THE EVOLUTION OF DIET
We have shown that science places man amongst the fruit-eating animals, and that flesh-eating is a hygienic error. The question remains, why, how and when has man departed from his original dietary ?
Most evolutionists are agreed that man originally inhabited a hot country, where he could obtain more easily his natural food than in cold climates. As he migrated north, several important changes took place in his mode of living.
The glacial period, or age of ice, separated mankind into distinct races, and forced man to resort to all kinds of food through long periods of famine. Hunting and killing animals for food then became the law of necessity, deviating from his natural food, cut off from tropical regions. If we allow twenty or thirty thousand years ago as being the date of the glacial period, we must consider requisite several hundred thousand years prior for man’s normal type as a frugivorous being.
As civilisation appeared with the cultivation of the soil and the invention of fire, man learned how to grow and cook his food. The instinct for a natureil fruit diet reasserted itself, for man felt he was more a fruit eater than a grain eater, and thus planted fruit trees wherever he went. The Biblical story of the Garden of Eden is thus seen to have a
historical basis, and the prophetic mind may foresee that the meaning of these long years of laborious agriculture is to enable man to return to his early Paradise minus the sufferings of previous ages.
The idea that food is determined solely by climate will not bear the light of investigation. If the Eskimos have blubber to keeptliem warm, why have the Africans such an abundance of oil ? The truth about the Eskimo is that he lives upon animal fat simply because he has no choice in the matter. His diet is much more suitable for a polar bear
than a fruit-eating human being, and probably if he knew better he would migrate to warmer regions.
It is notable, too, that where we find the diet to consist almost exclusively of animal food, as in Iceland, diseases such as scurvy and leprosy are quite common. In striking contrast we have the case of the inhabitants of the Ladrone Islands, discovered by the Spaniards in 1620. The Ladronians lived in close contact with nature, and had never seen fire nor knew anything about civilised conditions.
Fruits, nuts, and vegetables in their uncooked form were their only means of subsistence. They were all a powerfully built race and could perform astonishing feats of strength. Disease was unknown to them, and many amongst them were centenarians. Such facts go to prove that man in his migrations must not forsake his natural dietary. This, nodoubt, was the original intention of planting fruit trees in the north, or wherever man wandered in the days when probably the tropical regions were overpopulated. At anyrate we know that nut trees once grew to a far greater extent in Britain than at present, and it was during the wars of Napoleon that many of our finest walnut trees were cut down
to make gun stocks. Everywhere and always the same, disease, flesh-eating, and the war spirit go hand in hand, and are still the greatest maladies of the human race.
The choice of a suitable dietary is a matter upon which most people bestow very little consideration, notwithstanding that there are laws of nutrition which must be as implicitly obeyed as any other laws of nature or physical science. The farmer usually finds it pays to study the feeding of his live stock, but seldom do we notice anything like the same attention given to the rearing of healthy human beings. As a nation we seriously err in this respect, and evidently prefer to trust to custom and convention rather than use our rational instincts to guide us in the wise selection of
the daily regimen.