Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/361

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lumps of the entire mass into contact with it as it exudes from the stomach's walls. If the material has come from the mouth finely ground up, a considerable portion goes over into the duodenum before it has been properly acted upon; but, if it has come down in coarse lumps, these begin shortly to dissolve, passing into a more or less fluid condition, and this can be taken care of with about the same rapidity by the digestive apparatus following: by this arrangement no portion of the food would be allowed to pass from the stomach unprepared for the next step in the digestive process. All portions, then, even the finest fibers, of a meat diet, must be acted upon by the gastric juice before passing on; and this action progresses best by slowly wearing off the outside of the morsels.

Professor Ludwig has made some general experiments as to the truth of this theory upon himself, eating coarsely-cut meat at one time and fine at another, without at least being able to detect any ill effects whatever from morsels as large as it was convenient to swallow.[1] Many workingmen, business men, and others, almost bolt their food without loss of excellent digestion; we should bear in mind, of course, that they have to chew much of their vegetable food for convenience in swallowing, and also that the indigestion of business men occasionally is due more to their nervous condition at the time.

A slight amount of chewing or mumbling serves to detect harsh substances, as bones, and to prepare for swallowing; foreign matters of considerable size will, however, gradually make their way, and, if not rough, may pass without injury. The writer once had an experience of this nature with a piece of iron an inch in length and a third in diameter.

To conclude, then, with respect to man as well as other flesh-eaters: it is not only not necessary, but also not best, to chew meat of any kind to a fine condition, but to swallow it in convenient morsels; this militates against hash. With regard to all non-meat food, careful mastication is better, but hardly so necessary as has been supposed.



TURNING now to another part of our subject, and bearing in mind the fact that by far the greater part of the external relations to which our actions are adjusted, and to which it is necessary that they should conform, in order to secure our preservation, safety, and wel-

  1. Lectures of Professor C. Ludwig (Leipsic), 1878-'79.