Evaluation Of The Various Stages And Methods Of Preparation Of Uncooked Foods
Less Is Better
The less preparation to which foods have been subjected, the better nourishment they provide. Even when foods are not cooked, there are many methods of preparing them which are progressively more damaging to their nutritional value.
Shredding, grinding, blending and juicing all critically impair the nutritional value of the food. Even cutting up the food causes some loss of nutrients, as each cut edge is exposed for oxidation to begin. The smaller the pieces, the greater the fragmentation—the more widespread the oxidation and damage.
Shredding, Grinding, Blending and Juicing
Shredding, which produces a greater number of exposed surfaces, is obviously more destructive than cutting up. Grinding is even worse, producing smaller particles. Blending breaks the food down even more, and juicing extracts only the juice, discarding all the fiber.
All these processes deprive the body of part or all of the chewing exercise, which is necessary for the secretion of salivary enzymes and for sending signals for the secretion of gastric digestive juices.
In addition, vital food elements are impaired or destroyed. Oxidation of food is intended to occur within the body, and when it is allowed to occur before the food is eaten, the body is deprived of important elements. Blending, grinding and shredding cause significant losses of Vitamin C as the fragmented foods are exposed to the air, and as much as a 50% loss of Vitamin C within a few minutes after food is juiced.
Even “over-washing” of fresh foods will result in significant impairment of nutritional value. Fresh foods should be washed as rapidly as possible in fresh, clean water. Fruits should be quickly scrubbed under running water. No food should be allowed to soak; this leaches valuable nutrients.
Green leaves, especially lettuce, lose crispness, quality and nutritional value if allowed to remain in water more than a few seconds. Just swish the lettuce through the water, while rubbing off the sand and dirt with your fingers; a final quick rinse is more than adequate. You don’t have to eat “sandy” lettuce, nor limp, overwashed lettuce.
Nor should you use any of various substances in the water to wash off the contaminants; this creates the additional problem of removing the washing compound. If the food is organically grown, there is no problem. If it is not, you cannot do more than quickly wash it in clean water.
Nothing will remove residues of chemical fertilizers or sprays, and your efforts to do so will only further impair the produce. Get the best quality of food that is available to you, wash it quickly and enjoy! If it is selected in accordance with Hygienic principles, your health will still be better than that of conventional eaters, even though not all of your food is organically grown (and, yes, even if little of your food is organically grown).
Priority Of Food Preparation
Recapping the various stages of raw-food preparation prioritizes them in the following order:
- The best food is that which is eaten raw, whole, and fresh from the garden or orchard, after a quick washing in clean water.
- A minimum amount of separation of leaves for washing, or cutting of vegetables, performed immediately before eating, will result in minimum impairment of nutritional value.
- Cutting up vegetables for a tossed salad, or fruits for a fruit salad, will result in considerable impairment of nutritional value, because every cut edge is exposed to oxidation and loss of nutrients. If such vegetable or fruit salads are occasionally desired, they should be prepared immediately before the meal.
- Shredding, producing a greater number of exposed surfaces, is even more destructive. If shredding is temporarily necessary because of dental or digestive problems, it should be done at the table, immediately before eating. Attractive, efficient shredders for table use are available.
- Grinding or blending breaks down the food even more. Sometimes, blended salads may be resorted to as a temporary measure, to tide one over dental, digestive, or other special problems, but the habitual use of blended salads is not advisable. If blenders or food processors are used in the preparation of special recipes, for occasional use, it should be done with the full knowledge that the nutritional value of these foods has been greatly diminished. If this is but an occasional practice and the major part of the diet consists of whole, raw foods, the principal negative will be subjecting the organism to digesting foods which do not provide maximum nutritional return.
- Juicing foods and discarding all the fiber is contraindicated, except for use in breaking some prolonged fasts or where extreme debility makes the use of juiced foods necessary. The occasional use of juiced fruits or vegetables, in small amounts, twenty to thirty minutes before a meal, isn’t harmful. Habitual use of large quantities of juiced foods is highly inadvisable. Juices bombard the body with large quantities of fragmented nutrients in much the same way as food supplements do, and the effects can be negative and even positively harmful. In addition, the body is deprived of the opportunity to chew, assimilate and metabolize the complete foods which are sources of optimal health.
We receive many requests for special recipes for transitional food programs to provide greater variety in a raw-food diet, and for ideas and instructions in the preparation of special menus and treats. Such menus, recipes, ideas and instruction are therefore included in this lesson.
It is hoped that the student will gradually realize that simple meals are the best, and will come to delight in luscious fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts. Included in this lesson is a special section on sprouting.
Preparation Of Foods Without Cooking
Most fresh fruits should be served whole after scrubbing under running water. What can rival the appeal to the eye and to the taste than a bowl or tray of beautiful, colorful, fragrant whole fruit?
Apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums should be served whole, with sharp knives for peeling and cutting if necessary or desired. The fruit should be eaten unpeeled whenever possible, but if fruit is not organically grown, it is a difficult choice.
Grapes and cherries, of course, require no preparation other than washing. Some citrus fruit is easy to peel (tangerines, murcotts, mandarins, tangelos, temples). Other citrus may be cut at the table. No sugar on grapefruit! (Nor other sweetening.)
Berries should be served whole. Serve strawberries with caps and stems attached. No sugar! (Nor any other sweetening.) Fruit that is not sweet enough to eat without added sweeteners is not ripe enough to eat. Serve persimmons whole—fully ripe, soft and luscious. I like to cut this fruit in half and spoon away from the skin. My husband, Lou, just bites into the fruit, discarding the skin as he eats.
Nature provided bananas with a wonderful coat, protective and easy to remove—no problems there. Serve them golden, brown-freckled and whole.
Cut ripe, buttery avocados in half at the table and eat with a spoon out of the half (or quarter) shell. If you want to peel the avocados, quarter them and remove the skins from each quarter. Serve the sectibus on a platter, or arrange them on lettuce leaves or other salad vegetables. Serve fresh, soft, ripe figs whole.
Serve delightful, emerald kiwi fruit whole. Cut it in half at the table and spoon out of the half shell. Fresh litchi fruit is easy to peel at the table. Loquats require no peeling. Florida papayas are sometimes very large. Cut in wedges and remove seeds immediately before serving. I have seen some people eating the seeds of the papaya, and heard them stoutly maintain that the seeds are “loaded” with nutrients and should not be discarded.
I believe the taste of papaya seeds is ample evidence that they are not intended to be eaten. The plethora of nutrients which they undoubtedly contain are intended for the fruit which the seeds are programmed to produce.
Just-right ripe mangos are a treat any way you serve them. They can be cut in half, slicing over the large flat seed on both sides and eaten with a spoon. They can be peeled and sliced, but don’t waste whatever clings to the peel and seed, though you may have to hang over the sink to eat it.
Joy Gross demonstrated (at the American Natural Hygiene Society national conventions) an attractive way to serve mangos. With a sharp paring knife; score the flesh of the halved mangos in cubes, without cutting through the skin. Invert the two halves (turn them inside out). Beautiful! And delicious! Melons, of course, will have to be cut immediately before serving. Small melons may be served whole.
Prepare pineapple immediately before serving in the following manner: Cut a thin slice from the bottom. Cut in quarters lengthwise, either leaving the top on as a decoration, or removing it. Prepare each quarter as a separate serving by separating the flesh from the skin with a sharp knife and slicing the remaining wedge into segments. Serve on the rind (pineapple boats). Serve with forks for removal of the segments and serrated grapefruit spoons for scraping out any flesh remaining on the rind. Don’t put the rind to your mouth—use a spoon. The eyes of the rind are razor sharp and can cut your lips, mouth and tongue.
Pomegranates may be served whole, and may either be cut and eaten in sections, cutting into segments as you eat, or the juice may be sucked out through a carefully punched hole (look out, it’ll spurt all over you) after carefully kneading it until it is entirely soft. Don’t be too rough, you may inadvertently break it open.
Dried fruit may require some advance preparation. Dates and raisins may be presumed to be clean enough to eat as they come from a sealed package. For those who doubt this, a quick rinse just before eating may allay their misgivings.
Dried figs are usually soft enough to eat without preparation. Rinse, if desired. If figs are hard, they may be soaked in distilled water for several hours, or over night.
Dried apricots and peaches are greatly improved by overnight soaking. In fact, unsulphured apricots and peaches are almost inedible unless they are soaked.
Dried apples are very tasty—not too sweet. Soaking makes them too mushy. Dried prunes, cherries and pears may be used either way—as they are, or soaked. Dried bananas are excellent as they come from the package—soaking is not necessary or desirable. Dried litchi fruit needs no preparation—just crack open the nut-like outer skin and find the raisin-like fruit inside.
Dried carob pods are sometimes too dry to be really palatable, but usually are soft enough to chew on. I have not tried soaking them.
Fruit Recipes (Without Cooking)
Ideally, recipes (especially for fruit) are not necessary nor desirable. We know that many people will want fruit recipes for a variety of reasons:
- A nostalgic yearning for “mixtures”.
- For variety.
- As a replacement for junk foods (to satisfy “cravings”).
- A desire to prepare something “fancy” or “convenient” to serve guests.
- For reluctant family members.
- For children (of any age).
These might also work out better for parties or groups of people, because they are perhaps more economical, more convenient, or more “liberal” for conventional friends.
Acid Fruit: Oranges, pineapple, strawberries and kiwi fruit. This can be prepared an hour or two in advance to serve to guests. The juice from the oranges should keep the other fruit from drying out or discoloring. Use whole strawberries, fairly large pieces of fresh pineapple, and orange sections. Serve slices of kiwi fruit alongside—don’t put the kiwi fruit into the salad. Or use the decorative slices of kiwi fruit as a garnish.
This salad can be served to luncheon guests, along with nuts or avocado along with a salad bowl of romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce and celery. (Of course, these same foods could be served more Hygienically by putting out bowls of oranges and strawberries, platters of pineapple boats and kiwi fruit halves, along with the bowls of greens and platters of avocados or nuts if desired.)
Other Acid Fruit Combinations: Winesap, Jonathan or other tart apples. Put cubes of mild cheese on toothpicks and arrange in a circle on each apple. (Or just serve trays of apples and trays of avocados, nuts or cheese.) Serve with bowls of lettuce and celery.
Oranges, avocados and romaine lettuce—this combination is an excellent meal any time of the day. Subacid and Sweet Fruit: Combine berries (blackberries, raspberries, etc.—not strawberries) or dark sweet cherries or dark purple grapes with two or three of the following: sliced papayas, peaches, nectarines, apricots, sweet plums, apples, pears.
If this can be prepared immediately before serving to guests, arrange fruits attractively on romaine lettuce leaves, either on platters or individual service plates.
If it must be prepared an hour or two in advance, put together as a fruit salad, and moisten with apple, cherry or grape juice. For this purpose, you may have, to use bottled juice from a health food store, which usually does not contain additives, and will be of quite good taste and quality, although, of course, usually pasteurized. Or add dried soaked cherries or apricots and the juice in which they have been soaked.
This fruit salad can be served with, ripe Japanese persimmons, whole ripe bananas (or you can add sliced bananas to the fruit salad just before serving), and either avocados on the half or quarter shell or platters of dates, figs, raisins or other dried fruit. Also set out a salad bowl of two varieties of lettuce and some celery.
Papaya with Subacid Fruit Salad
Fill halves of large papayas with subacid fruit salad for a party buffet. Or fill wedges of large papayas or smaller papaya halves with subacid fruit salad for individual servings.
Papaya, Avocado and Apple Salad
Arrange wedges of papaya, avocado and apple (sweet or tart) in a circle on a bed of romaine or Boston lettuce.
A very attractive way of serving melon buffet style with less of the mess of rinds is to cut open and shape a watermelon as a basket with a handle. That is, instead of cutting it in half, make the cuts lengthwise a little short of the halfway mark, to leave a handle-like section about three inches wide.
Melon balls can be made of the red flesh, but a better way is to cut small wedges and arrange them in the watermelon basket, along with wedges of several other varieties of melon, such as honeydew, casaba, cantaloupe, etc. Don’t mix any other fruit in the watermelon basket. Instead, provide bowls and trays of other varieties of fresh fruit for those who don’t wish to partake of the melon, or for those who sometimes mix melon with other fruit at the same meal.
This is excellent for an afternoon reception or evening party.
Other Entertaining “Tricks” with Fruit
(Sometimes combined with other uncooked foods)
Although the following are not cooked, their nutritional value has been substantially impaired by blending, freezing, etc. These recipes are provided as alternatives to conventional cakes, pies, puddings, ice creams and other desserts.
Compote or Pudding: Soak dried figs (or dried apricots) overnight. Remove stems and blend with the soak water. Add fresh (or frozen) bananas and blend. If too thick, add distilled water—if not thick enough, add more bananas. Serve topped with sliced bananas. The fig pudding will be quite sweet, the apricot pudding less sweet. This may also be made by blending bananas with any other subacid or sweet fruit. Keep very cold until served. This may be served with fresh subacid or sweet fruit (not acid fruit or protein).
Apricot-Prune Whip: Soak dried apricots and pitted prunes overnight. Blend the next day with the soak water. Serve plain or with sliced bananas.
Frozen Banana Treats: Break ripe bananas in halves or thirds. Dip in carob syrup (carob powder mixed with distilled water) and then roll in grated coconut, and freeze. These may be eaten without thawing—they do not freeze hard. Remove from freezer about ten minutes before eating.
Raw Applesauce: Wash, quarter and core sweet juicy apples (do not remove skins). Put in blender a few pieces at a time with a small amount of apple or grape juice. Other fruits maybe combined with the apples. This should be prepared immediately before serving, to keep color and flavor, or keep very cold until served.
Banana “Ice Cream”: Whenever you have a surplus of ripe bananas, peel and freeze them while in tightly-closed plastic bags. They may be converted to “ice cream” by putting them through a Champion juicer (using the homogenizing blank instead of the juicing screen); or in a blender. The Champion juicer method is preferable. The blender method may require a small amount of liquid to get it started. Other frozen or fresh fruit may be combined with the bananas (peaches, cherries—not strawberries).
Shelled vs. Unshelled
Ideally, nuts should be served in the shell, with nutcrackers, picks and bowls for debris. Some people prefer the convenience of shelled nuts, and, if they are purchased fresh, in season, and properly stored, I must admit to their many advantages—especially in the case of the hard-shelled varieties.
Pecans, almonds, walnuts and Filberts are easy to shell, but the quality of the shelled varieties is more uniform. Shelled nuts, of course, take up less space, and are, therefore, easier to store. Shelled nuts are easier to serve, easier to eat, and there is no debris to clear from the table (and usually the floor, as well).
Pistachios in the shell (whenever available unsalted, which is not often) should be shelled as you eat them. They are so easy to shell that there is no excuse for buying them shelled, unless you just can’t find any unsalted, in the shell. Interesting note: Dr. Shelton says that, unlike most other protein foods, pistachios are non acid-forming (alkaline-forming when digested).
Indian (monkey) nuts are tedious to shell. Pignolias (without shells) have a taste similar to that of Indian nuts. Sunflower seeds are available in or out of the shell. They are tedious to shell, usually done with the teeth.
Special nut crackers are available which simplify the opening of hard-shelled nuts like Brazils, hickories and macadamias. Black walnuts are a special problem and usually must be opened with a heavy hammer on a large stone. I have heard it suggested that black walnuts be well wrapped and laid in the driveway, so that the car could be run over the package. A vise might be the best solution for cracking black walnuts.
Another suggestion for cracking hard-shelled nuts appeared in Organic Gardeningmagazine. The suggestion is to soak them for ten or fifteen minutes in a hot (or boiling) water bath prior to cracking. If they have been dried and stored for several weeks, sprinkle with water and place with a damp cloth in a tight container for twelve to twenty-four, hours before cracking. This will also soften the nutmeats for removal in larger pieces.
Most almonds should be blanched, as their brown skins contain a strong astringent (prussic acid). Almonds which do not have a bitter taste are relatively safe to consume in limited quantities, but it is still better to remove the skins.
To blanch, put almonds in a large strainer with a handle. Dip in boiling water for about one minute; then dip in cool water. If this does not loosen the skins sufficiently, repeat the process. Skins should slip off easily.
If the almonds are not bitter, and it is not convenient to blanch them at the particular time, the skins may be partially scraped off with a sharp knife. You might also like to scrape some of the brown skin off filberts or Brazils, which may improve the taste, though these skins are not toxic. Dr. Shelton recommends removing the skins of Brazil nuts.
Although most nuts are acid in metabolic reaction, Ford Heritage and other references list almonds as being alkaline in metabolic reaction. Dr. Shelton (The Hygienic System, Volume II, Orthotrophy, p. 147) disagrees, and says that almonds are definitely acid-forming, although not so much so as animal proteins. The comparative degrees of acidity of nuts with animal proteins are: walnuts (one of the most acid nuts) 8; chicken, 11.2; beef, 9.8; eggs, 12.
The only nuts Dr. Shelton calls alkaline-forming are the pistachios. Although the skin of the almond contains prussic acid, and should be removed, Dr. Shelton recommends it as one of the finest of nuts.
Ground Nuts and Nut Butters
Sometimes, dental, digestive or other problems may necessitate the preparation of ground nuts or nut butters—or these might be needed for young children. Children should learn to chew their nuts (thoroughly) at as early an age as possible.
Ground Nuts are quite dry. If they are to be used, it may help to use a half grapefruit along with a serving of ground nuts. Squeeze some of the juice over the ground nuts, and roll some of the grapefruit sections in the nuts. This results in quite a palatable meal. Another possible way to use ground nuts is to eat with whole strawberries, dipping each bite of strawberry into the ground nuts.
Nut Butters: To make nut butters, grind the nuts in nut mill or blender a little longer (beyond the ground nut stage). This produces an oilier mixture which can be patted into a butter with a spoon. The longer and finer you grind the nuts, the oilier they will be. If necessary, add a very small amount of oil after removing from the grinder. Sesame oil (buy cold-pressed) is a pleasant-tasting and more stable oil.
It would be better to make nut butters without the use of added oil. Try a tiny amount of distilled water instead, and see how you like it. Almond, pecan or sesame butter may require a little oil (or water). Cashew butter or peanut butter are oily enough without it. (Peanuts are not really nuts, but are starchy proteins, similar to legumes. Neither are cashews really nuts, being the pistils of cashew apples.)
Brazil nut butter is too oily by itself, but mixes well if ground with walnuts. The taste of each is improved by the combination.
Nuts ‘n’ Seeds Butter: Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds have an excellent taste when used whole, but, somehow, they are less tasty when ground into butter. They combine well in a nuts ‘n’ seeds butter. Use one cup of nuts (any kind except cashews or peanuts), one-half cup of sunflower seeds and one-half cup of sesame seeds. Grind together. A very small amount of oil (or water) may be necessary.
Nut and seed butters may be served on celery strips, lettuce leaves, sweet pepper slices, cucumber slices or other nonstarchy vegetables, or they may be eaten with a spoon.
(Sometimes used for infants or for special problems.)
2 cups water
1/2 cup nuts
Blend as thoroughly as possible. If this is to be used for an infant, it may be necessary to strain it through cheesecloth.
Coconuts (Classified as Starchy Protein)
To open a coconut, drive a clean large nail through two of the three “eyes” or soft spots, and drain off the liquid. The liquid may be filtered through filter paper (coffee filters are fine) to remove any bits of husk, and it may be drunk immediately or stored in the refrigerator a short time, not more than a day or two. The shell may be cracked with a hatchet or hammer, or in a vise. If the coconut is placed in the freezer for an hour or so before cracking (after removing the liquid), it will crack and come away from the shell more readily.
Break up the meat in small pieces and eat out of hand. The pieces may be stored a short time in the coconut liquid or in water (not more than a day or two).
Peel the pieces before eating if you have trouble with tough skins. Coconut maybe grated if used shortly after preparing. Grated coconut may be used in salads.
Coconut is sometimes used with sweet fruits. (See recipe for nondairy coconut carob ice cream.) While coconut with sweet fruit is not an ideal combination, it seems to work out fairly well, in most cases. Don’t use coconut with nuts or with acid or subacid fruits.
Unlike most nuts, coconuts are alkaline in metabolic reaction. Coconut oil, unlike other vegetable fats, is naturally highly saturated.
The only other saturated vegetable fat is palm oil, which you will find included in the labeling of many packaged products. The label usually says “one or more of the following oils has been used in the preparation of this product: corn oil, cottonseed oil, palm oil….” So it is impossible to tell which oil has actually been used. Palm oil, like coconut oil, is highly saturated.
The fact that coconuts contain saturated fat is not a contraindication for their use as food. This information, however, is of value in planning a diversified Hygienic diet. Saturated animal fats are not recommended. Fresh coconut is an excellent food.
Some people who find coconut meat difficult to chew may enjoy using this palatable coconut milk occasionally. Blend two cups warm distilled water with one-half cup fresh peeled coconut, and cool in refrigerator. Blend again and strain through cheesecloth or Nylon mesh. If stored in refrigerator, it will separate, but may be stirred with a spoon before drinking. Do not store more than a day or two.
Coconut Milk Shake
Blend one cup coconut milk with one small banana and/or one tablespoon carob powder and/or several dates and/or two ounces sweet cherry or sweet grape juice. The juice adds an extra “fillip.” The amounts and combinations of ingredients depend on how sweet you like it.
Chestnuts are starchy protein, and are alkaline in metabolic reaction. They are usually “roasted,” but may be eaten raw if they are a nonbitter variety. To remove the thick skins, blanch in boiling water and let stand about two minutes. Remove a few at a time from the water and cool slightly, then peel with a paring knife. Roasting will also loosen the skins. Recipe for roasting chestnuts will be included in the lesson on cooked food recipes.
Most vegetables may be served raw and as nearly whole as possible with no dressing as part of a “finger salad.” They should be washed immediately before serving.
These vegetables include, but are not limited to, all varieties of lettuce; celery; all varieties of cabbage; celery cabbage; cucumbers; carrots; sweet peppers and pimentos; tomatoes; Jerusalem artichokes; English peas; edible podded peas; young, tender green beans; broccoli florets and leaves; cauliflower; young turnips; young, tender beets; young, tender kale, collard or turnip greens; yellow crookneck squash; zucchini squash; sweet potatoes or yams; asparagus; young, tender sweet corn. A few vegetables are not particularly tasty when used uncooked, such as Brussels sprouts, eggplant, okra, globe artichokes and white potatoes, although some people do use these raw. White potatoes should not be eaten raw, but should be steamed or baked to dextrinize the starch.
Combine three to five vegetables as a salad for one meal.
Salad Dressings, Dips and Spreads
(Vegetables Combined with Nuts, Avocados, etc.)
If you must have salad dressing (get out of the habit as soon as possible), the following are better than bottled salad dressings or the use of vinegar.
- Blended tomatoes with avocado
- Blended tomatoes with cashew nuts (or other nuts or seeds)
- Avocado with diced cucumbers (Optional: add lemon juice or Vegebase)
- Yogurt or sour cream, Vegebase, diced cucumbers
- Yogurt or sour cream, avocado! Vegebase
- Avocado “butter”—(mashed avocado with optional lemon or lime juice)
- Equal parts of Vegebase and Oil
- Lemon and oil
Some of these dressings may also be used as dips or spreads (or guacamole—avocado dip).
Additional Recipes for Vegetables Combined with Nuts, Avocados, etc.
For this, use one or two large leaves of romaine lettuce, and choose from a variety of fillings:
Choose one of these:
Nuts (Ground or whole)
Seeds (Ground or whole)
Cheese (if you use it)
Combined with one or more of these:
Sweet Pepper Strips
Roll up the filling inside the lettuce leaves, wrapping it up. This may be eaten like a sandwich.
Individual Meal-in-One Salad Bowls
Medium-sized pieces of lettuce (two or three varieties)
Cut-up red cabbage
Sliced sweet red pepper or pimento
Choice of sliced young tender zucchini or other summer squash or a few broccoli florets
Choice of a few edible podded peas or young tender green peas or a few olives
Garnish with pignolia nuts and sunflower seeds and alfalfa sprouts or raw milk cheese slices and avocado slices and alfalfa sprouts.
Serve with Vegebase and oil dressing or cucumber sour cream dressing, if desired.
Combine optional amounts of:
(if desired, a few raisins may be added)
Moisten with coconut liquid or coconut milk (or yogurt, if you use it). This may be served with a large green salad and globe artichokes for a satisfying company meal.
Other Entertaining Salads
For entertaining, you might serve trays of finger salad with salad dressings on the side. Or serve large bowls of salad cut up as little as possible, with salad dressings on the side. Or serve celery sticks with dips.
Preparation of Salad Vegetables
Leaves of lettuce or other greens may be separated under running water, rinsing away as much of the sand and dirt as possible, assisted by your fingers. A quick dip in a sinkful of cold water and another quick rinse should clean up the sandiest leaves.
The more delicate buttercrunch lettuce varieties (Bibb, Boston) should be handled carefully and washed even more quickly to avoid losing crispness and nutrients.
Lettuce should never be soaked in plain or acidulated water. This will only extract the vitamins and make it limp and unappetizing.
Separate celery strips from the stalk, rinse under running water, dip in cold water, using brush at the same time to dislodge the dirt from the crevices. Another rinse should finish the job. Discard pithy or damaged portions.
Remove the tough outer leaves from cabbage and you will usually find a clean head underneath. Rinse the head if you like, and cut wedges for serving.
Remove celery cabbage strips as needed. A quick rinse and brushing will clean them up quickly. Scrub cucumbers with a vegetable brush. Remove peeling, if waxed. I don’t use waxed cucumbers. Some supermarkets carry packages of “pickling cucumbers” all through the year—small, unwaxed cucumbers with small seeds. If they are fresh (and they often are), they taste like fresh-picked garden cucumbers, and the peel is tender and edible.
Scrub carrots with a brush—don’t peel. Small, young ones are best for salad. If you can find them with the tops still on, those are freshest. If you must shred your carrots, do it at the last possible minute.
Tomatoes—ah, tomatoes! When they are good, they are very, very good, and when they are bad they are horrid. Hydroponic tomatoes? Thumbs down! Hothouse tomatoes? Not much better—sometimes barely acceptable. Deep red, vine-ripened tomatoes? Oh, yes! Wash them under running water, serve whole and enjoy!
If you must slice or quarter tomatoes, do so at the table, or at the last possible minute before serving.
Red or green sweet peppers (preferably ripe and red, which are the sweetest) and pimentos: wash under running water and cut in half to inspect condition. This is necessary, because deterioration may exist without outward signs. If deterioration has occurred, cut away ruthlessly, and use only firm, hard flesh.
Scrub Jerusalem artichokes or sweet potatoes (or yams) vigorously. Serve in small amounts in the salad. The artichokes are crisp and easy to eat. If you must shred the sweet potatoes, do it as close to eating time as possible.
Edible podded peas need only a quick washing. English peas: serve fresh young garden peas in the shell. If they are larger and from the supermarket, you may prefer to hull and cull them.
Broccoli and cauliflower florets need only a quick rinsing or dip in water and perhaps a little cleaning up with a sharp paring knife. The smaller broccoli leaves are also a bonus salad vegetable of high quality. The larger, tougher leaves require some steaming.
Small young turnips may be scrubbed and served whole—also, small young beets. Small young green beans should be washed quickly and culled. Asparagus should be rinsed, dipped and rinsed again to remove the sand. Scrub yellow crookneck and zucchini squash lightly to avoid damage. Strip husks and silk from young, tender sweet corn—you might use a tooth brush lightly. Rinse, and enjoy.
Raw mushrooms may be used in salads, but are not recommended because they pass through the digestive system unchanged. If used, wash by holding briefly under running water. If necessary, finish cleaning up with a sharp paring knife. Do not soak or peel.
The Sprouting Garden
A sprout is a germinating seed. It is the tiny shoot that emerges from the seed, the first visible evidence of the materials stored within the seed, programmed to create life.
I don’t agree with people who believe sprouts to be the most perfect food—I am inclined rather to go along with Dr. Shelton’s belief that sprouts should be regarded as an excellent bonus food, but not to be relied upon as a replacement for foods grown to a more mature state, with benefit of earth and sunlight.
Cathryn Elwood’s chapter on “Vitamin-Rich Sprouts” in Feel Like A Million gives excellent information on the progressive and accelerating nutritional value as the sprouts progress.
Advantages of Sprouting
Sprouting is fun! It is exciting to watch the growth (in a jar or other type of sprouter on your kitchen counter) into vitamin-, mineral- and protein-rich green vegetables, loaded with enzymes and chlorophyll. As the tiny seeds multiply in volume (one to two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds fill a quart jar with sprouts), a wonderful salad ingredient, with an abundance of Vitamins A, B and C, is being grown. Alfalfa sprouts are also a splendid source of Vitamins D, E, G, K and U. Vitamin C is especially high in lentil and mung bean sprouts after three days. However, lentil sprouts should be harvested when the sprout is no longer than the seed, while mung bean sprouts should be allowed to grow long enough to produce green leaves.
The sprouted seed contains far more vitamins than the dry seed, multiplying dramatically through the sprouting period. Research at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania revealed phenomenal increases of Vitamin C as sprouting progressed, and an increase in Vitamin C even during storage in the refrigerator. Riboflavin, niacin and other B vitamins were also increased during sprouting.
Dr. Paul Burkholder of Yale University found that the total Vitamin B content is increased 100% during the sprouting process. Vitamin-conscious people, please take note; Hygienists need not be concerned, leaving that to nature and the Hygienic diet.
Sprouts are also noted for their high-enzyme activity. During germination, proteins are broken down into amino acids and some new protein is synthesized. During sprouting, much of the starch is converted to natural sugars. In many seeds, fats disappear and are replaced by carbohydrates, improving tremendously the digestibility of sprouts over seeds.
Phytic acid in whole grains is antagonistic to the absorption by the body of calcium, iron and other minerals. Soaking and sprouting neutralizes the phytic acid, so sprouted grains not only provide increased nutrients, but elimination of the threat of phytic acid also.
Viktoras Kulvinskas says that iron may become unavailable to the organism due to the resultant insoluble compound formed when the iron unites with phytic acid. “The acid combines well with calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals, which reduce significantly their absorption into the, bloodstream. Similarly, oxalic acid of spinach can reduce significantly the availability of calcium. Phytin is very frequently present in many seeds and may constitute up to 80% of the phosphorus content of the seed.
The absolute amount of phytin varies in species and families. Hence, eating a diet rich in seed, besides the high protein complications, can result in a tremendous loss of important minerals, in spite of the fact that seeds are rich sources of such minerals. However, the mineral losses because of the high phytin concentration become insignificant if one sprouts the seeds.”
Professors A.M. Mayer and A. Poljakoff-Mayber of the Botany Department, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, found that most of the phytin disappeared in the sprouted seeds studied and that there was an increase in desirable forms of phosphorus compounds, especially in lecithin.
The dry seed is characterized by a remarkably low metabolic rate, but even the moistening of the seed triggers tremendous changes. Drs. Mayer and Poljakoff-Mayber describe the process which results in such important changes: “As soon as the seed is hydrated, very marked changes in composition in its various parts occur. These changes occur even when the seed is placed in water without any nutrients, and in complete absence of assimilation. The chemical changes which occur are complex in nature.
They consist of three main types: the breakdown of certain materials in the seed, the transport of materials from one part of the seed to another, especially from the endosperm to the embryo or from the cotyledons (the first pairs of leaves) to the growing part, and lastly the synthesis of new materials from the breakdown products formed. The only substances normally taken up by the seeds during germination are water and oxygen.”
Cathryn Elwood says, “One of the chief advantages lies in the fact that sprouting can give us a new crop of delicious food every two to four days—a crop that needs no thought to soil conditions, composting techniques, blight, bugs, weeds, storms, sprays; one that can be grown any season and in any climate and is simple to harvest and store for future use.” She says they have valuable protein, compare favorably with fresh fruits in antiscorbutic (Vitamin C) properties, have no waste, are excellent raw (and could be lightly cooked, if desired, in about three minutes). One pound of seed increases to six or eight pounds of food, and so the price drops way down.
All sprouted seeds, legumes and grains can be eaten without cooking. Some people find sprouted soybeans unpalatable, in which case they may elect to steam them briefly to slightly alter the taste.
“Sprouties,” as Cathryn Elwood calls them, are not only convenient, economical, easily grown—any time, anywhere—they are also an easily available source of organically-grown food. If you do not use organically-grown seeds, be sure they are, at least, untreated.
Miscellaneous Sprouting Information
I have found alfalfa seeds, sunflower seeds, mung beans, azuki beans and lentils easiest to sprout; we like alfalfa sprouts best and use them freely, mostly with salad vegetables. Many people with impaired digestions, who have trouble with other nuts and seeds, find that sprouted sunflower seeds are well tolerated.
Garden peas, soy beans, garbanzo beans and wheat and rye berries may also be sprouted, with just a little experimentation and practice. Most whole nuts, seeds, beans and grains may be sprouted, although shelled nuts are difficult, sometimes impossible, to sprout. As previously indicated, all may be eaten raw after sprouting, and may be stored in the refrigerator for about five days. Sprouted beans, raw or cooked, are less gassy than unsprouted beans, which, of course, must be cooked.
Eat sprouts from rye, wheat or other grain berries (seeds) in 24 hours or so, when but a short sprout is showing. (Grains sour readily.) Harvest sunflower seeds when sprouts are no longer than seeds, preferably even shorter. Eat lentils in two or three days, sprouts no more than one inch, preferably less.
Garbanzo and soy bean sprouts are especially high in protein but are not easy to work with; sprouts should be short—they also may sour. Rinse frequently to preclude souring, say, four times daily, even more if weather is hot.
Lentil sprouts are also high in protein, and they are easier to handle.
Mung beans are easy to sprout and will be ready in about four days, with sprouts about two inches long and showing green leaves (see sprouting instructions). Alfalfa sprouts will also be ready in about four days, with sprouts of about two to three inches and green leaves.
Seeds and legumes for sprouting are available in health food stores, also in some supermarkets. Don’t sprout mixed varieties, because different seeds, legumes and grains require different treatment.
This is the simplest and easiest sprouting method: Wash seeds thoroughly. Put one to two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds (or three to six tablespoons of beans, or one-half cup of wheat, rye or other grain) in a quart jar with the purest possible water (preferably distilled) about three times the volume of the seeds. Soak overnight, or six to ten hour (alfalfa, lentils and wheat or other grains about six hours; mung, garbanzo or soy beans ten hours or longer). Soak longer in cool weather, less in warm weather. The soak water should not be cold. One source advises changing the water should not be cold. One source advises changing the water halfway through the soak period.
Cover the jar with a stainless steel mesh and jar ring, or cheesecloth or nylon mesh held on with rubber bands or a jar ring. (The jar ring has a tendency to rust before long, so the rubber band is somewhat better in that respect).
Next morning (or at the end of the soaking period) drain and rinse the sprouts (without removing the mesh covering). Set at an angle to drain (prop up bottom end of the jar about an inch). Then rinse two to four times daily through the mesh; fill the jar with water from the tap, empty and shake very gently to disperse the seeds around the jar. I will repeat: sprouts require more frequent rinsing in warm weather, less frequent in cooler weather. Cover the jar with a small towel so that the seeds will have air and warmth, but not light, as they put out their first roots.
AIfalfa Sprouts and Mung Bean Sprouts
After three days (or when leaf appears), remove towel so light (not direct sunlight) will green up the leaves (chlorophyll). This may take eight to twelve hours or more, after which they may be eaten or stored in the refrigerator to eat at a later time. Actually, they may be eaten at any stage in the sprouting process, but they are at their best when the twin leaves are dark green. Only alfalfa and mung bean sprouts are sprouted to the green leaf stage. Other sprouts are used sooner, without green leaves, per previous instructions.
When sprouts are ready for harvesting, hulls may be floated off, if desired. In any event, the sprouts should be given a final rinse, and then allowed to drain on a paper towel before storing. They will keep longer if stored only slightly moist, not wet.
Use of Soak Water
You will note that I have recommended using the soak water for your plants. Although the soak water has been found to be rich in minerals, vitamins, enzymes and amino acids, it is foul-tasting. Some people advocate drinking this soak water, or using it by combining with other foods.
Dr. Alec Burton (Australian Hygienic Professional) believes that this soak water should be regarded as a waste product and discarded, but there is certainly no reason not to make use of its nutrient content for your garden, which will then return the nutrients to you when you harvest your vegetables.
Although the nutrients in the soak water have been leached from the seeds, the tremendous multiplication of nutrients occurring in the seeds as they are sprouted more than compensates for this loss.
Another option is to avoid the loss of nutrients by osmosis into the soak water by utilizing only enough water in presoaking the seeds so that all the water is absorbed into the seeds.
However, we do use the soak water when dried beans are soaked prior to cooking, which may seem inconsistent. Some authorities do advocate discarding this water also. But the soak water from the beans, if used, would be used in the preparation of the cooked beans.
There may be some validity to the suggestions to use the soak water by-product of the sprouting operation by mixing with other foods, especially if you are using cooked foods, such as soups or casseroles.
However, it seems to me that there is a basic difference in these two situations. If the bean soak water is discarded, there go a plethora of vitamins and minerals which have leached into the water! But, in the case of the soak water from the sprouts, the loss is adequately replaced and multiplied during the sprouting process.
As previously indicated, there is some disagreement as to whether or not to discard the water in which beans are soaked (usually overnight). Advocates of discarding the bean soak water say that although you will be discarding some nutrients, you will also be discarding many of the oligosaccharides that cause flatulence.
Those who advocate cooking the beans in the soak water believe that the marked and complex chemical changes in composition which occur in the beans as a result of hydration and soaking (the process described by Drs. Mayer and Poljakoff-Mayber—referred to previously) are also accompanied by alteration of the nature of the breakdown products, from which new materials are synthesized.
I have experimented with using and discarding the soak water, and have noticed no problem with flatulence when the soak water is used in cooking the beans; in fact, there doesn’t seem to be any difference at all.
I am a good subject for this experiment, because for many years I was unable to tolerate legumes, either cooked or sprouted, because all legumes, even lentils, caused me distress. I eliminated legumes from my diet completely for about six months, and then restored them slowly and carefully. Now I use legumes (cooked or sprouted) occasionally, in moderate amounts, with no problem of flatulence.
You may decide to experiment with both methods—that is, using or discarding the soak water. I don’t believe either method will affect your health and well-being. In fact, I doubt that you will notice any difference. I will welcome comments and reports as to the results of your experiments.
Avoiding Sprouting Problems
- Start with the easiest to sprout: alfalfa, sunflower seeds, mung beans, azuki beans and lentils.
- I have found it best to use sunflower seeds as soon as possible after a very short sprout appears; they tend to deteriorate rapidly.
- Soybean sprouts are highest in food value, so try to eventually progress to sprouting them. Some people enjoy raw sprouted soy beans; others reject their taste in the raw state, buy enjoy them cooked. Soy beans require far less cooking after they are sprouted. It is difficult to successfully sprout soy beans or grains in a jar; more sophisticated equipment is advisable, such as described later in this lesson.
- Be sure to use new seeds with high germination values; old seeds or beans will become moldy or even rot during the sprouting.
- Use distilled water for soaking. Usually, tap water may be used for rinsing, but if your tap water is high in chemicals, it may cause problems with sprouting, in which case, use distilled water for rinsing.
- Spoilage may be caused by soaking too long. Usually six hours is long enough for seeds. If you are having problems, try sprouting seeds (such as alfalfa and sunflower) without the pre-soaking, or a very short (two or three hours) pre-soaking period. Dried beans (soy, mung, azuki) usually require pre-soaking, as much as eight to ten hours.
- If you are having problems, try more frequent rinsing—in cool weather, two or three times daily should be enough, but four times daily may be required in warm weather Be sure the drainage is good. If sprouting in a jar, be sure to maintain in a slanting position.
There are many other types of sprouters—some, makeshift but efficient (a bowl with a plate to cover and drain—instructions later) and some more sophisticated. I have an excellent sprouter which was made out of a clear plastic shoe box with an opaque cover. For draining, six 3/16″ holes were drilled along one bottom end, a screen was cemented over them (inside the box); and ten larger holes (1/4″ diameter) were drilled in the lid, along the sides. A small piece of wood is used in propping up the end without the holes and screen, when draining. The alfalfa and mung bean sprouts grow straight up and beautiful, instead of tangling inside a jar.
Health food stores have two quart sprouting jars available with stainless steel mesh screens in plastic screw tops which, of course, do not rust.
I also have a decorative, sprouting sphere called “Little Green Acre,” which the folder says “provides light, humidity and air circulation in balanced harmony for trouble-free sprouting, and is specifically designed to utilize those light rays in the spectrum which enhance sprout growth.” I do find it superior in many respects to other sprouting methods, but it is expensive, and you can do quite well sprouting alfalfa, sunflower seeds, azuki beans, mung beans and lentils in a jar.
You may find your sprouts do better in the two quart wide-mouthed jar with plastic screw top and stainless steel screen, rather than the one quart Mason jar. The sphere does prevent souring of the more difficult to sprout soy beans and grains, and does not require as much attention—rinsing and changing the water in the base just once a day.
Regarding the garish color, mine is half ruby red (top half) and half purple. When I bought mine (introductory price at a Vegetarian Society Convention), it was also available in ruby red and green.
This sprouter produces a generous harvest of beautiful, straight-up green-leaved alfalfa sprouts, which can be harvested gradually, if desired. It is excellent for all varieties of sprouts.
Another excellent sprouter is the “Kitchen Garden Sprouter.” It is ten inches in diameter and two and one-half inches deep. Water flows through the bottom as the sprouts are rinsed. It has a removable divided tray to make four different compartments for sprouting different seeds
simultaneously without mixing.
Instructions for Sprouting in a Bowl
After soaking and draining the seeds, put them in a, bowl, fill the bowl with water from the tap, cover with a plate and invert and drain. Allow the bowl to stand with the dish on top to keep the seeds at high humidity, but the plate should not fit so tightly that there is no air circulation.
Fill the bowl with water and drain two to four times daily. For better bottom drainage, try inserting a strainer or colander in the bowl.
Another bowl method is the use of a clay bowl in a pan of water. The clay bowl (or flower pot) absorbs enough water to keep the sprouts moist but not wet. Some people use these bowl methods very successfully, others prefer more sophisticated sprouters.
Sprouting in Sand or Soil
Sprouts can also be grown in sand or soil. Sunflower seeds and buckwheat are especially recommended for this use. Plant in boxes or in the garden, allow to grow to about two to three inches tall, and snip off the green leaves for the salad. Soy beans, being subject to spoilage when sprouted the usual way, will obviously do better when sprouted in sand or soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have heard that blended salads have the advantage of enabling the consumption of greater amounts of green vegetables than would be possible if eaten whole. If one eats a regular raw salad, and an additional amount of blended salad, would you still object to the use of the blended salad?
If there is no dental problem (or other problem involving the use of whole raw foods), there is no reason why all the salad desirable or necessary cannot be eaten as intended by Nature. When one has a feeling of surfeit (or, preferably, before such a feeling) after eating salad or any food, he should stop eating, not force more food into his body by "drinking" it. The use of blended salads often results in bombarding the digestive system with more bulk than can be comfortably or efficiently handled. Blending foods does not result in making them easier to digest. It does bypass the necessity for chewing, but the food arrives in the stomach without sufficient insalivation and without any signals for the secretion of the necessary gastric enzymes and digestive juices.
Even though I personally experienced serious digestion problems, relived by a 29-day fast in 1967, today I eat mountains of raw salad and experience no problems as a result. When my body signals I have had enough, I stop eating. I have experimented with the use of additional blended salads, with negative results—cramps and discomfort. Even if overt symptoms do not occur as a result of "stuffing" with blended salads, future problems may be incubating. Enjoy your salads in their most appetizing and healthful form—whole, succulent and delicious.
Why do you object to the use of hydroponic vegetables, and yet you approve the use of sprouts, which are also usually grown without soil or sunshine?
It is true that sprouts are also grown without soil or sunshine, but they are harvested before there is a necessity for the nutrients provided by the soil or sunshine.
If seeds are grown beyond the sprout stage (to maturity or near-maturity), it becomes necessary to provide such nutrients. Hydroponic vegetables are provided with these nutrients through the use of chemicals added to the water in which they are grown.
How much dried fruit should be used as part of the regular Hygienic diet?
Most dried fruit is very sweet. Such concentrated sweets should be used sparingly. Fresh whole fruit is better food, and much more acceptable to the organism, especially in warm weather. In seasons when fresh fruit is not plentiful, or in cold weather when one may feel the need for some more concentrated food, dried fruit may be used in slightly greater quantities. We never use dried fruit more than once in the same day, sometimes not at all. A reasonable amount (used with fresh fruit and lettuce and/or celery at a fruit meal) would be six to eight medium dates, three to five medium figs, four to six medium soaked apricots, two or three tablespoons of raisins, etc. If occasionally used with salad only and no fresh fruit, the quantities could be increased to about half again as much, if well tolerated. Overeating of dried fruit can bring on symptoms of a cold.
If one never gets beyond a "transitional" food program, can improved health be expected?
Usually a transitional food program (eating less and eliminating all or most animal products and all junk foods, and utilizing a large percentage of uncooked food) will result in some health improvement, but, after a certain plateau is reached, no further progress can be expected unless further improvements are initiated. If one expects significant health improvement, significant and continuing progress toward true Hygienic living is necessary. However, if a transitional food program is accompanied by a regular, vigorous exercise program, and attention to the other facets of Hygienic living (unpolluted air; pure water; adequate rest and sleep; sun baths and air baths; mental and emotional poise; pleasant and secure environment; creative, useful, rewarding activity; meaningful relationships with other people; personal control and self-mastery; recreational activity; comfortable temperature; natural light; moderation in all activities; and dealing with illness by rest and abstinence from food, rather than the use of drugs and treatments) much greater progress toward optimal health can be achieved.
If serious problems exist, it is highly inadvisable to indulge in any compromise to true Hygienic living. An impaired organism should be offered only those foods which will provide maximum nutritional value in return for the work that must be performed in processing these foods.
Can people with conditions such as arthritis or high blood pressure be "cured" by changing to a strict Hygienic food program, using mostly raw food?
Hygienists do not believe there are any "cures"—Hygienists merely assist the body to heal itself. Most people who are really in trouble must start out with a, therapeutic fast (usually fourteen to thirty days). Pathological conditions may sometimes respond to the change in diet, along with a regular, vigorous exercise program and other changes in lifestyle, provided drugs are not used. However, it may take a long time before any progress is observed. If the pathologies are serious and aggravated, the changes in diet and lifestyle will not accomplish the desired results within any reasonable length of time, if at all.
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