This section is from the book "The Natural Food Of Man", by Emmet Densmore. Also available from Amazon: How Nature Cures Comprising a New System of Hygiene.
When Mr. Banting first published his letters, giving the world the benefit of the system by which he had been freed from superfluous flesh, and his health greatly improved, they gave great prominence to the idea that fats and oily foods are productive of obesity. A few years since, Dr. Ebstein, of Germany, promulgated the doctrine that it is starch and sweets that create obesity, and not oils. Indeed, he instituted a- cure for obesity, which consisted largely of fat meat. Experimenting with "Dr. Ebstein's system, Mrs. Densmore and I verified largely his claim; we found that it is starch, and not oils, that creates obesity; moreover that, if all starchy foods are rigorously eliminated from the diet, a considerable quantity of oily substances can be taken with impunity, and a reduction of flesh go on. This is one point in favour of the theory that fruit and nuts are the natural food of man, and not calculated to create any disease. When the oil is eliminated from nuts, the remaining portion is chiefly nitrogenous.
* I noticed in the Vegetarian of January 18th, page 46, a communication referring to Dr. Alanus and his withdrawal from Vegetarianism. If your readers will read that account carefully, they will see a confirmation "of my position, namely, that many earnest Vegetarians have seen evidences of failure in following out the rules laid down i>y Vegetarians. There are many reasons for suspecting that atheromatous degeneracy of the arteries is due to the use of cereals and starchy vegetables.
Meditating on the question of obesity, and the uses of fat in the animal economy, I am able to see that Nature provided the bear with a large share of adipose tissue, with which he goes into winter quarters, hibernates during the winter months, and comes out in the spring emaciated, but vigorous. I also see that cattle fed on grass in the spring and early summer, during the late summer and early autumn, in a state of nature, are fed in addition with grass seed, loaded with starch, as part of their food. The result of large quantities of starch in this grass seed is seen in the storage of large quantities of fat in the bodies of the cattle. This seems to be a provision on the part of Nature against the inhospitable winter, and enables the cattle to withstand the cold weather and inadequate supply of food, where, if it were not for the storage of fat provided in autumn, the animal would be unable to live through the winter; while, with this fat, it comes out in the spring "spring poor" as the farmers say, but vigorous, and much in the same condition that the bear does after hibernation. Squirrels, mice, and other animals, are provided with an instinct that prompts them to store away nuts in the autumn, on which they are able to subsist in the winter. And it appears, theoretically, not only that wheat and rice and all cereals are the natural food for cattle, but that their tendency to create obesity is a wise provision of Nature, to enable the animal for whom it has been pro-, vided to withstand the inclemency of our winters, But men, born in a warm climate, where fruits are ripe the year round, and where there is no winter to withstand, need no provision for laying up a periodical store of fat; and hence man's natural food, nuts and fruits, have no tendency to create obesity. Moreover, it is easy to see why, in accordance with this theory, starch foods are wholesome and proper for cattle, and disease-producing in man.
In the treatment of some hundreds of patients for obesity, Mrs. Densmore and I noticed that wonderful cures of patients suffering from neuralgia, rheumatism, severe and long-standing headaches, nervous prostration, and many serious ailments, followed our treatment; while, except a simple herb-tea cathartic, no medicines were used; the treatment was dietetic, and consisted in taking away all bread, cereals, and starchy vegetables, and giving them flesh foods, and non-starchy vegetables. I have asked many Vegetarians to explain, from a Vegetarian standpoint, this surprising phenomenon; and, so far, no one has responded. If it shall some day be proven that nuts and fruits are the only scientific and allowable food for man, and that the cereals, while wholesome for cattle, are disease-producing in man, an explanation is found.
This theory, that nuts and fruits are the God-designed food for man, explains the failure of so-called "Edenites," in California, and of advanced Vegetarians the world over, who, having an instinct that cooking is an unnatural preparation of food, have tried to take their food raw. Not having this theory, that nuts and fruits are the only allowable food for man, they have taken it for granted that wheat and the cereals are the natural food, and attempted to eat these in the raw state. I have not been able to learn of any single individual, much less a community, who has succeeded for any considerable time in living on raw grains. If the cereals - cattle food - are unnatural for man, we can easily understand why cooking may be as necessary, to prepare them for human food, as it is to make meat palatable I am of opinion that the instincts of man will reject raw wheat and raw pulses almost as surely as raw flesh; and the fact that the process of cooking is necessary to render the cereals palatable is as much an argument against them, as the fact that cooking is necessary for flesh is an argument against flesh foods.
The processes of Nature are harmonious, and her changes are gradual. It has always seemed strange to me that Nature provided us with milk as our natural food for the first year of life, and that, after we pass the period during which milk is our natural food, we are suddenly confronted with so great a change as bread. While attending medical lectures, I was struck with the assertion, on the part of the lecturer on physiology, that the nearest imitation there is for milk is ground-almonds and water; he affirmed that that mixture has a milk-like colour, and that it is scarcely distinguishable chemically from milk. Since getting the hint that very likely fruits and nuts are the natural food for man, I can see that it requires no great change for the child to leave off milk, and to take, instead, fruits and such nuts as are scarcely dintinguishable from milk I have made no experiments and no researches; but I conjecture that it will be found, upon analysis, that cows' milk is as like the elements of food contained in the grass, as human milk is like ground-almonds and water. The scientists of to-day are making great efforts to get a healthy drink for man. We not only transport spring water from one end of the planet to the other, but go to great expense in the distillation of water (distilled water being said to be the ideal drink for man). Any one who will live exclusively on nuts and fruits will find that they are provided in fruits with water distilled in a finer laboratory than man yet knows how to make, and that he needs no other drink.