LORD HORDER made some time ago a statement that it would be foolish to devise a standard diet for everyone. He was perfectly correct. “One mans meat is another mans poison” and “What cures the smith kills the tailor”. Diet is not a universal thing, a standardized thing, and it never can be unless human constitutions have previously been standardized, an obvious impossibility or, rather, absurdity.
Some people flourish greatly with some particular diet, and they try to persuade their friends and acquaintances to follow the same diet although that diet may suit only the one individual who has devised or discovered it.
Of course there are some particular dietetic rules which are of almost universal applicability. For instance, it is obvious that putrefactive foods are dangerous in disease conditions, especially if there is bowel stagnation. Herein lies the reason that vegetarianism is advantageous to most sick people and also to most people in health. The finest races in the world are the races which live on a lacto-vegetarian diet.
Then, again, it is obvious that the refined and highly artificial foods are very inferior to the natural foods. Every stockbreeder feeds his animals with natural foods. If he tries to feed them on chemical artificialities recommended by artful manufacturers, there is disaster among the animals.
The professors of dietetics, in order to justify their existence, have advised us to eat scientifically. Everyone of us is urged to calculate the calories he gets, the vitamins, the mineral elements and so forth and so on. They try to make dietetics an abstruse science, understandable only to other dieticians.
The sooner all the professors of dietetics are dismissed, the better it will be for mankind. A number of them, whom I have the pleasure of knowing, suffer from gastric and duodenal ulcers and other diseases of the digestion.
Lately, we have heard much of the Hay diet. Hay may be excellent for horses but the Hay diet, though excellent in theory, puts a very heavy strain on those who try to follow it. We are told that certain foodstuffs which mankind has eaten simultaneously since the beginning of the world should be eaten separately at different meals. The Hay theory, like the theories of the professors of dietetics, is not based on commonsense but on so- called science, in plain English, on theory.
The Hay diet may possibly be of value to some people here and there, but it is far too difficult to manage for the average person. Dr. Hay is a man of considerable enthusiasm which has helped him in his propaganda and his theory is plausible. One of his predecessors was Mr. Horace Fletcher who flourished greatly on minute quantities of food chewed for hours. For a time that diet suited him very well but ultimately he died of auto-intoxication and Fletcher-ism is wellnigh forgotten. That happens to most dietetic fads and fancies.