The system requires from three to four quarts of water each day, but this should be taken either one hour before meals or three hours after eating. Drinking at meal-time dilutes the gastric juice of the stomach, and hinders the process of digestion. A great many people have formed the habit of drinking while they eat. Thus the food is moistened with drinks, and the saliva almost ceases to flow. It is then very difficult to get the salivary glands to secrete enough saliva to moisten the food sufficiently for swallowing; but if a dry diet is persisted in long enough, the saliva will flow in sufficient quantities, and drinks will not be desired.
If anything of a liquid nature is taken at meal-time, it should be something warm, as cold drinks have to call upon the system to warm them, and they stop all digestion until the stomach has again reached its normal temperature. People who are strong and healthy might not feel the evil effects of this at once, but those who are feeble, and those having small vitality, will soon weaken under this continual abuse of nature.
Following are a few recipes for beverages to take the place of tea, coffee, and other injurious drinks, until the system is weaned from their use, and then little by little the substitute can be given up, until the salivary glands have learned to do their work so well that no drink will be required at meal-time.
Take 1 tablespoonful of almond butter, and dissolve it in 1 pint of hot water; when boiling, stir in 1/2 teaspoonful of white flour rubbed smooth in a little cold water. Let it boil a minute or two, and strain through a fine muslin cloth. Serve cold or hot as preferred.
Take 1 large, juicy apple (the pippin is the best flavored), pare and quarter, but do not core. Put it into a stew kettle with 3 cups of cold water, and cook slowly until the apple is cooked to pieces, then strain through a coarse bag, pressing it some. Strain through a finer bag, sweeten to taste, and cool for drinking. This is an excellent drink for invalids in hot weather.
Take strawberries, or raspberries, or any berries desired; put them in a stout but coarse muslin bag, and mash with a wooden potato masher, squeezing out all the juice possible. Strain through a fine muslin cloth, and dilute with an equal quantity of water. A little sugar may be added if desired.
Select good, ripe cherries, the sweet varieties are the best; pit them; put them in a stew-pan, and boil a few minutes in a little water, then strain through a muslin jelly-bag, and let stand to cool until ready to use; take 1/2 glass of the juice, and fill the glass with cold sterilized water. Canned cherries are just as good.
Take some good, ripe currants, pick from the stems, and wash well. Put them in a strong muslin bag, and pound with a wooden potato masher until all the currants are broken, then squeeze out all the juice. For making the currant water, take 1/2 cup of currant juice and 1/2 cup of water; add a little sugar, and serve cold.
If clean, soft water can be obtained, it is the best; but never use cistern water. Put in a graniteware or a porcelain-lined kettle. Let it boil up quickly, and take from the stove at once. Too much boiling causes the air in the water to escape, and makes it have a flat taste.
Squeeze the juice from a medium-sized lemon, and add 2 tablespoonfuls of sugar to the juice; stir until the sugar is pretty well dissolved, then add 1 pint of very cold sterilized water. This is excellent to give in cases of fever, but should not be given at meal-time, for the acid of the lemon prevents the digestion of the starch.
Take 2 medium-sized lemons, peel just thick enough to remove the yellow portion, but not to cause the juice to run out. Cut in halves, and squeeze out the juice; strain through a fine wire sieve or fine muslin cloth to remove every seed and small particles of the white fiber, which would cause it to be bitter, then add 2 tablespoonfuls of sugar and 1 pint of boiling water, and serve at once.
If the lemon is squeezed without the yellow rind being pared, some of the oil of the rind may get into the juice, and cause it to be bitter.
This is an excellent drink to break up a cold or fever when it first starts. Take a thorough enema, soak the feet in hot water for fifteen or twenty minutes, drink 3 glasses of hot lemonade, and go to bed. In the morning take a tepid bath, and be well.
Boil 1/2 cup of rice in 2 quarts of water for one and one-half hours. Rice, when boiled for a long time, will become a jelly, and is slightly constipating in its nature. To each glass of the water, add 1 teaspoonful of currant jelly, or any fruit jelly desired.
Take 1 cup of sugar, put in a granite stew-kettle with 1 pint (2 cups) of water, let it boil until it forms a thin syrup, removing the scum as fast as it rises; meantime, pare a ripe pineapple quite thin, and with a sharp-pointed knife remove all the eyes, grate into a bowl, add to the syrup, let it boil for ten or fifteen minutes, and cool. Add more water, strain and use.
Take a few small pieces of slippery-elm bark, and pour over them some cold water. Place on the stove, and let them cook a few minutes; then strain and use, hot or cold. Add lemon-juice if desired.