The diet, adapted to different climates, will not detain us long. Under a tropical sun, the perspiration is considerable, and the fluids alkalescent. The supply should therefore be of the mildest kind, and the proportion of watery fluids large. Yet the languor produced by heat requires assistance for the digestive organs; and the tropical regions, which abound in succulent fruits, abound also in spices. On this subject we have spoken at sufficient length under the article of Condiments.
If the stranger to these regions, from this statement, indulges in fruits, he will find himself in error. Old habits are not easily conquered; and the constitution will not change, at once, with the climate. The bile soon becomes more acrid; and this, with fruit in excess, occasions cholera or bilious fevers. Some proportion of the usual stimuli arc also essential; and the spices, with a moderate proportion of wine, are at first necessary. When the constitution is more accustomed to the climate, he may indulge more freely; but excess in hot climates should be always particularly avoided.
We have explained, at some length, the effects of continued cold, and pointed out the torpor which it produces in every part of the system. Indulgence in animal food, in wine, and even in spirits, may in the arctic regions be more readily admitted. Indeed, seasoned dishes and wine are almost indispensable, especially if a person has been accustomed to them in more moderate climes.
Of the sixteen hours not destined to sleep, two hours may be dedicated to meals; and we think that nature would divide them in the following manner. After one or two hours from our rising we should breakfast; about noon, or soon afterwards, dine, allowing for this meal an hour, as we should take after it a little rest, but without sleep. The concluding slight meal may then be about an hour before bedtime. The first and last meal will require only an hour; and the more solid substantial . one, with the respite from labour, we have said another hour.
This may appear to be a plan of peculiar severity; but the health, the cheerfulness which follow, will compensate for all the inconvenience. It is necessary, however, to explain its foundation. One substantial meal of solid animal food, each day, is sufficient to support the constitution under very considerable fatigue; and the time of taking this meal is undoubtedly about the middle of the day, or one in the afternoon. If the changes, even in the most healthy constitutions, are observed, three slight febrile accessions may be discovered. We style them febrile, though in general announced by an increased quickness of pulse only; but their nature is shown by their being sometimes attended with rigour and increased heat, in consequence of debility alone. The first of these occurs about eight In the forenoon, and it remits about ten; the second occurs at twelve, and remits about one or two; the third at six or seven, and is not completely at an end till two in the morning. The evening paroxysm is the most distinct; that at noon very inconsiderable. The period of the morning paroxysm distinguishes all fevers of the tertian type; that of the evening the quartans, which is also the type of continued fevers, for we have seen that they scarcely ever terminate till the quartan period has taken place. See Crises.
These are the principles which regulate the time of taking food. The system of the healthiest person after sleeping, is not at once alive and active; and the appetite, unless from indulgence, or in childhood, is seldom craving at this early period. If the person rises at six, his breakfast hour should be eight; and if he is to experience great fatigue, some animal substance,as an egg, or some cold meat, may make a part of his meal, which will not require half an hour. If in health, the morning paroxysm is not noticed; and he may with this support continue till one, when the solid substantial meal should be taken; and the remainder of the hour, for the plain meal of a hungry man requires but little time,
Di AE 551 D1a should be destined to repose, while the fever, which digestion always produces, continues. The slight evening meal may be taken at eight, and the hour of repose should not be protracted beyond ten. The evening meal should be slight, because it is taken during the evening paroxysm; and the hour of retiringbe early, that much of the time, while it continues, may be passed in a state least likely to increase it. It has been reported, we believe with truth, that a judge was accustomed to ask witnesses, who are often in a very advanced period of life, respecting their diet, etc. He found, it is said, that their mode of living was various, but that they uniformly agreed in early hours. Whether we have correctly stated the cause or not, it is, however, a fact, that nothing is more injurious than late hours, and that, in every instance, a habit of this kind shortens life.
It may be remarked, that in this arrangement of our time and meals we have been anxious to avoid the fever from indigestion interfering with the regular febrile exacerbations; and it may be asked, why may not the evening fever be obviated by retiring to repose before it recurs, or the morning paroxysm by remaining in bed till after it returns ? The answer is easy: we are constituted for activity by day, and for repose by night; nor does sleep naturally come on so early as six in the evening. To this may be added, that exercise docs not increase these slight febrile attacks, but the increased perspiration, which is its most frequent consequence,' either prevents or lessens them. The other idea is apparently more plausible. After, however, the termination of the evening paroxysm, at one or two in the morning perspiration comes on, which gradually increases, though in no hurtful degree, till after six or seven. If therefore, continuing in bed would prevent the morning paroxysm, the injury to the constitution would be greater by the debilitating perspiration, which necessarily recurs.
We have engaged at greater length in this disquisition than we designed, as we wished to rescue a popular subject from the dictates of caprice, and the trammels of fashion; to point out what is right, if modern customs will not enable us to pursue it. We shall, therefore, next examine how far fashionable life is reconcile-able to this system, and where the usual customs may be allowed as least injurious.
A modern day begins by far too late, and the stomach is at once cloyed by animal food before the system has recovered its activity and tone. The eggs, the dried fish, the tongue, or the ham, which in moderation might be digested by a constitution which has already laboured two hours, is a load on one, without exercise, exhausted by the morning perspiration, and yet languid from imperfect sleep. The lunch at one or two is the only part of the system which can be recommended. It is a plain solid dinner at a proper hour, sufficient to support, not overload. The subsequent dinner at six is superfluous. It is unnecessary as a principal meal, and too stimulating for a supper. Luckily, fashion spares the stomach any new load. The evening paroxysm thus excited is kept up by wine, and different stimulants, by crowded and hot rooms; nor does the constitution know a respite till the moment of retirement.
If we look at the waste which this excess of nourishment is intended to supply, we shall find it very inconsiderable. If anxiety, restlessness, hope delayed, or ambition disappointed, exhausts the frame, we fear in high life they are so frequent as to draw compassion even from the labourer, who eats his hard earned meal with cheerfulness, and rises, refreshed with sleep, to his daily toil. In general, however, the daily ride, and the daily saunter, are the chief exercises; and the votaries of fashion thus anxiously hoard all the diseases arising from repletion and indigestion for their future torment. These would be more striking, but that the summer carries them to the sea coast, where fashion allows of more air, more violent exercise, earlier hours, and less crowded apartments.