Medical ArticlesBack Failures
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The Lower Animals
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Source: Papers On Health
It is well to remember that over-feeding is a relative
term. To take more than a weak stomach can digest, is to over-feed,
although very little be taken. We give some invalids food every two
hours but that food is only two-thirds of a teacupful of milk, mixed
with a third of boiling water. In every case we must watch to give the
right amount, no less and no more. Every case will require to be
considered by itself in the light of common sense. The amount of food
eaten should be just sufficient to supply the body with material to
replace that consumed in work, build up its wasted tissues and leave a
slight surplus over for reserve store. Anything more is harmful. In
youth, if too much be eaten, nature relieves herself by giving the
transgressor of her laws a bilious attack, during which there is no
appetite, and so the excess is worked off. In later years this safety
valve does not work, and the surplus is generally stored as useless
fat, impeding the action of the heart or other internal organs, or as
gouty deposits in various parts. The Anglo-Saxon race at all events
does not limit its diet as we think it should, and Sir Henry Thompson,
M.D., has stated that in his opinion more ill-health arises from
over-eating than from the use of intoxicating liquor, great a source of
illness as this last undoubtedly is.
Temperance in diet is absolutely necessary therefore, if one would be
healthy, and the avoidance of stimulating foods, with a restriction of
flesh foods especially, is a precept which the great majority of
well-to-do people need to attend to.
Bilious attacks, headaches, indigestion, etc., are simply nature's
protest against the excess of food being forced upon her, and the
natural cure is to severely restrict, or still better, entirely stop
the food supply for a day or two. The idea that "the system must be
kept up" is a very foolish one; people have lived for forty days and
upwards on water alone, and a few days' fasting is a far safer remedy
for the troubles we have mentioned than purgative drugs.
Those who have a stomach which quickly rebels against too much or
unsuitable food, may, as Sir Henry Thompson says, congratulate
themselves on having a good janitor preventing the entrance of what
would injure. The man who can and does eat anything, rarely lives to
The perfect appetite which comes from the moderate use of simple foods
is a relish which must be experienced to be appreciated.
One way in which the amount of food needed to satisfy the appetite and
build up the body may be very largely reduced, is by increasing the
amount of mastication. If each bite of food is chewed and chewed until
it is all reduced to a liquid state, the amount required will be less
than half of what is usually taken, and so much less strain will be
thrown on the excretory organs.
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