VEGETARIANISM AND DISEASE



This gastric disorder proved to be the “last straw” that broke down the natural resistance of her body to ptomaine or other poisoning. Those who consider that there is more enjoyment in partaking of non-flesh diet than the opposite, cannot think it wise to take any such risks.

This reminds me of a story told me some time since by a Nature Cure Doctor, an enthusiastic vegetarian, who was asked to attend a class of students who were being instructed regarding the poisonous effect of a certain herb. My friend asked how much would be considered necessary for a fatal dose for a healthy person.

He then asked for such quantity to be measured into a glass, and he drank same without more to do, to the consternation of all present. But neither then nor later did he appear to be any the worse. What would have happened to man unhealthy subject is another matter.

These illustrations are but small everyday matters. The risk of contracting one or more of the many tabulated diseases by the Vegetarian is remote. Should, however, any such misfortune overtake a non-meat-eater –and vegetarians do not always live both wisely and well– then the risk of such illness proving long, serious or complicated, is very small.

The same remark applies to accidents of all kinds. Every doctor knows how great the risk is, with a broken arm, leg, or fractured ribs or collar bone, or even only knees with most of the skin removed. The vegetarian should return to his ordinary occupation in record time, but if the patient happens to be a barman or a brewers drayman, the doctor knows he is likely to have a big job on.

Another risk the meat-eater runs is the false stimulating effect such foods have. So much so that he really comes to believe that he could not live without the roast beef of Old England. Every brain worker is safer without any such unwise stimulating foods in this world of rush and tear. “For”, says Dr. S. Henning Belfrage, “flesh foods contain substances which the body cannot use, and which have to be got rid of as waste material by the liver and the kidneys.” “And”, says the Rev.

Peter Green of Manchester, Chaplain to His Majesty the King, “I am convinced that, had I been a meat-eater, I should have had a serious breakdown from overwork some time ago. I believe meat poisoning to be a fruitful cause of mental and physical breakdown.” I might personally say ditto to that, but for the fact that had I not been for many years an abstainer from flesh, fish, fowl and alcohol, I should never have reached the present time to tell the tale.

I would like to close with a quotation from the Lancet, which should be considered by the medical profession to be above suspicion.

“It may be difficult to find any scientific reason why mankind should regularly include animal flesh in their diet.”.

Yes ! It might be added that Vegetarians have always been saying this, and what is more, proving it by their mode of living, or as G.B.S. says, “I need say nothing about my having been a vegetarian for half a century. The results are before the public”.

James Henry Cook
Henry W.J. Cook was born in Edinburgh in 1870, the eldest son of Dr Edmund Alleyne Cook.

Henry followed in his father's footsteps, obtaining his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Durham in 1891. At the age of 27 he arrived in Melbourne in April 1894 aboard the Port Albert. He was registered as a medical practitioner in Victoria on 4 May 1894.

It appears that Dr Cook already believed in homœopathy, possibly because of his father's influence, as in 1895 Dr Cook took the position of Resident Surgeon of the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital . (This position was previously held by Dr James Cook, unrelated, who resigned in March 1895). He was listed in the 1896 & 1897 editions of the Melbourne Post Office Directory as being Resident Medical Officer at the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital, but not in the 1898 edition.

In 1901 he moved to Sale in Eastern Victoria, where he ran a practice in York Street. By 1909 his practice was at Wyndham Street, Shepparton.

By 1919 he had moved to 2 Studley Park Road, Kew, where he died on 7 May, 1923.