Efforts to prevent illness

The growing feelings of physical insufficiency were manifested in Kafka’s purism, striving for purity in life and his faith in the healing power of nature; on the one hand moral rigor, and on the other the protection of his body from harmful substances.
Sometime before 1910, Kafka became vegetarian. This radical transformation of his lifestyle was instigated by a visit to the promoter of natural medicine, Moriz Schnitzer, who owned a factory in Varnsdorf, and whom Kafka visited in 1911 during a business trip. Schnitzer rebuked his unhealthy lifestyle, finding toxins accumulated in his body, spinal marrow and brain. He recommended sleeping with open windows, a routine that Kafka maintained year round, staying in the sun, working in the garden and a membership in a natural therapy association, including a subscription to the magazine they published. It cautioned against official medicine and its drugs. Kafta began to follow their recommendations. He would prolong his foreign travels to be able to stay in the natural therapy sanatoria in Erlenbach (1911), Jungborn (1912) and Riva (1913). In 1913 he worked in the garden of the Pomological Institute in Prague-Trója and in garden centre in Prague’s district of Nusle. He continued to work physically even after the first bouts of his illness in 1917, including garden work and woodworking in Trója and Turnov.