This section is from the book "Health Without Medicine. A Treatise On The Laws Of The Human System", by Larkin B. Coles. Also available from Amazon: Philosophy Of Health.
As it has been said before, so let it be repeated -- which should be, at all times in health, a standing rule -- -give to nature a sufficient nutrition, and she will furnish her own stimulus, far better than anything which art can do. Support nature, and let art go begging. Live naturally, and not artificially. The natural inquiry will now be, what shall we drink?
Cocoa is a healthy drink. That which comes in pound and half-pound papers makes a very good drink; but on account of its oily nature, which is objectionable, the cracked nut of cocoa is preferable; but caution is necessary not to make it too strong, because it contains a large amount of nutrition in a small compass, and may oppress the stomach and produce headache. The cracked nuts and shells, which come in bags of about thirty pounds, make the most convenient form for use. This mixture, made in moderate strength, say, according to the following proportion and rule, is a nutritious, healthy drink. Take half common tea-cupfull of this cocoa-mixture, and add one quart of cold water; boil moderately for about six hours, adding more water to supply the portion which boils away; it is fit then for use by adding milk, or cream, and sugar. This makes a good substitute for coffee in the morning, and the same or simple shells in place of tea in the evening. There are various nourishing, healthy drinks, of a domestic character, such as bread-coffee, and others, which it is not important to describe or recommend.
Hot drinks of any kind are objectionable. They excite by the force of heat, and then debilitate the stomach. They should only be taken about blood-warmth. Some persons accustom themselves to drink hot milk and water; this is objectionable on account of its heat. Moderately warm water, of itself, without considerable milk or cream, if taken to much extent, is also weakening to the stomach. Warm drinks generally expose one to colds.
Large quantities of any kind of drinks should be avoided. Even cold water maybe taken too largely. Much depends upon habit; if we allow ourselves in the custom of drinking much, we shall want much; if we accustom ourselves to drink but little, we shall want but little. The objection to a large quantity is this: it distends the stomach beyond its natural dimensions, and therefore weakens it; it also dilutes the gastric juice, and therefore weakens that. One or two common tea-cups of any kind of drink, taken with our meals, is sufficient. If we take more, it weakens the gastric juice, and injures the digestive process. Laborers, at their meals, and between meals, are inclined to drink far too much. Their thirst on the whole is no less for drinking so largely, and they weaken themselves by it. Besides, in hot weather, many are seriously injured, and even destroyed sometimes, by too large quantities of cold water. If they want to drink often, they must confine themselves to very small quantities at a time.
Unfermented beers -- root, hop, and ginger beers -- are healthy drinks, if not taken too largely. Soda drinks, in the form of soda powders, or from soda fountains, are also healthy. The carbonic acid gas which they impart to the stomach does not excite, but is a moderate tonic.