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! In some cases, men have even been known to have died of over-eating.
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.
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.
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