Our first book on nutrition was published after World War
II, at a time when the price of meat was sky-rocketing and meat was difficult to obtain.
Our aim at that time was to show that not only could we be well nourished at less cost without the use of meat, but that the omission of meat was actually conducive to better health.
Since then, the problem of cost has become much less important, not because meats or any of the other foods have become less expensive, but because we have come to accept the high cost of food as part of the overall increase in our cost of living.
The need for a more careful nutritional program, however, has, in view of the great increase in many of our chronic and degenerative diseases, become only more pressing. However, by excluding meat and fish from our diet and recipe suggestions we encountered the following problems :
We had to meet the objection of those who, despite all proof to the contrary, felt that by omitting meat from their diet they would be deprived of essential nourishment. Furthermore, we encountered the opposition of those who felt that without meat their diet would be drab and uninteresting. Many individuals are willing or even anxious to accept a more careful nutritional program but are not psychologically prepared to give up the use of meat altogether.
Then we came up against situations in which one member of the family was interested in introducing a more wholesome nutritional program in the home, but, because of the opposition of some of the other members of the family, could not do it unless some meat was included in the diet.
To meet these obstacles, we have included this chapter, to stress the fact that if, for one reason or another, meat or fish is included in the diet, one must at least make sure that these foods are correctly prepared and served in proper combination with all other essential foods.
Here are some points to be heeded in connection with the use of meat and fish.
1. Exclude all fat meats and fish.
2. Make sure that you use these foods in small quantities and not more than two or three times a week. We must not be deluded by the idea that large quantities of protein are essential, since an excess of protein generates a great many toxins and can cause a great deal of harm.
3. These foods should be steamed, baked, boiled, or broiled, but not fried, since fried foods are less digestible.
4. All meat soups and beef broths are harmful and should be omitted from the diet. Lautman in his Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases, states, Soup is actually a concentrated essence of meat, low in protein substance, but rich in extractives. Since it contains only those elements of the meat which are supposed to be harmful, without retaining any of the qualities of the protein, soup as a regular article of diet, would not be especially helpful.
5. Avoid all sharp spices and condiments such as salt, pepper, mustard, and vinegar on meat. Onions, tomatoes, garlic, dill, or any of the other mild vegetable herbs may be used in place of the sharp irritating condiments‚ what wonderful flavor they will impart to your food!
6. Always bear in mind that meat or fish should make up only a small part of a meal, and that the rest should be composed of fruits and vegetables. Whenever possible, use a large raw vegetable salad with these foods.
Those who are already adhering to a wholesome nutritional program need not be told how beneficial a meatless program can be. Those, however, who are new to this way of eating are sometimes rather apprehensive and doubtful.
Our task is to teach people how to readjust their way of eating so that they may obtain the greatest amount of good from it. It should be evident that we can accomplish this objective much more readily when we enable those who are not yet prepared to accept our plan of living in its entirety to do so on a more gradual basis. Sherman of Columbia, McCollum of Johns Hopkins, and Clive McCay have demonstrated conclusively that a reduction in the intake of protein to about one-third or even less of what was formerly considered essential will be conducive to better health, and that 30 to 50 grams of protein a day, an amount obtainable from about a quarter pound of meat or fish or cheese or soybeans, or about 1 j to 2 ounces of coconuts, peanuts, pecans, or any of the other nuts mentioned above, will be sufficient to keep us amply supplied. It is well known among nutritional authorities that protein is not stored up in the body and that when eaten to excess the unused portion is eliminated through the intestinal tract, where putrefactive changes take place that create many toxic by-products that ultimately contribute to the development of disease.
Another point conclusively demonstrated is that only 10 to 15 per cent of the total protein requirement need be obtained from the complete protein foods while the balance can be supplied from the incomplete proteins.
Following World War II, doctors began to stress the value of a high protein diet, but fortunately sanity is again beginning to prevail and the population, as well as our doctors, are again assuming a more reasonable view of the subject.
Students of nutrition as well as our governmental agencies have often pointed out that we need not fear that the lack of meat will deprive us of the protein we need, since dairy products and all the other nonmeat protein foods provide all the protein necessary to keep us in excellent health.