The selected works of Mahatma Gandhi

Key To Health


Table of Contents

About This Book

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
Edited by : Bharatan Kumarappa
Foreword by : Morarji Desai
First Edition : 3,000 copies, December 1954
Fifteenth Re-print : 5,000 copies, March 2011
Total : 69,000 copies
ISBN : 81-7229-040-3
Printed and Published by : Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1954


Chapter 05: Condiment

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 notrequired 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 themis needed to keep perfectly healthy. Those whose digestion has becomevery feeble might take these things as medicine for a certain length oftime, if considered necessary. But one should make it a point to avoidtheir use for the satisfaction of the palate. All condiments, even salt,destroy the natural flavor of the foodstuff much more than after theaddition of salt or other condiments. That is why I have said that saltshould be taken when necessary as an adjunct. As for chilies, they burnthe mouth and irritate the stomach. Those who are not in a habit oftaking chilies cannot bear them in the beginning. I have seen severalcases of sore mouth caused by the taking of chilies. I know of one casewho was very fond of chilies, and an excessive use resulted in hispremature death. The Negro in south Africa will not touch condiments. Hecannot bear the color of turmeric in his food. In the same way,Englishmen also do not readily take to our condiments.