(The Revolution – March 1868) – In trying to impress upon you the advantage of a sound body, I would speak of diet as being chief of all hygienic means. It is absurd to expect a healthful balance of mind and body, without good, farinaceous food, at regular hours. Cake and highly seasoned dishes render the stomach irritable and the whole system feverish. Children fed on dainties can never grow robust. A craving for stimulants is thus induced and that is not confined to boys. Girls manifest this depraved condition of the digestive apparatus in other ways than in a love of tippling, but with effects nearly as baleful. Condiments of every kind or highly concentrated food, as in cake and sweetmeats, tax every force of the system to digest, and draw the life-forces from the extremities, leaving them unduly sensitive. The outposts undefended, disease creeps in and attacks the citadel.
The life-forces need to be preserved in perfect equilibrium to keep you growing as beautifully as a plant grows. That takes into its thousand stomachs, or cells, only what it needs to nourish its own life.
Plain food builds up the system in just the same way. The wonderful work of growth goes on unconsciously, in sleep or awake; all we have to do is to supply the right nutriment and we build up, as the plant builds, cell by cell. Each tiny particle attracts its kindred particle, and is deposited wherever a useless atom has been removed.
In avoiding stimulating food, you avoid undue brain excitement and unhealthy imagination and give no room to brooding thoughts of an unreal life, from which come trains of evils that have ruined thousands of lovely girls. Late suppors and rich delicacies create a thirst for novel-reading to a great extent. Fiction has its use, but also its great abuse. Yellow-covered literature would be less eagerly sought if our tables were not loaded with nerve-exciting viands. Real life palls upon the taste, home becomes monotonous, and daily duties irksome, while the day-dreamer roams in enchanted lands.