Nutritional Degeneration

The degeneration of the body through a changing nutrition from animal to plant foods.

Nutritional Degeneration

Recent History

January 1, 1911

American physical education review. v.16 (1911)

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Up to this time the athletes had lived a simple natural life in the open air, eating figs, cheese, porridge and meal cakes, with meat only occasionally. The introduction of a meat diet is ascribed to Pythagoras of Samos, a trainer of boxing and other sports. The object of a meat diet was to make weight, and to produce this bulk the trainer prescribed vast quantities of meat.

The high ideals of the poet, artist and philosopher kept athletics comparatively pure for a short time, but when the patriotic wave that followed the Persian war had spent its force, the decline in amateurism was rapid, and we enter the third period where too much competition begat specialization; specialization begat professionalism, and that in itself was death to true sport. Even the good athlete could not hope for success unless he put himself under a rigorous and prolonged course of training. The trainers had to concentrate on the preparation for single events. "The runner," says Socrates, "has over-developed his legs, the boxer his arms and shoulders." 


Up to this time the athletes had lived a simple natural life in the open air, eating figs, cheese, porridge and meal cakes, with meat only occasionally. The introduction of a meat diet is ascribed to Pythagoras of Samos(c. 570 – c. 495 BC), a trainer of boxing and other sports. It was momentous in that it at once created an artificial distinction between the life of the athlete and the life of the ordinary man, who ate meat but sparingly, just as our training tables place the athletes in an artificial and unnatural class by themselves, being used for this purpose quite as much as for any special diet that may be prescribed. 


The object of a meat diet was to make weight, for there was no classification in Greece of boxers and wrestlers into light, middle, and heavy weights. Weight then was important, and to produce this bulk the trainer prescribed vast quantities of meat, so that eating, sleeping and exercise occupied the athlete's entire time. 


Euripides calls such an athlete "the slave of his jaw and his belly," and the generals and soldiers condemned this training because it left no time for the practice of military exercises, and failed to produce the all-round development necessary for the useful soldier and citizen. The sacrifice for supreme excellence in a specialty was too great to make success a sufficient reward. Athletics had now passed that point where they could serve their true purpose of providing exercise or recreation. The competition was too severe and the training too artificial and exacting. It became the monopoly of the few professionals who devoted their entire time to it, while the rest of the young men, despairing of success, took to the hill as spectators. The amateur could not compete with the professional. Before the close of the fifth century, the word athlete had come to denote a professional, and amateur athletics were no longer practiced by the fashionable youth of Athens. Socrates, taunting an ill-developed youth with his unprofessional condition of body, meets the answer, "Of course, for I am not a professional but an amateur." 


Whereupon Socrates reads him a lecture on the necessity of developing his body to the utmost, saying: "No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a part of his profession as a citizen to keep himself in good condition and ready to serve his state at amoment's notice." "What a disgrace it is for aman to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable."


Fun Wikipedia Facts about Pythagoras:

Pythagoreanism also entailed a number of dietary prohibitions.[107][156][172] It is more or less agreed that Pythagoras issued a prohibition against the consumption of fava beans[173][156] and the meat of non-sacrificial animals such as fish and poultry.[166][156] Both of these assumptions, however, have been contradicted.[174][175] Pythagorean dietary restrictions may have been motivated by belief in the doctrine of metempsychosis.[146][176][177][178] Some ancient writers present Pythagoras as enforcing a strictly vegetarian diet.[e][146][177] Eudoxus of Cnidus, a student of Archytas, writes, "Pythagoras was distinguished by such purity and so avoided killing and killers that he not only abstained from animal foods, but even kept his distance from cooks and hunters."[179][180] Other authorities contradict this statement.[181] According to Aristoxenus,[182] Pythagoras allowed the use of all kinds of animal food except the flesh of oxen used for ploughing, and rams.[180][183] According to Heraclides Ponticus, Pythagoras ate the meat from sacrifices[180] and established a diet for athletes dependent on meat.[180]

January 1, 1951

Roger Buliard

Carnivore

Inuk

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Buliard questions whether civilization has been positive for the people of the North: The Eskimo's fur clothing is perfect for the climate, and his diet, heavy with fat, was just the thing for a man who was going to hunt on the ice in forty-below-zero weather. In one sense, civilization, by making things easier for the Eskimo, has really set the stage for the Eskimo's destruction.

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One cannot deny the great benefits that civilization has bestowed upon the Eskimos. Certainly the white man has made life easier for the Eskimo, giving him nets, rifles, and steady trade. And the possibilities for human development implicit in the word "civilization" have at least been indicated to the Inuit.


But it would be idle to contest the contest the statement that civilization has been a mixed blessing so far as the Eskimos are concerned, and sometimes the advantages seem to be outweighed by the real harm that has been done. The trade-store rifles helped the Inuk kill his caribou more easily, but they also led to wholesale destruction of caribou and a change in the animals' migratory habits. The substitution of wool for fur clothing has not been beneficial, nor has the introduction of unsuitable foods into the Eskimo diet. The Eskimo's fur clothing is perfect for the climate, and his diet, heavy with fat, was just the thing for a man who was going to hunt on the ice in forty-below-zero weather. In one sense, civilization, by making things easier for the Eskimo, has really set the stage for the Eskimo's destruction. And the introduction of disease germs has inflicted on the Eskimos the same scourges that decimated the Indians and destroyed their pride. The ravages of disease are plain enough here, and one may deplore the havoc wrought during the last fifteen years alone.


Who is responsible[not God, obviously]?


The government, of course, since any government is always responsible for the welfare of people under its jurisdiction.


What has been Canada's attitude toward "Natives" generally?[The same attitude that Catholic schools had?]


The goverment was unfair to the Indians. After the treaty, by means of which the Indians sold their birthright--the limitless prairies and rich forests--for a mess of lentils, the government permitted tuberculosis, starvation, and loss of liberty to reduce them from a proud, self-sufficient people to a race of permanent invalids.


Was this done innocently, or through oversight? Through ignorance?


One wonders. As an official told Bishop Breynat: "it had been thought that the Indian problem would resolve itself. Their number was diminishing steadily. They would disappear."


The same policy was adopted where Eskimos were concerned.


Toward them Canada had no written obligation, as it had toward the Indians, but only the Biblical warning that we are all our brothers' keepers. Nor did the government have any specific duty toward them, except in moral terms. And so the goverment fell back on a policy that can be summed up in a word: indifference.


Indifference!

January 1, 1951

Roger Buliard

Carnivore

Inuk

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It is fat, fish, and meat that a man wants in this country. Are we white men harbingers of a new and brilliant era, or simply advance agents of destruction? Do we bring with us anything more than dollar corruption, and the corporal and moral germs that have afflicted our own civilization?

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The government family allowances, distributed to the Eskimos by the Hudson's Bay Company, have been precious help, especially to large families, and have been of great assistance in enabling the Eskimo people to bridge the gap created by the change in their economy wrought by the introduction to fox hunting. One deficiency of the allowance system is that it does not encourage Eskimos to teach their children to live off the country wherever possible. If the Eskimo takes his allowance every month or two, he can only obtain such items as fruit, tinned milk, jam, and so forth--things he doesn't particularly care for or need. It is fat, fish, and meat that a man wants in this country. To acquire credit for nets and ammunition an Eskimo must refrain from drawing his allowance until it amounts to forty dollars. Some arrangement should be made that would encourage the Eskimo to hunt, rather than to live on foods that are unsuitable. 


Whatever the deficiencies of the new dispensantion, it is certainly true that the Inuk is less abandoned than he was a year, two years, ten years ago. And this we must applaud, for when we look at certain statistical data we are forced to shudder at what the figures demonstrate of man's inhumanity toward man.


Monez, in the wake of Diamond Genness, estimated the number of Canadian Eskimos to be twenty-two thousand before the arrival of the white man. Some eight thousand were left in 1921, six thousand in 1931, and about five thousand in 1950. 


We are told that the Eskimo population trend has been reversed, that next year, and the year after, there will be more of them.


Will they be the same caliber of Eskimo, energetic, tough, healthy?


Or will they be a people broken in spirit and health, like the Chippewas to the south?


A single glance at the specimens now growing up seems to show that we may be gaining in quantity only what we have irretrievably lost in quality. The answer to this problem is in better government, better medical services, better police work. Only if epidemics are prevented, tuberculosis checked, ignorance ameliorated, and the methods of trade improved will the Eskimo people have a real chance of surviving with their own peculiar usefulness and beauty intact.


Are we white men harbingers of a new and brilliant era, or simply advance agents of destruction?


Do we bring with us anything more than dollar corruption, and the corporal and moral germs that have afflicted our own civilization?


If the future is to provide a satisfactory answer to these thorny problems, it is imperative that all those who work for the Eskimo, in any field or capacity whatsoever (the government, the civilian commercial enterprises, the Christian Churches), dedicate all their endeavors with supreme determination and utter selflessness not only to save the poor Inuk from extermination, but also to assure him a human "modus vivendi" compatible with the unique environment in which Providence wishes him to work out not only his temporal existence, but his eternal salvation. Then, and only then, will the Inuk, out there on the ice, perceive at last the promise of a bright new dawn that will scatter the darkness forever.

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