[This article was meant to go into the October issue but was unavoidably delayed – EDITOR “H.T.”].
SOME years ago the writer went into one of the largest business houses in Birmingham and came into contact with one of the business partners, who stood over six feet and was strongly built in proportion, with whom he was on very friendly terms. Calling him by his christian name I asked, “What is the matter with you, you look very dickey? ” The reply was, “I am, I have indigestion very badly, and my doctor advises me to stay in bed over the week-ends, which I dont like.”.
I answered, “But you prefer this to fasting over every week-end, and this is what the doctor is trying, with more or less success, to get you to do. He knows you eat too much, as is the case with most other people, and by following his advice you will lose your appetite and so eat less while in bed. I could recommended you something that would put you right a lot quicker than that.”.
“Vegetarianism, I suppose?”.
“No, I know it would be useless recommending you that. What holidays,” I asked, “do you have in the run of a year?”.
He first counted up the number of times he went for a holiday and then the total number of weeks, and I asked, “How often do you give your digestive organs a rest?”.
He seemed quite bewildered, and more so when I informed him that I was over 60 and it was about thirty years since I had a breakfast. Thus I give my digestive organs some rest every day- from the tea or supper meal (second meal of the day) until after one oclock the next day. This giant of a man replied, “But I could not live without breakfast.”.
I asked: “How many meals do you have a day?”.
This question also seemed to stagger him. To help him I said, “Tell me how often you eat and I will count.”.
Just take note, reader, one days rations.
“On waking up the maid brings me a cup of tea and a slice of bread and butter (meal No.1). Later I go down to breakfast-eggs and toast or eggs and bacon and sometimes porridge or a ready-to- eat breakfast food (No.2). At eleven oclock they always bring into the office a cup of coffee and a few biscuits (No.3). At one oclock I go out for lunch (No.4).
About four oclock they bring they bring me a cup of tea and some bread and butter (No.5). About six oclock I drive home, then I have a square meal (No.6). I dont have anything more apart from a cup of cocoa and a few biscuits just before going to bed.” (Meal No.7).
“Seven meals,” I replied. “If you will take my advice, which you can have free gratis and for nothing, you shall e perfectly fit when I call four weeks to-day.”
“Well, what is it?”
“Knock off six out of the seven meals.”.
I think he wondered who was the madder, the one who gave the advice or he-should he accept it. I reminded him that there was a very simple alternative-he could go on and suffer.
I called four weeks later and saw six feet three of prefect fitness. I said, “What a change, only one meal a day?”.
His reply was, “Not quite, but I gave up the doctor and five of the seven you call meals, and I feel quite fit.”.
My friend, like most other people, did not consider them to be meals, but it must be remembered that his digestive organs have to undertake the same work and the food has to be carried through the same yards of digestive track, while doubtless the different foods partaken of for lunch or dinner would take any time from one to six hours to digest while some would not digest at all. With these all mixed together and one meal on the top of another, is there any machine in the world we should expect to withstand such treatment for long?.
Recently I stayed at a house over the week-end with a number of young people between the ages of 20 and 30. One became anything but well on the Sunday evening. Like most of us often do on holidays, or when we have no work to do, she had said to her digestive organs- or acted the part- “On this day thou shalt do all manner of work.” She left off eating, went to bed early, got up and took a long walk, instead of a big breakfast, and was quite O.K. again. A different “morning after” experience from the man who takes his seven course dinner and washes it down with whisky.
The truth is we cannot have it both ways in this world. If we would best serve ourselves or others we must not stick to the crown of the road, or we shall never deliver the goods. Most doctors know what all this means, they also know that it would spell “bad business” should their patients practise it.
A few years ago I was in conversation with the Managing Director of a world-wide known factory in Birmingham. I first made his acquaintance nearly thirty years earlier. I said to him, “Do you remember putting a poser to me thirty years ago?”.
He replied, “About the Salisbury Treatment?”.
I said, “Yes, you wanted to know if Vegetarianism was all I claimed for it, how was it that the Salisbury Treatment had cured you of indigestion by living on half-cooked red beef and dry toast?”.
He replied, “You could not answer the question then, but I expect you can now, and so can I. It was the vilest diet I ever attempted, I could not stick it. It was not the diet but fasting that did the trick.”.
I am of opinion that there are but very few of the hundreds of diseases that civilized man is subject to that wise fasting will not cure. Even cancer may thus be curable, as the writer suggested in his article entitled “Can Cancer Be Cured?” in “HEAL THYSELF” for January, 1932.