|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Bircher-Benner conducted a Sanitorium in Switzerland which was the mecca
for the ailing who came there from many lands to find health. "The
Bircher-Benner" way to health has many adherent's owing to the
Doctor's vigorous campaign for many decades. The above material is from
from "Food Science for All" and "Sunlight Food"
The first thing we have to do is to recognize facts and
the second to apply them. On this application depends our whole life
from beginning to end. This booklet has been written with the purpose
of putting into practice our new knowledge regarding nutrition. But
this knowledge is new only to the scientific world; it has been the
precious possession of mankind from time immemorial. Putting it into
practice does not, therefore, mean introducing a new kind of food, but
the food destined to be man's by the wisdom of the Creator. Raw food
has, in fact, been known for thousands of years in China and India ;
it is also mentioned in the Bible.
Nutrition is not the highest thing in life, but it is
the soil on which the highest things can either perish or flourish.
Erroneous dietetics or ignorance and contempt of the true laws of nutrition
have done incalculable harm to mankind. Many see it, for illnesses appear
sooner or later, but only a few know the real cause of them: wrong food.
Illusion and error which so often rule men and mislead them, make us
believe in connections and causes which on closer examination prove
to be insignificant and secondary. We speak of chills and bacteria when
we should say wrong nutrition. The harm created can only be prevented
or remedied by attacking the real cause.
The following important facts should be noticed in connection
with this new knowledge :
1. The quantity of albumen hitherto said to be required
was far too high. The human organism requires a minimum quantity of
albumen (not more than seven per cent of the calories required). The
daily surplus quantity of albumen overtaxes the vital organs and produces
chronic acidity of the tissues and juices.
2. The most extravagant and poorest kind of food is certainly
meat, be it butcher's meat: game, poultry, or fish. It causes the greatest
loss of energy in the metabolic combustion, too much acidity in the
chemical proportions and, moreover, poisons the organs, the tissues,
and the blood with uric acid.
3. Eggs and cheese, among other animal food, cause over-acidity,
and milk often loses its value through cooking and becomes even dangerous
through wrong feeding of the cows or the disease of their mammiferous
4. The three chief nutritive elements hitherto known were
albumen, carbohydrate, and fat. By themselves they cannot nourish the
body. A mysterious "something" is needed which is found in
the vegetable kingdom, built up by the power of the sun and called "Vitamins".
This something is found in perfect quality and in sufficient, often
abundant, quantity in fresh fruit, berries, the fruit of vegetables
(tomatoes, cucumbers), in green leaves (spinach, cabbage, salad leaves,
vegetable spices) and in those roots which can be eaten raw (carrots,
celery, onions, etc.). The milk which the cows produce when they have
been fed on green grass during the months of May, June, July, and August
also contains vitamins and so does the butter made from that milk. A
few of the organs of animals in their raw state, contain vitamins. The
vitamins are lost through cooking. roasting, sterilizing, and pasteurizing.
This is equally the case when dried food is exposed to the air. The
vitamins of cereals (rice; heat, maize, etc.) disappear when subjected
to the usual grinding process, owing to the elimination of the epispern.
White bread lacks vitamins.
5. Total lack of vitamins is the exception, but may occur
when old-fashioned, dietetic prescriptions are ordered. In this case
serious diseases occur after six or eight months, such as general inflammation
of the nerves and scurvy. Partial lack of vitamins produces at first
slight disturbances of health. such as digestive troubles, constipation,
functional diseases of the heart and blood-vessels : it prevents the
growth of the body and causes goitres, etc. After many years serious
diseases occur, amongst which cancer is the most terrible.
6. The nutritive habits of civilized people have taken
us out of the true way of living, for we have preferred animal food,
white bread, preserves, cooked and roasted food. We have overtaxed our
blood with a surplus of acidity and an accumulation of uric acid and
in this way originated an immense number of chronic diseases. The causal
connections remain wholly in the dark, so that hardly any one discovers
the reason of his suffering to be wrong food.
7. The principle of energetics throws light on the mysterious nature of vitamins. It is a mistake to think that the living cell could feed on calories. It is only sustained by the electro-magnetic energies of the sunlight which are stored up in the vegetable kingdom and provide us with our food. The nutritive energy of a cherry, an orange, a green leaf, is sunlight stored up, composed of the scale of oscillations of the rainbow (sun-spectrum). But the oscillations of the light which are stored up in the substance will be lost through heating; they equally disappear when the episperms which are charged with fine mineral-containing molecules, are eliminated from the corn. Our food may contain a surplus quantity of albumen, carbohydrate, and fat and nevertheless have lost the sunlight. It contains, indeed, enough calories, but its Light is smouldering. Such food gives insufficient nourishment and is apt to produce illness. Sunlight food keeps us healthy and strong and has healing power. Nowadays with our knowledge of the construction of atoms, of the absorption and emmision of light rays through the orbits of the electrons, it should be easy for any scientific mind to understand the importance of the sun quality of our food. But we are so accustomed to our comfortable, old ways of living, this new knowledge of dietetics would bring about such a revolution that much that we have got used to, and love dearly, would have to be eliminated. We should have to acknowledge our mistakes, think out, and learn new ways. Far too uncomfortable a thing! and yet what really nourishes the body are the vitamins, the energy of the sun, not mere heat.
8. Lack of vitamins and bases, a surplus quantity of acids,
lack of sunlight all these are really one and the same thing - such
are in fact the chief causes of the most serious and widespread diseases
to which mankind is subject.
9. All these diverse, protracted, and serious illnesses
can be prevented by sunlight food.
10. The decision to part with the old ways and to adopt
the sunlight food opens to mankind a new way to spiritual possibilities.
In any case the sunlight food is amongst all remedies that are not of
a spiritual nature, the most important one. The usual food of the civilized
European leads men astray and produces diseases. Sunlight food, on the
contrary, has tremendous curative powers.
-(Sunlight (Vitamin) Food)
I : SUNLIGHT LEVEL - Organized Unit - Highest Nutritive Value - Purest, Most Complete and most Powerful Diet - GREATEST CURATIVE POWER
Accumulators of the First Rank :
animal food units: mother's milk, cow's milk, goat's milk, eggs - in
the uncooked state. The nutritive value of these is limited. The mother's
milk belongs to the suckling, the cow's milk to the calf, and the egg
to the embryo. Moreover, the consumption of freshly milked cow's milk
or goat's milk is for the most part impossible on account of impurity,
and of the danger of infection with tuberculosis. Fresh eggs have a
composition foreign to human assimilation, and can therefore be considered
only as a slight supplementary admixture.
II : ENERGY LEVEL MORE OR LESS LOWERED THROUGH THE
INFLUENCE OF HEAT. Mixed with Category I, still very valuable foods;
for centuries the mainstay of the diet of the masses.
Used in moderation, yields full physical working-power,
spares the internal organs, maintains health. But used in excess (fattening)
is injurious to health.
Accumulators of the Second Rank :
FIRST LOWER DIVISION
: further degradation through breaking up the natural nutrition-integral
and formation of an incomplete food. One-sided diet with food of
this category produces very severe constitutional diseases ; free use
of one-sided foods causes insidious lowering of health. Such foods are
: white wheaten flour, polished rice, soups, broths and pastry made
from white flour and white groats, vegetables from which the water they
were boiled in has been poured off, confectionery. fancy pastries, strongly
sweetened preserves, sugar.
DIVISION : unsuitable composition as in the
lower division of the First Category, through the process of cooking
and through breaking up the integrals : boiled milk, boiled eggs and
egg dishes, white bread and cheese, curds.
DIVISION : vegetables preserved by heat.
Here there are several degrees of degradation : relatively good are
preserved tomatoes, Week sterilization [in glass] ; or better Pasteurizing
is to be preferred to any other method of preserving, and among trade
products, the Hero brand deserves recognition. Coloured green peas and
beans in tins are to be altogether discarded.
FURTHER : condensed milk.
III ENERGY LEVEL DEPRESSED BELOW THE ORIGINAL NUTRITIVE
By mixture with Animal Tissues,
Composition not suitable for human assimilation. Overloading
of the organs with inferior proteid material. Danger of acid poisoning.
Lack of vitamins. Chief source of arthritis. Storing up of uric acid.
Unsuitable source of energy for human beings.
THE THIRD RANK
: Fresh meat of every kind, fish, poultry, game, sausages, smoked meat.
The flesh of young animals (lamb, calf) is more injurious to health
than that of fully grown animals (ox, swine, sheep). In general white
meat contains more uric acid formers than red and is by no means to
be preferred ; the most poisonous are calf's sweetbread, glandular organs,
The so-called edible fungi, whose nutritive value comes
not from sunlight direct but from decomposing material.
In this new table of values of human foods - it may strike
many of you - you find neither alcoholic drinks nor the solaces of all
the tired folk: coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, mate, kolu. They have
no place among foods, for they are consumed not on account of the admixed
food-stuffs, but for the sake of their intoxicating and stimulating
effects. Their importance and their effects need a separate treatise
even when we are all convinced that these luxuries exercise a powerful
influence on the processes of nutrition in the interior of the organism.
This influence proceeds not from nutritive values but from poison. A
single mouthful of bread exceeds a glass of beer in nutritive value,
and a grape contains more nourishment than a glass of wine. And to say
the least, we pay much too dear for the oats in the oatmeal cocoa and
the fat of the chocolate.
This doctrine of nutrition has only one drawback : it
is in complete contradiction to the valuations and customs which prevail
today among our people from the highest to the lowest, among the "uneducated"
and the "educated." A breakfast consisting of coffee with
milk, white bread, butter and jam is considered correct even for growing
children At dinner the flesh dish forms the middle point and the centre
of gravity round which everything is grouped. Fruit is eaten, if at
all, right at the end when the stomach is full of all the rest. It is
scarcely considered as food but rather as a luxury, and many attach
no value to its consumption but actually look on it with a superstitious
This nutrition doctrine falls at a time of confusion,
of interregnum in the scientific world. The dominance of the old food-values
is broken. No one any longer believes in them. Instead, too much value
has lately been attached to vitamins and amino-acids. The science of
nutrition has become so vastly complicated that only a few really know
anything, and for the others, there is nothing left but to snap up a
bit here and there, and so to simulate a knowledge which after all life
requires. Hence it is possible for vitamins to be "produced"
in chemical factories, or to be prescribed in cod-liver oil, not, if
you please, in fresh vegetables! This sort of one-sided precaution tells
of anxiety for vitamins, and so completely soothes the disquieted spirits
that they comfortably return to the old habits.
What was lacking was the red thread that should lead out
of the labyrinth, the middle point round which everything can be arranged,
the measure, the central nutritive value. And this central nutritive
value stands now before your minds, firmly realized - the sunlight
value of the food.
According to what I have experienced and realized in three
decades of work as a physician, this sunlight value is in the realm
of nutrition the rediscovered Grail, which heals wounds, and has shattered
Klingsor's world of illusion.
- Food Science for All
A. E. in an introduction to Dr. Bircher-Benner's book
"The radiant influence of light nourishes life and within the human body forms the fabric of consciousness; ... it is certain that life, light, and, consciousness are bound together by some undiscovered law. The secret of nature's alchemy is still l hidden from us within our own bodies. By revealing it physics will create a new hope for man. (Archimedes, or the future of Physics, by L. L. Whyte)
HOW TO BECOME A VEGETARIAN
How are we to apply the new knowledge of dietetics? What
is our food to consist of?" Dr. Bircher-Benner asks :
"Many changes can be introduced into our daily meals:
the quantity of meat can be reduced or meat can be omitted altogether.
Instead of white bread we can eat whole meal bread (the best is made
of wheat and rye.) We can feed chiefly on cooked vegetarian diet (vegetables.
farinaceous food, rice, potatoes, etc.) To this can be added raw fruits
of all kinds, nuts, roots, and salads. The use of alcoholic drinks,
coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, can be omitted or reduced. This is a
step in the right direction, but the curative power of such a diet is
"In connection with this it may be mentioned that
a lady patient had been consulting a doctor who was a great authority
and had been recommended by him to give up meat. She did so, but grew
weaker and weaker. Why was this the case? Because her vegetarian diet
consisted of vegetables, the boiling of which had deprived them of all
nutritive value; also of fine flour dishes, eggs, rich milk, cheese
and butter which contained neither enough vitamins and bases, nor was
it rich enough in 'sunlight' value. The lady now consulted another specialist
who, indignant on hearing of the treatment recommended before, said
that a meatless diet was nonsense and that she was at once to begin
with 'nourishing' food, especially meat. This also was carried out,
but the illness grew worse. A third doctor abroad was consulted who
advised her to give up meat and to begin the diet which is put forth
in this booklet [Sunlight (Vitamin) Food]. This she did and after six
months she came to Zurich, paid me a visit and told me how grateful
she was for the advice of my booklet which she had followed carefully,
A considerable improvement of her condition had already taken place.
"When we have to get rid of an illness, a greater
effort is necessary on the part of the patient than if we have only
to maintain health. Lack of vitamins has exhausted the tissues and organs.
The surplus acidity can only be got rid of gradually. Because of the
accumulation of the poisons of metabolism the body needs a long time
for the diet to take its effect, so that the dislodgment of the secretions
can begin. A crisis has to take place sooner or later before any
improvement is noticed.
A firm resolution is therefore required on the part of
the patient. He has definitely to give up his old ways and begin with
several days a week, perhaps even several weeks of raw diet. This has
to consist of all sorts of fresh fruit, nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, sweet
almonds, etc.), the fruits, roots, stalks, and leaves of
Experience has shown that in consequence of the weakness
of our teeth and digestive organs, this raw food must be chopped to
a large extent, A savoury combination must also be made, for by making
it appetizing, one succeeds more easily in winning the patient over
to the new diet, thus hastening the healing process."
Cooked as well as raw food or "mixed food" may
be eaten alternately with the raw foods, and Dr. Bircher Benner's excellent
little book gives many attractive recipes, such as the one listed below.
He assures us that "the mixed but meatless diet can by itself show
its curative power and also prevent illness."
A typical Recipe from Sunlight Food :
Apple or Fruit Diet Dish : Take a level tablespoonful
of rolled oats (or a level tablesponful of wheatflakes, or tablespoonful
of whole wheat-meal, or rye meal.) Soak for twelve hours in three tablespoonfuls
of water. Add the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoonful of sweet
condensed milk (or a tablespoonful of cream; or a tablespoon of honey).
Mix it all well together in a dish. Take two clean apples, including
the skin, core, and pips. Grate, and stir into the mix, continually,
so that the apples do not get brown. (For apples may be taken bilberries,
strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries ; cherries, prunes,
apricots, carefully stoned and minced, bananas skinned. Also dried fruits
can be used if first mashed in hot water; then soaked in cold water
for twenty-four hours, or until well plumped.) [If soaked too long they
will start to ferment-Ed.]
This dish is served fresh, before anything else, and on
no account as a dessert. Only quite exceptionally may it be warmed,
in the case of a very nervous patient. In order to increase the quantity
of proteid and fat, a tablespoonful of grated nuts should be added.
It should be well chewed and will thus be sufficiently warmed to suit the most sensitive stomach.