Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Revisiting Adelle Davis

I have owned the nutritional books* by Adelle Davis for maybe 50 years (and yes, they are dog-eared), and it is because of her that I first became interested in nutrition. At the time I began reading her work, I was employed in research and development at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Talks with my colleagues soon disclosed they were taught lots about how to treat diseases, very little about nutrition, and almost nothing about the link between disease and poor nutrition.

Today that's not the case in most medical schools, but the trend is still to treat the disease and not prevent the cause.

If you are not familiar with Adelle Davis, she was a nutritionist (Master's Degree from Purdue) who later took an advanced degree in Biochemistry after extensive post-graduate work at Columbia. Ms. Davis was an unrelenting critic of the food industry, and her views were largely unaccepted by the scientific community at the time. She, of course, has since been vindicated by the weight of medical evidence, and honored by many notables in her field.

Ms. Davis advocated whole, unprocessed foods, and criticized food additives. In the 1970's while addressing a convention of cancer victims and friends, she cited USDA statistics on millions of people in the US suffering from heart disease, cancers and other diseases, and then she said,
"This is what's happening to us in America, because there is a $125 billion food industry who cares nothing about health." *

Not much has changed in 40 years, except the numbers have increased.

(Not everything she advocated would be acceptable today, either. For example, she suggested eating liver at least once a week. I might do that occasionally IF I could get grass-fed beef liver, but the liver is a filter and there's no way I'd eat a filter from an animal in a feedlot.)

What brought Adelle Davis to mind this morning was a story she told about an infant. I don't remember the particulars, but when she gave a teaspoon of some oil (cold-pressed, I'm sure) to the child for whatever was causing his distress, his face lit up with joy.

Our bodies know what's good for us, if we would only learn to listen. Last evening I put 1 tablespoon of Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in 8 ounces of spring water to drink, as part of inching my body's pH back to being more alkaline.

My body really liked it, and I could have consumed 3 glasses! I put a half-teaspoon of local honey in the first glass (2 hours after supper) but left it out in the bedtime glass. Frankly, it was just as good without the honey... and not calorie-laden.

It's also time for me to re-read Adelle Davis...

* Adelle Davis' books on nutrition include Let's Cook it Right, Let's Have Healthy Children, Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit, and Let's Get Well. They are out of print, and a paperback copy can sell from $5 to almost $200. I read that The Adelle Davis Foundation was going to consider republishing them in 2006 but I guess that hasn't happened yet.

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