All foods consist of three basic constituents: proteins, fats and carbohydrates (CH). Of these three, the carbohydrates are the most common. They are present in all foods and are our basic energy source.

Maintenance of our vital functions is impossible without carbohydrates. Since most carbohydrates come from vegetables it is important that the vegetable fibre is not removed in processing.

It defies explanation how plants manage to capture solar energy in a chemical bond and make it available to both man and animals in the form of carbohydrates. This energy must be released again in digestion and absorption so that our bodies can use it.

The mechanism by which energy is released is itself contained in the carbohydrates and we routinely deprive ourselves of this energy when we eat grains that have been refined. The disastrous physiological consequences of the refining process has never been fully understood. Carbohydrates lose their essential value in heat processing. They are castrated, so to speak. They resemble a bullet fired from a defective rifle barrel, unable to find the mark and wreaking havoc instead!

For one thing, the now aimless power of these carbohydrates plays a prank on those who consume them. They are not filling, so they tempt one to overconsumption. They sabotage the body's internal "fullness regulator" and cause downright addiction, comparable to smoking or alcoholism. The body thus becomes swamped with wrong foods that must be processed somehow. They are usually converted to fat and deposited in body tissues, laying the groundwork for heart disease, obesity, diabetes and many other evils.

Most health professionals who talk about carbohydrates don't tell you the whole truth. They also don't tell you how to avoid this destruction. Even worse, they may advise you to cut out carbohydrates and substitute protein, which is nonsense, even if they mean vegetable protein. One simply cannot cut out carbohydrates or replace them with protein. The unadulterated carbohydrates do not block the body's internal fullness regulator, nor are they addictive. When you have had enough wholefood carbohydrates your body will let you know. You won't be able to eat another bite!

Physiological Harmony

We should eat only dishes that are physiologically non-disruptive and which promote the body's harmonious, ordered functioning. Anything that is not healthful should be avoided. Through this means there will be no excess cholesterol obstructing circulation by forming deposits in the blood vessels or coagulating in the gallbladder to form gallstones.

The following are guidelines for bodily health and harmony:

All purines (meats and other foods from which uric acid is derived) are avoided.

All fats of questionable value (artificially hardened) are avoided.

Meals should be designed in such a way that any overconsumption of fat is avoided.

Avoid the modern trap of over-consumption of protein. Together with poor quality (refined, heated) fats, this is the cause of most of the diseases that mark modern civilization.

Serve a fresh, enzyme-rich salad with almost every meal. Nothing beats the physiologically harmonizing power of fresh raw salad.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and preserve their vitamin and mineral content by careful cooking practices and the use of their cooking broth for soups and sauces. Vegetable fibre is important to good digestion.

Use cooking methods that preserve and intensify the aroma of the vegetables. Recipes that include whole grains have re-introduced physiologically powerful factors into our diets which we had been deprived of through commercial refining and denaturing processes.

All recipes should be alkaline not acidic and should harmonize with each other. Correct food combinations do not cause cramps, gas or heartburn.

Staple Foods

"Staples" are foods which theoretically contain everything the body needs. Grains are staples. So are potatoes. We recommend combining these staple foods with fresh vegetables: a treat for the taste buds and a proper, delicious and varied diet. All bodily functions will benefit.

1. Wheat is generally considered the representative of all grains. However, cooking this grain whole takes many hours and results in loss of both nutritive value and taste. Instead, grind the grain very coarsely in a common grain mill or coffee grinder and cook with an appropriate amount of water to make a coarse, thick porridge. Season with herb salt, mace, coriander, a pinch of pepper and a little butter. You can also fold in an egg or some sour cream instead of the spices.

2. Rye is mineralogically complete and a staple food. All minerals, particularly silica and iron, are plentifully present in rye. Silica is important for healthy hair, nails, teeth and the skeletal system. Iron is for blood formation, good circulation and cellular respiration. All vitamins are present in rye, especially vitamin E and the very important B vitamin, inositol. Surprisingly, rye also contains substantial amounts of vitamin C. The preparation and seasoning of rye dishes is much the same as for wheat.

3. Buckwheat botanically speaking, is a member of the knotgrass family. It's not a grain. But the flour has all the good properties of grain flours and can be used for bread, porridge, pancakes, dumplings or patties. To cook, add one cup whole buckwheat kernels to approximately two cups water, well seasoned with granulated spice or herb salt. Bring to a slow boil and simmer until buckwheat is soft. You may have to add more water. When the grain is soft, season with garlic, mace and coriander to taste, stir and add melted butter before serving.

4. Barley is another tasty grain often neglected. Put five cups of water in a pot and season with granulated spices of your choice. Add one cup barley, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the grains tender. Cooking time for pearl barley depends on the size of the kernels. Very large kernels take 20 minutes. Do the occasional "tenderness test" and add more water if necessary.

Barley can be seasoned with mace, coriander, garlic and a little freshly ground pepper. You can also add grated cheese and/or an egg to bind it all together, then mix and shape into small "sausages" or patties, coat with bread crumbs and bake or saute until golden. Garnish with greens and serve with a fresh salad.

* 5. Millet is another delicious staple food belonging to the grain family. It is particularly rich in the nutrients characteristic of grains: vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin C and minerals. Millet can be prepared in much the same way as barley and buckwheat. A particularly delicious method is to cook it in vegetable broth (asparagus, celery, cauliflower, leek, kohlrabi, green bean, salsify and garlic). Season the broth before cooking the grain. Serve the cooked millet as a porridge or make into patties or sausages (using egg, bread crumbs or semolina as a binding ingredient) and serve with a mild salad.

* 6. Brown Rice has a dehydrating and slimming function, especially when served with green salad. It can be prepared with grated cheese, chives, parsley, tarragon and chervil as well as the spices mentioned in other grain recipes. It also tastes wonderful combined with an egg. For two servings take one cup of rice and brown it slightly in a very little fresh olive oil. This browning makes the rice stay firm and granular. Add five cups water or broth with spices added. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender (35 to 40 minutes). A pinch of curry (to taste) and one tablespoon butter completes the main dish meal. Serve with a raw salad.

* 7. Oats are one of our most valuable grain foods. The best known oat dish is porridge, which can be made from rolled oats in a matter of minutes. Whole oat kernels take longer but make a tasty supper dish seasoned with butter and herb salt and served with a spicy salad.

* 8. Corn meal is not as popular as other grains but you can make tasty cornmeal slices for a meal-time change. Bring two litres (eight cups) of water to the boil and season well with garlic, onion, nutmeg, coriander, celery seed, pepper, marjoram, curry, yeast extract and herb salt. Add one cup of corn meal, stirring constantly. Spread this porridge, one centimeter thick, in a wet, flat pan and let cool, then cut into squares and saute in olive oil until golden. Serve with a mildly seasoned raw vegetable salad.

* 9. Spelt is a new grain, but it's old. It has re-emerged into the health food market worldwide and is gaining in popularity because it can sometimes be tolerated by those who are wheat-allergic. Spelt is said to contain more protein, fats and crude fibre than wheat. You can cook spelt kernels like rice (one cup of grain to two cups water) and season in the same way. Use it in any grain recipe. The flour is excellent for baking.

* 10. Kamut is the trade name for another new/old grain and is a relative of durum wheat. It is mostly used as a flour but the grain is also available and can be coarsely ground and cooked like wheat. It is significantly higher in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin E than common wheat and, like spelt, can often be safely eaten by people with wheat allergies. Kamut flakes can also be used in cooking.

* 11. Quinoa is an annual South American herb seed that is now grown organically and successfully in Canada. It is a high-quality protein with an almost ideal amino acid balance and a good source of fibre, complex carbohydrates, vitamins B and E, calcium, phosphorus and iron. The basic recipe for cooking quinoa is to rinse the seed thoroughly for about three minutes, then combine one cup of quinoa to one cup of water or broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season it the same as for other grains and serve with a salad or vegetable side dish.

* 12. Potatoes are uniquely rich in minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorus and sulphur. All vitamins are also present, as well as easy-to-assimilate carbohydrates, vegetable protein and other factors. And potatoes are not fattening. They are very high in potassium, which is important for many bodily functions and has a diuretic effect. Potassium and calcium act in opposition to sodium, which is a major constituent of table salt and substantially to blame for edema, high blood pressure, vascular disease, circulatory and heart troubles, kidney malfunctions and probably rheumatism. Potassium and calcium largely neutralize the effects of sodium and rid the body tissues of its harmful effects. Potatoes are also high in vitamin C which is mostly, maintained throughout winter storage. They are good, nourishing food. The best way to serve them is baked, or steamed in their skins and with a fresh salad!

Mr Eduard Brecht was a businessman who ran a spice mill in Karlsruhe, Germany at the beginning of this century. He was also an advocate of wholefood vegetarianism and wrote a book which was widely read in Germany. Brecht believed in what he called the "physiological harmony" of the body as the only way to prevent disease. He was definitely a forerunner for the wholistic health movement of the 90s!

For the next four issues we allow Mr Brecht to live again as he expounds his principles of physiological harmony, moderation and self-regeneration through whole food eating. (Translated from the German)


Recommended Reading:

Amazing Grains, by J. Saltzman (sc) 202pp $18.95

The Brown Rice Cookbook, by C. Sams (sc) 128 pp $13.95

Available at your local health food store or from alive Books PO Box 80055 Burnaby BC V5H 3X1. Please add $3.00 p&h and 7% GST when ordering from alive Books.


By Eduard Brecht

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