Conscientious  Stomachs

by J. H. Kellogg M.D.

SOME reader will smile at the apparent incongruity of the above heading; but no other will so well express the idea I wish to convey, and so I venture to use it. Quite frequently we hear from the lips of those who have been complying with the requirements of hygiene relating to diet for some months, remarks like the following:

''I believe that health reform is making me a dyspeptic; I am certain my stomach is not half as strong as it used to be. When I lived as people generally do, I could eat anything I pleased, and never know the difference; but now I can not vary in the least degree from the hygienic diet without suffering for it. Formerly I could eat between meals as much as I pleased, and at any time of the night or day. Now, if I even take a small bite at night, I get up in the morning with a headache, and feel ill all day."

The person is correct in attributing this change in the disposition of his stomach to the effects of a hygienic diet; but he should regard it as a matter of rejoicing, rather than as a thing to be regretted. He need entertain no fear of dyspepsia; the change which he notices is the result of the return to health of his digestive organs. The nerves which were once stupefied and blunted by caustic and irritating condiments, have become acute and active. Instead of allowing the stomach to be imposed upon with all manner of disturbing and unwholesome compounds, as formerly, they are now faithful sentinels, and at once protest whenever any violation of the laws which govern its healthy action occurs.

What would be thought of the mental status of a converted thief who should complain that he had made a great mistake in renouncing his nefarious profession, for previously to doing so he had never felt any qualms of conscience, even if he picked a pocket or robbed a bank; while now his peace of mind is totally destroyed if he deviates ever so slightly from the requirements of scrupulous honesty? Or what would be considered the sincerity of an individual who claimed to be penitent for past acts of villainy and cruelty, but still continued in the same course of life without remorse?

People who find that their stomachs have become much more sensitive than formerly as a result of a reformatory change in diet should accept the same as an evidence of returning health. All they need to do is to follow implicitly the indications of experience. Of course these suggestions are not intended to apply to that class of dyspeptics who are continually watching their feelings, and anticipating injury from their food. Such persons must act upon principle rather than feeling, if they would acquire health.