In health, the digestive functions are carried on without pain. A healthy person is not aware of the work being done by the stomach and intestines. The first symptoms of digestive disorders are a feeling of either weight, oppression, distension, flatulence, palpitation, or various other unpleasant symptoms which are generally included under the term “indigestion”. If the cause of these symptoms is not removed, the next step will be the development of gastric ulcers, enteritis (irritation of the small intestines), or colitis (inflammation of the colon). One of the most common indications of abuse of the digestive functions is the universal symptom of constipation or impacted colon.
Causes of digestive disorders are the following:
- The use of indigestible foods and those whose very composition proves them unsuitable for use as food by the laws of physiological chemistry, such as: onions, garlic, dry beans, flapjacks, cabbage, cakes and pastries, bananas, and all mixed condiments. Place them on your “NO” list in spite of the recommendation of so-called authorities whose judgment is often impaired by their own appetites.
- The use of inharmonious combinations of foods whose chemical mixture make them undergo excessive fermentative processes. (See chapter on Food Combinations).
- Overeating of the best food properly combined will be a source of digestive disturbances both of an acute and chronic nature.
- Eating when your system is exhausted or when you have insufficient hunger.
- Mental disturbances, such as worry, hate, fear, jealousy, etc., waste an enormous amount of energy which might be used to better advantage in digesting and assimilating food.
- Insufficient mastication, especially of starchy foods.
- The use of too much liquid at the meals, whether it be coffee or water, will over-distend the stomach and weaken the gastric juices.
- Injuring the stomach or intestines with strong drugs which results in the destruction of the delicate lining of these organs.
- Irregularity of meals.
Those who have not reached the chronic stage of a disease of the digestive organs will find that by substituting good habits of eating for harmful ones the results which quickly follow will be astounding. However, a short fast is a good preparation for any radical change in the dietary regime, and is necessary in advanced cases in order to ensure rapid benefit from the treatment.
Typical varieties of gastro-intestinal diseases:
The word “gastritis” means an inflammation of the gastric organ or stomach, and is probably the most common form of trouble with the digestive apparatus. Mild forms of gastritis will be noticed in those who find they have a gnawing in the stomach when they miss a meal. This gnawing is never an indication of hunger, but shows that the walls of the stomach are sufficiently inflamed to irritate each other when the stomach is empty. If dietetic errors are not corrected this gnawing becomes more pronounced, and more of a burning feeling is felt three or four hours after meals, caused by the irritating effect upon the inflamed membrane of an excess of gastric juice left in the stomach after the digestion of the last meal.
This gnawing or burning may exist for many years before the patient will think it serious enough to consult a physician, as drinking a glass or two of water or eating a small amount of food will generally relieve any of the gastritis symptoms. As soon as the stomach is distended by water the irritation will cease, or if a small amount of food is eaten, the gastric juice, which is acid, will have food material to work upon, and the lining of the stomach will not be so irritated. The sooner this irritation appears after a meal the more serious is the form of gastritis present, and if the treatment of this disorder is neglected it will eventually turn into ulcer or cancer.
Actual Case: Woman, 32-years-old was troubled by a large amount of stomach gas, and a feeling of discomfort about two hours after each meal. She was told by a diagnosing physician that she had a stomach ulcer and must be operated on at once.
She sought another opinion because she hoped to avoid an operation.
Patient was put on a plain water fast for five days, using water as desired any time during the day. During this time she suffered no discomfort and lost all her former symptoms. If a real stomach ulcer had existed, this change would not have taken place so rapidly. After the fifth day, the patient was put on a milk diet, using at first three quarts of pure unpasteurized Holstein milk, and taking four ounces of milk every thirty minutes ultil three quarts were taken. No other food was used, and no water was drunk during the course of the mild diet. This diet was continued for about four weeks. after which time the patient was put on a general diet, using well-proportioned meals with correct combinations of food, and has since suffered no symptoms of gastritis or any digestive disorder.
This is a condition present only with those who have suffered for years with gastritis, and who have neglected to change their dietetic habits so as to cure the inflammation of the stomach which must exist before an ulcer can start. The red, inflamed lining of the stomach which is present in gastritis becomes more irritated around the pylorus or exit from the organ, and an ulcer gradually starts which proceeds rapidly to penetrate through the stomach once it has made a proper beginning. When any ordinary article of food is eaten it will cause great pain and finally vomiting. In the worst stage of the ulcer, blood and pus will be vomited along with any food material which the patient attempts to eat.
Sometimes cow’s milk can be retained if milk of magnesia is added to it to counteract the stomach’s acidity, but the treatment which is the best at the start of such a case is to use an alkaline water fast, drinking a glass of water every thirty minutes, to which has been added a small amount of milk of magnesia or baking soda. Sometimes it is necessary to drink this alkaline water during the night, so that the stomach never at any time becomes empty, or in such a condition that the gastric juice might irritate it further.
After a few days of this regime, with the patient having complete rest in bed, a suitable milk diet should be used for several weeks. As soon as the acute symptoms subside, the patient should be encouraged to leave the bed and walk as much as possible, taking care not to bring further irritation of the stomach by any too violent exercise. You may expect two to three months to lapse before the stomach is sufficiently healed to adopt a general diet regime, but by the time this is taken the patient must be thoroughly familiar with the changes necessary in his/her dietetic habits from those he/she practiced before the ulcer was developed.
Actual Case: Young man, 26-years-old had been vomiting for several days all the different food preparations which his physician had been advising him to eat, and on the day he consulting another opinion, he had several vomitings with blood and pus mixed in with the food stuff. Had been suffering every hour of the day except the time he was under an opiate.
He was advised to do an immediate enema, and instructed that this be used three times daily. The patient was given a pint of warm water to drink, in which had been dissolved a teaspoonful of baking soda. This was immediately vomited, bringing with it the remainder of some malted milk mixture which he had taken an hour previously. He was immediately given another pint of hot water with a teaspoonful of soda in it, and he succeeded in keeping this in his stomach. After ten or fifteen minutes the abdominal muscles lost their tenseness, and he became quite comfortable. A glass of hot water was given to him every thirty minutes, with a very small amount of mild of magnesia or bicarbonate of soda in each glass. The painful symptoms entirely disappeared, and he was kept on this water fast for ten days, being awakened sufficiently every hour at night to take a pint of water.
At the end of this ten days he was placed upon a milk diet, taking four ounces of milk every half hour during his waking hours, and being aroused every hour during the night and given eight ounces. After a few days it became apparent that the night feeding was unnecessary, and his milk diet was chinged to taking six ounces of milk every thirty minutes during the day. By this time he was able to leave his bed and take short walks.
This last change in the milk diet was continued for six weeks. He was then placed upon the following diet:
Breakfast – French omelet (See chapter on Proteid Food)
3 slices of thin brown toast, moistened with hot water, and seasoned with butter or cream. Prune whip made by mincing stewed prunes and beating them up with the white of an egg, no other sugar being added.
Lunch – A quart of raw milk taken 8 ounces at a time every 15 minutes.
Dinner – Whites of 3 eggs prepared by mixing with 3 tablespoons of water, and beating in a dry pan over a slow fire until cooked to a jelly-like consistency. Dish of 1 cooked non-starchy vegetable prepared by grinding in a food grinder before cooking, to ensure that it is well minced. Choice of one of the following raw salad vegetables, ground through a food chopper: Spinach, celery or lettuce. Dish of Jello.
This diet was continued for another month, and after that the patient was instructed to adopt a general diet, being careful to avoid all inharmonious food mixtures, and to follow the dietetic rules explained here (in the last part of this book) He has remained in perfect health ever since, as has never had a return of any digestive disorder.