top of page

Historical Event

Copy URL to Share


October 9, 1857

Short Description:




Screenshot 2023-09-23 at 1.31.54 AM.png

After thirty days of an exclusive oatmeal diet among 4 subjects, Dr Salisbury ends the experiment saying "Concluded it was neither prudent or safe to carry the experiment any further" as they had awful digestive illnesses and uncomfortable sleep. A return to beef steak cleared up the problems.






J.H. Salisbury


Important Text:

 In October, 1857, I placed four hearty, well men upon oatmeal porridge as an exclusive diet. It was seasoned with butter, pepper and salt. Cold water was drank between meals, and a pint of coffee, seasoned with sugar and milk, was taken at each meal. The men were the most healthy and vigorous I could procure. All regarded themselves as perfectly well, and none had ever suffered any severe illness. Their ages ranged from twenty-three to thirty-eight years. I required them all to live with me continually, night and day, and to take no food or drinks other than what I gave them. They were to receive $30 per month each, with board and lodging. I subjected myself to the same rules and regulations, asking of them nothing but what I would and did do myself. This gave them a confidence and pride in the work, each striving to outdo the other in the strict observance of the rules. 

At noon on the 9th of October, the rigid diet began. The noon and night meals of the first day were greatly enjoyed by all. Retired at 9 p. m. and slept soundly and well. All were called up at 6 a. m. next morning. Meals were taken at 7 a.m., 12 m. and 6 p. m. On the afternoon of the second day, all began to be more or less flatulent. Bowels bloated, and wind in motion in the large bowels. Each had a constipated movement of the bowels during the middle and latter part of the day, accompanied by much wind. Before the exclusive oatmeal diet began, each had one regular movement of the bowels every morning.

At 4 p. m. gave the men a walk of about two miles, which helped to work off the flatulence. All retired at 9 p. m. and slept soundly. 

At 6 a. m. of the third day, all were called and required to take a cold sponge bath. Before the bath, a dull, heavy feeling pervaded the entire party ; this was partially relieved by the bath. Very flatvdent ; bowels more or less distended and uncomfortable. Ate quite heartily at the 7 a. m. breakfast, each drinking the pint of coffee allowed.

 At 8 a. m. walked the men out for about two miles. This somewhat cleared away the dullness, and worked off the flatus. There was a general feeling of thirst during the forenoon, which was satisfied by a free indulgence in cold water. 

Dined at 12 m. At 2 p. m. all were feeling quite bloated and very uncomfortable. Gave them a two mile walk, which to some extent relieved the distended, duU feelings. Not one had a passage of the bowels on the third day. Appetites still good, but not ravenous, as on the first day. Retired at 9 p. m. A stupid, heavy feeling pervaded the household. Very flatulent, with colic pains. 

The fourth day, all rather dull and quite flatulent, with occasional colic pains. All had movements of the bowels in the latter part of the day, accompanied by much wind. Appetites good. 

The fifth day found all about the same as on the fourth day, except that the symptoms were aggravated. Each had a small, constipated movement in latter part of the day and evening. 

The sixth day, all the derangements of the fifth day were more pronounced. Each had a small, difficult movement during the latter part of the day and evening. Very flatulent. 

The seventh day, the derangements of the sixth day were stdl more marked. Flatulence and constipation increasing. Each had a very small, hard movement during the latter part of the day and evening.

I will indicate the boarders by the letters A, B, C and D. They exercised daily. Morning and evening walk of two mHes. Rising hour, 6 a. m. Retiring hour, 9 p. m. The following table will show their symptoms under the diet named, from the 8th to the 34th day, inclusive : —

Topics: (click image to open)

A doctor or medical professional who studies or promotes exclusive meat diets
Evidence where harm or nutritional deficiencies occur with diets restricted of animal products. A very general hypothesis that states that eating more plants, whether in famine, or addiction, cause more disease. Metabolic, hormonal, anti-nutrients.
Facultative Carnivore
Facultative Carnivore describes the concept of animals that are technically omnivores but who thrive off of all meat diets. Humans may just be facultative carnivores - who need no plant products for long-term nutrition.
Vegetarian Myth
Digestion is the process by which the body breaks down food into smaller components that can be absorbed and utilized for energy, growth, and repair. It involves both mechanical and chemical processes that occur in various organs of the digestive system.
Fiber, also known as dietary fiber or roughage, refers to the indigestible portion of plant foods. It is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by human digestive enzymes. Instead, it passes through the digestive system relatively intact, adding bulk to the stool and aiding in the regularity of bowel movements. It isn't technically classified as an essential nutrient. The term "essential" in nutrition refers to nutrients that the body cannot produce on its own (or cannot produce in sufficient quantities) and therefore must obtain from the diet
bottom of page