By this time I was heartily tired, and found the refreshment of some cow’s milk, and meat, with a chair to sit upon, very acceptable. I could not but wonder to see my two Laplanders, who had accompanied me during the whole of this day’s tedious walk, one of them fifty years of age, the other upwards of seventy, running and frisking about in sport, though each of them had carried a burthen all the way; not indeed a very heavy one, but, considering the distance, by no means trifling. This set me seriously to consider the question put by Dr. Rosen, “why are the Laplanders so swift-footed?” To which I answer, that it arises not from any one cause, but from the cooperation of many.
5. Animal food. It is observable that such of the creation as feed on vegetables, are of a more rigid, though strong, fibre; witness the Stag, the Bull, &c.; while, on the contrary, carnivorous animals, as the Dog, Cat, Wolf, Lion ,&c., are all more flexible. The fact and its cause are both evident. The Laplanders are altogether carnivorous. The have no vegetable food brought to their tables. They now and then indeed eat a raw stalk of Angelica, as we would eat an apple, and occasionally a few leaves of Sorrel; but this, compared with the bulk of their food, is scarcely more than as one to a million. In spring they eat fish, in winter nothing but meat, in summer milk and its various preparations. It may further be remarked, that salted food, which these people do not use, renders the body heavy.
6. The Laplander is satisfied with a small quantity of food at once. He does not eat his fill at one meal, but takes food from time to time, as he feels inclined.
On the contrary, the peasants of Finland cram themselves with as many turnips, and those of Scania with as much flummery, as their stomachs can possibly receive. The inhabitants of Dalecarlia eat till the body is as tight as a drum. Such people are much better qualified to labour in the cultivation of the ground, than to run over the alps. The Laplanders are always of a thin slender make. I never saw one of them with a large belly. Milk diet also contributes to render them active.
Carl Linnaeus, Lachesis lapponica, or, A tour in Lapland, Vol I., pg. 325-332 (1811, written in 1732)
I never met with any people who lead[Pg 27] such easy happy lives as the Laplanders. In summer they make two meals of milk in the course of the day, and when they have gone through their allotted task of milking their reindeer, or making cheese, they resign themselves to indolent tranquillity, not knowing what to do next. In winter their food is cheese, taken once or twice a day, but in the evening they eat meat. A single reindeer supplies four persons with food for a week.
Carl Linnaeus, Lachesis lapponica, or, A tour in Lapland, Vol II., pg. 26-27 (1811, written in 1732)