Adelle Davis •
Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit •
There was a time when you couldn’t walk into any bookstore in the country without facing a barrage of Adelle Davis books: Let’s Get Well, Let’s Cook It Right, Let’s Have Healthy Children, and the best known of them all, Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit. (Using Let’s in the titles was an inspired touch, establishing a friendly, coaxing tone in keeping with her personal approach.)
“Thousands upon thousands of persons have studied disease. Almost no one has studied health,” Davis observed keenly, and set out to do just that. From the 1930s up until her death in 1974 she waged a vigorous campaign to educate people about healthy eating and encourage them to take charge of their well-being. She laid myriad human ills squarely at the door of inadequate nutrition, and warned of the dangers of preservatives, sugar, and pesticides in the typical American diet long before their harmful effects were widely recognized.
If the medical community initially regarded her as a crackpot, the public was listening. Much of the current popularity of organic and natural foods can be traced directly to Davis’s influence.
Let’s Eat Right consolidates her findings in clear, accessible language. In it she discusses the role of protein, vitamins, and minerals in the human body, with dramatic examples of deficiencies overcome and health restored. Davis’s ideas seem less radical today, but her forthright manner and comprehensive research still make for absorbing, informative reading.
Throughout her life she remained a fierce critic of the processed food industry, decrying its “propaganda,” misleading practices, and suppression of information (which she likened to Hitler’s book burning) in the strongest terms. “Persons are being made to suffer,” she declared unequivocally. “Producing disease in human beings is the cruelest of all possible cruelties.”
Even in print Davis seemed to boom.