Fasting & Cleansing

Personal Experiences & Testimonials (Part 2)

from the book The Fasting Cure by Upton Sinclair, continued from part 1

The Fruit and Nut Diet

From early childhood until January 9, 1910, or about twenty years in all, I had been a sufferer from asthma, and chronic catarrh in addition. As a child I was sick a great deal of the time, having regular attacks every few weeks, of such little troubles as bilious fevers, chills and la grippe, with pneumonia, typhoid, measles, whooping cough and the like sprinkled in at times. I have taken gallons of castor oil, and pounds of calomel and quinine, I think. I don't believe I ever had more than one cold, but I was never really free of that.

The first attack of asthma came shortly after the disappearance of a severe case of eczema, and from that time on throughout the entire twenty years, I did not pass a single moderately cold night without having at least one, and more often, two and three spasms of asthma during the night. These were relieved temporarily, only after sitting up in bed and inhaling, for several minutes, the smoke from a green powder which I burned for that purpose.

Frequently attacks would last continually for three and four days or a week, during which time I was not able to draw a single free breath, and would suffer so intensely that on many occasions I felt as if I was breathing my last. I mention all this for fear some Salisbury followers may doubt that mine was a real genuine case of asthma. In that case, I think I can get satisfactory evidence from our family physician and others who were with me a great deal during that time.

As I grew older, and about the time I went to work for myself, I began to be interested in physical culture methods, and noticed a great improvement by exercising and cutting down my diet, and afterwards adopting the two-meal-a-day plan.

However, there was one thing which is strongly emphasized in these methods that did not work with me at the time, but seemed to make the asthma worse; and that was the fresh air idea. I always had better results, and the attacks were less frequent and not so severe, when I closed the windows and doors, and filled the room with the smoke and fumes of the remedy I used. That was due mostly to the narcotic effect of the remedy when breathing the smoke and fumes continually.

I mention this for fear some one may suggest that the ultimate permanent relief was brought about simply by breathing fresh air continually when I did begin to open the windows.

During all this time, I ate meat with each meal, or twice daily.

I began to notice that nuts and especially pecans, of which I am particularly fond, and which are quite plentiful in that part of the country in which I live, seemed to have a decidedly bad effect on my asthma, and a greater part of the time I would not touch them on this account.

At the time, however, I had the impression that generally prevails among a large majority of people, that nuts or fruits were only good for eating between meals, or as a dessert at the end of a meal, and in addition to the regular food that was eaten; and that was the way I had eaten them.

Mr. Upton Sinclair's first article in the Physical Culture magazine on the fruit and nut diet was the first hint I ever had that fruit and nuts eaten alone as a diet had any real substantial food value.

From this time on I began experimenting with short fasts of one meal or one day, and also began substituting fruit for some meals, and at the same time cut down my meat eating from twice daily to two or three times a week.

I noticed a great improvement in both asthma and catarrh, although I continued having attacks of asthma almost every night, as this was during the winter and most of the nights were quite cold.

After the appearance of his second article, I determined to try this diet out in my own case, hoping to lessen the attacks of asthma at least, never dreaming of the real surprise that was in store for me.

I fasted the last two days of December, 1909, and started in January 1st, eating mostly acid fruits, such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit, etc. (This in order to relieve the constipation that I was then, and had been troubled with more or less for the past two three years.)

As a result of the fast, and of what might be termed a partial fast for a few days after, I lost several pounds in weight, which I did not regain until after I had been eating other fruits for several days, such as dates, figs, bananas, and apples, also all kinds of nuts, including the much dreaded pecan, which seemed to cause so much trouble before.

On the night of January 8, 1910, I had my last attack of asthma, and have had none since. By that time my bowels were perfectly free, and all traces of constipation gone.

The night of the 9th I spent in peaceful, dreamless sleep, my head perfectly clear of any cold or catarrh, enabling me to breathe freely through my nose during sleep, which had never been possible before this.

Although the temperature outside was a little above zero, and stood close around there during the greater part of January and February where I was, two windows in my room were wide open all of the time, and I slept between them; also there was no stove or other heating appliances in the room to warm me on retiring and arising.

I stuck rigidly to the fruit and nuts, living on them alone until the weather began to grow warmer. I then grew so confident, that I gradually lapsed into a general raw-food diet, and later on, to a partly raw and partly cooked diet, but no meat at all, save at times, when it was necessary in order to avoid unpleasant controversies and explanations among people who knew nothing on the subject, and were therefore sceptical, and often inclined to ridicule me.

With the return to cooked foods, came a return of constipation, and with it, traces of the old cold or catarrh. This is one thing I noticed in particular; that when my bowels were moving freely, then and only then was I free of catarrh or cold.

I am situated at present where I am away from the influences of kind-and-well-meaning friends and members of my own family, so am living on a raw-food diet entirely, doing heavy gymnasium work every day, also quite a bit of study and other brain work besides, which in all keeps me quite busy most of the day. I am enjoying the best of health in every particular all the while.

H. Mitchell Godsey."

The Rader Case

Mr. L. F. Rader of Olalla, Wash., died at 12:15 p.m., May 11, 1910, at 123 1/2 Broadway North, in the forty-seventh year of his age. Mr. Rader's physical history is one of intermittent suffering.

As the result of an accident in childhood in which he was internally injured, his youth and early manhood were filled with a succession of most acute attacks of painful illness.

About fifteen years ago he deserted the orthodox means of treatment and turned to what is now known as the natural or drugless method, with the consequence that he experienced the first relief he had ever known.

Three years ago he lay ill for three months, and after again submitting to medical treatment he turned to the fast and to me. In fourteen days he was up and about, and in a month he was able to attend to his ordinary business.

Since then he had no return of acute symptoms until March 31 of this year, when, after unwonted physical exercise and a heavy meal, he was seized with severe pains in the intestines, which compelled him to take to this bed.

His stomach rejected food, and within a week the taking of water brought nausea. I was then called to diagnose the case and to direct treatment. I made the statement at the time to Mrs. Rader that there seemed but little chance for his recovery, but tried the administration of fruit juices and light broths.

The point was soon reached, however, when Mr. Rader refused any sustenance, since it resulted only in nausea and excruciating pain. In the meantime the patient came to Seattle, and went to the Hotel Outlook with every symptom showing the relief that is the logical sequence of removing food temporarily from a system struggling to right abnormal conditions.

Things progressed smoothly until meddlesome outsiders interfered and caused the city health officials to take cognizance of the fact that a man was "starving" in the hotel. Without warrant Mr. Rader's rooms were entered, and he was confronted by Drs. Bourns and Davidson, who endeavored to persuade him to return to orthodoxy and to the care of the orthodox physicians. Mr. Rader's indignant repudiation is of record, as is also the result of the attempt to declare him insane.

In connection with the latter, after his removal to a quiet, comfortable room in the upper part of the city, an order of the court, obtained in some manner by the health officials, sent the humane officers to the rescue, and the house was watched and guarded while the faithful nurses prevented forcible entry attempted by these servants of the people. The latter even went so far as to raise ladders to the window of Mr. Rader's room, and with display of weapons tried to force the catches in the vain effort to serve the writ which was their excuse.

To prevent their seeing the patient and to save him as much as possible from the nosy disturbance, I carried him to the bath and locked the door. I then climbed from one window to another across a court into the next flat in order to call the attorney for the humane society, who took the needful steps that eventually recalled the writ.

In the meanwhile, Mr. Rader had suffered mentally to such an extent that his life was despaired of for many hours, and he never fully recovered from the nervous shock, which undoubtedly hastened his end.

Until the coming of these officers he was able to walk from his room to the bath but afterwards he continually begged to be protected from outsiders and to be permitted to die, if need be, in peace.

When the death of a patient under my care occurs I am most anxious that no stone should be left unturned to exhibit the cause. In this, my seventh death in fours years' practice in Seattle, I find my diagnosis and prognosis completely corroborated. I was assisted in the autopsy by two old-line physicians and by the deputy coroner. The results of the post-mortem examination were as follows:

Mr. Rader's viscera showed the most abnormal characteristics it has been my fortune to observe in years of post-mortem work. The lungs were adherent at every point to the pleural cavity as well as to the diaphragm in places. The heart in fair condition. Stomach dilated and prolapsed. Gall bladder in three distinct pouches, any one of which was the size of the normal sac, and two of these sections were filled with 126 gallstones of one grain to half an ounce in weight; the largest was 3 inches in circumference one way and 4 inches the other way.

The small intestines collapsed to the pelvis and midway intussuscepted so that a section of two measured yards occupied but five inches in length; portions of these were of infantile development. The transverse colon lay anterior to the descending colon throughout its extent, while the ascending and descending colon showed infantile size and cartilaginous structure. The sigmoid bend and rectum were of diameter not large than the adult thumb and in advanced cartilaginous state. The kidneys fair; the liver enlarged and badly congested.

The conditions exhibited were such that the wonder in any mind practised in the care of the human body lies in the thought that nature was able to preserve under these handicaps this man's life until the forty-seventh year. To me this is proof positive that "man does not live by bread alone."

The facts given may easily be verified. Mr. Rader fasted because he had to fast. He could not take food in any sort or in any manner, and his death occurred because of organic disease beyond repair. He was never without water and fruit juices; vegetable broths and prepared foods were given whenever the occasion seemed to present itself, but always with painful consequences. During the month of April he was virtually fasting, although food was supplied as mentioned.

It is not at all remarkable in my work to have patients abstain from food for thirty, forty, and fifty days, although by far the greater number do not require this length of time.

Criticized as I have been for my methods, and realizing that the combined efforts of the old schools are aimed at what it eventually means, perhaps a definition may not prove amiss:

Starvation consists in denying food, either by accident or design, to a system clamoring for sustenance.

Fasting consists in intentional abstinence from food by a system non-desirous of sustenance until it is rested, cleansed, and ready for the task of digestion. Food is then supplied.

The conduct of the health and humane officers in the Rader case is not the first instance of their methods of procedure that it has been my fate to experience.

In the latter part of January, 1908, I had under my care Mrs. D.D. Whedon, a young married woman in a critical state of health, mother of one child and about to become the mother of another.

Officious neighbors complained to the authorities that the child was being subjected to the fasting method and was slowly starving. Without warrant these creatures of authority entered the apartments of Mrs. Whedon, subjected her to a bodily examination against her will and protests, took her child from her by force, and when her husband attempted to regain possession of his daughter, they arrested him for resisting an officer and had him placed in the city jail.

I also was charged at this time with practising medicine without a license, an accusation that was quashed on appeal to the superior court.

I'd rather court an investigation of my work and its results, successful and unsuccessful. Thus far the methods pursued by those antagonistic have been the very ones that have succeeded in informing the world at large that the work is here, that it progresses, else why the furor? It is here to stay and to do what the truth eventually always does—prevail.

The autopsies in each of the several deaths that have occurred in my practice in the city of Seattle have exhibited organic disease, the origin of which lay in the early years of life.

In all of these bodies arrested development of one or other of the vital organs was in evidence, and in the majority the injured intestines whose cartilaginous structure and deformation that must have required either violent shock or continued functional disturbance to produce.

In view of the fact that these instances cover subjects who had endeavored to follow orthodox methods until orthodoxy proved unavailing, and who then turned to the fast and its accompaniments, I feel perfectly confident in declaring that early drug treatment is responsible for later and fatal disease. Nature had endowed each of these patients with strong vitality; each of them had suffered from severe functional disorder in infancy; each had been drug-drenched.

Broadly speaking, there is no drug that is not a poison, stimulating or paralyzing in result, and in infancy the latter is doubly apparent and appalling. It needs but the parallelism between the effect of an application of a glass of brandy upon an infant and an adult to emphasize this statement.

Consider then the consequences of repeated dosings for fevers, colic, colds, and the varied category of infantile disease, and conceive the results upon tender, growing, human bodies. Not one of us but has these sacred relics of the days of powdered dried toads and desiccated cow manure to blame for organs arrested in development or functionally ruined.

The principle embodied in the intelligent application of fasting for the cure of disease is not to be crushed by vilification. The knowledge of it, thanks to strenuous attacks by the medical profession, has been distributed gratis throughout the English-speaking world; and my own part in the work of propaganda has been made more than easy by opposition displayed. I believe that I have a cause to defend, a truth to uphold, a principle for which, if need be, I shall die fighting.

Linda Burfield Hazzard
Seattle, Wash., May 16, 1910"

Horace Fletcher's Fast

Dec. 11, 1910
Mr. Horace Fletcher
Care Editor of Good Health
Battle Creek, Mich.

My Dear Mr. Fletcher,
It must have been a year and a half ago that we had our talk on the subject of fasting; you promised me that you would investigate it. I have only just seen the copy of the November Good Health, and discovered that you carried out your promise. There are some things in connection with your account about which I want to ask you.

You say that you have come to agree with Dr. Kellogg, that autointoxication continues during the fast; and that your reason for this is that at the end of a couple of weeks you found yourself developing weakness, bad breath, coated tongue, etc. You broke your fast because these symptoms grew worse and worse.

Now surely if a person is going to give a fair trial to the claims of the fasters, he should follow their instructions, and he should not proceed in opposition to their most important advice. You say that for four days you took no water, and that after that you took only a pint or so a day.

In this you violated the leading injunction of every advocate of fasting with whose writings I am acquainted; I have read the books of Bernarr Macfadden, C.C. Haskell, and Dr. L.B. Hazzard, all of whom have treated scores and hundreds of patients by means of the fast, and all of whom are strenuous on the point that one should drink as much water as possible. I myself while fasting have taken at least a glass every hour. I believe that a very great deal of your trouble may have been caused by your procedure in this respect.

Another point which you do not mention is whether or not you took an enema during the fast. This is a very important point. It may very well be true that poisons are excreted into the intestinal tract, and that owing to lack of food they are reabsorbed; if we can aid nature by washing these poisons out at once, can we not overcome this difficulty? May not the reason for the non-success of your fast lie here?

If it be true that the fast leads to constantly increasing autointoxication, how do you account for those phenomena which are summed up in the phrase, "the complete fast"?

I personally do not advocate the complete fast; I only advocate the investigation of it. I have never taken one, but I have letters from many people who have taken them, and they are in agreement upon the point that there comes a time during the fast when the tongue clears, the breath becomes pure, and hunger manifests itself in unmistakable form.

How can this possibly be true if Dr. Kellogg's explanation of the symptoms of fasting is correct? Would it not happen just to the contrary, would not the symptoms of autointoxication increase, until death through poisoning resulted?

Dr. Kellogg's argument is a very plausible one; for many years it sufficed to keep me from trying the experiment of the fast. I know that it has kept many other people. His claim is, in brief, that during the fast the body is living off its own tissue; that we are therefore meat-eaters, and even cannibals, while fasting. We are living on a kind of food which is over-rich in proteid, and which generates excessive quantities of uric acid, indican, etc. This, as I say, sounds plausible, but I found by actual experiment that the facts do not work out according to the theory.

I myself have taken a week's fast recently, with perfect success. During this time I had not one particle of weakness or trouble of any sort. Perhaps it may be that my body was excreting undue amounts of uric acid and indican, but I did not know it, and it did me no harm so far as I could discover. I am much less afraid of the consequences of living from my own body tissue, since I have tried for myself the experiment of living on the tissues of other animals.

I am trying to get at the truth about these questions, and I know that you are trying to do it also. For three years I did myself incalculable harm by accepting blindly statements that meat was the prime cause of autointoxication, together with other high proteid food.

I lived on starches and sugars, grew pale and thin and chilly, and, as I was accustomed to phrase it, was never more than fifteen minutes ahead of a headache. I can give myself a headache at any time at present by two or three days of eating rice, potatoes, white flour, and sugar. Apparently I cannot give it to myself by eating any possible quantity of broiled lean beef. So far as I can make out, beef is the one article of diet which never does me any harm, no matter how much of it I eat. The same thing is true, apparently, with my little boy.

I wish you would tell me what you think about all this. I wish that I could induce you to try the experiment of fasting again with the use of the enema and the copious water drinking. Still more do I wish that you could be induced to try it with some people who need it—some people who are desperately ill, and who have not been able to get well by following the low proteid diet.

Upton Sinclair
Norwich, Conn., U.S.A."

Dec. 23, 1910

My Dear Mr. Sinclair,
Your valued favor of the 14th inst. received enclosing copy of your letter to Horace Fletcher. I have read your letter to Mr. Fletcher with much interest, and I have also read Mr. Fletcher's letter to Dr. Kellogg in Good Health.

I am so crowded with work that I cannot take the time to write you on this subject of Fasting as I would like. I have had nearly seventeen years' experience studying and practising the "no-breakfast plan and fasting for the cure of disease." I have followed the no-breakfast plan all that time without a single break, and I know it has been of exceedingly great value to me. It has also been my privilege and pleasure to advise in thousands of cases covering nearly all forms of disease, and where the Law of Fasting has been followed faithfully, there have always been splendid results.

Aside from the omission of the breakfast, I have fasted a great many times from one day to four weeks, and always the results have been beneficial.

This could not have been the case if Dr. Kellogg's contention is correct, that autointoxication continues and increases during a fast. If this idea is correct on this point, instead of one improving and at last overcoming the disease entirely, there would not only be a continuation of the disease but an increase, and death would naturally result.

Should autointoxication continue and increase while one is fasting, the time would not come when the tongue would be clean and natural hunger manifest itself. On the contrary, there would be an increase of the coating on the tongue until death finally resulted.

I think if Mr. Fletcher had continued his fast until his tongue had become clean, which certainly would be the case, he would have written a very different letter.

In the case of Mrs. Tarbox, whose letter I enclose, on the thirty-seventh day of her fast, her tongue was perfectly clean and she had natural hunger, and she was well on the way to recovery from the terrible cancerous growth and condition in which I found her. Since Mrs. Tarbox' cure, I have had several other cases of cancer cured through fasting.

You will note the case of Mrs. Hobson, copy of whose letter I enclose, and the case of Mr. Davis is another very interesting case as well as that of Mrs. Osborne. These persons would not have been cured if autointoxication had been going on and increasing.

Dr. Dewey's contention I know to be true, that during a fast the heart, lungs, and brain are supported by the predigested food stored up in the body. These organs take the nourishment and not the poison, for during a fast the eliminating organs work to the very limit to force the poison out of every cell of the body, so that during a fast all the poison in the body is growing less every hour, and when it is all eliminated natural hunger manifests itself, the tongue is clean, and the patient is ready to build up and have a clean physical organism.

The use of the enema is exceedingly important during a fast. I believe that it hastens the cure at least twenty-five per cent and perhaps more than that.

Mr. Fletcher's own letter is to my mind a refutation to Dr. Kellogg's claim as to the continuation and increase of autointoxication, for he tells the benefits that he has received during his fast of seventeen days, and those benefits would have been greatly increased if he had continued the fast until his tongue was clean.

His sense of taste had become so refined by the fast that his food was more delicious than ever before, which showed that the refining process had been going on all through his body.

Another benefit that he mentions is the lessening of his desire for sugar, that he is satisfied with the sugar sweet that is in the food itself, which is so much more healthful than the cane sugar.

Another thing that he speaks of is the reduction in his weight, which he needed. I sincerely hope that Mr. Fletcher will fast again, and make it a complete fast, for I think he will have a very different story to tell from what he tells in this letter.

Charles Courtney Haskell."

Dec. 28, 1910

Dear Mr. Sinclair,

I have your letter of the 14th inst. and its enclosures.

To those who have carefully and scientifically undergone or advised the fast, the cause of the symptoms that Dr. Kellogg and all of the rest of us recognize as indicating self-poisoning, is readily to lie in the inability of the organs of elimination to promptly convey from the body the products of food supplied in excess of digestion.

It is a conclusion that cannot be escaped that, when the refuse from broken-down tissue and from food ingested beyond the needs of the body is discharged into the intestines, and when means of removal are not at hand, re-absorption at once begins and continues until the canal is cleansed.

Self-poisoning, autointoxication, ensues, and all of its symptoms were emphatically shown in the fast of seventeen days that Mr. Fletcher essayed.

These results are also often observed when feeding is in progress, and in this connection I refer to an article written by Dr. Kellogg for Good Health in the summer of 1908. In it he says,

"The writer's observations, extending over a considerable number of years, have brought him to the conclusion that the cases which are benefited by fasting are practically without exception cases of autointoxication, generally cases of intestinal autointoxication, though perhaps also including some cases of metabolic autointoxication."

It seems to me that the Doctor has not made it quite clear just why, if the fast is the certain producer of the condition, he recommends it for the cure of the condition. Perhaps "similia similibus" or "the hair of the dog theory" is implanted in the Doctor's ego.

As we review the situation, covering in origin thousands and thousands of years of wrong living, the facts are patent. The processes of digestion and assimilation as functions have long since lost natural expression. Drugs and heredity have created in them an inability to cope with their work without assistance, and have in many instances caused a positive cessation of normal action.

Dr. Kellogg would have us accept his dictum that the cause of loss of weight during the fast is to be found in the impoverished state of the blood, and in the fact that, food being denied, no upbuilding of tissue can occur. Can he explain in this manner the wasting of tissue in illness when food is regularly supplied?

It should be readily understood that, in either instance, the process of elimination of decomposed excess food has at last become the predominant function of the diseased system.

Fasting is the voluntary act that permits rapid accomplishment of the result; and disease itself is but Nature's attempt to cleanse and purify by means of elimination. The longer this thought is dwelt upon, and the more its details are verified by experiment, the stronger becomes the conviction that we are facing the truth of the matter.

When coated tongue, foul breath, and vertigo appear, whether feeding or fasting, hunger is absent. It must have disappeared many days before these signs became acute, although Nature's warnings did not fail of display.

The sensation of hunger, the desire for food for the purpose of restoring cell life, is the human body's greatest natural safeguard. A sentinel of lower rank is the sense of taste, which, however, like other outposts, often becomes debauched and valueless. But hunger never can be turned from its protecting task, and it cannot be stimulated into action. Hunger is the one natural function that is incorruptible, for once abused it withdraws.

Its deceptive counterpart, appetite, is the product of taste-stimulation, and, as Mr. Fletcher says, takes upon itself the guise of habit. Or, as expressed in the text of my book, "Appetite is craving; Hunger is desire. Craving is never satisfied; but Desire is relieved when Want is supplied. Eating without Hunger or pandering to Appetite at the expense of Digestion makes Disease inevitable."

Had real normal hunger been present when Mr. Fletcher broke his fast, the demand for food would have been so great and so insistent that no denial would have been tolerated.

Mr. Fletcher states that he did not want food until he had tasted it--a clear case of taste-stimulation or appetite. Even this was momentary and was but the expiring flame of taste relish left after seventeen days free from the progressive accumulation of excess food.

Despite his care in the selection and the mastication of his food, Mr. Fletcher must still have continually eaten without hunger, and must, as a result, have stored within his system an unusual amount of material beyond the needs of his body. Had this not been true, he would not have exhibited the coated tongue, foul breath, and vertigo. Hunger would have been ever present, and it would have been impossible for him to fast.

My only comment upon the neglect of the enema that seems to have occurred in the conduct of Mr. Fletcher's fast is that it was a most vital error. The enema is absolutely necessary. The question of diet also need not be discussed, for experience shows that the feeding of the body is a matter of individual requirement. If normal physical balance be ever reached, fixed laws to govern the diet problem could be formulated. In its present state, argument resolves itself into mere utterances of individual opinion and prejudice.

Faithfully yours,
Linda Burfield Hazzard (author of "Fasting for the Cure of Disease")"

About the author

(extracted by Healing Cancer Naturally from Encyclopædia Britannica)

Sinclair, Upton, b. Sept. 20, 1878, Baltimore, Md., U.S., d. Nov. 25, 1968, Bound Brook, N.J., in full UPTON BEALL SINCLAIR American novelist and polemicist for socialism and other causes; his The Jungle is a landmark among naturalistic, proletarian novels.

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