MR. CHAIRMAN, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
It is a great privilege and a genuine pleasure to me to be allowed to address so large a meeting, and I hope that I may be able not only to tell you something interesting, but also something practically useful so that from this day onward you may benefit in health. There is an old saying “Health is better than wealth”. Health can be converted into wealth. A sick or seedy man is crippled physically and mentally.
Very often food is the best medicine. With food alone one can work true miracles of healing. That is proclaimed by all creation. You know quite well that the health of plants and trees depends on their food, contained in the soil. Transfer a flourishing plant to an unsuitable soil and it will wither, get ill and die. Transfer an ailing plant from an unsuitable soil to a soil which gives it the nutrition which it needs and it will prosper. One can at will make non-poisonous plants poisonous and poisonous plants non-poisonous by changing the soil. In the far North it happens that you have to feed your horses on fish.
The result is, of course, disastrous. Mr. Cook, whose happy, smiling countenance is in front of you, is a great bee keeper. He will bear me out that the quality of the honey depends on the flowers visited by his bees. Wholesome food produces delicious honey. Unsuitable food produces honey which is inferior or uneatable and occasionally poisonous. Not only that. Bees have it in their power by nutrition alone to convert their bee babies into males, females or neuters.
Food obviously can produce miracles in plants and animals and, therefore, also in men. I would illustrate my assertion by one or two examples. There sits Mr. Cook with his smiling happy countenance, the picture of health, with rosy cheeks and clear eyes, and no one would believe that he is sixty-eight years young. Yet, half a century ago he was in desperate state of health, was given up by the doctors, and was told him that he suffered from incurable heart disease.
No insurance company would insure his life. His instinct told him that diet would insure his life. His instinct told him that diet might be better than drugs, that Nature can cure health troubles which no doctor can cure. He simplified his diet, lived on natural food, became a vegetarian, buried many of the friends of his youth, who were naturally strong but who had lived injudiciously, and is able to work twelve hours or more a day and does so, and he works for the benefit of those who would follow his example and acquire health and strength by right living.
Twenty odd years ago I was a chronic invalid. I had been an invalid for years. My condition had become worse and worse. Doctors and health resorts had failed. My clothes and boots had become worn out, but I refused to have new ones. I thought they would last me out. A walk of a few minutes exhausted me. I could no longer sign my name, and had hysterical crying fits.
In my desperation I thought I would try a simplified and more natural diet, as the usual strengthening foods, meat, Wine, etc., had failed to benefit me. I am in my sixty-fourth year, on sundays I go for a thirty mile walk, a thing which I never could do when I was a youngster, my mental capacity is greater than ever, I dictate a volume of 500 pages in three or four weeks.
With food alone one can produce health and ill-health. We live directly or indirectly on earth, water and sunlight. The plants draw their nutriment from the soil, the air, and the sun, and in due course they are eaten by cows, sheep, poultry and by human beings. A few decades ago we were taught that the value of our foods depends on their three principal constituents, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Scientists established the value of our foods by their content of these three elements.
Thy burned foods for chemical analysis, and told us that certain foodstuffs contained so much protein, so much carbo-hydrates, so much fat and so much ash. The ash was considered more or less worthless. However, in the ash are contained the mineral elements which the plants draw from the soil and elaborate by the most wonderful chemistry, of which laboratory men have no conception. Besides, they create mysterious and wonderful food factors called vitamins, hormones, etc.
If you feed a cage full of rats or other animals on a de-vitaminized and de-mineralized diet, such as white bread, peeled boiled potatoes, vegetables cooked with soda, they will sicken and die of what is called deficiency diseases from which most civilized men suffer. You can produce in such animals gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcer, appendicitis, colitis, chronic constipation, eye diseases, paralysis, skin diseases, insanity, etc. These poor laboratory animals know that their illness is due to their food, and in their desperation they will eat their excreta.
Give these animals a small quantity of food rich in vitamins, such as milk, which contains all the vitamins, or bran, and they will rapidly recover and be healthy and happy once more, provided, of course, the cruel experiment of keeping them on the diet of civilization has not been continued too long. You can produce with the greatest ease in faultily-fed animals most of the diseases which plague us. Food and health obviously go together. By faulty diet you can make animals sterile. Give animals the diet which they need and the sterile ones will multiply and produce healthy offspring.
One can divide the human race into two large classes: the civilized and the uncivilized, the naturally-living and the unnaturally-living or the scientifically-living. These two classes die of two entirely different sets of diseases. Savages die of exposure, want, violence and dirt diseases, which we have eliminated from our midst. As a rule they are healthy, and they die suddenly from want, exposure, typhoid due to dirty water, cholera, measles or something of the kind.
Chronic diseases are practically unknown to them. We unfortunate civilized people are mostly ailing, are chronic invalids, and we die of diseases of the food tract, consumption, heart disease, arterio-sclerosis, cancer, etc., which are quite unknown among the primitively and naturally-living.
The condition of the food tract of the civilized from the mouth to the bowel opening is a disgrace. The civilized have rotten teeth, mouths and nose passages which are too small, and which degenerate, producing diseased tonsils and adenoids, and the unhealthy noise and throat naturally affect the organs of hearing and sight.
Indigestion among the civilized is general, although they live on the softest, most carefully cooked and pre-digested foods. Constipation is general and so are the numerous and terrible diseases created by constipation, for bowel stagnation produces putrefaction and the poisoning of the blood stream, which nourishes every organ and every structure of the body. Naturally the weakest organs break down first. After all, every chain breaks at the weakest link. The lunatic asylums are filled with the victims of chronic constipation. Chronic constipation creates numerous diseases, and aggravates, of course, every diseases and every disorder known to medical science.
If one wishes to cure a disease, it is not sufficient to examine the suffering organ or organs and to make a scientific diagnosis. One must discover the cause of the disease and deal with that cause. I would give you a few examples from my experience. Some years ago I was visited on the same day by two ladies. The one looked very healthy, but had a huge goitre. The other was terribly anaemic and weak.
The goitre lady told me that she lived on concentrated foods and took practically no liquid. the anaemic lady informed me that she lived on a purifying diet, chiefly vegetables and fruit and that she drank huge quantities of water, but that she had never been able to purify her blood sufficiently to get rid of her anaemia. I told Lady No. 1 that the most perfect drainage system will get clogged if it is never flushed, I reduced and normalized her food, and gave her an abundance of liquid.
I told Lady No.2 that human beings cannot obtain health and strength from a diet suitable for caterpillars and butterflies, gave her a substantial nourishing diet, and told her that she was washing out of her system the food she had been taking before it had had time to be absorbed by the body. Both improved rapidly.
Cancer, the most terrible disease of all, is a disease of civilization. It is practically unknown among primitive races and among naturally-living animals. It is largely, or rather chiefly, due to our food. It is worth noting that most cancers attack the alimentary canal. The most frequent cancers are cancers of the stomach and of the bowel, of the swallowing tube, mouth and tongue.
Thousands of researchers all over the world waste heir time in searching for the microscopic organism of cancer. They hope to find a cure for cancer by discovering “guilty microbe”. There is no guilty microbe. The causation of cancer is plain to all who have eyes to see and to read. Cancer is twice as frequent percentually in the towns as in the country districts. It is principally a town disease. It is approximately three times as deadly to butchers, public-house workers, hotel workers and sailors as it is to agricultural labourers and clergymen. That has been shown by Government statistics.
At first sight it seems incredible that sailors who lead an active, healthy life in the open air should die in such large numbers of cancer. They die not only of cancer in undue numbers, but of many other serious diseases as well. The sailors have a very healthy occupation from the health point of view, but then they live chiefly on preserved, artificial foods, which have been scientifically deprived of the mineral elements and vitamins, and they consume huge quantities of meat.
Cancer is undoubtedly to a large extent a meat-eaters disease. Hence the large proportion of victims among butchers and in the catering trade. Of course it is by no means solely a meat- eaters disease. Chronic poisoning and chronic injury are apt to produce cancer. Boiling hot food and drink is undoubtedly responsible for the vast majority of cases of cancer of the stomach. Hundreds of people suffering from cancer of stomach have come to me and in practically every case I was told that they took their drink boiling hot. My last case of stomach cancer was a man of sixty-six who had hitherto been in perfect health and had never been to the doctor.
He had never suffered from indigestion, but now he suffered atrociously from what he called indigestion with violent pain which tormented him day and night. He had been to several doctors who had given him medicines to facilitate digestion, but they had never enquired about his diet. I heard to my horror that he had every day fifteen or sixteen cups of tea “as hot as hell and as black as ink”, with five or six lumps of white sugar in each cup, and the cup was brought to him in a basin of boiling water, from which he lifted it with a pair of tongs. In addition he took fantastical quantities of meat, salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar, pickles, alcohol and tobacco.
A man who wishes to buy a horse looks into the animals mouth. Mouth and teeth are considered representative of its health. Every savage has magnificent teeth, whether he is a vegetarian or whether he lives exclusively on meat and fish like the Eskimos, or whether he lives on a mixed diet. Judged by the test which we apply to horses and other animals, the condition of the civilized is pitiful.
The savage runs about as God made him or her, with a loin cloth. The civilized not only require boots, clothing etc., to shield them from the friendly elements, but glasses to see, and artificial teeth to chew their food, corsets and belts to disguise the disgrace of their figure, or to lift up sunken organs, special stockings to protect their varicose veins, steel supports to lift up the sunken arches of their feet, pills to help them to digest their food, salts to enable them to excrete it, medicines, such as Aspirin, to relieve their numerous pains, dope to soothe their nerve or make hem sleep, tonics to enable hem to keep going, and so forth. Besides, about half the civilized have been operated upon. According to those who live on mutilating our bodies, we ought to have our teeth pulled out, our tonsils cut out, our appendices removed, and there are other and more ghastly operations which are currently performed which are usually not mentioned in polite society.
Health is mainly a matter of nutrition. Cleanliness, exercise, fresh air, are of secondary importance. The animals in Nature are extremely careful about their food, but they take very little exercise, if any, for exercise sake and they care not much about fresh air. Most animals live in stuffy thickets, burrows, dens, etc., and our domestic animals sleep preferably under a piece of furniture, the nearest equivalent to a burrow or den, with their nose well tucked into their fur. However, all animals desire live food.
If you spade some worms and throw them on the path, warm-eating birds will not touch them because they are dead, exactly as you cat will kill and eat a live mouse or bird she has caught, but disdains a mouse or bird found dead unless she is starving. One of the healthiest men I know is the secretary of my club. He is well over eighty and for at least twenty years he has not taken a holiday and he never goes for walks. He travels in a taxi from his flat in the West End to the club and back, and rings for the lift when he wishes to go downstairs. However, he knows how to feed.
Some time ago I was in the country and saw in a meadow a horse, a veritable spectre of a horse, terribly emaciated, bones sticking out, with staring coat, a pitiful figure. I asked the man who owned it why the horse was not put out of its misery. He told me that the horse had been ill a long time, that the vet. had visited it ever so often, giving it medicines without result and that at last he had said: “Put him on the grass, perhaps that will save his life.” I told him that in my opinion the animal should be shot at once, because it was suffering.
Three weeks after, I went the same way, and I saw a beautiful young horse prancing about in the meadow. The owner was learning over the gate and I said to him: “I am glad to see you have such a beautiful young horse. What have you done with the poor spectre?” “That is the spectre. That is my dear old horse. I am glad I did not have him destroyed as you urged me.” Nature cure!
Most of our diseases and disorders are nutritional and most of them can be cured, or at least greatly relieved, by dietetic reform. I am often asked: “What is the best diet?” There is no uniform and universal best diet to suit everyone. A proverb says: “One mans meat is another mans poison,” and another one tells us: “What cures the smith kills the tailor.” There are people who must sleep ten hours a night. There are people who require much food and there are others who require little food.
Even standardized machines require often different quantities of fuel and different require often different quantities of fuel and different kinds of fuel. However, there are a few simple rules. Food should be as near to the natural condition as possible. All the mineral elements in the soil are found in the plant which lives on that soil. Animals and men flourish when living on these natural plants or plant products. The very elements which are found in the soil are found in the milk, the eggs and the meat which we eat if we are meat-eaters. I happen to be a vegetarian, and so is my friend, Mr. Cook.
The natural foodstuffs are unfortunately only too often de- naturalized by processes of refining which destroy or eliminate the most important food elements. Whole wheat, whole rye, whole barley, whole oats, whole rice, whole potatoes, whole milk, are complete foods, and so is whole sugar. The wheat is deprived of its outer skin, the bran, which is the richest it protein, in iron, lime, phosphorus, and other indispensable elements. The lime creates the substance of the bones within us and the substance of the teeth, and the phosphorus is necessary for creating the enamel which protects our teeth.
The whole wheat grain possesses not only the outer coating of bran, the finest food in the world, but it possesses the germ, the veritable egg of the plant, which contains the most valuable living elements. The millers sift the bran and the germ out of the wheat flour. The germ, like every living food, deteriorates in keeping and may turn the flour musty.
The foodless white flour, which produces dental decay and numerous other diseases, a fact which had been shown by experiments on animals, is chemically bleached by the millers, and sent to the bakers, who in baking add “chemical improvers” to make the bread look bigger, to blow it out. The essential food elements needed for our health are taken away and they are replaced by noxious chemicals.
In a similar criminal manner all the other grains are treated. Rice is polished with French chalk to make it look pretty, natural sugar is brown and is rich in iron and many other mineral elements, and is harmless to the teeth. It is chemically treated, it reaches us in the form of white sugar which is destructive to the teeth and acid-creating, a cause of ill-health. Milk is sterilized by heating, which deprives it of invaluable food elements. The cakes and jams which we buy are frequently coloured and flavoured with coal tar dyes and coal tar flavourings, and so are the weird bottles of “minerals” which ought to be called chemicals. Poisonous preservatives are used in countless processes.
Much of the food which reaches our houses is foodless, is apt to create deficiency diseases. Unfortunately housewives are guided by the cook book, which tells them to peel the potatoes before boiling them, and to preserve the colour of the greens by adding soda or bicarbonate to the water in which they are cooked. The wonderful anti-acid substances contained in the vegetables are leached out of them if they are cooked in soda and the vitamins are destroyed. The most valuable vegetable essence is thrown away with the cooking water, and the attractive looking fibre is put on our plates. The most valuable anti-acid contents of the potatoes are likewise extracted from them if they are boiled peeled. The most important food elements are either fed to cattle and pigs, who get the bran, or they are thrown down the sink.
As I have written a number of health books, large numbers of people came to me for advice. Most of them suffered from diseases and disorders which had proved intractable or incurable to orthodox physicians and specialists, who unfortunately know little of diet. I placed thousands of them on a fleshless diet, but by no means all. There is a small proportion of people who do not flourish on a fleshless diet, but the proportion is very small. Probably we were not meant to eat meat. If you look into the mouth of a meat-eating animal, such as the cat or dog, you will notice that the chewing teeth are extremely sharp and edged, and that the upper and lower chewing teeth work together like scissors to cut and tear the meat. Our teeth are more like those of the vegetable-eating animals and of the apes, who live on fruit and nuts.
Most of those who wish to try vegetarianism make the mistake that they try to live on vegetables alone, accompanied, perhaps, by white bread and butter. White bread is not a food but a poison. Keep a cageful of rats on white bread and water and they will die all within a few weeks of horrible diseases. Keep another cageful on wholemeal bread and water and they will flourish and beget generation after generation. Those who try vegetarianism, living on white bread and butter, vegetables, possibly cooked with soda and potatoes peeled before boiling make a failure of it.
One of the essential items in a vegetarian diet is wholemeal bread, or wholemeal grain in some form or other. The argument that bread or grain is “too starchy” is totally mistaken. Dr. Hindhede, the celebrated food reformer of Denmark, and his assistants have lived for years exclusively on wholemeal bread and water and a little margarine and potatoes boiled in their skins. I live on the most elementary foods in the most elementary form. I take, for instance, every morning, a large portion of bran porridge, and take bran two or three times a day in puddings and cake, etc. Thousands of people whose diet I have regulated have become bran worshippers and wholemeal flour habitues.