The Personal Application
( Originally Published 1922 )
One thing which always seems hard to under-stand is how some people read a book—any book—become enthused over its contents and yet fail absolutely to get the personal application.
I have in mind the case of a relative, a man about fifty, corpulent, overfed. He has achieved success and now like many others is spending his time and his money trying to find the road back to health.
I had learned that he was ill and the nature of his illness and had sent him a copy of "The Science of Eating."
Two weeks later I went to see him.
There he sat, his foot propped up on a chair, his joints swollen and aching, his face pasty, his eyes pathetic in their dull misery.
Almost immediately he began to enthuse about the book I had sent him.
"That's great stuff !" he said. "That fellow knows what he's talking about."
"The most convincing book I ever read," I replied. "Oh, he's got the dope right—and he's got the proofs," he answered.
After a while I said to him: "What are you doing for yourself, John?"
"Doing?" he answered. "What is there to do I've been here now for over two months. I've had three doctors on the job and I've taken a gallon of dope—but I can't see that I'm a d bit better."
"It looks to me like a result of acidosis," I said.
"Yep—that's what Doc says—too much acid in my system."
"Did he say anything as to the cause of the acid`?" He shook his head.
"What are you eating?"
By this time his wife had come in—prim, precise, smugly confident, unassailable in her household methods. She answered for him.
"The doctor says to eliminate red meats and to give him plenty of fresh vegetables."
"Well, for instance," I said, "what did you eat for dinner?"
"Let's see," he answered. "I'm a pretty good eater, you know. I had my own share of roast lamb, some mashed potato, some cauliflower, a dab of jelly and a piece of celery."
"Yep, a couple of pieces of bread and a piece of Annie's cake."
"John," I said. "Have you any brains?" "Some," he grinned. "Why?"
"What's the use of reading a lot of facts and recognizing them as facts if you don't apply them?"
"What's the use of having a doctor if he don't "
174 What to Eat and How to Prepare It
"Yes, John, but he hasn't. Now use your own brains for a minute and listen to me. You have just finished reading The Science of Eating,' then you know the story of the one hundred and ten sick sailors on board the steamship Kronprinz Wilhelm."
"What made those sailors sick? It was proven beyond a question of doubt that their food was the cause. And what had they eaten? Meat, potatoes and white bread; meat, potatoes and white bread over and over for nine months with some canned vegetables thrown in for good measure.
"All that stuff is acid-forming and when their bodies were sufficiently saturated with acid they col-lapsed. Now, John, what is the difference between the sickness of these men and your own trouble? Perhaps there is some difference in the symptoms, but the cause is acidosis, isn't it?"
"And the only difference between your collapse and theirs is that yours was slower in coming about. Call it rheumatism or nervous breakdown or any-thing you like—it is acidosis just the same—caused by your acid foods, 'meat, boiled potatoes and white bread. You gave yourself a dab of cauliflower and celery and fruit and so on all through the years. That gave you some mineral salts but not enough. Your acid foods always predominated and so the acids gradually piled up in your body until the small amount of off-setting foods which you ate was as nothing compared to it."
"I don't think I quite get you. "
I repeated the illustration of the Soda and Cream of Tartar explaining that one was an alkali, the other an acid (see p. i8) and then went on:
"You see, John, some of your foods form acids and others form alkalis (or bases) in your body, and there must be enough bases to neutralize the acids. The sailors on the Kronprinz Wilhelm didn't get any bases and they collapsed in nine months. You've always been pretty lucky in getting the off-setting foods so it took you forty years to go to smash. But, John, every time you had a severe cold, or a sore throat, or the grippe, or any of those things the cause was the same. Too much acid, broken down tissue, no resistance."
Here his wife interrupted to say:
"But everybody has always eaten meat and potatoes and bread and butter."
"No they haven't, Annie, not white bread. (Those who have are showing the results.) Forty years ago the present milling processes were not in existence. It is the present generation which is suffering the consequences of white flour. Why, Annie, if the people knew and would cut out white flour products alone and go back to whole wheat it would be comparatively easy to get a balanced diet without thinking much about it."
While his wife and I discussed the value of whole grains and steamed vegetables and the "why" of it all, John had picked up "The Science of Eating" and was glancing through it.
"Well," he broke in. "You evidently have been thinking about this stuff some. Suppose you had a dose like mine, what would you do?"
"Do?" I said. "I'd turn to page 206 of that book you're looking at and I would take exactly the prescription which Mr. McCann gave the sick sailors on board the Kronprinz Wilhelm."
He looked blank.
"Can't you see, John?" I proceeded. "Those sailors' bodies were overloaded with acid, so is yours. In order to neutralize that acid you must get your body saturated with alkalies, as found in nature. Mr. McCann wanted those sailors to get these alkalies faster than they could eat them, so he gave them in solution. Why shouldn't you do the same thing? Forty-seven of those men were on their feet in ten days! You won't respond so quickly. Your trouble came on more slowly and insidiously. But it is the logical answer just the same."
"I believe you're right," he said in a tone of decision after a few minutes of pondering.
"Of course !" I said. "It's logical. And I'd say the same thing to anyone who had a heavy cold, or any other of the lesser effects of acidosis. The mineral salts (or alkalies) as found in natural foods taken in solution will cure acidosis."
There ensued a discussion between his wife and myself as to the preparation of the prescription and as to John's subsequent diet.
John took the "cure." It was slow work but being convinced he persisted. It took three months to get any real results and six to effect a cure—but John says he knows he would be lying there still if he hadn't started on the logical course.
Almost all of us have had an oversupply of acid-forming foods. Study your own case and don't wait for a collapse to emphasize the need. Give yourself and the adult members of your family an oversupply of concentrated (liquid) alkalies. Do this for weeks or months if the need is evident and then continue to balance your meals. Let this become fixed habit. Let it become gospel to you.