Almost all patients who have taken the milk diet under my personal direction, have asked me what they should eat afterward: how they can be sure of holding the benefits gained on milk.
The permanent results of this treatment are invaluable, and I believe better than those obtained by any other method, and permanent cures are what is wanted in every case, and not simply temporary improvement while taking the treatment.
While there is a great apparent improvement in all patients taking the diet, yet it is a fact that many of them often have to wait until ordinary habits and diet are resumed before they realize the full benefit gained. All persons taking the milk cure properly will find their physical condition better, perhaps, than it ever was before.
The circulation is active, digestion perfect, and all the functions of the body working well. There is no good reason why these satisfactory conditions should not be retained on a return to ordinary life. It is impossible to give one set of rules that will fit every case, on account of variations in the individual, such as age, habits, condition of teeth, financial circumstances, location, previous disease, etc., but I can give here certain general directions which will no doubt be helpful, comprising as they do the observation of this class of patients for twenty-seven years.
Most people have some idea of what caused their previous lapse from health, and they should avoid the former errors. One very common source of ill health is improper breathing, and breathing impure air, day and night. This condition must not be returned to. Another very important thing to avoid is heavy clothing. No matter how good the circulation, or how perfect the regulation of the body heat, if thick, heavy, tight fitting undergarments are resumed, there is little chance that the natural animal heat will continue to be generated as freely as before.
The warm clothing obviates the necessity of producing heat within the body, and the oxidation of the blood becomes less perfect because it is not necessary to use, or burn so much oxygen.
The stomach does not make as much blood, therefore cannot digest as much food. The food, if not digested, becomes a tax on the system, the appetite is interfered with, and the general vitality lowered. On the other hand, with light clothing, and open mesh underwear, the circulation in the skin will be more active and assist in retaining the body heat; oxidation and metabolism in the body will be promoted; a larger amount of food assimilated, and more air respired.
People will put on clothing, and more of it, every time there is the slightest suspicion of being cold, or even if the skin becomes cool, not appreciating the fact that cold is one of the best stimulants we have for the circulation in the skin. And, while quick to add clothing, they are slow to quit it, and when the weather warms up again they have not only missed the stimulus of the cold air, but now are enervated by the superfluous heat of their garments.
Wear light garments and keep the skin in a state of activity. Make your own heat by taking in plenty of oxygen and food and using it ass nature intended. If you have to move a little quicker, or breathe a little deeper, to get the necessary oxidation and animal heat, all the better.
Your muscles will work better, and even your brain will be more active, if your vital processes are not smothered under heavy clothing. Notice a man with cold hands, or feet, and see if his limbs are not swathed with garments three or four layers deep. How can you expect sufficient blood to get down to the extremities if it has to go through several feet of flesh that is already too warm? If the man with cold hands, instead of wearing heavy, undergarments, with tightly knitted wristbands, will wear sleeveless undershirts, his hands will be warm as son as the system is accustomed to the change, and his general health better.
Keep the skin active by frequent baths. Friction baths, using a dry, coarse towel, or a brush, are excellent, and can be taken every morning. Many people do not have the facilities for a complete bath every morning, but everyone, I think, can go over the upper part of the body with a wet cloth or sponge, and follow this with a friction rub until the skin is dry, warm and reddened. In those subject to low blood pressure, subnormal temperature and generally weak vitality, it is of the utmost importance to take the measures described above. The towel should be long enough to grasp one end in each hand and draw it back and forth over the front, back and sides of the chest, under and above the arms and around the neck.
A warm water bath is necessary once or twice a week, and a daily sponge bath or rubdown of all the body usually covered with clothing helps to keep the skin in order. In regard to losing the weight and vitality gained on the milk diet, I think my long and peculiar experience has taught me that there are several ways of doing it not usually thought of. Nervous and anemic people are advised by their physicians to avoid overwork, worry, sexual excess, too close confinement, irregular meals. They probably know that they should have good, plain food, exercise, regular hours for sleep, frequent baths to keep the skin in good order, sufficient water to drink, and as much fresh air as possible, But there are other ways of losing.
One of the greatest causes of nervous and digestive troubles is reading. Yes, reading. Many people have expressed surprise when I said this, as if it had not occurred to them. People are so accustomed nowadays to get all their ideas from printed matter that no other source is looked for, but it will be a long time before the daily newspaper informs its purchasers that reading may be bad for some of them. Do you expect the weekly story paper, or the monthly magazine to tell you not to read too much? Will the publishers of the thousand new novels that come out yearly ever print on the cover: “Do not read this book unless your eyesight is perfect, your nerves under good control and your digestion normal”? Perhaps the optician and the oculist should tell you the truth, but if they do they may injure their best friends.
If it were not for the daily newspapers spectacle shops would not be opening up on every city block, until they are as common as dry goods stores. Analyze the act of reading. You look at a little crooked mark, a letter. You find a group of them, a word.
You see a number of words combined to make a sentence. Overlooking the defects of English spelling certain letters close together stand for a word, and the words, arranged in different ways, convey ideas through the eyes to your brain. In the brain the storehouse of memory is called on to compare, translate and store away the new ideas with the old ones, where each can be found on a moment’s notice.
The senses are stimulated and the emotions aroused, if what we read interests us. On the eye falls a great part of the actual work of reading. The light reflected from the printed page carries an impression through the lenses of the eye to the retina, where the nerves, by some wonderful process which we will never understand, carries the picture, or the idea, to the seat of memory and understanding.
So we read. Large print, small print, capitals, italics, many styles of type, five hundred words and more a minute, thirty thousand an hour, if you read continuously, as many do. The muscles of the eyeball are kept on a strain, tugging the organ up and down, jumping from the end of one line back to the beginning of another; from one column to the next, from page to page. The internal muscles of the eye, concerned with focusing and regulating the light, are even harder worked, considering the irregularities in the paper, the varying distances from the eye, and the changing light. Few people have perfect sight, and it is not always possible to fit glasses that will entirely correct the vision.
And a pair of glasses that fit you well one day may not be suitable the next, on account of changed conditions of the system or fatigue of the body. Near work, such as reading or sewing, is what makes nearly all the trouble with our eyes, and, according to a great specialist, eyestrain is responsible for very many ills of the body. Reading is really a wonderfully complicated act, and calls for a very large supply of blood to the brain. This blood must be drawn from other portions of the body as soon as we begin reading, and as the act of reading is usually performed while the body is quiet, there is no incentive to the heart to take on extra force, and therefore some portion of the body must suffer for lack of blood. The part that suffers the most on such occasions is probably the digestive system.
To sit down and read immediately following a meal is very likely to bring on indigestion, if there is the slightest tendency to that trouble. A large amount of blood is always needed in the stomach, liver, intestines and kidneys after a meal to furnish the necessary digestive juices, carry off the products of digestion and eliminate the waste matter.
I have many times cured an inclination to constipation by simply telling the patient that he must not read within an hour after a hearty meal. Too many people eat breakfast and then sit down to wade through many pages of the morning paper. And, perhaps, even a greater number, after a heavy meal in the evening, usually sit down and read. Many business men and women eat a hearty midday meal and immediately return to eye-straining work, such as reading, writing, accounting or other clerical work, with the usual result of causing more or less indigestion. They think they cannot spare an hour, or even a half-anhour, after their meal, to permit digestion to get a start, but they do not stop to think that there is another way to avoid trouble, and that is to omit the noon meal, or, at least, make it so light and simple that the mental work will not interfere with the digestion.
An important aid to health in many cases is a correctly fitted pair of glasses or spectacles. It is wise to have the eyes tested after taking this treatment, because the eyes undergo changes as well as everything else, and glasses that were used previously may cause eye strain afterward on account of being too strong. Illustrating a very common way of losing vitality, I quote from Health Culture: “Most women and some men are addicted to the talk habit.
Talking uses up more nerve force than almost any work in which a human being can engage; yet women who are nervous, weak and incapacitated for work will indulge in excited and wholly needless conversation by the hour and fancy themselves doing nothing – resting. Mistaken but well-meaning friends visit the invalid for an entire afternoon and extract more vitality from the ailing one than would, perhaps, if rightly applied, restore her to health.
Women unfit for household duties, hire a maid to do their work, and then spend a large proportion of their time flitting about among their friends recklessly expending their already flagging nervous energy in purposeless talk, talk, talk.” Very many people in ill health have not been in the habit of drinking sufficient water.
Water is the one natural food that we cannot live without, and while all solid foods that we cannot live without, and while all solid foods have some, there is not enough taken into the system that way to supply all the juices required in the body. A plentiful supply of water must be taken daily, and the time to begin the water drinking is right after you stop drinking milk.
Take a glass the first thing in the morning, and the last thing at night, and two or three drinks between meals. It is best not to drink any fluid with the meals as it tends to wash the food down before thoroughly masticated, and also stops the secretion of saliva, and stops the starch-digesting action of that already secreted. It is a mistake to order people to drink several pints of water daily, whether they want it or not. Water may be just as indigestible as any other food, in excess. The first drink in the morning should be taken anyway, even if not thirsty. But during the day it is better to take frequent small sips of water, rather than overload the stomach. Beneficial results accomplished by taking regularly and often, spoonful doses of water in which inert pellets have been dissolve, are entirely due, I believe, to the fluid, and not to the homeopathic medicine.
The stomach can be gradually accustomed to taking water in increasing doses, and will assimilate it. A glass of water half an hour before meals stimulates the appetite in a healthful way, and the meal is better digested.
So, also, the glass an hour after the meal helps to carry the digested food from the stomach and into the circulation. If there is any tendency to constipation the water drinking will generally prevent it, and especially, if a little fruit juice is added to the water. Lemonade is a good drink, but the “bracers” dispensed at the soda water fountains should be avoided.
Ice cold drinks of any kind are a poor thing to put in the stomach, and equally detrimental are the very hot drinks that many people take. When it comes to the question of food I am inclined to be rather liberal in my views, and do not lay down hard and fast rules, except, perhaps, for the former rheumatic patients, where I advise against a resumption of meat eating on general principles. But some of them are eating meat occasionally, and none of them have had rheumatism since taking the treatment.
Many of the patients are vegetarians, but some of them believed in that before taking the treatment, and still lacked health. Of late years the patients who have been using a diet of mostly natural, or raw foods, have all kept in good health, and I have come to believe more and more in this kind of diet. With milk and eggs, cream and cheese, nuts, fruits and vegetables, bread made from whole wheat, rye, oats or corn, and butter, anyone should be able to select a bill of fare.
Cabbage, beets, turnips, carrots, radishes, spinach, green corn, onions, chives, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and cress are all more digestible raw than when cooked, and have a better flavor. Combinations of these vegetables ground up in a chopper, together with sweet potatoes, or nuts, or fruits with various kinds of dressings composed of olives and olive oil, lemon juice, yolk of eggs, cream or milk, make perfect food dishes, taste good, and are easily digested. Better than food choppers are the graters, with a drum turned by hand, where the food is placed in a hopper at the top and grated rapidly without danger of grating the fingers.
Some call these cheese graters, but they grate carrots and apples perfectly and make dishes that can hardly be secured any other way.
A few apples, bananas, carrots, celery ground or grated up, with or without dressing, makes an excellent dish, call it salad, vegetable or whatever you like. Onions may be added for flavoring and, if desired, raisins, dates, or dried figs may be chopped in. Children are fond of these dishes and nothing could be better for them. With one other cooked dish, bacon, yolks of eggs, or even vegetables such as potatoes, beans, spinach, squash, peas, parsnips, onions or cauliflower, and graham bread with butter, a complete and nutritious meal may be had. I am not a believer in a meatless diet for the American people, and for those who do not use milk meat may be absolutely necessary.
If your thyroid, or other glands of internal secretion, are not functioning properly, you can best obtain the secretion from meat. Do not buy glandular extracts at the druggist; get them first hand from nature’s laboratory. Probably beef, not cooked too much, furnishes the best supply. With the meat meal use vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, string beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, onions, green peas, summer squash and turnips. Avoid all forms of starchy vegetables, potatoes, hominy, rice, sago, tapioca or dried peas and beans, at the same meal with any kind of meat except bacon. It may even be necessary for the dyspeptic to leave out all bread or cereals at this meal. If a piece of stale bread is permitted, it must be thoroughly chewed. Rare cooked meat needs little or no chewing, as the saliva does not affect it, and your stomach will take care of it. Save your jaws for the starchy stuff that requires thorough insalivation.
The “proof of the pudding is in the eating,” and the meal that digests easily, gives you vitality, does not clog the bowels, and permits a healthy appetite for the next time is certainly better than a combination of cooked starch and greasy food, sweetened drinks and dessert that is sure to cause trouble sooner or later. Only recently have the poisonous properties of white of egg for many persons been discovered. In this connection it is well to remember that the white of egg contains the embryo of the chick; the yolk is the food that the chick subsists on, both in the shell and after hatching, until it begins to assimilate external food.
The yolk comprises a little more than one-third of the edible portion of the egg, but measured in food value the yolk has 60 calories, compared with only 17 in the white. The yolk is about one-half water, one-third fat and one-sixth protein, while the white is about seven-eighths water and one-eighth protein. This the yolk is a much more concentrated food material than the white, containing in a given weight about seven times as much energy. The white of an egg looks big, especially when cooked, but you are losing comparatively little by throwing it away and using only the yolk. The fat of egg yolk, like milk fat, exists in a finely emulsified condition, so that it is capable of digestion both in the stomach and intestine.
The white of egg can only be digested in the stomach; if carried through with other foods into the intestine it decomposes into the familiar substance so easily recognized in a rotten egg, and this is probably what causes the trouble in those who are sensitive to egg poisoning, and this includes practically all constipated people. Egg white was formerly a favorite food in hospitals, and was given indiscriminately to all classes of patients, in the shape of albumin water, white-of-egg lemonade, cream lemonade, etc., to say nothing of the coddled or soft-boiled and poached eggs, custards and eggnogs.
White of egg, or any food containing it should not be given to any inactive persons, to any invalid, or to any person whatever who has a longer digestive period than 24 hour. That is, from the time you eat food until the waste is passed out must not exceed 24 hours. To ascertain time of passage, eat a charcoal tablet or teaspoonful of powdered charcoal. A consumptive or diabetic can consume 15 to 20 egg yolks daily without difficulty, but the white of one egg might easily more than counteract all the good done by the yolks. Yolks can be separated from the whites when the shell is broken, but it is difficult to remove all the white from the yolk. If the egg is boiled until the white is firm the yolk can be slipped out clean. In restaurants one can order eggs, fried on one side, and simply eat the yolks. There are some persons, even after taking the milk diet, who cannot use milk as a drink with other foods without noticing a costive effect, but they all, I believe, can take milk alone, or milk and fruit, or bread and milk, and make a satisfactory and easily digested meal.
Bread and milk suppers are a favorite of some of my former patients, who are past 80, and have no teeth. Bread and milk and fresh apples make a good combination. Any bread to be used in milk should be slightly stale, never fresh and soft. Whole wheat or Graham bread is far better than the white bread made from patent bolted flour, which contains little but the starchy part of the grain. There are several “milk modifiers” on sale and used for the purpose of making cow’s milk more easily digestible.
For invalids on a mixed diet, and babies who are having difficulty in assimilating cow’s milk, I find Dennos Food, made in Portland, Oregon, an excellent article. This food contains specially prepared whole wheat, lactose, cane sugar, rice flour and a small portion of malted barley. Complete and practical directions come with each package. Instead of cooking the food, as the makers recommend, I have sometimes used it raw, stirring it into hot milk. It is better than white flour for thickening broths, vegetable preparations or sauces.
There is a way to take milk for one or two meals of the day that will not cause trouble, either with the stomach or bowels, even if you have to use Jersey or other rich milk. Fill a glass half full of the milk and add hot water of a temperature that will bring the mixture to about 110 degrees. By using a pint of the milk this way, or even a pint and a half, for breakfast, you have a very satisfactory meal, and it will not interfere with your noon meal, but you must not take any other food with it, least of all starches or eggs. The only thing that can be taken sometimes is a raw apple or other rather acid fruit, to follow the milk. Those taking the exclusive milk diet must not use the milk and hot water combination, as the addition of hot water more or less sterilizes the milk.
I have several times been solicited to give my endorsement to milk pasteurization. I cannot conscientiously do so. Pasteurized milk doubtless has a certain food value when taken by a healthy person, but is more constipating than raw milk. It should be thoroughly understood that pasteurization is simply and wholly a method of preserving milk. No one with full knowledge of the subject would suppose for a moment that pasteurizing the milk of a tubercular cow would kill all of the pathogenic germs in it. Pasteurization destroys the lactic acid germs, which would soon sour the milk in the natural course of events, and this enables the milk dealer to carry his unsold stock for a much longer time.
It also destroys the white cells or leucocytes, of the milk, which we now think are transferred to the blood of one taking an exclusive milk diet and produce the chief effects in curing disease. Condensed, evaporated and powdered milk have the same disadvantages. I recently made a series of tests of powdered milk, and found that as a curative agent it was inert, in my hands, at least. I had hoped that it would be useful in those patients who are subject to diarrhea on a full milk diet, but it did not remedy the looseness of the bowels and failed to generate vitality in the same way that a raw milk does, even in the limited quantities that these patients can handle.
In a healthy person, powdered milk was found to assist in gaining weight. The legumes, beans, peas, lentils and peanuts afford valuable nitrogenous food. Green peas are excellent ground up, seasoned and slightly heated. Adding milk or butter improves them. Green corn in the “milk” is good served the same way. Raw peanuts are liked by many people better than the roasted nuts. Raw peanuts are usually laxative, or neutral, but roasted peanuts are invariably constipating. Dried beans as sold in the markets now are almost invariably treated in some way to make them insect proof. They may be fumed with formaldehyde, carbon disulphide or other preservatives.
This must be extracted before eating or serious effects may follow: Navy and kidney beans, as well as limas or butter beans, should be soaked in water over night. After draining carefully, add boiling water and let stand five minutes. Pour off or drain and add more boiling water and cook thirty minutes, and pour this water off also. Then add more boiling water and cook until tender. Season to taste before removing from fire. Some kind of fat is usually added in the last cooking, either oil or salt pork, and a small amount of molasses. Beans cooked this way are not indigestible, and, with the fat and molasses omitted, may be eaten by diabetics, as the assimilable carbohydrates are eliminated.
Uncooked wheat may be used in several ways. Like beans, wheat is sometimes treated with preservatives, especially the seed wheat that you may buy in city stores, and it is best to soak it in several waters, one of which may be boiling. Hard wheat is the best kind, and it may be made into a very palatable dish by soaking for 36 hours, changing the water two or three times to prevent it souring. It is then so swollen and soft that it can readily be eaten with cream, or honey. It may be warmed before using. This is a sovereign remedy for constipation. After soaking wheat about twelve hours it can be parched in a hot skillet until the grains puff up and become crisp and palatable. This is called spargo, and may be chewed or ground up and eaten with cream or hot milk. Corn spargo can be made from dried sweet corn parched in the same way.
Spargo is the principal diet of some of the Sicilian peasants. Raw wheat makes a splendid gum after soaking a while. Simply chew up a spoonful until all the starch is dissolved in the saliva, leaving the pure gluten a gum. The latter can be chewed a long time, as the alkaline saliva has no effect on it. The gum can be swallowed, as it readily dissolves in an acid stomach, or by adding a bite of acid fruit it goes into solution in the saliva. This kind of gum is really nutritious, while the common “chicle” gum sold in the shops is very indigestible, and little pieces which are unavoidably swallowed may cause distress in the intestines, possibly, as some claim, even appendicitis.
When purchasing oatmeal, procure the raw, “steel cut” meal, not the partly cooked flakes. Cook in a double boiler, at a low heat. When wheat, or any grain, or even beans, is soaked for a day or more, or, after soaking, is left damp, it germinates, sending out a root and a stem. This is the first step in the process of forming malt. The grain, at this time is no longer dead or dormant, but living and growing, and possesses properties different from the dry grain.
It has an active antiscorbutic element, and, if this fact had been known in earlier times, sailors and prospectors who contracted scurvy from the continued use of cooked, canned and dried foods could easily have prevented this disorder, or cured it, by the use of sprouted grains or beans. Chinese prepare a tasteful and vitalizing dish from bean sprouts, using the soya bean for this purpose. A favorite food in America, during the season, is green corn, a sweet maize, which is usually boiled on the cob. If allowed to ripen and dry it may be parched like wheat and makes an excellent spargo, particularly good when ground up and added to milk. Spargo is the principal diet of some of the Sicilian peasants. American Indians used to make a preparation of corn and dried meat, a sort of pemmican, to be used on long trips. Some people like toast, or zwieback, probably because it tastes crisp in the mouth and affords something to chew, but toast is a very poor article of food and usually constipating.
As often made, it is nothing but a cinder of carbonized starch and gluten. The day of toast and tea for invalids is gone and will never return in sensible households. Nuts are a good food, but rather concentrated. Most of them are improved by soaking in water for a day, before cracking. English walnuts and Brazil nuts are laxative foods when eaten as they should be, for the main portion of the meal, but perhaps not if used as a dessert after a full meal. Milk and sour milk are prepared in various ways to render them more easily digestible. It is well, in this connection, to remember that it is possible to give the stomach too little to do, and that a continuous feeding of pre-digested foods may weaken that organ.
I never advise the use of sweet milk as a drink with meals, but certainly buttermilk and sour milk can be used, in moderation, with good effect. It is difficult to get good buttermilk, and the so-called buttermilk tablets, pretending to be cultures of strange and beneficial germs from foreign lands, are mostly humbugs. One way to prepare buttermilk, or rather, sour milk, is to take the fresh, warm milk, and put it away in a glass fruit jar, in a warm place. If the weather is cool, or the drink wanted soon, place a teaspoonful of sour milk in the jar, as a starter. In about 24 hours the milk will be coagulated, or “clabbered.” Now empty the contents of the jar into a bowl and beat up with an eggbeater, until liquid and frothy, when it is ready to drink. Junket tablets to coagulate sweet milk can be bought at drug stores, and many useful recipes come with each little box. With their aid most delicious and digestible dishes can be made from milk and eggs without cooking.
I am amazed that so many American households are ignorant of these dessert dishes and still depend on pies and more or less indigestible puddings. No matter what food is given the stomach, it makes an effort to digest it, and nearly always succeeds with any simple, natural food;
but combinations of various classes of foods render the stomach’s work more difficult. Professor Pawlow’s researches have thrown great light on the subject of gastric and pancreatic digestive secretions. He showed that each kind of food ingested was instrumental in causing the secretion of digestive juices especially adapted to that food, but when several kinds of food were taken at the same time, a stomach had to be in very good order to make gastric juice suited to all.
When you eat meat your stomach makes a gastric juice that is unfit to digest starchy foods, and it is unwise to combine the two totally different foods. Most disorders attributed to the use of meat are really caused by a wrong combination of foods taken with the meat. Meat alone, or with nonstarchy vegetables, such as salads, is easily digested and passed out of the stomach, but when taken with other foods that require a totally different form of digestion the whole mass is imperfectly acted on by the gastric secretions.
The question of combinations probably makes little difference to the man in perfect health, or to the outdoor laborer, but, unfortunately, for most of us it is a very vital question. The same rule that applies to meat also applies to the whites of eggs, poultry, shellfish, fish, cheese, broths, most soups, and all the protein foods. Yolks of eggs, cottage cheese, bacon, beans and nuts also contain much protein, but practical experience teachers us that they can be used in combinations and in ways that would be dangerous with meats.
It is impossible to give general directions that will apply to every case, on account of personal idiosyncrasies or different conditions surrounding patients. Articles might be prescribed that would be difficult to secure or the preparation or cooking method might nullify the inherent values of the food. All foods are good for some people, but some can make poison out of the best of foods. Study your combinations and when in doubt take the safe course and leave out the doubtful element. It may be considered an established fact that almost every adult eats too much food, and this particularly applies to those past forty years of age. After the physical structure of the body, including its various organs, has been developed and habits of life fixed, we do not need nearly so much nourishment as when the body and brain were growing and new work being undertaken and new ideas being developed.
For the grown and settled adults to continue using the same quantity of food that they assimilated when young invites many disturbances of the digestion and disorders of the blood, kidneys, heart and liver. Of the different classes of food that may cause trouble, undoubtedly the worst offenders are the starches and sugars, when taken in connection with other foods. These carbohydrates, most essential to the growing child and youth, can well be spared in the adult. The man or woman who persists in using cereals, bread, pastries, candies or sugar in any quantity with the ordinary diet may soon have delayed digestion, fermentation, and constipation, with the usual attendant disorders. It is quite possible for such people to eat well cooked cereal, with milk or cream, or buttermilk, and this makes a well-balanced meal, but that should be the whole meal. On the other hand, many people with digestive disorders can handle a meat meal with ease, if little other food is mixed with it.
A broiled steak not too well done, with tomatoes or a salad, and possibly a piece of stale bread, makes an easily digested and very nourishing meal, and I have frequently advised this for people who had had rheumatism, high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, and have never known any ill effects from it, after their course of milk diet. As a rule, what is eaten at one meal should not be repeated the same day, or even the next day.
The system has enough of that article to last some time. The great majority of people who have stomach trouble get along best by not drinking anything with the meal, but a drink of water should be taken about half an hour before meals and half an hour or an hour after meals. I recommend for all, particularly constipated people, the drinking of considerable water, always including a glass the first thing in the morning. Cold water is usually best. No tea of coffee should be taken with meals, because of the stimulating effect from the drug caffeine and also because cream and sugar is so often added, making the digestion doubly difficult. Some also use the hot drink to wash down food, which has been insufficiently chewed.
Eating food dry, or in it natural state, requires considerable mastication before it can be swallowed. I am very much opposed to the use of black pepper as a condiment, as it imparts an irritating quality to the blood which is difficult to eliminate, and may be one of the causes of high blood pressure and Bright’s disease. Cayenne, paprika and chili pepper do not seem to have this bad effect, and furthermore are stimulating to the bowels, while black peeper is constipating. A method, which often has all the virtures of a complete fast and is without some of the fasting drawbacks is the mono-diet. Perhaps one of the oldest of these is the so-called grape cure, which has been and is still used in various parts of the world. The method of giving this treatment varies in different places.
Usually the patients go to the vineyard and live our doors while eating several pounds of grapes daily. As high as ten or twelve pounds can be taken, but the usual daily allowance is two to four pounds. In some cases a small amount of coarse bread is added to the fruit. The diet is quite laxative, and has been considered excellent for digestive disturbances and consumption. In some places the custom is to swallow the seeds while in other localities this is not advised. The skins are usually, but not always, rejected.
The soreness of the mouth frequently caused by the diet is relieved by rinsing the mouth with cold water containing a little bi-carbonate soda. A disadvantage of this cure is the fact that it is only available at one season of the year. Another remedy is the apple cure, which is now available at almost any time of the year. A very good remedy for malarial poison, and, perhaps, other disorders, consists in living exclusively on tomatoes for weeks at a time. In my experience with this diet the tomatoes were cooked, but with little or no seasoning.
I presume the fresh, uncooked fruit would be satisfactory. Cranberries are said to have a curative influence on rheumatism, and the use of uncooked vegetables, as carrots, for instance, is beneficial in skin disease. Recently an exclusive diet of cooked turnip tops has been tried in a large Eastern hospital, for digestive troubles, and with excellent effect, it is said. The meat diet, called the Salisbury treatment, was popular in this country twenty years ago, and may be valuable in certain cases, such as obesity. The meat used consisted of very slightly cooked, lean beef. I have known of patients taking as many as eighteen steaks daily, with a crust of bread, and usually hot water and orange juice to relive the constipation. This method is dangerous in certain conditions and certainly has not the general application of the fruit cures.
Unlike the exclusive milk diet, the exclusive meat diet gives very little heat to the body, and people using it require artificial heat in the room and hot water bags in the bed to keep them warm. In some forms of sprue, or amebic dysentery, the exclusive meat diet may be used with great benefit. None of the above named foods contain themselves a well balanced ration for the human body, and sooner or later, the diet would have to be changed to prevent starvation. Some writers claim that eggs are a perfect food, but certainly there are few people who can live on an exclusive diet of whole eggs. The “yolk cure,” as practiced by Stern, is quite different and is excellent for diabetics.
Luigi Cornaro, who lived in Padua (1467-1566), had ruined his health by excesses and adopted, when forty years of age, an abstemious diet of twelve ounces of solid food and fourteen ounces of fluid. His health rapidly improved and continued good until he died, almost a centenarian. He published his first discourse on the Sober Life when 83 years old, an addition to it when 86, a Third Discourse at the age of 91, and the Fourth Discourse, on the Birth and Death of Man, when he was 95 years old.
I quote from his writings: “It is certain that habit, in man, eventually becomes second nature, compelling him to practice that to which he has become accustomed, regardless of whether such a thing is beneficial or injurious to him. … Coming, then, to that evil concerning which I propose to speak – the vice of intemperance—I declare that it is a wicked thing that it should prevail to such an extent as to greatly lower, nay, almost abolish, the temperate life ….
It is this craving to gratify the appetites which has allured and inebriated men to such a degree that, abandoning the path of virtue, they have taken to following the one of vice – a road which leads them, though they see it not, to strange and fatal chronic infirmities through which they grow prematurely old….For there is a remedy by which we may banish this fatal vice of intemperance—an easy remedy, and one of which every man may avail himself if he will; that is, to live in accordance with the simplicity of Nature, which teaches us to be satisfied with little, to follow the ways of holy self-control and divine reason, and to accustom ourselves to eat nothing but that which is necessary to sustain life. …The unbound virtue of this is that which I eat and drink – always being such as agree with my constitution,
and in quantity such as it should be—after it has imparted its invigorating elements to my body, leaves it without any difficulty, and without ever generating within it any bad humors.”