What Makes Normal Lunch Depends On Work On Hand
( Originally Published 1936 )
What a normal lunch is depends a good deal on circumstances. Have you a hard afternoon ahead? Or are you going to the ball game? Are you inclined to have a headache if you work too hard? Are you inclined to be costive? Are you underweight? And finally, are you hungry?
If there is work to be done, a small but plentifully nutritious lunch is in order.
A club sandwich with a small amount of mayonnaise and two slices of toast will furnish you with 500 calories. No wonder you don't want much else for lunch.
Since there was coffee for breakfast, we may choose milk for the luncheon beverage. "A glass from the fountain of youth," it has been said. There is a family in New York which has been living largely on milk for 25 generations: The only addition to the milk is whole wheat powder and distilled water. They show a 10 per cent increase in length of life over others. They happen to be white rats, housed in the laboratory of Dr. Sherman at Columbia university.
Milk may be the fountain of youth in another sense—that of giving a youthful appearance. Internally more than externally it is one of the best cosmetics. Not all protein foods are abundantly equipped with cystine, which is one of the half dozen amino acids essential to life. Casein, the chief protein of milk, is one of these. Hair contains a large amount of cystine, and children who get supplementary milk diets invariably display a fine glossiness of hair. In one of the first scientific books on cosmetics, Dr. Max Joseph recommended a diet of egg and milk to preserve the hair.
The afternoon headache, according to one eminent dietetic authority, is caused by acidosis. The way to combat it is to take some easily absorbed sugar—a glass of orange juice. "A child runs as fast as sugar into the blood," says another authority—and that includes the fruit juice sugars. "A child walks as fast as starch into the blood. A baby creeps as fast as the starch in vegetables into the blood." This really is intended as a warning to diabetic patients, but it applies to the easily fatigued worker also. Sugar and starch are the energy of the body. The "shopping headache"—starting off with a hurried breakfast, rushing around excitedly and going without lunch—is due as much as anything to lack of energy.
A glass of tomato juice will also counteract acidity—all opinions to the effect that it produces acidity to the contrary—and it furnishes vitamins A and C in great abundance.
For the costive, salad lunch or vegetable plate, is the normal lunch. After getting all that roughage, one can afford to indulge in a serving of ice cream or cake or a glass of milk.
FURNISHING ENOUGH CALORIES FOR ATHLETE AND BANK CLERK
In constructing a strictly scientific diet for anyone—an athlete, a high school student, a bank clerk or a two-year-old child—there are several important factors.
The first consideration is caloric, or energy, requirements in short, sufficient fuel. The requirements of the body are 15 calories per pound, while at rest, and 20 to 30 calories if the body is at exercise. Supposing the bank clerk and the athlete are the same age and weight (150 pounds), the athlete will use 4,500 calories and the bank clerk 2,500.
The most important problem for the athlete is the relation of bulk in the food to his caloric requirements. Half to two-thirds of our caloric requirement comes from carbohydrate foods. As carbohydrate yields four calories per gram, the athlete would require 560 grams (19 ounces) of carbohydrate, and the bank clerk 315 grams (10 1/2 ounces).
If the athlete attempted to take all this in the form of 5 per cent vegetables (5 per cent carbohydrate content), such as tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, sauerkraut, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, etc., he would have to eat 24 pounds of them, which is ridiculous. Therefore, the athlete will seek such concentrated energy as is found in sugar, molasses, potatoes (20 per cent carbohydrates), rice (20 per cent carbohydrate), and cereals, and he will instinctively do this. He will also supplement it by the use of fats, which furnish energy in concentrated form as they produce 9 calories per gram. Even the bank clerk will have to get at least half of his energy in the form of more highly concentrated starches and sugars.
At breakfast, therefore, both of them will probably eat an orange (10 per cent carbohydrate), or apricots, or pears (15 per cent carbohydrate), or prunes (20 per cent carbohydrate). The athlete is likely to have toast and butter, egg, bacon, perhaps sausage, and probably wheat cakes and molasses or else cereal, besides this. While the bank clerk will probably stop with fruit and toast and an egg.
At lunch and supper they will both have a supply of the vegetables with bulk—sauerkraut, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, cress, cauliflower, eggplant, or cabbage, and a glass of milk. In order to get his full caloric needs, however, the athlete must eat some bread or crackers with butter, and will probably choose one of the 20 per cent vegetables—potatoes, peas, corn, rice or macaroni. While the bank clerk will content himself with a smaller amount of bread and butter, and probably choose the 10 per cent vegetables as accessories, such as string beans, pumpkin, squash, beets, carrots, or onions.