Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/105

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97
VEGETABLE DIET.

air-baths in the woods and on the hills, swimming and gymnastics, everything on the simplest and most economical lines, as they are mainly written for schools and the middle classes, where expensive adjuncts must be omitted. No medicines are tolerated by the strict vegetarian; everything is cured by diet, exercise, water, hot or cold, or in the shape of steam.

There are now all over Germany and Austria a great number of what are called "Nature doctors," who cure on these principles, though they need not necessarily be vegetarians. The poor prefer them, as they are often men well off, who have a vocation for this calling; the medicaments cost very little or nothing. Father Sebastian Kneipp, at Wörichshofen in Swabia, belongs to this class, and the thousands he cures every year have made his name famous in all the German-speaking lands. He too deprecates the use of much meat. Everywhere baths and sanatoriums are springing up where cures with these simple means alone are effected, and medicines utterly discarded. The Hygeia, a publication founded by the well-known Dr. Paul Niemeyer, and edited at Munich by his disciple and successor. Dr. Gerster, is one of the many organs of the new and independent school; many doctors and a few laymen write in it. It is interesting and amusing, full of unexpected information, and much read by the most intelligent section of the public. The German vegetarian books are full of a number of excellent recipes for dishes of all kinds, suited to every time of the year and to different countries, which is most important, for the new-fledged vegetarian always thinks he is going to die of hunger. In the preparation of vegetables the German Pythagoreans bear off the palm, and I am bound to say that even their puddings and sweets are better than those known to the meat-eater. From what I have heard of English vegetarianism, I fancy that the movement, which in many respects might prove so useful, is much impeded by the inadequate way in which the vegetables are cooked, and until this defect is thoroughly remedied, and a greater variety is introduced into the vegetarian bill of fare, there is no prospect of an extension, which might prove so great a boon to the poorer classes.

In spite of the persuasive language of my books, and the promise of health and happiness, I could not, somehow, make up my mind to take a step which I imagined would in a certain way cut me off from my fellow-creatures; and it was not till rather more than a year ago, when I was obliged to read up certain papers about the transport of cattle and slaughter-houses, that the irresistible conviction came upon me that I must choose between giving up the eating of animal food or my peace of mind.

Years ago, when I lived in Italy, this same subject had given me much pain. At Rome it was the habit for every butcher to