Applied Trophology, Vol. 5, No. 1
(January 1961)

“Organic Food” — What Does It Mean?

The following is a transcription of the January 1961 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.

Also in this issue:

  • An Increase in Infectious Hepatitis
  • Seaweed Both Tranquilizer and Stimulator to Plants
  • High Points of Min-Tran and Orchex

“Organic Food” — What Does It Mean?

When applied to food, the term “organic” means it is from a living source and its value has not been reduced through heat treatment or other destructive influence. This is the original use of the word. It is now, however, used in the technical sense of meaning a compound of carbon, without any reference to its nutritional aspects.

Since the entire animal kingdom depends on the plant kingdom for its support (meat being a secondhand plant material), nutritionally speaking, organic food means food from natural sources as well as natural food in its most unrefined and unprocessed state. It means, too, natural foods that were not produced with artificial substitutes in place of natural products, whether these substitutes are in the form of plant or animal foods, soil additives, or synthetic fertilizers.

We are a part of the great cycle of life, which includes both the vegetable and animal kingdom. The vegetable kingdom is the foundation of all life, since it is food for the animal. Only the vegetable cell can absorb the sun’s energy and create proteins, fats, and carbohydrates as well as the vitamins, hormone precursors, enzymes, and organic mineral compounds so essential to the animal as food. Without this creative ability of plant cells, all animal and human life would disappear, since no man has ever created an enzyme or protein able to support life.

Some of you may recall having read about an experiment in which a goldfish was hermetically sealed in a flask with some algae and placed in the sunlight. The fish lived many years in equilibrium with the algae. The algae used the excretions of the fish as food and in turn created food for the fish by absorbing the sun’s energy to regenerate the degraded organic compounds excreted by the fish.

Our government-financed space program is now trying to reproduce the goldfish experiment with man. In order to send a spaceship that may be years on its way to Mars or some other planet, scientists assume that man, like the goldfish, will need the same hermetically sealed little world to live in. The energy of the sun will be the sole necessity for him to live his normal life span. He will no doubt live a far more healthy existence than we now do, with all the refined, synthetic, and toxic foods with which we regularly insult our bodies.

It might be asked, “Why are ‘organic’ foods considered better?” The answer is, since we all must depend on living processes for our own life, it must be true that only organic foods can support life. The plant, with the aid of its subcontractors, the microbiological soil components, builds from inorganic components of the soil and air (mineral factors, water, and carbon dioxide) plus radiant energy from the sun—and also the radioactive energy from potassium (without which our heart cannot time its pulsations)—so that we can perform our living functions by using the heat and power stored by the plant in its leaves, seeds, and roots, without which we would be as inactive as an automobile without gasoline or a steam locomotive without coal—other reservoirs of stored heat from the sun, put there by plant life.

We cannot tap these coal and oil sources for energy or food because human and animal cells must have living, fresh material from plant cells to maintain themselves. When we heat foods at the temperature of 140°F, the enzymes are destroyed. At 187°F food proteins are damaged so that the nutrition of bone and tendon is affected. The upper temperature limit for algae in hot springs is 185°F, for such plant cells are found living in ponds up to that temperature. The cells in our bodies begin to be damaged as soon as the body temperature rises above 105°F. It has been well demonstrated that many of our commonest forms of disease, in particular loss of teeth, arthritis, stomach ulcers, and liver disease, arise from the use of pasteurized milk and cooked foods.1

Even the poisons we use to control insect invasion of our crops may be divided into organic plant products that are relatively innocuous and soon disappear from the soil by oxidation (like all plant products) and mineral poisons such as arsenic, which accumulates in the soil until plants grown on it poison human consumers, or vicious synthetic poisons such as chlordane, DDT, etc., which also may accumulate in the soil and act as a cumulative poison in all foods they contaminate.

To illustrate the point, note that synthetics substances are beyond the experience of living creatures. You might think that the chemist who made the first synthetic vitamin B1 was actually successful in duplicating the natural vitamin. He certainly thought so. But after his product was fully accepted by all of us (except the more skeptical “organic food fanatic”), Dr. Garnett Sure of the University of Arkansas found that his test animals fed just twice the daily requirement of the new synthetic vitamin became peculiarly affected, in that they transmitted to their offspring something very undesirable: their offspring were sterile. All succeeding generations were chemically castrated—castrated by something their fathers or grandfathers did and that they themselves could not prevent.

We have yet to see a synthetic (counterfeit) food substance that has not been found to be very dangerous when carefully investigated. The cornstarch derivative glucose (aka dextrose), a synthetic chemical made by cooking starch with mineral acid and used in this country in almost every food product as an adulterant and filler (like water in milk), is known to predispose to cancer, block calcium assimilation, and cause diabetes.2 Synthetic fats made by hydrogenating oils cause an increase in blood cholesterol and create high blood pressure and heart disease, whereas natural food oils keep the cholesterol down and prevent such disease (proven to be true for both test animals and human subjects). 3

It is a great mistake to assume that a synthetic imitation is biologically identical to the natural counterpart. There are many ways in which they may be chemically alike yet the natural product is quite different biologically.3 The chemist does not have the methods of the living cell for distinguishing subtle differences. The use of organic food—food that has been made by living cells, has not been biologically altered by oxidation, cooking, or refining, and has been grown on soil that has not been poisoned or organically damaged—is the only safe way to avoid the danger of the diseases of malnutrition.

To show how important it is not to break the natural cycle of life (see The Wheel of Health), we call attention to the finding of Dr. F.M. Pottenger Jr., who, after demonstrating the incompetence of pasteurized milk and cooked meat as food for cats, discovered that the outdoor cat pens where his test animals received the heat-treated foods were incapable of growing weeds or crops, the cat manure compost being toxic to plants instead of supportive of plant growth.1 When beans were planted in the cat pens, the crop was luxuriant and normal in the pens where raw milk and raw meat had been fed to the cats, but in the pens where pasteurized milk and cooked meat had been fed, he hardly received his seed back in the harvest. Agriculturally speaking, the soil had been ruined. The interdependence of plant and animal life cannot be better demonstrated than by this series of experiments.

The nutrition of man is a miracle of creation, a biological process of creating proteins, fats, and carbohydrates by plant metabolism that are each too complicated for any chemist to dare to try to duplicate. They are not chemicals at all, any more than a watch is a chemical. Organic foods are far more; they are in part special living proteins such as enzymes, in which the entire vitamin catalog is involved as component parts. Enzymes are functioning mechanisms, just as a watch is a functioning mechanism, subject to destruction by mistreatment. The biologist will readily admit that the mistreatment of food by cooking destroys the enzymes as functioning mechanisms; the chemist, however, refuses to admit that it alters any chemistry.

The organic farmer does not pretend to know how to explain the ramifications and hairsplitting scientific concepts necessary to the establishment of incontrovertible proof of the need for organic foods. The burden of proof is on those who claim that they can supersede the plan of the Creator or beat Mother Nature at her own game in the business of organizing inert matter into living tissue. We, the human race, were fed on organic foods for eons before we became chemically half-smart enough to make counterfeit foods. If we use too much of such imitation foods before we learn about their shortcomings, we may never become smart enough to find out exactly why these counterfeits cannot support life.


  1. Pottenger, F.M. “The Effect of Heat Processed Foods and Metabolized Vitamin D Milk on the Dentofacial Structures of Experimental Animals.” Oral Surg., 32(8):467–485, August 1946.
  2. Vitamin News, p. 164. (Vitamin Products Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.)
  3. Lee, Royal. “Why and How Synthetic Poisons Are Being Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drug” Lee Foundation Report No. 6, Lee Foundation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1948.

An Increase in Infectious Hepatitis 

We’re in a cyclical upswing of this hard-to-diagnose disease.

This winter, again, and probably for the next two winters, an unusually high incidence of infectious (viral) hepatitis may be anticipated. This prediction is based on data compiled by the Communicable Disease Center of the U.S. Public Health Service.

There are two types of virus hepatitis—A and B. Virus B hepatitis is transmitted by transfusions of blood or plasma or by the use of contaminated hypodermic needles. But virus A, also called “infectious hepatitis” or “IH” virus, is responsible for community outbreaks. It is an acute, systemic infection that hits mainly the liver. In children it is mild, often diagnosed as acute gastric enteritis or intestinal flu. In adults the disease is more serious, causing jaundice in many instances, though probably not in the majority of them. In many cases severe fatigue persists for months after acute symptoms have subsided. The virus may remain latent in the liver cells and be revived to produce a second attack by excessive physical activity, excessive alcohol intake, or possibly even a severe emotional upset.

Infectious hepatitis often is difficult to diagnose, particularly if it is not severe enough to cause jaundice. Since the virus is present in the stool of infected persons and carriers, washing the hands thoroughly with soap and water after a trip to the bathroom is an indispensable means of controlling its spread.

—Reprinted in part from Consumer Reports, January 1961.

Seaweed Both Tranquilizer and Stimulator to Plants

Seaweed, or kelp meal as it is often called, is both a tranquilizer and stimulator of respiratory activity in plants, according to the results of one year’s work conducted by horticulturist Dr. T.L. Senn of Clemson College.

Aromatic tobacco plants with improved leaf quality and higher sugar content have been raised in soil enriched with seaweed meal. The seaweed acted as a tranquilizer on the aromatic tobacco plants: test plots with higher applications of seaweed meal showed lower rates of respiratory activity, living slower and thriving better.

Seaweed had similar effects on related plants such as pimiento peppers, which showed an increase in number of pods, from 1.5 per plant on untreated plots to 2.7 per treated plant, and an increase in plant height, from 10.6 inches to 18.1 inches.

Geranium leaves increased their respiratory activity directly with increased applications of seaweed, presenting a baffling reaction to the researchers. Preliminary research with tomatoes, pimiento peppers, okra, and sesame have indicated changes in plant growth and developments just as interesting and just as baffling, Senn reports.

Preliminary results obtained from the use of seaweed meal on various crops to date are encouraging. An intensive research program is urgently needed to fully evaluate the material as to rates of application and effects on the yield and general quality of horticultural crops before it can be recommended for general use.

—Reprinted from Seedsmen’s Digest, October 1960.

High Points of Standard Process Nutritional Adjuncts

Min-Tran: Min-Tran supplies calcium (ionizable form), potassium, iodine, and iron as they naturally occur, via Pacific sea kelp and calcium lactate.

One of the most common clinical complaints heard today is “nervousness.” While nervousness is unrecognized as technical terminology, its clinical recognition is well established. It has been shown that mental stimulation causes glandular hyperactivity in most physiological circumstances.1 In such glandular hyperactivity, there is a vast excretion of calcium, potassium, and iodine that depletes the mineral reserves.2

Thus, we may assume that there are two factors involved in every stress situation involving need for tranquilization: namely, the psychic factor, which is stimulatory in its effect, and the results of this stimulation, which places a “cost” on the physiological mechanisms involved, namely demineralization through glandular stimulation.

  1. Chidester, F.M. Nutrition and Glands in Relation to Cancer. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1944.
  2. Jarvis, D.C. Folk Medicine.

Orchex: Orchex, our physiological tranquilizer, is synergistic [with Min-Tran] and is indicated for prompt nerve relaxation for those patients in which the stimulatory effect of the psychic aspect predominates.

Heather Wilkinson

Heather Wilkinson is Senior Editor at Selene River Press.

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