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.
It is quite true that those persons who have to pay considerable attention at times to mastication get on much better when they insalivate their food than when they bolt it; but there are two reasons that may account for this fact, aside from the process of converting insoluble starch into soluble sugar. One is the certain fact that people do not eat as much food when thoroughly masticated as when the food is hurriedly swallowed; and again, food which has been thoroughly masticated in the mouth requires much less peristaltic (or churning) action of the stomach, and consequently much less strain upon the vital force. Furthermore, bread and the starch foods are so naturally repugnant and distasteful taken dry (or even with sultanas, as Mr. Hayward recommends), that nearly all persons will come at last to softening their bread with some liquid or goody, and then insalivation is out of the question. I have spent years in teaching myself and trying to teach others to properly masticate food; and when successful, the results have not been gratifying - not more than the lessened quantity of food and the greater ease of digestion, because making the food fine before it enters the stomach, will easily account for. And even if the fullest possible insalivation would greatly mend matters (the contrary of which I confidently maintain), it will be found much easier to teach people to do without starch foods altogether than to induce them to properly masticate their food. Mr. Hayward tells us that if bread is eaten anyhow, and washed down with some liquid, it becomes the "staff of death." The outlook must be discouraging to Mr. Hayward when he reflects that hy-gienists, in England and America, for twenty-five years have been trying to teach the importance of thorough mastication, and no appreciable headway has been made. It is because progress - so it seems to me - does not lie in that direction.
The poet Shelley, in discussing the food question, made a very practical and common-sense suggestion. He urged that it is folly to be forever arguing out this question when a few months' practice will settle it. It is for a trial that I plead. Let any invalid try the thorough mastication of starch foods for a few months, and watch results. Then try a diet of fruit and nuts, supplemented with eggs, or milk, or cheese - whichever agrees best - and mark results. So far, all who have tried this course are enthusiastic in its praise.
Bulk is a very necessary element, and when starch foods are not used, a large quantity of fruit is sure to be eaten. This is at once a great gain; as fruit opens the portals of the system - a most important matter - and abounds in cooling and purifying acids.
It is my hope and expectation that when this diet is adopted by Vegetarians they will be able to hold what they gain, and not lose as many converts in the summer as were made in the preceding winter's compaign. Furthermore, the anti-cereal food doctrine appeals as strongly to those who are not Vegetarians as those who are; when the whole people can be induced to substitute fruit and nuts for bread, cereals, and vegetables they will note such marked improvement that they will see the food question is fraught with great importance; and when they begin earnestly to study food, it will be seen that flesh meat is excremental and unwholesome, that milk, eggs, and cheese are in every way more desirable; and then Vegetarianism will make real progress. Emmet Densmore, M.D.
Sir, - I have received a letter from a working tradesman stating that after a month's trial of the non-starch diet he has felt obliged to give it up far a time on account of severe constipation. He writes: "Although I do not abate my confidence in all you advance in regard to the cereals, I think you will probably see fit to modify somewhat the extreme regime to working men and others, to whom more than a pound of fresh fruit is beyond pecuniary means. Everything has gone on satisfactorily until within two days. Stiffness of joints disappeared, cheeks filling out and more colour (they tell me so), hearing improved, and more activity. By the way, last Sunday I walked upwards of fifteen miles to see the old mother, altogether without a headache, which has never happened before. So far so well. The warning of costiveness nature gave was unheeded, and feeling hungry took a feed of strawberries, milk, and figs. I devoured altogether that day about six eggs, rather hard boiled, but well masticated. Digestion all right, but in the evening commenced my troubles." My correspondent then gives the particulars of a constipation which was so severe that he felt it wise to return to a moderate amount of cereal food.
It will be noted that the improvements testified to are somewhat extra" ordinary; and are gimen that has brought such signal benefits ought not to be lightly given up. Mr. Manning, Vanbrugh-hill, S. E., has been securing for friends 2olb. boxes of dried figs, of good quality, at 3d. per pound. A ten-gallon carboy of distilled water (exclusive of carriage) can be obtained at Apothecaries' Hall at 3d. per gallon. A pound of these figs stewed in two or three parts of distilled water, with a pint or more of stewed gooseberries (which if stewed in a double boiler need no addition of water) would have made for my friend five or six pounds of wholesome and nourishing food at an expense of sixpence. Of course, with the warning nature gave him, he ought not to have eaten six eggs in a day; but, even after the damage has been done, if he had tried this fig and gooseberry food (and the equivalent of the gooseberries in some other acid fruit when these are out of season), to resort to, and had used no other food for a day or two, he would have found his hunger appeased, his strength renewed, and his constipation overcome. As soon as the bowels are at work again restore the eggs, or cheese, or milk to the dietary gradually. In a few days he would have been able to eat his usual amount of eggs and fruits, have performed his usual amount of work, and would have found the improvement in his health stalking ahead.