried in the sun. Sun-drying does little harm to the B vitamins, but the vitamin A is largely destroyed by the exposure to heat and air as it takes longer to dry fruits in the sun. Since you need all these vitamins for a balanced diet a fruit compote consisting of both types of dried fruits would therefore provide a suitable balance of these vitamins. No dried fruit need be cooked. Just wash the fruit in lukewarm water once or twice to remove any foreign matter, place them in a container for which you have a lid. pour on enough boiling water to cover the fruit, cover with the lid and let remain overnight. They will be plump and soft, and will keep several days if placed in the refrigerator. Although most need no sweetening, brown sugar or honey may be added to the fruit before the boiling water is poured on.
How to Cook Frozen Food
Have you wondered why the cooking directions for frozen food say to boil the water before placing the vegetables in the pan? Here's why. Water contains some air. When it is heated, this air is driven off. If the food is placed in the water before the air has been eliminated, some of the vitamins that dissolve in water, especially vitamin A, are carried off with the air as the water approaches the boiling point. So boil the water before you cook frozen or fresh foods in it. Use a small amount of water for most foods — only as much as is necessary to steam them tender. A container with a tight lid is always the most satisfactory. If you don't have such a container, put a heavy object on the lid to prevent it from lifting and letting out the steam. After putting the frozen or fresh food into the boiling water, bring it to a boil as fast as possible. Then reduce the heat so that it simmers, and do not lift the lid until you ate fairly sure the food is cooked. Avoid stirring vegetables and fruits during cooking as this mixes air in again and will cause loss of more vitamins during the rest of the cooking period. Reheating any leftover food destroys even more vitamins, especially vitamin A. so try not to cook any more than will be used at one meal. If food is left over, it can be used in healthful salads instead of being thrown into the garbage can.
Shall We Take Vitamin B?
Some people who have an inadequate diet are afraid to take Vitamin B supplements because they fear they will become overweight due to an increased appetite. Nutritionists tell us that while B vitamins will restore an appetite to normal, any amount above the body's requirement will not create an excessive appetite. On the contrary, an inadequate diet often is the reason why people crave something more. Adelle Davis in her book Lei's Have Healthy Children, page 260, states: "A craving for sweets almost invariably indicates a deficiency of protein or of the B vitamins. When these nutrients are supplied, the desire for sweets diminishes or disappears." However, this holds true only for concentrated vitamins you may obtain in a natural form as in wheat germ, brewer's yeast and rice polishings because these contain other necessary factors besides the vitamins for which they are taken. Some of these factors are iodine, calcium, protein and various enzymes. From laboratory experiments it has been learned that these other constituents are necessary to enable the body to use the vitamins that are known to be present Therefore, vitamin tablets which contain only certain pure vitamins without these other factors, do not produce as satisfactory results at natural supplements. Blackstrap molasses is a good source of all the B vitamins except one — thiamin or B1, which is destroyed by heat.
Should Protein and Starch Be Eaten at the Same Meal?
It is becoming a common belief that when starchy food and protein foods are eaten together, neither one digests well because different secretions are needed to digest each one. Is this necessarily true? Have you ever considered the fact that both protein and starch are found together in individual foods? We all know that wheat, corn, dried beans and peas, nuts and milk contain both protein and starch or sugar. There is scarcely a protein food we eat that does not also contain some starch. Possibly the only available foods that do not contain starch are muscle meats — roasts and steaks, for example. But even these have calories in the form of fat. Just to settle the question, an experiment was conducted in which three groups of healthy adults were used. One group was given both meat and starchy food, another group only starchy foods, and another group were given only meat. By various tests it was determined that there was no difference in the length of time which each of these groups required to digest its meal or in the thoroughness of its digestion. When certain foods faddists learned of this experiment, they said that they had advised non-mixing of protein and starch only for people who were ill. So the same procedure was tried on groups of people suffering from many types of illnesses. Amazingly enough, the results were the same: No difference was noted either in the efficiency of digestion or of the time required when Starches were combined with proteins or eaten separately. But, as a note of warning, most people know only the wrong kind of starches — white bread, spaghetti, macaroni, potatoes peeled before cooking, not to mention a host of breakfast cereals — and it is little wonder they have trouble. In her book Let's Hare Healthy Children, page 266, Adelle Davis says: "Even the poor starchy foods, such as potatoes and cereals, have sometimes been slandered. As long as a food is unrefined and is prepared in such a way that the nutrients God put into it are largely retained, it usually remains an excellent food regardless of how high its starch content." Anyone doing work which does not require much physical activity will probably be more efficient if he has only one definitely starchy food at a meal as, for example, bread, potatoes, or macaroni or corn. Those doing physical labor could eat more kinds of starch because such activity promotes efficient digestion. The main requirement when eating anything containing starch or sugar is that it be chewed well because the first step in starch or sugar digestion is done by the saliva in the mouth. Without this first step, neither starch nor sugar can be completely digested in the intestines. Other questions of wide interest on the subject of foods and nutrition will be answered in future articles as space permits.