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ca&d sgas of & languid circulation, and are thought panic nstrly to rstuine stimulating food and fermented liquors to suppers is they say. the system. Accordingly, this lady herself was md-er the iduenee of a strong prejudice, that an opposite system. :oal'i cot possiblv agree with her.
\tii, indeed, for several months, the change was very irkMmk. She fell as if she h:wl nothing in her stomach, and had a ssrwr/ eravs*? for animal food. But except uneasy sensasiHL. the change was attended with no bad consequence, nor itr-loos mischief of any sort Gradually, also, the uneasiness subsided, and altmiitely wore off entirely. The craving appesce ::* wrncal food was also wholly subdued.
Azd the same amendment of the general health was found so sake piaoe in this, as has been experienced in other cases. Aud it was found here that under the vegetable regimen the hubts became, instead of cold and chilly, to be hot and feverish. This caaaos certainly be supposed to be- the direct effect ex the vecesabie diet, but must have arisen from the state of the srsaai at the time at which it was adopted. The respiration afe become strengthened; and all the signs of languid circulation. particularly the cold feet, and the coldness and dampBess of the skin, were removed. She sleeps much more soundly than formerly: and upon the whole, the general health is better, a&d the habit much strengthened.
She is much less susceptible of injury from cold than forB*er>. She was so tender that she dreaded a breath of cold air blowing upon her. Such accidents she can now bear without injury or apprehension.
She was able in the third year of the use of this regimen to suckle an infant nearly twelve months. This is the fourth example of this kind which has occurred to myself. Twice it has happened in the familv of Mr. Newton, and once in a patient of mine in an humble walk of life. I have heard, too, of some other instances of it.
This lady had no fixed disease upon her; but she had frequent iudispositions. For five or six years she had been troubled with severe rheumatic pains of the face, regularly attacking her in the months of March and April, and lasting six weeks or two months. These attacks have whollv ceased. But during the second year, she was troubled with an inflammation of the eyelids, from which there was an abundant thin and acrid defluxion, which continued some months. This disease appeared to be a species of substitute for tha rheumatic pain.
Polypus of the Nose, with Numbness of the Limbs, Giddiness, and Oppression of the Head.
January 20, 1815.—I Have obtained the particulars of the following case from correspondence, the result of which appears very satisfactory.
A lady, now near forty years of age, married, and a mother, had been troubled from a very early period of her life with a stoppage of the left nostril, which was found, when she was eleven or twelve years old, to proceed from a polypus. The nostril of that side was habitually enlarged. There was an habitual discharge from the part, which had occasionally been violent; but it was unattended with pain, or other inconvenience, except that she was obliged commonly to breathe with the mouth open.
This lady was of a full habit of body, high colored, and with the strength good, being able to walk several miles, but was liable to numbness of the limbs, the legs and arms frequently becoming torpid, or what is usually called falling asleep. The head felt often oppressed, and she was affected with dizziness, and singing of the ears when she stooped. At times she was extremely irritable and nervous. She had been informed that such diseases of the nose occasionally become cancerous, on which account she was very willing to adopt any plan that should be thought right to avert such a calamity.
What reason there was for such an apprehension I will not venture to pronounce. But the uncomfortable feelings which this lady described, justified an attempt to remove them, and I therefore advised her to adopt the regimen. This she complied with in the very beginning of the year 1812. I heard of the consequence of the change very lately, of which she speaks in terms of the greatest satisfaction. Her account is in the following terms: "On the receipt of your answer to my letter, I have strictly confined myself to the mode of diet you prescribed, and I have taken no medicine whatever. I can now with the greatest truth assure you, that in every way my health is materially improved; my spirits are more equal; the confused feel I formerly experienced in my head is very much better; the distressing drowsiness which frequently overpowered me is quite gone, and the equally disagreeable numbness and torpor in my limbs is quite gone also. I used likewise frequently
to hare the nightmare, which I do not recollect to have felt for two rears past. I have also the pleasure to tell you that Hit nose is more comfortable than formerly; for though I never had any pain in it, there was often a very distressing sense of fullness and heat, which I do not feel now, and the discharge is less. I also breathe much more freely through mv nose than I used to do."
I am happy to be able, in compliance with your request, to state some of the particulars relative to my observations and experiments about vegetable diet: they are, in my opinion, very insignificant and useless; but if you think they can be of any service to you for your ingenious inquiry, you are at liberty to use them in any way you think best. As you wish me to represent my own case, I shall begin with the following particulars.
I first adopted the vegetable diet about the year 1801, when a boy, partly from a disgust I felt toward animal food—a circumstance I cannot exactly account for—and partly from hearing people talk of the health and longevity of many persons who had fed entirely on vegetable substances; and of the simplicity of manners of the oriental herbivori. I also read some books which came in my way by chance about the cruelty practiced toward animals, with a new to improve the flesh considered as an article of diet; and I heard people discussing these subjects at dinner.* All these causes combined to inspire my infantine fancy with such a disgust to the flesh of animals, that for upward of five years I lived totally on the vegetable productions of the earth, except perhaps a little milk and butter. I do not remember, being then young, and thinking very little about medical subjects, what change was produced on my feelings and health. I believe I was as well as before; and the increased pleasure which I began to take in literary and scientific employments at that time, inclines me to suspect that a state of mind more friendly to mental enjoyments might possibly have been induced by a change to the light diet on which I began to feed. I may mention in this place, that during this period, I once being in Surrey, in the summer time, fed for more than a week almost entirely on the fruits of the garden, chiefly raspberries, strawberries, and currants; I am sure I was never better nor stronger in my life.
* 1 have recently become acquainted with many persons at Cambridge and elsewhere, who, at some early period of their life, abstained from animal food from this consideration of the cruelty necessary to catch and destrov it. Most of these persons have since been distinguished for their intellectual and benevolent character. I have heard them say that they enjoyed as good health and strength during the time they fed on vegetables as at any other in their lives, and I am sorry I cannot at this moment tiud access to them to obtain leave to give their names, and a more particular account of their cases.
I may here observe, that while living in this manner I lost the dark incrustation on the teeth; a disagreeable appearance for which persons have commonly recourse to the dentist.
I left off the vegetable diet more from a notion of the convenience of eating as other people did, than for any other reason. I continued eating a mixed diet till 1811, when I studied anatomy at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where it was the fashion among many of the students to eat vegetable diet. Many had adopted it for ill health, and told me of the benefit they derived from it; while others made the experiment in compliance with the habits of their friends. Hypotheses are very contagious, and I was infected, and determined to make the experiment fairly and completely. I lived for more than sixteen months on a strictly vegetable diet. The change at first produced was an augmentation of nervous sensibility, which was only temporary, and after a short time my health, which, was always good, was now nearly the same as when on a mixed diet. I think I can say, however, that I was more disposed for and capable of laborious mental occupation than when feeding on mixed diet.
That numerous persons have enjoyed good health on vegetable diet is doubtless; but whether this diet produces the same degree of muscular strength and activity, is more doubtful. In my own case it certainly did. I frequently walked twenty miles in a morning, and took other hard exercise when on that diet, and I seldom felt fatigue. I am quite satisfied with the experiment, and having repeated it on others to whom I have recommended the vegetable diet, that people in general may, after a time, live as healthy on it as on a mixed diet Whatever change may be produced at first, a very similar state of health appears to return after the continuance of any diet when eaten in moderation; at least as far as temporary appearances indicate. How far a mixed diet lays secretly the foundation for future disorders, or may abridge the term of life, I ana unable to say. I leave this to yourself and other ingenious persons, who make it a subject of their study. But I am confident, in general, that people err considerably in the quantity of food they take, and the frequency of taking it, and in the manner in which they stimulate their stomachs by spirituous and fermented liquors.
One circumstance which strongly impressed me with the small quantity of food which was necessary to sustain us in health, and which shows the safety and efficacy of a sudden adoption of vegetable diet, was the following. Last midsummer I received a severe wound on the back of the hand. Apprehending inflammation and its consequences, I left off all diet except a few potatoes and some strawberries for many days, and vegetable diet for many weeks. The wound continued healthy, and the perfect use of my hand returned in less than six weeks, without any considerable inflammation or any fever, during the progress of the reparation of the injury. I did not perceive any other inconvenience (after the intense pain which shortly followed the accident was over, which was only cutaneous and lasted a few hours) than that of being obliged to wear my hand in a sling for a few weeks. I was perfectly strong and healthy, though my diet was only on vegetables, and diminished to one fourth of the ordinary quantity; and this adopted after a copious bleeding from the wound.*
To return to our subject; I recommended A. B., about twentyfour years of age, who for a continual state of diarrhoea had been kept by his medical attendants on meat alone, to alter a plan from which he derived no benefit; he began at first by eating biscuits and other farinaceous substances, and by degrees habituated his stomach to vegetable diet; he grew healthy, lost the diarrhoea, and after being restored took to common mixed diet again; but used much less in quantity, and remains well. I mention this case out of numerous others in which vegetable diet was successfully used, because it was a case in which, from
* It is evident that my ingenious correspondent has followed the common opinion, that the absence of inflammation was occasioned by the temporary change of his regimen. I have already given my opinion in the preceding pages that this doctrine is erroneous; and should attribute the slighlness of the suffering, under this accident, much more to the soundness of constitution produced by the previous long-continued habits of temperance and abstinence than to the living on vegetable diet, after the accident had happened.—Note of the Author.