Role of Nutrition in Times of Crises

The light the war has shed on this question.

 By HAZEL AUSHERMAN WEBER, Dietitian, Uruguay Academy, Uruguay, South America

In the grocery store, in the post office, on the streetcar—everywhere for the past four years —we have been reading posters declaring! "U. S. NEEDS US STRONG," "FOOD WILL WIN THE WAR," "FOOD FOR DEFENSE," etc. When our coun­try found itself with a war on both hands, almost simultaneously with the gigantic defense industries a tremendous nutritional program was launched. Not only must our men in the front lines be of the highest type of physical specimens, but the army of men and women who have to keep production behind the lines rolling to the front must have physical stamina to endure longer hours and harder work.

Germany had made her nutritional survey and put into use the most modern food sciences five years before she marched on Poland. In any time of crisis the outcome depends upon the health resources of a person or a nation. This is nothing new. Let us consider a number of crises down through history, and the nutritional program con­nected with each.

EXODUS FROM EGYPT.—The first is the nutri­tional program in connection with the exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. Out of the Hebrew tribes, held in a pitiable state of slavery by an exploiting heathen king, the Lord raised up a nation to spread His glorious truth throughout the entire world.

"When God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it was His purpose to establish them in the land of Canaan a pure, happy, healthy people. Let us look at the means by which He would accomplish this. He subjected them to a course of discipline, which, had it been cheerfully followed, would have resulted in good, both to them­selves and to their posterity. It was His purpose to supply them with food better suited to their wants than the feverish diet to which many of them had been accustomed in Egypt. . . . Had they been willing to deny appetite in obedience to His restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed physical and mental strength. They would have had clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discriminations, and sound judgment."—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 118.

He fed them with bread from heaven; "man did eat angels' food." "Through them He desired to bless and teach the world. He provided them with the food best adapted for this purpose."—Ministry of Healing, p. 311.

Before Sinai and the Ten Commandments God presented His nutritional program. He substi­tuted for their unbalanced, "feverish" diet, food which supplied all the elements their bodies re­quired. "They knew it [manna] was just the food God wished them to have, and that it was healthful for them and their children." We know the diet was nutritious, for we read that "notwithstanding their hardships in the wilderness, there was not a feeble one in all their tribes." The fact that after forty years of wandering in a barren desert and rocky mountains they should arrive at the border of Canaan in such a state of health, increased in numbers, and well able to take the land, is indeed a nutritional miracle.

INSTRUCTION TO SAMSON'S MOTHER.—The sec­ond incident occurs in the time of the judges. Be­cause of apostasy in Israel the Lord permitted His people to fall into the hands of the Philistines. It was about time for a "deliverer" to be raised up. Accordingly an angel appeared to Manoah's wife and announced the birth of Samson, who should "begin to deliver Israel." Then the angel in­structed her as to what she and the child should eat. Later the angel appeared to Manoah and repeated the dietary instructions. The fact that an angel from heaven was sent twice with the same message, and that in regard to diet, ought to im­press us with the importance which God appar­ently puts upon our diet.

DIET OF DANIEL, MAN OF AFFAIRS.—The third instance of a dietary preparation preceding a great work is that of Daniel and his companions. Un­doubtedly they realized something of the possibili­ties of their position, even though captives, and their first preparation of which we have record is nutritional. If they would possess "clear percep­tions of truth and duty, keen discrimination and sound judgment," they must look well to their diet. Daniel was only a young man when we first read of him in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. In these days we often read of men of affairs dying of cerebral hemorrhage when under protracted mental strain, but Daniel lived to participate in three world empires, rendering valiant service to his govern­ments and to his God. If he could have done this without carefulness of diet, Inspiration would not have left the record for us. "He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the por­tion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank; for he knew that such a diet would not strengthen his physical powers or increase his mental capability. . . . He would do nothing to becloud his mind; and God gave him 'knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom.' "—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 22.

Examples in the New Testament

In the New Testament there are also examples of a nutritional program accompanying world-shaking events. At the time for the first advent of Christ the whole world was in a state of political and economic ,unrest. A forerunner of the Mes­siah had been prophesied—someone to prepare the hearts of the people for this tremendous event ; someone who would call the attention of the people to the times in which they were living. Luke, the doctor, tells of the angel appearing to Zacharias to give instructions regarding the child's diet—the child that should be born to Elisabeth to "prepare ... the way of the Lord." The angel Gabriel, direct from heaVen, gave a discourse on health reform to the father and mother of John.

Good nutrition includes and excludes all that "health reform" included and excluded. In Vol­ume III of the Testimonies we read that this is "one of the great branches of the worl? of prepara­tion for the coming of the Son of man." John the Baptist, living upon his simple, "purely vegetable" diet, was adequately nourished for his vigorous and rugged wilderness preaching campaigns. "He was a representative of those living in these last days, to whom God has entrusted sacred truths to pre­sent before the people, to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ."—Pages 61, 62.

WESLEY BROTHERS AND HEALTH REFORM.—To my knowledge there is no record of any dietary reform connected with the very early Reformation, but the Wesley brothers, founders of Methodism, were ardent believers in a "health reform." They abstained from foods commonly used on the table at that time, such as liquors, tea, puddings, cakes, and spices. They preached that these articles of diet were detrimental to the human body and de­filed "the temple of the Holy Ghost," and therefore earnest seekers after God would omit them. The Wesleys began their preaching about 1729.

Stand Adopted by Other Denominations

Oberlin college was founded by the Congrega­tionalists in 1833, and exists today as a prominent educational institution. In the early days "health reform" was rigorously practiced at Oberlin. They eliminated not only liquors and tobacco, but tea, coffee, spices, puddings, cakes, and salt. At one table in the dining hall no meat was served. In an early reference history of the Congregational Church may be found an account of a group of students on their way to Oberlin. They were traveling on a lake steamer which had to stop over to make repairs. The students were very reluctant to stay at the inn in that place because of the tea, as well as other prohibited foods, which were served.

Dr. Sylvester Graham, a prominent early Pres­byterian clergyman, had a burden for the physical phase of man's restitution. He preached that whole grains were better for man than the refined grains. Graham Hour is named after this pro­ponent of better nutrition.

The Mormon Church, which came into being in 1830, also has a health program to which the devout adhere to this day. Their prophet, Joseph Smith, left to them the Word of Wisdom, which counsels against the use of liquors, tobacco, tea, and coffee. Meat was to be used only in the winter, and pork not at all.

It is a very interesting and significant observa­tion that the health message in these denominations became prominent at the beginning of "the time of the end," and contemporary with the spectacular fulfillment of some of the prophecies. Everywhere interest in the second coming of Christ was aroused.

INSTRUCTION TO REMNANT CHURCH.—The time for the last message of warning, the three angels' messages, was at hand. A group of people from the previously mentioned churches and others survived the "great disappointment" in 1844 and soon thereafter organized into a church, the rem­nant church. One among them was chosen of God to be a prophet, and through her God has given more detailed dietary instruction for those who are preparing to experience the last days and meet their God when He shall appear.

For this remnant there is a great work and not one crisis but a series of them, for "the dragon . . . went to make war with the remnant." The people of God must be not only spiritually prepared but physically able to enterinto these times. "God de­mands that the appetite be cleansed, and that self-denial be practiced in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before him a perfected people."—Testimonies, Vol. IX, pp. 153, 154. "The time of trouble is just before us ; and then stern necessity will require the people of God to deny self, and to eat merely enough to sustain. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 206.

To indicate that health reform is a liberal, bal­anced, and positive program of good nutrition, we quote the following: "Some of our people consci­entiously abstain from eating improper food, and at the same time neglect to eat food that would supply the elements necessary for the proper sus­tenance of the body. Let us never bear testimony against health reform by failing to use wholesome, palatable food in place of the harmful articles of diet that we have discarded. . . . A diet lacking in the proper elements of nutrition brings reproach upon the cause of health reform. We are mortal, and must supply ourselves with food that will give proper sustenance to the body."—Medical Minis­try, p. 273.

"Those who labor with their hands must nour­ish their strength to perform this labor, and those also who labor in word and doctrine must nourish their strength ; for Satan and his evil angels are warring against them to tear down their strength. They should seek rest of body and mind from wear­ing labor when they can, and should eat of nourish­ing, strengthening food to build up their strength; for they will be obliged to exercise all the strength they have."—Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 206.

When we view our entire program, particularly the dietary, and strive for better physical being as a God-given means of obtaining a strong body, and "keen discrimination, sound judgment, and clear conceptions of truth and duty" for these momentous times in which we live, we see the health message in its proper setting as the "right arm of the message"—the very last message. We ought to participate in this program with such enthusiasm that it will be contagious. Not one of us will wear the victor's crown until we have eaten at the "training table."

EMOTIONS AND GASTRIC FUNCTION.—Increased se­cretion, increased motility and disturbed circulation, mucosal erosions, and ul­cerations are phases of the same process differing only in the amount of tissue destruction in the stomach and duodenum. The degree and duration of changes in gastric function are roughly proportional to the intensity and dura­tion of the &motional reaction. Adequate neural mechanisms exist to explain these phenomena. One may infer that these emotionally charged situations are involved directly in the genesis of peptic ulcer in man.—Journal of the American Dietetic Association, March, 1944, p. 178.

ALCOHOLISM A SOCIAL DISEASE.—One need not be labeled an alarmist to insist that the problems of alcoholism were never more acute or pressing to this nation, mobilized as it is in both its man­hood and its womanhood for total warfare. Any statistical statement concerning the size of this problem cannot help but be an understatement. It is easy enough to tabulate the worst chronic alcoholic addicts, especially those in the lower economic brackets, who gravitate to the courts and the State hospitals, but the more vexing aspects of the problem occur in the groups who have social and economic prestige and remain therefore statistically sequestered. . . .

As every acute and chronic alcoholic addict is actually a sick person, the treatment of alcoholism naturally becomes a major medical problem. As alcoholic indulgence ultimately affects in turn all the vital organs, including the central nervous system, medical scrutiny has disclosed a wide range of clinical manifestations which in their aggregate have come to be known as "the alcoholic diseases." These diseases, either alone or in combination, set up such formidable medical problems as to tax the ingenuity of the general practitioner and his various consultants. . . .

There are many definitions for alcoholism; one is as good as another. For our purposes any individual who exhibits a strong psychologic affinity for any one or more of the many alcoholic products, coupled with an inordinate physiologic vulnerability of his body tissue to them, may be considered an alcoholic addict.

It is the latter half of this definition, dealing with the tissue vulnerability, that made it necessary to call on the medical and allied disciplines for possible solution. It is to these alterations in the body tissues that those of the biologic sciences have directed their major research. Appreciating their limitations, medical men have in turn been forced to call on other than biologists with a hope that a better understanding of the psychologic antecedents may be disclosed.

While discussing sex it is interesting to note some facts concerning the ratio of male and female alcoholic addicts. . . . The ratio of male and female alcoholic addicts through a span of thirteen years, 1931 to 1943 inclusive, as studied in the Psychiatric Institute of the Municipal Court of Chicago, shows a change of ratio of 4 1/2 or 5 in 1931 1:2 in 1943.

Can the doctor alone solve the problem of alcoholism? The answer is definitely no ! More and more because of the many aspects in the prob­lem, which I have only attempted to highlight, we must come to the inexorable conclusion that alco­holism is a social disease and that at best the doctor can be busy with only a segment of the problem. As a corollary to this conclusion we must not allow the doctor to become pessimistic of his role. Indeed, it should spur him on to added effort.

The proper approach to the problem is exempli­fied in the pioneering efforts of the Yale projects of the Research Council on Problems of Alcohol­ism, wherein all facets of the problem are under scientific investigation and wherein particular stress is placed on the biologic, psychologic, so­ciologic, anthropologic, and religious aspects. To these efforts the American medical profession should lend its best support.—Journal of the American Medical Association, March to, 1945, pp. 564-567.

THIAMIN REQUIREMENTS.—Considering the ev­idence available, the author believes that the allow­ance for thiamin now commonly recommended is much too large and because of the use of this allowance as a dietary standard, a great deal of alleged deficiency is really nonexistent. At pres­ent there is not sufficient information to decide accurately what the optimal requirement for hu­mans really is. If a much lower standard of ade­quacy is correct for thiamin, the thiamin content of bread is of less importance, provided people use a varied diet containing a number of food sources of thiamin. Bread of high nutritional value can be most economically obtained by reten­tion of all the nutrients found in whole wheat. Incomplete restoration of vitamins to flour impov.- erished during milling is not a satisfactory method of obtaining bread of high nutritive value.—Cana­dian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 52, Feb­ruary, 1945, p. 147.

NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF POPULATIONS.—There is not enough published evidence to justify the statement appearing in the Times that "the nutri­tional condition of the population is well main­tained and may even be improving." This report is based on three nutritional surveys carried out in 1942, 1943, and 1944 by different workers. Since the assessment was clinical, it is difficult to com­pare observations. In addition the places where the surveys were carried out differed appreciably in economic status. Consequently, the figures quoted cannot be taken to show anything other than that nutritional state is dependent upon eco­nomic state.—Journal of the American Dietetic Association, May, 1945, p. 312.

HEALTH EDUCATION.—Where health education is done wrongly or insufficiently, it usually has its reason in only sporadic or badly organized efforts of . . . [medical] groups. . . . Health museums are distinctly different from medical museums. The emphasis in medical museums is on professional training ; health museums are for lay education. Medical museums feature "dis-ease"; health mu­seums aim at better health for more people, so that they may be physically and mentally "at-ease." . . . A museum makes people come, stop, look, listen, and, last but not least, it makes them remem­ber what they have learned more readily when the occasion comes for practical application. . . . A health museum is an ideal place to bring different groups in contact with health problems:-.--Journal of the American Medical Association, March, 3, 1945, P. 506.

EFFECT OF COOKING ON COW'S MILK.—Seven studies were made, using boiled, stirred whole milk; boiled, unstirred milk with the coagulum removed ; and raw milk. The cooking of milk does not alter the biological value of the protein content, its value as a source. of calcium for the white rat, its vitamin A, B complex, and vitamin D content and total antirachitic potential, or its total nutritive value for the white rat. Cooking does decrease the vitamin C content of milk by 12.81 percent.—Journal of the American Dietetic Association, May, 1945, p. 316.

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 By HAZEL AUSHERMAN WEBER, Dietitian, Uruguay Academy, Uruguay, South America

August 1945

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