ADDITIVES ON THE MENUSally Fallon, MA October 1, 2004
Controversial Views of Our Modern Food Supply
We have always processed our food; that is something that humans do. We cook our food — that is one type of processing. Food processing has two functions: to make food more digestible and to preserve food during times when it isn’t readily available. Historically, this type of processing produced traditional foods like sausage and the old-fashioned puddings and haggis. It includes bread, grain products, cheeses, milk products, pickles, butter, everything from wine and spirits to lacto-fermented beverages. Farmers and artisans like breadmakers, cheesemakers, distillers, millers and so forth processed this food. This type of processing made delicious foods, retained their nutritional content, and kept the profits on the farm and in the farming communities where it belonged. Food processing should be a cottage industry and produced locally.
Unfortunately, in modern times we have gone from local artisanal processing to factory and industrial processing, which actually destroys the food rather than making it more digestible as traditional processing did. Industrial processing depends upon sugar, white flour, processed and hydrogenated oils, additives, synthetic vitamins, and an extrusion processing of grains. These are the tools of the food processing industry.
So what are you going to have for breakfast? We need to go back to the old fashioned porridges as I explain in Nourishing Traditions. These porridges should be soaked overnight to get rid of the anti-nutrients, which are normally neutralized in the sprouting process. Soaking will neutralize the tannins, complex proteins, enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid which preserve the grains. You soak the grains in warm water and one tablespoon of something acidic like whey, yogurt, lemon juice, or vinegar. The next morning, it cooks in about a minute. Of course, you eat it with organic butter or cream, coconut, and chopped nuts like our grandparents did. The nutrients in the fats are needed to absorb the nutrients in the grains. That was one of the great lessons of Weston Price, that without the fats you can be taking mineral supplements, you can be drinking carrot juice until it comes out your ears, but you cannot absorb the minerals in your food without vitamin A and vitamin D.
NUTRITIOUS HOMEMADE BROTHS AND SAUCES
In the past, all traditional cultures used bones to make broth. They recognized that broth supplied a lot of minerals and nutrients in our diet as well as wonderful flavours. We used to make bone broth, beef broth, chicken broth, fish broth, and we used these broths to make sauces and gravies. When we made sauce or gravy at home, we used the drippings from the fat of the meat, added some flour, and then the homemade broth. Most artificial soup bases and sauces have artificial meat-like flavours that we used to get from natural gelatin-rich broth. These kinds of short cuts mean that consumers are short-changed. When the homemade stocks were pushed out by the cheap substitutes, an important source of minerals disappeared from the North American diet. The thickening effects of gelatin could be mimicked with emulsifiers, but of course, the health benefits were lost. And gelatin is a very healthy thing to have in your diet. It helps you digest your proteins properly.
ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS, HYDROLYZED PROTEIN, AND MSG
Research on gelatin and natural broths came to an end in the 1950s when food companies discovered how to induce Maillard reactions and produce meat-like flavours in the laboratory. (Ed. note: The Maillard reaction occurs when denatured proteins on the surface of the meat recombine with the sugars present. The combination creates the “meaty” flavour and changes the colour. For this reason it is also called the browning reaction.) In a General Foods Company report issued in 1947, chemists predicted that almost all natural flavours would soon be chemically synthesized.
Following the Second World War food companies discovered monosodium glutamate, a food ingredient the Japanese had invented in 1908 to enhance food flavours, including meat-like flavours. Humans actually have receptors on the tongue for glutamate — it is the protein in food that the human body recognizes as meat (but the glutamate in MSG has a different configuration that cannot be assimilated properly by the body). Any protein can be hydrolyzed to produce a base containing MSG. When the industry learned how to make the flavour of meat in the laboratory using inexpensive proteins from grains and legumes, the door was opened to a flood of new products including bouillon cubes, dehydrated soup mixes, sauce mixes, TV dinners, and condiments with a meaty base. You couldn’t have had all of these processed foods without these fake ersatz flavours.
The fast food industry could not exist without MSG and artificial meat flavours to make secret sauces and spice mixes that beguile the consumer into eating bland and tasteless food. The sauces in processed foods are basically MSG, water, some thickener and emulsifier and some caramel colouring. Your tongue is tricked into thinking that it is getting something nutritious when it is getting nothing at all except some very toxic substances. Even the dressings, sauces, rice mixes, flavoured tofu, bouillon cubes, soups, imitation garlic and onions, dehydrated foods that you add water to, all of these and anything that has got a meat-like taste has MSG in it. Almost all canned soups and stews contain MSG, and the “hydrolyzed protein” bases often contain MSG in very large amounts.
So called “homemade” soups in restaurants are often made by adding water to artificial flavourings in a powdered soup-base or soup cubes and adding chopped vegetables etc. Even things like lobster bisque and sauces in the seafood restaurants are full of these artificial flavours. It’s all profit based. They even think it is too costly to just use a little onion and garlic for flavouring. So they are using the artificial flavours instead.
Unfortunately, many of the vegetarian foods are also loaded with these flavourings. The list of ingredients in vegetarian hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, baloney etc. may include hydrolyzed protein and other “natural” flavourings.
INADEQUATE MSG LABELLING
As I point out in my various workshops, the three most toxic additives in our food supply are MSG, hydrolyzed protein, and aspartame, and the first two are in many of these secret sauces with “natural flavours”. Most of what you buy that says “spices” or “natural flavours” contains MSG. They get around it by putting MSG in the mixes, and if it’s less than 50% MSG they don’t have to put it on the label. You may have noticed that the phrase “No MSG” has actually disappeared. They don’t use it anymore because they found out that there was MSG in all the spice mixes, even Bragg’s amino acids had to take “No MSG” off. These ingredients are even in some low fat milks, spray-dried milk, and in many of the natural flavourings and spices.
HEALTH PROBLEMS LINKED TO MSG
In 1957 scientists found that mice became blind and obese when MSG was administered by feeding tube. In 1969, MSG-induced lesions were found in the hypothalamus region of the brain. Subsequent studies all pointed in the same direction. MSG is a neurotoxic substance that can cause a wide range of reactions from temporary headaches to permanent brain damage. We currently have a huge increase in Alzheimer’s, brain cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis, and diseases of the nervous system, and I believe one of the chief reasons is these flavourings in our food. MSG is also associated with violent behaviour.
Ninety-five percent of processed foods contain MSG, and as you know, in the late 1950s it was added to baby food. They say they have taken it out of the baby food, but they didn’t really remove it. They just called it hydrolyzed protein. In a fascinating book called Excitotoxins, author Russell Blalock describes how the nerve cells either disintegrate or shrivel up in the presence of this free glutamic acid, MSG, if it gets past the blood brain barrier. The glutamates in MSG are absorbed directly from the mouth to the brain. Some investigators believe that the great increase in violence in this country is due, not to sugar, nor even to breakfast cereals, but to the huge increase in the use of MSG in the food processing industry which began in the late 1950s, and particularly because it was put in baby food in very large amounts.
Describing artificial bacon, a food processing magazine claims: “Here is an engineered meat product which looks, cooks, and tastes like bacon, but is formed and laminated by a co-extrusion process. It is made from a mixture of pork, beef, sugar, salt, MSG, and smoked flavour and has a number of advantages. It shrinks very little in cooking; holds its shape and colour well; contains twice the protein and half the fat of bacon; costs less than bacon and the processed product does not delaminate.”
Isn’t that nice to know? Of course, now they have figured out how to do this without any meat at all, instead using soy.
FATS AND OILS
Oil processing starts with the crude vegetable oil and produces various oils, margarine, shortening, and so forth. Don’t forget these oils start out loaded with pesticides. The steps involved in processing have to do with bleaching, deodorizing, taking all the nutrients out, filtering, and removing saturates to make the oils more liquid. They also add a hexane solvent in order to squeeze the very last drop of oil out of the seeds. Caustic refining refers to very alkaline, very caustic chemicals that are added to the oil.
Margarine processing uses the cheapest seeds, most of which are full of pesticides and genetically engineered. Oil is extracted under high temperature and pressure, and the remaining fraction of oil is removed with hexane solvents. Then they steam clean the oils to remove all the vitamins and anti-oxidants, but the solvents and the pesticides remain. These oils are mixed with a nickel catalyst and then put into a huge high pressure high temperature reactor. Emulsifiers are mixed in. What comes out of that reactor is a smelly, grey type of cottage cheese. Then they mix in the emulsifiers to smooth it out, and steam clean it again to get rid of the smell. Then they bleach out the grey colour, and add artificial flavours and synthetic vitamins. Actually they are not allowed to add a synthetic colour to margarine. They have to add a natural colour, so they add anatto or something natural. It is then packaged in blocks and tubs.
HEALTH PROBLEMS WITH HYDROGENATED OILS
Saturated fat is the type of fat found in lard or butter. It is a straight molecule and it packs together easily. That is why it’s solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fat, like the type of fat found in olive oil, is a bent molecule. It has a little bend with two hydrogen molecules sticking out. And when that molecule gets built into your cells, the body wants those two hydrogens together; it makes an electron cloud and that is where your body makes reactions in the cell membrane.
During hydrogenation — a process used to harden unsaturated liquid vegetable oils into saturated fats — one of those hydrogens is moved to the other side, and it causes the molecule to straighten out so that it behaves like a saturate. The original unsaturated molecule is called ‘cis’ fatty acid, because the two hydrogens are together, and then it becomes a ‘transfat,’ a transfatty acid because the two hydrogens are across from each other.
But your body doesn’t know that this new molecule is something that has never been in nature before, so when you eat one of these transfats, or transfatty acids, they become built into your cell membranes. When it gets into your cell membranes, your body starts to realize something is wrong, because it wants to make reactions where those two hydrogens are and it can’t find them. And so the reaction can’t take place. The more transfatty acids that you eat, the more hydrogenated your cells become and the more chaos that you are going to have on the cellular level. So this is a completely phony, toxic molecule that tricks your body into thinking it is something real and your body puts it in a cell, and then the cells can’t work.
(Ed. note: Hydrogenation is a chemical process that adds hydrogen atoms to an unsaturated oil; food producers use hydrogenation to keep fat from becoming rancid. This process is usually done at a high heat. That is why cold pressed, or unhydrogenated, oils are a healthier choice as they do not contain trans fatty acids.)
All of the margarines, shortenings, spreads, even low trans spreads are made with these ingredients. I have not found any packaged or processed foods that don’t have these transfatty acids in them. They’re in all the chips and crackers, and they now use them for french fries. They used to fry the fries in tallow which is an animal fat, which in turn gave a little extra profit for the cattlemen and they have lost that market now. Now food processors use partially hydrogenated soybean oil.
It used to be that when you made desserts for your kids, at least they had butter, eggs, cream and nuts and things, all these good wholesome foods. Now they can imitate the butter, eggs and cream and nuts so all you have is sugar, and artificial things in these instant puddings and artificial desserts.
Many, many diseases have been associated with the consumption of transfatty acids — heart disease, cancer, and degeneration of joints and tendons (that is why we have so many hip replacements today). The only reason that we are eating this stuff is because we have been told that the competing fats and oils, the butter, the lard, the coconut oil, the palm oil, the tallow and the suet are bad for us and cause heart disease. And that is nothing but industry propaganda to get us to buy substitutes.
SPIRITUAL FOOD PREPARATION — MADE WITH LOVE
If people could see the sparks of light going forth from their fingertips when they are cooking, and the substance of light that goes into the food they handle, they would be amazed to see how much of themselves they charge into the meals that they prepare for their family and friends. It is one of the most important and least understood activities of life, that the radiation and feeling that go into the preparation of food affects everyone who partakes of it. And this activity should be unhurried, peaceful, and happy because the substance of the lifestream performing the service flows into that food and is eaten, and actually becomes part of the energy of the receiver.
That substance starts with the way we farm — the farmer that farms with wisdom and love for the land, the dairyman that farms with love for his animals, the cheesemaker who makes the cheese with the love of her craft, the baker who bakes with the love of the final product, the beverage maker who makes the type of delicious and nutritious beverage that I would like to see come to this nation. That energy goes into the food and when it is eaten by the receiver actually blesses the receiver.
That is why the advanced spiritual teachers of the East never eat food prepared by anyone other than their own chelas (disciples). The person preparing the food may be the only one in the household who is spiritually advanced (this is often the case). An active charge of happiness, purity, and peace will pour forth into the food from him, and this pours forth into the other members of the family and blesses them. There are more ways than one of allowing the Spirit of God to enter the flesh of man. So I hope that from what I have shown you, you will turn away from godless food.
Someone from the family needs to get back in the kitchen. It doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen, but you need to spend some time in the kitchen preparing food with love, food that has been grown with love and prepared with wisdom and love. If no one in the family has time to go into the kitchen and prepare food, you need to sit down and rethink how you are spending your time because there is simply no other way to get nourishing foods into our children. The situation is really very critical. If we don’t return to good eating practices one mouth at a time, one meal at a time, one farm at a time, preparing our own food and preparing it properly, there is not going to be another generation.
• Price, Weston A. DDS, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1997. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.
• Blaylock, Russell L. MD, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, 1996.
• Fallon, Sally, MA. Nourishing Traditions, 1995, ProMotion Publishing, San Diego, Ca 92122.
• Stitt, Paul A. MSc, Beating the Food Giants, 1993. Natural Press, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
• Stitt, Paul A. MSc, The Real Cause of Heart Disease is Not Cholesterol, 2003. Natural Press, Manitowoc, Wisc.
• www.naturalovens.com — Paul Stitt
• www.westonaprice.org — Sally Fallon