What Shall a Man Eat?

Originally published in The Western Mail & South Wales News dated Tuesday, May 3rd 1949
(Reprinted as a pamphlet by The Fruitarian Society in 1952)

Sir,—You have opened your columns for the discussion of the most important problem which affects the future of the human race: What shall a man eat?

The human race has spread under every sort of climate and geographical condition and has overcome all the overwhelming onsets of Nature, of her plagues, famines, droughts, arctic and tropical terrors. This is largely owing to the human intelligence working hand in hand with a flexible human digestion, resulting from millions of years of experience.

The human race loved life and decided that at all costs it would live. It would join the herbivores and eat bark of trees and meadow grass rather than die.

It would compete with the wolf and the tiger. It would drink the blood and eat the dismembered carcase of the deer and the coney rather than die.

It would wander like goats over the shore rocks and devour seaweeds and would pick up cockles and gorge on stranded whales rather than die.

It would drive off birds and eat their dinners of snails and worms and grubs rather than die.

It would descend to the level of hyenas and swine and partake of rotting corpses and dung and stinking slush rather than die.

And so the human race has survived and flourished.

To-day the world is full of treasures of foods of every kind and character and the human race can again use a higher intelligence, a developed imagination, a refined culture and the Divine spirit of compassion in order to select a human and humane diet which will secure continuous health, an ever present happiness in life and living, a renewal of youth with every passing decade, and a growing consciousness that I am the vital servant of God in helping to create a happier and kindlier world.

So as a scientist I am a fruitarian, and live on “the kindly fruits of the earth” – which include eggs, milk, butter, cheese and honey.

Let every man feed on what he feels belongs to his religion, his “class,” and his culture – for myself I am a fruitarian.

Dr. Josiah Oldfield,