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Moderation is the greatest of the virtues and diet should be moderated to the peculiar needs of the individual. If you are now studying metaphysics for the first time, we should advise you not to take an extreme attitude towards diet. If you have long studied the spiritual sciences you may already have developed a diet suitable to your own needs. A sudden fanatical change in any habit is very likely to cause unnecessary suffering, even tragedy. The metaphysician refines diet by eating less of very heavy foods, but he does not starve himself to death. It is important also not to view a meal as a lapse into sin and apologize to yourself or others for the fact that you still need food. A meal to be useful to the body should be pleasant, tasteful, and enjoyable. It is not a disgrace to eat, but is a disgrace to eat too much, unwisely, and uncomfortably. The problem of vegetarianism is ever-present. If you are already a vegetarian and find that such a diet is suitable to you, the problem is well in hand. If you are not a vegetarian, I would not advise that you stop meat eating at the first lesson, but rather that you eat somewhat more lightly of meat foods until you are satisfied that such a diet would be suitable. Theoretically vegetarianism is a great success, but my experience has shown conclusively that like nearly all virtues, it can lead to serious trouble. This is particularly true for persons suffering from certain chronic diseases who would find their condition seriously impaired by any sudden change. To vegetarians a special word of warning: Do not use starches as a substitute for meat or you will be worse off than you were before. A balanced vegetarian diet requires considerable time and thought. No one should try to live exclusively on raw fruit and vegetables unless he has personally experimented in this matter over a number of years. Remember this, the East Indian mendicant does not have to contend with the strain and tension of Western living. Sitting quietly under a tree, he performs no heavy exertion as he meditates the greater part of the time. A diet suitable for him is not suitable for you. To quote Socrates again: “In all things, not too much.” That means not too much food, and not too much enthusiasm in the matter of trying to get along without food. Fasting or extended periods of special eating should be undertaken only under the supervision of a trained and qualified dietitian. Experiments in starvation are usually unfortunate for amateurs. | Manly P Hall

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