=For the Children.= The mother of a family ought to know that the children need plenty of bread, butter, and milk. Despite all the notions to the contrary, good well-baked white bread is neither indigestible nor constipating. It is indeed the staff of life. Two large slices should form the background of every meal, unless there is an extraordinary amount of other starchy food or unless the person is too fat. Milk-fat (from whole milk, cream, and butter) is by far the best fat for children. Besides fat, it furnishes a certain growth-principle necessary for development. As the dairyman cannot raise good calves on skimmed milk, so we cannot raise robust children without plenty of butter and milk. The pity of it is that poor people are forced to try! Milk is also the best protein for children, whose kidneys may be overstrained by trying to care for the waste matter from an excessive quantity of eggs and meat. Bread and butter, milk, fruit, vegetables, and sugar in ample quantities and meat and eggs in moderate quantities are pretty sure to make the kind of children we want. Above all things, let us train them not to be afraid of normal amounts of any regular food or of any combination of foods.
=The Fear of Mixtures.= There are many people who can without flinching face almost any single food, but who quail before mixtures. Perhaps there is no notion which is more firmly entrenched in the popular mind than this fear of certain food-combinations, acquired largely from the advertisements of certain so-called “food specialists.”
The most persistent idea is the fear of acid and milk. It is interesting to watch the new people when they first come to my table. Confronted with grape-fruit and cream at the same meal, or oranges and milk, or cucumbers and milk, they eat under protest, in consternation over the disastrous results that are sure to follow. Out of all these scores of people, many of whom are supposed to have weak stomachs, I have never had one case of indigestion from such a combination. When a person knows that the stomach juices themselves include hydrochloric acid which is far more acid than any orange or grapefruit, that the milk curdles as soon as it reaches the stomach, and that it must curdle if it is to be digested, he has to be very “set” indeed if he is to cling to any remnant of fear.
Of course to say that the stomach is well prepared chemically, muscularly, and by its nerve supply to handle any combination of ordinary food in ordinary amounts is not the same thing as saying that we may devour with impunity any amount of anything. It is a good thing for every one to know when he has reached his limit, and a person with organic heart disease should avoid eating large quantities at one time, or when he is extraordinarily fatigued or emotionally disturbed, lest at such a time he may put a fatal strain on the pneumogastric nerve that controls both stomach and heart.