A FEW years ago, soon after my first article appeared in “HEAL THYSELF”, or rather in “THE HOMOEOPATHIC WORLD”, by which title it had been known for many years, the Editor did me the honour of adding my name to the list of many illustrious contributors that appears month by month on inside of front cover. By the hints since received from time to time from the Editor, it may be that the many articles that have since appeared have not justified his bracketing my name with that of “Vegetarianism”, hence the present article.
I am often asked, “Why did you take up the Food Reform Movement?” “Why did you take up Vegetarianism?” or some similar question. The reply is “I did not take it up, it took me up, which makes all the difference”.
The first time I remember encountering the word “vegetarianism” was more than fifty years ago. It was in Queen Street, Portsmouth, when I went into a Vegetarian Restaurant and had a “three course dinner for six pence”. The price suited both my “Scotch” blood and my pocket, and I remember how much I enjoyed that dinner, thanks to the most piquant and health-giving of all sauces-hunger.
But it did nothing, as far as I remember, to convert me to vegetarianism. Later I discarded the use of ham and bacon, recognizing the fact that the pig, the dirtiest creature on Gods earth, as kept by man, provided this choice breakfast dish. I further found that I could keep fitter on wholemeal bread and butter and oatmeal porridge, but it require more than that to make me a confirmed disciple of vegetarianism.
Later still I was refused acceptance by three Life Insurance Companies, and I found that if I was ever going to live to enjoy good health I had to learn to do without all such stimulating solids and liquids as beef and mutton and tea and coffee. Experience also taught me that if one “fixed upon that course of life which is best, custom would render it most delightful”. Further, I found that for every one thing I gave up and learnt to do without, I found two better things to take its place. I had also come to see that there was some truth in the dictum, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are”.
In all foods partaken of from the Vegetable Kingdom there are produced more or less waste products than the human digestive organs, or the system as a whole, has to dispose of. If these waste products amount to, say, sixteen ounces per day and fifteen ounces only are disposed of, the remaining ounce will eventually lay one on his or her back, in spite of the assertion” I have eaten so and so for twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years.” When one dies, the greater the amount of these impurities the body contains the quicker will putrefaction set in.
The same will be true, after being slaughtered, of the pig and the cow I saw wallowing in six inches of slush in a farmers yard only last week. If vegetable products taken first hand produce such results in the human organism, what results can one expect when such impurities are taken second hand and ready made, from the animal kingdom? In other words, we are given the choice of obtaining nourishment at first hand by eating barley porridge, or allowing the pig to eat the barley meal (if it ever has the chance of eating anything so clean) and then eating the pig ourselves, thus taking our nourishment second hand.
About that time all my spare time was occupied with work connected with the Temperance Movement. I had been instrumental in starting two Bands of Hope and one Good Templar Lodge, and at one and the same time I was secretary of no less than three such organizations.
When I was asked, “Why do you, in conversations and debates, always take the side of the vegetarian when you are not a vegetarian?” the reply was “I have not been in the employ of an enthusiastic vegetarian for five years without learning that the vegetarians have the best of the argument from all standpoints, so I support them to be on the winning side in spite of the fact that I still hanker after the flesh pots. The moral aspect of the question has never appealed to me sufficiently, but I believe the time will come when it will do so, then I shall have to become almost and altogether a vegetarian”.
This-the humanitarian aspect – I consider to be the unassailable portion of the vegetarian argument. This I hope to deal with in the July issue of “HEAL THYSELF”, believing that the mode of living that has been, and is daily being, proved by thousands in all walks of life to be physically right, cannot be other than morally and ethically right also.