ON HEALTHFUL FOOD.
Too Long; Didn't ReadThe person who decides what shall be the food and drink of a family, and the modes of preparation, is the one who decides, to a greater or less extent, what shall be the health of that family. It is the opinion of most medical men, that intemperance in eating is the most fruitful of all causes of disease and death. If this be so, the woman who wisely adapts the food and cooking of her family to the laws of health, removes the greatest risk which threatens the lives of those under her care.
To exhibit this subject clearly, it will be needful to refer, more minutely, to the organization and operation of the digestive organs.
It is found, by experiment, that the supply of gastric juice, furnished from the blood, by the arteries of the stomach, is proportioned, not to the amount of food put into the stomach, but to the wants of the body; so that it is possible to put much more into the stomach than can be digested. To guide and regulate in this matter, the sensation called hunger is provided. In a healthy state of the body, as soon as the blood has lost its nutritive supplies, the craving of hunger is felt, and then, if the food is suitable, and is taken in the proper manner, this sensation ceases, as soon as the stomach has received enough to supply the wants of the system. But our benevolent Creator, in this, as in our other duties, has connected enjoyment with the operation needful to sustain our bodies. In addition to the allaying of hunger, the gratification of the palate is secured, by the immense variety of food, some articles of which are far more agreeable than others.
This arrangement of Providence, designed for our happiness, has become, either through ignorance, or [Pg 95]want of self-control, the chief cause of the various diseases and sufferings, which afflict those classes who have the means of seeking a variety to gratify the palate. If mankind had only one article of food, and only water to drink, though they would have less enjoyment in eating, they would never be tempted to put any more into the stomach, than the calls of hunger required. But the customs of society, which present an incessant change, and a great variety of food, with those various condiments which stimulate appetite, lead almost every person very frequently to eat merely to gratify the palate, after the stomach has been abundantly supplied, so that hunger has ceased.