This section is from the book "Fletcherism. What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty", by Horace Fletcher. Also available from Amazon: Fletcherism, What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty.
In the thorough investigation that Dr. Hindhede, of Copenhagen, has conducted for the past few years, and in which I have assisted, I have followed the quest with eagerness because of the thoroughness of it. It has been proven that very little protein or nitrogen is needed for the human body even under strain of hardest physical or mental activity. On the other hand, it has been found that any appreciable excess of protein or nitrogen results in both uric acid secretion and increased blood-pressure, meaning, in all probability, finally fatal strain on the organism. It has also been demonstrated that it is almost impossible to take the leaner meats without getting more protein or nitrogen than the body needs.
It is quite easy to get excessive protein and nitrogen from vegetable, farinaceous, and hen-fruit material, and cheeses are richer than anything in these "strong"food ingredients; but these are not such subtle foolers of the appetite as meats done up in spicy gravies and accompanied by appetising fats.
I purposely avoid giving any figures relative to the food values under mention because the first rule of Fletcher-ism in connection with the selection and intake of food is to leave that entirely to appetite, working intelligently and normally in relation to the food that is available at the moment.
To my thinking, the most important consideration is economy, not alone of the money cost of food, but economy of energy-consumption within the body. There may be times when economy of money-cost means much to persons struggling to lay aside an independent competency for the purchase of leisure in old age, or for insurance against becoming a burden upon others; and this is sure to happen to all who are not cursed by the handicap of money inheritance. But it is the internal economy of the body that counts for most in estimating values. There is no doubt but what flesh food is a stimulant of the same or similar character of alcohol. Both of these subtle agents of intemperance invite the starting and accumulation of vicious cycles or circles (swirls) of over-stimulation that have one bad effect, at least, on the comfort and efficiency of the muscular tissues. They facilitate fatigue and "that tired feeling," and also may result in contingent "soreness" of muscle after unusual exercise.
Faithful Fletcherizing has resulted in regulating these matters in a way that is nothing less than marvellous until the reasons are revealed.
Not only does observance of the habit and practice which Mr. Rockefeller has condensed into thirty-three words, including several repetitions for emphasis, result in settling the questions of appropriateness, economy, emergencies, and comfort in general between the Meaters and the Mealers; between the mixed Meaters and Mealers; and between the Physiology and Psychology of normality; and which Mr. Rockefeller calls "Fletcherizing," but a whole lot of beneficent cycles or circles (rhythms) of profitable felicities are set in motion.
The Mealers have the advantage of the argument in that they are always on the safer side of prudence, and there is no real deprivation involved in the experiment.
At the present moment I am, personally, still in the experimental field as regards everything that Nature permits as food or drink. There is one point that vegetarianism has not satisfactorily answered as yet. The great majority of conscientious vegetarians have not the pink complexion that is usually reckoned as a sign of beauty or robustness, but I have known one, Frederick Mad-sen (Madsen the Faithful), an assistant of Dr. Hindhede in Copenhagen, to subsist on potatoes and butter, or margarine, alone, for three hundred days consecutively, stopping only because the potatoes to be had in the market were not as good as desired, and he lost none of his pinky-pinkness of complexion of the richest Scandinavian brilliancy. I have done the same for four months with similar results of retention of pink-ness of complexion. Another question is: Does pinkness indicate health? It is not the necessity of health among Latins and bronzed Orientals, but it underlies the bronze exterior in even African Negroes, if they are healthy. Sallow is the reverse of healthy in proportion to the sallowness, as a usual thing.
Just here is where the efficacy of careful eating, which has been formulated as Fletcherism, comes into service most agreeably to make life really worth living and actually one continuous festival of usefulness and pleasure. It is only once formed into a habit and set to working automatically under the direction of Appetite, Taste, Feeling, Instinct, and the other attributes of sub-conscious Intelligence.
It will be noted that Mr. Rockefeller, in his recent pithy, gisty utterance relative to the merits of Fletcherizing, makes no mention of the kind of food to be recommended. Happily, as far as I know, he is not in the food business, has no connection with any special food supply, and cannot recommend any of the products of petroleum as food or drink. He should be absolutely unprejudiced in his judgment, and seven or eight years of recuperative experience, similar to mine of a longer period, is material for judgment and recommendation.
Some years ago there was born in me the ambition to formulate the rules of economic procedure in securing optimum nutrition in a space of not more than ten pages of coarse print that mothers, teachers, and children of primary school age could understand as easy as the noses on their faces. Mr. Rockefeller has "beat me out" in brevity by several lengths. He has made the revelation with the lucky number of thirty-three words, and left room for a final remark full of scriptural tone, as is his wont.