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.
Writing in Physical Culture, May, 1915, Dortch Campbell says: "There is nothing that can be found as an actual substitute for fasting, nothing which will give the full benefits of the fast." He is discussing various types of eliminating diets for those who "cannot fast." Among these diets, he mentions the grape diet, the apple diet, the tomato diet, the milk diet, etc. He says: "I am inclined to the opinion, however, that there are better fruits than grapes that may be used. An exclusive apple diet is superior, an exclusive orange diet more so because there is little nourishment in oranges. An exclusive tomato diet answers the same purpose."
The principle here expressed, that the diet gives better results as it approaches a fast, agrees perfectly with my experience in the matter. Not only is it true that the less "value" the food possesses, the more good the patient derives from its use, but it is also true that the less the patient takes of the food and the more nearly he fasts, the more rapidly he recovers. Tilden fed diluted fruit juices for an extended period and came to the same conclusion.
Fruit diets, vegetable diets, juice diets, mono-diets, etc., are valuable in the degree to which they reduce the amount of food daily ingested. Their value increases as the total amount of food eaten daily diminishes. The nearer one approaches a complete fast the more good he derives from his "curative" diet.
. In an article written a short time before his death and published posthumously in the October, 1940 Review and Critique, Dr. Tilden says: "How do fruits prevent clogging of the liver, kidneys, and skin? By not causing clogging of these organs. Certainly not through eliminating properties--medicinal qualities. No! Nature eliminates, when given an opportunity. Clogging comes from ringing the changes on bread, meat, potatoes, puddings, pies, and coffee, until the body is burdened with waste. A fruit diet allows nature to work in an almost unobstructed manner. Every particle of fruit taken when the body is replete hinders elimination. This being true (and I have proved it daily for years in actual practice), then fruit does not assist elimination, except by its absence. When used, it has less influence than the other foods in preventing elimination."
Consuming large quantities of juice water-logs the tissues and overworks the kidneys. The less juice ingested, the more rapidly the sick person improves.
A fast is more effective than any form of diet; not because fasting cures, for it does nothing of the kind, but because it affords the body full opportunity for house-cleaning. The sick man is not so much in need of ingestion as he is of excretion. His body is already overloaded. More often than otherwise he is suffering from nutritive redundancy. Abstinence, or partial abstinence, alone, can save him.
In many cases of chronic illness it is not necessary to undergo a long fast, a short fast, or a series of short fasts to obtain the desired results. However, the most salutary effects of cutting down the food intake are best obtained by fasting. All that is needed in some cases is to cut down the total quantity of food consumed and of the proteins and starches in particular. But, even in these cases, the results obtained are never as far-reaching as those obtained while fasting. The reason for this will be evident to those who have mentally digested and assimilated the chapter on the rejuvenating effects of the fast.
That many do obtain relief from symptoms by the use of these various diets is not to be questioned. For, at their worst, they are usually better than the diet customarily eaten and their use usually means less gluttony, at least, for a while.
But the man of experience is well aware that full health is almost never achieved, that the effects of the diets are never as profound and far-reaching as those of fasting and that the diets almost never achieve their results in as short a space of time as does the fast.
Using foods to cure, instead of removing the causes of disease and using foods to nourish the body, is fundamentally as unsound as using drugs to cure. Foods do not cure. Until we have discarded our faith in cures, there can be no intelligent approach to the problems presented by suffering and no proper use of foods by those who are ill.
I am not content with half-way measures. I have seen them fail too often, where a subsequent fast brought speedy results, to be fooled by the claims of the inexperienced and poorly informed. In many cases, failure has been so marked that the patient has been permanently soured upon the whole idea of fasting.
In thus drawing a contrast between fasting and the eliminating diet, and pointing out the many limitations of the latter, I do not wish to appear to minimize its value. The eliminating diet is extremely important and no doctor, who does not fully understand the application of such a diet, is fully equipped to serve all patients who may consult him. He is seriously handicapped just as is the man who does not have a thorough working knowledge of fasting. The reader should refer to Volume II of this series for a full presentation of the eliminating diet.