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.
Had I taken the dates and figs freely, the accustomed acid fruit, and three or four ounces of almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and the like, I am hoping that two or three eggs per day would have been adequate. However, I have been for years more accustomed to fruit-eating in large quantities and can relish daily considerable quantities of dates and figs; those beginning on this diet, and less accustomed to fruit must use more milk and eggs - always managing to use enough figs and tart fruit (and if an invalid distilled water) to keep the bowels open.
The following letters, taken from the (London) Weekly Times and Echo, are inserted here because of the practical light thrown on the question of what foods should be taken by those who wish to give the non-starch food system a trial.
Sir, - I have read with pleasure the interesting letter, under the above title, of Mr. George Poyntz in your last issue. Because nuts and fruits are expensive, and the best varieties well nigh out of the question in England, Mr. Poyntz recommends a diet of meat (fresh aud tinned), milk, eggs, cheese, and dried preserved fruits, with the chance use of fresh fruits and nuts when plentiful and cheap, using water only as a beverage.
I wish to remind Mr. Poyntz that eggs and cheese are less expensive - for a given amount of nourishment - than even tinned meat, and that these foods take the place, and perform every useful service, of animal flesh, and are free from the excremental and injurious element necessarily found in every piece of muscular flesh. The function of the blood is twofold; it carries nourishment to the tissues, and absorbs and carries from the working tissues the oxidised and broken-down tissue - the ashes, so to speak, of the system - and this broken-down tissue is discharged daily (or ought to be) through the bowels, kidneys, and skin. If a bullock is killed to-day, and a portion of the red meat eaten, there is, inseparable from each minutest portion of the flesh so eaten, an excremental substance which, if the animal had not been killed, would have been discharged from the bowels in a short time, and such food is not appetizing, when one comes to think of it, even if we have become accustomed to the enormity. If Mr. Poyntz will follow the diet he has laid down for himself I am quite sure he will find his joints better, together with other substantial improvements. He will be less liable to feel heavy after eating, or during a dull discourse; he will feel distinctly lighter, freer, more buoyant, more vigorous, more capable of work, and especially mental work. But he can accomplish all this on fruits - with eggs, or milk, or cheese - whichever agrees best, and is most easily digested. Milk is apt to be "heavy," hard to digest, and constipating (it is always safest to boil it), but those who had not been able to use it with a mixed diet, and where the vital powers were overtaxed, in the protracted and difficult digestion of bread and cereals, have had no trouble where all starch foods are dropped and a plentiful supply of fruit substituted. And this is true of those who have found eggs or cheese difficult. Learn to eat large quantities of fruit, to let all bread stuffs alone, and difficulties vanish. I buy the mildest and least salted cheese to be obtained, and then have it cut in thin slices, warm water poured upon it, and allowed to stand until it begins to soften; then pour the water off, and heat the cheese until melted. It is afterwards just as good cold as heated; but this process takes out much of the salt, and freshens and sweetens - the disagreeable taste much is less pronounced. Eggs have the advantage of containing even less earthy matter than beef or mutton; and both eggs and melted cheese (as above) are more easily digested than beef or mutton, unless the latter are thoroughly minced by a machine. Animal flesh is such an unnatural food for man, that it not only has to be modified by cooking, but it ought to be artificially masticated as well by mincing.
Mr. Manning, in his admirable letter in same issue of Weekly Times and Echo, suggests that perhaps we are better with an abundant supply of fresh fruit without nuts or animal products. I fear that everyone who tries to sail on this line is sure of shipwreck. If we could get an abundant supply of bananas cheaply, there would be less fear, for bananas are about twice as rich as wheat in muscle-making nourishment; whereas the fresh fruits of this climate - valuable for their water, acids, and relish - are substantially without nitrogen, that necessary food for muscle so abundant in some varieties of nuts, and in eggs, milk, cheese, and animal flesh; and whoever tries to live on an exclusive diet of such fruit will find himself living off and consuming his own tissues; and even if bananas are added, and the necessary nitrogen furnished, I am of opinion that there would still be found a longing for fat - in my opinion a necessary element in man's food - and if not supplied in nuts, the natural source, or eggs and cheese, the best substitute, there will be running off after some form of the fleshpots that contains this necessary element. Rash hygienists and Vegetarians, unacquainted with the necessary elements of human food, have done themselves and others irreparable harm in persisting in the use of an inadequate diet. A plenteous supply - not a gorge - of all needed elements of food is an indispensable requisite for health. Starvation is very unattractive to the practical minded, and an exclusive diet of northern fruits is on the borderland. Emmet Densmore, M.D.
Sir, - In your last issue, Mr. J. Hayward quotes from Dr. John Edward Morgan the statement that when bread is properly masticated and insalivated that a part of the starch in the bread is converted into soluble sugar. It is quite true that a mouthful of bread thoroughly mixed with saliva will show a trace of sugar when tested; but it is also true that a mouthful of bread, masticated as thoroughly as Mr. Hayward would esteem practicable, has but a small portion of its starch converted into sugar, as any good chemist will demonstrate when required. All physiologists agree that the gastric juice neutralizes the action of the saliva; and when these facts are borne in mind it will be seen the great bulk of the starch foods, even after thorough mastication, must wait until the intestines are reached before digestion (preparation for assimilation) proceeds.