Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Always rest before and after a hearty meal.
Do not eat too much. Do not eat late at night.
Children should never be dressed in tight clothes.
Never sit in a damp or chilly room without a fire.
Supper just before going to bed is highly injurious. If hungry, a bit of bread or cracker will check the craving without spoiling sleep.
Never enter a room where a person is sick with an infectious disease with an empty stomach.
When really sick, send for a good physician; and as you value your health and life, have nothing to do with quacks or patent medicines.
Let the amount of the meal bear some relation to future needs as well as present appetite; but it is better to carry an extra pound in your pocket than in your stomach.
A small quantity of plain, nourishing soup is a wholesome first course at dinner. Rich soups are injurious to persons of weak digestion, and a large quantity of liquid food is not beneficial to adults.
Three full meals daily are customary, but the number, the relative quantity and quality, and the intervals between them, are largely matters of opinion, habit and convenience; regularity is the important thing.
Exercise before breakfast should be very light; and it is better to take a cracker or some trifle before going out, especially in a miasmatic climate. Early breakfasts are a necessity to the young and growing.
Remember that when the stomach is sour after eating, the food is actually rotting - that is a nauseating word but it expresses the absolute fact in the case - and it means that some of the rules above given have been violated.
Eat in pure air and in pleasant company; light conversation and gentle exercise promote digestion, but hard work of any kind retards it. Avoid severe bodily or mental labor just before and for two hours after a full meal.
Drinks at meals should be taken at the close, and not too strong or hot. Dyspeptics especially should drink sparingly. Children need more than adults, but too much is injurious.
Adults need to eat at regular intervals two or three times a day, allowing (556) time for each meal to be fully digested before another is taken. It would spoil a loaf of bread, half baked, to poke a lump of cold dough into the middle of it.
Use good palatable food, not highly seasoned; vary in quantity and quality according to age, climate, weather and occupation. Unbolted or partially bolted grains are good and sufficient food for men; but nature craves variety. As a rule, the flesh of meat-eating animals is not wholesome food. Hot soft bread digests slowly.
Don't eat too fast; the digestive organs are something like a stove, which if choked up and out of order, burns slowly, and if you keep piling in fuel, grows more and more choked. The wiser course is to let it burn down and put in fuel only when needed. It is a foolish notion that food always keeps up the strength. Only what we digest helps us; all beyond that is a tax upon the system, and exhausts the strength instead of increasing it,
Masticate well; five minutes more at dinner may give you better use of an hour afterward. At meals never drink a full glass of very hot or very cold liquid. Never wash down a mouthful. Avoid waste of saliva.
Avoid tobacco, alcohol in all forms, and all stimulants. Every healthy man is better, stronger, has a clearer head, more endurance, and better chances for a long life, if free from the habitual use of stimulants. The boy who begins the use of tobacco or liquors early is physically ruined.
Avoid colds and break up as soon as possible when taken. As soon as conscious that the pores are closed, keep warm within doors, drink warm ginger tea, relax the bowels, and take a vapor bath. Breaking a cold up early, often saves a severe attack of congestion, pneumonia, often even a fever.
Panaceas are prima facie humbugs; their makers and takers, their vendors and recommenders are knaves or fools, or both. Nature cures most diseases, if let alone or aided by diet and proper care. There are no miracles in medicine; remember that to keep or to get health generally requires only a recognition of Nature's powers, with knowledge of anatomy and physiology, experience, and common sense.
Never sleep in clothing worn during the day. and let that worn at night be exposed to the air by day. Three pints of moisture, filled with the waste of the body, are given off every twenty-four hours, and mostly absorbed by clothing. Exposure to air and sunlight purifies the clothing and bedding of the poisons which nature is trying to get rid of, and which would otherwise be brought again into contact with the body.
The lungs should be trained to free, full, and vigorous action. "The breath is the life." A man will exist for days without food, but when the breath is cut off life ceases. If breathing is imperfect, all the functions of the body work at a disadvantage. It is a common fault to breathe from the surface of the lungs only, not bringing into play the abdominal muscles, and so not filling the more remote air-cells of the lungs. By this defective action the system is deprived of a part of its supply of air, and by inaction the air-cells become diseased.
Evacuate the bowels daily, and, above all, regularly; the best time is after breakfast; partly to be rid of a physical burden during the day, but chiefly to relieve the bowels. Constipation is safer than diarrhoea. For the former, exercise, ride horseback, knead the belly, take a glass of cool water before breakfast, eat fruit and laxative food; for the latter, follow an opposite course - toast, crust, crackers and rice are the best food. Pain and uneasiness of digestive organs are signs of disturbance; keep a clear conscience; rest, sleep, eat properly; avoid strong medicines in ordinary cases.