Kahn, R. L.
Wise eating and good health, pp. 337-339
WISE EATING AND GOOD HEALTH WISE EATING AND GOOD HEALTH: BY R. L. KAHN, M. S. JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER gave this helpful formula for proper eating, not long ago. "Don't gobble your food. 'Fletcherize' or chew very slowly while you eat. Talk on pleasant topics. Don't be in a hurry. Take time to masti- cate and cultivate a cheerful appetite. So will the demon Indigestion be encompassed round about and his slaughter completed." I quote this because it embodies three essentials for good digestion: a cheerful appetite, pleasant thinking, and slow chew- ing. A large portion of humanity, according to the student of dietetics, is blessed with the bitter-sweet sensation of hunger, enjoys each morsel of food, and has a calm, satis- fied feeling after every meal. The rest of mankind has dyspepsia, reads all the patent medicine advertisements, tries out the new cures and insists on keeping its friends and neighbors informed of the latest doings of its stomachs and livers. Science has, in recent years, thrown suffi- cient light on this field to enable any one of the latter to walk back to Nature and to Health without any outside aid. Let him go half-way and he will find Mother Nature waiting for him, ready to return him his health, happiness and efficiency. All he has to do at first is to modify his manner of eating. Science will show him how. Thanks to the labors of Professors Cannon and Carlson, of Harvard and Chi- cago Universities, respectively, we know now that the feeling of hunger is due to the contractions of the empty stomach. After digesting all the food and taking a proper rest, this muscular organ begins to contract to inform its owner that it is again ready for work. If we don't experience hunger, it is evi- dent that the stomach is still at work on the last meal. And if one continues to eat with- out being hungry, he overburdens the stom- ach with work, robs it of its proper rest, and will ultimately weaken it. And a weak stomach may not impart the sensation of hunger even when empty, because its con- tractions may be too feeble to be percep- tible. It takes vigorous contractions of a healthy stomach to make us feel hungry. And hunger, although painful at times, is not at all like the pain imparted by a sore toe or toothache. It is only when we don't obey the hunger impulse, by eating, that we begin to feel uncomfortable. But aside from the pleasant sensation it gives us, hunger is, also, a stimulant to the glands which manufacture the digestive juices. Every time you feel hungry, the slightest suggestion of food will start the salivary glands working, and your mouth will begin to water. And when your mouth waters, your stomach also waters; it is producing gastric juice. The "fictitious feeding" experiments of the Russian physiologist, Pawlow, have thrown a great deal of light on the psy- chical r6le in digestion. By careful surgi- cal manipulations, he was able to separate the cesophagus from the stomach of a dog and cause this tube to open to the outside. The result was that when the animal chewed or swallowed, the morsel of food- instead of going to the stomach-went to the exterior. The animal was in good health and was fed through an opening (fistula) which led directly to the stomach. When hungry, the animal enjoyed chewing, even though the food did not go to the stomach. And the stomach, in response to the psychical stimulus brought about by chewing, manufactured gastric juice as though it received the food. In one par- ticular case of fictitious feeding, the stom- ach produced as much as a pint and a half of gastric juice, which illustrates to what extent this organ is affected by psychical stimulation. That the mind will unconsciously help or hinder the workings of the stomach has been proved again and again in the labora- tory. We know it from experience, of course, but we are not quite happy until the scientist "discovers" it by experimenting on lower animals. And it is to the credit of the scientist, indeed, to be able to prove in the laboratory what humanity has learned ages back, from instinct. The discovery of X-rays made it possible to observe the movements of the stomach on the fluorescent screen. This is brought about usually by mixing the food with bismuth subnitrate. The rays not being able to pass through this mixture, are re- flected on the screen. The movements of the entire stomach contents and, therefore, the surrounding stomach wall, are thus ren- dered visible. In this manner, the move- ments of a cat were at one time under observation. The stomach was seen to con- 337
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