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Vegetarianism

( Originally Published 1904 )



Among the arguments in favor, of this form of diet, we meet first the sentimental argument against the killing of animals, and that against eating dead things. A more serious argument is that based upon the anatomical structure of man, his late teething, the length of the digestive tract, etc., to show that he is not, by nature, a carnivorous animal. It is shown, also, that the diet of man in his earlier development was vegetable. Whole races of people in ancient times confined them-selves to this form. Even miners in Chili, porters in Smyrna, and numerous others confine themselves to fruits and vegetables. Great personages in all ages of the world have practised it: Pythagoras, Newton, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Queen Elizabeth of England.

There are three possible diets which present their claims for consideration as being normal: the animal; the vegetable, and the mixed.

The absolutely animal diet comprises only meat in its several forms, milk, and eggs. It is, of course, in practice never carried out- in that extreme, for bread is always included in it.

From a hygienic point of view, a vegetable diet is not so heating as is either a mixed or an animal diet. Vegetables are naturally more bulky than are meats, and take up in processes of cooking a very large quantity of water. This greater bulk is a safeguard against over-eating. They also carry with them a sufficient quantity of the alkalines or salts. There is also the very important element of lessened cost in the case of vegetables over meat. It is a fact of scientific importance that much eating of fruits tends to prevent alcoholism. German statistics prove this fact beyond doubt. We frequently hear that this or that fruit is to he regarded as a preventive against indulgence in liquor to excess. But the fact is that any fruit, especially-those carrying an abundance of juice, together with the acids and salts of the fruit, will produce the result.

One of the greatest inconveniences of the vegetable diet is the great bulk of the food, and the large amount of indigestible cellulose which it contains. The increased bulk in time causes a strain upon the digestive tube as well as upon other organs of the body.



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