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.
As already stated, I have not been free from lumbago for thirty years. While the first period of my Vegetarian diet had greatly benefited this infirmity, latterly I had found myself losing ground. After some months of the new diet, I found the lameness gradually disappearing; now, at the end of nine months, although still far from well, I find myself apparently as much improved as by all the years devoted to a Vegetarian diet.
One swallow does not make a summer; and, although at the time of writing I know of a score or more of persons who have been benefited - some of them most signally - by the non-starch diet, I do not claim that this demonstrates anything; but I urge this fact, taken in connection with the array of evidence briefly set forth - in many cases merely hinted at - in the following pages, as a good and sufficient reason to justify all persons, at all out of health, in giving this system a thorough trial.
There are some considerations regarding the putting of this matter to a practical test, to which I wish briefly to allude. It will be seen, in the quotation from Dr. J. Milner Fothergill, in the following pages, that that deservedly noted physician strongly advised the pre-digestion of starch foods, not only for infants, but for many adults as well. This starch food, when converted into soluble sugar, is used for supporting the heat of the body, and also the vital energy. It escaped the observation of Dr. Fothergill that the dates and figs of the South, cheaply and abundantly supplied by our markets, are loaded with this identical soluble sugar, so much sought after. I find that a liberal supply of such fruits, taken in connection with an equally liberal portion of the watery acid fruits of the North, distinctly lessens the amount of nuts, or milk, eggs, or cheese, that will be required for adequate nourishment.
One important advantage, from the adoption of the non-starch diet, is sure to be realised alike by the Vegetarian and the non-Vegetarian. Bulk is an indispensable element in carrying on healthy nutrition; it is well known that a horse needs something more than grain and water, although these contain every element of nourishment; some hay, or straw, or chaff, must be added. The cereals and vegetables used by all civilised races afford this necessary bulk. When these foods are omitted from the dietary, it will be found that all persons will at once reach out for something to take the place; the result will be a large consumption of fruit where little or none was taken before. It will be found that this is a great gain. There is much less tendency to eat too much than when eating cereals, and if too much food is taken less damage is done than by over-eating of cereals.
The greatest possible gustatory satisfaction is given by a diet of fruits, nuts, milk, eggs, and cheese; and there will be found less temptation towards cooking and the highly seasoned compounds which are prime factors, alike in the Vegetarian and the non-Vegetarian diet. Indeed, an earnest seeker after simplicity in diet will find that there is nothing so conducive to unwholesome cooking as the starch foods. The proof of the pudding is in the eating - a trial of the non-starch diet will confirm the correctness of my claim. I fearlessly assert that cereals and starch foods, on the one hand, and intricate cookery and luxurious compounds on the other, mutually play into each other's hands; and whenever and wherever the non-starch diet is adopted it will be found that the tendency is all the time towards simplicity and healthfulness. At the same time, a noteworthy feature is found in the fact that - owing, no doubt, to the more perfect nourishment of this diet - less craving for variety will be experienced on it than on any other.
A non-Vegetarian, any one accustomed to the mixed diet of the world, will find quite as much advantage in this diet as the hygienists and food reformers. Although partaking of fish, flesh, and fowl, it must be remembered that still the cereals and starch foods form the basis of the usual dietary; and an elimination of the starch foods therefrom will at once relieve many of the ills by which all persons are quite universally more or less affected. While it is quite true that flesh is an excremental, irritating, and more unwholesome food than milk, or eggs, or cheese, still it has one distinctive advantage over these foods - there is less tendency toward constipation. Whenever the flesh-eater can be persuaded to adopt the non-starch diet, he is sure to find all the advantages enumerated above; and then, as elsewhere remarked, finding that there is a great scientific truth at the bottom of the food question, there will be a decided tendency, on the part of these converts to the non-starch diet, to give up flesh-eating altogether.
Since this anti-cereal food crusade has attracted some attention, I have been besieged by letters from persons asking for specific directions as to the amount of eggs, and milk, and cheese needed in a diet for an adult. This of course depends upon the habits, labour, exercise, and condition of the individual, and the only general rule to be given is to eat as much of fruit and nuts as is easily digested and is distinctly demanded by the appetite; and to use only so much of the animal products as may be needed for the adequate support of the system, seeing to it that the digestive and excretory organs are fully able to take care of, and dispose of that which is eaten. For several weeks, upon first commencing this diet, I ate an abundance - all my appetite craved - of apples and acid fruit, a few nuts, and an average of six eggs per day; at this time using no milk and cheese. I walked three or four miles a day - not enough; a man engaged in manual labour would have needed more nitrogenous food. On this diet I felt no longing whatever for other or forbidden articles of food, and whoever has such longings may be sure he or she is not well fed.