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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/109

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VEGETABLE DIET.

tious particles, which excite the nervous system so much that it at last becomes exhausted and unstrung. In this state of exhaustion unhealthy reaction follows, which brings on a paroxysm and violent desire for spirits and the excitement which they create.” G. Bünge, Professor of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Bâle, writes, in his book on vegetarianism, page 33: “The appetite of the drunkard is directed almost exclusively to animal food, and vegetarians are quite right when they teach that spirit-drinking and excessive use of animal food are in connection with each other.”

Vegetarianism is often called a fad, but it is a healthy and an innocent one, and the natural reaction against the present state of things. It imparts lightness and elasticity to the body, brightness and clearness to the mind. The vegetarians I know are all unusually strong, active, and young-looking people for their age: one of them walked without stopping for thirty-four and another time twenty-seven hours, without a rest, while on an excursion in Norway, feats not easily equaled by the most inveterate beef-eater. Traveling, mountain-climbing, all seem easier and less fatiguing on this light and soothing diet; and why should it not give strength to the limbs and sinews if one reflects that all the strongest animals who do the heaviest work in the world, like horses, oxen, and elephants, are entirely herbivorous?

There is, of course, a great deal more to say on so wide a subject, but I have in these pages confined myself almost entirely to my own experiences. Being but a beginner myself, there is much for me to learn, and I have not even touched on the possibilities and probabilities this theme opens out into the domain of psychology. But only a few days ago one whose experience and knowledge on this subject are greater than those of most men told me he owed almost everything he had attained in his domain to his strict adherence to a vegetable diet. It certainly gives, to those who live on these lines, a kind of detachment from material things, a sense of calm and content. It is in the hope of helping some who may feel nervous and worried in mind, or ill in body, that I write these lines, to point out a simple remedy everybody can apply. It not only costs nothing, but even puts money in our pockets—only, like everything else, it must be governed by good sense and reason in order to be successful.

It is not my intention to be understood to say that I look upon vegetable diet, even with its necessary accompaniments of fresh air, frequent ablutions, gymnastics, and exercise, as a panacea for everything, and that medicines become useless. We are mortal, and there is no perfection in this imperfect world. Nobody has a greater belief than I have in remedies judiciously given during illness, but it is the many who are out of health and below par,