The Milk Diet: How to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home by Bernarr Macfadden, 1923.
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CHAPTER VI: HOW TO KEEP THE
HEALTH YOU HAVE GAINED
Almost invariably those who have taken the milk cure properly will find themselves in better health than they may have ever enjoyed before. The body cells are “clean.” They are relatively free from organic toxins.
The elimination is better. The organs of digestion an assimilation function in a more natural way. The blood is enriched and purified, as a consequence of which oxidation proceeds more normally.
The nerves and the brain cells are nourished. There is usually a capacity for an immensely increased amount of both mental and physical work. There is also a distinct increase in sexual tone, with the additional increase in general energy resulting there from.
Needless to say, if the healthful gain made on the milk diet is to have any permanent beneficial effect, “moderation” must be the watchword in everything.
The greatest care must be observed so that the body, the mind, or any special organs shall not become fatigued in their functions. Periods of rest should be taken. Long stretches of mental concentration should be avoided. The mind should be diverted every once in a while – when it is found to be more or less of an effort to concentrate on the subject under consideration or on the work of the moment.
If it is only to get up from the desk and go over to the window and look out for a minute or two, you should make an attempt to do this.
At night a couple of hours spent at a concert, a lecture, seeing a good “show” or moving picture, or an hour or two spent with an interesting book or magazine, will go far to divert the mind and give it that recreation and rest so essential to proper functioning.
I hardly need again caution against over-indulgence in sexual intercourse, which so often follows the invigorating effect of a full “tonic” diet. Common sense must be the guide in these matter, remembering always that energy which is not dissipated is a very distinct asset to the sum total of well-being.
Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is, next to proper food, the
greatest reconstructive force we have. For, I may here again
emphasize, it is only during sleep that the final processes of
assimilation are completed.
It is during these hours that the assimilated pabulum from food digestion is converted into active cells and living vital tissues.
Therefore get plenty of sleep. At least eight hours’ sleep a night is necessary for complete rehabilitation of wasted energy and the reconstruction and rebuilding of broken down tissue for the majority of people.
If you are inclined to be delicate and nervous, even ten hours is none too much. Remember it is quite impossible to get too much sleep. For when the body and the mind are thoroughly rested, you’ll wake up, rested and refreshed. You couldn’t sleep any more even if you wanted to.
Sleep always in a well ventilated room, and if it is at all possible, in a separate bed. For the restlessness of one sleeper is quite likely to affect the other, and the more profound the sleep and the least disturbed it is, the quicker the recuperation and the more good you’ll get out of it.
Another thing, there is a certain loss of magnetism by certain susceptible individuals, particularly children and young people, who are obliged to sleep with the aged or with people much older than themselves or those with waning bodily energies.
In fact, it used to be a custom in France many years ago for decrepit noblemen or wealthy men and women to hire a young and vigorous individual – usually of the opposite sex – to sleep with them. The younger person invariably lost vitality from this contact. Finally, however, this strange sale of vitality was forbidden by law.
And now the sleeping relation is only practiced because of ignorance of its deleterious consequences or because stress of economic conditions enforces it.
Continue the Baths
In can not too strongly emphasize
the valuable effects of the daily warm bath as a means of keeping
the pores open and helping to rid the body of poisons that might
otherwise accumulate there, or else force extra work of elimination
upon the kidneys, lungs, and bowels.
The cleansing bath should be followed, if possible, with a cold shower or sponge bath, provided the shock of the cold water is not too great. Or else the warm water can be run out of the tub while the cold water is being run in. Splash around meanwhile, until just a comfortable degree of coolness is experienced, or start with comfortable coolness and daily lower the temperature slightly until cold baths can be taken with pleasure.
The bath should invariably be followed by a brisk rub with a coarse towel. This will stimulate the better activity of the surface capillaries, bring the blood tingling to the surface of the body, and stir up a wholesome activity in the pores of the skin.
Many women abstain from the general, or tub bath during menstrual period, believing that bathing at this time tends to suppress menstrual flow. This may be the case with certain individuals, but the great majority of women can enjoy comfort and the delightful feeling of cleanliness that follows a warm bath without any apprehension of suppressing their period.
This, of course, does not apply to cold baths or to sea bathing, to excessively hot baths, or to any exposure which might prove a distinct shock to the system. However, if reasonable care be observed, there is no reason why women should deprive themselves of the gratification of a warm bath a day or so after the height of the flow has subsided.
No one, unless very anemic, is
justified in swathing himself or herself in heavy clothing
practically impervious to the passage of air.
Even in the coldest weather decently light clothing should be worn, together with open-mesh underwear that will permit the entrance of fresh air to the skin cells and facilitate the liberation of the noxious gasses thrown off by the skin, the retention of which will poison just as surely as would the swallowing of the same quantity of poisons.
With reasonably light clothes the circulation of the skin is improved, the oxidation processes of the body will be assisted, a more equable degree of heat will be maintained, and as a consequence more food will be conserved and utilized, because the digestive and assimilative processes will be greatly improved.
Too many people are prone to jump into heavier undergarments at the slightest suspicion of cold. Having done so, they render themselves more vulnerable to attacks of cold, influenza, rheumatism and other troubles, because the effect of the heavy garments is to create an undue amount of heat, especially during the hours they spend in their homes, offices, or places of business, if engaged in inside work. And where the body is supplied by heat without effort it will not manufacture its own heat—its circulation will not be normally vigorous, and therefore elimination will be defective and deficient.
Therefore it is always wise to wear such weight garments as shall keep the skin in a state or normal activity, trusting to nourishing food, deep breathing and vigorous exercise to give you all the oxidation necessary to keep you comfortable and warm even in the coldest weather.
The same thing is true of extremely heavy shoes, or shoes that are too tight to permit the feet to “breathe” and the blood to flow through them. In the winter-time a cramped foot is usually a cold foot.
A foot encased in a shoe long enough and wide enough to permit the one-half inch deviation in length and the three-fourths of an inch in breadth that follows putting the weight of the body on the foot is the foot that will remain warm, no matter what reasonable degree of exposure it be subject to.
Don’t Read Too Much
While I heartily approve of reading
for diversion, I can not too strongly condemn “exhaustive reading.”
By this I mean the kind of reading done by certain individuals who
get hold of a book and who are not content to put it away until
they have finished it, or else until they are so tired and sleepy
that they can no longer hold their eyes open.
This sort of reading is worse than none at all. Remember that the function of seeing, translating the characters or letters into ideas, and the conveying of these ideas to the brain uses up one-third of the total expended energy of the brain.
Multiply this by the continued hours of reading, many of which perhaps should be spent in sleeping, and you will form some idea of the amount of energy that can be dissipated needlessly in what should be a profitable recreation.
The same thing is true of sewing or knitting, especially sewing and knitting on fine work that entails considerable eye-strain.
There are many women who are not content to sit quietly for five minutes unless their needles are flying back and forth or unless they can feel they are accomplishing some constructive task.
As a matter of fact, all the hemstitching and beautiful embroidery you or any other woman can do in a year is not worth the physical and mental expense it entails.
Suppose you do have to buy machine-hemmed tablecloths, napkins and dresser scarves. What of it? They may not look quite as well as the hand-worked variety, but, weighed against the value of the amount of useful energy you will save, they’ll look mighty well, especially when you find yourself with so much more time and energy on your hands that can be diverted to the comfort or companionship of your husband or the children.
One of the foremost essentials of
right living is exercise. The object of exercise is to improve the
circulation and the general nutrition by developing better
breathing power and better general nutrition.
Readers of Physical Culture Magazine will need no special instructions in respect to the value of exercise in maintaining better physical functioning. As every reader of Physical Culture knows, every muscle, in contracting, uses up a definite amount of food carried to it in the blood. The arteries and blood vessels carrying this blood become dilated and enlarged, in order to carry the necessary food elements and oxygen to the parts.
Perhaps the best, cheapest, and most available of all forms of exercise is walking. Walking exercises most of the muscles of the body, produces deeper respiration, and consequently better oxidation, and helps the peristaltic action of the muscles of the stomach and bowels. Food is better digested, and the food debris is more effectively got rid of. The blood circulates more freely, and every cell and gland in the body is enriched by an additional supply of the nutrient substances brought in contact with it.
In the Summer and Fall, swimming, rowing, and tennis offer pleasurable opportunities for active physical recreation. Tennis is valuable to develop litheness, agility, elasticity, and as a general conditioning exercise. Swimming and rowing are especially good for those physically fit to indulge in them, for these exercises bring into active play the abdominal and back muscles and various groups of muscles that are not greatly influenced by walking and many other exercises.
Golf, of course, also furnishes this stimulus to the abdominal and back muscles, but not every one can afford the time or the expense to devote to golf two or three afternoons a week. Horseback riding, notwithstanding its admitted value, is equally out of the question because of its generally prohibitive expense to most city dwellers.
Exercise in Winter
There is probably no single season
of the year that is best for health and recovering health. Each
season has its advantages. Perhaps there is no better time for
building rich red blood and for increasing the circulation to its
greatest efficiency than the Winter. For this season offers some of
the most wholesome of exercises and activity, and this, with the
lowered temperature and apparently fresher air, which lend energy
to the nervous system, makes exercise a pleasure.
Skating, which may be considered in effect midway between walking and running, can be secured in a valuable form only in the Winter. Indoor skating can be secured in some places out of season, but at such times it is possible to indulge in those equally enjoyable and more valuable outdoor sports of the particular season.
Skiing, snow shoeing, ice-boat sailing, and treading through the snow, or even over clear roads in the Winter-time, are positive health producers. If one can relax from his dignity and has the opportunity, tobogganing is also excellent—mainly because of the climb to the top of the hill again, and also because of the spirit of youthfulness in which this sport is indulged in.
The exercises just given are more on the order of sports, but are among the most wholesome of exercises because taken under the most favorable conditions of air, sunshine and association. But for reasons of circumstances at this time, business, location, etc., some people can not take advantage of these sports.
There are innumerable forms of exercise that can be taken alone and in the privacy of one’s home or bedroom. If one has a phonograph or radio outfit, he can exercise regularly, and with pleasure and benefit, to the rhythmic swing of music. But even these are not necessary.
One may have dumb-bells, Indian clubs, chest or wall machine, bar-bells, etc., for regular exercise of value. But some of the most beneficial of all exercises may be taken without apparatus of any kind, though if one wishes he may use books or pieces of furniture for his “gymnasium apparatus.”
Because relaxation can be secured where or when desired, reclining exercises on the bed or floor are particularly helpful in many cases, and valuable in all.
Stretching and breathing exercises should be taken at least once a day by everyone. The morning is the best time for these, and they may be taken before arising from bed, but the covers should be thrown down before these are taken.
Resistive exercises and the muscle tensing exercises can be made as slight or as vigorous as desired; in fact, they can be made as strenuous as exercises with the bar-bell. If relaxation is thorough and efficient after such exercises, they are among the best for all round development and “conditioning.”
Thus it will be seen that if one is anxious enough for health he will have no such excuse as not being equipped for exercise. The matter of exercise is one that each individual must solve for himself – based on his opportunities, economic condition, physical ability, and preferences. I can only emphasize that adequate provision must be made for it, if the best effects on health are to be obtained and maintained.
Drink Plenty of Water
I would reiterate, also, the
necessity of drinking from six to ten glasses of pure cool (not
iced) water every day, preferably between meals, or a more or less
empty stomach. The best time to drink water is on rising in the
morning, between meals, before meals, with possibly one glass at
If the drinking of much fluid in the evening tends to break sleep by getting one up to urinate, it would be well to avoid drinking water after supper at night, so as to give the kidneys and bladder as little to do as possible during the night, though a definite thirst should be satisfied regardless of the time of day or night.
In this matter, also, good judgment will indicate the proper course and ultimately indicate the plan of action best calculated to give the most satisfying results.
Continue to Drink
I would also urge that every man,
woman and child, where it is at all possible, drink at least a
quart of milk each and every day.
This may be taken as a beverage, or as buttermilk or clabbered or fermented milk, or taken in oyster stews, milk toast, milk foods – such as custard and milk soups—or on cereals, or any way so long as the requisite amount of milk may be taken each day. But attempt to get some raw milk, even though prepared milk foods and cooked milks are used.
Few people realize what delicious dishes can be made from the rennet junket tablets, sold at most drug and grocery stores, for making junket desserts. These desserts are much more wholesome, digestible and nutritious than pies, pudding and other commonly used desserts. Therefore it is a great pity that they are not more generally employed as valuable food products.
And remember that one chief reason for taking milk persistently is the fact that it is rich in those vitally essential food products—vitamines.
In discussing this subject, Prof. M.J. Rosenau, of the Harvard Medical School, says:
“Milk is rich in all of the known vitamines. We would rather expect this to be the case, for the mammalian suckling must depend upon milk as its sole source of food supply for a fairly long period of time. Milk, in fact, is the only single article of food that fairly represents a complete diet. Milk is unexcelled for growing children; it has no equal for the promotion of growth and nutrition. Furthermore, cow’s milk is rich in calcium in a readily available form—children need five times as much calcium per kilo (about 2.2 pounds) of body weight as adults. In order to supply this important salt to growing bones and developing teeth, as well as to furnishing vitamines for the utilization of food, a child should drink a quart of milk a day. It will not then suffer from a deficiency disease. In this sense, milk is well called a protective food.”
Watch Your Weight
One of the surest general indexes in
determining health, or the state of nutrition upon which health
depends, is the maintenance of normal weight.
First and foremost it is necessary to be sure that you are not materially under weight or over weight for your height.
Tables of weight in relation to height and age are given in many books and circulars; also they will be found on penny scales. It must be remembered, however, that these weights are for the average individual, and they are also usually above the strictly normal for individual heights, because the average individual is above normal in weight. Those who are naturally and normally slender, or of the “race-horse type,” and those who are heavily built, or of the “draft-horse type,” are all taken into consideration in the making of these tables. It is utterly wrong for one normally above or below the average given to attempt to reach down to or up to the weight given. The older the individual, the farther below the weights given in these tables should he go, for the greatest health and safety.
It might be stated that up to thirty it is frequently better if one can add weight to, or somewhat above the average for that age. The increased weight if constituted of normal tissue will be apt to protect the individual from such conditions as anemia, tuberculosis, and general depletion due to the expenditure of a great amount of energy during youth.
Usually, from twenty-eight to thirty-five or forty, one is inclined to put on excessive weight, or weight above the average. This is due frequently to a continuation of the same dietetic habits as during greater physical activity, or a great reduction of that physical activity, or both. A man’s “dignity” frequently prevents him at this age from being natural and giving vent to his surplus energies in wholesome, care-free activity of a physical nature. Not having an escape in this manner, the excessive food and energy are stored up in an unnecessary increase in flesh.
It is frequently in the decade from thirty to forty that many future illnesses have their beginning. One should endeavor during this time to hold his weight in check if it is inclined to rise above the average, or what can be determined to be normal for him.
After forty, or at least fifty, it is better by far that the weight be allowed to go gradually below the average than above. It is well, of course, if the average or normal weight can be maintained, but it should not be allowed to go above the normal, or at most not more than a very few pounds.
It is frequently those “who are the picture of health” who are slowly developing a thick, viscid blood, hardened arteries, and a high blood pressure, also kidney trouble, liver trouble, diabetes, or some other disorder, due primarily to an excess of nourishment and a deficiency of solvent fluids and foods and of wholesome corrective physical activity.
Every year one should take a
physical inventory to determine the health and normal functioning
of every organ, gland, and structure of the body. However, unless
one has made a study of anatomy and physiology he is not apt to
interpret properly his findings. For this reason it is a good plan
to have a thorough physical examination yearly. If possible, this
examination should be made by one who has specialized in health
preservation rather than merely the treatment of diseases and
disorders after they have become established. In rural communities
this will be difficult, perhaps, but in all cities and most towns
of considerable size will be found those who can give a
satisfactory examination and an interpretation of conditions
If it is not desired or not possible for any reason to have a complete physical examination yearly, at least a urinalysis and a blood pressure examination should be made. If any abnormal conditions are found, steps should be instituted at once toward their correction, rather than delay for some “better time” or in the hope that they will right themselves.
There is no secret in preserving
health and long life. It is merely required that we live according
to natural laws, that we prevent – by proper diet, exercise, baths,
fresh air, and sleep – the formation of those poisons within the
body that handicap, cripple, and kill. This should be
Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs of all kinds should be taboo. Excessive indulgence in candy, ice cream and sweets, and over-eating of any sort of food must be rigidly guarded against.
The proper frame of mind must be cultivated. It is not necessary to become a fanatic. The highest possible degree of cheerfulness, courage and confidence must be maintained. Let the mind and the physiological processes that the mind governs work constructively. Let them build up, not tear down – speaking in the broad health sense.
So convinced am I of the disease-correcting and health-maintaining power of the fast and milk diet that I urge any one who has an abnormal functional or organic condition, especially in the beginning or in the incipient stage, to adopt this means of re-establishing normality.
If these two factors were employed regularly as a health-conservation measure, drug practice would be reduced ninety per cent.
Every year or two, merely for the sake of maintaining health, it would be a good plan to take a short fast and a short course of the milk diet, in order to maintain the highest degree of health and efficiency possible for the remainder of the year.
And remember that, in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand, you have it in your own power, merely by exercising discrimination, judgment, and restraint, to live out your allotted span of years in health and in the comfort, happiness, and economic stability that health brings. And more than this no reasonable person can demand.
A Summary of the Milk
1. A proper preparatory
treatment is necessary for most satisfactory results. Fruit
juice only, an absolute fast, or a combination of these two
prepares the digestive and assimilative organs for the new
2. Use the purest milk
attainable, and from Holstein, or at least some other breed of
cows than Jersey or Guernsey if possible. The flavor is improved by
aerating it – by pouring from pitcher to pitcher, or shaking it in
some other way.
3. Unpasteurized milk is
preferable, though pasteurized milk may be used when
4. The proper method of taking the
milk is the method used by the nursing baby in sucking its
milk from the bottle. This is done by placing the edge of the lips
close to the rim of the glass and making the opening between the
lips so small that considerable suction will be required to draw
the milk into the mouth. This process not only mixes the saliva
with the milk but very greatly improves the flavor.
5. In regards to quantity, the average case may use to best advantage a quart of milk to each twenty-five to thirty-five pounds of body weight. Another guide is one quart of milk for each foot in height, for men, and three or four ounces less for women. Roughly, five quarts daily for women of average size and six quarts daily for men of average size will be approximately correct.
6. Constipation is not
infrequently produced at the beginning of the milk diet. Do not
discontinue the milk, but take a small enema of about half a pint
of warm or cool water each morning or, if necessary, each morning
7. Diarrhea also is sometimes
induced by the milk diet. This is because of abnormal body
conditions and is not due to the milk directly. It may be remedied
by simply lessening the quantity of milk. Reducing the cream or
diluting the milk will sometimes be all that is necessary. In some
cases a high, warm, full enema is valuable. In others the
difficulty does not respond satisfactorily to any of the above
methods. In these it may be advisable to use a few dates a day – as
many as two to four with each glass of milk. In other obstinate
cases it will be necessary to take the milk until noon, and an
ordinary meal in the evening, or, take a breakfast, and then take
milk all afternoon, beginning at twelve or one.
8. Nausea is not infrequently
caused by the milk. This can be remedied by taking acid fruits or
their juices, preferably lemon, or grape-fruit or orange, either
just before or just after the milk, or at any time that nausea is
experienced. Removal of some of the cream or diluting the milk may
9. A sense of fullness in the
abdominal region is nearly always produced by the milk diet. This
need occasion no alarm. It is only natural that a large quantity of
nourishing liquid should produce a fullness and stretching of the
digestive tract and abdominal tissues. It will usually subside
before the completion of the diet, and always on the return to the
10. A coated tongue, unpleasant
taste in the mouth, and unpleasant breath, are often
noticeable when first beginning the diet, especially on rising in
the morning. The symptoms should cause no worry, as they usually
disappear in a short time. In some cases the tongue is coated
during the entire milk diet period, without interfering in the
least with the benefits.
11. A milk diet means a milk
diet – nothing else. Don’t add other foods promiscuously. The
only exceptions are in cases of some disagreement of the milk, due
to an abnormal condition of the digestive channel, when fruits or
fruit juices may be taken as fully explained. Combinations of milk
and other foods, usually fruits, may be valuable in many cases, but
do not consider this the milk diet.
12. Water is rarely required
when on the milk diet, except the first thing in the morning. But
if at any time of the day or night there is a genuine thirst for
water only, there will be no harm whatever in taking any amount
13. The warm, neutral bath, 98
to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, can usually be taken with advantage while
on this diet. Start the water at 95 degrees and gradually increase
it to that desired, up to 99 degrees. Remain in the water, fully
relaxed, from half an hour to an hour.
14. Exercise is sometimes to
be rigidly avoided. If you are taking a fairly large quantity of
milk it is sometimes desirable to be lazy – to have little or no
physical activity. Many cases, however, do better while exercising.
The most satisfactory time is the first thing in the morning,
before taking any milk.
15. The length of time
required to secure desired results on the milk diet varies
greatly – from three to four weeks to as many months – or even as
many years in a few serious organic diseases. The average is
probably five to six weeks. Much depends upon inherent vitality,
age, nature, extent and duration of the disorder, previous
treatment, previous surgical interference, preparation for an
application of the treatment, etc. Do not be discouraged if marked
improvement is not noticed within a few days. Adhere to the
treatment, modifying it only when necessary, and results will come
if they can be secured at all.
16. Old symptoms, long ago
suppressed and forgotten, may return after a few weeks or even
after a few days of the milk. These are due to the healing nature
of the diet, which flushes the tissues, carries out diseased cells
and waste, brings repair nourishment to the affected parts, and
increases the circulation and nerve action to and through the
region formerly diseased. These symptoms should not worry you –
they pass off as the structures and functions are returned to more
17. Changing from a milk diet
to the regular diet requires caution, regardless of the improvement
made on the diet. The digestive and all other functions are greatly
improved and, because more nearly normal than before, they are more
easily and quickly affected by an abnormal or unnatural influence.
The benefits derived from the milk diet régime may be retained and
even added to by using care in selecting a wholesome diet and mode
of living generally.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Consult with your physician before making any changes to your diet.