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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India


Vegetarianism Can Turn a Miserable Life into A Pleasant One
B. LYTTON-BERNARD, D Sc., D O.
(Director Quinta Mi Retiro Ajijic, Mexico.)
The American Vegetarian Hygienist, April 1954.

We hear a great deal about the disposition of the body being affected by the mind but it is a two-way street. The mind is affected by the body and its indispositions. For instance, a gentleman has just left Quinta Mi Retiro, who when he arrived some weeks ago, was a sour, dour, suspicious, miserable sort of person, giving the impression that he thought the whole world was his enemy.

Today that man is of a happy sweet disposition, friendly, and kind. What happened to make this difference? He came with stomach ulcers. These irritated him. He could not feel relaxed or carefree, they would not permit him to do anything but scowl and give the impression of being bitterly disposed towards everybody he came in contact with.

He recovered from these ulcers and immediately his disposition sweetened. Of course, he had the joy of knowing that he had escaped from a dangerous condition of ill-health. But something more took charge of him. No longer having the irritation and constant nagging pain he is able to view the world in freedom.

It shows that health is the positive condition and ill-health the negative. His true disposition is sweet and friendly. It was the negative condition of ill-health that was affecting his behaviour and embittering his life.

My view is that a great reason for the strife that exists in the world today is the state of sub-health that so generally exists. Instead of the positive, abounding health that should be the birthright of every human being, there is a condition of sub-health that nags and compels millions of people to see the sad, unhappy, negative side in other people and also their own surroundings.

I want to impress you with the truth that the positive is the real and the negative the unreal. An urgent matter is our spreading a knowledge of how to live so that this positive of us, the real, the true and the good, the happy and buoyant, becomes the usual and general disposition of the human race.

How can a man who is constantly nagged by pains in his stomach or anywhere else in his body, act cordially and sweetly even to his own wife ? The same applies to a woman. How can she be a happy wife, seeing the bright side on all occasions, conscious of her love for her mate at all times, so that she can be understanding and considerate, and a true helpmeet to her husband, when she is beset by vague indispositions in her body?

Those of us who are Vegetarians and Hygienists, who have learned the secrets of good health and how to retain it, have a wonderful secret, but that we are too ready to share with all who have wisdom to accept it, We know that in good health we are capable, confidant, sympathetic, love the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

What is more important is that we know that it is our particular type of vegetarianism that gives us this abounding health, a positive joy in living and doing. According to an important school of philosophy, human motives are all fashioned by the pursuit of happiness, all our behaviour is governed by the desire to be happy.

When we realize that this happiness is thwarted by ill-health, and the way of living that makes for ill-health, we see how many of our fellow human beings are losing out in life, are robbing themselves of all that makes life worth living.

We Vegetarians and Hygienists know that the negative can be expelled by the positive. The positive way to live is on fruits and vegetables as Nature produces them. If we suffer pains and ill-health it is because me have allowed ourselves to partake of foods that have poisoned us, we have sanctioned the killing of fellow creatures for the pleasure of our carnal appetites. Let us face the facts, for only by so doing can we regain the health we have allowed ourselves to lose.

To regain our health we have to determine that we are willing to DO what is necessary for our own physical, mental, and spiritual welfare. We have to be willing to restrain ourselves from indulging in practices that have enervated us. And the best may to do this is to allow only the positive to rule our lives. We MUST eat the foods which nourish us completely, the foods that do not contain substances that putrify in the system and cause havoc.

We have to go through a period of self-denial, of undoing the harm we have done ourselves. We can do this the long way, trying out various methods of therapeutics, or me can do it the short way. The short way is to realize that we have to clean house; have to rid our body of the poisons that have collected within it as a consequence of our own practices and eating, whether we were ignorant of what we were doing or not.

The swiftest way to cleanse the body is to fast. That is the maximum you can do to make the start for a quick return to abounding health. This does mean a certain amount of fortitude; but a few weeks putting up with some inconvenience is a small price to pay for relief from the negative condition of ill-health that poisons even our conduct and robs us of the ability of being our true selves.

I find that it is wise for those who wish to take this fast to prepare for it by taking into the body only special vegetarian food and particularly fruits: the tropical fruits preferably. Then the fast has to be followed by a similar diet, until full abounding health is the consequence.

Let me state, however, that the fast should not be undertaken without expert supervision. Conditions can be experienced that may perturb and even scare those unfamiliar as to what may be expected to happen while the fast is proceeding. So it becomes a definite essential to have a guide and constant supervisor. This may apply even to experts in fasting. They are wise to take their fasts, if fasting should be necessary, under the direction of another expert.

Once this positive abounding health is restored, the price for it having been paid, a way of life should be adopted that conserves it. Most people die in their youth. We have a life-potential of over a hundred and fifty years, yet we find people considering themselves or others old at eighty or ninety. It is our duty to live, and to live healthily and productively.

Life is the most precious thing we have. We do not have the right to destroy it, yet we certainly do destroy it if we consciously do those things which endanger health.

Every time we eat flesh we injure ourselves and shorten life. Every time we eat foods that are unfitted for our digestive and assimilative organs we are committing slow suicide, which is a sin. We hurt ourselves more than others ever hurt us. If another person were to give you stomach pains or headaches, or plant a tumor in your body, or destroy the functioning of your liver or kidneys, what would you say of them? Are you not equally guilty of all that you would accuse him of being ?