THAT vegetarians make mistakes in their diet there is no doubt– they would be the only perfect people in an imperfect world if they did not. I may be tempted some day to write an article of helpful criticism under the title “Dietetic Mistakes made by Vegetarians” but this is not my present purpose.
My wish is rather to write something helpful to that large number of vegetarians who have given up the use of fish, flesh and fowl as food, for health reasons, owing to the fact that they had one foot already in the grave, while doctors and all else had failed them.
I hope also to help further those good folk who are wishful to take the best possible foods to obtain perfect health and fitness. This is not an easy matter, although the writer has spent about forty years at this particular job, and perhaps has made more experiments with food and dictated more letters to both doctors and their patients than any other living man, giving the best possible advice, for which no fee has ever been asked or accepted.
The chief difficulty is the fact that such information to many people sounds too much like a patent medicine advertisement, and any such advice is discounted accordingly. The advice given, however, is often in the direction of what they should leave off rather than what they should take. Adopting a vegetarian diet does not change ones likes and dislikes all at once. The majority are still wishful to eat and drink what they like, and take something to square matters. In other words they want to obtain health and fitness without paying the price.
Perhaps of all people diabetic sufferers are the most hopeless and difficult to deal with in this respect. To go back to the cause of their trouble, and it is useless to attempt to deal with any disease otherwise, this is undoubtedly the partaking of too much sugar and starchy foods in the shape of confectionery and sweet things of all kinds, together with white bread, white rice, white macaroni and sweet dishes largely composed of cornflour.
The patient, having got into the hands of the doctors, writes, “I have been ordered a starchless diet, what can you recommend?” I often think it would be much better for the doctor to tell the patient what he should leave off taking, and also just what foods he should substitute. Two things are quite certain. If the diabetic sufferer starts on the “purely starchless diet” recommended, he is not likely to continue it for long.
If he did “stick it” then the doctor would soon have one less diabetic patient. It pays the doctor much better to start with insulin and thus secure a patient who will never get better, but will continue to be a patient for life.
But what is the Health Food Specialist to say to his would-be customer in reply to the question, “What can you offer in a starchless diet?” He could offer pure protein in the form of gluten, but for what purpose if no digestive organs can digest it, and no diabetic sufferer is likely to try, for long. In its place he should give the patient the best advice possible, tell him the cause of the trouble and how it can be remedied.
Tell him in the place of white bread to substitute pure wholemeal bred, not a brown bread sold under some fancy name, but the genuine article made from the whole of the wheat. In place of white rice substitute natural brown or red undressed rice. Learn to do without added sugar and sweet things containing sugar. Obtain supplies of sugar — that which he feels he must have — from fresh fruits other than bananas, dates, etc.
Such fruits as grapes, limes, lemons (in moderation) oranges and grape fruit or such like juices will do much to purify the blood rather than increase its sugar content, in spite of the contra opinion held and advice given by the majority of doctors. Thus, with a pure blood stream this disease, like all others, ceases to be fed, and cannot long continue to exist.
If the diabetic subject considers something in the form of a diabetic bread is necessary in place of ordinary bread, in spite of the fact that you tell him that expensive diabetic bread and other foods may prove quite unnecessary if the simple advice given is carried out, then the proprietor of the Health Food Store, or the manufacturer, as the case may be, may recommend some particular Diabetic Wholemeal Flour, biscuits, or bread containing a much greater proportion of gluten than is found in ordinary flour and accordingly less starch, and with what result? Ninety and nine diabetics will unwisely continue for years to eat white diabetic bread, while one only will take the wholemeal recommended.