Imprudencies in diet are perhaps, often more than anything else, responsible for indigestion, so-called "biliousness," diarrhea, gas, gastric discomfort, "heart burn," and a host of other symptoms of which so many millions constantly complain. We cook and season our foods so that we are tempted to gluttony; we eat the flesh and fat of animals that have been made sick by our methods of caring for them; we glut ourselves on foods that have been processed, refined and adulterated to such an extent that they are unfit for human consumption. Danger resides in certain of the residues of such foods. Surfeit leads to boredom and nausea. An overflow of nutrition would seem to lead to an overflow of development into pathological channels. Can gluttony or intemperance claim a single virtue and is there among us a single phase of character to be admired that has these as its source? We remember the virtues that endear the good, but we cannot forget the vices that deform the bad.

When a man dies of habitual gluttony, his friends are likely to attribute his death to the "inscrutable ways of God." The "mysterious Providence" upon which they are prone to lay the blame for so much of their suffering is none other than their own folly. Their suffering and premature death is the natural result of their own false ways of life.

We suggest that the large quantities of lard, butter, sugar, candies, common salt, spices, condiments, which are habitually and almost universally taken, most of which cannot be transformed into structure, are evident and alarming causes of disease. These occasion irritation of the digestive tract, inhibit the digestion of food and cause other troubles that could be avoided by simply leaving them out of our diet.

The inordinate seeking after cultivated enjoyments, especially those that afford the senses unnatural or abnormal excitations, must, with great certainty, induce a state of organic weakness and cripple the functions of life. We have devised an almost infinite variety of means of affecting the manifestations of life, of increasing pleasure and pain, and thus have multiplied the causes of disease. Disease evolves because we overstep our limitations, because we enjoy beyond our power to recuperate. Our arrangements for civilized living are incongruous and are not subjected to reason.

Our sensational life, particularly that part of it that affords us pleasure, is permitted to dominate our activities so that life is turned into a frantic search for excitements and thrills that waste our energies. We suffer many unnecessary pains and great weakness because of excessive indulgence in pleasures, many of them artificial. Youth is often thoughtless. The present is everything. To enjoy the present, they will borrow from the future at a most fearful rate. Then, when the inevitable pay-day arrives, they are often unwilling to believe that they have overdrawn upon the bank of life. It is folly to think that because you seem always to have plenty of energy, your supply is inexhaustible.

In modern society, as Taylor said, men, in their hot pursuit of passion, are impelled headlong into all manner of improper actions (perhaps we should stress the excesses of action as well) and, of course, must pay for their follies by suffering their legitimate results. Ignorant and heedless of these causes of suffering and being taught that their suffering is due to foreign invasions (evil spirits, malevolent germs, malignant viruses), they accept any proffered therapeutic recourse, when ill, and continue the very course of action that is responsible for their functional impairment and toxemic saturation.

Truly did Taylor say that "it is highly derogatory to man that he permits the preponderance of the lower functions to subject the whole being to their partial (or excessive) and perverted action. He forgets and forsakes the nobleness of nature he possesses in higher capacities. And still further does he mistake in attempting recovery by any system of treatment that omits the important necessity of 'learning to be wise.' Health to all such is but an accident, and its possessor cannot claim any merit in its possession."

It is probably true, as Dr. Taylor thought, that the benefits and ills of life are more nearly balanced than the cursory observer thinks since, as he said, the capacity for either is co-extensive. But, also, as he pointed out, by knowledge and forethought, we can so order our pleasures that we avoid the ills of excess. Daily we dose ourselves with stimulants (tea, coffee, poisoned soft drinks) and narcotics (tobacco, alcohol and other drugs); we exhaust ourselves by debauchery; we turn our nights into days and carry our activities far into the night and when we have made ourselves sick by such abnormal practices, we permit physicians to convince us that our sufferings are due to germs and viruses and are to be remedied by further and added violations of the laws of life--by poisoning. We support a large army of respectable charlatans who batten off the sick and add to their mischief and misery by dosing them with virulent poisons.

We destroy ourselves by our work. The "high pressure" principle upon which so many men and women work their brains and abuse their bodies induces an irritable state of the nervous system. The tight, deadly gripping struggle of competition, the whirl of business, the rivalries of trade, the controversies of theology, the strifes of politics, the interminable din of cities, the roar of buses and trucks, the honking of horns, the long hours of toil, the infelicities and discords of domestic life, the exigencies of the weather, the drag of habits that are destructive, all add up to an excessive tax upon the energies of life.

To work is good, but self-destruction by labor is as wicked as any other mode of suicide. Care, trouble, anxiety, sorrow and irritation of mind exhaust the nervous power. We should resolutely set them aside, get out of them or escape from them. Avoid gloomy conversation and thoughts. Shun repulsive occupation and unpleasant society. Labor, or otherwise exercise, but always in some pleasant way, so as to produce moderate fatigue, but not exhaustion.

Whether a habit is healthful or unhealthful must be decided in the light of true knowledge, rather than on isolated experience. "It doesn't hurt me," is the rejoinder most frequently made when someone is cautioned against the use of tobacco, alcohol or coffee. The alcoholic habitue says: "Whiskey (or beer) does not hurt me." The smoker says: "Tobacco does me no harm." The young lady who fills up day after day on mince pie and pickles, mustard and pepper sauce, rich pastry and confectionery, and indulges in the fashionable dinners, says, when remonstrated with about her reckless squandering of her health: "Oh, it's so charming and it doesn't hurt me."

Is it not strange that these same people can often see that these same indulgences are harmful, even fatally injurious to others, but that they will not admit that there is any harm in their own case? The drinker sees every day of his life the wrecked bodies and shortened lives of drinkers--he may even call the other man a fool for getting drunk; the young lady observes many of her girl friends dropping one after another into premature graves or lingering on for years in hopeless invalidism, health, beauty and happiness sacrificed on the altar of perverted appetites--yet she still persists in claiming that commission of the very same follies does her no harm.