Source: Macfadden’s Encyclopedia of Physical Culture
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “How to Conquer Disease” [chapter 3]
Author(s): Macfadden, Bernarr
Edition: Fifth edition
Volume number: 1
Publisher: Physical Culture Publishing Company
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1920
Pagination: 53-122 (excerpt below includes only pages 105-07)
|Macfadden, Bernarr. “How to Conquer Disease” [chapter 3]. Macfadden’s Encyclopedia of Physical Culture. 5th ed. Vol. 1. New York: Physical Culture Publishing, 1920: pp. 53-122.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|William McKinley (medical care: criticism); William McKinley (death, cause of).|
Click here to view the content from Physical Culture alluded to below.
From title page: Completely Revised—1920 Edition; Fifth Printing; Approximately Thirty Thousand Sets, One Hundred Fifty Thousand Volumes.
From title page: Macfadden’s Encyclopedia of Physical Culture: A Work of Reference, Providing Complete Instructions for the Cure of All Diseases through Physcultopathy, with General Information on Natural Methods of Health-Building and a Description of the Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body.
From title page: By Bernarr Macfadden; Assisted by Specialists in the Application of Natural Methods of Healing.
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 may be.
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.