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Page Two

Leonberg Market Württemberg 2007

Leonberg Market Württemberg 2007
Photo Janice Carrera

In the 1950's on the farm

In the 1950's on the farm

Bircher Benner Clinic

Bircher Benner Clinic
The Bircher Benner Clinic In Zurich
Dr Bircher Benner introduced Muesli which he claimed was a perfect food for convalescence an easily digested raw food which retained all the vitamins. Many convalescents came to the clinic to stay after their operations in order to recuperate and derive benefit from raw food which gave them vitality, healing and energy.
Every morning at the clinic patients had a large bowl of Muesli consisting of raw oatmeal (preferably jumbo eats) soaked over night with either cow's milk or Soya milk; two raw grated apples for each person: and one dessert-spoonful of lemon juice and one of honey. A cup of herb tea was served with breakfast.
Before breakfast they were taken a short walk into the forest and every-one quietly chose a tree and pressed their palms against the bark for a few minutes feeling the healing power and energy from the trunk coming through their palms into their whole body and mind. The sense of uplift from this exercise gave them all a good start for the day.
After breakfast there were several water treatments for everyone.
Dr Bircher Benner cured many patients by giving them entirely raw diets. He believed that all vitality comes from the sun so by having raw salad and fruits on which the sun has shone we were taking in vitality. He had been to Mexico to investigate an Indian tribe's diet and found that they existed on fruits, nuts, vegetables, honey and grains, all of which they grew themselves organically. They were all healthy and strong and never developed cancer or other debilitating illnesses.
At the early evening meal everyone had Muesli, the same as at breakfast. This was his curative diet for every-one, then when people were quite better, cooked organic vegetables could be added to the diet with some whole-meal bread.


Dr. Benjamin Gayelord Hauser (1895-1984), popularly known as Gayelord Hauser, was an American nutritionist, self-help author, and promoter of "the natural way of eating" during the mid-20th century. He promoted foods rich in Vitamin B and discouraged consumption of sugar and white flour. Hauser was a best-selling author, popular on the lecture and social circuits, and was nutritional advisor to many celebrities
He was born Helmut Eugen Benjamin Gellert Hauser on 17 May 1895 in Tübingen, Germany to Christian Hauser, a schoolmaster, and Agate Rothe. At the age of sixteen, young Helmut jointed his older brother, the Reverend Otto Hauser, a pastor, in Chicago, Illinois; shortly thereafter they moved to Milwaukee
A tireless promoter, Hauser began his prolific writing career in 1930 with Harmonized Food Selection, with the Famous Hauser Body-Building System, and continued through his final revision of Gaylord Hauser’s New Treasury of Secrets in 1974. His books were translated into twelve languages, he had a popular column in the Hurst newspapers, and his most famous book, "LOOK YOUNGER; LIVE LONGER" (partly ghost-written by Frances Warfield Hackett), was condensed in the Reader’s Digest.
Gayelord Hauser spent his long and vibrant life studying and teaching the health benefits of what he coined living foods - those that contribute to a longer, healthier life. His WONDER FOODS - Yogurt, Blackstrap Molasses, Powdered Skim Milk, Brewers Yeast and Wheat Germ have become staples in many of today's households, but it was he who first extolled their merits, not only in America but in many others. His dedication and drive to educate people about the miracle of intelligent nutrition was the focus of his life. Perhaps it is because he owed his own life to the very thing he preached.

Mother (Lillian Childs) had the book ... Thalia

In the late 1970's we used to visit Norman in his bungalow when we had a house in Devon. He had been diagnosed with heart problems and the doctor had told him to eat meat and prescribed him prescription drugs. He refused to take these and was forever taking homeopathic tablets and remedies. He drank loads of Bovril diluted in hot water throughout the day, supposedly because he could not face chewing meat. Our father always told him it was doing him no good as it was full of salt, but he persisted and sadly died in 1982 of Ischaemic Heart Disease. Alastair.

Unilever says VEGETARIANS can now enjoy the drink and the move will counter concerns overseas in the wake of BSE.
The drink's usual 40% of beef stock has been replaced with a savoury yeast mix at the firm's Burton-on-Trent factory.
Unilever said in blind taste tests 10% did not notice any difference and 50% preferred the new product.
A spokesman for the firm said a long-term decline in sales had prompted the move.
"It was not an easy decision to make because we know people like the taste of beef," he added.


Link to family Vegetarian Discussion Forum - View & then send us a message


My mother was brought up as a vegetarian in the Bird Childs and Goldsmith family which was very unusual in the early and mid 1900's. She said she felt an outcast when growing up as she was so unlike others of her age. She didn't go to school as had a governess (she said) therefore had no experience of what other children were eating. Her father was not only a vegetarian but a herbalist as well, so she knew nothing of doctors or conventional medicine.
When she married my father it must have been a great cultural shock as not only was he a staunch meat eater, I have recently discoverd his family owned butchers shops, he was a pharmaceutical chemist as well, firmly believing in all modern medicines. She said she felt like a 'crank' with her upbringing.
When my brother and I were growing up mother rarely ate with us at the table, she was always fussing around in the kitchen, making the puddings and clearing up, saying she would 'eat later'. If she did sit down with us she just pushed her vegetables around the plate and always looked most uncomfortable. For tea she always had a cup of Bengers and nothing else.In 1900, Queen Victoria was having trouble with her digestion, and her doctor suggested she try Bengers, a kind of meal substitute designed for invalids. Luckily, the queen liked it - but, to her doctor's horror, "instead of substituting it for other foods", she added it "to her already copious meals".
My father always handled the meat, prepared it and put it in the oven. There was always a great ritual on a Sunday when he carved the roast at the table in front of my brother and I. Thinking back mother was rarely there. She said it restricted her life socially as she could not attend dinner dances and other functions as up until the 1960's no one ever catered for vegetarians, unlike today where a vegetarian option is offered even in the smallest eatery. Later on in life she claimed she had a gastric ulcer and seemed to live entirely on Bengers and Complan made with milk.She was admitted to hospital a couple of times and there was no provision for her diet. Chicken was placed in front of her and she was force fed, also beef broth. The nurses used to say 'Surely a little bit of chicken won''t hurt you dear - you must eat'
My memories of vegetarianism therefore are rather sad ones. When mother became frail in her eighties and went into a Home she blamed the family for her diet and ill health.
Vegetarianism seemed to have had a psychological impact on her life.
It would be interesting to hear others' experiences of living in a 'mixed' food enviroment.

I walked to the Butchers at Horns Cross most days to buy mother's meat as she could not bear to look at it on the counter. Alastair

Whenever we went to see Dudley and Thora they did not eat Meat . Perhaps Thora's life was a bit like your mothers...but only out side the house meat was a problem ? They had to attend so many civc dinners etc . Thalia


The most vivid adult memory I have of Vegetarianism and the family on the Childs side is in 1983 when I took my mother down to Devon to my grandmother Dorothy's funeral. We were invited to stay at Maurice and Lilian's. We arrived after a long and arduous journey by car from the South East, nothing was offered on arrival even though it was supper time, so we asked whether we could make a cup of tea. As we were filling the kettle from the tap Maurice came rushing into the kitchen 'you can't do that' he shouted you must only use the bottled water. Under the sink there were bottles and bottles of natural Mineral Water that had to be used, even more in crates by the door, presumably we supposed, for cooking the vegetables and anything else as well. We wondered whether they also used it to washed in ? The house felt 'cold' without the aromas of cooked food, it all seemed very sad.
Mother was aghast that they had arrived at these extremes, it wasn't like that when they were growing up as children she told me, she wondered what they did when they were ill ? When they were in their 20's Maurice and Dudley always took the 'girls' to the poshest of places for afternoon tea, The Grand, with its Palm Court Tea Dances, The Livermead, Fullers etc. They were always fussy about the service and and how things were presented but not that fussy about the food. This must have come later she said. They insisted on fine bone china teapots and teacups. When The Grand changed to stainless steel after the war they refused to patronize the place again.
On waking the following morning after the funeral we were offered nothing much to eat, just another cup of tea with mineral water, Lillian appeared very confused and didn't quite know who any one was. Mother was worried and wondered if this was due to her diet or lack of it. We couldn't wait to get on our way and stop at the first motorway cafe for a good feast. If this is what Vegetarianism is like I thought - it's not for me!

There was never much in their fridge - butter, milk youghurt and cheese - a bit of salad ....The reason you saw such a dire situation with my parents was that their relationship was on the rocks. her Alzheimers was not so bad, when Ian and I visited she was almost normal.... Mother used to make her own bread and feed us very well. Dad took over the cooking but did not have her skills. he used to coerce her into eating awful mixtures of food. She was banished from the kitchen....cooperation seemed impossible only control.Thalia


Warren's recollection of being brought up as a vegetarian is of his grandmother Gertrude being a rather cruel woman when he was a child. They were fed on leaves and herbs all the week and on a Saturday morning were made to drink salt water to make them sick and were later given an enema pump to 'cleanse the system'. Nothing ever came out as they had eaten nothing of substance all week

Thalia remembers Maurice saying how awful it was when he was billetted in a terraced
house with a woman in Bristol during the war when he worked making aircraft. She fed him on a stew made from meat bones and over cooked vegetables.He was appalled . Ted rescued him from this and took him under his wing. Maurice also used to leave Bristol at night during the bombing and sleep in hay stacks in the country.

Alastair remembers that every single day after her retirement Ellen (Pansy) blamed the family for forcing her to be a vegetarian ruining her health in later life.

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the well-to-do sat down to dinners of alarming richness. The modern vegetarian movement was a reaction to this, and was derived from the Age of Enlightenment, which emphasized the questioning of traditional institutions, customs and morals, and the recognition of the need for major reformation of the human condition. One the earliest vegetarians of the nineteenth century was Percy Bysshe Shelley, who converted to the meat-less diet in 1812. Fervent in his renunciation of meat consumption, he also added a political dimension to the cause, citing meat production–which then was the reserve of the privileged–as a reason for food shortages among society’s most needy.

Shelley was a hero of Gertrude and Lilian .......

"Yes, I was privileged in being raised by parents who cared, wanted the best for me in regard to health and who had the financial means to carry that out. There are many health aspects that I still agree with - for instance, use of yoghurt and natural produce wherever possible and morally I abhor the cruelty associated with fur - but I still wear leather shoes.

There were areas that were never satisfactorily explained to me and which left me vulnerable. For instance, the truth about the dairy industry, the changes to the landscape that would inevitably take place if vegetarianism were widely adopted, that apes eat meat, that fish is actually a good food, that there are pests in the animal world such as rabbits or pheasants which compete for greens and grain and which might justifiably be eaten without involving cruel farming methods - that people who eat meat can actually be healthy too, if they eat nutritious food as part of their diet. Nowadays there is a far more wide-reaching and, I would contest, more important debate on local versus non-local foods relating to transportation and resultant global warming. Should I buy organic beans flown in from Kenya or locally caught fish, is the type of environmental/political question that concerns me more than the vegetarian issue, which is just a small part of a much larger question.

I don't remember there being real debate at home. Only acceptance that my parents knew best - that's pretty normal for a child I imagine. Other family members may remember differently. My parents wanted what was best for us and therefore there was no requirement to debate that. It would only upset them and alienate us. I used to warn outsiders before they entered our house - don't ask for white sugar, bread etc. And I'd clear my own house of "bad stuff" before any parental visits. That's how much I cared not to upset them. I'd sooner have confessed to bank robbery than eating meat, but all the time I did feel unhappy that I had to go through this act - and take others with me. The result of being from a large family I think. I didn't want to be the black sheep - although as it turns out, I am in any case.

It took me a very long time to recover from my upbringing - (still debatable) - and to make my own decisions, by which time I'd already raised two vegetarian children - who thank goodness can eat fish and whom, I hope, I have consciously and deliberately released from the straitjacket of doing things to "please their mum". I'm grateful to have been raised in a healthy environment, yes - there is still a residual smugness about being amongst the pioneers of what followed. But I just wish that the most sensitive members of the family to their upbringing had been less oppressed by it. We're not all pioneers, some of us just want to fit in as children and be able to go out for a meal, or stay away from home without the pressure which would inevitably ensue from being different, and in my case I felt, without the necessary facts to back it up. In order to reduce arguments I used to resort to "I'm a vegetarian because that's how I was raised." I hated saying that, more than anything else I can remember, the innocent child's cop-out. But to say "It's for health reasons" immediately made me sound superior to them - " I must therefore be better, healthier, more intelligent, more knowledgable than you" and this would incite retaliation I didn't want to take on, often from people who wanted to knock me down, perhaps not realising that it was my religion they were attacking. How many children get asked "Why are you a Catholic/Protestant.....explain." If they asked in a non-combative way, then I was happy to discuss it, usually they didn't.

I'd like to take the opportunity to say this - that I'm very grateful to all those people who took a real interest and asked gently formed questions about my diet and put forward alternative theories. Not the ones who poked me in the eye, but the people who asked the sensible, intelligent questions which enabled me to understand what the real world thought about our fundamentalism and who, consequently, allowed me to say "No, enough is enough. I want to know what it's like to go to a normal restaurant and not have the vegetarian lasagna. Not to heave when someone puts meat gravy on my plate, not to have to start with the cake at a party. I can choose to eat healthy food at home and that can include fish and fowl - as long as it's reared in the best possible way. I don't choose to eat red meat, because I don't feel I need to, I've tried it and I can do without that. I realise the moral problems associated with the dairy industry, but I'm not strong enough to take that one on and I do drink milk. If I was totally honest about my concerns for the male dairy calves, I'd eat home-produced veal and prevent their immediate slaughter at birth or transportation to the continent.

Nowadays it's so much easier to be vegetarian - in Brighton it's almost compulsory! I would rather admit to being hypocritical - I've done my bit for the animal world all through my childhood - now it's the turn of today's youngsters to sort out what they think is best for themselves and, more importantly, the planet. I haven't thrown off the whole vegetarian ethos, but I have made a choice based on what I want and not on what someone else has indoctrinated in me. At least, I am a lapsed-Vegetarian - and that's probably as close to normal as I can ever hope to become."

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I had vegetarianism explained to me well by my grandmother and mother, hence my positive attitude. Thalia

My parents were never vegetarians (whilst I was growing up) but my grandparents and great grandparents were. I feel I was always inclined that way though, I never actually liked eating meat. When I was at Primary School in Scarborough we were forced to eat everything. I used to hide the meat behind the radiator so that I could leave the table. At home I would eat white meat and some bacon. I really took it on when I was a teenager, partly because basically I didn't like having meat in my mouth and also the state of farming and cruelty to animals. Believe it or not I went to Catering College and actually finished the course. We had to pluck ducks, skin rabbits and fillet fish I don't know how I did it now. I didn't take catering up as a career as went into the computer industry and film making. I travel around the world with my work & I haven't had too many difficulties in finding suitable food, except perhaps in the Eastern bloc - especially Russia - where I had to live on beetroot soup. Even this sometimes had meat in it and I had to send it back!