Maintenance Of Weight Menus
( Originally Published 1916 )
Since writing the chapter on "Maintaining the Ideal" there have been discovered the three vitamins which have been freely discussed in medical literature and in many popular articles. They occur in grains—largely in the parts that are removed in milling to make white flour and cereals. Therefore it is important to eat whole grain breadstuffs and whole cereal products. They occur also in raw fruits and raw green foods, such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach and dandelion greens. It is likewise important to partake of these articles daily. Using these foods, which are recommended for their vitamine content, also insures a plentiful supply of minerals—iron, calcium, phosphorus, and others. One other value is their alkaline content. They maintain the normal blood alkalinity, which may be reduced to a harmful degree when the acid forming foods are eaten in undue proportion.
Good teeth are almost entirely dependent upon the proper diet, both in infancy and throughout life. There are races of people who have teeth that are nearly perfect. They are those who have used plentifully foods with vitamines, minerals, and coarse articles requiring chewing. The preponderance of poor teeth in the United States is sufficient evidence that our diet is far from correct.
While the menu which was given as a sample on page 60 is in accordance with text-books on the subject, or a trifle lower, I am convinced that it is still too high. As proof of this point I have cited in the preface the cases of Professor Chittenden and his friends. This is particularly true for the inactive city dweller and for the great majority who are inclined toward overweight. Since these two classes are the ones who will use such menus, it is better to write them for 1800 calories, as the author has done, than to allow 2200 to 2500 calories.
On the other hand, those inclined toward underweight should confine themselves to the chapter on "Weight Increase Menus" unless they gain more than they wish, when they may return to the present one.
These Menus are written, therefore, calculating food requirements as lower than they are given by most books. Experience has shown them to be correct. It can be explained why this error has crept into the text-books. People were formerly more active than at the present time. About ten per cent., at least, should be deducted for this reason. The Normal Weights were figured too high. A gradual increase in weight had been allowed for increasing years. This should not enter into the calculation, because it is due to added fat. Fat, being reserve, cannot increase food requirements. It really decreases requirements because it decreases activity. The weight (normal weight) in the early twenties should be the basis for our diets. Menus are generally based upon an average weight of 150 pounds. This is too high even for the normal average weight of men. It should be 140, this being the figure for the early twenties. The normal average weight for women is less, the height being less. Moreover many who are overweight are mildly hypothyroid, a class requiring less food, because in them tissue changes do not take place at the usual rate, being ten to thirty or more per cent. below normal.
Furthermore, I have not encountered any difficulty in reducing the stout too rapidly or having them unable to stop the weight reduction as soon as desirable. The difficulty is in avoiding an increase of weight after reduction has been completed. For this purpose these menus of 1800 calories are most useful.
It is very difficult for the inactive city dweller to prevent a gradual increase in weight, unless he lives largely upon the bulky foods. The fats (butter, cream, olive oil, bacon, fat meats, and fried foods) and the sugars, starchy desserts, cereals, and breadstuffs must be eaten sparingly, not more than one or two concentrated articles of food being allowed at a meal.
One advantage in these diets is the reduction in sugars, sweets, pastries, and concentrated articles generally. These are responsible for fermentation in the gastro-intestinal tract. This fermentation produces toxemia and is often responsible for high blood pressure. It aggravates acidity in the stomach (hyperchlorhydria).
The gastric juice digests proteins but interferes with the action of saliva which digests starches and sugars. Attention has been called to this by Dr. George H. Bell. For this reason it is unwise to eat freely of concentrated carbohydrates with heavy proteins like meat. Without separating them entirely, I have reduced the amount of concentrated carbohydrates at the main meat meal for the Weight Reduction and Maintenance Menus. This will lessen the feeling of distention after meals and often relieve symptoms of indigestion and dizziness and headache even though they may be of years standing.
All menus are calculated for individual portions. When used by more than one it is very simple to perform the necessary multiplication.
The expression "40% cream" refers to the heavy cream which is purchased in bottles in the city: "20% cream" is diluted with a trifle more than an equal part of milk.
Raw milk is preferable to pasteurized when the source of supply is such as to guarantee against infection. Vitamine C, which is present in such small amount as to be negligible in pasteurized milk, has not been credited to milk in these menus. City people seldom use raw milk.