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.
"'And can we see the newly-turned earth of so many graves, hear the almost hourly sounding knell that announces the departure of another soul from its bodily fabric, meet our associates clad in the garb of woe, hear of death after death among those whom we knew - perhaps respected, perhaps loved - without pausing to consider if we may not seek and haply find more than the mere causes, find the means of checking the premature dissolution that so painfully excites the deepest and most hidden sympathies of our nature ? The prolongation of the life of the people must become an essential part of family, municipal, and national policy. Although it is right and glorious to incur risks and to sacrifice life for public objects, it has always been felt that length of days is the measure, and that the completion by the people of the full term of natural existence is the groundwork of their felicity. For untimely death is a great evil. What is so bitter as a premature death of a wife, a child, a father ? What dashes to the earth so many hopes, breaks so many auspicious enterprises, as the unnatural death ? The poets, as faithful interpreters of our aspirations, have always sung, that in the happier ages of the world this source of tears shall be dried up.' - Registrar-General of England.
"In the present day, when we are so accustomed to wonders that they no longer excite our wonder; when we send our thoughts almost round the world with the velocity of lightning; when we hear voices miles away by the agency of the telephone; the tick of a watch - even the tramp of a fly - by the microphone; when we transcribe the vibrations of sound with the precision of a mathematician; when we freeze water into ice in white hot crucibles; when we cast copper into statues without the aid of heat; when it is pos sible to illuminate cities without gas - with lamps devoid of flame or fire; when some of the most precious minerals are produced from their elements; when we believe that tomorrow even the diamond may be artificially produced; with all these wonders recently brought to light for the benefit of mankind, is man himself to be debarred from that social progress which is daily manifested? Are the achievements of science of no avail in benefiting his degenerated existence? Will not our daily increasing knowledge of Nature and the behaviour of her elements eventually tend to this end? In reference to which Liebig asks : 'Is that knowledge not the philosopher's stone, which promises to disclose to us the laws of life, and which must finally yield to us the means of curing diseases and of prolonging life ?'
"The fields of research become richer and wider with every new discovery, which is often as precious, if not more useful, than gold - actually a transmutation for the benefit and comfort of man. But as yet he has himself been little benefited by science, which must of necessity ultimately dictate a means of curing diseases and of prolonging life. Is it even just, in the present day of so-called wisdom, to ridicule the alchemists of old, who diligently laboured and searched for a 'virgin earth' - a mysterious substance which would 'change the baser metals to gold, and be a means of curing diseases, of restoring youth to the exhausted frame of age, and of prolonging life indefinitely'? Such a view would be utterly unjust. For the present science of chemistry owes its position, its existence - perhaps its origin - to the untiring observations and researches of the alchemists, which were instilled into them in their laborious searches for the 'philosopher's stone.' All they sought for exists, and may ultimately be found in the illimitable science of chemistry.....
"The beneficial effects of fruit as an article of diet, both in health and disease, cannot be overrated. In health, the apple, the pear, the grape, the strawberry, the gooseberry the tomato, the fig, the date, wall-fruits, the melon, and numerous others, present such a field for choice that the most capricious appetite need never be disappointed. The supply of fruit in the United Kingdom is not great, but considerable quantities of both fresh and preserved fruits are imported from all parts of the world, and are rapidly becoming popular amongst all classes; and it is to be hoped that our fellow-countrymen will gradually become more alive to the benefits to be derived from a more general and frequent use of fruits as an article of daily food..
"'When pain and anguish wring the brow,' in slight and temporary indisposition, or during prolonged febrile diseases, what is more refreshing and beneficial than the juice of the luscious orange ? Indeed, in many parts of the world, especially in tropical regions, the juice of the orange taken in large quantities has been found to be a specific for many descriptions of fever; it is, in fact, Nature's remedy, and an unsurpassed one.
"Cereal and farinaceous foods form the basis of the diet of so-called 'Vegetarians,' who are not guided by any direct principle, except that they believe it is wrong to eat animal food. For this reason Vegetarians enjoy no better health, and live no longer, than those around them. Our remarks, therefore, apply to fruits as distinct from vegetables.....
"In conclusion, we may say that, although the desire for long life exists as a natural, prevalent, and deeply-rooted love, there are, through continued trial and disappointment, many exceptions : in fact, the present subject is not acceptable to all. Our remarks are therefore confined to those who believe that, 'In this world there is, or might be, more sunshine than rain, more joy than sorrow, more love than hate, more smiles than tears. The good heart, the tender feeling, and the pleasant disposition make smiles, love, and sunshine everywhere.'"
To my mind, the unfitness of cereals, pulses, and starchy vegetables as food for man, is proven by the diseases (diabetes and obesity) that are directly traceable to these foods, and which are usually cured (or, at least, greatly mitigated) by the elimination of these foods; and this conclusion is greatly strengthened and confirmed by the well-known fact in physiology, that starch foods are not adapted to stomach digestion, and can only be prepared for assimilation in the more protracted and nerve-force exhausting digestion in the intestines. This discovery, or illumination, came to me, so far as I know, quite independently of the labours or researches of other workers in the field of food reform. The reader will readily appreciate my delight, upon first reading Dr. Evans' book, to find further proofs and confirmations of the unsuitable nature of cereals as food. I was greatly delighted, not only to find my views confirmed and re-affirmed, but from an entirely different standpoint. Truth is homogeneous; its parts are always related, and agree. I feel grateful to Dr. Evans for his able and convincing proof that cereals and pulses are, of all accustomed foods, most inimical to man.
At the same time, I must utter a word of caution to readers of this valuable book. Dr. Evans is not emancipated from the superstition of drug medication. Iron is a necessary constituent of the blood, and old-school practitioners have the delusion that they can nourish with inorganic iron; whereas it has been plainly proven that only the iron which has been organised in plant growth can be assimilated - that which is administered in medicine is wholly excreted, and the stimulation following its administration is the result of irritation. Dr. Evans likewise makes the mistake of recommending phosphoric acid, the product of a series of retorts and involved distillations, seemingly unacquainted with the plain fact that Nature's laboratory yields a product of a far more exquisite nature than man-made chemistry even borders upon; and not knowing that man can best get all his needed acids, and phosphorus, and all else, from the fruits of the earth. Moreover, Dr. Evans plainly inculcates the doctrine that tea and coffee are valuable as foods, and that a moderate use of tobacco is desirable for those who can endure it! Dr. Evans also makes the mistake of supposing that, since the race have used cereals for generations, generations will be required before we can safely wholly do away with these foods, whereas I have myself abstained practically - not only from bread, but all cereals and vegetables - for nine months, and have made more marked improvements in my health in that time than before during an eight years' experience in Vegetarianism.
In my next, I will offer some deductions drawn from the theory of Vital Food, and from the higher aspects of Vegetarianism, favouring nuts and fruits as the natural food of man, and excluding cereals, pulses, and vegetables.