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Radiant health depends on a number of factors. It is not a matter merely of adequate vitamins, or correct diet. Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, sufficient rest and sleep, emotional poise, freedom from devitalizing habits--these are all essential to recovery of health as well as to maintenance of health.
Every physico-chemical process of the body is correlated with others and any failure in one spells a corresponding failure in the correlated process. It is a symbolic principle that a failure in any of the functions of life, due to a failure of the conditions upon which function depends, results in a crippling of the symbiotic support which the (failing) function normally gives to all of the other functions of the body.
The normal activity of all the functions of the body is based upon the supply of all of the natural conditions upon which function depends and a failure in only one of these conditions reduces the effectiveness of all of the other cooperating and interacting conditions. Due to the interrelations and interdependencies of the organism any interference with the functions of an organ, either as a result of unnatural "stimulation," or as a result of a lack of natural "stimulation," is interference with all of them.
In a previous chapter we learned of the "synergistic actions" of the various food factors. It is necessary for nutritionists to learn the synergistic relationships that exist between other factors of living and food. Man does not live by food alone. He breathes, drinks, works, plays, sleeps, rests, thinks, emotes, reproduces, misbehaves, etc. He lives in the sun or in the shadows. He is not what he eats; he is the sum total of the effects of all the factors of life. Exercise improves his assimilative power. If he is fatigued or enervated, rest has the same effect. Sunshine helps him to assimilate his foods. It helps him to convert certain pro-vitamins into vitamins. A state of toxemia prevents due utilization of his foods. A fast is often the surest and only means of restoring normal nutrition.
Our dietitians have not yet learned to prescribe for their patients a balanced life, hence their patients miss the benefits that flow from the synergism of all the factors of living. Bear always in mind that in a simple, well-balanced and well-ordered life all the synergisms of all the factors of living are at work.
No doubt, too, all wrong factors of life have "synergistic actions," so that in a disordered life, all the synergisms of wrong living habits and wrong influences work together in tearing down and weakening the body.
Life is not purely a matter of food, as was shown in Vol. 1, and all efforts to treat man by diet alone must fail. It is significant that practically all the remarkable successes obtained with "diet cures" have been in experimental animals and children. It is equally significant that "diet cures" are far more successful in animals than in children.
There is a reason for this: A reason that is seldom suspected by the gum-willies of the "food research" laboratories and the cure-mongers of the ancient order of Aesculapius. With their specific and entitative diseases, produced by specific causes and requiring specific cures, they flounder hopelessly in a sea of confusion of their own making.
The life of a human being, child or adult, is much more complex than that of any experimental animal in the laboratory. His environment is more varied, his contacts greater in number, the influences to which he is subjected more numerous and the resources of that environment much greater.
Even the animal is not a mere test-tube. Statistical regularity is all that can be secured in experiments with these. "Because you get a result in animals with fair uniformity," says Dr. Howe, "it does not necessarily follow that you will inevitably and uniformly get identical results in humans from the same procedure. Every little while something occurs to show me anew that the animal is not a mere test-tube. He is apt to take a part in the process going on in his body, and he may sometimes take the part by means of a mechanism or a product about which we know little or nothing."
Faulty diet is the chief, though, by no means the sole cause of lowered resistance and disease in children; in adults it is one of a whole series of crippling influences of which it is often difficult to determine which is producing most harm, but all of which must be corrected before good health can be restored. Efforts to cure the effects of dissipation without correcting the dissipation, by administering a diet cure, is so ridiculously childish that it ought to appear so even to medical cure mongers, dietitians and other like cooties.
In the laboratory, the self-styled "research worker" takes a group of healthy, vigorous young animals, places them under the most hygienic conditions and, then, feeds them deficient diets. He proves that by a deficient diet he can produce certain types of disease, and by correcting the diet he can cure these so-called "diseases." Indeed, McCarrison found that by deficient diet he could produce, and by correct diet, remedy practically every "disease" from which man suffers.
The fact is that, while there is a fundamental unity in all animal life, from amoeba to man, there are specific differences, even between closely related species, that make animal experiments often misleading. There is only one experiment that can be relied upon in man and this must be performed on man, not on guinea pigs or rats.
The last experiment must always be upon man, testified Professor Starling before the British Royal Commission Investigating Vivisection. Why? Because what works on animals does not always work an man.
Pharmacologists follow, literally, the old advice to "try it on the dog" and try out their drugs on various kinds of animals. They long ago discovered that the same drug induced or provoked different reactions in different kinds of animals. The only way they can determine what action it will occasion in man is by trying it out on man.
A pigeon can take enough morphine to kill several men and fly away as though nothing happened. Hogs can take without apparent harm enough prussic acid to kill many men. Rabbits grow fat on belladonna, but if we included it in the salads fed our children, we would soon be without children.
What is known as the "biological test" in feeding, that is, trying it out on the dog, turns out as much fallacy as trying out drugs on the dogs. I have often wondered what the "biologists" would feed us if they used sewer rats as experimental animals. If they were to use buzzards in their experiments they would discover that rotting meat from a hog that had died of cholera is good food. Dogs eat bones and digest them with ease. It is doubtful that man could get away with a bone diet so easily. Tobacco worms live on tobacco--you try it, worm.
Anything we desire to prove can be proved on the lower animals if we only use a sufficient number of kinds of animals. Rat-pen (or guinea pig) dietetics has simply led the dietitians astray in more ways than one. They have worked out their solutions to human problems in their test tubes, guinea pigs and rats, and not in the human body. As a consequence, they do not even know dietetics.
Dr. Pearl T. Swanson, of Iowa State College reported that "Experiments with rats indicate that 'complete reproductive failure' results when mother animals lack meat." She adds that the "deficiency" is "not made up by pork." Beef should be eaten. Her experiments "showed" that the diet must be made up of 30%, protein. To such a result, we answer: Rats! Tell it to the old gray mare and hear a real horselaugh. Tell her that her colt will be born dead, or that she will be unable to suckle her colt, or that her grandchildren will be sterile, unless she eats beef. Tell it to the wild ass and listen to his bray. Tell it to the old cow whose calf is busy extracting the lactic juice from her over-distended udder. Try to convince the dairyman whose prize cow gives seven gallons of milk each day that unless he feeds her on beef, she will not be able to supply sufficient milk for her calf. Tell the story to the ewe that without beef her lambs will be born dead. Tell the mountain goat that if she does not eat beef her kids will starve for lack of milk. Remind the doe that her fawns will be sterile in the third generation if she does not eat enough beef. Tell the story to the musk-ox, the elephant, the rhinoceros, the giraffe, camel, bison, buffalo, rabbit, the great apes, parrot, etc. Publish the story far and wide. Let all the earth know that a woman out in Iowa has "discovered" by "research" and "experiment," that she has proved by the "scientific method," that if female animals do not have an abundance of beef in their diet, their young are born dead, they are unable to supply sufficient milk for their young and in the third generation their offspring become sterile.
Go into crowded India and China and tell the vegetarian millions of these lands that in another three generations their countries will be depopulated unless the mothers of these lands eat beef. Tell the news to the many vegetarians of America, some of them fourth generation vegetarians, that they are headed for rapid extinction along with the horse and cow, if they do not eat beef. A rat-pen dietitian has proved it, and let no one doubt the findings of the infallible "scientific method."
It would be folly to say their animal experimentation has not provided some knowledge or that it has not supplied leads that have been useful, but the tendency is to rely too much on the results of the animal experiments in feeding men, women and children.
The laboratory man's problems are simple. He makes them himself and solves them quite readily. He deals with controlled experiments and knows all the elements of his experiment. Compared to this, the life of even the youngest child is a complex mosaic of interlacing influences that are not dreamed of in the laboratory man's philosophy. The experimenter has proved that a deficient diet will produce disease, but he has been too prone to overlook the significant fact that a perversion of nutrition, due to any other cause, will produce disease; so-called deficiency diseases, as well as other types, despite a theoretically perfect dietary.
Anything that increases the body's food needs, such as growth, hard work, extreme cold, wasting disease, and anything which tends to hinder absorption, such as gastro-intestinal disorders from whatever causes, predisposes to scurvy, beri beri, malnutritional edema, rickets, pellagra, tuberculosis, anemia, atrophy, polyneuritis and other nutritional diseases.
Decadence of functional power follows upon any artificial or vicarious interference which seeks to supplant the natural functions of the body. The best diet possible can be aborted in its health-building potentialities by the presence of excitants and artificial "aids" to the functions of life.
We are safe in saying that every case of leanness is due to undernourishment; but we would be far wrong if we asserted that the under-nourishment is due, in every case, to insufficient food. The majority of such cases are due to nervous depletion brought on by a hundred and one different causes. Grief, worry and excessive mental activity almost always leads to loss of weight. Sexual excesses and abuses lead to nervous depletion, digestive impairment and loss of weight. Indigestion, due to long continued over-eating, is a frequent cause of faulty nutrition. So, also, is a lack of sunshine. There are so many causes which are not considered in these laboratory experiments.
Trophology should consist of more than merely a consideration of foods, for a failure in any of the important nutritive factors will abort the health-building potentialities of the best of foods.
In the sick room, in the sanitarium, in all the departments of life, in every phase of health-disease, we do not deal in controlled experiments. Our subjects are not "controls." Our problems are not self-made. We have hundreds of factors and influences to consider that the laboratory man knows nothing of. The problems we are required to solve are as complex as his are simple. The problems increase in complexity as the age of our patient advances and his sphere of activity widens. We know, even if the cure-mongers and peddlers of diet-specifics do not, that the correction of the diet of a patient, however helpful this may prove, is almost never sufficient to restore sound, vigorous health.
Man is not what he eats any more than he is what the thinks. He is a complex product of heredity and environment and into his make-up there enter many different kinds and qualities of building stones. He is largely what he lives and what he fails to live. The man who said tell me what you eat and I'll tell you what you are did not know what he was talking about. He was as far wrong as was the man who declared that "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he." It is time we abandoned our one-sided views of our many sided lives. Life is too complex to be reduced to such simple formulae.
The search for diet-cures is part of man's age-long quest for a savior--something or some one to save him in his "sins" and not require him to give them up. Money grabbers who have piled up fortunes at the expense of those whom they have pillaged and impoverished, when their dissipations have wrecked their lives, imagine that money can buy health for them. Like the pair in the New Testament who tried to buy the "gift of the spirit," the truth is never pleasing to these men and women of the Croesus-complex, who think their money can command for them all that their hearts desire.
They exchange their loot for a "showy commercialized professionalism" which some graduate of a "class A" medical college palms off on them as knowledge and skill. From one dissapointment to another they turn until their sufferings are so great they can no longer bear them. Every savior having failed them, for every treatment they have received has made them worse; the yeast and diet cures have failed, the manipulations and elctrocutions have been all in vain, the serums and drugs have added to their miseries and the operations have increased their torments; they come, these scraps and derelicts, these wrecks and incurables, to the Hygienist and want to know "how long will it take you to cure me?" Imagine their surprise when they are informed that there are no cures, no saviors, and that they must forget their old faith in vicarious atonements and cease their "sinning."
"Doctor, if you can cure me you can name your own price." Yes indeed! But this calamity will never befall our race. The time will never come when cures will be produced; the discovery will never be made that will restore potency to the sensualist while permitting him to practice sensuality; that will sober up the inebriate while he continues to drink; that will save the gourmand while he continues to hog it. A body vitiated by indulgencies cannot possibly be restored to sound health so long as the indulgencies are continued.
A reasoned conception of law and order would save mankind from the pitfalls of false religion--theological or medical. There is too much of the Shaman in "modern religion;" too much of the medicine man in "modern medicine."
Beauty and ecstasy of life come from a clear mind and a healthy body. Plain, orderly, abstemious living and high thinking make life more beautiful and good and add to the joys of living. To abandon these for the flesh-pots of sensualism and then demand to be cured of the results while still in your "sins," while pleasing to 'the thoroughly commercialized professional healers, is a display of asinity rather than of wisdom and sound judgement.