We Are What We Eat—The Horrific American Diet
The scary results of foodless foods.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his Autobiography, “I learned that, while the human body requires for health that the diet be composed of a large majority of the alkaline mineral elements, the average American meal is in fact a dietetic horror—consisting of an overwhelming preponderance of the starches, sugars and greases—the carbohydrate acid-reacting elements which cause numerous ailments and diseases” (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1; emphasis added).

He learned that in 1930! What, do you suppose, is it like today—75 years later?

In the April 1971 edition of Tomorrow’s World, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Actually, your body requires two or three times as much of the alkaline-reacting mineral elements as of the [acid]—yet the average American or Briton is eating at least two or three times as much of the [acid-reacting] carbohydrates ….

“Today nearly everything we eat passes through man’s hands—or his factories—before it comes to the consumer. In the interests of bigger profits, the gigantic food industry is giving us a diet of foodless ‘foods.’

“Take wheat. Wheat is almost a perfect food. It contains all 16 major food elements, in near perfectly balanced proportion. But they take that perfect grain of wheat apart, rob it of the 12 mineral elements, and turn it into white flour—containing the four carbohydrate elements.”

Our bodies need the natural, whole carbohydrates found in things like brown rice, beans, and whole-wheat products. These are called complex carbohydrates, which our bodies need for good health.

But man has taken all kinds of foods that God made to be mildly acidic and altered them to become highly acidic substances. These refined substances that most people ignorantly call food are most often full of toxic, health-debilitating substances, unlike the acidic foods God created, which, even though acidic, have many wonderful life-giving properties.

Add to that the fact that most Americans not only eat the man-made acidic foods, they consume large quantities of them. These are the foods people often crave.

When you look at American food production as well as the dietary habits of most Americans, it is no wonder so many are overweight and unhealthy. The Bible talks about this spirit of gluttony in Philippians 3:19, about those “whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”

God is our Creator. He made us. He knows what our bodies were made to utilize as good, healthful foods. He set the laws of health in motion for our own benefit, both physically and spiritually. But our peoples are more concerned about satisfying their own lustful desires than they are about living the way God intended us to live. With all our scientific knowledge, we have more doctor’s bills, more sickness than ever before in the history of the world.

Mr. Armstrong wrote in the same Tomorrow’s World article, “If we like the taste—or develop a perverted taste—we think it must be good food! But everything that grows is not good food. Nor is every animal good for food.”

Refined sugar is another culprit. It’s found in practically everything man makes: processed foods, sauces and even salad dressings.

Author William Dufty wrote in his book Sugar Blues: “Vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts—these natural sources of what we now call vitamin C—had been sweets until concentrated, refined sugar was marketed. Sugar was an unnatural sweet that had been robbed of its vitamin C in the refining process, which was when 90 percent of the natural cane was removed.”

A few hundred years ago, the average person in Europe would eat 3 or 4 pounds of sugar a year. Today, most people eat well over 100 pounds of it each year. Some people consume that much just in the soda they drink. There is one cup of refined sugar in four 12-ounce cans of soda! It’s no wonder there are so many sugar diseases today.

Two Extremes

During the 1960s, some in God’s Church may have been a little too much at one extreme—some members wouldn’t be caught dead with white flour or a sugary substance. But better to be a little bit to that extreme than to let anything and everything enter into your mouth just because it tastes good!

Obviously, we don’t want God’s people to become self-righteous or judgmental, but looking at the big picture of the Church’s overall physical health today, what is the real problem?

It is likely that for every over-the-top “health nut” we have in this Church, there may be 20 or 25 members who are in extremely poor health and in desperate need of help in obeying the physical laws of health.

As you can see from the food chart provided in part 4 of this series, God didn’t create any highly acidic foods that are regularly consumed in larger portions aside from red meat. (And if you look at biblical times, I think it is evident that they didn’t eat red meat on a daily basis.)

In addition to the denatured food most Westerners eat, we are also subjected to a whole host of other additives, preservatives and chemicals in food. Some members have at times used this as an excuse not to eat whole foods. “Well, why eat fruit if it has all those pesticides on it?” A little bit of wisdom ought to help us answer such a question. Would your body benefit more from a piece of fruit, even if it has some chemicals on the exterior, or from a Coke and cookies?

A report from March 2005 said obesity was on the verge of overtaking smoking as the number-one cause of preventable death in the United States.

Poor diet and physical inactivity caused 400,000 deaths in 2000, which was 33 percent more than in 1990—in only a 10-year span! During that same time period, tobacco-related deaths increased by 9 percent to 435,000. So if that trend continues, obesity will soon overtake tobacco as the number one killer.

Of course, in the Church smoking is not allowed, so we don’t have to harp on how stupid it is for members to be killing themselves with tobacco products. But the fact of the matter is, some of our members are killing themselves because of the way they eat.

And it’s not just the adults who are suffering from this epidemic of obesity. It’s their children too.

Between the 1960s and the late 1990s, the percentage of overweight children and teenagers in the U.S. tripled. One out of every four children in the U.S. is obese!

Mr. Armstrong wrote many of his best articles on health during the 1960s. What would he think today, if he were still here? What would he be preaching on the subject of health?

Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote back in 1971: “Look at young children pouring out of public elementary schools today. Notice how many are pale, anemic, round-shouldered, more than half of them constipated, wearing glasses, having bad teeth, diseased tonsils” (Tomorrow’s World, op. cit.). Today, those same children are now parents!

He continued, “How many today live in a home where there is never a cold or fever, no tooth troubles, or poor eyesight, or any of these diseases? Where no one is ever sick? Do you know of any such home? You’re a most rare person if you do! All humanity should live in such homes—could!!—and many, if not most, will in the God-ruled world tomorrow

Our members need to be educated on this subject.

Every mother needs to know that if she puts her baby on formula instead of breast-feeding, the chances of that baby becoming overweight and being in poor health as he gets older skyrockets! Formula is acidic!

Parents need to know that if they are using sugary snacks to bribe their children, they are not only in need of instruction on proper child rearing, they need to know what they are doing to their children’s health.

If both parents work, the overall health of that family will suffer as a result, because children will be able to snack without adult supervision, moms will resort to quicker methods of meal preparation—which usually means more acid—and the family will probably eat more fast food. Establishing a lifetime of bad health habits—and their resultant diseases—is not a good trade-off for having a second income.

How Is Your Health?

How can you know if your system is too acidic—or if others close to you are leading overly acidic lives?

You can test your pH levels with a pH strip, found in health-food stores and pharmacies. These test the pH of your urine or saliva, but this method isn’t totally reliable. It reveals the pH balance in these fluids (and in the case of urine, what your body is eliminating), but it does not tell you the pH of your cells and tissues.

Really, the best way to evaluate your pH balance is just to take an honest look at your overall health.

In the book Alkalize or Die, nutritionist Theodore Baroody wrote, “The countless names attached to illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause … too much tissue acid waste in the body!” In a minute, we will look at a list of symptoms that can give you your strongest indication that you may be suffering from acidosis.

Baroody wrote, “Many truly believe they are meant to suffer these aches and pains. After all, their parents did. Their parents naively popped every acid-forming synthetic substance they could into their bodies to artificially whip the undernourished glands into a little more stimulation for a few hours. And if that didn’t work, they could always swallow another drug when the pain started again.”

Many of our most common aches, pains and illnesses are directly related to acidosis. This is what Mr. Armstrong learned in the early 1930s!

The Disease Process

Mr. Armstrong learned 75 years ago that sickness and disease thrive in an acidic environment. All sorts of harmful and disease-causing bacteria and viruses live and thrive in a state of acidosis. Candida, yeast, fungus and mold flourish in your body when it has a low pH.

So when there is too much acid ash in a body, a condition called acidosis results. Most people who suffer from unbalanced pH are acidic, not alkaline. In this society, due to poor diet and toxicity, we can almost guarantee we are too acidic.

It is not uncommon for Americans to go one or two weeks without eating anything that is alkaline. You’ve probably seen some examples of this kind of diet at church socials and potlucks—some go right for the meat, high-carbohydrate and dessert dishes, but skip over the salad and vegetables.

Your blood must stay between pH 7.2 and 7.4 for you to stay alive (Leviticus 17:11—“For the life of the flesh is in the blood …”). If it drops below 7.2, you will die in a short while. Therefore, your body will do anything and everything it takes to keep the blood from dropping into acidity.

Acidosis forces the body to borrow alkaline minerals—such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium—from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralize) the acid and safely remove it from the blood. Because of this response, the body can endure severe and prolonged exposure to high acidity. Obviously, this weakens tissues and leads to disease.

These conditions can go undetected for years. This is why some have gotten so careless over the years—because of how resilient the human body is. It can be tempting to sin when the penalty doesn’t appear immediately. But there will always be a penalty—we know that!

Calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium are considered “acid buffers” because the body uses them to control acid levels. The body cannot excrete high levels of acid. Under acidosis, the body does one of two things: stores the acid in body tissues (called autointoxication), or neutralizes it (borrowing the minerals from organs, bones, etc. in order to buffer acidity).

This is why the pH balance of the body’s tissues and fluids is the core of good health.

Mild acidosis can cause the following problems:

Take the example of cancer. Cancer cells thrive in a low pH environment. They cannot live in an alkaline environment.

In clinical studies, scientists have taken a tumor that has been removed from a patient and placed half of it in an alkaline solution, and the other half in an acidic solution. The tumor in the alkaline solution shrinks and dies. The tumor in the acidic solution grows.

Now, this does not mean that cancer is always diet-related, because there are other causes of acidosis besides just eating acidic foods—like pollution in the air or our drinking water—even stress and negative thinking leave an acid residue in the body. (A positive mental outlook is one of the seven laws of health.)

We have degenerated as a society. And there certainly is truth to the fact that some human beings are predisposed to certain diseases more than others. But much of our degenerative disease is self-inflicted, as we have already pointed out.

According to Blake Sawyer in The Homeostasis Protocol, “Excluding cancer, cardiovascular disease kills more people than all other diseases combined. Heart attacks and strokes kill nearly a million Americans annually! Acidosis is the major root cause of cardiovascular disease, not high cholesterol! … Acid wastes ‘scratch’ arterial walls and cholesterol acts as a bandage on the ‘scratches.’ …

“Moreover, it is not just the life-threatening diseases that thrive in an acidic environment. Your cells are weakened by acidosis, making them vulnerable to attack and destruction.

“Why has this happened? … Around the turn of the century, the Standard American Diet was about 50/50. Fifty percent of the food people ate was alkaline and 50 percent was acidic. Twenty years ago, in the 1980s, it became 90 percent acidic and 10 percent alkaline. Today it is closer to 95 percent acidic! This has had devastating consequences on your health.

“Acidosis is caused by putting too many acidic foods and beverages into your body and not eliminating acid wastes properly. Believe it or not, you are in a state of acidosis right now.

“The bottom line is this. If you are properly alkaline, you eliminate the chance of getting all diseases by 95 percent. The more acidic you are, the greater chances you have of getting disease.”

Now, not all degenerative diseases are related to your diet.

Notice what is written in James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” In his booklet on healing, Mr. Armstrong said the sins spoken of here undoubtedly refer to physical sins. But notice it says “if”! As we have noted, it could be that the disease resulted from someone else’s sin.

But let’s not let those few exceptions become the rule in our minds: Most of these degenerative diseases are diet-related; or, at the very least, they are made worse by improper eating.

In the next installment of this series, we will look at some of the steps you can take to alkalize your body.