This section is from the book "Health Without Medicine. A Treatise On The Laws Of The Human System", by Larkin B. Coles. Also available from Amazon: Philosophy Of Health.
Remarks under the head, "Time for Labor," supersede the necessity of extended remarks under the present one. If laboring men would endure long and accomplish much, they must work and live, temperately.
Some men work too hard; and by this means violate a law of their physical nature. This is poor economy. Though for a day a man accomplish more, yet in the end, he is certainly a loser. But temperate labor is both healthy and curative in its effects on the animal system. If the hosts of dyspeptics and consumptives could turn farmers, they might dispense with drugs and doctors, and recover their health. But even farmers themselves may utterly destroy their health and constitutions by excessive and ill-managed labor. To subject one's self to a severity of labor which the strength and constitution cannot endure, is a violation of physical law, which, sooner or later, will bring in its train a penalty apportioned to the amount of transgression.
Another way in which labor may be made injurious, is by inattention to the laws of digestion. Take the case of the farmer for an illustration. Though the amount of daily labor performed by him is not sufficient of itself to injure him, yet by ignorance or disregard of the nature of the digestive process, he may do himself great injury. One way of injuring himself may be rapid eating; so that his food is no more than half masticated and half mixed with saliva. That food can comparatively do him but very little good. Or if he take sufficient time to eat, and then immediately set himself about hard labor, the process of digestion in the stomach becomes deranged and imperfect. Hence, his system is not nourished and sustained; or else he is obliged to overload his stomach with food in order to get sufficient support. But let him take ample time for eating, and. then spend one hour in digesting before he shall put himself down to hard labor, and he will soon find himself a gainer in health, and in the amount of labor ultimately performed. Take the farmer, with his dozen hands, in haying-time, it may be; they hurry down a heavy dinner, then go out immediately to mowing grass or pitching hay; while all their nervous energies are needed in the digestive process, they are forcing them away from their duty to the muscular system. The men and their work move heavily; and at the close of day they feel exhausted and overdone. But let this same farmer with his men change his course; they eat deliberately, they spend one hour in doing some light matter, and then apply themselves closely to work until the next meal. In this way they give time to masticate, time for the stomach to act, and then they work with ease, and despatch their work with much greater energy and speed; and at the close of the day they find themselves much less exhausted. Every man who knows how to manage beasts of burden, and studies economy, takes the same course with them which is here recommended for laboring men. When men or horses live and labor in this way, they ordinarily eat less, are in better condition, do more work, and endure longer.
Laboring men should also eat temperately. They are under no necessity for using animal food. They can be amply nourished on vegetable diet; else the provision made for Adam and Eve before the fall was a failure. But whatever they eat should be simple, nourishing, and palatable. They should eat moderately, and not overload their stomachs. If they eat too largely, the stomach is oppressed, and requires a longer time to perform its functions. Some are in the habit of taking luncheons between meals. They often say they want a full stomach to lean over; this is bad philosophy, for reasons which need not here be repeated. If they lunch habitually, of course when luncheon-time comes, they feel a faintness at the stomach. And so it would be if they were to eat ten times a day; and if they habituate themselves to only three meals a day, they will suffer no more, nor even so much. Three meals a day is as much as they can lawfully dispose of; and when they take more, they are obliged to violate an important law of the animal economy. They should be careful that they do not allow their supper to come near bedtime; supper should come in season for digestion. Then on rising in the morning, the head and body feel clear and active. Let laboring men adopt these suggestions, and they will find them much to their interest and happiness.