OF TASTE AND SMELL:
"The appetite, satisfied by the infiltering process, is a sweetly appeased appetite, calm, rested, contented, normal. There is no danger from the flooding of intemperance for there is not even toleration of excess, either of more food or of more drink, and this contented appetite will remain in the condition of contentment until another need has really been earned by evaporation or destructive catabolism.
Fletcher uses in his description the term, appetite, in the sense that the word, hunger, is employed in the text. In the conditions that he so well expresses lies the solution of the problem of overeating. Mastication, carried to the degree that taste is neutralized, absolutely precludes eating save for the needs of metabolism. The supply is made equal to the demand, neither more nor less; and intemperance in food or in drink is effectively prevented. The moral attached to the excerpt quoted makes of thorough mastication a lesson to be taught in childhood, knowledge that should be transmitted from parent to offspring with more than the usual concern.
A scientific discussion of the question of diet is manifestly out of place in this text. Authorities differ widely and none has dealt with feeding from the viewpoint met after a fast, with a system, so to speak, rejuvenated. But it is no undue iteration again to point out that diet is largely a matter of special need, and that no fixed rules may be promulgated to apply in every instance. But certain general principles require discussion, of which the first and most important deals with the use or non-use of meat. Flesh in any form need never enter the dietary of normal man. Arguments for and against a meat diet have long been exchanged, and advocates of the strongest will combat the non-flesh regimen for years to come. The syllogism in refutation contains among others the following premises. First, dead animal tissue holds within it the products of metabolism. The process of change is suddenly arrested when the animal is killed, and the juices of its body contain uneliminated toxic products that no process of cooking can destroy. For that matter, even though they were completely annihilated, flesh is still changed vegetable tissue with the waste of the process of change and that of the living organism retained in its structure, a condition that Iogically suggests the consumption of the plant rather than of its creation. Armsby has shown that when we feed grain and other food to cattle and to sheep and then kill them for meat we recover only a very small percentage of the food values we fed them. Hence had we eaten the cattle and sheep food ourselves, instead of feeding it to the animals, we should get approximately thirty times the food value that is obtained by eating the beef and mutton supplied. In addition, decomposition of animal flesh begins at the moment of death, and by the time it is consumed as food, decay has progressed sometimes to the point of putrefaction.
Otto Carqué in his Errors of Bio-Chemistry says:
"There is also a marked physiological difference between plant and animal food. Animals are distinguished from vegetables by incessant decay in every tissue, a decay which is proportional to animal activity. This incessant decay necessitates incessant repair, so that the animal body has been likened to a temple on which two opposite forces are at work in every part, the one tearing down, the other repairing the breach as fast as it is made. In plants no such incessant decay has ever been discovered. If it exists at all, it must be very trifling in comparison. Protoplasm, it is true, is taken from the older parts of the plant, and these parts die; but the protoplasm does not seem to decompose, but is used again for tissue building. Thus the eternal activity of animals is of two kinds, tissue-destroying and tissue-building, while that of plants is principally of one kind, tissue-building. Flesh foods will, therefore, impart less vitality to our system than plant foods, because the former always contain a quantity of substances which have undergone the various stages of catabolism and have lost their vital force. We feel drowsy and indolent after a heavy meal of meat, while an apple, an orange, a bunch of grapes, instantly refreshes us. The theories that flesh makes flesh, that blood is converted into blood, that calf's or sheep's brain increases our mental capacity, that meat is predigested plant food, cannot stand in the light of physiological chemistry."
Experiments carried out most thoroughly by Irving Fisher, Professor of Political Economy at Yale University, show beyond any chance of refutation that the physical endurance of the human body is increased to the utmost by a non-flesh diet. In the course of these experiments meat-eating athletes competed in test exercises with non-meat eaters, both sedentary and active in occupation. The results were so largely in favor of the non-flesh dietary that the most ardent advocates of the opposite side can find no loophole through which to escape from the facts.
No adequate explanation is as yet available of the evident superiority of a vegetarian dietary over one of flesh as regards endurance, save, perhaps, in the theory that a diet composed in greater part of proteid produces uric acid and other crystalline substances, which in turn cause muscular fatigue in exercise. The facts are patent in the instances related, as well as in experiments made by the author along similar lines during the past twenty years. The results obtained have invariably demonstrated that a non-flesh dietary builds a consistently strong and enduring physical structure, while the reverse is true in great part when meat figures largely in the list of foods ingested. In the past truths such as this have been obscured because the idea contained in the term, "vegetarian," suggested what was popularly regarded as fanaticism carried beyond all bounds. This is but another exemplification of the small effect that doctrines advanced with polemical warmth coupled with enthusiasm have upon the scientific world, and for this reason the matter needs to be approached deliberately and dispassionately, and with the seriousness befitting a subject that is of more practical import than is any other in the whole range of hygienic research. When this shall have been accomplished, the theory embodied in the results of the tests mentioned will be fully borne out and conclusively established as a living truth.
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