A rough estimate to help us understand how carnivorous and how ketogenic these people were before being exposed to western civilization
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About the Tribe
Importance of Animal Products
Importance of Plants
Transition to Industrialized Food Products
Ketones: The Fourth Fuel
Joseph Priestly carries out an experiment and realizes that life, flame, and air are woven together after noticing that he could isolate oxygen and observe a mouse fainting after a flame consumes the air.
"A few days prior, Priestly had made a curious discovery: He had lit a flame in a large jar, then sealed the container until the flame burned itself out. He then place a mouse in the container and watched as it soon collapsed, apparently due to the lack of air. Had the flame consumed the life-giving gas within the ar? Inspired, Priestly then repeated the same experiment--depleting the air inside the constainer with the candle--but this time, in addition to placing the mouse inside the container, he added a mint plant from the garden, sealed the container quickly before gas could be exchanged with the outside air, and set the container in the sunlight. The mouse regained consciousness. Somehow, the combination of plant and sunlight revitalized the air and infused the mouse with life force. Additionally, he found that the flame would again burn inside the container after the plant had "restored" the air. Life, flame, and air, Priestly realized, were somehow woven together.
For today's experiment he would again use the sun. He magnified the sunlight spilling through the laboratory's only window onto a small amount of a reddish substance known as mercuric oxide. He then used his apparatus to capture the gas that was released as the mercuric oxide began to burn. For the remainder of the day Priestly would perform a series of experiments with the newly isolated gas. He began with the flame. He noticed that it burned with much more intesity when placed inside a container with the new gas. He again filled ethe container with the new gas and sealed the mouse inside. Amazingly, when comparing results to those seen with a container filled with normal air, the mouse stayed conscious four times longer. This new gas, declared Priestly , was "five or six times as good as common air."
"The feeling of it in my lungs was not sensibly different from that of common air, but I fancied that my breast felt peculiarly light and easy for some time afterwards. Who can tell but that in time, this pure air may become a fashionable article in luxury. Hitherto only two mice and myself have had the privilege of breathing it," he wrote, late in the night.
Lectures to Ladies on Anatomy and Physiology
Mary Gove Nichols, disciple of Graham, taught physiology and anatomy and claimed that God designed humans to eat vegetables.
Mary Gove Nichols was a leading crusader for vegetarianism during the mid 19th century. She was a disciple of Sylvester Graham - perhaps the foremost vegetarian advocate of the century - and as a "Grahamite" her major form of activism was to teach physiology and anatomy to Americans.
To this end, Gove, who was a physician and proprietor of a water cure establishment (a non drug, "nature cure" facility), presented a series of lectures to female-only audiences eager to learn about the human body and how it functions. At the time, women were not supposed to lecture to audiences including males, but Gove managed to reach them as well through her published lectures, her magazine, and other works. Gove was also a novelist, acknowledged by no less a literary figure than Edgar Allan Poe, whose dying young wife Gove attempted to save from a fatal case of consumption (tuberculosis).
Gove couldn't save Poe's beloved cousin/wife, but she did help many people regain good health. Women (and men) were interested in what Gove had to teach, because they wanted to take control of their health and the health of their families instead of relying on the often treacherous, sometimes fatal drug medicine prevalent throughout the century.
Nichols and her lectures were popular. History records that at one lecture, the audience numbered as many as 2,000 - and that lecture was delivered in a small city. Vegetarianism was an integral component of Gove's teachings. Like her mentor Graham, Gove explained that God did not design the human body for flesh eating but to eat of the foods of the vegetable kingdom.
Gove, like Graham, was not typical of today's vegetarian advocate. It's doubtful that she would have approved of many vegetarian convenience foods, although she probably would have liked those low in fat and high in fiber. One's diet had to be heavy on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits - devoid of coffee, tea, condiments, and grease as well as meat - to pass inspection by her. Gove and other vegetarian crusaders contended that in some cases a diet that included flesh foods might be more wholesome than one that was vegetarian but loaded with grease and pastries. This was a concession evidently born out of compromise, which all but the staunchest vegetarian activists (those motivated primarily by religion or animal rights) seem to have made. Most likely they made this concession because they lived in a virulently meat-hungry and vegetarian-suspicious time that lacked hard scientific evidence proving the benefits of rejecting meat.
Besides the "vegetable diet," Gove and other "physiologists" called for a long list of daily practices, from bathing and exercise to adequate rest and cheerful attitude, as the prescription for health. If that advice seems familiar, the next time it is mentioned remember Gove, who like Graham, journeyed from city to city preaching physiology and a vegetable diet. Over time, many of the ideas of the American veg pioneers - derived from observation, the Bible, and natural history - have been scientifically verified and adopted by mainstream medicine. Until now, Graham, Gove, and company have rarely received credit for their attempts to aid ailing America. When they have been recognized, they and their groundbreaking work have usually been portrayed more as caricatures than as people of strong character, out to save the sick from unhealthful habits.
Monograph on Cancer
M. Tanchou is of opinion that cancer, like insanity, increases in a direct ratio to the civilization of the country and of the people.
Professor John LeConte (1818-91) received his degree in medicine in 1841 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and was preparing himself for graduate medical study in France when circumstances changed his plans and he took up instead a general practice in his native Georgia. There he read, in French and British medical journals, summaries of a memoir on cancer which had been submitted by Stanislas Tanchou in 1843 to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. No doubt Le Conte's interest and approval were strengthened through his discovery that the Parisian scientist had independently reached conclusions in regard to malignant disease that were similar to those Le Conte had himself published eight months ahead of Tanchou, in a “Monograph on Cancer” which he read before the Society of Alumni of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the State of New York on October 18, 1842.
Now from his Savannah address where he was a beginner in the practice of medicine, Le Conte sent to the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal of Augusta, Georgia, to be printed in its issue for May 1846, the paper that introduced the views of Tanchou to the United States: “Statistical Researches on Cancer.” Among the points of agreement between the unpublished Tanchou memoir of 1843 and a published Le Conte paper of 1842, were that (1) cancer, while found in children, is pre-eminently a disease of middle and old age; and that (2) its incidence is greater in cities than in rural districts.
The Tanchou pronouncement, which Le Conte seemingly expected would be startlingly novel to his readers, and in which Le Conte does not claim to have himself preceded Tanchou, is broached first on pages 273-74:
“M. Tanchou is of opinion that cancer, like insanity, increases in a direct ratio to the civilization of the country and of the people. And it is certainly a remarkable circumstance, doubtless in no small degree flattering to the vanity of the French savant, that the average mortality from cancer at Paris during 11 years is about 0.80 per 1,000 living annually while it is only 0.20 per 1,000 in London!!! Estimating the intensity of civilization by these data, it clearly follows that Paris is 4 times more civilized than London!!
“Seriously, however, the greater frequency of carcinoma in France, as compared with England, is a very curious fact.” Le Conte discusses whether differences in registration methods can account for this difference in figures and concludes that there could be some difference; but he decides that “it is totally inadequate to account for the remarkable disparity in the mortality from this cause (cancer) in the two countries.”
Here Le Conte introduces a table, apparently copied from Tanchou, comparing cancer deaths in England and Wales with the French, and concludes that “after making due allowance for the difference in the systems of registration, the mortality from cancer in the department of the Seine is nearly quadruple what it is in England and Wales. Hence it is clear that the general preponderance of the disease on the continent cannot be reasonably ascribed to any diversity in the classification of kindred diseases.”
On page 275 Le Conte asks, “How will we account for the supposed fact that carcinomatous affections are on the increase? To some extent, the augmentation may be only apparent ...” This he considers, and his verdict is that “if this is the true cause of the increase in frequency, it must indeed be co-extensive with the progressive advancement of civilization, unless some countering influences are brought to bear ...”
Memoir on the Frequency of Cancer
Cancer is very old in the civilized world, but rare in the native world based on research by Tanchou
Report of Dr. Philip R. White on his Tanchou Inquiry
On February 13, 1959, Carol and Phil White wrote from Paris. Phil's part of the letter said:
“Yesterday I sent you a packet of papers on the Tanchou affair. Today ... Carol urged me to write a little squib of a different sort [for possible use in a magazine]. I have written one; but clearly it should have your approval, if forthcoming, before being submitted.” It received my approval and I present it here:
“There is probably no more august body of savants in the world than that created by Descartes and Pascal, sanctified by Richelieu and the Roi Soleil, abolished by the French Revolution, rejuvenated by Napoleon; the Académie Française and its associated academies which make up the Institut de France: ‘The Immortals.’ Under the dark dome of the institute, on the Left Bank of the Seine, in the old Palace of the Four Nations, these men meet to ponder the problems of the world ...
“A year ago one of the youngest old men I know, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, arctic explorer, authority on Eskimo life, teetotal carnivore at eighty (he eats only [fat] meat), still exploring new trails, set me on one which has led me a merry chase. The Eskimos seem not to have had cancer under their primitive way of life. Neither do certain South American Indians, so the tale goes. Nor do the natives of Central Africa.
“A century ago a French doctor, Stanislas Tanchou, who had served with Napoleon in Russia and at Waterloo, retired to Paris and private practice after the wars. At the end of a lifetime of experience and study of the statistical distribution of cancer, by peoples, by profession, by sex, age, and habits, Tanchou propounded the theory that cancer was a disease of civilization. Coming to the attention of Californians ... the idea impressed itself upon the minds of doctors and sea captains in the Alaska trade so that the early observations on the Eskimos were more than casual notations; these men were looking for cancer. That they did not find it gives their data added weight.
“But this information in the hands of Arctic ship surgeons was second or third hand. Just what had Tanchou himself said, and what was the basis for his conclusions? My friend Stef wanted to know. And the Surgeon-General's lists, the Archives of the Library of Congress, were rather reticent. A few brief notes but nothing like the extensive papers which the British and American medical journals of the 1840's had ‘reviewed.’ Where were the originals? Perhaps somewhere in Paris, where one can find anything if one looks long enough. I was going for some months to Paris. Would I see what I could find?
“I love a hunt. Starting from the Surgeon-General's list I went first to the Library of the Académie des Sciences. Yes, Tanchou had presented many papers before the Academy, on a variety of subjects; in fact he had three times presented himself as a candidate for election to that body, and three times failed. Among the papers published in the Comptes rendus des séances hebdomadaires were two which dealt with distribution of cancer, presented in 1843 and 1844. I asked to see them. No, these were only brief notes: ‘M. Tanchou summarized as follows. ...’ And no bibliography, no cross references. Perhaps at the library of the École de Médecine? The Surgeon-General listed four papers there by or about Tanchou. One was clearly wrong: it said 1844 but the journal named didn't start publishing until 1847. Another proved to be only an obituary notice. A third was also partly wrong — the journal had twiced changed its name in 100 years — but by persistence we tracked it down, only to find that the particular weekly number which should have contained Tanchou's article was missing from the file. That left only one, an English journal of 1843. Not very promising. But here we were in better luck, for the Lancet appeared to have translated almost literally the missing article from the Gazette des Hôpitaux Civiles et Militaries. But this again was clearly an abbreviated version of a longer paper which Tanchou said he had published elsewhere. Where?
“On a hunch I went back to the Academy and asked if Tanchou might perhaps have filed a manuscript with them, a manuscript which he had hoped to publish but had not done so. Into the archives again, this time not just to their index but into the actual files for 1840 to 1845. There were many items; twenty-two case histories gleaned from the literature of the world, drawings of operations for cancer of the breast, notes on dissolving bladder stones without operation and, ah, yes, two of interest. One was a twenty-page manuscript which appeared to be, in fact, what I was looking for, though upon closer study it proved disappointing, adding nothing essential to the material in the shorter summaries. The other, however was intriguing. It was simply a notation: ‘Tanchou, deposited June 5, 1843, a sealed packet.’ That was all.
“Early in its existence the Academy took upon itself the responsibility of serving as custodian of ideas, public or private. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in particular, ideas might be dangerous, and since plagiarism was common, even perfectly safe ideas might be hoarded. If a man had such an idea and wanted to establish his right to it without making it public, he could deposit it with the Academy. Thereafter he could, during his lifetime, request the return of his deposition; after his death his heirs could request that it be opened and read but could not have it relinquished to them; and, after 100 years, if requested by anyone not an heir, the Academy reserved the right to open such a packet and decide whether its contents should be published, should be destroyed, or should be returned to the archives for another century. In practice they never destroy anything.
“Was this another manuscript? It had been sealed for 116 years, I could at least see it. This required a formal letter ... A letter was dispatched and permission duly granted to ‘examine’ the packet. On my next visit to the Academy the librarian brought it to me. No, this could not be a long manuscript; it was too small, no larger than a letter, probably only a single sheet of paper. But permission to ‘examine’ did not include permission to open ... So I sat down to write a second letter ... Official approval was granted and a date set for the formal opening.
“Such occasions are impressive. The long paneled hall, a central podium for the president and the two secretaries, an oval series of desks with six transverse lines seating the eighty Immortals, benches along the walls for visitors (the sessions are open to the public), to the left, right, and front statues of Molière, Racine, and Corneille, between these, busts of Buffon, Lamartine, Pascal, Chateaubriand, Laplace, and others. The Immortals file in, sign the register, take their places. There is the usual reading of minutes; a paper is presented ... And then the announcement, ‘The Academy has before it a request from an American colleague, M. White, that a sealed packet deposited in 1843 by M. Tanchou, physician to the King, be opened ... Do I hear any objections? If not it will be done ... In that case we will open the packet.’ An officer beckoned to me to step forward ... He broke the seal and with some difficulty opened the brittle folded paper. It contained a second sealed paper. This seal was also broken and a double sheet of paper spread out ... The ink was dim and the writing ancient ... There was a word underscored in the second line, a short word. What was it? ... It was ‘SEXE’! The paper had nothing to do with cancer.
“My search was ended. I am not sure my friend Stefansson will be content with the result ...”
In a way, I am content with the result. Dr. White's search has, for one thing, indicated what sorts of difficulties may have hampered Dr. John Le Conte in a search for the Tanchou memoir which, it is hard to doubt, he must at some time have made — perhaps in the 1880's, with all the dignity of a university president, preparing for his third statement on Tanchou, the one he issued in 1888.
The more formal report from Dr. White was dated February 11, 1959, two days earlier than the one just quoted. It is to the same effect, and concludes: “... Tanchou had a good idea on the effects of civilization ... He should be remembered for having tried to deal with the question on a statistical basis. His idea of the influence of civilization was fruitful in pointing to facts which need to be studied ...”
With the Dead Sea Scrolls throwing unexpected light on the founder of Christianity, with family revelations throwing expected light on the founder of Darwinism — with such portents, the expected or unexpected may happen to throw new light on Tanchou. But it will then probably be too late for use in this book. Therefore I shall summarize and add further bits.
Though Tanchou is now forgotten in his homeland, and though Africa may be fulfilling his prophecies without knowing they are his, it was not always thus.
It was not so in 1850, the year Tanchou died. That year, pages 487-90 of the Revue Médicale Française et Étrangére carry an affectionate, heartbroken, laudatory appraisal by Boys de Loury, secretary general of the Paris Society of Medicine. However, though the memorial praises Tanchou as a soldier and citizen, and is full of admiration for him as a leading and inspiring figure in the domain of medicine, it says of him in relation to cancer only, “Tanchou's researches on the diseases of women stand out particularly, and especially those on cancer.”
The “Memoir on the Frequency of Cancer,” which Tanchou in 1843 “addressed to the Academy of Sciences,” appears to have made the following points, among others:
According to the Hospital Gazette (Civilian and Military) for July 6, 1843, charts show that cancer is much more frequent in Paris proper than in its suburbs: “... [the like] has been noticed in Berlin and in England ... we know that the number of cancer cases is increasing ... this disease seems to be very old in the civilized world. The first example is that of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus and wife of Cambyses, in 521 B.C. ... many cancers have been found among the mummies of Egypt; and M. Homem ... who spent 14 years in the service of Mahomet Ali, never saw cancer among the peasant women but only among the [aristocratic] Turkish women.
“Cancer is like insanity, found most often in the most civilized countries ... in the Orient it has been found more frequent among Christians than Moslems. Fabrice de Hilden believed that cancer appeared more often in the temperate zone than in the other zones. M. Rouzet says that it is very rare in Africa.
“We have gathered information on this last point that leaves no doubt. Dr. Bac, surgeon-in-chief of the Second African Regiment, never found a case in Senegal, where he practiced medicine for six years. Many other health officers of our brave army have told us the same thing. M. Baudens, surgeon-in-chief at Val-de-Grâce, who practiced civilian medicine in Algiers for eight years, said he met only two or three cases. Finally: Dr. Puzin established a civilian hospital in 1835, 10 leagues from the front; out of 10,000 sick whom he examined there was only one cancer case, the breast cancer of a woman.”
So far as it is possible yet to tell from the documents studied, Tanchou's chief material for arriving at his law came from North Africa, and involved a higher observed cancer rate among the dominant French than among the lowly peasants. The main observations Tanchou bolstered with like Asiatic testimonies, and with statistics comparing metropolitan with suburban Paris, and Paris with England and Wales, also Paris with London. In Europe this all seemingly passed without creating emotional flurries.
New York Hygieo-Therapeutic College founded by Dr. Russell Trall
Dr Trall is a leading advocate of vegetarianism in NY
Among the foremost activists opposing the drug therapists and offering another option was New York City's own Russell Trall, M.D., who was also a leading advocate of vegetarianism. Most who denounced medical mayhem and instead employed holistic, drugless, natural medicine were convinced that flesh foods had no place on the menu. (Anyone for bringing back the term "flesh foods"?)
In 1852, Trall founded the New York Hygieo-Therapeutic College, the first medical school to admit women on equal terms with men. Trall was influenced by Sylvester Graham and Isaac Jennings, M.D., who taught that the body is governed by natural laws originating from God and verified by observation.
Trall contended that when these laws were broken, sickness and death could result. A frugivorous diet--as mandated in Genesis and verified as natural for human beings by 19th-century studies of human anatomy--was one of the laws. When illness developed, rather than suppressing symptoms the drugless doctors sought to remove the causes. Once the causes were removed, the body tended to heal itself. Trall maintained that drugs harmed the body; they did not act upon the body but the body acted upon the drugs. For example, a laxative drug seemed to work only because the body rejected it. The drug itself did not cause the bowels to work.
Trained as an allopath, Trall had observed patients who had become well without drug intervention and those who had been made sicker by drugs. He noticed how the body was helped when patients were prescribed rest, "vegetable diets," treatments such as massage and hydrotherapy (the "water cure"), and direction to fill the mind with higher thoughts.
Trall was a sought-after doctor who even lectured at the Smithsonian Institution during the Civil War on behalf of soldiers. The doctor published more than a dozen books, which found an audience hungry to help themselves and to avoid the horrors and the sometimes fatal results of the regular doctors' medicine.
Hygieo-therapeutic Dr. Trall told his students that his practice was not lucrative, and the only reason they should become physicians was that they wanted to help the sick and teach them how to avoid sickness in the future.
Trall's views about medicine led to his vegetarianism and a vice presidency of the American Vegetarian Society. Like other vegetarians of his time, he abhorred cruelty to animals. In the 20th century, Herbert Shelton studied and then expanded Trall's work, which is today known as natural hygiene. Yet more than 100 years after Trall's death, and after billions of tax-payer dollars have been spent on health care, the nation has yet to examine the drugless doctor's ideas seriously.
He was an influential promoter of vegetarianism and was Vice-President of the American Vegetarian Society. Trall's The Hygeian Home Cook-Book published in 1874 is the first known vegan cookbook in America. The book contains recipes "without the employment of milk, sugar, salt, yeast, acids, alkalies, grease, or condiments of any kind." Trall opposed the consumption of alcohol, coffee, meat, tea and the use of salt, sugar, pepper and vinegar. He believed that spices were dangerous to health.
In 1910, physician David Allyn Gorton noted that Trall's diet was "most simple and abstemious, consisting chiefly of Graham bread, hard Graham crackers, fruits, and nuts—two meals a day, without salt."
Fruits and farinacea the proper food of man :
being an attempt to prove, from history, anatomy, physiology, and chemistry, that the original, natural, and best diet of man is derived from the vegetable kingdom /
by John Smith, with notes and illustrations by R.T. Trall, M.D
Mapping disease: John Snow and Cholera
The first usage of epidemiology and public health occurs when John Snow talked to local London residents of a cholera outbreak and determined they were near the Broad Street water pump, which had become infected by choleric sewage.
So with the Eira, we believe that had they not fortunately been able to obtain abundant supplies of fresh meat, scurvy would have appeared, and that the preserved vegetables in the absence of lime-juice would have proved insufficient as antiscorbutics.
Dr. Buzzard, in a letter which appeared in our columns last week, considers the fact that the crew of the Eira were supplied with preserved vegetables tells against the supposition advanced by Mr. Neale, that if Arctic voyagers were to feed only on the flesh of the animals supplied by the country they would be able to dispense with lime-juice. The truth is, it is an open question with many as to the relative antiscorbutic properties of preserved vegetables, and whether under the circumstances in which the Eira's crew were placed they would have been sufficient, in the absence of lime-juice and fresh meat, to have preserved the crew from scurvy.
A case in point is the outbreak that occurred on board the Adventure, in the surveying voyages of that vessel and the Beagle. The Adventure had been anchored in Port Famine for several months, and although "pickles, cranberries, large quantities of wild celery, preserved meats and soups, had been abundantly supplied," still great difficulty had been experienced in obtaining fresh meat, and they were dependent on an intermittent supply from wild-fowl and a few shell-fish. Scurvy appeared early in July, fourteen cases, including the assistant-surgeon, being down with it. At the end of July fresh meat was obtained; at first it seemed to prove ineffectual, but an ample supply being continued, the commander was able to report, by the end of August, "the timely supply of guanaco meat had certainly checked the scurvy." This is an instance in which articles of diet having recognised antiscorbutic properties proved insufficient, in the absence of lime-juice and fresh meat, and under conditions of exceptional hardship, exposure, and depressing influence, to prevent the occurrence of scurvy. So with the Eira, we believe that had they not fortunately been able to obtain abundant supplies of fresh meat, scurvy would have appeared, and that the preserved vegetables in the absence of lime-juice would have proved insufficient as antiscorbutics.
This antiscorbutic virtue of fresh meat has long been recognised by Arctic explorers, and, strangely, their experience in this respect is quite at variance with ours in Europe. It has been sought to explain the immunity from the disease of the Esquimaux, who live almost exclusively on seal and walrus flesh during the winter months, by maintaining that the protection is derived from the herbage extracted from the stomach of reindeer they may kill. In view, however, of the small proportion of vegetable matter that would be thus obtained for each member of the tribe, and the intermittent nature of the supply, it can hardly be maintained that the antiscorbutic supplied in this way is sufficient unless there are other conditions tending in the same direction. And of these, one, as we have already stated, consists probably in the fact that the flesh is eaten without lactic acid decomposition having taken place, owing either to its being devoured immediately, or from its becoming frozen. The converse being the case in Europe, where meat is hung some time after rigor mortis has passed off, and lactic acid develops to a considerable extent. This seems a rational explanation, and it reconciles the discrepancy of opinion that exists between European and Arctic observers with regard to meat as an antiscorbutic. In bringing forward the claims of the flesh of recently killed animals as an antiscorbutic, it must be understood that we fully uphold the doctrine that the exclusive cause of scurvy is due to the insufficient supply of fresh vegetable food, and that it can be only completely cured by their administration ; but if the claims advanced with regard to the antiscorbutic qualities of recently slaughtered flesh be proved, then we have ascertained a fact which ought to be of the greatest practical value with regard to the conduct of exploring expeditions, and every effort should be made to obtain it. Everything, moreover, conducive to the improvement of the sailor's dietary ought to receive serious consideration, and it has therefore seemed to us that the remarks of Mr. Neale and Dr. Lucas are especially worthy of attention, whilst we think the suggestion of the former gentleman with regard to the use of the blood of slaughtered animals likely to prove of special value."
ABOUT seven years ago I saw two patients, one suffering from severe chronic gouty arthritis and the other from recurrent uric acid calculi, in both of whom, after all routine treatment had failed, cure was effected by the so-called " Salisbury" treatment, prescribed and directed by a lady. Taking for many weeks nothing but red meat and hot water, these patients certainly made wonderful improvement, which, in spite of a gradual return to an ordinary dietary, persists to this day. It seemed to me that this treatment possessed some element of usefulness, but that it ought neither to be used indiscriminately nor without medical guidance. The only English book on the subject, which quickly obtained and still has a large circulation among the laity, was written in a tone and spirit which did not encourage the medical profession to give this method a thorough trial; but the patients whom I had tried in vain to help, and for whom I had sought the best special advice without good result, were so evidently benefited that I have since then given this diet a careful trial, more especially during the last three and a half years, when I have been afforded in Buxton exceptional opportunities for selecting suitable cases for its use and for watching its effects. The indefatigable and painstaking work of Dr. Alexander Haig and the careful and ingenious experiments of Dr. A. P. Luff, which latter, placed before us in the recent Goulstonian Lectures,” have excited so much interest, indicate that the red meats or their salts are in themselves harmful to the gouty. Having for the last three years been working on the subject of auto-poisoning in relation to the causation of out, some forms of rheumatoid arthritis, and allied ailments, had been led to doubt whether that is so, or whether it is not the admixture of food of other classes with the red meat which causes complex chemical changes leading to the formation (whether in the blood, tissues, or kindeys) of an excessive quantity of uric acid. The able and suggestive work of Dr. Lauder Brunton has done much to stimulate medical opinion on this subject, and has given us a better understanding regarding the chemical changes which take place during digestion and their clinical significance; while the researches of Gautier and Bouchard have added to our knowledge of “the self-poisoning of the individual."
The course of treatment, which lasts from four to twelve weeks in its strict form, is as follows—subject, of course, to such modifications as the condition of the patients and their progress demand. The bowels having been thoroughly relieved the patient begins to drink from three to five pints of hot water daily; the temperature of this should be from 100° to 120°F.; a little lemon juice may be added, and it should be drunk in sips. One pint should be taken at least one hour before each meal, and the same quantity at bedtime. The food should consist at first of beefsteak from which all fat, gristle, and connective tissue have been removed; this should be thoroughly minced, a little water being added, and then warmed through with gentle heat until it becomes brown in colour and perfectly soft and smooth; it can be eaten thus or else made up into cakes and cooked on the grill. On the minced meat may be put the poached whites of from two to four eggs per day. The only bread allowed is a half slice, cut very thin, and thoroughly torrified in the oven, with each meal. A little salt or pepper may be added to the meat, or a little mustard freshly mixed with lemon juice. As the treatment progresses a little of the steak may be given grilled, or a lean mutton chop; very little or no fluid should be given with the food. The quantity of the meat given is from one pound to four pounds in the twenty-four hours. During the latter part of the treatment a grilled cod-steak is often ordered Alcohol should be avoided; if absolutely necessary a little good whisky with cold water may be given with food; or a cup of weak tea with a slice of lemon, or a cup of black coffee may be taken. The immediate results experienced are a feeling of hunger and a difficulty in drinking so much hot water; these difficulties soon disappear, although the feeling of “emptiness” due to the stoppage of the carbohydrates often persists. There is also a marked diminution of the abdominal girth and a more or less rapid loss of flesh, especially in those who are fat and flabby; but walking is much easier and the breathing is often greatly relieved. The urine at first is often scanty and loaded with urates, which indicates either the necessity for adding some freshly prepared citrate of potash to the hot water given in the early morning and late evening, or else an increase in the quantity of water drunk. The bowels become constipated, the motions being scanty and dark coloured. An aperient is often necessary. After the first two or three weeks the patient begins to feel weak and easily tired, and it is wise at this stage to limit the amount of exercise taken, substituting in some cases a little massage; but before the conclusion of the course the strength returns, and stout patients especially feel the benefit of the diminished weight.
The changes due to the treatment are very marked. The swelling of the joints diminishes, the aching and soreness are greatly relieved, and the mobility is considerably in creased. The patient becomes brighter, and work, both mental and bodily, is done with pleasure instead of with trouble and effort; acidity, pyrosis, heaviness, distension, and oppressed feelings after food disappear, flatus is greatly diminished in quantity and becomes much less offensive, and the perspiration loses the disagreeable odour so frequently present in these cases. The urine becomes more copious and clearer, and does not give the reactions to nitric acid and ferric chloride mentioned later. and the oxalates and uric acid are materially decreased. The indications for the adoption of this treatment seem to me to be : (1) obstinate and refractory chronic gouty arthritis; (2) recurrent uric acid calculi; (3) frequent and intractable migraine; and (4) obstinate gouty dyspepsia. The treatment appears to be indicated more especially if any of the following symptoms are present : (a) amylaceous and intestinal dyspepsia; (b) acidity, pyrosis, and flatulence; (c) heaviness and irritability after food; (d) excessive formation of sulphuretted hydrogen in the large intestine, disagreeable smelling perspiration, and offensive breath; and the following conditions of the urine : (e) persistent lithiasis; (f) oxaluria; (q) excessive formation of indican ; (h) purple or red reaction with nitric acid; and (i) wine-red reaction with ferric chloride.
I am sure that where either damaged kidneys or a weakened heart are present exceptional care should be taken; in fact, many of these cases are quite unfit for the treatment. I do not say all, advisedly, as I have seen several cases in which both unsound kidneys and heart have been greatly relieved, but such patients require daily watching and the exhibition of great care, experience, and discretion. The above mentioned symptoms, I would venture to submit, bring us face to face with the great question of auto-poisoning. I have been greatly impressed by the sudden subsidence of severe chronic gouty arthritis in five cases. In three of these it followed what were described as “very severe bilious attacks”; and in two it came on after severe and spontaneous attacks of diarrhoea; the relief was immediate and complete, and for several weeks the patients kept better, but gradually the old symptoms began to return, and in three months after the sudden improvement they were as bad as ever. No doubt also many of us have observed how severe attacks of deltoid rheumatism of many weeks' standing have been at once removed by a mercurial purgative. These facts seem to me to point to the possibility of poisons generated in the alimentary canal setting up affections of the joints. Bouchard describes certain articular enlargements which he contends are almost always present, more or less, in cases of gastric dilatation. That a very considerable number of ptomaines, leucomaines, and toxins are formed in the ali mentary canal seems to be beyond doubt, as is also the fact that they are taken up by the blood and appear in the urine.
A most important discovery was made by Gautier in 1885, when he found that poisonous alkaloids were continuously being formed in healthy men and animals by decomposition in the intestinal canal during the process of digestion or in the blood and tissues generally by the metabolism which occurs during the functional activities of life. It seems to me that if we have either an excessive formation or a deficient elimination of these toxic products we get a con dition of self-poisoning, which may be either slight and transient, severe and lasting, or, what I believe to be more common still, a daily storage of small quantities of noxious matter which gradually undermines the health, leads to deterioration of the nervous system, and disturbance of the nutrition of some or all of the structures of the body; and it seems likely that vital action is much more quickly interfered with through the accumulation of waste products within the organs than by any want of nutriment of the organs themselves. Aitken, writing on gout and rheumatism, says: “They are such diseases as become developed under the influence of agents generated within the body itself through the continuous exercise of its functions in the daily course of nutrition, development, or growth.” That marked symptoms of poisoning do not more frequently occur is due to the physiological processes continually going on in our bodies: (a) the elimination of the poisons by the kidneys, liver, skin, lungs, and the lining mem brane of the bowels; and (b) their destruction by oxygenation, the leucomaines being burned up in the blood. That the urine contains toxic products was made clear by the researches of Mr. Reginald Harrison, our esteemed President, concerring so-called “catheter fever” when he gave his adhesion to the following important conclusions: (1) In health alkaloids exist in the living subject; (2) these arise in the intestinal canal through the action of putrefactive intestinal organisms; (3) the alkaloids of normal urine represent a practical part of these alkaloids absorbed by the intestinal mucous membrane and excreted by the kidneys; and (4) diseases augmenting intestinal alkaloids augment in consequence the urinary. Dr. Lauder Brunton suggests that one set of poisons is probably allied to uric acid, and includes guanidine, methyl-guanidine, xanthine, and other derivatives of urea. A very interesting statement has been made that while the greatest part of the products of albuminous waste is in health secreted by man in the form of urea with very little uric acid, in disturbance of nutrition (as by self poisoning, affections of the nervous system, &c.) the quantity of uric acid is enormously increased. It has also been suggested that as pyrocatechin, a body of the aromatic series frequently found in urine, is known to have a poisonous action on the spinal cord it may probably interfere with the joint centres, an thus set up reflex trouble in the articulations. To those who entertain the opinion, so generally held, that the various toxins are formed from the decomposition of animal food it will not be at all clear how a meat dietary, even with the aid of hot water, can alter this condition ; but Brunton and Macfadyen have shown that “the same bacteria which form a peptonising enzyme on proteid soil can also produce a diastatic enzyme on carbohydrate soil”; and, further, that “the same bacilli, when grown in starch paste instead of in gelatin or in beef-tea, produced a different ferment, which would convert starch into sugar, but which would not act upon gelatin.” Bouchard, again, strongly condemns bread, with the exception of the outer crust, on the ground that the process of baking, although it has interrupted the fermentation, has not stopped it altogether, and that this fermentation re-appears when moisture and temperature are again favourable to it, and from this are formed acetic and butyric acids, leucin, tyrosin, and phenol in large and poisonous quantities. The difficulties of a mixed diet of meat and carbo-hydrates in the gouty state are that the latter are so much more easily oxidised, and are therefore more readily consumed in the system than the albuminous compounds, and thus prevent the disintegration and oxidation of the latter; and also that vegetable albumin less easily undergoes disintegration than animal albumin. In gout disintegrative changes in the albuminates are arrested, and insufficiently oxidized substances remain in the blood; and in this connexion it is of importance to note that under a diet of animal food more oxygen is retained in the system than when starchy foods are taken in excess. The microbes subsisting on starchy food, milk, and cheese may be got rid of by a purely meat diet and vice versá, the offending microbes being starved out.
I would now ask the question whether, from the foregoing facts and theories, it is possible to suggest any scientifically satisfying reason for using this dietary. And in reply I would submit that meat taken as suggested is easily and readily digested; that the process of digestion is more com plete and perfect, and is almost entirely free both from the processes of fermentation and putrefaction, and from the toxic products thereof; and also that there is a more complete oxidation of the food taken, and therefore less waste and morbid material remaining in the system. Whatever poison does remain is more promptly eliminated by diuretics than by any other means, and no diuretic is more efficient than a free supply of water, especially when taken into a comparatively empty stomach. The exceptional power of water as an eliminator has been well shown by the researches of Sanquirico into the lethal doses of various drugs. There can be no doubt also that water has a direct flushing effect on the stomach, kidneys, and liver. It has been suggested to me that, while a very much improved condition of the general health might be brought about by the stimulating effects of a diet of red meat, the uric acid in the system would be driven into the joints to their great detriment, and that when this diet was discontinued most serious relapse would occur, the last state of the patient being much worse than the first. I have watched this point most carefully, and in a number of cases I have gradually brought the patient down from a meat diet to a carefully arranged mixed dietary, and in eight cases still further to the meat-free dietary recommended by Dr. Alexander Haig, without any such result being observed. Had space permitted I should like to have submitted the detailed notes of cases of chronic gout and recurrent renal calculi treated by this method. In some respects the latter cases are the more interesting, for in spite of the continuous taking of solvents they were, up to the time of taking this dietary, frequently passing uric acid calculi. With the exception of a few small stones passed shortly after the commencement of the treatment (in less than half the cases only) no further formation took place, although the use of all solvents was discontinued. My experience of the sc-called “Salisbury” dietary has led me to form the following conclusions, which I venture to submit for consideration and criticism: (1) that a certain number of cases of chronic gouty arthritis, recurrent uric acid calculi, and gouty dyspepsia, with fermentative changes, which have proved refractory to ordinary methods of treat ment and dietary, may be treated by means of an exclusively red meat dietary, plus hot water drinking, with excellent results; (2) that this method of treatment is irksome and trying, and as, unless it is carried out strictly in the first instance, it is apt to do harm it should only be used in those cases where other methods have failed or are thought likely to do so; (3) that the cases require careful selection and close medical supervision, the details being modified according to the needs of each individual patient; (4) that those who suffer from persistent albuminuria or organic heart disease are in most instances unfit for this treatment— when, however, it is prescribed for them its course should be watched daily; (5) that certain cases of chronic gouty arthritis which fail to improve while on a mixed diet recover equally well whether on this dietary or on the meat-free dietary suggested by Dr. Alexander Haig; (6) that it is of the utmost importance that no addition, however small, of carbohydrates, saccharine matters, or fruit be made to the dietary during the first few weeks of treatment, very slight acts of carelessness in this respect having often caused disappointment and failure; and (7) that used with due care and discretion this method is a most efficient, and sometimes even a brilliant, addition to our therapeutic resources, but that it is only necessary in some 3 or 4 per cent of gouty cases treated.
Cancer isn't worried about by those eating native diets.
All this was conversational stock in trade on the river in 1906; and, to a slightly lesser extent, also during my second journey, in 1908. There were humorous tales of amateur dentistry against toothache, and far from humorous ones of scurvy through which teeth came loose and finally dropped out, as death approached.
Speaking of the Klondikers, everybody was saying what the bishop had been the first to tell me — that, so far as scurvy was concerned, those tenderfeet were best off who brought the least food with them. For the Athapaskans would not see them die of hunger; and they fed the tenderfeet on medium-cooked fresh fish and game, to the general benefit of their health and the complete avoidance of scurvy.
No one, that I can remember, was seriously worried about cancer; nor was I myself particularly interested. As intimated, I now remember about malignant disease from my first journey chiefly that Bishop Reeve thought it to belong to a group of ills which had behind them nutritional issues. But I do remember noticing more talk of cancer as we approached the Eskimo country, to the effect that the New England whalers, who wintered among the Eskimos east and west of the Mackenzie delta, could find no more cancer among them than missionaries and fur traders had been able to find among the Athapaskans — meaning none. The bishop said he had discussed this with other missionaries who knew more than he did about the Eskimos; I think he mentioned the bishops Bompas and Stringer, and that he had sent messages through Stringer to the whaling captains bolstering their seacoast results with his own from the interior.
Book of the Eskimos
The role of women at feasts of the Hudson Bay Eskimos is described while the men share boiled meat.
Among the Hudson Bay Eskimos, the women are not allowed to take part in these feasts. It is thought that boiled meat is man's food, too good for women to have, and a man would make himself ridiculous if he ate it in the company of his family. No, he goes outside his house and announces loudly that there is boiled meat. This is an invitation for all the other men in the village to come to a feast. With serious faces, they form a single file and enter the house of their host. They have their big knives in their hands and hold them up in front of themselves like sabres. Inside the house, they take position in a circle without saying a word.
The host begins the proceedings by making a little speech that is always approximately the same: "Alas, I have waited so long before inviting you because I was embarrassed on account of my bad house. I do not know how to build houses as big and handsome as yours. Moreover, I have nothing decent to offer you. The rest of you, you are used to catching young, fresh, and good-tasting animals; I must be content with half-dead carrions that are an insult to the palate. And finally I have only the miserable wife who sits here. She is unfit for any work, and she is particularly impossible at cooking meat, so this meal is going to be a terrible scandal for my house."
Whereupon the men sit down, and the wife starts serving the meat. This is her only function at the meal. She has a kind of fork made from a caribou antler or a walrus rib, with which she lifts a lump of meat from the pot. She then licks it carefully so that soup and blood won't drip too much over her husband's fingers.
The husband takes the meat and puts it in his mouth—or at least, as much as he has room for. He then cuts off the rest and hands it to his neighbor, who cuts off a mouthful and passes it on to the next man in the circle. The lump of meat keeps circling like this until it is eaten up, and the host receives a new lump from his wife. It is desirable to have a little fat with the meat from time to time, so the host cuts off a piece of blubber and sends it around the circle in the same manner. The men rub the various pieces around on their faces so that the blood and smear often cover even the foreheads. If a piece is lost on the floor, the man who picks it up is expected to lick it clean. Water to drink with the food is provided in a basin made of walrus skin or seal skin. The water is from melted snow, but it is far from crystal clear, for it has been melted in the same pots the meat is cooked in. And these pots never get washed, only wiped off with a piece of skin at every new moon. The water is therefore brown like thin coffee, and on its surface caribou hairs, matches, and other little things are afloat. On these occasions my beard was very useful, as I let it sift the water for me. Afterward, when I wiped the beard with my hand and saw the amount of dirt and slime it contained, I was ever so happy that I had avoided using the razor.
As you may easily understand, I much preferred life with the Thule Eskimos. There, the fair sex were allowed to enliven the parties with their charm, the pots were kept fairly clean without any consideration of the position of the moon, there was always freshly melted water, and each man got his individual piece of food untouched by others except, perhaps, the hostess, who handed it to him only to press him to eat more.
Book of the Eskimos
"We just ate, and I learned what was good. The diet of the Polar Eskimos is actually healthful and varied. When you have meat and meat, and meat again, you learn to distinguish between the different parts of an animal."
It took me three weeks to build the house, and when Knud returned, he started a series of house-raising feasts in grand style. Actually it was one single celebration, but it lasted a couple of weeks. At the time, there were eight families in the settlement, and they all seemed capable of eating at every hour of the endless day. As I have mentioned, sleep was permitted during the banquets, but expressions of satiety in the form of air explosions from every possible opening of the body seemed to be good substitutes for sleep. Knud was at the head of them all. He sang and told stories; he cooked and arranged food orgies the like of which had rarely been seen. His ability to drum up edibles was formidable. We didn't have to supply much of them, ourselves. It was Knud's special art during a meal to start reminiscing about gigantic feasts of yore. Then his eyes assumed a dreamy look while he softly mumbled something about tail of narwhale, well fermented, rotten eider ducks, or other beautiful treats.
Immediately, somebody or other jumped up and demanded to be allowed to show that also in this place such palate-caressing articles could be prepared. Knud expressed a little doubt—but no more than to make it a challenge. The result was always that the man and a couple of his friends ran off to fetch the delicacies. They might otherwise have been set aside for the visit of a dear relative or some such purpose. Now they went to Knud and his guests, almost the entire settlement. Our house seemed to have inexhaustible riches. How we procured all that was consumed I don't know; that was Knud's department. He just told somebody or other to go out and get some cooking meat. If then the poor fellow went out to obey the glorious command, and it happened that he returned to report that there was no more meat on the rack, Knud turned a little joke in his direction so that everybody present laughed at him. The man couldn't bear this loss of honor; he went out again and came back with all he could carry. There was no point asking where he got it from: meat was considered common property, so it didn't really matter.
We just ate, and I learned what was good. The diet of the Polar Eskimos is actually healthful and varied. When you have meat and meat, and meat again, you learn to distinguish between the different parts of an animal. The breast doesn't taste at all like the muscles of the hindlegs, for instance. And little by little I learned the finesse of Eskimo food preparation. One of the greatest delicacies, narwhale skin, is either served fresh and raw, or it is preserved with dried meat in big skin bags filled with blubber. Seals are used either as boiling meat or put in the meat cache to ferment, whole and unskinned. Then their meat tastes strong and sweet as sugar, and the liver is particularly desirable, tasting somewhat like preserved cranberries.
Book of the Eskimos
Peter Freuchen eats buckets of eggs at a time with other Eskimo hunters, but hopes his stores aren't eaten up by the hungry carnivores.
When we arrived home, I was informed that the strong gale had broken the ice around Dalrymple Rock. Now that it was about to settle again, there was a chance of a good catch of walrus, because these animals could get closer to Saunders Island, where there are mussels and where they like to stay. Consequently, I left Navarana at the settlement and joined the hunters on the ice. It was a healthy life, but somewhat dull in the evenings when we were running around playing to keep ourselves warm. One day, a fresh young man had a bright idea.
"Somebody got the desire for eggs," he shouted. "There are eggs on this island. Let us go get eggs!"
The others seconded his motion, and the whole crowd scurried up to get—my eggs. It so happened that I was the only one who had collected and cached enough of them, and I had sneakily counted on them for myself and my guests. As a man of honor, I could of course do nothing but join the chorus and express my satisfaction that my wretched eggs were allowed to be included in the meal. They came down with bags filled with the stone-hard frozen eggs. Some were gnawed on the spot, like apples, others were put in the pot until it was filled up with eggs. Nobody gave it a thought that these eggs belonged to me. Had I owned the eider ducks? Had I done anything but hide the birds' eggs? Nobody in this country knew how to be content with an egg or two. Here the fun was to see how many could be downed. And every man had ten fingers and ten toes, that was enough to count on. We filled the pot several times.
When I returned home, I could really begin to appreciate my little woman. She had taken wonderful advantage of her visits. What she had paid with, I don't know, but now she had fine kamiks of white sealskin with a beautiful border of bear mane.
I told her of my experience with the eggs. She said immediately that she would take care of that, since I seemed to be so fond of eggs. I told her that she was not to ruin my good name and reputation as a hunter by passing my complaint on to the others. She turned her big black eyes toward me and looked at me as if I had wanted to avert a misfortune or heavy insult to both of us: "Do you really think that I could do that to you?" she said seriously.
She went down to her mother and said that she felt sorry that it would not be possible to treat guests to eggs this year, since the hunters had used them out on the ice and didn't leave any to take home to the women.
The next day, Kasaluk told her husband that she strongly feared that the walrus hunt would be of short duration this year. In her dreams, she said, she had seen that the ice was strewn with eggshells, and in the same vision she understood that this insulted the walrus so that they would decide to go elsewhere. The hunters talked the matter over. They agreed of course that a mere woman's dreams should have no influence. But for the sake of all eventualities it was decided that it was better not to eat any more eggs as long as the walrus hunt lasted. As a result, plenty of eggs were stored up in my quarters.