X. That the discomforts a man feels after unseasonable
abstinence are no less than those of
unseasonable repletion, it were well to learn by a
reference to men in health. For some of them
benefit by taking one meal only each day, and
because of this benefit they make a rule of having
only one meal ; others again, because of the same
reason, that they are benefited thereby, take lunch
also. Moreover some have adopted one or other of
these two practices for the sake of pleasure or for
some other chance reason. For the great majority
of men can follow indifferently either the one habit or
the other, and can take lunch or only one daily meal.
Others again, if they were to do anything outside what
is beneficial, would not get off easily, but if they
change their respective ways for a single day, nay,
for a part of a single day, they suffer excessive discomfort.
Some, who lunch although lunch does not
suit them, forthwith become heavy and sluggish in
body and in mind, a prey to yawning, drowsiness and
thirst ; while, if they go on to eat dinner as well,
flatulence follows with colic and violent diarrhœa.
Many have found such action to result in a serious
illness, even if the quantity of food they take twice
a day be no greater than that which they have
grown accustomed to digest once a day. On the
other hand, if a man who has grown accustomed,
and has found it beneficial, to take lunch, should
miss taking it, he suffers, as soon as the lunch-hour
is passed, from prostrating weakness, trembling and
faintness. Hollowness of the eyes follows ; urine
becomes paler and hotter, and the mouth bitter ; his
bowels seem to hang ; there come dizziness, depression
and listlessness. Besides all this, when he
attempts to dine, he has the following troubles :
his food is less pleasant, and he cannot digest what
formerly he used to dine on when he had lunch.
The mere food, descending into the bowels with
colic and noise, burns them, and disturbed sleep
follows, accompanied by wild and troubled dreams.
Many such sufferers also have found these symptoms
the beginning of an illness.