How to Conquer Disease [excerpt]
The stomach is a muscular
organ; digestion is carried on mostly by muscles, and these muscles
are as proportionately weak in your stomach as they are in your
arms, legs or elsewhere—even the digestive fluids are furnished
almost entirely by elements of the blood which build muscular tissue,
and when the muscles are weak this element is, of course, not plentifully
supplied by the blood. Therefore, under these conditions, food is
not needed and is not craved. But foolish doctors tell you that
you must feed—that food is necessary to give the patient sufficient
strength to bring about recovery. The instinct of the patient, which
generally testifies to the absolute necessity for fasting, is of
no importance. “No matter if there is no appetite for food you must
be fed nevertheless,” says the wise (?) doctor.
Thousands of years before the existence
of medical science with its vagaries, its powders, its pills and
its potions, there  was in
the possession of every human being an instinct which guided correctly
his every action.
Even dogs, horses, cows and other
domestic animals possess this instinct, though slightly marred by
contact with civilization. All wild animals possess it in a perfect
state. Though human beings of today are not blessed with the great
protecting power of this instinct in all its completeness, they
are, nevertheless, able to determine when they are hungry, and this
instinct, no matter how much it may have been subverted, is a thousand
times more capable of accurately dictating as to the time when food
is needed than is any physician, regardless of how great his intelligence
It will be remembered that when President
McKinley was shot, I emphasized these facts in Physical Culture
Magazine. I then believed, as I believe now, that the unhappy man
was killed more by the food taken than by the assassin’s bullets.
Indeed, the bulletins of the medical men clearly showed that this
feeding while the President’s body was enfeebled and enfevered was
the cause of death. For the first six days after the bullets entered
his body, he practically ate nothing, and his condition was so satisfactory
that the physicians who attended him said that he would soon be
able to sit up. The President was a fleshy, well nourished man and
could have been well fed from his own body for from thirty to sixty
days without injury, thus giving every opportunity for the elimination
of all poison generated by the bullet wounds, and allowing them
to heal. The effect of a gunshot wound is to produce in the body
what is practically an acute diseased condition. It is a made sore,
which in the process of healing is accompanied with fever and inflammation.
Had this sore in the President’s case been treated by the simple,
natural method, no food would have been given to him until all fever
and inflammation had subsided. Unfortunately, the physicians were
cursed with the erroneous, and proven to be false, notion that to
maintain the strength capable of eliminating the fever and healing
the wounds he must eat. The result was they urged the President
to eat a meal of coffee, toast and chicken broth. 
The following day they themselves explained that “the accumulation
of undigested food in the stomach had at that time become as rank
as ptomaine and that a bolus of calomel and oil had to be given.
It was exceedingly drastic. When relief came, exhaustion followed.”
Here are cause and effect so clear
that a child might read. The food was unnecessary and uncalled for.
In the fevered condition of the President’s body, it could not be
digested. Undigested, it becomes a mass of poison, breeding ptomaine
poisons enough to kill a dozen healthy men, let alone one in his
condition. The result was death and the weeping of a nation.
I have quoted this case at some length
in order that its lesson might be forcibly impressed upon the minds
of readers. Let it be clearly understood: In all acute diseases,
whether caused by accident, or otherwise, do not force the patient
to eat until he positively craves food, and even if he calls for
food, do not give it until all fever and inflammation have subsided.
Exactly the same conditions apply in nearly every case to patients
after undergoing surgical operations.