Hygienists also eschewed the eating of condiments. Their position was a simple one: namely, wholesome foods are agreeable to the normal (undepraved or unperverted) taste. But so habituated are our people to the practice of concealing the taste of proper and pure food with some "more tasty garb," such as spices, salt, sugar and other seasonings, that they do not know the taste of foods. The ethereal and delicate flavors of foods pall upon the tongue and palate that is capable of sensing only the pungent and austere, so that one may have an aversion to those foods best designed to provide him with superior nutriment. The irritating qualities of ginger, nutmeg, pepper and various spices, anise seed, caraway seed and similar substances that are often added to food are a perfect outrage to the taste of the unitiated, although demanded by condiment addicts. In condiments as well as in drinkables, chewables and snuffables, what diabolism has not been committed in this country, no less than in other parts of the world, all in the name of the god of titillated sense.
Unfortunately, we find few people with a normal sense of taste. Watch them put salt on tomatoes, water-melons, cantaloups, sugar on oranges and grapefruit, sugar and cream on berries and other substances (vinegar, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, horseradish, catsup, sauces, etc.) on other foods. They eat few foods without the addition of seasonings, sweetenings, condiments, etc. They do not like the taste of food, but of condiments, of vinegar or other foodless substance. Perhaps they like sugar and cream with a berry flavor, but few of them like berries. They eat cream on bananas, sugar and cream on peaches, sugar and spice on their apple (baked); but they do not relish the apple. I doubt if we realize the extent to which we have depraved our sense of taste.
Almost everyone spoils a nice dish of vegetable salad by salting it down or by the addition of a salad dressing that has an abominable taste. Few relish the natural savors of their salad. The vinegar in the dressing appeals more to their depraved taste. Few of these people realize that the addition of such substances to their foods retards the process of digestion and is a common cause of indigestion and all the ultimate consequences that flow from chronic indigestion.
Man is provided by nature with instinctive protections against the intake of injurious substances, but under the misguidance of shaman, priest, physician and trader, he deliberately beats down his instinctive protests against the ingestion of hurtful substances and acquires a fictional liking for them. Only some strong psychological influence, such as that provided by the shaman, priest and physician, could have induced man originally to disregard the persistent protest of his instinct and acquire false habits.
In the very nature of things, it is highly essential that man's gustatory sense shall be a strong one, for on it rests the selection of those substances necessary to the preservation of the individual. On it, also, rests the rejection of inimical substances. A strong gustatory sense excludes the possibility of carelessness and forgetfulness in the matter of duly maintaining all the organic wants, so far as the materials of nutrition are concerned. It exercises a becoming foresight and insures provision for future needs. The sense of taste is one of a sisterhood of senses, each of which is a string of the human harp, the vibrations of which are sweet music to the mind. Taste is thus much more than that of a purveyor or a sentinel.
Enjoyment is a consciousness of the normal performance of functional activity. Substances that cause suffering are instinctively rejected and repelled. Non-nutritious sensorial excitants, in the enticing forms of beverages and ganglionic excitants and irritants, in the form of condimentary spices, share largely in the work of overturning gustatory judgment. Sharp, biting, pungent spices and seasonings irritate and goad the whole digestive tract as they do the mouth and tongue; they may even occasion smarting and burning of the rectum in passing. Such buses of the digestive system lowers its tone and energy and cripples its functions.
There are many substances in common use as articles of diet, such as spices, cayenne pepper, salt, old cheese, etc., which are indigestible, irritating and injurious. They serve no physiological purposes and are best omitted from the diet.
Our position is a simple one. It is this: whatever is foreign to a natural healthy organism and cannot be digested and assimilated to its essential structure, whatever undergoes no physiological or vital synthesis and is not capable of being processed by the normal metabolic activities of the body is inimical to it and will or does occasion disease. Conforming to this principle, it is observed that within each of us is the natural or normal disrelish of all substances that are non-usable, when these are brought in contact with the senses of taste and smell and with the natural, undepraved appetite; even such articles that are stronger and sharper than the gastric juice, though they may not be absolutely poisonous, are indigestible and unassimilable. Nothing more reveals the fitness of man for life in the earth than the higher offices of taste and smell, without whose safeguards against the introduction of indigestible and poisonous substances into the stomach, confusion and mischief would reign.
If anything could reveal, in a light clear as noonday, the wide departure of civilized man from the pure and simple tastes and unperverted instincts of nature and the corrupted, unnatural, unhealthy condition of civilized man, it is the fact that the most nauseous, disgusting and horrible substances are daily swallowed in large quantities, substances so disagreeable that no art of preparation can fully prevent the loathing with which poor, abused instinct regards them. What is even more strange and monstrous, they are taken with the idea that they possess the power to restore health.
Such objectionable substances are administered by a privileged class who make much pretense to science, wisdom and skill above their fellow men, but whose practices reveal that they do not understand the very first and fundamental principle of a true mode of care of the sick, which would teach them that they should guide their patients into obedience, instead of insisting upon violation of nature's laws. To our minds, there is no more convincing evidence for the absolutely injurious and poisonous character of drugs, under any and all circumstances, than the utter abhorrence with which even the most perverted taste rejects them. Even those who have so corrupted their appetite and sense of taste as to be able to eat half putrid flesh with hot, pungent sauces and spices, drink alcoholic beverages and chew or smoke tobacco are not so blunted in taste that they find the natural taste of drugs agreeable to them.
To accept drugs, man must be continuously falsely educated, his intelligence must be stultified, his confidence in the normal resources of his constitution must be undermined, there must be a ruinous perversion of his sense of taste and there must be substituted a love of the artificial, the mysterious, the exotic and adventitious, before he can be induced to forsake the normal things of existence and impose his trust in poisons. With all the means now at man's disposal with which to camouflage the many toxic substances that are employed as drugs, it becomes necessary to station around the citadel of life more watchful sentinels than ever before. Man must be intellectually fortified when it has become possible to so easily fool his senses.
From what we have said, it should be evident that of all the classes of substances which cause disease in the human body, the drugs of the physician are by far the largest and most deleterious. That they are absolutely indigestible and must enter the blood and tissues with the same poisonous qualities with which they are swallowed is undeniable. Were they digestible and assimilable, they would be foods, not drugs. They would be beneficial and not poisonous.
Certainly, when the powers of life are low and these are all concentrated in the work of resisting and expelling the cause of disease, to administer poisons in the form of drugs is to endanger life. This may easily prove to be the immediate cause of death.