IN our younger days most of us were brought up to believe that for man the white man in any case white bread was the staff of life. This belief to many has long since been exploded In fact it has been proved beyond any doubt that it is impossible to exist, let alone live, for very long on any such “lop-sided food”. Let doctors, millers, bakers or advertising experts who state or think otherwise put it to the test by endeavouring to live on white bread and water alone and they will learn the truth, that they can die, but not live, on any such diet.
The writer once tried the experiment on himself for a fortnight: it turned out to be the most difficult task he ever set himself. It was undertaken in mid-winter, and he, for once at any rate, suffered most severely from hunger, constipation, fatigue, weakness, cold, loss of sleep and weight, and almost gave it up in despair of ever lasting out the fourteen days.
All the buoyant fitness usually associated with a fourteen days fast was absent. It lead me to appreciate the challenge made many years later by Dr. Bertrand P. Allinson to Sir Thomas Holder to live “exclusively on a diet of ordinary white bread and water for a month, while he [Dr. Allinson] would keep him company on a diet of wholemeal bread and water, and then write his epitaph”.
Of the many advertising slogans of the present day, perhaps none is more popular than “It pays to advertise”. It certainly does. The brewers advertisements at the present time provide a good illustration. The scientific teachings from the text books regarding the detrimental effects of alcohol on the human system, as given in our public schools to-day, give the lie direct to the brewers advertisements which the children see on the hoardings outside.
It also shows how the rate payers money can be washed and a C3 nation produced. The very food that would tend to build up an A1 nation is destroyed in the production of both alcohol and white bread. The parents may drink the beer and the children eat the white bread to their detriment, while perfect food in the shape of wholemeal bread, made solely from the whole wheat berry, should be available to all.
The truth should be taught in our public schools. Surely it is more important that English children should learn what constitutes a perfect food, that will keep body and soul together, rather than how many wives Henry VIII had! And, it may be asked, how much better informed are the majority of adults than the children?
There is no doubt that the nations money could not be put to a better purpose than in producing and advertising a true “Staff of Life”. At present the nation is in a fog regarding what is and what is not the perfect food to make and keep us fit.
The public is being offered countless fancy breads with fancy names at fancy prices. Some are composed of white flour plus a large or small quantity of germ, or other by-products from the milling process, known as offals, usually used for the feeding of cattle; while in other cases all kinds of “wonderful” ingredients have been added to the white flour.
To the uninitiated the analytical reports, supplied with same, look quite O.K., but it is not pure wholemeal bread, or anything like it. The foundation of the majority is composed of chemically bleached, constipating, snow-white flour. Many of the brown breads also on the market are composed of wholemeal flour with added offal.
After all this, it may be asked, “How are we to get the genuine article pure wholemeal bread?” Well, the best of all ways is to get cleaned white wheat and a hand-mill and grind it oneself and bake the bread at home. Many people still do this, but the majority will consider it to be quite impracticable.
There are, however, many things to be said in its favour. One knows that one is getting the genuine article and also that nothing has been taken from or added to the meal. That the meal has not been heated in the milling by either the roller or stone process, so that it will keep like ordinary white flour pure starch has the reputation of doing. Further, the ground wheat is free from the powdered stone which is inseparable from flour produced by the stone milling process. This is the reason why the stones require to be recut fairly often.
In stone milling, to grind the bran into fine particles in one operation is almost impossible for two reasons already mentioned. The closer the stones are set, the finer the bran will be ground; but at the expense of wear on the stones and undue heating of the flour, which may become in the process too hot to handle, and if care is not taken to properly cool, will not keep many days. To get over the latter trouble in the past, the wheat was first ground, the coarsest of the bran sifted out, reground, and once again mixed with the flour.