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.
All farmers and horsemen are aware that, while their horses are kept the year round in a stable, and fed largely on dried grains and dried grass, they are very liable to be constipated; but it is also quite universally known that as the same horses are turned out to grass, in fact as soon as they are put upon their natural food, the constipation vanishes. It is logical to expect that, if we are usually fed upon unnatural diet, there will be great tendency to constipation in the human family; and also to expect, if we ever ascertain what is meant by natural food, and put ourselves upon it, that then, as with the cattle on the grass, the constipation will speedily be overcome. I believe it will be found, with all persons who will live exclusively on nuts and fruits, with such eggs and milk as may be necessary in the absence of an abundant supply of the best nuts and sweet fruits, that the constipation will be speedily and wholly overcome. This is a matter the importance of which can hardly be too much dwelt upon. Constipation is the bane of modern civilised life. Dr. Abernethy's three rules for health are : "Keep the head cool, keep the feet warm, and keep the bowels open." When that food is found which is absolutely and scientifically adapted to man's organism, constipation will be impossible.
The cocoa-nut and the banana afford more food to the acre than can be obtained from cereals. I am told by a friend - but I have not yet verified it - that Mr. Buckle, in his "History of Civilisation," affirms that an acre of ground devoted to nuts and fruits will support about sixty people, whereas, devoted to wheat, it will only support two or three. However this may be, it is undeniable that the earth will produce far larger quantities of food in nuts and fruits than in cereals, and the food so obtained is procured with less labour and expense. Almonds, raisins, and other nuts and sweet fruits, outrank all other foods in gustatory pleasure. These foods, unlike the cereals, need no addition of salt or sugar to make them palatable. This is as would be expected upon the hypothesis that these foods are scientifically adapted to man's use. Cattle, on the contrary, have the utmost relish for the cereals without sugar or salt, which is an evidence that these are the natural foods for them. Cattle fed monotonously on cereals preserve the keenest relish; I am satisfied, from experiments lately made, that man fed monotonously on fruits and nuts will preserve as keen a relish and appetite as the horse fed on oats; a thing unknown to the modern eater of flesh and starch foods.
I have been, from time to time, much interested in the writings of Mr. Hills in favour of raw foods; at the same time, myinstinct rebelled against his suggestion that even the pulses may be better raw than cooked. In my opinion, the weakness in his position is not in the idea that raw foods are best for man, but in taking it for granted that the pulses are a natural and proper food. I learned, while pursuing medical studies, that starch foods are distinctly better cooked than raw, for the reason that the envelope containing the starch granules is broken in the process of cooking, and therefore made digestible and assimilable. But this reasoning does not apply to nuts and fruits. To a normal appetite and stomach, nuts and fruits are distinctly better relished raw than cooked, and more easily digested and assimilated. A milk diet, especially for invalids, has grown in popularity throughout civilisation for years. If the underlying thought of this paper shall be proved correct, it will easily be seen that the popularity of a milk diet is the result, not so much of its own excellence, as that by the exclusive use of it the patient is freed from the injurious effects Of cereals and starch.
There has been a great deal of difficulty for Vegetarians to give an adequate explanation of why it is that the meat eating Englishmen and Germans are of a larger stature, and have distinctly more vigor, than whole races of people in India, China, and Japan, who live almost exclusively on cereals; but if it be true that all starchy and cereal foods are ill adapted as the food of man, and require a far greater expenditure of nerve force and vitality in digestion than is needed for natural foods, then it will not be difficult to understand why the rice eating people are dwarfed and less vigorous. It is the teaching of naturalists, that the longevity of animals is about six times the age required for maturity. Even under the stimulus of modern life and foods, twenty years is about the average age at maturity. Genesis says : "And his years are a hundred and twenty." Men and women who live to the age of seventy, eighty, and ninety years, are yet thirty, forty, and fifty years short of their natural term. The rice eating people of the East do not use flesh foods, and as a consequence do not suffer from rheumatism and the acute diseases so abounding in Western civilisation; but they are dwarfed and weak, and have no greater longevity. If it shall be proven that the cereals and vegetables are an unnatural and unnecessary strain upon the digestion, and drain upon the vital forces, it will explain why those people, with their simple cereal foods, are no longer lived than the Western civilisee.
Nuts and sweet fruits are eaten with no salt, and no seasonings, and no cooking; flesh foods and cereals quite universally require cooking, and salt, and other seasonings. Cereals lead to cooking, cooking to seasoning, seasoning to stimulants, and stimulants to undermining the nervous system - to morbidity and death. Morbidity, disease, and premature death, will be seen to be as universal as starch and stimulants. Are these conditions the inevitable consequence of the use of cereals as food?