Prepare to be even more revolted, flabbergasted, appalled, and completely entertained by this incredible follow-up collection of absolutely true trivia from the author of5 People Who Died During Sex.Nothing is too insane, too inane, or too sacred for Karl Shaw's eclectic lists of the world's very worst. DID YOU KNOW & that according to recent estimates (2010) your body is worth between $10,000-$100,000 on today's open market-from companies legitimately trading body parts from willing donors to recognized medical facilities? &that the great plague of Athens in 404, which lead to the defeat of the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War, was probably caused by contaminated cereals? That Benjamin Franklin liked to sit stark naked in front of his open windows, calling the practice taking an air bath? That in the last days of his life, the actor Steve McQueen lived on a diet largely comprised of boiled alligator skin and apricot pits, washed down with urine?
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Three Rivers Press
September 27, 2011
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Excerpt from 10 Ways to Recycle a Corpse by Karl Shaw
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
10 Extreme Food Fads
|1|THE BEAN DIET
The Ancient Greek Pythagoras and his followers were among the earliest vegetarians, but it had nothing to do with healthy eating or compassion for animals. According to Pythagoras, vegetarianism was the only way to ensure you were not eating your grandmother or another relative, whose soul could have migrated to your neighbor's pig. The great mathematician was said to be so passionate about his diet that he met his death defending a bean field.
|2|THE YOGURT DIET
The Russian biologist Ilya Metchnikoff, winner of Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1908, was a depressive who twice attempted suicide. His second attempt was with a large dose of morphine, which only succeeded in causing him to throw up and sit around in a catatonic state. While pondering the futility of life and the certainty of death, Metchnikoff was puzzled by the longevity of peasants in the backwoods of Bulgaria, many of whom lived to be more than a hundred. He decided that it was because they ate lots of yogurt. To test his theory he binged on untold gallons of the stuff, meanwhile boasting extensively about its life-extending properties. He died six years later at the age of seventy-one, leaving behind just a handful of fellow yogurt enthusiasts.
|3|THE FRUIT-AND-VEGETABLE-FREE DIET
In 1770 English physician William Stark set out to find a cure for scurvy by subjecting himself to a series of dietary regimes. Stark, a healthy six-footer, meticulously recorded the measurements of everything he ate, the prevailing weather conditions, and the weight of all his daily excretions. After spending thirty-one days on a diet of bread and water, which made him "dull and listless," he moved on to dietary experiments with olive oil, milk, roasted goose, boiled beef, fat, figs, and veal. After seven months of living exclusively on honey puddings and Cheshire cheese, he died of scurvy at the age of twenty- nine. He had considered testing fresh fruits and vegetables but never got around to it.
|4|THE GRAHAM DIET
Advocated in the 1930s by the US Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, who taught that the consumption of meat and dairy products stimulated excessive sexual desire and "bad habits," including masturbation, which he regarded as an evil that inevitably led to blindness and insanity. The Graham diet consisted mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat, and high-fiber foods, especially the graham cracker, which was so bland and tasteless it earned him the nickname "Dr. Sawdust." He developed a band of dedicated supporters across the United States, but his diet soon lost popularity when devotees became too weak to stand up, and the remainder lost faith when their mentor dropped dead at the age of fifty-seven.
|5|THE PEOPLE DIET
Montezuma II, the last Aztec ruler in Mexico, was famed for his gluttony. On a typical night he liked to eat chicken, turkey, songbirds, doves, ducks, rabbits, pheasants, partridges, quail, plus an adolescent boy or two, followed by tortillas and hot chocolate.
|6|THE "I'LL HAVE A GATOR SANDWICH AND MAKE IT SNAPPY" DIET
The actor Steve McQueen, in the last stages of cancer, lived on a diet largely comprising boiled alligator skin and apricot pits, washed down with urine, as was prescribed by his Mexican doctors.
|7|THE BOOGER DIET
According to Austrian medical expert Professor Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, picking your nose with your fingers and eating your boogers is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system. Dr. Bischinger describes mucophagy-the act of eating one's own extracted mucus-as "making great sense medically and a perfectly natural thing to do." The doctor also noted that children happily eat their own boogers, but by the time they become adults they have stopped under pressure from society.
|8|THE MILK DIET
The ninth president of the United States, William Henry Harrison, ate only cheese and milk products. His term, the shortest in the history of the presidency, lasted thirty days, eleven hours, and thirty minutes. The inventor Thomas Edison spent his last few years consuming nothing more than a pint of milk once every three hours.
|9|THE TAPEWORM DIET
Tapeworms are parasites living in the intestine of human hosts, consuming the host's food. As a result, people with tapeworms are hungry all the time but still able to remain thin, no matter how much they eat. Advertisements for "tapeworm pills" first emerged in the 1920s and since then a number of famous women, including the opera singer Maria Callas, are alleged to have tried this eating plan. An urban myth circulated during the early eighties that a US diet company was offering a "miracle diet pill," and women who took it lost such an alarming amount of weight in a very short time that doctors decided to look into it. When they opened a bottle of these mysterious pills to investigate the contents, they were greeted by the head of a tapeworm.
|10|THE FLETCHER DIET
Arguably the most revolting diet in history was an idea put forward by an American, Horace Fletcher in the 1900s. He was an athlete who had become so fat he was refused life insurance, prompting him to invent his own diet regime. After just four months he had shed more than forty pounds. Basically, on Fletcher's diet you can eat anything and as much of it as you like, but everything, including liquids, has to be chewed at least thirty-two times (or about one hundred times a minute) before tilting the head backward to allow the masticated food to slide down one's throat, accompanied by huge amounts of saliva. Hasty eating, Fletcher believed, resulted in undigested food clogging up the system, which led to constipation and the colon becoming a dangerous cesspool of bacteria (it was an era obsessed by the evils of constipation). People who gave "Fletcherising," a try, including John D. Rockefeller and Mark Twain, found that they ate less because the chewing took so long, thus diminishing the desire to eat, not to mention the will to live. Fletcher died of bronchitis, aged sixty-nine.