Eating For Strength & Muscle #1
William Bankier was billed as Apollo, the Scottish Hercules.
He had the world’s biggest biceps before steroids were available.
His arm-building exercises included rope-climbing and lifting dumbbells containing electrical batteries to “stimulate” muscle growth.
Apollo’s circus acts included harness-lifting a 3,200-pound elephant and its rider.
He also stood on the backs of two chairs while lifting a man above his head with his right hand and juggling plates with his left.
William Bankier (Ideal Physical Culture, 1900) wrote …
“Man may subsist on almost any kind of food, animal or vegetable, provided it contains all the elements of nutrition; in other words, it must be flesh-forming and heat-giving. The animal kingdom depends for support on the vegetable kingdom, and that is the reason why both animal and vegetable food contain the same life-sustaining properties; hence it is that man can live on vegetable food alone, or wholly on animal food. The vegetable eater gets his nourishment in all its purity from the original source, and converts it for the first time into his own flesh and blood; whereas the flesh eater gets his from a second-hand source, and re-converts into his own flesh that which has already been used by another animal.
“It is calculated that about two-thirds to three-fourths of the human race live on simple vegetable diets. The peasantry of Norway, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and almost every other country in Europe, live chiefly on vegetable food. Millions live entirely on rice. The Persians, Hindoos, Burmese, Chinese, Japanese, the inhabitants of the East Indian Archipelago, of the mountains of Himalayah, and, in fact, most of the Asiatics live upon vegetable productions. The great body of the ancient Egyptians and Persians, confined themselves to a vegetable diet, and the Egyptians of the present day as well as the negroes, (whose great bodily powers are well-known,) live chiefly on vegetable substances.
“The brave Spartans, who, for muscular power, physical energy, and ability to endure hardships, perhaps stand unequalled in the history of nations, were vegetarians. The departure from their simple diet was soon followed by their decline. The armies of Greece and Rome, in the times of their unparalleled conquests, subsisted on vegetable productions. In the training for the public games in Greece, where muscular strength was to be exhibited in all its varied forms, vegetable food was adhered to; but when flesh meat was adopted afterwards, those hitherto athletic men became sluggish and stupid.
“The hardy, sturdy peasantry of Scotland live mainly on oatmeal porridge and milk, barley, and potatoes, and they are robust, active, and long-lived. Dr. Johnson defined the word ‘oats’ as ‘food for men in Scotland, and horses in England;’ to which the spirited Lord Elibank replied — ‘Yes, indeed; and where will you find such men and such horses?’
“It is said that vegetable-eating animals are stronger, and capable of greater endurance than flesh-eating ones. For pure muscular strength, the rhinoceros exceeds all animals now known on earth, and it lives on the lowest order of vegetable food. This animal is not more than half the size of an elephant, and yet a whole drove of elephants will fly with terror from it, and every other beast is equally afraid of it. It is true that man may accustom himself, or animals under his care, to live on a very unnatural diet for a limited period, but never equal to that enjoyed by animals which subsist on purely natural food.”
What about milk, eggs, fish, pork, and beef?
(To Be Continued)