Nutrition - Healthy Beverages
( Originally Published 1954 )
"WATER IS THE BEST DRINK FOR A WISE MAN." This statement was made by one of America's nineteenth-century philosophers, Thoreau.
A certain amount of water or watery fluids is required by the body both in health and disease. In high fever, the body requires more water than in mild forms of disease. In some diseases, water is best withheld from the body. A prominent English author and physician, Dr. Josia Oldfield, wrote an interesting book on The Dry Diet. Dr. Oldfield is in his nineties and yet is still in active practice—perhaps because he is a vegetarian! The dry diet, as discussed by Dr. Oldfield, cannot be gone into in this chapter. It is a subject that deserves full treatment in a complete treatise.
All kinds of ideas have been promoted by health and medical authorities regarding the required fluid intake. Some individuals who are constipated are advised to drink many glasses of water a day. People with high blood pressure are usually advised to limit their fluid intake to four glasses a day. It is seldom that a physician prescribes no water and substitutes health beverages such as fruit juices for the sick.
Healthy individuals are seldom thirsty when the diet is properly balanced. A diet that is not seasoned with too much salt, pepper or vinegar, nor composed of fried, greasy food, will not make one thirsty. When the food intake is charged with condiments and too much fat, thirst is usually a natural consequence of eating such meals.
In diseases of certain kinds (diabetes being one of them), the body demands water. Extreme thirst is suspected of being a diabetic symptom. In good health, one is hardly ever thirsty for water before meals, with meals, or after meals. Thirst for water is a normal thing during summer weather when one loses body fluids by perspiration.
The body in normal health does not require any water as such to balance a diet. People drink by habit-fruit juices, water, various hot beverages, etc. Water is wholesome to drink when one can enjoy it, when it tastes good. It is then a health beverage. Water with lemon juice, either cold or hot, is a pleasant drink. This type of beverage is often life-saving and health-regenerating when it is used as the only food intake.
When a person is tired and slightly hungry, no food should be eaten; but a health beverage, such as water with lemon juice sweetened with honey, will quickly restore energy. Grapefruit juice diluted with water is another wholesome and pleasant beverage, either cold or hot. This beverage is used alternately with lemon juice and water in the management of a fast. The diabetic patient who suffers from thirst will relish diluted grapefruit juice. It is a good thirst-quencher.
Both of these citrus fruits, the lemon and the grapefruit, may be sour to the taste, but their end-products in digestion are alkaline to the body. Lemon and grapefruit, the fresh products, are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Orange juice is sometimes best in diluted form. Individuals who suffer from a stomach and intestinal disease that is characterized by pain, pressure or gas require diluted orange juice, rather than this sun-kissed beverage in full strength.
Ulcer cases should never be forbidden to take fruit juices in diluted form. The fruit juices help to heal an ulcer.
Healthy individuals may drink whenever they feel like it, without forcing. Liquid intake must be enjoyed. At times, a liquid meal consisting of an undiluted or diluted beverage is the best type of meal. Such a meal is particularly in order when one is under any kind of physical, mental or emotional overstrain. Other food that is more bulky and more difficult to digest may cause thirst, indigestion, etc.
The fresh fruit juices are really composed of the purest distilled water, flavored by dainty natural elements. Grapefruit juice and orange juice, when freshly made just before serving, taste much better than stale, canned or frozen preparations. Water-drinking would hardly be required if the diet were balanced with three glasses of fruit juices a day and one or two glasses of raw vegetable juices a day.
The raw vegetable juices should really become more popular than they are at present. Today only a minority know about the importance and real value of raw vegetable juice. Every home should own a vegetable-juice extractor. It is just as important as any of the popular kitchen gadgets such as a toaster or a broiler.
Diluted fruit juice beverages may be served hot in demitasse cups with banquet meals. Hot lemonade, sweetened with honey and flavored with a little grape juice or cherry juice or strawberry juice, tastes better than coffee in demitasse.
Peppermint tea is also a pleasant and wholesome health beverage. Dry or fresh peppermint leaves may be brewed for a few minutes and served as a mealtime beverage. Mint is known in medicine to be of particular value in dispelling gas due to indigestion. It is not as popular today as it was a few decades ago. In our time, drugs for the stomach are usually prepared by patent companies. Some of them contain mint.
Diseases of the stomach and other parts of the digestive system would hardly be the problem that they are today if the habitual daily food intake were free from the eatables that people are presently consuming.
There are other health beverages—"teas" and "herbs"- that are sold at health food stores. "Alfalfa" tea and other beverages made from various types of dehydrated leaves are used by some as a daily beverage instead of ordinary tea or coffee.
There are a number of cereal beverages such as Postum, Minute-Brew, and Ficgo that health-minded individuals use. In the writer's opinion, the best health beverages are the diluted fruit juices, sweetened or unsweetened, the straight fruit juices and the raw vegetable juices.
Milk and buttermilk are taken by some as a beverage. These products are more correctly classed as foods. The digestion of milk and milk products is not so simple and so easy as the watery beverages are. Milk should be taken at the beginning of a meal as the main food course. This is a good rule to apply in the feeding of infants and children and in the diets of adults.
When a liquid diet is required for building up a convalescent individual, milk is a very wholesome food. It requires only about 25 per cent of the body's energy to digest and assimilate it as compared with other foods of equal food value. This fast statement is based on Professor Pavlov's researches on The Work of the Digestive Glands.
When an individual is low in natural vitality or energy, he can more easily digest and assimilate milk and other milk products than foods that are of the same caloric value but that are harder to digest. A quart of milk will furnish the body with about 650 calories. It is easier to digest than six slices of bread and butter, within a period of eight to ten hours. Milk, as a tissue-building food, must be combined with fresh raw fruits and steamed raw vegetables. Dr. J. H. Tilden, very aptly, called milk the "liquid meat."
The sick, particularly when underweight, are sometimes advised to drink sweet cream. The reaction is not often a pleasant one. Some individuals fee. nauseous after a sweet-cream meal (a glassful). Sweet cream can be utilized by thin individuals when they are well rested and when their digestive strength and normal appetite are well-prepared to handle cream. It may be used as a seasoning for soups and vegetable stews. Sweet cream may also be used in small amounts to enrich ordinary milk or buttermilk.
I built up a number of stubbornly thin, underweight individuals on a diet that included sweet cream in diluted mixtures. One of my patients, the youngest one, who was a dietary problem, was a mere 19-month-old baby.
Little Robert F. weighed 131/ pounds when his parents called me to see him. At eight months of age, when the baby was weaned from breast-feeding, he weighed 16 pounds. The formula that he was put on was evidently "too rich." The little boy could stand up alone for a few minutes, even though his limbs were skeleton-like, and he had a bright appearance. He talked clearly and even sang popular tunes.
But the child suffered from constipation, colitis, and general nervous irritability. He cried day and night until a day or two after he came under my care. Within a week this little patient slept all night without waking up. He also had a morning nap and an afternoon nap.
I started Robert F. on diluted fruit juices: orange juice diluted with water and sweetened with a teasponful of honey; lemon juice diluted with water and sweetened with two teaspoonfuls of honey to an eight-ounce bottle; grapefruit juice diluted with water and sweetened with a teasponful of honey. It was new for his parents to allow their thin little baby to live without milk and eggs and other things, foods which, in spite of all, did not cause him to thrive physically for about ten months. They came to me as a last resort.
One day, about a week after Robert had come under treatment, the father of the baby said, "I am afraid that you will burn the baby's stomach lining with this citrus-fruit diet." The answer to this anxious father was that he must keep his fear to himself, or take the baby home. I reminded him of his original agreement to let me treat the child for my required minimum of four weeks. Mr. F. remarked, "In all fairness, you should have sufficient time to treat this baby as other specialists have had. Perhaps you will succeed where they failed."
At the end of four weeks Robert was already drinking milk diluted with raw vegetable juice four times a day. He was also fed freshly cooked liquefied green and yellow vegetables seasoned with a little butter and sweet cream.
This case history perhaps does not belong under the subject of "Health Beverages"; nevertheless, health beverages used as the only diet for the first three weeks prepared the child's digestive system to handle food without giving him pain, gas, mucous-coated stools, etc. At the end of ten weeks, Robert weighed 24V2 pounds.
Another extremely underweight patient, a man of 67 years, Mr. C. S., weighed 76 pounds on admission for Health Rest treatment. Mr. S. was considered an inoperable stomach-cancer case. How physicians arrived at this diagnosis is still a question in my mind. No X-ray studies were made. Though the patient used to vomit, he never vomited any blood. He was constipated but his stools were only a gassy. stringy mass mixed with mucous. Evidently Mr. S. suffered from a condition of inflammation of the intestines and colon. His diet before he came under my care had included milk, toast, soft eggs, chopped beef, cereals, chicken soup and cocoa.
The poor man was extremely emaciated. Yet he was an optimist. He had a strong urge to live and cooperated with my dietary treatment, which built him up in six weeks to the extent that he showed a gain of 30 pounds in weight.
For the first few days Mr. S. was put on diluted fruit-juice beverages, sweetened with honey, at hour intervals. He was advised to drink all he could without forcing. His heart and kidneys were functioning normally; therefore he handled the fluid well.
Raw vegetable juices were then given to him twice each day. Car-rots, celery, lettuce and other greens were used. Fresh raw pineapple was also added to the raw vegetable-juice beverages. Mr. S found these drinks delightful.
After several days of fruit-juice and vegetable-juice beverages, milk was added to his strained, or rather thin, vegetable stews and soups. He was fed small amounts of thin, cooked liquids, not too much to overtax his debilitated digestive organs. Sweet cream was used to enrich sweet milk as well as buttermilk—one ounce to four-which was given to him preceding the vegetable stews and vegetable soups.
Almost entirely on health beverages, this man regained 30 pounds within a period of six weeks.
No coffee, no tea were used or demanded. The patient was an habitual smoker but he agreed to get along without his cigarettes. I explained to! him that tobacco-smoking has a drying effect on the inner chemical machinery—the digestive glands of the stomach and intestines. His surprising remark was, "Why didn't the other doctors take away my smoking?"
He had also been allowed brandy and cognac in small amounts by his former physicians. I never allow my patients to use liquor in any form. When alcoholic beverages are brought, they must be taken back home to prevent temptation-
Millions of dollars are spent by the public to support the coffee and tea industries. This money could be spent for more wholesome consumers' goods. Let the industrialists produce the best qualities of fresh raw juicy fruits and the best juicy vegetables, and also juice extractors that could be sold at moderate prices so that not a single home would consider it a luxury to buy a raw vegetable-juice machine.