Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Key to Health -Condiments -Mohandas K. Gandhi

Bags with various herbs, peas and lens [26ks0021rf]
I have not said anything about condiments in the last chapter. Common salt may be rightly counted as the king among condiments. Many people cannot eat their food without it. The body requires certain salts and common sat is one of them. These salts occur naturally in the various foodstuffs but when food is cooked in an unscientific way, e.g., throwing away water in which rice, potatoes, other vegetables have been boiled , the supply becomes inadequate. The deficiency then has to be made up by a separate addition of salt. As common salt is one of the most essential salts for the body, I have said in the last chapter that it might be supplemented in small quantities.
But several condiments are not required by the body as a general rule, e.g., chilies fresh or dry, pepper, turmeric, coriander, caraway, mustard, methi, asafetida, etc. These are taken just for the satisfaction of the palate. My opinion, based on my personal experience of fifty years, is that not one of them is needed to keep perfectly healthy. Those whose digestion has become very feeble might take these things as medicine for a certain length of time, if considered necessary. But one should make it a point to avoid their use for the satisfaction of the palate. All condiments, even salt, destroy the natural flavor of the foodstuff much more than after the addition of salt or other condiments. That is why I have said that salt should be taken when necessary as an adjunct. As for chilies, they burn the mouth and irritate the stomach. Those who are not in a habit of taking chilies cannot bear them in the beginning. I have seen several cases of sore mouth caused by the taking of chilies. I know of one case who was very fond of chilies, and an excessive use resulted in his premature death. The Negro in south Africa will not touch condiments. He cannot bear the color of turmeric in his food. In the same way, Englishmen also do not readily take to our condiments.

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