Mental degeneration

Lieutenant Colonel Robert McCarrison, a British army doctor had, during the early part of the 20th century, made a name for himself through his brilliant research into deficiency diseases. He was stationed in what was then northern India, (but which became part of Pakistan after independence in 1947).

.

There he was so stunned by the health and beauty of the Hunza people, living in these northern provinces, that he stepped back from his usual preoccupation with the cause of illness, and began to wonder instead about the reason for such robust health.

Something more

Not only did these people live long, active lives, they simply didn’t suffer from illness. They were a tall, graceful, athletic, perfectly-formed race and the young army doctor found that they had very little need of his services. However, there was something more, McCarrison noticed, than just good physical health.

Never before had he encountered such cheerful, contented souls. Never had he seen such willingness to help, such motivation to work, or such satisfaction in their labours. This aspect of the Hunza’s character fascinated McCarrison as much as did their glowing health.

.

.

At 8,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by sheer precipices that rose 10,000 to 15,000 feet, the remoteness of the area had preserved the traditions of generations of industrious peasant farmers.

Goats roamed the higher crags, while cattle grazed lower down in the valley, providing the milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese that formed an important part of the diet of this hardy mountain race. Since there was a very limited supply of wood for fuel, vegetables were mainly eaten fresh from the fields and raw.

Freshly ground wheat and other cereals were made into nutritious wholemeal chapattis. Meat was eaten occasionally and this would be cooked carefully with vegetables and very little water, preserving all the flavour and valuable nutrients. Hunza apricots are legendary to this day, and these and other fruit formed a significant part of the diet.

.

.

In contrast, McCarrison observed, the races of southern India were stunted in height and physique, prone to illness, lazy, ungainly, apathetic and ill-humoured. They were often small in stature and dogged by mental and physical ill-health. They reminded him of many of the patients he’d tended back home in England during his medical training.

McCarrison resolved to prove his then controversial theory that the nutritional quality of the diet was a vital factor in mental/emotional as well as  physical health.

He built up a stock of healthy, disease-free rats. Then he divided the rats into groups and fed each group a different diet. Some groups were fed the whole, unprocessed foods of the healthy northern races of India, while others were fed the refined, processed foods of the unhealthy races of southern India.

rat_6

All the rats were kept in identical conditions. Only their diets varied. Before long it became apparent that the rats who were fed on the whole, unprocessed foods thrived, while the health of the others deteriorated.

Altered their temperaments

The diseases that made their appearance, McCarrison noted, were diseases of the eye, ear, nose, throat, lungs, and stomach, together with skin disease, heart disease and, in fact, diseases of every organ were observed. The rats’ endocrine systems degenerated, they didn’t reproduce well and they became prone to miscarriages, premature births and still-births.

But not only did the food of the unhealthiest races of India affect the physical health of the rats, it also altered their temperaments. Rats that had once lived peaceably together now became bad-tempered and began to squabble and fight. Though once they had been amenable to being handled, now they literally bit the hand that fed them.

While it is widely accepted that prolonged stress and destructive attitudes and emotions can cause physical illness, McCarrison’s and Weston Price’s work demonstrated that poor nutrition can affect mental/emotional, as well as physical health.

.

.

Modern studies into the relationship between diet and conditions such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, dementia, autism, attention-deficit disorder and dyslexia are confirming the importance of nutrition in mental, emotional, and behavioural health. The brain, like every other organ in the body, must be supplied with the nutrients it needs in order to function properly.

Over many generations each of the healthy races studied by Price and McCarrison learned to make the best use of the foods that were available. The key to their health lay in the quality of their food, which was eaten whole. There was no refining, no stripping away of the most nutritious parts of the product, and there were no chemicals to add to the food.

.

.

Mental and physical degeneration came with the change from natural foods to refined flour and sugar, tinned foods and confectionery. Bread was once truly the staff of life. But when the wheatgerm and bran are stripped away, it becomes just another source of instant energy with very limited ability to build health.

Sugar is a refined product and, as such, has been stripped of the nutrients necessary for its utilisation by the body. Though it supplies instant energy, it does so at great cost to long-term health.

As both McCarrison and Price discovered, there wasn’t just one healthy diet, but many. And they all had one thing in common; these foods were undenatured, unprocessed, fresh and whole.

Cheerful contented souls

Sir Robert McCarrison was fascinated by the emotional health of the Hunza people. Never before had he encountered such cheerful, contented souls. Never had he seen such willingness to help, such motivation to work, or such satisfaction in their labours.

Dr Weston Price observed, in those isolated communities, not just strong, healthy bodies, but ‘minds and hearts capable of a higher form of life‘.

However, both Weston Price and McCarrison also observed “intercepted heredity” – physical and mental/emotional degeneration – in both humans and rats!

And Dr Pottenger demonstrated in four generations of cats that ‘intercepted heredity’ resulted in degenerative diseases appearing earlier and earlier with each succeeding generation

Their studies remind us that mental and physical degeneration, appearing earlier with succeeding generation, was never God’s plan for mankind.

.

A Prayer

Dear God, help us to know you, your plans and your purposes

 .

Next: Disease begins in the gut

You can download a free copy of Nutrition and Health
by Sir Robert McCarrison here

.

.

.

Health information is not a substitute for good diagnosis,
and a doctor should be consulted when illness is present

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.