Number And Size Of Meals

In very many cases of chronic constipation the colon, especially the cecum, has become so dilated that it is seriously crippled. Its thin, atrophied walls are unable to handle large masses of material. In such cases, large bulky meals are likely to overweight the cecum and to form an impaction which may remain for days, giving rise to fermentation, distention of the colon with gas, colic pains, and great inconvenience. Complaint is often made that bulky foods cause much flatulence and distress and seem to increase the constipation. The remedy is not to be found in discarding "coarse vegetables" or other bulky foods but in taking smaller and more frequent meals. By this means the amount of material present in any portion of the bowel at any particular time will be reduced, the bowel will never be over distended, and will have an opportunity gradually to recover its normal tone.

The proper plan for the meals in such a case is to take two principal meals and two minor meals. The principal meals should contain the chief part of the nutriment; the minor meals should make small demands upon the digestive organs; the bulk should be about the same for each of the four meals. No fats shout be taken at the minor meals and nothing requiring more than two hours for gastric digestion. It is best to confine the minor meals to fruit and cellulose.

The cellulose may be taken in the form of bran mush, bran cakes, colax, (Japanese sea weed or Ceylon moss), or laxa, (sterilized bran and agar-agar). Any sort of fresh juicy fruit may be eaten, but bananas, dates, dried figs and raisins should be avoided. Fresh figs or raw soaked purple figs are excellent. Soaked raw prunes are also very good indeed.

The arrangement of the four meals as regards time may be the following: first, breakfast on rising, say 6:30 a. m., fruit and bran; second breakfast, 9:00 a. m.; dinner 3:00 p. m.; fruit lunch at bedtime. If these hours are not convenient, some other arrangement may be made, care being taken to avoid taking meals too near together.

The Use Of Bran

Wheat bran is perhaps the most useful of all food remedies for constipation. Bran may be taken by itself or it may be used in many combinations. Care must be taken to obtain clean bran, which is not always easy, for the reason that the bran is usually mixed with much dirt and offal removed from the grain. To be fit for use, the bran should be taken from wheat which has been specially cleansed and washed. The bran should be cooked and sterilized to destroy any adhering germs.

Such bran only needs softening and is ready for immediate use. It may be eaten as a breakfast cereal or it may be mixed with any other suitable food such as oatmeal, toasted flakes, or even mashed potatoes or boiled rice.

Sterilized bran may be added to bread, biscuit, cake and breakfast cakes in proportion of one-fourth or even more. It should be used freely at every meal. Numerous excellent recipes are now available for using bran in various palatable and efficient ways.

Recipes For The Use Of Bran

Bran Brose

1 cup rolled oats.

1 cup sterilized bran.

2 1/2 cups water.

1 teaspoon salt.

Heat the water to boiling. Add the salt, bran and the rolled oats. Let boil ten minutes. This dish is intended as a corrective measure rather than for nutrition.

Sterilized Bran

Look over and remove foreign substances from bran and place in a rather shallow pan in a moderate oven. Place a pan of hot water in the oven to prevent burning. Bake a half hour, stirring the bran often to prevent scorching. Grind in a coffee mill.

Bran And Granola Mush

1 cup sterilized bran.

1 cup granola.

3 cups water.

1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Mix the bran, granola and salt. Stir into the boiling water and cook for a few minutes directly over the flame.

Graham Bread

3 cups milk and water (equal parts).

2 tablespoons malt honey or molasses 1 1/2 cups sterilized bran.

About 2 quarts whole wheat flour.

2 teaspoons salt.

1/2 yeast cake.

1/4 cup warm water.

Soak the yeast in the warm water. Scald the milk and cool to lukewarm. Potato water may be used instead of the milk and water. Add water, the molasses and salt, then the softened yeast. Mix the flour and bran together and stir into the liquids. Knead thoroughly, and put to rise in a warm place. When light, mold into a loaf. Let rise again, and when light bake in a hot oven about one hour. Decrease the heat somewhat during the latter part of the baking. This makes 3 small or 2 large loafs. Graham flour may be used instead of the whole wheat, in which case less bran will be needed.

Bran Graham Biscuit

1 cup sterilized bran.

2 cups graham flour 1 cup milk.

1 egg.

2 teaspoons sugar.

1 teaspoon salt.

2 tablespoons butter.

1 teaspoon soda.

80 minims hydrochloric acid (C. P.) (This amount of soda and hydrochloric acid is equivalent to 4 teaspoons baking powder.)

Mix the flour, bran, sugar, and salt together. Beat the egg slightly and add to the milk. Dissolve the soda in the milk, and add the melted butter. Lastly, add the hydrochloric acid. Turn very quickly into the dry ingredients. Mix lightly but quickly. Turn upon a molding board and shape with a biscuit cutter and bake fifteen to twenty minutes in a hot oven.

If baking powder is used, omit the hydrochloric acid and the soda, and proceed as follows: Mix the dry ingredients together, beat the egg slightly, and add to the milk. Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients the same as for cream biscuits. Turn out upon a slightly floured molding board and roll to one-half inch in thickness. Cut into shape with the biscuit cutter and bake in a hot oven.

Bran Gems

1 cup sterilized bran.

1 cup graham flour.

7/8 cup milk.

3 tablespoons melted butter.

1 teaspoon salt.

1 egg.

1 tablespoon sugar.

3/4 teaspoons soda.

60 minims hydrochloric acid (C. P.) (This amount of soda and hydrochloric acid is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of baking powder.)

Mix the bran, flour, salt and sugar together. Beat the egg, add the milk and one-half of the dry ingredients. Stir in the hydrochloric acid. Mix well and add the melted butter. Sift the soda with the remaining half of the dry ingredients and stir into the batter. Turn into buttered muffin pans and bake in a hot oven twenty to thirty minutes.

If baking powder is used sift it with the dry ingredients and omit the hydrochloric acid and the soda. Add all the dry ingredients at once, stirring in the butter at the last.