Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/380

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important item of school life. If this were so, what a vast difference it would make in the comfort, the health, and the well-being of the individual; and with what a reserve of strength he would, if properly nourished in early life, commence his struggle with the world, whether that struggle involved physical or mental work!

In the first place, his frame would be properly developed, his brain nourished, his digestive powers in perfect condition, and he would not have in his daily work, literary or otherwise, or when old age advances, to fall back upon stimulants to give him the necessary appetite for his midday or evening dinner. Cicero says, "To live long, it is necessary to live slowly." When I say that the physiology of food should form a part of every man's, and, I may add, more particularly of every woman's education, I mean that they should know what particular use each food is applied to in the economy, and what particular food is suited for intellectual work in contradistinction to muscular work; and further, what particular food is best suited to the requirements of the system in the different seasons of the year. Fewer wives would be widows and children orphans if the mistress of a household adapted or ordered her husband's food to meet his requirements, and made it, or saw that it was made, tempting and palatable. But what obtains now in most middle-class households? The husband comes home to dinner weary and hungry to find warmed-up meat, or a washy stew, awaiting him, or, worse still, an underdone joint and half-cooked vegetables. Perhaps this goes on day after day, and year after year, until some day or other an illness occurs, and his constitution, exhausted for the want of proper food to nourish his complex organism, succumbs to it.

In the houses of the very wealthy this state of things seldom occurs—perhaps it would be better if it occasionally did, for a life of indolence and ease would be lengthened by occasional starvation. Half the illness that occurs at one season, I think I can safely say, is due to improper dieting taken at another. We hear of people feeling weak in the spring, or suffering from those different ailments due to malnutrition, such as boils, skin diseases, obesity, or debility. Now this would not be so if the person adapted his diet to his requirements and to the season. No sensible person would think of keeping a large fire burning in his room in the summer. If he did, he would undoubtedly soon feel the effect of it; but many a man who would feel himself insulted if he were not thought a sensible person, will eat in the summer to repletion foods the particular action of which is to supply heat in excess. Perhaps I can not do better here than to explain that the foods that are converted into heat that is, keep up the