W. D. Wattles.

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arising from sound sleep. The early morning breakfast is always taken to
gratify appetite, never to satisfy hunger. No matter who you are, or
what your condition is; no matter how hard you work, or how much you are
exposed, unless you go to your bed starved, you cannot arise from your
bed hungry.

Hunger is not caused by sleep, but by work. And it does not matter who
you are, or what your condition, or how hard or easy your work, the
so-called no-breakfast plan is the right plan for you. It is the right
plan for everybody, because it is based on the universal law that hunger
never comes until it is EARNED.

I am aware that a protest against this will come from the large number
of people who "enjoy" their breakfasts; whose breakfast is their "best
meal"; who believe that their work is so hard that they cannot "get
through the forenoon on an empty stomach," and so on. But all their
arguments fall down before the facts. They enjoy their breakfast as the
toper enjoys his morning dram, because it gratifies a habitual appetite
and not because it supplies a natural want. It is their best meal for
the same reason that his morning dram is the toper's best drink. And
they CAN get along without it, because millions of people, of every
trade and profession, DO get along without it, and are vastly better for
doing so. If you are to live according to the Science of Being Well, you

But if I do not eat on arising in the morning, when shall I take my
first meal?

In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred twelve o'clock, noon, is early
enough; and it is generally the most convenient time. If you are doing
heavy work, you will get by noon a hunger sufficient to justify a
good-sized meal; and if your work is light, you will probably still have
hunger enough for a moderate meal. The best general rule or law that can
be laid down is that you should eat your first meal of the day at noon,
if you are hungry; and if you are not hungry, wait until you become so.

And when shall I eat my second meal?

Not at all, unless you are hungry for it; and that with a genuine earned
hunger. If you do get hungry for a second meal, eat at the most
convenient time; but do not eat until you have a really earned hunger.
The reader who wishes to fully inform himself as to the reasons for this
way of arranging the mealtimes will find the best books thereon cited in
the preface to this work. From the foregoing, however, you can easily
see that the Science of Being Well readily answers the question: When,
and how often shall I eat? The answer is: Eat when you have an earned
hunger; and never eat at any other time.



The current sciences of medicine and hygiene have made no progress
toward answering the question, What shall I eat? The contests between
the vegetarians and the meat eaters, the cooked food advocates, raw food
advocates, and various other "schools" of theorists, seem to be
interminable; and from the mountains of evidence and argument piled up
for and against each special theory, it is plain that if we depend on
these scientists we shall never know what is the natural food of man.
Turning away from the whole controversy, then, we will ask the question
of nature herself, and we shall find that she has not left us without an

Most of the errors of dietary scientists grow out of a false premise as
to the natural state of man. It is assumed that civilization and mental
development are unnatural things; that the man who lives in a modern
house, in city or country, and who works in modern trade or industry for
his living is leading an unnatural life, and is in an unnatural
environment; that the only "natural" man is a naked savage, and that the
farther we get from the savage the farther we are from nature. This is
wrong. The man who has all that art and science can give him is leading
the most natural life, because he is living most completely in all his
faculties. The dweller in a well-appointed city flat, with modern
conveniences and good ventilation, is living a far more naturally human
life than the Australian savage who lives in a hollow tree or a hole in
the ground.

That Great Intelligence, which is in all and through all, has in reality
practically settled the question as to what we shall eat. In ordering
the affairs of nature, It has decided that man's food shall be according
to the zone in which he lives. In the frigid regions of the far North,
fuel foods are required. The development of brain is not large, nor is
the life severe in its labor-tax on muscle; and so the Esquimaux live
largely on the blubber and fat of aquatic animals. No other diet is
possible to them; they could not get fruits, nuts, or vegetables even if
they were disposed to eat them; and they could not live on them in that
climate if they could get them. So, notwithstanding the arguments of the
vegetarians, the Esquimaux will continue to live on animal fats.

On the other hand, as we come toward the tropics, we find fuel foods
less required; and we find the people naturally inclining toward a
vegetarian diet. Millions live on rice and fruits; and the food regimen
of an Esquimaux village, if followed upon the equator, would result in
speedy death. A "natural" diet for the equatorial regions would be very
far from being a natural diet near the North Pole; and the people of
either zone, if not interfered with by medical or dietary "scientists,"
will be guided by the All Intelligence, which seeks the fullest life in
all, to feed themselves in the best way for the promotion of perfect
health. In general, you can see that God, working in nature and in the
evolution of human society and customs, has answered your question as to
what you shall eat; and I advise you to take His answer in preference to
that of any man.

In the temperate zone the largest demands are made on man in spirit,
mind, and body; and here we find the greatest variety of foods provided
by nature. And it is really quite useless and superfluous to theorize on
the question what the masses shall eat, for they have no choice; they
must eat the foods which are staple products of the zone in which they
live. It is impossible to supply all the people with a nut-and-fruit or
raw food diet; and the fact that it is impossible is proof positive that
these are not the foods intended by nature, for nature, being formed for
the advancement of life, has not made the obtaining of the means of life
an impossibility. So, I say, the question, What shall I eat? has been
answered for you. Eat wheat, corn, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat; eat
vegetables; eat meats, eat fruits, eat the things that are eaten by the
masses of the people around the world, for in this matter the voice of
the people is the voice of God. They have been led, generally, to the
selection of certain foods; and they have been led, generally, to
prepare these foods in generally similar ways; and you may depend upon
it that in general they have the right foods and are preparing them in
the right way. In these matters the race has been under the guidance of
God. The list of foods in common use is a long one, and you must select
therefrom according to your individual taste; if you do, you will find
that you have an infallible guide, as shown in the next two chapters.

If you do not eat until you have an EARNED hunger, you will not find
your taste demanding unnatural or unhealthy foods. The woodchopper, who
has swung his axe continuously from seven in the morning until noon does
not come in clamoring for cream puffs and confectionery; he wants pork
and beans, or beefsteak and potatoes, or corn bread and cabbage; he asks
for the plain solids. Offer to crack him a few walnuts and give him a
plate of lettuce, and you will be met with huge disdain; those things
are not natural foods for a workingman. And if they are not natural
foods for a workingman, they are not for any other man; for work hunger
is the only real hunger, and requires the same materials to satisfy it,
whether it be in woodchopper or banker, in man, woman or child.

It is a mistake to suppose that food must be selected with anxious care
to fit the vocation of the person who eats. It is not true that the
woodchopper requires "heavy" or "solid" foods and the bookkeeper "light"
foods. If you are a bookkeeper, or other brain worker, and do not eat
until you have an EARNED hunger, you will want exactly the same foods
that the woodchopper wants. Your body is made of exactly the same
elements as that of the woodchopper, and requires the same materials for
cell-building; why, then, feed him on ham and eggs and corn bread and
you on crackers and toast? True, most of his waste is of muscle, while
most of yours is of brain and nerve tissue; but it is also true that the
woodchopper's diet contains all the requisites for brain and nerve
building in far better proportions than they are found in most "light"
foods. The world's best brain work has been done on the fare of the
working people. The world's greatest thinkers have invariably lived on
the plain solid foods common among the masses.

Let the bookkeeper wait until he has an earned hunger before he eats;
and then, if he wants ham, eggs, and corn bread, by all means let him
eat them; but let him remember that he does not need one-twentieth of
the amount necessary for the woodchopper. It is not eating "hearty"
foods which gives the brain worker indigestion; it is eating as much as
would be needed by a muscle worker. Indigestion is never caused by
eating to satisfy hunger; it is always caused by eating to gratify
appetite. If you eat in the manner prescribed in the next chapter, your
taste will soon become so natural that you will never WANT anything that
you cannot eat with impunity; and you can drop the whole anxious
question of what to eat from your mind forever, and simply eat what you
want. Indeed, that is the only way to do if you are to think no
thoughts but those of health; for you cannot think health so long as you
are in continual doubt and uncertainty as to whether you are getting the
right bills of fare.

"Take no thought what ye shall eat," said Jesus, and he spoke wisely.
The foods found on the table of any ordinary middle-class or working
class family will nourish your body perfectly if you eat at the right
times and in the right way. If you want meat, eat it; and if you do not
want it, do not eat it, and do not suppose that you must find some
special substitute for it. You can live perfectly well on what is left
on any table after the meat has been removed.

It is not necessary to worry about a "varied" diet, so as to get in all
the necessary elements. The Chinese and Hindus build very good bodies
and excellent brains on a diet of few variations, rice making almost the
whole of it. The Scotch are physically and mentally strong on oatmeal
cakes; and the Irishman is husky of body and brilliant of mind on
potatoes and pork. The wheat berry contains practically all that is
necessary for the building of brain and body; and a man can live very
well on a monodiet of navy beans.

Form a conception of perfect health for yourself, and do not hold any
thought which is not a thought of health.

NEVER eat until you have an EARNED HUNGER. Remember that it will not
hurt you in the least to go hungry for a short time; but it will surely
hurt you to eat when you are not hungry.

Do not give the least thought to what you should or should not eat;
simply eat what is set before you, selecting that which pleases your
taste most. In other words, eat what you want. This you can do with
perfect results if you eat in the right way; and how to do this will be
explained in the next chapter.



It is a settled fact that man naturally chews his food. The few faddists
who maintain that we should bolt our nourishment, after the manner of
the dog and others of the lower animals, can no longer get a hearing; we
know that we should chew our food. And if it is natural that we should
chew our food, the more thoroughly we chew it the more completely
natural the process must be. If you will chew every mouthful to a
liquid, you need not be in the least concerned as to what you shall eat,
for you can get sufficient nourishment out of any ordinary food.

Whether or not this chewing shall be an irksome and laborious task or a
most enjoyable process, depends upon the mental attitude in which you
come to the table.

If your mind and attitude are on other things, or if you are anxious or
worried about business or domestic affairs, you will find it almost
impossible to eat without bolting more or less of your food. You must
learn to live so scientifically that you will have no business or
domestic cares to worry about; this you can do, and you can also learn
to give your undivided attention to the act of eating while at the

When you eat, do so with an eye single to the purpose of getting all the
enjoyment you can from that meal; dismiss everything else from your
mind, and do not let anything take your attention from the food and its
taste until your meal is finished. Be cheerfully confident, for if you
follow these instructions you may KNOW that the food you eat is exactly
the right food, and that it will "agree" with you to perfection.

Sit down to the table with confident cheerfulness, and take a moderate
portion of the food; take whatever thing looks most desirable to you. Do
not select some food because you think it will be good for you; select
that which will taste good to you. If you are to get well and stay well,
you must drop the idea of doing things because they are good for your
health, and do things because you want to do them. Select the food you
want most; gratefully give thanks to God that you have learned how to
eat it in such a way that digestion shall be perfect; and take a
moderate mouthful of it.

Do not fix your attention on the act of chewing; fix it on the TASTE of
the food; and taste and enjoy it until it is reduced to a liquid state
and passes down your throat by involuntary swallowing. No matter how
long it takes, do not think of the time. Think of the taste. Do not
allow your eyes to wander over the table, speculating as to what you
shall eat next; do not worry for fear there is not enough, and that you
will not get your share of everything. Do not anticipate the taste of
the next thing; keep your mind centered on the taste of what you have in
your mouth. And that is all of it.

Scientific and healthful eating is a delightful process after you have
learned how to do it, and after you have overcome the bad old habit of
gobbling down your food unchewed. It is best not to have too much
conversation going on while eating; be cheerful, but not talkative; do
the talking afterward.

In most cases, some use of the will is required to form the habit of
correct eating. The bolting habit is an unnatural one, and is without
doubt mostly the result of fear. Fear that we will be robbed of our
food; fear that we will not get our share of the good things; fear that
we will lose precious time - these are the causes of haste. Then there is
anticipation of the dainties that are to come for dessert, and the
consequent desire to get at them as quickly as possible; and there is
mental abstraction, or thinking of other matters while eating. All these
must be overcome.

When you find that your mind is wandering, call a halt; think for a
moment of the food, and of how good it tastes; of the perfect digestion
and assimilation that are going to follow the meal, and begin again.
Begin again and again, though you must do so twenty times in the course
of a single meal; and again and again, though you must do so every meal
for weeks and months. It is perfectly certain that you CAN form the
"Fletcher habit" if you persevere; and when you have formed it, you will
experience a healthful pleasure you have never known.

This is a vital point, and I must not leave it until I have thoroughly
impressed it upon your mind. Given the right materials, perfectly
prepared, the Principle of Health will positively build you a perfectly
healthy body; and you cannot prepare the materials _perfectly_ in any
other way that the one I am describing. If you are to have perfect
health, you MUST eat in just this way; you can, and the doing of it is
only a matter of a little perseverance. What use for you to talk of
mental control unless you will govern yourself in so simple a matter as
ceasing to bolt your food? What use to talk of concentration unless you
can keep your mind on the act of eating for so short a space as fifteen
or twenty minutes, especially with all the pleasures of taste to help
you? Go on, and conquer. In a few weeks, or months, as the case may be,
you will find the habit of scientific eating becoming fixed; and soon
you will be in so splendid a condition, mentally and physically, that
nothing would induce you to return to the bad old way.

We have seen that if man will think only thoughts of perfect health, his
internal functions will be performed in a healthy manner; and we have
seen that in order to think thoughts of health, man must perform the
voluntary functions in a healthy manner. The most important of the
voluntary functions is that of eating; and we see, so far, no especial
difficulty in eating in a perfectly healthy way. I will here summarize
the instructions as to when to eat, what to eat, and how to eat, with
the reasons therefor: -

NEVER eat until you have an EARNED hunger, no matter how long you go
without food. This is based on the fact that whenever food is needed in
the system, if there is power to digest it, the sub-conscious mind
announces the need by the sensation of hunger. Learn to distinguish
between genuine hunger and the gnawing and craving sensations caused by
unnatural appetite. Hunger is never a disagreeable feeling, accompanied
by weakness, faintness, or gnawing feelings at the stomach; it is a
pleasant, anticipatory desire for food, and is felt mostly in the mouth
and throat. It does not come at certain hours or at stated intervals; it
only comes when the sub-conscious mind is ready to receive, digest, and
assimilate food.

Eat whatever foods you want, making your selection from the staples in
general use in the zone in which you live. The Supreme Intelligence has
guided man to the selection of these foods, and they are the right ones
for all. I am referring, of course, to the foods which are taken to
satisfy hunger, not to those which have been contrived merely to gratify
appetite or perverted taste. The instinct which has guided the masses of
men to make use of the great staples of food to satisfy their hunger is
a divine one. God has made no mistake; if you eat these foods you will
not go wrong.

Eat your food with cheerful confidence, and get all the pleasure that is
to be had from the taste of every mouthful. Chew each morsel to a
liquid, keeping your attention fixed on the enjoyment of the process.
This is the only way to eat in a perfectly complete and successful
manner; and when anything is done in a completely successful manner, the
general result cannot be a failure. In the attainment of health, the law
is the same as in the attainment of riches; if you make each act a
success in itself, the sum of all your acts must be a success. When you
eat in the mental attitude I have described, and in the manner I have
described, nothing can be added to the process; it is done in a perfect
manner, and it is successfully done. And if eating is successfully done,
digestion, assimilation, and the building of a healthy body are
successfully begun. We next take up the question of the quantity of food



It is very easy to find the correct answer to the question, How much
shall I eat? You are never to eat until you have an earned hunger, and
you are to stop eating the instant you BEGIN to feel that your hunger is
abating. Never gorge yourself; never eat to repletion. When you _begin_
to feel that your hunger is satisfied, know that you have enough; for
until you have enough, you will continue to feel the sensation of
hunger. If you eat as directed in the last chapter, it is probable that
you will begin to feel satisfied before you have taken half your usual
amount; but stop there, all the same. No matter how delightfully
attractive the dessert, or how tempting the pie or pudding, do not eat a
mouthful of it if you find that your hunger has been in the least
degree assuaged by the other foods you have taken.

Whatever you eat after your hunger begins to abate is taken to gratify
taste and appetite, not hunger and is not called for by nature at all.
It is therefore excess; mere debauchery, and it cannot fail to work

This is a point you will need to watch with nice discrimination, for the
habit of eating purely for sensual gratification is very deeply rooted
with most of us. The usual "dessert" of sweet and tempting foods is
prepared solely with a view to inducing people to eat after hunger has
been satisfied; and all the effects are evil. It is not that pie and
cake are unwholesome foods; they are usually perfectly wholesome if
eaten to satisfy hunger, and NOT to gratify appetite. If you want pie,
cake, pastry or puddings, it is better to begin your meal with them,
finishing with the plainer and less tasty foods. You will find,
however, that if you eat as directed in the preceding chapters, the
plainest food will soon come to taste like kingly fare to you; for your
sense of taste, like all your other senses, will become so acute with
the general improvement in your condition that you will find new
delights in common things. No glutton ever enjoyed a meal like the man
who eats for hunger only, who gets the most out of every mouthful, and
who stops on the instant that he feels the edge taken from his hunger.
The first intimation that hunger is abating is the signal from the
sub-conscious mind that it is time to quit.

The average person who takes up this plan of living will be greatly
surprised to learn how little food is really required to keep the body
in perfect condition. The amount depends upon the work; upon how much
muscular exercise is taken, and upon the extent to which the person is
exposed to cold. The woodchopper who goes into the forest in the winter
time and swings his axe all day can eat two full meals; but the brain
worker who sits all day on a chair, in a warm room, does not need one
third and often not one tenth as much. Most woodchoppers eat two or
three times as much, and most brain workers from three to ten times as
much as nature calls for; and the elimination of this vast amount of
surplus rubbish from their systems is a tax on vital power which in time
depletes their energy and leaves them an easy prey to so-called disease.
Get all possible enjoyment out of the taste of your food, but never eat
anything merely because it tastes good; and on the instant that you feel
that your hunger is less keen, stop eating.

If you will consider for a moment, you will see that there is positively
no other way for you to settle these various food questions than by
adopting the plan here laid down for you. As to the proper time to eat,
there is no other way to decide than to say that you should eat
whenever you have an EARNED HUNGER. It is a self-evident proposition
that that is the right time to eat, and that any other is a wrong time
to eat. As to what to eat, the Eternal Wisdom has decided that the
masses of men shall eat the staple products of the zones in which they
live. The staple foods of your particular zone are the right foods for
you; and the Eternal Wisdom, working in and through the minds of the
masses of men, has taught them how best to prepare these foods by
cooking and otherwise. And as to how to eat, you know that you must chew
your food; and if it must be chewed, then reason tells us that the more
thorough and perfect the operation the better.

I repeat that success in anything is attained by making each separate
act a success in itself. If you make each action, however small and
unimportant, a thoroughly successful action, your day's work as a whole
cannot result in failure. If you make the actions of each day
successful, the sum total of your life cannot be failure. A great
success is the result of doing a large number of little things, and
doing each one in a perfectly successful way. If every thought is a
healthy thought, and if every action of your life is performed in a

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Online LibraryW. D. WattlesThe Science of Being Well → online text (page 4 of 6)