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flatulence they excite, indigestible. But fruit, and all vegetable Batter unchanged by cookery, are still more opposite to this condition of the stomach, for they excite a sense of coldness in the organ to which nothing is agreeable but what is stimulant and fiery; as they dissolve with more slowness than any other species of matter, they are esteemed the most difficult of digestion, and the impression which they make is more permanent than that of any other matter which is used as food.
These are the circumstances which appear to me to make fruit and recent vegetables so offensive to a number of persons, and to have raised such strong prejudices against them as if they were really pernicious. That in a multitude of persons they excite uneasy feeling, and therefore appear to disagree, is certain; and those who argue immediately from their feeling can hardly form any other conclusion. But those who look a litde below the surface of things will be less hasty in their determinations. They will inquire how these uneasy feelings are generated, and what they indicate. They must see that they may arise from a diseased condition of the stomach, as well as from any thing noxious in the matter applied to it; and if the account I have given be just, such must be the truth. This will lead them a step further, and they will inquire whether by breaking in upon the old habits, it is not possible to alter the sensations, and to get rid of the pains or uneasiness by amending the state of the stomach itself?
Considerable experience has convinced me that this is very possible. I have seen persons who have followed the regimen I advise in chronic diseases regain their relish for fruit, and indulge in it without any detriment or inconvenience. This they could not do under their former mixed regimen; and it abundantly compensated for the deprivations they sustained in other articles. A gentleman told me that under this regimen he can eat cherries in any quantity with impunity, which formerly were used to give him considerable uneasiness.
If I am right in my account of the source of the uneasiness which many persons suffer from fruits and recent vegetables, it must follow that it is a gross absurdity to deny them to children, young persons, or invalids, who have a desire for them and in whom they produce no uneasiness. And yet this absurdity is committed daily. Children are forbidden fruit who have the greatest longing for it. If any desire can be truly be said to be natural and instinctive, it is this. As such it should always be moderately indulged. To act otherwise is equally irrational and cruel.
I hope not to be so far misunderstood (even that has happened) as if I blamed all culinary preparation of vegetables. But I think that the practice is carried to excess. It appears to be the general opinion that almost all vegetable matter, if not previously submitted to the action of heat, is absolutely indigestible and noxious. But the fact is that almost all our common garden vegetables may be used without any such preparation; and it is highly probable that in this natural condition they would be more nutritive, more strengthening, and certainly far more antiscorbutic than when they have been changed by the fire. On this account it is that I think it highly advisable that some portion either of fruit or of. fresh vegetable matter should be used daily. Children, too, should be encouraged in the use of such things instead of being forbid them, as is the common practice. If the stomach be so much diseased that nothing of this kind can be borne, soups made with a large quantity of recent vegetables may be substituted. They seem to be far preferable to vegetables much boiled; the soup and the vegetables may be eaten together, and are very agreeable to the palate. .
I have been asked repeatedly, as I recommend to the invalid distilled in place of common water, whether I think it necessary to use the same kind for boiling vegetables. I take this opportunity, therefore, to say that I regard such nicety as needless. If the matter to be boiled absorbs a large quantity of water, as rice, this attention may be right. In making bread the same attention should, if possible, be paid. But the quantity absorbed by common culinary vegetables is probably too small to deserve notice. Those who wish to be extremely exact may dress their vegetables by steam.*
There may be other parts of our dietetic habits which it would not be improper to examine. The use of tea and coffee, for example, is by many suspected, and, perhaps, not without
* One of the principal marks of distinction between the face of a negro or the savage man, and the European, is in the form of the face. The negro has the mouth and chin very prominent, so that a perpendicular line let fall from the forehead cuts off a much larger portion of the lower part of the face in the negro than in the European. Now it seems very clear that this form of the face is generated by the use of food requiring more mastication, consequently greater force of the masticating organs. In consequence, the temporal, massiter, diagastric, and the other muscles of mastication become habitually stronger, the surface of attachment enlarged and elongated, and the whole form of the head and face changed and modified from these circumstances. If this position be just, the form of the head and face, which distinguishes civilized nations, is produced in a great measure by the cookery of their food.
reason. But I abstain from.subjects on which I am conscious that I have nothing of value to offer. I shall, therefore, conclude with making a single inquiry with regard to bread, which I shall leave to the determination of those who are competent to pronounce on such questions, and who have proper opportunities of observations. What I would ask is this, Is the farina of wheat, or any other, improved or injured—is it made more or less wholesome by fermentation? or, in other words, which should be preferred, leavened or unleavened bread? The leaven or fermented bread sits lighter upon the stomach; but this is no proof that it is really more salubrious. We know very well that the coarsest black bread, which is as heavy almost as a lump of dough, gives much nourishment and strength. A sensible writer says, that he "has heard a seafaring man observe that he was always sensible of a diminution of muscular strength when he left off the use of biscuit and ate common bread." Hippocrates has given a corresponding testimony. His words are "Leavened or fermented bread is lighter in digestion, and passes easily through the body; but unfermented bread does not go off so easily, though it nourishes more where the stomach can bear it."
If these observations are correct, the fermenting of bread and the cookery of vegetables are practices adopted by mankind from the same motives; they accommodate the matters to which they are applied to the factitious delicacy of our digesting organs, which is effected, however, at some expense of their strengthening and nutritive powers.
Noxious habits of slow operation.—Erroneous statements.—Vegetable food necessary to a perfect organization.—It is produced in all climates habitable by man.—The natural progress of society.—The use of animal food a relic of barbarous manners.
Is ascribing the diseases of mankind to their situation and habits of liws I hsvs commonly said that these are to be considered iv* as «heir immediate, but as their remote and antecedent e-Mtsos; * dWtiwtion whieh it is necessary carefully to attend to. fot to S* v<tov**w* that no habit whatever, whether it regard 'fooi '«' <Af<i*W «r **t«aUon, can possibly have been received and adopted by any society of men without its being apparently salubrious to the great majority of the society. Were it otherwise, the truth would become evident even to the rudest savages; and they would accordingly change their habits, or at least be disposed to do so. But the majority of the society enjoying a portion of health and comfort, with which they are contented, the operation of remote causes escapes observation, and men become exceedingly unwilling to connect their sufferings with the things which constitute a large portion of their enjoyments.
The example of persons arriving at what is deemed extreme old age still further confirms the delusion. How, it is asked, can that be pernicious which persons use, and enjoy good health, perhaps for four-score years and upward? It is, indeed, a wonderful instance of the varieties of the human constitution. But when we see that there are men who use daily large quantities of wine and ardent spirits without apparent detriment*— that they carry it even to the extent of daily intoxication with a long-continued impunity—we must confess that these facts prove nothing more than this astonishing variety. They show us that we are really ignorant of what is the natural duration of human life under the most favorable circumstances. The examples of extraordinary longevity, which some few individuals have been known to attain, show how much we are in the dark
* The late Dr. Holyoke, of Salem, Mass., lived to the age 100 years. He was in the habit of being temperate in all things. He was a man of a most remarkable character, never tempted to excess. He used to live without much care, without thinking whether he would do himself harm or not. He was very cheerful, and of a very benevolent heart and easy conscience, and patient of little injuries. He was in the habit of using intoxicating drinks in small quantities. He had a preparation, which consisted of one table-spoonful of Jamaica rum and one tablespoonful of cider, diluted with water, which he used after dinner, while smoking his pipe. I would mention, in connection with this habit, that he did not die of old age. I examined the body myself, with very great care and attention. The heart and organs which are apt to be diseased in aged persons, and to become hardened like stone, were as soft as an infant's, and for aught that appeared, might have gone on another 100 years. And so of the other organs. The liver and brain were in a healthy state. He died of the disease which is most commonly produced by the use of ardent spirits and tobacco—an internal cancer. There was a band three or four inches broad around the stomach, which was schirrous or thickened. I am far from wishing to say any thing to the discredit of the late Dr. Holyoke, who was my personal friend. But if his great age is to be made an argument for the moderate use of spirits, I desire that his schirrous, cancerous stomach should be put alongsido of it.—Dr. Piersov)'s testimony before the Legislature of Mass. See Temverante Journal, 1839, p. 67.—S.
on these subjects. Men have arrived at double, and more than double, what is the greatest common extent of human life. The real wonder, therefore, is that such multitudes perish prematurely.
The effects, therefore, of animal food and other noxious matter, of inducing and accelerating fatal disease, are not immediate but ultimate effects. The immediate effect is to engender a diseased habit or state of constitution, not enough to impede the ordinary occupations of life, but in many to render life itself a long-continued sickness, and to make the great mass of society morbidly susceptible of many passing impressions, which would have no injurious influence upon healthy systems. Even in the early stages of life, the agency of these habits is often sufficiently obvious. It appears in the change of complexion, the falling off of the hair, the decay of the teeth, the impaired power of the senses, as of the hearing and the eyesight, defoliations of the skin, and many other marks of disease, which are as various as the infinitely various constitutions of different individuals. As life proceeds, the resisting powers of the body diminish, and, in consequence, the derangement of the system, produced by the slow but incessant action of morbific causes, (<nooks more evident. In some, the springs of life are secretly mnd<rrtni&ed. with little evident derangement of the functions; ami such, persons are cut off suddenly by acute illness, while «tjoyin£ apparent good health. In others, chronic diseases taic p£t•.v, perhaps not immediately affecting life, but which, Ik* th* most part, increase in severity as years advance. Others, again, sutler lingering diseases, which gradually, but inevitably, terminate in the dissolution of the body.
Such diseases as these, then, must be regarded as the ultimate result of the noxious powers which habitually act upon the body. In all of them, the vitality of the body, or the powers which are essential to the due performance of the functions of life, are radically impaired. The variety of symptoms can be esteemed to be nothing more than the different forms of death, as some organs suffer more than others.
It W much to be regretted that so little can be found in medical writers on the subject of the connection of the diseases with th*» iwod, circumstances, and occupations of different nations or clttessv* of society; and still more, that the greater part of what ha* b<*cn sakl on these subjects is probably erroneous. Some *NS<»rk<BBis made apparently on good authority, are so directly wMNt&fcWY to the doctrine I have attempted to establish, Cut 1 c&tttfcot pass them wholly unnoticed.