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.
"Having satisfied myself as to the causation of disease, my next step was to complete a therapeutic system which should meet the facts in the case, and obtain the end in view - that of combating a pathological groundwork by removing its cause, and thus effecting a radical cure. The publication of this work in its entirety has been delayed over twenty years, in order that sufficient cures of so-called 'incurable' maladies might place both discovery and method of treatment beyond all reasonable doubt. Hundreds of cures now attest to their utility, not alone in my own practice, but also in that of other physicians of high repute, both here and in England."
In the fifth line of the first chapter of Dr. Salisbury's work is a noteworthy statement: "Improper alimentation is the predisposing cause of disease" Near the close of the volume, from a long chapter detailing the particulars of the treatment and feeding of the 2,000 hogs referred to in the preface, I quote further:
"From these experiments we learn this important lesson : even hogs cannot 'make hogs of themselves' with impunity, on a diet that their digestive organs were never made to properly digest and assimilate. The structure and functions of the digestive apparatus, in each class of the animal kingdom, determine its natural and healthy food. Upon this alone can it live without producing disease; upon this it thrives, and if discreetly fed it escapes all those fatal chronic maladies which arise from long-continued abnormal alimentation.
"This fact is so vital, nor alone to animals, but also, and in even greater degree, to Man, that I may be pardoned if I repeat, in closing my work : Nearly all the diseases that 'flesh is heir to,', aside from those produced by parasites, poisons, and injuries in general, are the terrible outcome of defective and unhealthy feeding.
"With the mass of evidence herein presented, I may safely rest my case for the time being, content with having called thoughtful attention to a great but much ignored truth. It is my abiding hope that the people may be brought to see these facts for themselves, and may, by individual and intelligent self-control, restore and maintain the oft-imperilled balance of health. Without it there is neither beauty, use, nor happiness for us; in its absence, all the great glories and truths fade away from our sick vision. If we will not learn Nature's methods, she crushes us in the reversion of her laws, and passes on. But if we examine and inaugurate her processes, we become as calm and as strong as she, and, like her, in our lives we receive and manifest the Divine."
The chapters of Dr. Salisbury's book detailing the particulars of the feeding of himself and several healthy labouring men, first upon an exclusive diet of baked beans, and subsequently upon an exclusive diet of oatmeal porridge, make startling reading for Vegetarians. I quote from pages 184 and 191:
"In September, 1856, I engaged six strong, healthy men, in the vigour of life, ranging in age from 25 to 40 years, to feed upon a special line of diet solely, with the understanding that I would pay them $30 per month each, if they submitted faithfully to the rigid discipline laid down. At the same time I explained to them the kind of food upon which I should require them to live, and the exercise and other regulations marked out. All thought the diet and drinks could be easily endured - in fact, enjoyed - especially as they would have no manual labour to perform. They all entered upon the undertaking with the feeling that they would have a fine time at my expense. The diet consisted, first, of baked beans and coffee. This to continue for one month, or until otherwise ordered by me. Exercise to be a two-mile walk, morning and evening. To retire at nine p.m. and rise at six a.m. Drinks between meals, cold water. . . .
"In October, 1857, I placed four hearty, well men upon oatmeal porridge as an exclusive diet. It was seasoned with butter, pepper, and salt. Cold water was drank between meals, and a pint of coffee, seasoned with sugar and milk, was taken with each meal. The men were the most healthy and vigorous I could procure. All regarded themselves as perfectly well, and none had ever suffered any severe illness. Their ages ranged from twenty-three to thirty-eight years. I required them all to live with me continually night and day, and to take no food or drinks other than what I gave them. They were to receive $30 per month each, with board and lodging. I subjected myself to the same rules and regulations, asking of them nothing but what I would and did do myself. This gave them a confidence and pride in the work, each striving to outdo the other in the strict observance of the rules."
It must be borne in mind that Dr. Salisbury aimed to get a more rapid effect than would have followed it he had given these men only a needed amount of food, and with an endeavour to preserve their health in as good condition as possible. On the contrary, he desired to have them eat all that their appetites would permit, with a view of hurrying up whatever conditions would naturally ensue. According to the memorandum which Dr. Salisbury published, they were bloated and constipated from the third day. A daily report of each is given; I quote samples from one. On the 6th, one of them experienced dizziness, a ringing of the ears; on the 9th, "ears ring, dizzy, hands and feet prickle"; by the 13th, "ears ring, reel in walking, confused"; on the 18th, "feel numb all over, weak at times, walk with difficulty, feet drag." I quote from pages 187 and 188:
"Symptoms of progressive paralysis, or locomotor ataxy, began to show themselves in all six cases on the tenth day. These paralytic and peculiar symptoms increased each day after the tenth. On the sixteenth day the disease was so marked, that not one of the six could walk straight without support. All wobbled and dragged their legs, not being able to lift them clear of the floor.....