Nikola Tesla maintained an exacting regimen of specific foods and very
little sleep. Tea and coffee were evils while alcohol was the elixir of
Meat is another food which he never touches, Dr. Tesla explained. Two
quarts of milk a day provide him with all the proteins and calories he
needs to remain alive, he said. Although as a rule he does not retire
until 5:30 o'clock every morning, he gets up about 10 A. M. and feels
full of energy.
Between sips of the warm milk, he eyed the newspaper folk with their
Scotch and sodas and confided that if he had not given up drinking
alcohol with the enactment of Prohibition he would live to be 150 years
"As it is, I believe my abstinence from alcohol during the latter part
of my life has lopped off fifteen years from my life, and now I expect
to live only 135 years," he remarked, "Alcohol is the elixir of life,
but when this country passed the Prohibition Law I felt that as a
patriotic American I should stop drinking whisky. I have not touched it
—Tesla, 80, Reveals New Power Device. Says His Wireless Invention
Will Gird the Earth With Energy for Industry. New York Times. July 11,
In another interview, Tesla expanded on his vegetarian diet, described
even more stringent sleep requirements and praised the virtues of
taking an electrical bath.
His diet is simple. He lives chiefly on vegetables, cereals and milk.
The menu includes onions, spinach, celery, carrots, lettuce, with
potatoes occasionally. Whites of eggs and milk complete the diet. There
is no meat on his vegetable plate. He never smokes or tastes tea,
coffee, alcoholic beverages or any other stimulant.
"I sleep about one and one-half hours a night," the inventor says. "I
think that is enough for any man. When I was young I needed more sleep.
But age doesn't require so much. There are so many things to do I do
not want to spend time sleeping needlessly. In my family all were poor
sleepers. Time spent in sleep is lost time, we always felt."
"But what is giving me more fun than anything I have done for a long,
long time," Dr. Tesla explains, "is an electric bath which I hope to
have ready for general use very soon.
"It doesn't require much room. There is a platform on which the person
stands. He turns on the current. Instantly all foreign material such as
dust, dandruff, scales on the skin and microbes is thrown off from the
body. The nerves, too, are exhilarated and strengthened. The 'bath' is
excellent for medical as well as for cleaning purposes.
—Dr. Tesla Visions the End of Aircraft in War. Every Week Magazine, Oct. 21, 1934.
Chewing gum and tea were by far the greatest villains.
It is in striking contrast in its medicinal and dietetic value to all
other stimulants which, without exception, are injurious. Even smoking,
snuffing or chewing tobacco will eventually impair the health, though
not quite so much as chewing gum, which, by exhaustion of the salivary
glands, puts many a foolish victim into an early grave.
But by far the greatest number of victims are claimed by tea and
coffee. Dr. Alexander Haig, foremost authority on uric acid and founder
of his famous diet, says of the former: "Tea drinking is just like drug
taking, in fact, and has just as terrible and fatal results."
The truth about alcohol is that it acts as a caustic and a solvent. In
small quantities it cleans and sterilizes the alimentary channels;
thereby preventing infections, and proves a beneficial stimulant to
thought, speech and physical exertion.
— Chewing Gum More Fatal Than Rum, Says Tesla. New York World Telegram, Aug. 10, 1932
I'll leave the last words to those in Tesla's autobiography. In it, he
speaks of the physiological effects of these demons.
[Coffee and tea] These delicious beverages superexcite and gradually
exhaust the fine fibers of the brain. They also interfere seriously
with arterial circulation and should be enjoyed all the more sparingly
as their deleterious effects are slow and imperceptible. Tobacco, on
the other hand, is conducive to easy and pleasant thinking and detracts
from the intensity and concentration necessary to all original and
vigorous effort of the intellect. More to the storyWho was Nikola Tesla?Who was Tesla, really?Tesla versus EinsteinTesla versus Adrian MonkWas Tesla anti-Semitic?A Predatory Mind: Purchase the book
Chewing gum is helpful for a short while but soon drains the glandular
system and inflicts irreparable damage, not to speak of the revulsion
—My Inventions, The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, compiled by Ben
Johnston, Experimenter Publishing Company, Inc., copyright 1919