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Return to Learn from Luigi Cornaro "How to Live One Hundred Years"

"Even after a life of abuse has brought its possessor within sight of the grim reaper, a complete reversal of the ways of life may result in such restoration of health as to prolong life for many more years. "
by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
to Cornaro's Discourses on a Sober and Temperate Life

In 1833 an edition of Cornaro's Discourses on a Sober and Temperate Life was published in New York with introduction and notes by Sylvester Graham. Mr. Graham edited and corrected the edition and it was presented to the reading public of that day in the hope, a not vain one, that it would result in the people becoming more sober and temperate in their ways of life. Many read the book with understanding and followed its precepts with profit. A number of editions of this renowned book have been published since that time and I believe it safe to say that few books of its kind have ever exerted a wide and more wholesome influence.

In his introduction Graham demolished the opinion then held and still held by the great majority of people who give thought to the subject at all, that, "every man can ascertain, by his own experience, what is best for him, and how he ought to live; and that no general rule can be laid down, which will be equally suitable to all mankind." It should be obvious, after but a moment's reflection, that if this statement were true, our knowledge of how best to live could come only after an extensive personal experience, hence at the end of a life, largely, perhaps, misspent. It would come too late to do us any good. If there are no principles of physiology and biology that are applicable to all of us, if there are no hygienic practices that are equally good for every man, if every man is a law unto himself, so that what is one man's boon is another man's bane, then there can be no science of health, no possibility of ever learning how to live, except at the end of a long and costly period of personal experience. We would, then, be most likely to kill ourselves in trying to learn to live.

The theory as expressed in Graham's day, and as held today, is that, because there are differences in constitution, temperament, predisposition, etc., a way of life that is good for one man may prove harmful to another. If this contention is true, then are we indeed living in a reign of chaos rather than one of law and order. Graham quotes the contention of some of the people of his time that, "Some, with great regularity of habits, and temperance in diet, enjoy good health and live to great age, while others pursuing the same course, are always sickly, and die young; and, on the other hand, some, with great irregularity and intemperance, enjoy health and live to become very old. Therefore what is best for one man, may not be for another; consequently it would be impossible to prescribe any mode of living, which would be suitable to all constitutions and circumstances."

A very hasty and superficial view of the subject lends to this view the appearance of plausibility, but superficial views are never trustworthy. An honest, candid and full investigation of the subject of life and living in their relations to health, disease and length of life, will lead to a different view and to very different conclusions. For, if we go beneath the surface we shall discover the reign of law and order in the realm of life.

Graham's reply to this popular belief was that the person of good constitution who lived a temperate and sober life would enjoy good health to a ripe old age; whereas the person of feeble constitution would be less healthy and live less long. On the other hand the person with strong constitution whose life contains much that is conducive to good health, will live to advanced age despite irregularities, while the person of poor constitution who lives an irregular and decidedly unwholesome life will die young. There would seem to be no contradiction in this. As nobody's life is all bad, there being different degrees of good and bad in the mixture, length of life must be measured by the rapidity with which the life breaks down and destroys the original constitutional endowment, be it sound and vigorous or unsound and feeble. But the feeble constitution and the vigorous constitution are governed by the same laws of life. There is no logical reason why two constitutions of the same excellence shall endure to the same length of life and in the same condition of health, if one of them is treated kindly and the other abused unmercifully.

The example of Cornaro is an interesting lesson for us in that it reveals to us in dramatic fashion the fact that, even after a life of dissipation and abuse has greatly broken an originally good constitution and brought its possessor within sight of the grim reaper, a complete reversal of the ways of life, a revolution in habits, may result in such restoration of health as to prolong life in usefulness, happiness and strength for many more years. Whatever may be our view of life, we certainly cannot contend that had Cornaro continued on in his dissolute way of life, he would have regained his health and lived to the age he did. There is no reason to doubt that the prognosis of his physicians would have proved reasonably accurate had he not revolutionized his way of life. Drink, gluttony, a dissolute life these never restored health nor repaired an already greatly impaired constitution. Even small improvements in the way of life are often enough to account for improved health. Certainly no increase in the drinking, gluttony, dissolution, etc., can produce other than harm.

Unfortunately, when we offer such examples as that of Cornaro (there is the other famous one of Jenkins), people generally conclude that, where the examples are so rare, they must be accounted for upon the basis of some accidental or adventitious influence, such as parentage or fortunate circumstances. They are not yet ready to understand that what we know to be true of one man is an example in the strictest sense of the controlling power of the mode of life (Cornaro's life gives us an example of the results of two ways of life) in determining the quality and length of each individual life. Their incredulity, when such matters are presented to them, is the outgrowth of their ignorance and of the fact that they have not yet learned an abiding faith in great principles.

But the examples are not so rare as may at first thought be assumed. That Cornaro's example has received more publicity than that of any other man is, perhaps, true. Thousands of such example, however, have existed and do exist, that have never been publicized. The fact, then, that the average man is possessed of nothing more than the vaguest and generally incorrect views of the modus operandi of causes operating in the lives of people, is not ground for accepting his erroneous conclusions about the relative merits of opposites mode of living — the two modes being variously blended in the lives of most people. Viewed as cause and effect, opposite modes of life cannot produce identical results and only first-class habits of living can logically be expected to produce superior results.

Certainly the thousands of examples of the saving potency of a hygienic life should be sufficient to awaken men and women to an understanding of the importance of a correct mode of living and arouse in them a desire to be freed, as much as possible, from the uncertainties of a mode of life that is based on no correct principle, the practices of which are irregular and haphazard, and is so plainly unsuccessful. If the presentation of a new edition of Cornaro's famous treatise will help in achieving this desirable awakening, it will have served a very useful purpose. Although at the time he wrote, Cornaro could have had nothing but the crudest notions of physiology and pathology, his example of the influences of the two modes of living is not crude and it should be emphasized that thousands who have read his discourses have adopted his mode of temperance and abstinence and have been greatly improved in health.

Continue to Introduction by Hereward Carrington

Return to Learn from Luigi Cornaro "How to Live One Hundred Years"

Also read at this website:  
How Diseases are Cured by Herbert M. Shelton
The Time-Factor in Recovery by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
About the "Laws of Life" by Herbert M. Shelton

"amazing long-lived natural doctor!"


My First Water Fast
I was startled by the statement that all colds, fevers and influenzas were nature's attempt to free the body of disease. I devised an experiment to test this - click here
Fruit - Friend or Foe?
He lived on nothing but grapes - By the 32nd day, his gum was bleeding - one of his teeth fell out. He exclaimed: My God, I am detoxicating my teeth - click here
Symptoms to Expect when Improving Your Diet
This initial letdown lasts about ten days, and is followed by an increase of strength, a feeling of diminishing stress and greater well-being. - click here
How Diseases are Cured
Dr. Shelton: - It is high time to learn about the causes of disease and of the "complications" that so frequently develop under regular care - click here
The Time-factor in Recovery
Dr. Shelton: - Why do we expect to get well in a hurry of a condition that requires a life-time for its development? - click here
Sequential Eating
Any quick digesting foods must wait till the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach - a process which can take up to 6 or 8 hours. - click here
How Important is Diagnosis?
Once the truth of how to live is understood, the process of illness can be reversed more or less painlessly by intelligent living - click here
How to Live 100 Years
If you follow a minimal diet you can achieve super nutrition. Let's look at Luigi Cornaro, who at age 35 was weak, sick, and dying - click here


How to Solve Problems
The following method, ancient in its origin, has been practiced by several civilizations dating back for thousands of years. - click here
Causes of Addiction to Habits
The key which unlocks the mystery of why most habits are difficult to break lies in the understanding of the stimulation and depression mechanism. - click here
How to Overcome Temptations
The very moment an undesirable craving has entered your consciousness, DON'T struggle with it. Absolutely REFUSE to consider its existence - click here
Attentive Eating
A subject which can radically change a person's life in all of its aspects - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. - Attentive eating. - click here
Energy in the Body
The lift we get from drinking coffee, or the expression of strong emotions - is the expenditure of energy, not its accumulation - click here
Energy, Feeling and Thought
The person who feels depressed or negative most of the time is low on the energy level scale and needs to increase rest and sleep - click here
The Energy Principle in Healing - New Concepts
All healing and regeneration is in ratio to the amount of energy which is available - the more energy, the more detoxicating healing - click here


Three Generations of Hygienists
These children, the skeletal development wasn't right, the dental arches were not well-formed, teeth came in crowded - click here
In Search of the Ultimate Diet
I put a group of mice on a fruitarian diet. But they didn't seem to be eating very much fruit, and they certainly weren't crazy about it - click here
The Ideal 100% Raw Diet
My aim here was to try to find a diet of 100% raw foods that mice and equally humans could live on, with all the factors needed for excellent health - click here
Vegetarian Diet & Food Plan
Dr. Cursio: - it represents more than 55 years of this brilliant nutritionist's experience as one of the greatest teachers in the field of Natural Hygiene - click here
Vegan rats die early & have low energy
When the vegetarian male died it was 22.8 months old. The omnivorous male had accomplished the same amount of work when it was but 6.9 months old. click here


Primitive Man - His Diet and Health
The duration of life is long, the people being yet strong and vigorous as they pass the three score and ten mark, and living in many cases beyond a century. click here
Vilhjalmur Stefansson: Adventures in Diet
I have lived in the Arctic for more than five years exclusively on meat and water ... I tried the rotten fish one day, and liked it better than my first taste of Camembert. During the next weeks I became fond of rotten fish. click here
Aajonus: Primitive Diet Example
After 12 years eating raw meat and never having had any more than a little diarrhea, I learned to relax and not fear raw foodborne bacteria and parasites. click here
Dr. Shelton: How Much Protein?
There is a delicate balance between carbohydrates and proteins, to which we have to conform - disease and degeneration resulting from failure to conform. click here
Drs. Eades: High-Carbohydrate Problems
An anthropologist examining skeletal remains of early man can tell immediately whether the bones and teeth belonged to a hunter-gatherer (mainly protein eater) or a farmer (mainly carbohydrate eater)..." click here
Dr. Rosedale: Insulin's Metabolic Effects
The actual rate of aging can be modulated by insulin... We should be living to be 130, 140 years old routinely. click here  
Insulin's Crucial Role: insulin article 2   What is mTor? insulin article 3
Cancer & The Warburg Effect
The theory is simple: If most aggressive cancers rely on the fermentation of sugar for growing and dividing, then take away the sugar and they should stop spreading. click here
Swami Narayanananda: Food And Drink
Many sects and people have very crude ideas about food and drink. In India, some narrow-minded and bigoted people have much hatred for non-vegetarian diet. click here


The Ten Health Commandments
Thou shalt lift thyself up through obedience to all of Nature's laws, and help thy brother to attain the same. click here
The Truth Behind All Religion
God is not punishing us with illness and disease. Our suffering is due to our ignorance of food's relation to health and happiness. click here
Practicing with Certainty
People who are told they have emotional problems are suffering from thinking problems. Their emotions are working fine. click here
Vivekananda: Man's True Spiritual Nature
Let positive, strong, helpful thought enter into their brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves open to these thoughts, and not to weakening and paralysing ones. click here


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