From a strictly hygienic point of view, food should be taken as dry as cooking permits, and without drinks. The gastric juice is constitutionally so proportioned that any addition of extraneous fluids disturbs its chemical balance, and weakens by dilution its digestive powers. Yet there are individuals whose hydrochloric acid is too concentrated, and their foods too dry to admit of a thorough peptonization of the gastric contents, and in their case a glass of water at the beginning of a meal would be permissible. However, the promptings must come from the stomach itself, expressed as thirst. On the other hand, in no case of chronically distended stomach, dyspepsia, ulceration, with a manifestation of soreness over the pit of the stomach, should be allowed any drinking at meals.
After having closely considered the statements presented in the chapter on coffee, the reader, if he should still feel himself justified to continue its indulgence, may permit himself a small cup of fairly strong "Barrington Hall Bakerized Coffee," at the end of his breakfast, but without cream or sugar. Such an indulgence may even be of positive advantage to him, as a physiological stimulation, if the hydrochloric acid in his digestive juice is weak.