Every Womans Book of Health and Beauty.
The distinguished president of the New Health Society has given to the ladies a readable little book full of wise advice which, it is to be hoped, will be largely followed. Sir Arbuthnot is a great idealist. He has pointed out innumerable times in books, articles and speeches, that civilization suffers from faulty nutrition and consequent stagnation of the intestines, that chronic constipation is the great disease of civilization which is responsible for the enormous proportion of the diseases known to medical science.
It stands to reason that every disease or disorder is aggravated if the patient has a foul bowel, if the system is poisoned from stagnant masses of putrefying food. In many of his publications, Sir Arbuthnot has dealt exclusively, or almost exclusively, with what he calls chronic intestinal stasis, the scientific term for constipation. In his present work, he deals with every phase of womans life in chapters headed:.
Womans Place in the Modern World.
Girlhood and Adolescence.
Fear and Fatigue.
Problems of Diet and Digestion.
The Change of Life.
Happy Old Age.
The Golden Rules of Health.
Woman and Exercise.
The Skin and Complexion.
Putting on Weight.
In fairness to the author it will be best to give some extracts from this book, which will undoubtedly induce many of the readers to order it forthwith.
“It must not be thought that the venereal diseases constituted a War-time problem, or that their incidence throughout the country has been definitely checked. They are only kept at bay by persistent, unremitting effort of which popular education regarding their prevalence and dangers is an important part. About these diseases everyone should know something, for they are apt to affect not only those who knowingly take a risk, but quite innocent people, women and children, and, alas, the unborn.
It is by no means unusual for an otherwise propitious union to be ruined by the self-assurance of a bridegroom who does not realize the latent consequences of a bachelor escapade which he may think he has put behind him for ever. This is particularly true of untreated or imperfectly treated gonorrhoeal infections which in themselves might not appear serious or of long standing, but which may recur after a latent period of some years and infect an innocent wife without her knowledge or that of her husband.
When at last the infected condition of the wife comes to light the infecting organism may be pervading the more inaccessible parts of the reproductive system, involving prolonged treatment, sometimes serious operations, and often resulting in subsequent sterility. In addition a child born in such circumstances is exposed to the risk of blindness unless prompt measures are taken by the officiating doctor or midwife.
“This is only one of the risks involved in the so-called sowing of wild oats, and there are many others. Syphilitic infection involving constitutional sequelae of the gravest character and affecting unborn generations may result from a single injudicious contact, sometimes even of an innocent character.
It is the duty of those who are about to marry to ascertain the full facts of these diseases from the British Social Hygiene Council, who are entrusted by the Ministry of Health with the important work of disseminating knowledge among the lay public. All I can do myself is to help to draw the attention of the public to this grave menace and to point out how obviously the interchange of heal certificates before marriage might help in exposing an unsuspected taint which can often be made amenable to successful treatment.”.
“Of all the factors which make for healthy motherhood and the rearing of strong, vigorous children, I do not think that there is one of greater significance than diet. Quite obviously, it is impossible to construct a sound edifice from imperfect materials, and it is equally impossible to build up a new human being from poor foodstuffs. Nor can the mother maintain the health and strength which, though at all times desirable, is imperative when she is about to bring new life into the world.
We must bear in mind that the child within the womb is in a specially intimate relationship with the various physiological processes of the mother. By means of an organ called the placenta there is a constant interchange between the blood of the mother and the blood of the child. Food elements and oxygen pass from mother to child, while waste material passes from child to mother.
Thus, it will be clear that any impoverishment or poisoning of the mothers blood will have a corresponding effect upon the childs blood, and so will adversely affect the healthy development of the child. This effect can readily be seen in the case of poisons such as lead and alcohol, but there is no doubt that more subtle poisonings, such as those associated with constipation, also have a detrimental action upon the child within the womb”.
“The first essential of the expectant mothers dietary is that it should be well balanced. In other words, that it should contain proper proportions of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates. In the matter of proteins there can be no question that a minimum of these should be obtained from animal flesh, and for this special reason. The mothers kidneys have to excrete waste for two, and a very slight excess of waste resulting from protein digestion is very liable to disturb the functioning of the delicate kidney cells, and may lead to inflammation of this organ.
I need hardly mention that kidney inflammation is a serious complication of pregnancy, and that unfortunately it is of fairly frequent occurrence. In any case, expectant mothers should always remember that eggs, cheese and milk are excellent sources of first class proteins, and that health will never suffer at any tie from the omission of butchers meat from the dietary. White fish and chicken may be taken in reasonable amounts from time to time.”.
“In an address, Faulty Food in Relation to Gastro-intestinal Disorders, delivered in the United States in 1921 McCarrison states:–.
For some nine years of my professional life my duties lay in a remote part of the Himalayas, amongst isolated races far removed from the refinements of civilization. Certain of these races are of magnificent physique, preserving until later in life the characteristics of youth: they are unusually fertile and long lived and endowed with nervous systems of notable stability.
During the period of my association with these people I never saw a case of asthenic dyspepsia, of gastric and duodenal ulcer, of appendicitis, of mucous colitis, or of cancer, although my operating list averaged over 400 operations a year..
Can anything be more striking and instructive than this experience of a man who is not only a highly trained researcher in dietetics but also very skilled in surgery and medicine ?.
I particularly underlined cancer, since to people living in a state of civilization the rapidly-increasing rate with which it exacts a toll of suffering, misery and death is more terrifying than the course and termination of most other chronic diseases.
The statement my McCarrison, supported by the evidence of a number of skilled observers who have spent their lives treating nations living under natural conditions, must impress on an intelligent community the vast importance of carefully considering the conditions created by constipation, and its sequence of ailments ending in cancer.
While the treatment of cancer is of vital importance, its elimination by scientific dietetic measures is vastly more urgent. I have repeated on innumerable occasions in the last forty years that I have never operated on a case of cancer in a healthy subject — in other words, a healthy individual cannot be infected by the virus of cancer, however old he or she may be.”.
“Save for hereditary maladies and accidents, is there any reason why we should not all live to be centenarians ? Biologists have propounded various theories to explain longevity, but we are here concerned with practical issues. Duration of life in the vegetable and animal kingdoms varies from a few hours in the case of some insects to thousands of years in the case of the giant Sequoia trees of California.
Tortoises, parrots and swans are notoriously long-lived, while the sacred crocodiles of India are believed to live for more than a hundred years. With human beings there is a marked variation in the span of life, according to race and climate. A recent census at Sofia states that there are 158 centenarians in Bulgaria — all peasants from the rough mountainous areas, of whom 95 per cent. have been vegetarians all their lives, drinking large quantities of yoghurt, while only 2 per cent. eat meat regularly.
In this connection the case of Thomas Parr, whose autopsy was performed by William Harvey, the discoverer of the blood circulation, may be mentioned. This Shropshire peasant, who did public penance for incontinence, after he had passed his hundredth year, is recorded to have died in his 153rd year (that is probably apocrypha, but there is no doubt that he attained a great age), and it is interesting to observe that his ordinary diet consisted of sub-rancid cheese, and milk in every form, coarse and hard bread, and small drink, generally sour whey.
There is incontrovertible evidence for the belief that old age is precipitated by absorption of the products of putrefaction from the large bowel. This view was originally suggested by Metchnikoff, who urged that the germs of putrefaction could be replaced or suppressed by certain lactic acid germs present in soured milk, thus inhibiting the putrefaction and preventing the self poisoning which is the chief agent in the senile degeneration of the tissues.”.
“The time will come when centenarians will no longer be so rare as to be subject for comment, and when their appearance will believe their great age if judged by our present conceptions. Mr. Henry Ford has recently announced his determination to live to be a hundred years of age, and to be of service to himself and mankind until he is eighty-five; while Professor Guenoit, the oldest French doctor, who has just celebrated his ninety-eighth birthday, holds that any normally constituted person should be able to live for 100 years of more.
Both declare that most people eat too much, especially too much meat, and both pin their faith to the simple life. A man does not die a natural death as a rule, but kills himself by a gradual process of poisoning, asserts Professor Guenoit; and that is the writing on the wall for all who would live to be healthy centenarians.”.
“Compared with their sisters of past generations our modern women are immeasurably more vigorous and vital. Their athletic figures enable them to indulge in nearly every kind of outdoor sport with most desirable benefits to their health. Nowadays, a woman is no longer content to be old at forty. If her dressmaker as much as hints at a spreading figure, she immediately takes herself in hand and consults the weighing machine with anxious regularity until satisfied that all danger is over.
Of course there have been extremities in this business of slimming. They have over-stepped the borderline between healthy and unhealthy slimness by endeavouring to exist on what was practically a starvation diet. The results in some cases approached very near to disaster, for an undernourished body is the best soil wherein disease can flourish. Generally speaking, however, the pursuit of slenderness on the part of our womenfolk has had beneficial repercussions on their health–so much so, that it is a matter for genuine regret that a similar fashion has not extended the male of the species.
Life Assurance companies have proclaimed that the mortality rate of stout people is considerably higher than that of people of average or underweight, but the ill-effects of obesity are witnessed daily in every branch of medical practice. The way of obesity is the way of unfitness– let there be no doubt on that issue. An unnatural load of fat is an impediment to the working efficiency of all the tissues and organs of the body.
Most significant are the effects of surplus fat on the heart and circulation of the blood. Everyone knows how stout people puff and blow on the slightest exertion, and how they are incapable of any extra effort. A heart constructed for a normal person cannot pump blood throughout the increased bulk of the corpulent without showing signs of wear and tear.
Though a most obliging organ, there are limits to the hearts resistance to strain– especially should the heart itself be infiltrated with fat, a not uncommon happening. This, indeed, is the chief reason why corpulent people are bad subjects for surgical operations necessitating general anaesthetics.
Disorders of the digestive system are exceedingly common in those over weight. Perhaps the main reason for this is that such people are nearly always constipated, a condition inevitably associated with dyspeptic symptoms as well as the more dangerous afflictions such as appendicitis, gastric and duodenal ulcer and gall stones. Owing to involvement of the pancreas, diabetes is also liable to ensue.
Again, the excessive weight strains ligaments, tendons and joints so that we are not surprised at the frequency of arthritis. The muscles, too, are laden with fat, and weaken and lose tone– especially in the case of abdominal muscles — with the result that any tendency to constipation is increased, while certain varieties of hernia are apt to arise.
The lowered power of resistance to germ infections makes the obese subject to diseases such as bronchitis, influenza and pneumonia (which they stand badly) in fact, to any inflammatory condition. The lot of the corpulent from a health point of view can hardly be said to be a happy one.
To discover the cause of obesity may be comparatively simple, but, on the other hand, it may present considerable difficulty. It must be conceded, first of all, that some of us have a physical propensity to leanness and some to fatness. Irrespective of the amount of food consumed we may remain thin or we may tend to put on weight. We are all familiar with illustrative cases.
Undoubtedly, there is some constitutional factor at work, but what it is the physiologists have not yet discovered, though it is believed to be associated with the intensity of functioning of those endocrine or ductless glands which have so potent an effect upon human destiny.
To be practical, by far the commonest cause of corpulence is the continued eating of fuel foodstuffs in excess of the daily requirements. This is particularly likely to occur in the case of people leading sedentary lives. No doubt the daily excess of food may appear trivial, but the effect is cumulative and, once on the road to obesity, it is a hard job to pull up.
Perhaps it is at the meal euphemistically called afternoon tea that most people are tempted to excess. The afternoon tea habit is one of the most insidious, enslaving and pernicious ever cultivated by man. Confined to a cup of tea, it would be innocuous, but supported by pastries, cream cakes and sweet biscuits it becomes a positive menace to good health. I am convinced that it is to the deplorable invention of afternoon tea that innumerable cases of obesity owe their origin.
Middle age is the danger period for those inclined to stoutness. This is especially so in the case of the business and professional classes. After a life of striving they achieve a certain prosperity at this time and there is a great temptation to do themselves well at the table. Not only that, but they tend also to relax their former active recreations of mind and body in settling down to what they consider well earned comfort and ease.
These combined factors quickly increase the girth of the prosperous middle-aged man. In the case of the middle-aged woman, a tendency to stoutness is generally put down to the scheme of Nature and, too frequently, a cant-be-helped attitude is adopted. As a matter of fact it women were to adhere scrupulously to the special hygiene of the change of life, the possibilities of an ungainly figure need not trouble them in the least.
Naturally the accumulation of surplus fat is much easier to prevent than to cure but, unfortunately, it is easy to pass from the state of agreeable plumpness to that of ungainly stoutness before the full significance of the perils is realized. As soon as the ideal weight is passed, therefore, take action immediately. As a rough estimate of correct weight, I give the following suggestion. With a height of five feet six inches, the weight should be ten stones, and five pounds should be added for each inch above it — a slight modification being made according to whether the bony framework is light or heavy.
Limitation of food intake is the principal and most scientific method of weight reduction, but if there is any suspicion of existing organic disease, such a method should never be undertaken without first consulting the doctor. I emphasize the need to start early with dietetic limitation, for if this is carried out the temptation to indulge in drastic starvation cures will be avoided and incidentally the results achieved will be much more lasting. Sensational dietetic systems for fat reduction are fraught with considerable danger”.