In short, from whatever point of view you consider the matter, nothing can take the place of personal experience ; and therefore, while it is desirable, and in truth unavoidable, to accept Dr. Haig's method of calculation, and to assume the accuracy of some of the food tables to begin with, as one must have some basis to start on, it must be clearly understood that, if the result is not what it should be, the blame is not to be attached to the simple foods, or to the principles inculcating their adoption, but to the manner in which the patient is applying them in his or her case.

One of the surest signs in my opinion that the individual application is wrong, is constipation, whether the patient has previously been a sufferer from that scourge or not. Of course, if the patient, on mixed foods, has never been troubled with it, and it began only with the adoption of the simple foods, the proof of mistake in individual application is the more emphatic, but in any case, as I maintain, it is only a question of degree. The usual experience is, I fancy, that the adoption of the simple foods is followed at once by a marked improvement in the behaviour of the bowels, which causes the heart of the neophyte to rejoice, and makes him think that the problem is solved for good and all. Such may indeed be the happy fate of some of us, but more usually, I think, the initial improvement gradually slackens, and finally dies away altogether, and the status quo ante the change of diet returns more or less. To all persons in that position I say that they should not be discouraged, that they should not think that the diet is in principle at fault, but that they should think that their individual method of application is wrong, and should never rest until, by experiment, they have discovered exactly what is the cause of the trouble. I do not think that Dr. Haig looks at this complaint, as it ought to be looked at, namely, as one of the most immediate and natural proofs that the diet is not being properly applied, except, of course, in cases where there is reason to diagnose structural or other organic defect in the bowels themselves. The result of not doing so is that a person, who adopts the simple foods, is very liable to bring over from his former condition and training the orthodox attitude, both among doctors and laymen, that constipation is one of the mysteries of Nature, which must be tolerated with resignation and fortitude, or treated with violence. Yet it seems to me much more likely that it is merely due to the fact that the food is presented to the bowels in a condition not suitable to their task, and that, either because something, which ought to have been removed by the process of mastication and stomachic digestion, has been left in, or vice versa, and is a kindly warning of Nature, which is meant to show us either that we are taking the wrong foods, or that we are taking them in the wrong quantities, or that we are combining them wrongly.

I expect you will say that, if the whole matter is really a question of individual effort and experiment, there is very little chance of right principles of diet ever spreading generally, seeing that most people expect their doctors to do all the thinking for them on the subject of health, and would decline even to entertain a proposition to change their diet, unless at least one could assure them that they had only got to follow a cut-and-dried programme. I quite agree ; but then I do not think, and never have thought, that most people are at all likely to be convinced in any circumstances at the present stage. What I hope will happen is that the experience of the teetotallers will be repeated, and that a sufficient number of people will become convinced of the evils of the mixed foods, to bring the necessary pressure of public opinion to bear upon the medical profession to force them to review their pronouncements in the light of the new data, which are slowly accumulating. When this has been done, and the majority of doctors advocate a non-flesh diet, at first for invalids and then generally, the lay public will follow their lead, as a matter of course, in time. Considering that the profession is now contemplating the establishment of sanatoria for the treatment of consumption at the North Pole, and remembering what they would have thought of such a proposition, say, to be quite safe, forty years ago, we need not despair. Meanwhile we should none of us lose an opportunity of drawing the attention of our medical friends to their monstrous impertinence in claiming our respect and implicit belief professionally, so long as they, as a class, are at least as unhealthy as the rest of us. What should we say to a seaman who obviously could not sail his own boat, if he wanted to come and take charge of ours ?

P.S. - By the way, the Cantani I have referred to above was a doctor of that name who practised at Naples and died in 1898. He was immensely thought of by the Italian medical world, and devoted himself specially to gout, rheumatism and kindred disorders, in the treatment of which he obtained some remarkable successes, principally, as it seems to me, by his skill in applying the rule which I have quoted in this letter. He admitted meat in small quantities into his dietary, and absolutely excluded milk and cheese; but as I have not yet been able to get hold of any of his books, which have not, I believe, been translated, and have only seen an English work, which purports to give a resume of his theories and practice, I do not feel myself in a position to speak more definitely on the subject.'

Dr. Haig answers these criticisms as follows :

In making a few comments upon your friend's letter, I should like first to mention some points which cannot be lost sight of without getting into hopeless confusion.

(1) Certain diseases are due to excess of uric acid in the body and blood.

(2) I propose to get free from those diseases by as far as possible ceasing to swallow uric acid.