Food And Health
( Originally Published 1927 )
Men of keen insight for thousands of years have realized the importance of correct feeding. They have known that wrong feeding causes disease. They have talked and written about it, but as there is nothing mysterious about eating, as there is about taking remedies that are not understood, humanity, ever mystery-loving, has remained under the spell of remedies and has not given the deserved attention to correct feeding.
Hippocrates said that ninety percent, of our ills come from the kitchen. It is impossible to tell the exact percentage, but this estimate is approximately correct. Most of our physical ills, and many of our mental ones, arise from wrong eating.
This is the negative side. The positive side is most encouraging and cheering, namely, correct eating builds health, prolongs youthfulness, adds to the beauty of face and figure, makes the body strong, increases mental power and keenness, and aids the individual to live long. Individuals with fair or good constitutions need not be ill, and without disease there are no early deaths, except those due to violence.
Many say that they would not deny themselves anything. Very well, let them lead indulgent lives, let them suffer, and let them die early. They bring their own ills upon themselves. If they would only quit complaining, but they insist on inflicting their ills on others. Those who deliberately court disease should suffer in silence.
Those who change their ways are amply rewarded. The knowledge that disease is power-less to affect us if we give ourselves the proper care is a priceless boon. Many fail in life through ill health; these failures can be prevented.
Nearly all die through the affects of disease; these deaths can be prevented. Most of them are caused by wrong eating. As Benjamin Franklin said, we dig our graves with our teeth. The basic facts here presented are old, though some of the practical applications are rather recent. For instance, Dr. Dewey was the first man to formulate the basic laws of correct eating, and he died but a few years ago. Cornaro knew the fundamentals of correct eating, and so did the celebrated physician Galen who lived more than a thousand years before Cornaro; but they did not know how to make a balanced application. That knowledge has come but recently.
There are many truths yet to be learned, but we fortunately know how to care for body and mind so as to enable us to live in comfort and health. It is not a question of what we can do so much as a question of what we will to do.
There is no need of being a crank about food. We can eat all clean foods, if we properly balance them. We can also live on restricted diets, if we so desire.
Many who write about foods are strong advocates of vegetarianism; and people can be vegetarians and have sound, healthy, powerful bodies. Meat is not an essential food to man.
Nor is it so injurious as many say. All meats contain some animal waste, which is never beneficial to the human consumer. Overconsumption of meat tends to produce filth diseases, such as catarrh, rheumatism, typhoid fever, jaundice and constipation. Meat once a day in the right combination, which includes plenty of fresh vegetables, does not cause any kind of disease.
Those who overeat of meat suffer from degenerative diseases, especially of the internal organs, and they lose their efficiency, youth and life prematurely. Those who eat a moderate portion of meat once a day in cold weather, and not more than every other day in hot weather, are not adversely affected by this food, provided there is enough of the fresh vegetables taken with the meat. The human body is equipped with organs of elimination to take care of this much flesh food.
As correct feeding is fundamental in building healthy physical structure, let us forget our prejudices, and face the facts squarely.
Every year brings rejuvenation to the world. The food that was raised in 1920 is as young as the food that was raised in 1900. In other words, every year brings forth food capable of building young cells, and the young cells build young bodies, so there is nothing in the food to age us any more when we are sixty than when we are twenty. The water we drink is as young as that which gushed from the earth years ago. The air we breathe is as pure as formerly. There is no reason, so far as air, water and food are concerned, why we should grow decrepit and bent. The same sun that has done duty for millions of years is today shining upon us.
The chief factors in correct feeding are: Selection of food; combination of food; preparation of food; and eating in the proper manner, and these points will be presented in chapters that follow. Everybody should have a good general idea of the composition of foods, and this can be obtained in the chapter on Food Classification.