James on the Food Program

James White found the food program equally appealing and wrote of it in some detail:

The tables are spread with an abundance of plain and nourishing food, which becomes a daily luxury to the patients, as the natural and healthful condition of the taste is restored. The glutton, who gratifies his depraved appetite with swine's flesh, grease, gravies, spices, et cetera, et cetera, on looking over Dr. Hurd's tract on cookery, may in his ignorance regard this style of living as a system of starvation.

But a few weeks' experience at "Our Home" would correct his appetite, so that he would eat plain, simple, and nutritious food with a far better relish than he now does that which is unnatural and hurtful. We never saw men and women gather around tables more cheerfully, and eat more heartily, than the patients at Dansville. The uniformity and sharpness of appetite was wonderful for a crowd of patients. It was the general leanness and lankness of these persons alone that could give the idea that they were sick.

Besides the usual rounds of excellently cooked wheat-meal mushes, wheat-meal biscuits, cakes, and pies, and occasionally other varieties, we found the tables bountifully loaded with the fruits of the season, such as apples, peaches, and grapes. No one need fear of starving at "Our Home." There is greater danger of eating too much.

The appetite of the feeble patient, who has been pining with loss of appetite over fashionable food, becomes natural and sharp, so that simple food is eaten with all that keen relish with which healthy country schoolchildren devour plain food. The food being nutritious, and the appetite keen, the danger of that class of patients who have become feeble by self-indulgence is decidedly in the direction of eating too much (HL, No. 1, pp. 14, 15).

James recognized that changing from the common meat-eating diet to one that was plain and healthful could, with some, call for time to accomplish. He warned against sudden, sweeping changes. Dr. Jackson made a deep impression upon him as a physician who was a "master of his business," a "clear and impressive speaker," and "decidedly thorough" in whatever he undertook. James closed his report on a positive note, recommending the institution to those suffering critically. As to others he had this to say:

To those who are active yet suffering from failing health, we urgently recommend health publications, a good assortment of which we design to keep on hand. Friends, read up in time to successfully change your habits, and live in harmony with the laws of life.

And to those who call themselves well, we would say, As you value the blessings of health, and would honor the Author of your being, learn to live in obedience to those laws established in your being by High Heaven. A few dollars' worth of books that will teach you how to live may save you heavy doctor bills, save you months of pain upon a sickbed, save you suffering and feebleness from the use of drugs, and perhaps from a premature grave (ibid., p. 18).

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