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Strong Medicine

Strong Medicine

Dr Blake J Donaldson, a NYC based doctor describes how he applies a meat-based diet to fix obesity, allergies, digestion and other common ailments. It's a fascinating look at how a doctor thinks around the mid 20th century. 


"I oberved two families, in practice, that bothered me. Several members of each family were fat and had come to me  for treatment. Fast weight reduction was in order, so they were given only two things with a meal, fat meat and black coffee. Both families seemed to have an inherent inability to convert protein into some carbohydrate, if that was the difficulty. They developed acidosis to the extent of a very offensive dead-violet odor on the breath and some sense of weakness. Switching over to slow weight reduction with three things with a meal had instantly resolved the difficulty. But why had it existed?


 Oh, there were dozens of questions I wanted to discuss with Stefansson, so Fred Taylor brought him out to my home on Long Island. Some steamed clams and a good steak loosened him up, and we sat around a beach fire and talked for hours. He proved to be a mine of information. As I remember his conversation, it went something like this: 


"Well, in the first place, it is just as well to have intelligent companions if you expect to live for long periods on sea ice. It isn't enough to pick up, at Point Barrow, a dock hand who is somewhat inured to cold weather. Men you take with you have no worry about scurvy. They know that fresh meat and fish entirely prevent that. And they know that there is always fresh water on the sea ice. They may be doubtful at first over their ability to get along without a few luxuries. At the end of several weeks the extras are discarded as not worth the effort of transporting. "Most people enjoy fresh fat meat from the start, but some react this way: they are expected to live on thin slivers of fat seal meat and the broth it is cooked in, and this is eagerly taken at first and then with increasing reluctance on the second and third day. By the fourth day the pieces of meat may be found on the snow or given to the dogs. For two or three days these men seem to eat almost nothing. Then appetite for the meat comes with a rush and no more trouble is experienced. After many months away from a base where there are grocery stores, elaborate menus may be planned against the day of return. During their time away they have been free from head colds, but as soon as they return to people who have been living on groceries, head colds are promptly contracted. A few days of living on the food they thought would be so wonderful usually finds them back in the Eskimo part of town trying to beg, borrow, or steal some delicious fat from the back of the eyes of a caribou, or else some good seal meat. Accustomed to fat in their food, their bodies seem to crave it, and groceries do not satisfy. 


"It is highly desirable to be a good rifle shot so that a seal may be shot through the head. Matches must be most carefully conserved. The technique of meal preparation is exact. Hollow bones and strips of blubber cut like bacon are saved from the day before. A pyramid is formed of the hollow bones. At the apex the strips of blubber are laid. A little piece of shirttail or similar cloth is reserved to help start each meal. The cloth is impregnated with fat and laid under the pyramid of bones. The cloth should light with one match. Exposed to this heat, the blubber melts and runs down over the bones, which act as a wick. This fat burns with an intensely hot but smoky flame. Over this a preferably unwelded solid metal container is placed, filled with water and thin slivers of fat meat. By the time the water boils, the meat is cooked and ready to eat. The broth it is cooked in is drunk and is much more satisfying than tea or coffee." So that was the way of it, was it? Just be sure you are right and then be tough about it. What was I worrying about? If Stefansson could get his people to live that way, I certainly should have enough executive ability to get my patients to stick to a beautifully broiled sirloin and a demitasse of black coffee."

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