CHAPTER X. WHAT TO EAT.
The current sciences of medicine and hygiene have made no progress
toward answering the question, What shall I eat? The contests between
the vegetarians and the meat eaters, the cooked food advocates, raw food
advocates, and various other "schools" of theorists, seem to be
interminable; and from the mountains of evidence and argument piled up
for and against each special theory, it is plain that if we depend on
these scientists we shall never know what is the natural food of man.
Turning away from the whole controversy, then, we will ask the question
of nature herself, and we shall find that she has not left us without an
Most of the errors of dietary scientists grow out of a false premise as
to the natural state of man. It is assumed that civilization and mental
development are unnatural things; that the man who lives in a modern
house, in city or country, and who works in modern trade or industry for
his living is leading an unnatural life, and is in an unnatural
environment; that the only "natural" man is a naked savage, and that the
farther we get from the savage the farther we are from nature. This is
wrong. The man who has all that art and science can give him is leading
the most natural life, because he is living most completely in all his
faculties. The dweller in a well-appointed city flat, with modern
conveniences and good ventilation, is living a far more naturally human
life than the Australian savage who lives in a hollow tree or a hole in
That Great Intelligence, which is in all and through all, has in reality
practically settled the question as to what we shall eat. In ordering
the affairs of nature, It has decided that man's food shall be according
to the zone in which he lives. In the frigid regions of the far North,
fuel foods are required. The development of brain is not large, nor is
the life severe in its labor-tax on muscle; and so the Esquimaux live
largely on the blubber and fat of aquatic animals. No other diet is
possible to them; they could not get fruits, nuts, or vegetables even if
they were disposed to eat them; and they could not live on them in that
climate if they could get them. So, notwithstanding the arguments of the
vegetarians, the Esquimaux will continue to live on animal fats.
On the other hand, as we come toward the tropics, we find fuel foods
less required; and we find the people naturally inclining toward a
vegetarian diet. Millions live on rice and fruits; and the food regimen
of an Esquimaux village, if followed upon the equator, would result in
speedy death. A "natural" diet for the equatorial regions would be very
far from being a natural diet near the North Pole; and the people of
either zone, if not interfered with by medical or dietary "scientists,"
will be guided by the All Intelligence, which seeks the fullest life in
all, to feed themselves in the best way for the promotion of perfect
health. In general, you can see that God, working in nature and in the
evolution of human society and customs, has answered your question as to
what you shall eat; and I advise you to take His answer in preference to
that of any man.
In the temperate zone the largest demands are made on man in spirit,
mind, and body; and here we find the greatest variety of foods provided
by nature. And it is really quite useless and superfluous to theorize on
the question what the masses shall eat, for they have no choice; they
must eat the foods which are staple products of the zone in which they
live. It is impossible to supply all the people with a nut-and-fruit or
raw food diet; and the fact that it is impossible is proof positive that
these are not the foods intended by nature, for nature, being formed for
the advancement of life, has not made the obtaining of the means of life
an impossibility. So, I say, the question, What shall I eat? has been
answered for you. Eat wheat, corn, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat; eat
vegetables; eat meats, eat fruits, eat the things that are eaten by the
masses of the people around the world, for in this matter the voice of
the people is the voice of God. They have been led, generally, to the
selection of certain foods; and they have been led, generally, to
prepare these foods in generally similar ways; and you may depend upon
it that in general they have the right foods and are preparing them in
the right way. In these matters the race has been under the guidance of
God. The list of foods in common use is a long one, and you must select
therefrom according to your individual taste; if you do, you will find
that you have an infallible guide, as shown in the next two chapters.
If you do not eat until you have an EARNED hunger, you will not find
your taste demanding unnatural or unhealthy foods. The woodchopper, who
has swung his axe continuously from seven in the morning until noon does
not come in clamoring for cream puffs and confectionery; he wants pork
and beans, or beefsteak and potatoes, or corn bread and cabbage; he asks
for the plain solids. Offer to crack him a few walnuts and give him a
plate of lettuce, and you will be met with huge disdain; those things
are not natural foods for a workingman. And if they are not natural
foods for a workingman, they are not for any other man; for work hunger
is the only real hunger, and requires the same materials to satisfy it,
whether it be in woodchopper or banker, in man, woman or child.
It is a mistake to suppose that food must be selected with anxious care
to fit the vocation of the person who eats. It is not true that the
woodchopper requires "heavy" or "solid" foods and the bookkeeper "light"
foods. If you are a bookkeeper, or other brain worker, and do not eat
until you have an EARNED hunger, you will want exactly the same foods
that the woodchopper wants. Your body is made of exactly the same
elements as that of the woodchopper, and requires the same materials for
cell-building; why, then, feed him on ham and eggs and corn bread and
you on crackers and toast? True, most of his waste is of muscle, while
most of yours is of brain and nerve tissue; but it is also true that the
woodchopper's diet contains all the requisites for brain and nerve
building in far better proportions than they are found in most "light"
foods. The world's best brain work has been done on the fare of the
working people. The world's greatest thinkers have invariably lived on
the plain solid foods common among the masses.
Let the bookkeeper wait until he has an earned hunger before he eats;
and then, if he wants ham, eggs, and corn bread, by all means let him
eat them; but let him remember that he does not need one-twentieth of
the amount necessary for the woodchopper. It is not eating "hearty"
foods which gives the brain worker indigestion; it is eating as much as
would be needed by a muscle worker. Indigestion is never caused by
eating to satisfy hunger; it is always caused by eating to gratify
appetite. If you eat in the manner prescribed in the next chapter, your
taste will soon become so natural that you will never WANT anything that
you cannot eat with impunity; and you can drop the whole anxious
question of what to eat from your mind forever, and simply eat what you
want. Indeed, that is the only way to do if you are to think no
thoughts but those of health; for you cannot think health so long as you
are in continual doubt and uncertainty as to whether you are getting the
right bills of fare.
"Take no thought what ye shall eat," said Jesus, and he spoke wisely.
The foods found on the table of any ordinary middle-class or working
class family will nourish your body perfectly if you eat at the right
times and in the right way. If you want meat, eat it; and if you do not
want it, do not eat it, and do not suppose that you must find some
special substitute for it. You can live perfectly well on what is left
on any table after the meat has been removed.
It is not necessary to worry about a "varied" diet, so as to get in all
the necessary elements. The Chinese and Hindus build very good bodies
and excellent brains on a diet of few variations, rice making almost the
whole of it. The Scotch are physically and mentally strong on oatmeal
cakes; and the Irishman is husky of body and brilliant of mind on
potatoes and pork. The wheat berry contains practically all that is
necessary for the building of brain and body; and a man can live very
well on a monodiet of navy beans.
Form a conception of perfect health for yourself, and do not hold any
thought which is not a thought of health.
NEVER eat until you have an EARNED HUNGER. Remember that it will not
hurt you in the least to go hungry for a short time; but it will surely
hurt you to eat when you are not hungry.
Do not give the least thought to what you should or should not eat;
simply eat what is set before you, selecting that which pleases your
taste most. In other words, eat what you want. This you can do with
perfect results if you eat in the right way; and how to do this will be
explained in the next chapter.