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Chapter 11

How To Eat

It is a settled fact that a person naturally chews his food. The few faddists who maintain that we should bolt our nourishment, after the manner of the dog and others of the lower animals, can no longer get a hearing. We know that we should chew our food. And if it is natural that we should chew our food, the more thoroughly we chew it the more completely natural the process must be. If you will chew every mouthful to a liquid, you need not be in the least concerned as to whether you are getting enough nutrients, for you have already chosen the best foods according to Natural Law.

Whether or not this chewing shall be an irksome and laborious task or a most enjoyable process depends upon the mental attitude in which you come to the table.

If your mind and attitude are on other things, or if you are anxious or worried about business or domestic affairs, you will find it almost impossible to eat without bolting more or less of your food. You must learn to live so scientifically that you will have no business or domestic cares to worry about. This you can do.

You must also arrange your life so that you are not in the presence of others who distract from the enjoyment of your meal. This way, you can learn to give your undivided attention to the act of eating while at the table.

The matter of eating only when in a peaceful state of mind must be emphasized. You must focus on gratitude before eating the food on your table and on the full enjoyment of each bite while eating. After eating, you must again focus on gratitude for the vital force from the food supplied to you through the One Living Substance. These mental actions will assist in the physical extraction of vital force from your food, and in bringing the Principle of Health within you into full Constructive Activity.

You must therefore eat with an eye single to the purpose of getting all the enjoyment you can from that meal. Dismiss everything else from your mind, and do not let anything take your attention from the food and its taste until your meal is finished. Be cheerfully confident, for if you follow these instructions you may KNOW that the food you eat is exactly the right food, and that it will “agree” with you to perfection.

Sit down to the table with confident cheerfulness, and take a moderate portion of the food. Take whatever thing looks most desirable to you. Do not select some food because you think it will be good for you— select that which will taste good to you. If you are to get well and stay well, you must drop the idea of doing things because they are good for your health, and do things because you want to do them. Select the food you want most, gratefully give thanks to God that you have learned how to eat it in such a way that digestion shall be perfect, and take a moderate mouthful of it.

Do not fix your attention on the act of chewing; fix it on the TASTE of the food. And taste and enjoy it until it is reduced to a liquid state and passes down your throat by involuntary swallowing.

No matter how long it takes, do not think of the time. Think of the taste. Do not allow your eyes to wander over the table, speculating as to what you shall eat next. Do not worry for fear there is not enough, and that you will not get your share of everything. Do not anticipate the taste of the next thing. Keep your mind centered on the taste of what you have in your mouth.

And that is all of it.

Scientific and healthful eating is a delightful process after you have learned how to do it, and after you have overcome the bad old habit of gobbling down your food unchewed. It is best not to have too much conversation going on while eating. Be cheerful, but not talkative. Do the talking afterward.

In most cases, some use of the will is required to form the habit of correct eating. The bolting habit is an unnatural one, and is without doubt mostly the result of fear. Fear that we will be robbed of our food, fear that we will not get our share of the good things, fear that we will lose precious time these are the causes of haste. Then there is anticipation of the dainties that are to come for dessert and the consequent desire to get at them as quickly as possible. And there is mental abstraction, or thinking of other matters while eating. All these must be overcome.

When you find that your mind is wandering, call a halt. Think for a moment of the food and of how good it tastes, of the perfect digestion and assimilation that are going to follow the meal, and begin again. Begin again and again, though you must do so 20 times in the course of a single meal. And again and again, though you must do so every meal for weeks and months. It is perfectly certain that you CAN form the “Fletcher habit”6 if you persevere, and when you have formed it, you will experience a healthful pleasure you have never known.

This is a vital point, and I must not leave it until I have thoroughly impressed it upon your mind. Given the right materials, perfectly prepared, the Principle of Health will positively build you a perfectly healthy body, and you cannot prepare the materials perfectly in any other way than the one I am describing.

If you are to have perfect health, you MUST eat in just this way. You can, and the doing of it is only a matter of a little perseverance. What use for you to talk of mental control unless you will govern yourself in so simple a matter as ceasing to bolt your food? What use to talk of concentration unless you can keep your mind on the act of eating for so short a space as 15 or 20 minutes, especially with all the pleasures of taste to help you?

Go on, and conquer. In a few weeks, or months, as the case may be, you will find the habit of scientific eating becoming fixed, and soon you will be in so splendid a condition, mentally and physically, that nothing would induce you to return to the bad old way.

We have seen that if a person will think only thoughts of perfect health, his internal functions will be performed in a healthy manner, and we have seen that in order to think thoughts of health, a person must perform the voluntary functions in a healthy manner. The most important of the voluntary functions is that of eating, and we see, so far, no special difficulty in eating in a perfectly healthy way.

I will here summarize the instructions as to when to eat, what to eat, and how to eat, with the reasons why:

NEVER eat until you have an EARNED hunger, no matter how long you go without food. This is based on the fact that whenever food is needed in the system, if there is power to digest it, the sub-conscious mind announces the need by the sensation of hunger.

Learn to distinguish between genuine hunger and the gnawing and craving sensations caused by unnatural appetite. Hunger is never a disagreeable feeling, accompanied by weakness, faintness, or gnawing feelings at the stomach. It is a pleasant, anticipatory desire for food. It does not come at certain hours or at stated intervals. It only comes when the body is ready to receive, digest, and assimilate food.

Eat whatever foods you want, making your selection from the full variety of the best foods found in the zone in which you live. The Supreme Intelligence has guided humanity to the selection of these foods, and they are the right ones. I am referring, of course, to the foods which are taken to satisfy hunger, not to those which have been contrived merely to gratify appetite or perverted taste. The instinct which has guided people to make use of the great staples of food to satisfy their hunger is a divine one. God has made no mistake; if you eat these foods you will not go wrong.

Eat your food with cheerful confidence in a pleasant atmosphere, and get all the pleasure that is to be had from the taste of every mouthful. Chew each morsel to a liquid, keeping your attention fixed on the enjoyment of the process. This is the only way to eat in a perfectly complete and successful manner; and when anything is done in a completely successful manner, the general result cannot be a failure.

In the attainment of health, the law is the same as in the attainment of riches: if you make each act a success in itself, the sum of all your acts must be a success. When you eat in the mental attitude I have described, and in the manner I have described, nothing can be added to the process—it is done in a perfect manner, and it is successfully done. And if eating is successfully done, digestion, assimilation, and the building of a healthy body are successfully begun.

We next take up the question of the quantity of food required.

Editor’s Notes

Is It Appetite Or Hunger?

Mr. Wattles states, “Hunger is never a disagreeable feeling, accompanied by weakness, faintness, or gnawing feelings at the stomach. It is a pleasant, anticipatory desire for food.”

First, understand that Mr. Wattles is referring to the hunger sensation in people who are able to eat when hungry. This does not apply to those who are hungry but have been deprived of food, such as in famine.

Second, this statement may be confusing for those with food allergies or food sensitivities, eating disorders, blood sugar regulation problems, or other biochemical imbalances. Consuming sweets, artificial foods, or alcohol also confuses hunger sensation. I will address those briefly here, and recommend that you work with a naturopathic doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist if you have any of these issues.

If you have food allergies or sensitivities (other food reactions) you may experience symptoms of weakness, faintness, gnawing feelings, irritability, and a host of other “disagreeable” feelings only a couple of hours after eating. Often you will crave the very foods to which you are sensitive or allergic. Many people who are sensitive to wheat and/or sugar crave bread or sweets. This would be “unnatural appetite”.

Alcohol and sweets (including juice, sodas, and other sweet drinks) will usually create an “unnatural appetite”. After consuming them, you usually want to eat more than you would eat otherwise.

Some people are familiar with the problem of overgrowth of intestinal yeast. The yeast creates an alcohol (a metabolic byproduct of the yeast) which is absorbed into the bloodstream, and causes effects similar to drinking alcohol—“unnatural appetite”. This and other biochemical imbalances are best diagnosed by a doctor.

Filling up on foods with low nutrient content or “empty calories” (common in artificial or highly processed foods) will leave the body needing nutrients. The hunger signal is confused because the body wants the nutrients but does not need the calories. Usually a person continues to eat to try to fill the lack, but gets caught up in craving more empty foods. This would be “unnatural appetite”. The obvious solution is to eat naturally high-nutrient foods.

If you have a problem with blood sugar regulation (hypoglycemia, diabetes) your body will signal its need for food with these same symptoms of weakness, faintness, gnawing feelings, and irritability. In this case there is actual hunger. You should work with a doctor who specializes in using nutrition to help regulate blood sugar.

If you have an eating disorder such as bingeing, bulemia, or anorexia, it may be impossible for you to detect true hunger. Likewise, if you have a physical condition or are taking medicine that causes nausea or otherwise affects your desire for food, hunger may not be reliable. In these cases, a doctor should guide you in applying Mr. Wattles’ eating plan.

6: See “Glossary” at end of book.


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