The texts of the Old Masters

The Natural Food of Man - Hereward Carrington

Published 1963 –

With the ”subtitle” – Being an attempt to prove from comparative anatomy, physiology, chemistry and hygiene, that the original, best and natural diet of man is fruit and nuts.

Some fragments from the first part of the book:

The natural food of man

There can be no doubt that, whatever other function food may or may not have, it replaces broken-down tissue. The tissue-waste of the preceding day are replenished by the food eaten; so the body remains about the same in weight, no matter how much exercise be taken, or how much tissue is broken down.

These tissues are very complex in their nature, and a variety of food is consequently necessary to restore the tissues destroyed – food containing a number of elements (the counterpart of the elements destroyed), being necessary to offset the waste.

Proteid, fats, carbohydrates and various salts are, therefore, necessary in the food; and no food that does not contain there constituents, in larger or smaller quantities, can be used by the body, or can be classed as a true ”food”.

Other things being equal, therefore, it may be said that a food is nutritious and capable or sustaining life in proportion to its complexity – the best food being one that most nearly supplies the wastes of the tissues.

If an article of diet contains only one of the essential elements necessary for supporting life, the body, if fed upon it, will waste away and die – no matter how much of that food be eaten.

In certain experiments conducted upon dogs, it was found that, when they were fed upon fat (e.g.) they become round, plumb, embonpoint and yet died of inanition!

The same would be true of any other single article of diet. If an animal were fed upon it, he would surely die, sooner or later.

Proteids are supposed to supply most of the energy expended by the body; fats and carbohydrates are supposed to be of use chiefly in supplying heat and energy to the system. The mineral salts that are contained in foods do not fulfill any definite function, so far as is known; but they are very essential, nevertheless. If a diet lacks these salts entirely, the body wastes away and dies of ”saline starvation”.

It will thus be apparent that food very rapidly and very forcibly affect the state of the health, and even the life of the individual.

Food, it must be remembered, makes blood; and the blood is absolutely dependent upon the food supply for its character and composition.

If the food be poisonous in character, the blood soon becomes tainted, and the mind, no less than the body, shows the effects of this poisoning process.

On any theory we may hold of the nature of mind, and its connection with the body, it is certainly dependent upon the body for its manifestation, in this life; and is coloured and influenced by the state of the body, and by the condition of the blood.

From what has been said, it will at all events be apparent that this question of the food supply is a very important one – indeed one of the most important before the world to-day.

The first thought, the first instinct, of any animal, is to search for and secure food; self-preservation is the most powerful instinct in the world, and the nutrition of the body occupies the first place, as one means of preserving life.

In the lower organisms, we see this very clearly; they spend almost the whole of their lives in searching for and devouring food; but as we ascend the scale of evolution, we find less and less space devoted, in the body, to the digestive organs, and more and more to the brain, and instruments of the mind.

It would appear, therefore, that the higher we ascend in the scale of evolution, the less proportionate space in the body is devoted to the purely animal processes, and the more to the mental and spiritual sides of man.

As the mentality increase, the need for food decreases: this is a very significant law – for such I believe it to be.

It would seem to indicate that man attained the highest level, so far as his physical or psychological structure was concerned; and that evolution thenceforward tended to develop that side of man which rendered possible the increased mental and spiritual characteristics.

Although an adequate supply of food is very necessary to all organisms, there is but little danger that anyone in a civilized community would run the risk of starving to death, because of the lack of food. The tendency is but far too much food. Even the very poor and especially the babies of the very poor – eat too often and too much.

This may seem strange, but it becomes more rational and intelligible when we take into account the fact that the human body needs so little food, in reality, to supply the wastes of the day that the very poor, even if they have far less food than the majority, still have too much.

The average person eats at least three times more food than his system really requires; and it is due to this very fact, I earnestly believe, that much of the suffering and of the insanity, and many of the diseases, are so constantly with us.

In his recently published works, professor Chittenden has shown with great details that the average standard ”dietary tables” of the physiologists have been far too high; and that the average man can cut down his proteid intake fully one third, without detriment, but on the contrary, with added benefit to himself. The majority of persons eat far more than the physiologists have said to be necessary; and now it has been shown that the physiologists have set the standards three times too high!

It would appear, therefore, that most persons eat more than three times too much proteid; and the same has been found to hold good as the fats and carbohydrates, in a lesser degree, also.

But while the fats and carbohydrates can be eliminated by the system, or stored up within it, without positive danger, proteid in excess creates an abundance of uric acid, and causes much harm to the system throughout.

It is the excess of proted that is the chief cause of many of the diseases from which mankind suffers; and if health is to be maintained, we must see to it that this great excess is not ingested into the body.

While keeping up the due allowance, we must be careful not to eat those foods which tend to introduce this excess into the system; and by avoiding them, it will be seen that we thereby avoid all danger of creating an undue amount of uric acid, and consequently of suffering from the induced diseases.

Now, it is a well-known fact that meat contains a large proportion of protein; and further, that is has a great tendency to create uric acid in the system, owing to the decaying cell-nuclei that form a large part of its structure.

Meat is by no means a clean article of diet, but on the contrary a very unclean one; and many foods, supplying an equal amounts of proteid matter, are to be preferred, for the reason that they supply less toxic material – which invariably accompanies flesh meat.

It must be remembered that the tissue of all animals contain a certain amount of poisonous material – simply by reason of the fact that the animal has lived at all – since all animals are constantly creating poisons within their bodies, by the very process of living.

These poisons are being thrown off by the body every minute throughout the day; and it is because of that fact the animal is enabled to remain alive at all.

Were this process of elimination checked for a few hours, death by poisoning would inevitable result – in consequence of the poisons formed by the body itself.

All animals, then, create these poisons; and it would be impossible to find an animal body without them.

So that, when we eat the flesh of any animal, we must eat, together with the nutritious portions, these poisons – which are practically inseparable from all animal tissue.

That is, whenever we eat meat, we invariably eat, at the same time, a certain quantity of poison – which is impossible to avoid!

Assuming that there is an ”ideal” diet of some sort – that upon which the human race originally lived, and which is should still live upon, if it whishes to maintain the best possible health – I have gone carefully through the various food-stuffs, and by careful analysis, have shown that all meats are injurious to the body, for the reason that they are not suited to it, by reason of its anatomical structure and further, by the facts of experience and hygiene, which clearly indicate that if man eats meat, he suffers in consequence.

These arguments will be found in full in the book.

I also found that there were many objections to all vegetables, to cereals, grains and flour of all kinds; to soups, bread and eggs, to butter, milk, cheese and to all dairy products. Most cook-books and works devoted to the hygiene of foods have been in the habit of pointing out all the beneficial and the good qualities of these foods, and saying very little about their bad qualities.

In this book, I have pointed out all the bad qualities, and have insisted that these so far offset their good qualities as to show them utterly unfitted for human food, and consequently to be discarded from any truly hygienic diet.

Thus, by process of elimination, we are forced to the conclusion that the only foods that are really natural to man, those best suited to the organism are fruits and nuts – the diet of his anthropoid breathren, and man’s own natural diet, as is clearly indicated by his anatomical structure.

Fruits and nuts will alone suffice to maintain the human body in the highest state of health; and are the foods which should be adopted, and eaten, by mankind, to the exclusion of all others. From them, he can obtain all the elements necessary for the up building of a healthy body; and from them he can derive the greatest amount of health and strength, and the greatest amount of energy.

Further, these fruits and nuts should be eaten uncooked – in their original, primitive form. I am convinced that cooking ruins near all foods treated in that manner – my arguments for this will be found in full in the chapter on ”The Fruitarian Diet”.

Certainly no one would care to eat his meat raw; and all vegetables, with very few exceptions, would also fall under the ban, for but few of them can well be eaten without cooking. Grains, also, are very unappetizing, when eaten raw, and it is now well known that but a small amount of their starch is converted properly, in the body, unless the grains are well cooked; so that all these food would be eliminated from the diet, and practically nothing left but fruits and nuts.

The fruitarian diet is the one best suited for man; and the one upon which he can live best and longest.

I myself have lived upon this fruit and nut diet almost exclusively for several years, and I may perhaps say that I am always in excellent spirits and condition, and a source of constant surprise to my friends in that I seem to posses an untiring energy and ability for work. I say this, not to boast, but to show that a diet of this character is perfectly compatible with health and strength; and I believe that almost any person could double his energy, his health, and his self-respect by adopting a diet of this character.

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