A Guide to Health/Part 1/Chapter 5
|←Water||A Guide to Health (1921)
, translated by A. Rama Iyer
|How much and how many times should we eat?→|
|S. Ganesan pages 29-54|
It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules in the matter of food. What sort of food should we eat, how much of it should be eaten, and at what times,—these are questions on which doctors differ a great deal. The ways of men are so diverse, that the very same food shows different effects on different individuals. Although, however, it is impossible to say conclusively what sort of food we should eat, it is the clear duty of every individual to bestow serious thought on the matter. Needless to say, the body cannot subsist without food. We undergo all sorts of sufferings and privations for the sake of food. But, at the same time, it is indisputable that 99.9% of men and women in the world eat merely to please the palate. They never pause to think of the after-effects at the time of eating. Many people take purgatives and digestive pills or powders in order to be able to eat thoroughly well. Then there are some people who, after eating to the utmost of their capacity, vomit out all that they have eaten, and proceed to eat the same stuffs once more! Some people, indeed, eat so sumptuously that, for two or three days together, they do not feel hungry at all. In some cases, men have even been known to have died of over-eating. I say all this from my own experience. When I think of my old days, I am tempted to laugh at many things, and cannot help being ashamed of some things. In those days I used to have tea in the morning, breakfast two or three hours afterwards, dinner at one o'clock, tea again at 3 p.m., and supper between 6 and 7! My condition at that time was most pitiable. There was a great deal of superfluous fat on my body, and bottles of medicine were always at hand. In order to be able to eat well, I used to take purgatives very often, as well as some tonic or other. In those days, I had not a third of my present capacity for work, in spite of the fact that I was then in the prime of youth. Such a life is surely pitiable, and if we consider the matter seriously, we must also admit it to be mean, sinful and thoroughly contemptible.
Man is not born to eat, nor should he live to eat. His true function is to know and serve his Maker; but, since the body is essential to this service, we have perforce to eat. Even atheists will admit that we should eat merely to preserve our health, and not more than is needed for this purpose.
Turn to the birds and beasts, and what do you find? They never eat merely to please the palate, they never go on eating till their inside is full to overflowing. On the other hand, they eat only to appease their hunger, and even then only just as much as will appease their hunger. They take the food provided by Nature, and do not cook their food. Can it be that man alone is created to worship the palate? Can it be that he alone is destined to be eternally suffering from disease? Those animals that live a natural life of freedom never once die of hunger. Among them there are no distinctions of rich and poor,—of those who eat many times a day, and those who do not get even one meal in the day. These abnormalities are found only among us human beings, — and yet we regard ourselves as superior to the animal creation! Surely those who spend their days in the worship of their stomach are worse than the birds and beasts.
A calm reflection will show that all sins like lying, cheating and stealing are ultimately due to our subjection to the palate. He who is able to control the palate, will easily be able to control the other senses. If we tell lies, or commit theft or adultery, we are looked down upon by society, but, strangely enough, no odium attaches to those who slavishly pander to the palate! It would seem as though this were not a question of morality at all! The fact is that even the best of us are slaves to the palate. No one has yet adequately emphasised the numberless evils that arise from our habit of pandering to the palate. All civilised people would boycott the company of liars, thieves, and adulterers; but they go on eating beyond all limits, and never regard it as a sin at all. Pandering to the palate is not regarded by us as a sin, since all of us are guilty of it, just as dacoity is not regarded as a crime in a village of dacoits; but what is worse, we pride ourselves on it! On occasions of marriage and other festivities, we regard it as a sacred duty to worship the palate; even in times of funeral, we are not ashamed of doing it. Has a guest come? We must gorge him with sweetmeats. If, from time to time, we do not give feasts to our friends and relations, or do not partake of the feasts given by them, we must become objects of contempt. If, having invited our friends to eat with us, we fail to cram them with rich stuffs, we must be regarded as miserly. On holidays, of course, we must have specially rich food prepared! Indeed, what is really a great sin has come to be looked upon as a sign of wisdom! We have sedulously cultivated such false notions in the matter of eating that we never realise our slavishness and our beastliness. How can we save ourselves from this terrible state?
Let us view the question from another standpoint. We find it invariably the case in the world that Nature herself has provided for all creatures, whether man or beast, or brid or insect, just enough food for their sustenance. This is an eternal law of Nature. In the kingdom of Nature, none goes to sleep, none forgets to do his duty, and none shows a tendency to laziness. All the work is done to perfection, and punctually to the minute. If we remember to order our lives strictly in accordance with the immutable and eternal laws of Nature, we shall find that there are no more deaths by starvation anywhere over the wide world. Since Nature always provides just enough food to feed all created beings, it follows that he who takes to himself more than his normal share of food, is depriving another of his legitimate share. Is it not a fact, that, in the kitchens of emperors and kings, of all rich men, in general, much more food is prepared than is required to feed them and all their dependents? That is to say, they snatch so much food from the share of the poor. Is it, then, any wonder that the poor should die of starvation? If this is true (and this fact has been admitted by the most thoughtful men) it must necessarily follow that all the food that we eat beyond our immediate need is food filched from the stomachs of the poor. And to the extent to which we eat merely with a view to pleasing the palate must our health necessarily suffer. After this preliminary discussion, we can proceed to consider what kind of food is best for us.
Before, however, we decide the question of the ideal food for us, we have to consider what kinds of food are injurious to health, and to be avoided. Under the term "food", we include all the things that are taken into the body through the mouth,—including wine, bhang and opium, tobacco, tea, coffee and cocoa, spices and condiments. I am convinced that all these articles have to be completely eschewed, having been led to this conviction partly from my own experience, and partly from the experiences of others.
Wine, bhang and opium have been condemned by all the religions of the world, although the number of total abstainers is so limited. Drink has brought about the ruin of whole families. The drunkard forfeits his sanity; he has even been known to forget the distinction between mother, wife and daughter. His life becomes a mere burden to him. Even men of sound sense become helpless automatons when they take to drink; even when not actually under its influence, their minds are too impotent to do any work. Some people say that wine is harmless when used as medicine, but even European doctors have begun to give up this view in many cases. Some partisans of drink argue that, if wine can be used as medicine with impunity, it can also be used as drink. But many poisons are employed as medicines; do we ever dream of employing them as food? It is quite possible that, in some diseases, wine may do some good, but even then, no sensible, or thoughtful man should consent to use it even as medicine, under any circumstances. As for opium, it is no less injurious than wine, and is to be equally eschewed. Have we not seen a mighty nation like the Chinese falling under the deadly spell of opium, and rendering itself incapable of maintaining its independence? Have we not seen the jagirdars of our own land forfeiting their jagirs under the same fatal influence?
So powerful is the spell that has been woven over the minds of men by tobacco that it will take an age to break it. Young and old have equally come under this fatal spell. Even the best men do not shrink from the use of tobacco. Its use, indeed, has become a matter of course with us, and is spreading wider and wider every day. Very few people are aware of the many tricks employed by the cigarette-manufacturers to bring us more and more under its influence. They sprinkle opium or some perfumed acid on the tobacco, so that we may find it all the more difficult to extricate ourselves from its clutches. They spend thousands of pounds in advertisements. Many European firms dealing in cigars keep their own presses, have their own cinemas, institute lotteries, and give away prizes, and, in short, spend money like water to achieve their end. Even women have now begun to smoke. And poems have been composed on tobacco, extolling it as the great friend of the poor!
The evils of smoking are too numerous to mention. The habitual smoker becomes such a bond slave to it that he knows no sense of shame or compunction; he proceeds to emit the foul fumes even in the houses of strangers! It is also a matter of common experience that smokers are often tempted to commit all sorts of crimes. Children steal money from their parents' purses; and even the prisoners in gaols manage to steal cigarettes and keep them carefully concealed. The smoker will get on without food, but he cannot dispense with his smoke! Soldiers on the field of battle have been known to lose all capacity for fighting for failure of the indispensable cigarette at the critical moment.
The late Count Leo Tolstoi of Russia tells us the following story. A certain man once took it into his head, for some reason, to murder his wife. He actually drew the knife and was about to do the deed, when he felt some compunction, and gave it up. Then he sat down to smoke, and his wits being turned under the influence of tobacco, he rose once more and actually committed the murder. Tolstoi held the view that the poison of tobacco is more subtle and irresistible, and hence far more dangerous, than that of wine.
Then the money that is spent on cigars and cigarettes by individuals is frightfully large. I have myself come across instances of cigars consuming as much as Rs. 75 a month for one man!
Smoking also leads to an appreciable reduction of digestive powers. The smoker feels no appetite for food, and in order to give it some flavour, spices and condiments have to be freely used. His breath stinks, and, in some cases, blisters are formed on his face, and the gums and teeth turn black in colour. Many also fall a prey to terrible diseases. The fumes of tobacco befoul the air around, and public health suffers in consequence. I cannot understand how those who condemn drink can have the temerity to defend smoking. The man who does not eschew tobacco in all its forms can never be perfectly healthy, nor can he be a man of pure and blameless character.
I must say that tea, coffee and cocoa are equally injurious to health, although I know that very few are likely to agree with me. There is a kind of poison in all of them; and, in the case of tea and coffee, if milk and sugar were not added, there would be absolutely no nutritious element in them. By means of repeated and varied experiments it has been established that there is nothing at all in these articles which is capable of improving the blood. Until a few years ago, we used to drink tea and coffee only on special occasions, but to-day they have become universally indispensable. Things have come to such a pass that even sickly persons often use them as substitutes for nourishing food!
Fortunately for us, the costliness of cocoa has prevented its spread to the same extent as tea and coffee, although, in the homes of the rich, it is quite liberally used.
That all these three articles are poisonous can be seen from the fact that those who once take to them can never afterwards get on without them. In the old days, I myself used to feel a distinct sense of weariness or langour if I did not get my tea punctually at the usual hour. Once some 400 women and children had gathered together at a certain celebration. The executive committee had resolved against providing tea to the visitors. The women, however, that had assembled there, were in the habit of taking tea at 4 o'clock every evening. The authorities were informed that, if these women were not given their usual tea, they would be too ill to move about, and, needless to say, they had to cancel their original resolution! But some slight delay in the preparation of the tea led to a regular uproar, and the commotion subsided only after the women had had their cup of tea! I can vouch for the authenticity of this incident. In another intance, a certain woman had lost all her digestive powers under the influence of tea, and had become a prey to chronic headaches; but from the moment that she gave up tea her health began steadily to improve. A doctor of the Battersea Municipality in England has declared, after careful investigation, that the brain-tissues of thousands of women in his district have been diseased from excessive use of tea. I have myself come across many instances of health being ruined by tea.
Coffee does some good against Kapah (phlegm) and Vatha ('wind'), but at the same time it weakens the body by destroying the vital fluid, and by making the blood as thin as water. To those people who advocate coffee on the ground that it is beneficial against "phlegm" and "wind", we would recommend the juice of ginger as even better for the purpose. And, on the other hand, let us remember that the evil effects of coffee are too serious to be counter-balanced by its good. When the blood and the vital fluid are poisoned by a stuff, can there be any hesitation in giving it up altogether?
Cocoa is fully as harmful as coffee, and it contains a poison which deadens the perceptions of the skin.
Those people who recognise the validity of moral considerations in these matters should remember that tea, coffee and cocoa are prepared mostly by labourers under indenture, which is only a fine name for slavery. If we saw with our own eyes the oppressive treatment that is meted out to the labourers in cocoa plantations, we should never again make use of the stuff. Indeed, if we enquire minutely into the methods of preparation of all our articles of food, we shall have to give up 90% of them!
A harmless and healthy substitute for coffee (tea or cocoa) can be prepared as follows. Even habitual coffee-drinkers will be unable to perceive any difference in taste between coffee and this substitute. Good and well-sifted wheat is put into a frying-pan over the fire and well fried, until it has turned completely red, and had begun to grow dark in colour. Then it is powdered just like coffee. A spoon of the powder is then put into a cup, and boiling water poured on to it. Preferably keep the thing over the fire for a minute, and add milk and sugar, if necessary, and you get a delicious drink, which is much cheaper and healthier than coffee. Those who want to save themselves the trouble of preparing this powder may get their supply from the Satyagraha Ashram, Ahmedabad.
From the point of view of diet, the whole mankind may be divided into three broad divisions, (1) The first class, which is the largest, consists of those who, whether by preference or out of necessity, live on an exclusive vegetable diet. Under this division come the best part of India, a large portion of Europe, and China and Japan. The staple diet of the Italians is macaroni, of the Irish potato, of the Scotch oatmeal, and of the Chinese and Japanese rice. (2) The second class consists of those who live on a mixed diet. Under this class come most of the people of England, the richer classes of China and Japan, the richer Mussalmans of India, as well as those rich Hindus who have no religious scruples about taking meat. (3) To the third class belong the uncivilised peoples of the frigid zones, who live on an exclusive meat diet. These are not very numerous, and they also introduce a vegetable element into their diet, wherever they come in contact with the civilised races of Europe. Man, then, can live on three kinds of diet; but it is our duty to consider which of these is the healthiest for us.
An examination of the structure of the human body leads to the conclusion that man is intended by Nature to live on a vegetable diet. There is the closest affinity between the organs of the human body and those of the fruit-eating animals. The monkey, for instance, is so similar to man in shape and structure, and it is a fruit-eating animal. Its teeth and stomach are just like the teeth and stomach of man. From this we may infer that man is intended to live on roots and fruits, and not on meat.
Scientists have found out by experiments that fruits have in them all the elements that are required for man's sustenance. The plantain, the orange, the date, the grape, the apple, the almond, the walnut, the groundnut, the cocoanut,—all these fruits contain a large percentage of nutritious elements. These scientists even hold that there is no need for man to cook his food. They argue that he should be able to subsist very well on food cooked by the Sun's warmth, even as all the lower animals are able to do; and they say that the most nutritious elements in the food are destroyed in the process of cooking, and that those things that cannot be eaten uncooked could not have been intended for our food by Nature.
If this view be correct, it follows that we are at present wasting a lot of our precious time in the cooking of our food. If we could live on uncooked food alone, we should be saving so much time and energy, as well as money, all of which may be utilised for more useful purposes.
Some people will doubtless say that it is idle and foolish to speculate on the possibility of men taking to uncooked food, since there is absolutely no hope of their ever doing it. But we are not considering at present what people will or will not do, but only what they ought to do. It is only when we know what the ideal kind of diet is that we shall be able more and more to approximate our actual to the ideal. When we say that a fruit-diet is the best, we do not, of course, expect all men to take to it straight-way. We only mean that, if they should take to this diet, it would be the best thing for them. There are many men in England who have tried a pure fruit-diet, and who have recorded the results of their experience. They were people who took to this diet, not out of religious scruples, but simply out of considerations of health. A German doctor has written a bulky volume on the subject, and established the value of a fruit-diet by many arguments and evidences. He has cured many diseases by a fruit-diet combined with open-air life. He goes so far as to say that the people of any country can find all the elements of nutrition in the fruits of their own land.
It may not be out of place to record my own experience in this connection. For the last six months I have been living exclusively on fruits—rejecting even milk and curd. My present dietary consists of plantain, groundnut and olive oil, with some sour fruit like the lime. I cannot say that my experiment has been altogether a success, but a period of six months is all too short to arrive at any definite conclusions on such a vital matter as a complete change of diet. This, however, I can say, that, during this period, I have been able to keep well where others have been attacked by disease, and my physical as well as mental powers are now greater than before. I may not be able to lift heavy loads, but I can now do hard labour for a much longer time without fatigue. I can also do more mental work, and with better persistence and resoluteness. I have tried a fruit-diet on many sickly people, invariably with great advantage. I shall describe these experiences in the section on diseases. Here I will only say that my own experience, as well as my study of the subject, has confirmed me in the conviction that a fruit-diet is the best for us.
As I have already confessed, I do not think for a moment that people will take to a fruit-diet as soon as they read this. It may even be that all that I have written has no effect at all on a single reader, but I believe it to be my bounden duty to set down what I hold to be the right thing to the best of my light.
If however, anybody does wish to try a fruit-diet, he should proceed rather cautiously in order to obtain the best results. He should carefully go through all the chapters of this book, and fully grasp the fundamental principles, before he proceeds to do anything in practice. My request to my readers is that they should reserve their final judgments until they have read through all that I have got to say.
A vegetable diet is the best after a fruit-diet. Under this term we include all kinds of pot-herbs and cereals, as well as milk. Vegetables are not as nutritious as fruits, since they lose part of their efficacy in the process of cooking. We cannot, however, eat uncooked vegetables. We will now proceed to consider which vegetables are the best for us.
Wheat is the best of all the cereals. Man can live on wheat alone, for in it we have in due proportion all the elements of nutrition. Many kinds of edibles can be made of wheat, and they can all be easily digested. The ready-made foods for children that are sold by chemists are also made partly of wheat. Millet and maize belong to the same genus, and cakes and loaves can also be made out of them, but they are inferior to wheat in their food-value. We will now consider the best form in which wheat may be taken. The white "mill flour" that is sold in our bazars is quite useless; it contains no nutriment at all. An English doctor tells us that a dog which was fed solely on this flour died, while other dogs which were fed on better flour remained quite healthy. There is a great demand for loaves made of this flour, since men eat merely to satisfy their palate, and are rarely moved by considerations of health. These loaves are devoid of taste and nutriment, as well as of softness. They become so hard that they cannot be broken by the hand. The best form of flour is that which is made of well-sifted wheat in the grind-mill at home. This flour should be used without further sifting. Loaves made of it are quite sweet to the taste, as well as quite soft. It also lasts for a longer time than the "mill flour", since it is far more nutritious, and may be used in smaller quantities.
The loaf sold in the bazars is thoroughly useless. It may be quite white and attractive in appearance, but it is invariably adulterated. The worst of it is that it is made by fermentation. Many persons have testified from experience that fermented dough is harmful to health. Further, these loaves being made by besmearing the oven with fat, they are objectionable to Hindu as well as Mussalman sentiment. To fill the stomach with these bazar loaves instead of preparing good loaves at home is at best a sign of indolence.
Another and an easier way of taking wheat is this. Wheat is ground into coarse grain, which is then well cooked and mixed with milk and sugar. This gives a very delicious and healthy kind of food.
Rice is quite useless as a food. Indeed, it is doubtful if men can subsist upon mere rice, to the exclusion of such nutritious articles as dhall, ghee and milk. This is not the case with wheat, for man can retain his strength by living on mere wheat boiled in water.
We eat the pot-herbs mainly for their taste. As they have laxative powers, they help to purify the blood up to a limit. Yet they are but varieties of grass, and very hard to digest. Those who partake too much of them have flabby bodies; they suffer very often from indigestion, and go about in search of digestive pills and powders. Hence, if we take them at all, we should do so in moderation.
All the many varieties of pulse are very heavy, and hard of digestion. Their merit is that those who eat them do not suffer from hunger for a long time; but they also lead to indigestion in most cases. Those who do hard labour may be able to digest them, and derive some good out of them. But we who lead a sedentary life should be very chary of eating them.
Dr. Haig, a celebrated writer in England, tells us, on the basis of repeated experiments, that the pulses are injurious to health, since they generate a kind of acid in the system, which leads to several diseases, and a premature old age. His arguments need not be given here, but my own experience goes to confirm his view. Those, however, who are unable or unwilling to eschew the pulses altogether, should use them with great caution.
Almost everywhere in India, the spices and condiments are freely used, as nowhere else in the whole world. Even the African negroes dislike the taste of our masala, and refuse to eat food mixed with it. And if the Whites eat masala, their stomach gets out of order, and pimples also appear on their faces, as I have found from my own experience. The fact is that masala is by no means savoury in itself, but we have so long been accustomed to its use that its flavour appeals to us. But, as has been already explained, it is wrong to eat anything for its mere taste.
How comes it, then, that masala is so freely eaten by us? Admittedly, in order to help the digestion, and to be able to eat more. Pepper, mustard, coriander and other condiments have the power of artificially helping the digestion, and generating a sort of artificial hunger. But it would be wrong to to infer from this that all the food has been thoroughly digested, and assimilated into the system. Those who take too much of masala are often found to suffer from anaemia, and even from diarrhea. I know a man who even died in the prime of youth out of too much eating of pepper. Hence it is quite necessary to eschew all condiments altogether.
What has been said of masala applies also to salt. Most people would be scandalised at this suggestion, but it is a fact established by experience. There is a school in England who even hold the view that salt is more harmful than most condiments. As there is enough of salt in the composition of the vegetables we use, we need not put any extra salt into them. Nature herself has provided just as much salt as is required for the upkeep of our health. All the extra salt that we use is quite superfluous; all of it goes out of the body again in the form of perspiration, or in other ways, and no portion of it seems to have any useful function to perform in the body. One writer even holds that salt poisons the blood. He says that those who use no salt at all have their blood so pure that they are not affected even by snake-bite. We do not know if this is a fact or not, but this much we know from experience, that, in several diseases like piles and asthama, the disuse of salt at once produces appreciably beneficial results. And, on the other hand, I have not come across a single instance of a man being any the worse for not using salt. I myself left off the use of salt two years ago, and I have not only not suffered by it, but have even been benefitted in some respects. I have not now to drink as much water as before, and am more brisk and energetic. The reason for my disuse of salt was a very strange one: for it was occasioned by the illness of somebody else! The person whose illness led to it did not get worse after that, but remained in the same condition; and it is my faith that, if only the diseased person himself had given up the use of salt, he would have recovered completely. Those who give up salt will also have to give up vegetables and dhall. This is a very hard thing to do, as I have found from many tests. I am convinced that vegetables and dhall cannot be properly digested without salt. This does not, of course, mean that salt improves the digestion, but it only appears to do so, just as pepper does, although ultimately it leads to evil consequences. Of course, the man who entirely gives up the use of salt may feel out of sorts for a few days; but, if he keeps up his spirits, he is bound to be immensely benefitted in the long run.
I make bold to regard even milk as one of the articles to be eschewed! This I do on the strength of my own experience which, however, need not be described here in detail. The popular idea of the value of milk is a pure superstition, but it is so deep-rooted that it is futile to think of removing it. As I have said more than once, I do not cherish the hope that my readers will accept all my views; I do not even believe that all those who accept them in theory will adopt them in practice. Nevertheless, I think it my duty to speak out what I belive to be the truth, leaving my readers to form their own judgments. Many doctors hold the view that milk gives rise to a kind of fever, and many books have been written in support of this view. The disease bearing germs that live in the air rapidly gain an entrance into the milk, and render it poisonous, so that it is very difficult to keep milk in a state of perfect purity. In Africa elaborate rules have been laid down for the conduct of the dairies, saying how the milk should be boiled and preserved, how the vessels should be kept clean, and so on. When so much pains have to be taken in this matter, it is certainly to be considered how far it is worth while to employ milk as an article of food.
Moreover, the purity or otherwise of the milk depends upon the cow's food, and the state of its health. Doctors have testified to the fact that those who drink the milk of consumptive cows fall a prey to consumption themselves. It is very rare to come across a cow that is perfectly healthy. That is to say, perfectly pure milk is very hard to obtain, since it is tainted at its very source. Everybody knows that a child that sucks the breast of its mother contracts any disease that she might be suffering from. And often when a little child is ill, medicine is administered to its mother, so that its effect might reach the child through the milk of her breast. Just in the same way, the health of the man who drinks the milk of a cow will be the same as that of the cow itself. When the use of milk is fraught with so much danger, would it not be the part of wisdom to eschew it altogether, especially when there are excellent substitutes? Olive oil, for instance, serves this purpose to some extent; and sweet almond is a most efficient substitute. The almond is first soaked in hot water, and its husk removed. Then it is well crushed, and mixed thoroughly well with water. This gives a drink which contains all the good properties of milk, and is at the same time free from its evil effects.
Now let us consider this question from the point of view of Natural law. The calf drinks its mother's milk only until its teeth have grown; and it begins to eat as soon as it has its teeth. Clearly, this is also what man is intended to do. Nature does not intend us to go on drinking milk after we have ceased to be infants. We should learn to live on fruits like the apple and the almond, or on wheat roti, after we have our teeth. Although this is not the place to consider the saving in money that might be effected by giving up milk, it is certainly a point to be kept in mind. Nor is there any need for any of the articles produced from milk. The sourness of lime is quite a good substitute for that of buttermilk; and as for ghee, thousands of Indians manage with oil even now.
A careful examination of the structure of the human body shows that meat is not the natural food of man. Dr. Haig and Dr. Kingsford have very clearly demonstrated the evil effects of meat on the body of man. They have shown that meat generates just the same kind of acid in the body as the pulses. It leads to the decay of the teeth, as well as to rheumatism; it also gives rise to evil passions like anger, which, as we have already seen, are but forms of disease.
To sum up, then, we find that those who live on fruits alone are very rare, but it is quite easy to live on a combination of fruits, wheat and olive oil, and it is also eminently conducive to sound health. The plantain comes easy first among the fruits; but the date, the grape, the plum and the orange, to name only a few, are all quite nourishing, and may be taken along with the roti. The roti does not suffer in taste by being besmeared with olive oil. This diet dispenses with salt, pepper, milk and sugar, and is quite simple and cheap. It is, of course, foolish to eat sugar for its own sake. Too much sweetmeat weakens the teeth, and injures the health. Excellent edibles can be made of wheat and the fruits, and a combination of health and taste secured.
The next question to consider is how much food should be taken, and how many times a day. But, as this is a subject of vital importance, we will devote a separate chapter to it.