This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
If much hectic fever is present, it is desirable to employ the intervals when the temperature is low for feeding, and it often happens that a hearty meal taken between 7 and 10 a. m. may be better digested than at any other time of day.
Patients should avoid eating more food at any one time than they can comfortably digest, and it is often best to give food five or six times in twenty-four hours, to avoid overworking the stomach. If the digestion is feeble, it is best to give only one article of food at a time, or else only such varieties of food as require the same length of time for digestion (p. 351), and patients often do better when they eat all their animal food at one meal and vegetable food at another, having regard to the separate action performed by the stomach and intestines upon these different food classes. If there is stomach catarrh, or if the gastric juice is feeble, the quantity of fluid taken with meals should be restricted to a minimum, excepting in very advanced cases, in which the diet may be necessarily entirely fluid. But half a pint of very hot water may be taken with advantage half an hour before each meal, to cleanse and stimulate slightly the gastric mucous membrane.
A. L. Loomis wrote: "When the pressure of food in the stomach excites cough, or when paroxysms of coughing have induced vomiting, the ingestion of food must be delayed until the cough ceases, or an apprppriate sedative may be employed. In those extreme cases where every attempt at eating excites nausea, vomiting, and spasmodic coughs, excellent results are attained by artificial feeding through the soft-rubber stomach tube".
Raw beef is extolled by many physicians, especially among the French, as possessing peculiar nutritive and even curative value for tuberculosis, and in the popular mind its blood-red colour and scarlet juice seem to suggest an intimate connection with blood formation. It is true that blood and muscle have great similarity of composition. The red wines are erroneously regarded by laymen in the same light. It has yet to be demonstrated that raw meat possesses any advantage over rare steak or underdone roast beef beyond the fact that the scraping and mincing process to which it is usually subjected prepares it somewhat better for solution by the gastric juice.
Patients will often take scraped raw-meat balls contentedly for several days, and then acquire a distaste for them. This may be overcome by seasoning with a little aromatic herb, such as thyme, parsley, or marjoram. Yeo suggests that when made into small balls the meat may be covered with powdered sugar or gum, and swallowed with a sip of wine or brandy, or the mouth may be rinsed with claret to remove the after-taste.
Both scraped beef and the various preparations of beef powder, beef meal, etc., are useful to re-enforce broths, hot milk, milk punch, or light soups of vermicelli, tapioca, etc. According to Professor Chittenden, the nutritive value of lean beef being placed at 100, that of beef peptonoids is 140 and that of Mosquera's beef meal is 400. If preferred, from one to five ounces of beef meal may be eaten daily, spread like jam upon bread and butter. Insomnia may be often prevented by taking on retiring a cup of hot bouillon, clam broth, or gruel, with a cracker or two.
Beef juice, extracted by a small meat press, may be ordered two or three times a day. It may be seasoned and drunk like bouillon, or eaten as a luncheon upon dry toast, crackers, or boiled rice.
H. P. Loomis gives the following useful details in regard to the preparation of this important food: "To obtain from the meat the maximum amount of juice, a meat squeezer is absolutely essential. There are a number of good ones in the market, which range in price from one to three dollars. The best kind of meat from which to squeeze the juice is a thick round steak free from fat. This should be seasoned with pepper and salt, broiled over a brisk fire, cut in pieces two inches square, and then put into the meat squeezer. About eight ounces of juice can be obtained from each pound of meat. No further direct heat should be applied to the juice, as the albumin would be at once coagulated and the juice rendered worse than useless. If the juice becomes cold and it is advisable to heat it, this can be best accomplished by placing the cup in hot water. Freshly squeezed beef juice is the best of the artificial preparations of meat known, and the trouble of preparing it is well repaid by the marked improvement in the patient".
Eggs are not well borne if there is dyspepsia or decided gastric catarrh. Otherwise they are nutritious and wholesome. They may be given raw, beaten, or very lightly cooked in hot water, but never hard boiled. They may also be eaten scrambled or as an omelet if lightly made. Egg albumin may be well digested when the yolk proves too rich. "A raw egg sucked from the shell will often relieve an irritable condition of the larynx " (H. P. Loomis).
Cereals may be used in the early stage of the disease, before the alimentary canal is much disturbed, and such foods as corn mush, farina, oatmeal, wheaten grits, or germea may be allowed with cream. If cream and sugar disagree, they may be eaten with lemon juice.
The succulent fruits are well borne in mild cases, and are very wholesome and nutritious. Baked and stewed apples may be given with cream.