Most of us like to eat meat. After all we are omnivores by nature; we have the teeth for it. But a lot of people don’t eat meat for any variety of reasons. Many are vegetarians, many are vegans, many are lacto-vegetarians/vegans. Some won’t eat meat but will eat cheese and drink milk. Some will eat yogurt but won’t drink milk. Some will drink milk, just not cow’s milk. Some eat their veggies raw with no cooking at all. I thought it might be interesting to explore the origins of some of the various health and eating disciplines and how they evolved.
Paul Bragg was one of the first health food advocates in this country. He created our first health food store. He traveled the country evangelizing the benefits of exercise and nutrition. He demonstrated and wrote about the necessity for quality exercise and the value of eating a plant based diet, as well as fasting. He talked about the importance of breathing clean air, drinking clean water, getting outside in the sunshine, eating healthy foods, moving the body, having good posture and getting plenty of rest and sleep. His “daughter” Patricia is still the spokesperson for the company he founded and Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple of the health food advocate. A couple of tablespoons of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, mixed with water, honey, ginger, and cayenne pepper, has been my “health drink” of choice for many years. Paul Bragg’s influence has been a major legacy in the health food industry. As a side note, Jack LaLanne started his own personal health regimen after hearing Paul Bragg speak at a lecture his mother dragged him to as a sickly youth. Jack LaLanne stuck with the regimen and was selling “juicers” and exercising right up until he died at age 96.
Ever hear of Don Tolman? Don Tolman is a modern evangalist for healthy living who lectures throughout the world. He is somewhat of an “alternative” thinker about nutrition but his thinking makes sense. He too speaks about air, water, sunshine, plant based food, exercise, and lots of sleep. He claims his inspiration came from ancient texts discovered in caves and old archives, including the Vatican itself. He tells the story of Daniel, from the first chapter of The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, where Daniel and his buddies refused to eat the King’s food and instead chose to eat what they called “Pulse” for a while to prove that it was better for you. At the end of the “while”, Daniel and his three friends turned out to be healthier and stronger than the others in his group who went along with the king and ate his food. “Pulse” has been defined as anything from legumes to “vegetables” depending on the translator or interpreter. I had never heard the story so while Edie and I were on our recent trip to New York’s Hudson Valley, I checked a motel Bible, and “lo and behold”, there it was, just as Tolman described, right in the very first chapter of Daniel.
Don Tolman also makes reference to the Essene Gospels and the book, The Essene Gospel of Peace, by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, published in 1927 or 1931, depending on where you get your information. Szekely claims to have discovered the original manuscript in the Vatican Library, then translated and published it. It is purported to be about the healing miracles of Jesus of Nazareth, who supposedly got his start with the Essenes, a Jewish sect, and learned to heal people using, guess what: Air, Water, Sunshine, natural foods (basically plant based, but including milk from mammals, but not their flesh – no lacto-vegetarian Him). Some claim the text to be part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is disagreement among theologians about whether the book is really about only Jesus or whether the techniques were used by others, too. I found the book online and copied and pasted it’s 33 pages in MS-Word. It was an easy read. But the point is that even the old-timers in the desert believed in the power of the basic natural elements of air, water, food, sunshine, and sleep, as the way to healing and health. Of course other places in the biblical texts say it’s OK to eat meat as long as it’s the right kind.
The point of all this is that most health and fitness information today stresses the importance of the same natural elements of air, water, food, sunshine and sleep as the key to health and healing. The Essenes didn’t leave out exercise and movement, they disguised it as physical labor. They did a lot of walking in those days too.
When I first researched all this, I thought it might make an interesting, and perhaps, useful article. I hope you found it interesting too. Just remember the importance of deep breathing, drinking plenty of water, eating healthful food, getting a little sunshine, getting plenty of exercise and then topping it all off with plenty of rest and sleep. That should keep you Healthy, Fit and Filled with Personal Energy for the rest of your life.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
– Hippocrates, 460-370 BC (Before the Essenes)
Thank you for reading.