This section is from the book "Diet And Food Considered In Relation To Strength And Power Of Endurance, Training And Athletics", by Alexander Haig. Also available from Amazon: Diet and Food, Considered in Relation to Strength and Power of Endurance, Training and Athletics.
I should say, however, that those, who are specially anxious to have a free excretion of uric acid, and not to retain any of this substance in their body, should not take much acid fruit at breakfast, or should divide their attention between such acid fruits and potatoes which contain much alkali, so that the alkali may more or less balance the acid.
For those who have not to be specially anxious about excretion, and who do not suffer from any active gout or rheumatism, fruit at breakfast is probably not hurtful, and acts as a slight tonic and stimulant.
As variations of this diet, bread and milk may be substituted for porridge, the oatmeal may be taken as oatcakes, and scones, or any other cereal of equivalent nutrition value, and quantity, may be substituted for it in any desired form; thus it may be possible to have a new kind of cereal every morning of the week, or even every morning of the month.
These are all homely foods, to be found in nearly every household or nearly every baker's shop, and their cooking, therefore, presents no insuperable difficulties.1
As to fruits in winter, apples, oranges, bananas, figs, dates and various kinds of plums, generally afford sufficient variety, and in summer and autumn there are endless fresh fruits to take their place; and though, as is seen in the Tables, many fruits and vegetables have but little direct value as nourishment, a moderate daily supply of these things conduces in many ways to the attainment of the best health, strength and nutrition. On the other hand the foods to live upon are bread, milk, cheese, and nuts, and of these bread is perhaps the most reliable; and those, who cannot take and digest a sufficient quantity of one of its almost endless varieties, are indeed unfortunate.
1 Those who want a guide as to the quantity of each article, and also hints as to the cooking and preparation, will find much useful help in small compass in Mr. A. Broadbent's "Science in the Daily Meal," to be obtained from him at 19, Oxford Street, Manchester, price 2d.
Lunch, which is often with advantage the best meal of the day, may begin with some vegetable soup made with milk; this may be like ordinary potato soup, the meat or bone boilings being simply replaced by milk, which is much more nourishing, or the same or similar preparation may be used with some of the other kinds of vegetable.
Next course, potatoes, with milk, oil or butter, and the cheese (1 1/2 oz.) taken with them.
Several ounces of bread, toast or biscuit should also be eaten with the soup, the potatoes and cheese: these forming the sauces to the bread stuffs.
A dish of rice, macaroni, barley, or other cereal may be substituted for the potatoes and part of the bread.
I may mention here that I look upon good olive oil as a valuable substitute for butter. It is specially nice with vegetables, and may be eaten with many of these, besides the salads for which it has so long been used. It is of great use also in cooking vegetables, and many get to like it so much that they entirely give up the use of butter; others prefer it only now and again as a change from butter. It is necessary to get it good and fresh, when it is free from all strong and objectionable taste.
These are the chief items of nourishment at lunch, and should be taken first as a first charge on the appetite; and care should be taken not to allow the less nourishing potatoes and garden vegetables to oust the more nourishing cheese, bread and cereals: the sauces must not encroach on the foods.
The following experience may illustrate what I mean: One autumn day a party of cyclists were out riding, and finding in the middle of the day that it was extremely hot, and also that there were a large number of blackberries at the side of the road, they called a halt and spent half an hour in eating the fruit. This was about 12.30 or 1 p.m. and when it came to their ordinary lunch time, 2 p.m., none of them had much appetite as they were busy digesting the blackberries; the consequence was that but a poor lunch was made.
The blackberries, however, containing very little albumen, and the supply at lunch being deficient, the result was that about 5 p.m. they were all short of albumens and force, and bad to call a halt for more food to enable them to continue their ride, while as a rule, they required no food from the 2 p.m. meal till 8 or even 8.30 p.m. Now this is pretty much what is done by those who sit down to a meal and fill themselves with the almost valueless vegetables and fruits, leaving the bread, milk and cheese to the last; they have then but little appetite, and unless they eat by measure, do not take enough, or get dyspepsia from excess of bulk.
The rest of the meal may consist of milk pudding, tart, or stewed fruit (the pudding not, of course, containing any egg), the cereal in the pudding may make up for any deficiency in the oatmeal or cereal taken at breakfast; and last, the nuts with fresh or dried fruit to any required extent.1
If the lunch is a good meal eaten with appetite, nothing but a drink of water, or aerated water with fruit juice in summer, will be required till 7.30 or 8 p.m., when all that remains of the milk and bread may be taken with some more potato or other vegetable, butter or oil being always allowed ad lib., except to those who are too stout.
These may be followed by junket, or stewed fruit with cream (the latter being only equivalent to butter or oil, and the junket taking the place of some of the milk), and these again as usual by an unlimited supply of fresh fruits.
1 If nuts are taken in larger quantity than that mentioned in Table I., they should be given an earlier and more important place in the meal, and indeed they may be better digested if taken before the meal and by themselves.
When a meal such as lunch has to be taken out of doors and away from home, the cheese may be made into sandwiches, either being cut in slices or grated for the purpose.