Dugald Semple was born in 1884 and died in Edinburgh in 1964, aged 79. He was a Scottish advocate of 'simple living', a naturalist, prolific author, and fruitarian. He thought that he would live until at least 120 and believed that it wasn't old age that killed people, they died from their own 'knives and forks'.
He lived in the now ruined Davie's o'the Mill Farm near Mill o'Beith from 1930 to circa 1950, however he is said to have given up living in houses in 1907 and dwelt in an army style tent or caravan instead. Dugald preached self-responsibility and care for others. He was known locally as the 'Bird Man' being a naturalist and was an enthusiast for outdoor living. He welcomed walkers and cyclists who often camped on his land.
He began by cutting out not only all meat or flesh foods, but also milk, cheese, eggs, butter, condiments, tea and coffee. He then adopted a fruitarian diet of uncooked nuts, fruit, cereals and vegetables, living on this diet for some ten years, and found that his health and strength were greatly improved. He never tasted cheese and in 1912 Dugald stated that milk and eggs were not natural foods for man, saying that "Eggs were meant to produce chickens and not omelettes; and cow's milk is a perfect food for a calf, but most assuredly not for a grown-up human being." He advised the Government in WWI on dietary substitutes for meat.
Dugald served as the President of the Scottish Vegetarian Society, Vice-President of the Vegetarian Society, Chairman of the Vegan Society and Vice-president of the International Vegetarian Union. He lectured on his beliefs and way of life in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, spoke at World Vegetarian Conferences in India, Norway, and Paris and regularly spoke on the radio..
Dugald was fond of quoting Robert Burns, appealing for a more widespread appreciation of the real values in life - more sunshine for the body, more love for the soul, peace for every living creature the world over.
His published books include 'Joys of the simple life', 'A free man's philosophy', 'Be Your Own Doctor Natural Cures for Common Ailments', 'Joy in Living', 'The Sunfood Way to Health', and 'Be Your Own Doctor: Natural Cures for Common Ailments'.