by: Dr. J. H. Kellogg

Milk as Food - Three Kinds of Cooking - Experiments Showing Starch Digestion - Peanut Butter - International Health Association.

I have been asked several questions, and I will try to answer some of them.  The other day a good brother asked me if I could recommend the use of milk; and I remarked that milk is good for calves.  The fact is, so far as my observation is concerned, that milk is not good for any class of beings but calves, - that babies or adults who are compelled to live on milk will suffer in consequence. The large share of stomach troubles and bowel difficulties of many babes is due to cow's milk.  Sometimes this food is the best the child can get; and of course if that is so, the little one has to make the best of it.  But it is an unfortunate thing for any person to be obliged to live on cow's milk.  The reason for this is that mother's milk, the natural food of the child, forms in the stomach of the child small, soft, flaky curds, which are quickly digested. Cow's milk, on the contrary, forms large, tough curds.  I once saw a man who nearly lost his life from taking milk. He came home one evening, tired, hungry, and thirsty; and being in a hurry to go to bed, he swallowed three pints of milk. He went to sleep feeling quite comfortable; but about two o'clock he awoke with a strangling sensation. He felt something in his throat, and placing his finger in his throat, he pulled out three yards of milk, - a rope of milk three yards long. It was fortunate that he was strong enough to expel the mass, else it would have remained in his stomach and rotted, inflammation would have set in, and he would have had gastric catarrh, and probably would have died.

Cow's milk is the filthiest thing that comes to our tables.  Suppose water had so much filth in it, so much barnyard manure, that you had to strain it through a cloth before you would dare drink it.  You would have the water condemned.  No one would drink it.  But you know what is in the bottom of the milk-pail is simply barnyard filth, a mass of germs. Yet people will strain out a large quantity of manure out of their pail, and then drink the extract from it.  We have no use for milk at our house. Our babies do not want it, and we have not used it for a year or two.

When I was down to Staten Island last summer, I met a gentleman who was in terrible bondage. He said: "Doctor, I came to see you about a very peculiar thing. My stomach is out of order, and I can not take anything but milk, and I have to have the milk from a single cow, and I have to give that cow distilled water; and if the cow has anything but distilled water, I can not use her milk; and if I use the milk of any other cow, I have a fearful time; and as I can not carry that cow around with me everywhere I go, I am in bondage. I am simply tied up to that cow, and I want to be delivered from her."

There is nothing that goes on our tables which is more filthy than cows' milk and its products; and the sooner we are delivered from this bondage, the better.

The great difficulty with the vegetarian diet is that, in the first place, people felt the need of something else; and some have endeavored to make up for the quality with quantity, and have partaken of many kinds of mushes, and sugar, and syrups, and various sweets, thereby imagining that they were making an improvement, whereas they were practicing the worst kind of health reform.  In fact, it was not health reform at all; but, as Sister White has said, health deform. A man who does that way has not made a reform at all, but has been deforming himself.

Another reason why there was trouble was because of lack of fat in the food; and it was this lack of fat, I think, that gave rise to a great deal of inconvenience and suffering.  Persons have become thin, emaciated, and sick, and have died of consumption, just because they did not eat enough fat. It is not necessary for us to eat pork, or cottonseed oil, or rancid olive oil, or oleomargarine, or anything of that sort to get fat.  We have the nuts, which may be taken either in their natural or some prepared state. The addition of nuts to the regular dietary of fruits and grains, taken in the proper way, satisfies all the requirements of nature.

I want to dwell especially to-day on two things, - cereal foods and nut foods. I will begin with cereal foods.  I have here on this tray [presenting tray] bread and butter, zwieback, granose, potatoes, an orange, etc.  I want to make some experiments that will not occupy much time.

I will say a little more about mushes. The use of large quantities of mushes is responsible for a large amount of indigestion, especially the indigestion of starch, and this indigestion brings about a great many other maladies. What is the difficulty?  Why not take cereal foods in the form of mushes? - Simply because when we take food which is so soft, it is not chewed thoroughly, and the salivary glands are not stimulated to activity.  It is only when we eat dry foods that the saliva acts in the proper way, partially digesting the food.

I will now make some experiments.  Perhaps you will remember some of these principles as we go along. The process of cooking aids with digestion.  First, it converts the starch into dextrin. In the process of converting starch to sugar, there are three steps; first, it is converted into amylodextrin, and then into erythrodextrin, and then into achroodextrin. Then comes maltose, and lastly comes levulose, or the sweetest of all the sugars. Bread is converted, through successive stages, into maltose, or malt sugar, and then levulose. It is really honey in this state.  Remember that there are three dextrins, - the first dextrin, the second dextrin, and the third dextrin, - and two sugars.

In the green apple starch is present; but in the process of ripening, it is converted into the first, second and third dextrins, so that in the apple we have completely digested starch, or sugar.  This is what causes the sweetness of the fruit. In the process of digestion the saliva converts the starch into first, second and third dextrin, lastly into maltose, when it becomes soluble, and passes into the intestines to become converted into levulose.  Cooking can carry the starch through the first three stages; but it can not convert it into sugar or maltose, the presence of saliva being necessary for this change to take place.

How many kinds of cooking have we? - Three.  [A voice: Two - good cooking and bad cooking.]  And I suppose "fair to middling"; but we have another classification, - cooking in a kettle, or boiling; cooking in an oven, or baking; and cooking before a fire, or toasting.  Then the three kinds of cooking are boiling, baking, and toasting.

Now let us see what happens: There are five different stages in the digestion of starch. The first stage, or conversion into dextrin-1, is produced by kettle-cooking.  Baking will produce dextrin-2; while toasting will produce the third variety. This, then (toasting), is the point of thorough cooking. A thing which is boiled is only one third cooked; when baked it is two thirds cooked; and only when toasted can cereal foods be regarded as thoroughly cooked.

This may be illustrated by a few experiments.  First, we take a little mush in a glass [performing the experiments], adding to it a few drops of solution of iodine, which changes to a blue color on coming in contact with starch. In another glass we will put some potato, and upon the addition of some of this same iodine solution, we find that both these solutions have taken this blue color. In another glass we place some zwieback, and in another some granose; and while we are waiting, we will note the length of time it takes this granose to swell and fill the entire glass.  Now upon the addition of this iodine (Lugol) solution, we find that it does not take the blue color that the others have, thus showing that the starch has been converted to dextrin, indicating that it is the last state to which it can be brought by cooking.  You see that one is purple, and the other blue. In this granose you will notice that the blue color quickly disappears and it takes a beautiful purple color, quite distinct from this deep-blue, but presently this will disappear.

This shows that the starch has been changed by cooking.  This is the principle upon which all our cereal foods - zwieback, granose, crystal wheat, etc. - are made, being carried to the third stage of digestion. I discovered this twenty-five or thirty years ago, and used it as a basis for the manufacture of granola; and the reason we make that is because we want the starch carried to that stage. You may toast bread, and by grinding it in a coffee-mill, produce a granola which is just as good as any, except that you may not relish the flavor quite so well, the fermentation having changed it.  If we had time, we would continue the experiments; but we will notice that the orange does not take the blue color upon the addition of the solution, nor does the apple, showing the absence of starch. Bread instantly takes a deep-blue color, as does mush, showing that starch is very abundant. There is no starch in fruits and nuts; consequently those who can not digest starch may get rid of this difficulty by adopting a diet of fruits and grains.

Fruits contain sugars and acids, nuts contain fats and albumins. Therefore we have, in fruits and nuts, all the essential elements of nutrition. Nuts are a perfect substitute for eggs, meat, or any nitrogenous element. The same is true of beans, except that they contain starch, and therefore can not be eaten by those who can not eat starch, as they cause bloating and gas on the stomach. By removing the skins, however, this difficulty may be avoided. There are no food elements in meats that we do not find in nuts, but there are some things we do not find there; for in the meat there is dead matter, and in the nut there is nothing but life.

There is no starch in peanuts. Peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes, and belong to the same class as peas and beans.

Now I want to tell you how to make nut butter. Shell the nuts; take off the skins by putting them in the oven and heating sufficiently to shrink the nuts, when the skin can be rubbed off; then crush them.  Nuts do not have to be roasted in order to remove the skins.  It is only necessary to dry them.  The mistake that is made in making nut butter is in roasting the nuts.  They should not be roasted; for roasted nuts, like fried doughnuts, are indigestible. Now the question is, How are you going to make butter out of peanuts without this roasting process? I want to say that other kinds of nuts besides peanuts do not require any roasting.  You can make butter out of almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and other kinds of nuts, without roasting; but the peanut must be cooked, for it is raw.  There is a process by which it can be done without roasting the nuts.

At the sanitarium we do not use peanut butter made from roasted nuts; we do not consider it wholesome. A great many people know from experience that roasted peanut butter is not wholesome. I will tell you how you can make nut butter without roasting the nuts. It is a very simple way, and you will not need any machinery at all.  Remove the skins, as I have explained; then take the nuts, with an equal quantity of water, and put in a covered dish; set it in the oven, and let them bake for several hours. If the nuts get too dry, add a little water, and cook until the water is evaporated. Rub the cooked nuts through a colander, add a little salt if you like, and you have the most delicious nut butter you ever tasted in your life.  It is perfectly digestible, too.

At Battle Creek we are manufacturing a blancher, which we shall be able to furnish in a short time, that anybody can use in removing the skins from peanuts. After cooking them until the kernel will shrink, they can be put in a bag, and rubbed until the skin is removed.  I hope that our friends in the South will take up this peanut industry, and raise peanuts, and manufacture products that they can sell to their neighbors. Other people are recognizing that it is a good thing, and people of other countries are taking it up.  The manufacture of nut butter is not controlled by any sort of patent.  Some years ago I saw that such a thing might be done; but I did not think it was a good thing to do.  I thought that it was a thing that the world ought to have; let everybody that wants it have it, and make the best use of it. With nut butter you can get everything you really need.  You do not need to buy other nut products unless you want to.

[Voice: Do you consider it unwholesome to eat nuts without blanching?]

No, because the nut was made to be eaten raw.  The grains were made to be eaten raw, too.  You may be surprised at that.  It is only that half-cooked starch that makes trouble.  Raw cabbage can be eaten by some when cooked cabbage can not be eaten. So long as the thing has life in it, it will not decay; but when you cook it and kill it, it begins to decay.

By only half cooking the grains, they will ferment in the stomach. They are dead, so they will ferment. But if we take our grains in the form of toasted bread, the starch is in the form to be thoroughly digested, and ready for the immediate completion of the digestive process and absorption.  It is in the condition in which we find it in the fruit; in fact, in the form of dextrin.

I do not, however, recommend eating raw grains.  Still, I have known patients to get well by eating raw grains.  I knew a lady who took a long course of treatment, and finally went home, and ate raw grain, and in three months she was well. That raw grain was better than sticky bread and mushes; but if we will cook it in the form of zwieback, we shall have no difficulty in digesting it. When beans are baked until they are nicely browned, they are in the same situation as zwieback.

A Talk by Dr. J. H. Kellogg - March 2, 1899