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.
The usefulness of this discovery rests in the knowledge that it is possible to make the muscles connected with nutrition commit to memory the sequences of procedure in the processes of nutrition which accomplish the most profitable results, and then pass on to other details of responsibility care-free and thought-free, fully confident that everything will go on as Nature would have it go.
Without beginning this discipline of the muscular equipment at the right point and in the right manner, no solid structure of Efficiency-Building can be secured. Any amount of indigestion, or unnecessary strain put upon metabolism, interferes with the smooth working of the organism in the same way that an infinitesimal weight put at the tip end of the long arm of a lever multiplies the burden of resistance at the short end many, many fold.
Therefore, the Crux of Fletcherism is found in first training the muscular and mental apparatus to proceed with thorough deliberation relative to every thing taken into the body; for from this intake, and especially from the manner of the handling of this material along the line of the alimentary canal, come efficiency or inefficiency.
It is first necessary to know what you want the muscles to habituate themselves to doing in connection with nutrition. They must learn to know what constitutes a true appetite, in contradistinction to indefiniteness of want or desire. The muscles will soon learn to know that real hunger (body need) is not expressed by any uncomfortable feelings below the guillotine line. Only in the head, where the senses are all bunched together for the most important team-work, is honest hunger sensed. We may rightly add to the list of the senses, Appetite, and trust it with confidence to tell us what the body can use to advantage of the foods available at the time. That the foods are appetizing is the only recommendation necessary to a set of muscles trained to treat them as Nature requires when they enter the laboratory of the mouth.
Connected with the training of the mouth-muscle outfit, there is the one standing order. Challenge everything applying for entrance, whether by special invitation or in the way of surprise, by testing it for taste-acceptability at the tip of the tongue. Then keep on tasting and testing, with reverential appreciation of the gustatory delight there is in it, in the full knowledge that both digestion and assimilation, which are the prime necessities of. nutrition, are healthfully stimulated by accentuated enjoyment.
It is not necessary to dwell intensively on sensual enjoyment of the material being automatically handled by the methodical muscles. The pleasant sense sensations surrounding taste may serve as an accompaniment to agreeable conversation, to the delight of beauty in any form, to flowers, to music, to graceful and vivacious femininity, or to any sort of charm, with added strength given to the effect on wholesome nutrition.
So much for the usefulness of the mouth-muscles, including that most wonderful of muscles, the tongue, in assisting in the healthful stimulation of nutrition. Their most important office is to stand guard against the contingencies that are liable to happen which are prejudicial to digestion. If there is worry in the atmosphere: "Don't let anything into the mouth on pain of court-martial and suffering!" Those are the "orders of the day" for the sentinel muscles of the mouth, serving at the outer entrance of the alimentary canal.
In the category of "worry"are included anger, argument, blues, or any other of the depressant passions, and no food or drink, other than water, should be admitted to the canal while any form of depressants are being suffered.
We must agree in the first place that it can do no harm to wait for a clearance of the mental atmosphere. Real hunger is not a painful craving for something or anything, but is a most accommodating waiter for final collection of all the taste dividends there are due in a big lump sum to compensate for not getting them by instalments. Consequently, if the mental atmospheric conditions are not favourable to the best nutrition, the best way to clear them is to wait. Nothing is so forceful in making one modify or forget passing clouds of pain or disappointment as growing healthy Hunger.
The mouth-muscles soon learn to know this beautiful provision of Mother Nature, whereby deferred collections by appetite are paid with compound interest sometimes sure, if by the waiting process the mental atmosphere is cleared of the elements of digestive lightning and thunder.
How delightful it is to be assured that the best way to secure the best nutrition is the easiest way and that it can be quickly installed as a habit, so that attention to the mechanics of the care is not necessary, leaving the whole battery of appreciation to employ itself with the gustatory festival.