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From “Manly Health and Training, with Off-hand Hints Toward Their Conditions,” an article published by Walt Whitman in 1858 under the pseudonym Mose Velsor. It was reprinted by the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review in the Winter/Spring 2016 issue.

Usually breakfast, for a hearty man, might consist in a plate of fresh rare lean meat, without fat or gravy, a slice or chunk of bread, and, if desired, a cup of tea.

Dinner should consist of a good plate of fresh meat (rare lean beef, broiled or roast, is best), with as few outside condiments as possible.

In our view, if nine tenths of all the various culinary preparations and combinations, vegetables, pastry, soups, stews, sweets, baked dishes, salads, things fried in grease, and all the vast array of confections, creams, pies, jellies, &c. were utterly swept aside, and a simple meat diet substituted in their place — we will be candid about it, and say in plain words an almost exclusively meat diet — the result would be greatly, very greatly, in favor of that noble-bodied, pure-blooded, and superior race we have had a leaning toward.

One of the greatest mistakes made in arbitrary theories of certain things supposed to be conducive to health is that they forget that the true theory of health is multiform, and does not consist of one or two rules alone. The vegetarian, for instance, insists on the total salvation of the human race, if they would only abstain from animal food! This is ridiculous.

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November 1974

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