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.
"Instead of using medicine, rather fast a day," wrote Plutarch. Someone else has said: "Wise people, falling into any ailment, take a bath, go to bed, and fast, leaving nature to do her own work of cure, and not hindering her beneficent operations."
One of the first indications of illness is a failing appetite. Indeed appetite often fails a few days before any other symptoms appear. If the illness begins "suddenly," while the stomach is full of food, or if there is a serious accident or shock to the nervous system while the stomach is full of food, the stomach is immediately emptied by vomiting. Thus does nature indicate, both in animals and in man, that in acute "disease," no food but water should be consumed. In chronic disease she indicates that the amount of food eaten should be much less than that consumed in health. Dr. Eales admonishes: "Let the sick eat only when Nature calls for food." If this rule were adhered to by all, an untold amount of suffering would be avoided and many would be saved from an untimely death. But thanks to the medical delusion that "the sick man must eat to keep up his strength," this rule is not likely to be adopted by the great majority for years to come.
The common expression applied alike to horse and man, "off his feed," describes the instinctive abstinence from food that comes when power to digest food is low or absent. The loss of digestive power and digestive conditions is proportioned to the severity of the curative actions.
Writing of the vomiting that occurs in sea-sickness, Dr. Shew asserted that "almost all persons are benefited by it" (sea sickness), and explained the benefit thus: "It is by the beneficial power of fasting that the benefit of sea sickness is caused." Only false teachings can induce people to go on eating regularly in the face of the fact that the food is vomited as promptly as it is ingested. For this false teaching we have the medical profession to thank.