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Instincts of the Stomach

When you browse through the health section at the bookstore you encounter a large number of books pertaining to what is a proper diet. These can include books promoting high-protein diets, diets based on blood type, vegetarian diets, and candida diets to name a few.

Samuel Hahnemann, MD, the founder of homeopathy, felt that diet played a crucial role in health and disease. I recently came across an insightful paper titled Dietetic conversations with my brother, chiefly about the instinct of the stomach that he wrote nearly 200 years ago. Despite the years that have come and gone what he talks about is just as valid today as it was back then. The essence of the article is our body knows what is best. All we have to do is listen to it. Let me quote Dr. Hahnemann.

“In its healthy state the human stomach only needs in instinct to direct us to certain classes of food, which we should partake of from time to time if we would continue in right good health. Thus, for instance, the peasant who has overworked himself, says to his wife when she is about to set before him cheese and eggs, “I wish you would make me a little salad; if you have any sour milk, give me a little of the whey in place of any food, or something else sour.”

But even when we are sick our body will tell us what it needs to get better. Hahnemann gives us some examples of this:

“I saw a lying-in woman, who after a difficult labor, suffered from intolerable after-pains and a great loss of blood. She cried for coffee, although when she was well she could scarcely endure it. Who told her that her hemorrhage resulted from atony of the womb, and this from diminished irritability of the fibers, and that the specific remedy for this was coffee: A few cups of very strong coffee were given to her, and hemorrhage and pains ceased suddenly.

A person who has contracted a bilious fever from anger and vexation, longs for nothing so much as fruit, who tells him that this is almost the only thing that can do him good?

If we would only study this voice of nature… we should be enabled thereby to escape a large number of diseases, and in many cases to attain long life without difficulty( Hahnemann was 90+ years old when he passed away). This virtue, which is nothing more than faithful obedience to the internal voice of our digestive organs, has the most perceptible influence even over all other virtues. I must judge by my own sensations what and how much will suit me; I must know it, or no one else can, unless, perhaps my ordinary medical attendant.”

Terry Pfau, DO, HMD

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