17. A “Cancer Free” People Of Asia

“Cancer ... [is] unknown among them.”

This 1960 pronouncement, which shall cite later at greater length and in context, is ‘a new version of an old report that a seven-year (1904-11) medical survey of the native State of Hunza had failed to reveal a single malignancy. The population surveyed was then about 11,000 but is now more than 20,000; the author of the pronouncement was then a youthful agency surgeon but is now Major General Sir Robert McCarrison. Met at first with skepticism, his observations were repeatedly confirmed. Let me quote again from Dr. Alexander Berglas' half-century résumé of the case beginning on page 73 of his 1957 book Cancer, at the section entitled “Are There Regions with Little or No Cancer?”

“The question of whether civilization contributes significantly to the rise of cancer was studied among less civilized peoples.

“In the secluded Karakorum region of Asia, far from any civilization, live the Hunzas, among whom disease is almost unknown. The people living there are sheltered from the psychic and physical stresses to which men are exposed in more civilized areas. Their diet is simple and natural ... Sir Robert McCarrison, a surgeon in the Indian Health Service, observed a total absence of all diseases during the time he spent in the Hunza valley. In particular, no case of cancer came to his knowledge.”

Dr. McCarrison's own typical statement appears in his Studies in Deficiency Disease (London, 1921). After quoting, with approval, the famous Danish nutritionist, Dr. Mikkel Hindhede, to the effect that “‘The principal cause of death lies in food and drink,’” McCarrison goes on:

“My own experience provides an example of a race, unsurpassed in perfection of physique and in freedom from disease in general, whose sole food consists to this day of grains, vegetables, and fruits, with a certain amount of milk and butter, and goat's meat only on feast days. I refer to the people of the State of Hunza, situated in the extreme northernmost point of India ... They have, in addition to grains — wheat, barley, and maize — an abundant crop of apricots. These they dry in the sun and use very largely in their food. Amongst these people the span of life is extraordinarily long; and such service as I was able to render them during seven years spent in their midst was confined chiefly to the treatment of accidental lesions, the removal of senile cataract, plastic operations for granular eyelids, or the treatment of maladies wholly unconnected with food supply.”

In November of 1921, some months after the London publication of Studies in Deficiency Disease, McCarrison gave at Pittsburgh the Mellon Lecture, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (Chicago) for January 7, 1922, as “Faulty Food in Relation to Gastro-Intestinal Disorder.” The Hunza case is here dwelt upon at greater length:

“I propose in this lecture to propound the thesis that much of the gastrointestinal disorder of civilized peoples of the present day is due to faulty food. In doing so I shall present evidence of the incidence of such disorder among civilized communities and its comparative absence among certain races living under more natural conditions; and contrast, in general terms, the food habits of the former with those of the latter ...

“For some nine years of my professional life my duties lay in a remote part of the Himalayas where there are located several isolated races far removed from the refinements of civilization. Certain of these races are of magnificent physique, preserving until late in life the characters of youth; they are unusually fertile and long lived and endowed with nervous systems of notable stability...

“During the period of my association with these peoples I never saw a case of asthenic dyspepsia, of gastric or duodenal ulcer, of appendicitis, of mucous colitis, or of cancer ... While I cannot aver that all these maladies were quite unknown, I have the strongest reason for the assertion that they were remarkably infrequent ... Their buoyant abdominal health has, since my return to the West, provided a remarkable contrast with the dyspeptic and colonic lamentations of our highly civilized communities.”

“Searching for an explanation” of this difference, McCarrison speaks briefly of the temperate use of alcohol and the salubrious results of an active life spent in large part out-of-doors; he discusses at length two other subjects:

“(1) Infants are reared as Nature intended them to be reared — at the breast ...

“(2) The people live on the unsophisticated foods of Nature ... I don't suppose that one in every thousand of them has ever seen a tinned salmon, a chocolate, or a patent infant food, nor that as much sugar is imported into their country in a year as is used in a moderately sized hotel of this city in a single day ... enforced restriction to unsophisticated foodstuffs of Nature is compatible with fertility, long life, continued vigor, perfect physique, and a remarkable freedom from digestive and gastrointestinal disorders, and from cancer.”

The nature peoples whom he has studied, McCarrison says, are healthy on simple and little-processed foods which are, in essence, “the protective foods, as McCollum has named them ... But the case is different with civilized man. No longer is he content with the unsophisticated foods made in Nature's laboratory ... To him these are ‘still for meat,’ but preserved, purified, polished, pickled and canned. Some he extracts and distills with the object of procuring concentrates agreeable to his taste ... One way or another, by dessication, by chemicals, by heating, by freezing and thawing, by oxidation and decomposition, by milling and polishing, he applies the principles of his civilization — the elimination of the natural and substitution of the artificial — to the foods he eats and the fluids he drinks. With such skill does he do so that he often converts his food into a ‘dead’ fuel mass ... he joins deficiency of some materials with excess of others...

“I am not for the moment concerned with the circumstances of his civilization — expediency, penury, prejudice, ignorance or habit — which have compelled man into this dangerous course. It is sufficient for my purposes that these circumstances exist, and that, in consequence of food habits they have fostered, normal bodily function cannot be sustained ... I often think that we are apt to assume more readily the office of salvors of wrecks than of pilots whose function it is to prevent them.”

McCarrison's views, as thus expressed in 1921, appear to be mainly the result of his own 1904-11 Kashmir experience. His observations and opinions, and those of other Hunza students before and after him, have been reviewed frequently. It is unlikely, however, that anyone has done a more perspicacious job than Dr. G. T. Wrench in The Wheel of Health (London, 1938), which I shall cite, dwelling most on those testimonies and opinions of Hunza investigators which appear to have a bearing on our Eskimo ones, whether in general relation to health or in particular relation to cancer.

The first and perhaps most striking contrast in health between the two peoples is that the Eskimos were formerly quarantined by the uncrossed Atlantic from the contagious diseases of the Old World while the Hunzas were continually exposed to them — how exposed is made apparent in the opening paragraphs of The Wheel of Health's chapter, “The Hunza People”:

“Where India meets Afghanistan and the Chinese Empire and is closest to the Soviet Republics, there, amidst a congress of great mountains, is the Native State of Hunza ... There, in a profound cleft, between walls from ten to fifteen thousand feet in height ... the beautiful and highly cultivated sunny seven miles, which is the heart of Hunza, may, by its very remoteness, have sheltered primary truths of health which civilization has forgotten ...

“Fortunately many people have seen the Hunza folk, for their valley is the highway to the 15,600 foot wall which divides India and China ... Actually more than a thousand years ago an army of ten thousand Chinese did cross ... With this exception, these clefts have only been traversed by small groups of men. In modern times most of the European explorers, missionaries, and officials, on their way from India to Central Asia, take the Hunza route.”

That “Fortunately many people have seen the Hunza folk” is doubly true in that the early modern explorers published pencil sketches of them; and more recently travelers like the Lowell Thomases, senior and junior, have made available still photographs an moving pictures of them. Their physical prowess — their agility, strength, and endurance — had long been well known, through words and pictures. But not until McCarrison's time was their exceptional health and longevity appreciated, and especially not their success in resisting the many diseases to which they must have been exposed through living beside an international highway.

Wrench explains how he came to undertake that interpretation of McCarrison and the Hunzas which he presents. Speaking for himself as a young doctor, he asks: “Why was it that as students we were always presented with sick or convalescent people for our teaching and never with the ultra-healthy? Why were we only taught disease? Why was it presumed that we knew all about health in its fullness?”

Failing to enlist support for study of the healthiest people he could find, Wrench studied the sickly, completed his medical training, entered general practice, became an army doctor in 1914 for the duration of the First World War, and re-entered general practice. In his 1938 book he says that it “was not until two years ago, when I had more leisure, that a vivid sentence in the writings of Sir Robert McCarrison thawed my frozen hope. The sentence was: ‘These people [the Hunzas] are unsurpassed by any Indian race in perfection of physique; and are long lived, vigorous in youth and age, capable of great endurance and enjoy a remarkable freedom from disease in general.’”

At long last able to follow his bent, Wrench now devoted himself to the proposition: “By studying one of the healthiest peoples in the world we might so improve our methods of health as to become a really healthy people ourselves.” As he discusses McCarrison's work and views, Wrench arrives at the belief that by following the Hunza way of life, or another one as good, Europeans could develop an immunity to many diseases, including cancer — an immunity, that is, equaling the Hunzas' own. That he is not going to summon Europe to a vegetarian crusade, however, he brings out on his page 100:

“The Hunza, with the exception of their occasional meat, are lacto-vegetarian feeders such as Hindhede and other nutritionists, including McCarrison, put as the healthiest diet of mankind. As a general diet it may well be so; though the polar Eskimos, with an entirely opposite diet, do not yield to the lacto-vegetarians in health and physical endurance.”

Since, in the view of Wrench, the almost exclusively meat-eating Eskimos do not yield to the almost exclusively lacto-vegetarian Hunzas in physical endurance and health, it may be useful to compare what Wrench says of the Hunzas with what our earlier witnesses have said of the Eskimos. I refer especially here to the alleged former Eskimo freedom from cancer and the alleged present like freedom of the Hunzas. I shall slant my comparison toward what Eskimos and Hunzas are reported to have had in common or lacked in common.

One of the most radical changes in the Eskimo way of life, of those that took place shortly before cancer was first detected among them, was that the practice of breast feeding their children over several years was replaced by the European custom of weaning after a few months. About the Hunzas, Wrench says that “their children were breast fed up to three years, it being considered unjust to the living child for its lactation to be interrupted by maternal pregnancy.” During these prolonged nursing periods, both Eskimo and Hunza youngsters were of course being introduced gradually to foods other than mother's milk.

The other foods to which Eskimo children were formerly introduced during the nursing period were meats, raw or underdone, masticated as necessary by the mother. On how this was done in Labrador in the years 1902-13, some two decades before native cancer was first detected there, I have already quoted at length Dr. Hutton, who said that “cookery holds a very secondary place in the preparation of food — most of the food is eaten raw and the diet is a flesh one.” Among the lacto-vegetarian Hunzas, when youngsters are being introduced to outside foods during the nursing period, apparently other milks are added to the diet, along with milk products, as well as predominantly raw fruits and vegetables. Wrench says:

“Looking through the diet, it will be seen that there is nothing strange to the westerner in the Hunza foods ... The difference lies in the way they are eaten and the way the are cultivated. It is upon these differences that the better health and physique of the Hunzas in major part depends ...

“... vegetables they eat raw when they can ... They are fond of raw green corn, young leaves, carrots, turnips; and as it were to exaggerate their veneration for freshness, they sprout their pulses an eat them at their first green. This eating of sprouting pulse or gram is widespread in northern India, and undoubtedly within it there is health which is not in the pulse itself ...”

I have said about the Eskimos, of the period before 1930, that only in some districts were they wholly carnivorous; in most districts they ate some vegetables, then nearly always raw, which ranged in annual caloric yield from perhaps 1 per cent to at most 5 per cent. The like, in reverse, is reported from the Hunza. McCarrison said that those whom he knew ate a little goat meat on feast days. Wrench, doubtless because he supplemented McCarrison's information from other sources, both earlier and later, puts it this way:

“Meat is a rare pleasure to the Hunza, as it is with the Sikh, both of whom take it on the average every ten days ... Some get it once a month ... The reason for its scarcity as a food is that the animals are valued as dairy animals in a country where pasture and fodder are scarce ... Animal food is well liked and figures at feasts.” The meat is stewed so thoroughly that the heat “must destroy the factors in food without which scurvy results. The Hunza, however, get no scurvy, because the stew is only a part of their diet and an unusual one ... They also eat sun-dried meat raw, if it is fat and well flavored ...”

On his page 104 Wrench makes a digression, for which he apologizes. I do not omit the digression; for it bears on the northern medical missionary view that the introduction of European cooking weakened the previously robust health of the Eskimos. Of the Hunzas Dr. Wrench says:

“... heating, and particularly boiling, is the chief human sophistication of food. Its danger is that it destroys the factors grouped around vitamin C; and scurvy, either in its mild form of pallor and lassitude, or in its severe form of foul flesh and bleeding, results ...

“It has been argued by Mr. A. M. Ludovici in his admirable treatise, Man's Descent from the Gods, that the legend of Prometheus can be explained in no other way but by the scorbutic evils which followed the introduction of cooking. Prometheus brought fire to mankind and was punished by Zeus. For in the place of the pristine health of the people came woes and sickness, only to be alleviated by Dionysus, the saviour, who taught men how to ferment grape juice, ivy juice, honey, and to eat germinated grains ... it is known, of course, that these fermentations and sproutings, young life in fact, are particularly effective against scurvy.”

Wrench says that “at feasts ... the Hunza drink freely of their homemade wine ... So, in the matter of balance to cooking by home-brews and sprouting grams, the Hunza are no doubt better off than we.”

Quoting McCarrison, Wrench relates that “the Hunza are great fruit eaters, especially of apricots and mulberries both in fresh and dry state.” On his own, Wrench explains that “they do not cook their fruits.”

Wrench asks: “When should one begin a diet? ... The real answer to the question is that one should not oneself have to start a diet ... One ought to step into it as one steps into existence ... We don't start at birth ... The speck that is to become a human being becomes it through foods ... Food is primary ... A healthy mother, eating healthy foods, is then a prerequisite for a good start.” The Hunza child before its birth is nurtured by the healthy blood of the mother who makes it from the wholesome things she eats. Then, herself still eating the right things, she breast feeds her child for several years while gradually introducing it to an outside diet the sources of which may be vegetable or animal but should in any case be mainly raw and fresh. “The Hunza food comes straight from the gardenfield or the hillside. Its freshness is its excellence. The most valuable form of young green life ... is sprouting gram ... They eat it raw."

Wrench thinks it should not be hard for Europeans to learn to eat germinating seeds as a fresher and more health-promoting

form of greens. But there will be difficulty, he fears, about increasing sufficiently the fresh and green element of British meals. “We inherited a hunters' and a pastoral dietary. The game ate the vegetation and our ancestors ate the game.” Still he thinks there is a chance to increase for our material benefit the eating of things that are fresh, and raw or underdone. Many people already like salads and raw oysters, rare sirloins and roasts; and such people would take to what he thinks is the ideal form of food — raw meats such as the Eskimos formerly ate, and especially the best greens which to him are germinating seeds. “The sprouting beans of the Chinese emporium in Soho and the several Chinese restaurants in London are already popular.”

 

At this point Wrench has brought down to 1938 the story which began with the 1904-11 observations and interpretations of McCarrison. That story has been continued for twenty-one more years, to 1959, by Dr. Allen E. Banik and Renée Taylor in Hunza Land (Long Beach, Calif., 1960). From that book were taken the opening words of this chapter, to which I shall now return in context.

On his page 173 Dr. Banik, who spent some time in the Karakorum, says of the people: “Their freedom from a variety of diseases and physical ailments is remarkable. Cancer, heart attacks, vascular complaints, and many of the common childhood diseases ... are unknown among them. I am convinced that the diet upon which these people have lived for centuries is responsible for the enviable good health they enjoy."

Dr. Banik is not a specialist in cancer, nor trained as an epidemiologist; but he is a lifelong reader of whatever he has been able to find about the Hunzas.

Finally he made a trip to West Pakistan, visited the people in their homes and conversed with them through interpreters. He also recorded what was told him by the fluently English-speaking hereditary ruler His Highness Muhammad Jamal Khan, Mir of the State of Hunza. Banik asked questions prompted by what he had read and seen. Hunza Land may therefore be regarded to an extent as native comment on the European scientific writings of McCarrison and his predecessors and successors.

Politically, and in other ways, the situation in 1959 had been a

good deal altered since Wrench wrote his book twenty years before. In food habits there has been little Change as yet except that more grain is being imported, the population having increased. The quality of the imports does not match that of the homegrown products and the proportion of grains to vegetables and fruits has altered. Banik is concerned that disease may result. As yet, however, the health and longevity remain, in his opinion the best in the world.

From among the Hunzas of Asia, then, still come reports of investigators seeking cancer, and not finding it, such as used to come from among the Eskimos of North America. For today's account of what is history elsewhere, I shall review the health situation as described in Hunza Land, pausing occasionally to compare the Eskimos, as they are said to have been, with the Hunzas, as they are said to be.

According to the testimony of our earlier chapters, medical missionaries to the Eskimos have considered the rawness of the latter's food an important factor in protecting against cancer. It is interesting to compare this with Banik's opinion that “About twenty percent of the food eaten in Hunza is cooked; the balance is eaten in its natural state.” He goes into detail:

“Vegetables in season are eaten raw ... At home we eat a few raw vegetables (as in salads), but these healthy natives prefer food in the raw ... They get the full nourishment of the plant because it is altered very little in the transfer from soil to table. Even corn on the cob is eaten raw in the milk stage. They soak beans and peas in water for one or two days and then spread the seeds out on wet cloth in the sun. They are eaten raw when they begin to sprout ...”

Europeans have five chief ways to process food: by heat, chemicals, cold, drying, and fermentation. Of these the Eskimos and Hunzas alike minimize or avoid the first two, cooking and salting. Both processings have been thought carcinogenic by the medical missionaries quoted earlier, for instance by Hutton for Labrador and Schweitzer for Africa.

Of the last three methods, thought by many to be preventive of cancer, the first, freezing, was much used for half the year by the Eskimos but was not feasible for the subtropical Hunzas. High as their mountains are, the sharp night frosts of winter seldom last through the day and at any rate are not continuous enough for long enough to be of use in food preservation.

The second of the processing methods considered salubrious by northern medical missionaries, sun drying, used by the Eskimos for preserving meat, was used by the Hunzas for preserving their vegetables, especially their fruits. In this chapter I have already quoted McCarrison: “They have ... an abundant crop of apricots. These they dry in the sun and use very largely in their food." This Banik confirms a half century later and testifies that when fresh fruit is not in season apricots, which have been dried in the sun, are soaked in water overnight, and that the fruit “resumes its original size and is just as sweet and delicious as the day it was picked.”

The last of the five European processing methods, and the third of the ones considered by northerners as antiscorbutic and therefore presumably anticarcinogenic, is fermentation. Eskimo food being mainly flesh, the “young life,” so highly praised by Wrench in relation to the Hunzas, is available to the northerners only as the microorganisms which produce decay. Now while most peoples of the world are fond of something rotten in their food, there are few countries where people enjoy whole meals of it. The foods that smell to high heaven, because of their active microorganisms, are normally used in small quantity at the end of big meals, as we use our strong cheeses — as the British use their Stilton, the French their Roquefort, the Belgians their Limburger, the Norwegians their Gammelost, the British Columbia Indians their candle fish, and the Eskimos their herring.

Banik's experience confirms what Wrench had to say about the Hunza way of promoting enjoyment of meals, and their enjoyment of a long life, through drinking quantities of “young life" in their fermented wines:

“Hunza wine, which I occasionally sampled ... had a pleasant mild taste that belied its potency ... I found two glasses more than sufficient." Banik asked the Mir if his people ever became intoxicated from drinking Hunza Pani. “He shook his head in the negative. ‘Do they drink it freely,’ I insisted, ‘more than two glasses at one time?’ ‘Why, of course,’ His Highness answered me. ‘On festival nights they drink it by the bottle, and every day it is a normal part of their meals ... Perhaps that is why we are known as the healthiest and happiest people in the world!’”

By the testimony so far reviewed, then, the Hunzas go easy on those two of the five main European methods of food processing which northern medical missionaries think carcinogenic, heat and chemicals (cooking and salting). The first of the supposedly wholesome processings, freezing, they have used little, if at all. The second wholesome method, sun drying, the Hunzas employ even more extensively than the Eskimos (or the northern Athapaskans). The third of the salubrious methods, fermenting, they also use more extensively than the Eskimos.

Banik's evidence also supports McCarrison and Wrench in the matter of breast feeding. With marked similarity to the former Eskimo practice of prolonged breast feeding, “male [Hunza] children are nursed by their mothers until the age of three (girls to the age of two) ... it is the belief of the people that a long nursing period gives the youngster the best possible start in life.”

Elsewhere Banik speaks of the favorable status of women among the Hunzas. He does not say that Hunza girls get a worse start than boys through having one year less of mother's milk. But such a comment may be implied in a question-and-answer exchange on page 225 of Hunza Land: “Q. Do Hunza women outlive their men as is customary in other countries? A. The contrary is true in Hunza. Men outlive the women by an average of about five years.”

Related to the long nursing periods, no doubt, would be a wide spacing of pregnancies; for it is a common belief that active lactation tends to inhibit conception. Among the Hunzas, Banik says, “intervals of two to five years are customary between births.”

That was how it used to be among the Eskimos, as mentioned by a number of the authorities quoted — such as John Simpson in 1852-54, John Murdoch in 1881-83, and especially the Presbyterian medical missionaries R. H. Marsh, 1897-1912, and H. W. Greist, 1921-37. These, among others, agreed that they found nursing periods varying from two to five or more years — the births usually, not always, corresponding.

But, as quotations from these authorities have shown, Europeanization of North American Eskimos became progressively heavier after 1920, especially as pertains to food. During the period 1920-40, Eskimo women were learning from white women to substitute canned milk and “formulas” for breast feeding, and to wean after a few months instead of a few years. A baby each year became the usual result. In 1956 Dr. G. E. MacGinity wrote from Point Barrow to the British scientific journal Nature (November 17, 1956) that formerly “Eskimo women became pregnant only once in several years”; but since the Europeanization of their way of life “birth rate is increased as much as threefold” and “they bear a baby every year.”

Longevity, the end product of good health, is believed by many to have been high formerly among the Eskimos; it is apparently known to be so still among the Hunzas. Banik says (p. 25) that they “today live in health and happiness to the age of 120 years ... the healthiest, longest-lived people in the world.” He is sure (p. 143) that “the Hunzakuts do not consciously follow any regime designed to ensure long life.” He is sure (p. 147) that “the people of Hunza do not rely on drugs.” He is sure (p. 174) that cancer is unknown among them.

He is worried, however, about the future (p. 237): “... the Hunzakuts, a unique race, enjoy a much longer life and a much healthier one than is customary. In my opinion the Hunzakuts would live even longer if they had more land and more natural fertilizer. At present the country is over-populated and it is necessary to import food. The population is now over 25,000; fifty years ago it was 7,000. Disease will result from eating deficient foods, and the life span of the people will inevitably be shortened. Presumably Hunza will go the way of all civilizations.”

As for fortifying the deficient imported foods with substances like vitamins, Dr. Banik takes a position similar to that of Dr. Berglas in France, that food boosters, such as vitamins, do not serve adequately to improve a diet. On the use of chemical fertilizers to increase crop yields, he says: “Commercial fertilizers are forbidden by law.”

Writing as the Canadian government's chief Eskimo specialist, Dr. Diamond Jenness said of the Stone Age Eskimos: “Among adults, death was nearly always due to ... either old age or the perils that are inseparable from life in the Arctic ... the natives were remarkably healthy.” Similarly Banik answers the question (p. 223), “If Hunza is disease free, how does death come?” as follows: “Like the ‘one hoss shay,’ all the Hunzakuts' bodily organs seem to expire at one time. One day the oldster is there; the next day he is gone.” On the same page he says: “There are many ‘elders’ in Hunza ... I would say the oldest man is 120, although it is said that some have lived to 140 years.” Elsewhere he says that modern investigators have found the I. Q. high; and on page 210 he says:

“The Hunza people have become a legendary saga, a mystery to the rest of the world, because they mastered the secret of old age. They live long and remain youthful in mind and body until they die. There are some people who live to be ninety or one hundred in our country, too, but they are such a minority that few of us know about them.”

Among the foods considered responsible for the high average longevity of the Hunzas, Banik dwells on cereals which are eaten in whole-grain form. He lists about the same vegetables as McCarrison and Wrench and adds that there is “some meat (generally mutton) and milk products.” He mentions “sweet and sour milk, butter and cheese. Goats and sheep supply most of the milk. All nutriments are preserved because pasteurization is unknown among the Hunza.”

On page 200 he stresses for the lacto-vegetarians a matter that has been considered important in explaining the reported former good health of the meat-eating Eskimos, namely that their diet prevented constipation. Among the Stone Age Eskimos of Coronation Gulf, most of whom had not seen Europeans even from a distance until Dr. Jenness and I came to live among them (I for a year, 1910-11, and he for two years, 1914-16) constipation was known only as an accompaniment of famine, considered chiefly due to a lack of fat foods. On constipation Banik says: “While the importance of good nutrition cannot be over-emphasized, there is another factor that contributes to radiant good health. Complete elimination is an absolute essential. Constipation, ‘the father of human disease,’ so prevalent in our country, is utterly foreign to the people of Hunza.”

Banik does not think it would be a hardship for us to attempt reaching the Hunza quality of health through adopting a suitable variant of the Hunza diet. He says that “organically rich foods are so superior that, once they are tried, the ‘old diet’ will seem insipid and unattractive. I shall never forget the natural sweetness and marvelous taste of the fruits and vegetables I enjoyed in Hunza.”

And Banik may himself try it, for he says on page 175: “My attitude towards eating changed radically after I observed the Hunza way of life. I realized that it is time for the Western world to awaken to facts and do something about changing its ‘civilized’ habits.”

Hunza Land, in its cumulative message, is in accord with the poet Horace who expressed himself 2,000 years ago on Roman “civilized” feeding; and who is quoted with approval by Roger Bacon in the thirteenth century to the effect that for attaining health it is simple and natural foods which matter. I quote from Bacon's book, The Care of Age and the Preservation of Youth, translated from the Latin by Dr. Richard Browne and published at London in 1683:

“How can it be that he who either is ignorant or negligent of Diet should ever be cured by any pains of the Physician, or by any Virtue of Physick? Wherefore the Physicians and Wise men of old time were of opinion, That Diet without Physick sometimes did good, but that Physick without due order of Diet never made a man one jot the better.”



Chapter 18 >>