Two or three years ago I had occasion to go to an oculist to see if my spectacles required strengthening. I begged him to test my eyes thoroughly. At the end of the interview I asked him if in every respect they were up to a good average standard for my age. He said most certainly they were, and in a most healthy condition. I then asked whether he would be surprised to hear that I had for some years been what is called a vegetarian. He immediately assumed a serious medical manner and said, 'Up to now it seems to have done you no harm, but, please, don't go on with it too long!' the manner implying that terrible things might happen. I smilingly replied that I promised I would give it up the moment I was less well. I mention this to encourage people to meet the opposition which they must expect from all doctors, nurses, aurists, oculists, and dentists - in fact, all the minds trained on the lines of the regular accepted medical teaching. The study of food in relation to health is a branch of medical science as yet in its infancy, for the best authorities, as may be seen in the standard text-books on Materia Medica, own that they know next to nothing of metabolism, or the changes undergone by food in the body.

A great many people tell me that diet involves so deep a knowledge of physiology that they cannot possibly undertake it. They cannot risk the responsibility of going against their doctor. They say to me, 'How can I fight a man who has given his lifetime to the study of these things, and who must know so much more about them than I can, even if I give my best attention to studying them?But is this the truth? Has not the doctor been taught to study drugs for the cure of disease rather than food as the basis of health? He never gives diet much consideration except in the case of over-eating in severe illness. In giving a mother rules for the health of her children, doctors will constantly recommend fresh air, exercise, and above all sufficient nourishment; but they rarely give any details as to the best kind of nourishment. I have heard of a doctor who recommended a non-flesh diet to one of his patients, and on expressing his surprise at finding he had really followed it, said, 'There are at least 120 of my patients who would be benefited by it, but not one of them would do it.' I think this is only natural, as the moment the patient was better he would say, 'Does Dr. - practise this diet himself and in his own family? If not, why am I to do it now I am better?' Can anyone think that vaccination would be so universally accepted if doctors and their children were not themselves vaccinated?

Only those people who have strength of character enough to take responsibility against public opinion should attempt the simpler food diet. To begin it haphazard with no knowledge and little faith is almost bound to end in failure. The undeniable success of the diet upon myself has caused many people to say, 'There is no doubt this diet suits you,' with an emphasis on the 'you,' intended to convey 'what suits you, would be fatal to me.' With these I go no further. The real fact is an immense number of people are very fairly well, and much enjoy the good things of life, including food, between their attacks of illness. They entirely forget the expense of time, strength, and money entailed by these little attacks of colds, bilious headaches, feverishness, &c, the mornings spent in bed, the afternoons on a sofa in a darkened room, the days lost at business from bronchitis and influenza.

If people could once be persuaded that the reduction of luxurious food does mean improved health, I think I should hear less about the extreme self-denial involved in my diet. The man who comes down in the morning and grumbles because he likes neither of the two hot dishes provided for breakfast, would be the last to consider himself either a luxurious liver or an invalid; but, having been convinced by the preaching of years that he must 'keep himself up' by eating well, any change from a three-meal a day meat diet, without considering sandwiches at 5 o'clock tea, strikes him with horror as a low diet which will result in 'running down' and losing the strength of mind and body so necessary for work.

This 'running down 'does indeed happen not infrequently as a result of the old-fashioned unintelligent vegetarianism. A great obstacle to change of diet is the family doctor. I have known two or three who sadly needed it themselves, and having tried it more or less for a few months, pronounced it a failure because the good result was not instantaneous. The best results never come under eighteen months or two years. I wish to warn people that if they consult their doctor no diet will be tried. The doctors must be educated by the public. The majority of them have no idea of giving up their own food and social enjoyment, though I have heard of a few of those very men recommending it to their wives ! Doctors are good kind men on their own lines, and devoted to their profession as long as it means curing illness by drugs ; but a little reflection teaches us that the members of a learned profession are naturally the very persons least disposed to innovation upon the practices which custom and prescription have rendered sacred in their eyes. A lawyer is not the person to consult upon bold reforms in jurisprudence, and a physician can scarcely be expected to own that diet may cure diseases which resist an armament of phials. Every feeling of a doctor must be against a system which does not profess to be a cure of active disease, but a radical reverse of all the preconceived ideas of maintaining health, and is also a denial of the principles taught by the College of Surgeons. All the same there are hopeful signs that a great change is coming about. Dr. Lionel Beale used to tell young practitioners many years ago that they would often come across cases for which starvation was the only cure, but he said, 'Of course, if a patient came to you and you advised him to starve himself, you would never see him again. But there are many ways of inculcating good advice without shocking the nerves of sensitive people who suppose that abstinence from food for a few hours means death. Tell your patient not to take any solid food for a week. Order him a little beef-tea three times a day. Towards evening he may take with it a biscuit, or a little dry toast. . . . By a little exercise of ingenuity you may suggest various things to take that will satisfy him, but which altogether will not amount to much.'