This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
There are other diet systems or "cures," which deserve passing mention rather as matter of general interest and as illustrations of the effects of strong mental impressions or " mind cure " combined with moderation in previous habits of overeating or gluttony, than because any specific importance is to be attached to the value of one such "cure" more than another.
Many diet "cures" have been devised purely for notoriety, to advertise an otherwise unsuccessful practitioner or a charlatan, and others again are exploited by well-meaning fanatics who have acquired a firm belief in some dietetic system which has first helped themselves, and which they feel that they owe to the world to promulgate for the guidance of others. But they are not always even pretended followers of AEsculapius. Mr. Banting (p. 637), whose name has given rise to a verb meaning to reduce corpulency, was a layman, and so was Mr. Graham, whose name is a household adjective applied to the flour which he introduced, and many famous men, like Shelley and Goldsmith, have sung the praises of vegetarianism.
Not infrequently an element of religious fervour is added to the belief in the efficacy of some new system, and long pilgrimages are made to seek its chief apostle. Such, for example, is the:
Monseigneur Kneipp was a Bavarian priest whose patients lived chiefly upon a diet of milk, coarse bread of bran and flour, soup, and cooked fruits, with a minimum of meat, eggs, and vegetables. Water was principally drunk, with a little wine or beer, but no spirits or coffee. This is undoubtedly a common-sense regimen for many persons who have long abused their gastronomic powers by eating too much and too rich food, but the ascetic elements were added of wearing very light, loose apparel and walking about barefooted in the grass before the morning dew vanished.