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 urine is inoffensive and seems to be materially changed in quality, as shown by chemical analysis. Uric acid, the chlorides, and, more markedly, aromatic sulphates are reduced in quantity.
Owing to deliberation in eating, necessitated by this new habit, satiety occurs on the ingestion of considerably less food. By carefully studying one's self I believe it possible to cultivate an instinct which will regulate not only the quantity but the quality of food that the body may need, and that in the normal health of a full-grown body, no more food either in quantity or quality should be supplied than suffices to supply diurnal waste. Any excess must result in pathological processes.
Although there results enhanced pleasure in the taking of all foods, rich and simple, and especially in the appreciation of good wines, the quantities of these foods and beverages that suffice to fully satisfy the appetite are much smaller than before, while there is a marked preference for the simpler kinds of food. The writer now can imagine no more pleasurable meal than one consisting of good brown bread, eggs, butter, cheese, and cream. These, with fresh vegetables and a very little fruit, form his staple diet. This tendency and preference for simple foods is the general experience among those who have recovered their reflexes of deglutition.
Following on the ingestion of a lessened quantity of food and on its better assimilation, there is less waste, the egesta are voided less frequently, sometimes only once in five to eight days.
The lower bowel is not the reservoir it formerly was. So haemorrhoids cease from troubling and constipation cannot exist. For this same reason the body, at the beginning of the practice, commences to approximate to its normal weight, increasing or decreasing as the individual's environment demands.
A few more words only need be said. It has been easy to state the results of experiments and observations: but the acquiring of this new reflex, while pursuing daily occupations, is not easy, and needs more than a little patience and much serious thought. The habits of a lifetime cannot be changed in a few days or weeks. The shortest time in which the reflex has been re-established is four weeks, and this only by avoiding conversation at meal-time and concentrating the attention on keeping the food in the mouth until complete alkaline reduction has taken place and sapidity has disappeared.
In closing I wish to maintain as a fact, gentlemen, of the truth of which you will only be convinced by actual experience, that by the restoration of this reflex and in complete dependence on its use, there lies true health, the establishment of a condition of stable nutrition and the possible abrogation of two great predisposing factors of disease, mal-assimilation and mal-nutrition. Unless there be among you, as in the "Cities of the Plain," a parlous minority who possess this reflex and take your food as you ought, none of you are in the enjoyment of such health as you might have. A like punishment will be meted out to you as was visited on those cities, for you will all be consumed long before your day by the unnecessary combustion in your bodies caused by the circulation in them of toxins, the product of undigested and decomposing food.
The writer, bearing in mind the warning suggested by the Frenchman whose donkey died as soon as he had reduced his food to a single wisp of straw, finds that he is taking less and less food. While his mind is open as to his arriving at the final diet of Luigi Cornaro, yet it is easily conceivable that living a similar life of retirement in a placid environment, it would be quite possible to do as he did. Hence the title of this paper and the queries at the commencement.
The objects in publishing and distributing this paper are twofold: to make the subject as widely known as possible, and to solicit the aid of colleagues in investigating it more fully.
There is ready at the service of the general practitioner an important and potential therapeutic agent in the saliva of his patients and in the use ad finem of their salivary digestions.
Editor's notes. (1) Confirmatory evidence of the correctness of the deductions made in this paper has begun to come in from many professional sources and notably from a famous child specialist who avers that children would follow the natural requirements in eating were it not for artificial food, bad example, and bad teaching.
(2) In a report of a paper read before the Societe de Biologie, Paris, France, March 15th, 1902, by M. Max Marckwald, of Kreuznach, "On Digestion of Milk in the Stomach of Full-grown Dogs," the following appears: "Hence these experiments confirm those of Horace Fletcher and Ernest H. Van Someren on the importance of prolonged mastication" (translation). Referring, as the latter statement does, to mastication (insalivation) of liquid, it gives an important suggestion relative to some probable causes of uncertain or defective digestion in human nutrition.