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.
Shipwrecked sailors and aviators forced down at sea, have, in many instances, been forced to exist for long periods without food, and often without water. Many have survived long periods without food under the many severe conditions that the sea offers. During the recent war many instances of this nature received much publicity.
In My Debut As A Literary Person, Mark Twain, seriously in this instance, records some of his experiences with and observations of fasting: He says: "A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best of medicines and the best of doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet, I mean total abstinence from food for one or two days. I speak from experience; starvation has been my cold and fever doctor for fifteen years, and has accomplished a cure in all instances. The third mate told me in Honolulu that the 'por-tyghee' had lain in his hammock for months, raising his family of abscesses and feeding like a cannibal. We have seen that in spite of dreadful weather, deprivation of sleep, scorching, drenching, and all manner of miseries, thirteen days of starvation 'wonderfully recovered' him. There were four sailors down sick when the ship was burned. Twenty-five days of pitiless starvation have followed, and now we have this curious record: 'all men are hearty and strong, even the ones that were down sick are well, except poor Peter.' When I wrote an article some months ago urging temporary abstinence from food, as a remedy for an inactive appetite and for disease, I was accused of jesting, but I was in earnest. 'We are all wonderfully well and strong, comparatively speaking.' On this day the starvation regimen drew its belt a couple of buckle-holes tighter; the bread ration was reduced from the usual piece of cracker the size of a silver dollar to the half of that, and one meal was abolished from the daily three. This will weaken the men physically, but if there are any diseases of the ordinary sort left in them they will disappear."