diet and Diet Reform


Table of Contents



About This Book

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
Edited by : Bharatan Kumarappa
First Edition : 5,000 copies, July 1949
ISBN : 81-7229-062-4
Printed and Published by : Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1949


Chapter 7: Unfired Food

The interest evinced in my experiment in unfired food and the testimony received in support are truly remark­able. Some correspondents even send their experiences for publication. But I refrain. I have found among enthusiasts a tendency towards exaggeration. They often build their conclusions on insufficient data or see a connection between a result and their experiment not warranted by actuality. Whilst therefore these experiences are very help­ful to me, as I am able to check them by my own, I am chary of sending them out as a guide to fellow seekers. I therefore propose periodically to give the verified results of my own experiences and observation coupled with the caution that even they are liable to variation. I have found after prolonged experiment and observation that there is no fixed dietetic rule for all constitutions. All that the wisest physicians claim for their advice is that it is likely to benefit in a given case as in a majority of cases they have found it to answer fairly well. In no branch of sci­ence is the scientist so hampered in his research as in the medical. He dare not speak with certainty of the effect of a single drug or food or of the reactions of human bodies. It is and will always remain empirical. The popular saying that one man's food may be another's poison is based on vast experience which finds daily verification. Such being the case, the field for experiment on the part of intelligent men and women is limitless. Laymen ought to acquire a workable knowledge of the body which plays such an important part in the evolution of the soul within. And yet about nothing are we so woefully negligent or ignorant as in regard to our bodies. Instead of using the body as a temple of God we use it as a vehicle for indulgences, and are not ashamed to run to medical men for help in our effort to increase them and abuse the earthly tabernacle.
But now for nothing the results to date:

  1. There are now twenty-two in the Mandir making the experiment with me. Most of them have given up milk.
  2. They are now having bananas added to their diet and the quantity of cocoanut taken has been increased.
  3. It can be stated with tolerable confidence that when milk is retained there is no danger of weakness or any other untoward result.
  4. There is no difficulty about digesting uncooked sprouted grains and pulses and uncooked green vegetables.
  5. Cases of constipation have in most cases yielded to the elimination of grains and pulses and a liberal use of coconut milk and green vegetables such as dudhi (mar­row), pumpkin, cucumber, etc., all taken with their skins well washed. Coconut milk is prepared by grating an undried cocoanut fine and mixing it with its own or other clean water and straining and pressing through a stout cloth. A whole cocoanut may be thus taken without the slightest injury or discomfort.
  6. In the majority of cases weight has been lost, but the medical authorities who favour unfired food assert that the loss of weight is a healthy reaction up to a point and is a sign of the body throwing off poisonous matter.
  7. The majority still experience weakness but persist in their experiment, believing in the above-mentioned authorities that weakness is an intermediate stage in this experiment. There is no doubt that the stomach which has undergone distention through overfeeding with starchy and fatty foods feels an emptiness till it resumes its natural size.
  8. The experiment is not an easy thing nor does it yield magical results. It requires patience, perseverance and caution. Each one has to find his or her own balance of the different ingredients.
  9. Almost every one of us has experienced a clearer brain power and refreshing calmness of spirit.
  10. Many have found the experiment as a decided help in allaying animal passion.
  11. Too much stress cannot be laid on the imperative necessity of thorough mastication. I observe that even many of the careful inmates do not know the art of mastication and have therefore bad teeth and spongy gums. A few days of hard and conscientious chewing of the cocoanut and green vegetable has brought about won­derful results in this direction.

Several physicians are taking an interest in my experi­ment. They send me texts from Ayurvedic writings for or against the articles I have been using. Two or three have sent me the identical text against taking honey mixed with hot water and pronouncing dire results. When I ask them whether they have verified the text from their own expe­rience they are silent. My own experience of taking honey mixed with hot water extends to more than four years. I have experienced no ill effect whatsoever. Objection has also been raised against the use of honey on humanitarian grounds. This objection has, I admit, considerable force though the Western method of gathering honey is cleaner and less open to objection. I fear that if I would be strictly logical I should have to cut down many things I take or use. But life is not governed by strict logic. It is an organic growth, seemingly irregular growth, following its own law and logic. I began taking honey in Yeravda jail under medical advice. I am not sure that its use is now necessary for me. Western doctors bestow high praise upon it. Most of them who condemn the use of sugar in unmeasured terms speak highly of honey which they say does not irritate as refined sugar or even gur does. I do not want to weaken my present experiment by abjuring honey just now. The humanitarian aspect will be infinitely more served, if the unfired food experiment succeeds beyond doubt.
Another physician quotes a text against the use of sprouted pulses but he too lacks actual experience for supporting his text. And this has been my complaint against many Ayurvedic physicians. I have no doubt that there is abundant ancient wisdom buried in the Sanskrit medical works. Our physicians appear to be too lazy to unearth that wisdom in the real sense of the term. They are satisfied with merely repeating the printed formula. Even as a layman I know many virtues are claimed for several Ayurvedic preparations. But where is their use, if they cannot be demonstrated today? I plead for the sake of this ancient science for a spirit of genuine search among our Ayurvedic physicians. I am as anxious as the tallest among them can be to free ourselves from the tyranny of Western medicines which are ruinously expen­sive and the preparation of which takes no count of the higher humanities.

Young India,