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Author: Peter Fenton
Title: Nutrition

Nutrition: the process of receiving nutrient 'substances' can be considered under 5 headings: (1) Fluid (2) Food (3) Breath (4) Light and (5) Impressions and relationships, the first two of which have been exhaustively covered in Kingston and other literature, the final 3 less so. Apparent anomalies and a changing environment provide much substance for atypical debate.

1. Beleaguered kidneys? Aged 15, impecunious and keen to reverse it, we engaged as labourers on a concrete gravity dam (9.00-5.00), 2/7d hour, 2 tons of sledge work (rock) by lunch, and 1d hour extra for the 'jumping jack'. Noon and conveniently placed was the 'New Inn', only 30 seconds from the wall with a rapidly enlarging clientele. A not uncommon lunch for co-workers 7-10 pints of beer, a pint every 3 minutes – we transfixed but no problem for a thirsty Irishman in phase 1. Phase 2 came 7 hours later in the nearby 'Blue Ball', adding a further (min.) 10 pints!

This anecdote has interesting and current implications. Itemised for brevity:

(1) The human kidney has enormous reserve capacitance; physiologists estimate at least 6x its 'survival' mode. Here some of the renal dead load is certainly relieved by perspiration, but 40 units of alcohol remain.

(2) The daily excretory requirement, even in conventional texts, is 4 pints. Naturopathy satisfies this with 2lb (2 pints) of plant food (fruit/vegetables/salads), (a mere) 3 cups of juice or hot drinks (1 pint) and 2/3 pint of 'endogenous' or internally generated fluid via carbohydrate metabolism, the shortfall being the moisture in solid food. Exceptional conditions clearly demand extra fluid e.g. high temperatures, breast feeding, blast furnace work etc also high intensity athletic events, and probably where the current imperative for raised fluid intake originated. But 10 'pumps' on a gymnasium pectoral deck or similar, 'requiring' 250cc water is ludicrous. Useful readings are the Kingston publications 'Weight and Water' and 'Dry Up not Drink Up'. An Israeli Professor of Medicine investigating soldiers route-marched for 24 hours in desert conditions (av. intake 20 pints) concluded that only thirst should inform drinking, and cautioned that high fluid intakes were both undesirable, and in excess, could lead to death through water poisoning.

(3) Abstemious health seekers/advisors, horror-struck at the above scenario might reflect that these young men were in fact measuring up well to 3 of 4 major pro-life factors (genetics, emotions, environment, (nutrition)) viz good stock and under 40, a 'cavalier' attitude to life and very hard physical work in clean air. The kidney incidentally (also brain and CNS) has 3x the oxygen requirement of other, more bovine, tissues – relevant here and also for health seekers, i.e., a 30-40 minute daily walk with deep breathing is standard NC advice. Further suggestions for prime kidney function would be avoidance of salt, cola, psychedelic drugs, excess protein (esp. animal), and for most citric juices.

(4) Civil engineers, preoccupied with preventing water finding its own level, and pointing to this huge concrete monolith indicated that it would 'bend' 2 ins. When filled, and variably at other levels, and must do so for its own structural integrity. Surely a parallel here re psychological rigidity? Estimates via inverse contouring indicated that during the 7-year period of construction of the dam beer consumption equalled 3% of its cubic capacity.

2. Food: naturopathy seeks to preserve the integrity and nutrient value of foods by encouraging organic sources, avoiding commercial manipulation (additives, canning, freezing, heat etc), and encouraging minimum heat treatment and fractioning by the consumer, also appropriate selection and combination. Maximum renal function and digestive efficiency are thus preserved.

Organic produce is widely available in supermarkets and some local farms; the latter if sited in an alluvial basin, with a dense humus mat and long history of non-chemicalised agriculture ensures optimum quality. Supermarket organics are probably chemical free, but their (soil) derivation is unknown. Commercial manipulation can be largely avoided by purchasing as at source, or through ethical manufacturers, e.g., 'Suma' – one of the most successful wholefood co-operatives in Britain. A high alkaline diet of 60% plant food is planned to maximise the alkaline reserve of the bloodstream, minimise blood viscosity, increase its oxygen carrying power and thus ensure optimum cellular nutrition and minimum cell debris. The basic dietary ratio of 60/20/20 (vegetables, protein, carbohydrate) incidentally reflects 150 years of clinical observation and advice.

Heat damage to vegetables is minimal in water cooking in stainless steel, until the water almost boils back, but the ultimate in pans was 'Heritage' ware – copper bottoms with tight fitting lids, and only a sprinkle of water required on the vegetables. Cost unfortunately denied their commercial success. Other food queries frequently encountered concern microwaving, circadian rhythms and food combining. Microwaving, implicit now in commercial catering, is a mode of heat preparation of food employing molecular agitation and friction to produce unspecified temperatures. Proponents emphasise the minimal cooking time and re vegetables zero leaching o mineral content. The damage here however is maximal, also because of possible m/w leakage from oven seals a potential hazard to the operator viz breast tumours and cataracts. A Swiss food scientist researching the effects of different foods and modes of preparation on test subjects (all following an exemplary diet/lifestyle) found the worst (pre-cancerous) blood profiles following ingestion of m/w meals. His research was blocked in Switzerland under threat of litigation, the EC Court awarded in his favour, but the legal imposition remains. The Soil Association is aware of the research findings.

Circadian rhythms (circa dies: around the day) indicate that three (8 hour) physiological rhythms occur each 24 hours. Observations on astronauts appear to confirm this. Elimination occurs from 4.00 am to noon, digestion from noon to 8.00pm and assimilation 8.00pm to 4.00 am. Thus a fruit breakfast complies with the eliminative rhythm, and a 6.00 pm evening meal allows sufficient digestion time before the 3rd rhythm engages. Maximal digestion of protein appears to be in the period noon to 1.00 pm. A small starter salad before a cooked evening meal also aids digestion and prevents the immune system going into mild 'red alert' (gastric leucocytosis).

Food combining, otherwise known as the 'Hay diet' (Although it s originator Dr Howard Hay plagiarised it from early Hygienist (US naturopathic) pioneers) is effectively food separation. True food combining is only found in Zoroastrian tests. It recognises that initial digestion of carbohydrate and protein occur at different sites, and asserts their separate digestion is, in combination, mutually exclusive: thus separation maximises digestion. It effectively eliminates evening savoury dishes.

Nature Cure movements: historical perspective and current implications.

Following early pioneering of NC in the north and south of Britain by James Thomson and Stanley Lief, post-war alterative health seekers had 3 clear choices, naturopathy herbalism/homeopathy, or osteopathy (biochemical or literal manipulation). Now the options are considerably enlarged in a plethora of alternatives, all of which have benefited substantially from lay disenchantment with orthodoxy. But there has been no corresponding overspill into NC, with the added problem that naturopathy in the public mind has been profitably redefined (debauched) as symbolism by 'health gurus'; Kingston NC thus becomes incomprehensible, unappealing or too ascetic. Generally commercialism and idealism are mutually exclusive, and Kingston naturopaths were never ‘salesmen’. In any case what were they 'selling' – self-discipline? Moreover in alternative therapy the lynch-pin of NC philosophy – self-healing/self-responsibility – is lost in a significant redirection of power to the therapist and modality, i.e., cure/power from outside. This has considerable implications, not least for NC, viz the aromatherapist adding 'bits' of NC is like the IOM 3-legged symbol: 'whichever way you throw me I stand!'. But alternative healing is now driven by market forces (observe 'nutritionalists' at work in any HF store), and there is no monopoly of truth.

Leslie Thomson, aware of developing trends, even in the '60's, indicated that the monographs were written for 3 relevant reasons (1) to make self-help information available should NC ever become extinct (2) to attempt reconciliation of vitalist ideas with conventional physiology (3) to make vitalist ideas available to a lay public. The monographs are unusual in style, heavily precised, unemotive – and intentionally so, but derived from 30 years clinical experience.

The modern equivalent of JCT's young enthusiasts do still exist but they mainly trained as osteopaths to avoid penniless idealism, however this involved a therapeutic dilemma viz 'fixing' v facilitation. Some of their older counterparts 80+ still survive, but heavily battle-scarred with a life-time of promoting idealism, and supporting human distress. Nature Cure is very demanding professionally at all levels physically, mentally, emotionally and many deserted due to isolation or financial insecurity. Thus education is only part of the problem of regeneration, and presents added problems: in PG courses – EC bureaucracy, clinical experience, contact time and reconciling teaching with practice life; in outreach activities the Society is below critical mass and lacks financial and media support. The File, public seminars, yearly essay prizes and lecture to alt. schools attempt to redress this. Kingston closed for many of the above, and other reasons, also an increasingly uneconomic building. Nature Cure is essentially a belief system, research is relevant only to its treatment modalities, which will undoubtedly prove what we now know to be clinically valid through observation, experience and intuition. Vested interests however will not embrace the results with unrestrained enthusiasm.

On a positive note David Donnison (File 3) points to the spread in society of ideas the movement has pioneered and promoted for almost a century, and now available to young people viz diet, exercise, lifestyle reform, natural birth, organic farming, organic food choices in supermarkets and healthy restaurant menus, all of which is very encouraging.