This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
"The fast is in vain," says Tilden, "if the patient returns to his old habits. This is true of convalescing in general." The results of the fast will be more or less temporary unless one lives properly thereafter. Fasting will not make one "disease" proof. Orthobionomic living is essential thereafter if one desires to remain in good health.
One woman who placed her whole family on a fast wrote Sinclair of the experience. "Mama had indigestion," she says. After her mother had protestingly fasted for some time, the lady described her mother's condition thus: "Mama is now comfortably eating boiled ham and stuffed peppers, and fruit cake and cherry pie and green olives and what not at the same meal. She is well, though. But of course she will get sick again."
Fasting is but a means to an end. It is a cleansing process and a physiological rest which prepares the body for future right living. It is, therefore, necessary that the work begun by the fast be continued and completed after the fast.
Most fasting advocates advise great care in breaking the fast and in subsequent feeding and then feed terribly. Dr. Eales, for example, followed his thirty days fast with an exceedingly bad diet. He broke his fast on Horlick's Malted Milk and was soon eating such meals as the following: "Glass of malted milk with raw egg, and ate one poached egg later." Dinner (6 P.M.) "two soft-boiled eggs, glass of milk, little rice and strawberries." He also mentions that he "had a cup of coffee" with some friends.
Dewey's personal diet consisted chiefly of meat, fish, eggs, milk, pastries and bread, with but few vegetables, these chiefly of the starchier varieties. He was opposed to acid fruits, declaring they all contain potash which decomposes the gastric juice and that "there is never any desire for acid fruits through real hunger, especially those of the hyperacid kinds: they are simply taken to gratify the lower sense--relish." Acid fruits can be "taken with apparent impunity" "only by the young and old who can generate gastric juice copiously."
The demoralizing influence of all acids, fruit acids included, exerted upon gastric secretion, is undoubted. But this does not necessitate abstaining from acid fruits and does not prove them to be harmful. It only calls for eating them alone. Dr. Dewey knew nothing of food combining. He referred to apple eating as converting the human stomach into a cider mill and declared that "by their ravishing flavor and apparent ease of digestion, apples still play an important part in the 'fall of man' from that higher state, the Eden without its dyspepsia." It was his notion that if we "eat from hunger" and not "from mere relish," we would eat right without much attention being given to what we eat. While there is perhaps more truth in this than is generally recognized, it is, unfortunately, not absolutely true.
Pearson lived for the first week after his fast was broken on about 2 oz. of sweet chocolate, 2 oz. of peanuts and one and sometimes 2 chocolate malted milks, from the soda fountain, a day.
Tanner tells us of his own overeating, that after his fast (he was dyspeptic before going on the fast) he ate "sufficient food in the first twenty-four hours after breaking the fast to gain nine pounds, and thirty-six pounds in eight days, all that I had lost." If I can judge by the results of over-eating after a fast, that I have observed, Tanner's gain in weight was a puffy, water-logged mass of material that cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called healthy or desirable. His uncontrolled eating was a dangerous procedure and he was in luck to escape with his life. It would not be wise for others to attempt this foolish stuffing. The inability of the undisciplined individuals of our country and age to control themselves means that they should not undertake to feed themselves at all after a fast. They should be controlled by a man of experience.
It will be quite obvious to the student of diet that the style of eating followed by these men must inevitably undo much of the benefits derived from the fast.
In many quarters it is the almost invariable practice to follow a fast with a milk diet. It is my invariable practice not to follow the fast with such a diet. The milk diet undoes much of the benefit derived from the period of abstinence. Dr. Hazzard also condemns the milk diet following the fast. Sinclair noted that very frequently the milk diet disagrees with people, and says: "Inasmuch as there is nothing that poisons me quite so quickly as milk, I had to look farther for my solution."
He further says concerning his experience with milk, "I was never able to take the milk diet for any length of time but once, and that after my first twelve-day fast. After my second fast it seemed to go wrong with me, and I think the reason was that I did not begin it until a week after breaking the fast, having got along on orange juice and figs in the meantime. Also I tried on many occasions to take the milk diet after a short fast of three or four days, and always the milk has disagreed with me and poisoned me. I take this to mean that, in my own case, at any rate, so much milk can only be absorbed when the tissues are greatly reduced; and I have known others who have had the same experience."
It is quite true that after a long fast one is capable of absorbing large quantities of milk, but there still remains the question of why one should do so. Why go on the fast in the first place if it is to be followed by worse gluttony than ever?
Dewey was opposed to special exercises. Rabagliati was of the opinion that exercises are not necessary to health and life, and that the ordinary movements supplied by the ordinary business of life are physiologically sufficient for this purpose. This is obviously not true in many occupations. Besides, exercise serves many purposes and few, if any, of the occupations of modern life supply all of the body's needs for exercise.
If we are to continue to enjoy good health after a fast, proper diet, adequate and fitting exercise, sunshine, fresh air, mental poise, rest and sleep and freedom from devitalizing habits are essential. The length of time through which the results of a fast will last depends upon how one lives after the fast.
"Diseases," when treated by drug and serum methods, frequently recur after they appear to be cured. I am frequently asked if this is true of fasting-"cured" cases. To answer this question correctly, it is necessary that the reader distinguish between "regular" methods of treating "disease" and fasting. Drugs and serums succeed only in suppressing the symptoms of "disease," so that an apparent cure often results. But suppression of symptoms does not constitute a real cure. Fasting does remove the internal causes of "disease." It purifies the organism. A cure by this means is a true cure, and is not merely a forced suppression of symptoms.
But fasting cannot make one "disease"-proof. If a certain mode of eating and living makes a man sick once, it can do so a thousand times if he returns to it. When a man has been cured through fasting, if he resumes over-eating and wrong eating and sensuality and inebriety, excesses, dissipations and other forms of wrong living, he will again build "disease" in his body. It may be the same condition or some other, but he is certain to evolve some form of "disease" if he does not live rightly after his body has been cleansed. If, like the Biblical sow that was washed, he returns to his wallowing in the mire, he can not help but become dirty again and will require another bath. But if he will live as he should live, he may be fully assured that he will not have a recurrence of his troubles. Once "disease has been "cured," by natural methods, the person cannot again have the "disease" without building it all over again.
Sinclair likens a man who needs a fast "every now and then," to the man who spends his time sweeping rain water out of his house, instead of repairing the roof. If there is need for you to fast at frequent intervals, this is because your eating and living habits are wrong. If you give up drinking you will not need to be sobered up at frequent intervals.
Enervation, established as a chronic state following enervating habits, lowers and perverts functioning of the organs of the body, some functions being weakened more than others. If we do not build enervation and toxemia by taxing the organism to the very limit, no pathology will develop. Lighten the toxic over-load with which the organism has been burdened, cultivate conservative habits of living, guide the mind into new channels of thought, poise and control the emotions, and getting well and remaining well is no longer a game of chance.