Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/531

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DIET IN RELATION TO AGE AND ACTIVITY. 513

gence of such a man is as slender as his audacity and presumption are large. It would not he more preposterous if, having with infinite pains obtained a last representing precisely the size and the peculiari- ties in form of his own foot, he forthwith solemnly adjured all other persons to adopt boots made upon that model, and on none other ! Only it may be assumed that there is probably more difference be- tween stomachs and their needs among different individuals than among the inferior extremities referred to for the purpose of illustra- tion. Thus, in regard of expenditure of food, how great is the dif- ference between that of a man who spends ten or twelve hours of the day at the work of a navvy, as an agricultural laborer in harvest- time, or in draining or trenching land, as a sawyer, a railway porter, or a bricklayer's laborer, or let me add that of an ardent sportsman, as compared with the expenditure of a clerk who is seated at the desk, of individuals engaged in literary and artistic pursuits, demand- ing a life mostly sedentary and spent in-doors, with no exercise but that which such persons voluntarily take as a homage to hygienic duty, and for a short period borrowed at some cost from engagements which claim most of their time and nearly all their energies ! While the manual laborers rarely consume more food than they expend, and are, if not injured by drink, or by undue exposure to the weather, mostly hale and hearty in consequence, the latter are often martyrs to continued minor ailments, which gradually increase, and make work difficult, and life dreary. Few people will believe how easy it is in most instances to meet the difficulty by adopting appro- priate food, and that such brain-workers can really enjoy a fair degree of health and comfort by living on light food, which does not require much force to digest, and much muscular activity to assimilate a diet, moreover, which is important to some of these from another point of view the financial one inasmuch as it is at least less costly by one half than the conventional meals which habit or custom pre- scribes alike to large classes of men in varied conditions of life. But there is another and more important economic gain yet to be named, as realizable through the use of a light and simple dietary. It is manifested by the fact that a greater expenditure of nerve-power is demanded for the digestion of heavy meat meals than for the lighter repasts which are suitable to the sedentary ; from which fact it results of course that this precious power is reserved for more useful and more delightful pursuits than that of mere digestion, especially when this is not too well performed.

But those who have little time for exercise, and are compelled to live chiefly within-doors, must endeavor to secure, or should have se- cured for them as far as possible by employers, by way of compensa- tion, a regular supply of fresh air without draughts, an atmosphere as free from dust and other impurities as can be obtained, with a good supply of light, and some artificial warmth when needed. These ne- void xxtii. 33

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