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We all have a story to tell. Some speak louder than others. Listen closely to hear the stories of our ancestors echoing under our footsteps. They are the authors. We are the keepers.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Herstoryan's Hearth: Dieting is NOT a New Concept (Excerpts from 1853 and 1914)

In honor of the cultural practice of making New Year's Resolutions and the unfortunate personal practice of breaking them, I present you with this thought: 

Dieting is not a modern concept! 

Today it is P90X [day three and I am still able to walk thank you very much] and yesterday, uh-hum I mean in 1914, it was "The New Brainy Diet System." Will we creatures ever learn?

Excerpt from: Wheeler, Edward J.. Current Opinion, Volume 56. New York: Current Literature Pub. Co., January-June 1914. Print. p152

Popular Educational Food Campaign 
Eggs in wrong combination and an excess of starchy (paste making) and fatty foods make people sluggish and cause dull splitting headaches, lack of memory and concentration, drowsiness and inertia. A complete change to digestible brainy foods suitable meat, game, fish, and suitable dairy foods, combined with suitable vegetables and fruits according to the new brainy food plan produces the most marked improvements in a few weeks 
Brainy Diet 
A thin man, after being out of work nearly a year through weakness, was restored in three weeks to hard work as a carpenter at full pay. In such cases the change from wrong combinations of foods, an excess of starchy cloggy death producing foods to energizing foods causes a literal transformation. 
Another person, deaf in the right ear, owing to a discharge caused by an excess of mucus making foods (cream, butter, cheese, etc) completely eliminated the catarrh thereby restoring his hearing by taking correct combinations of suitable foods.
A case of kidney and bladder trouble of ten years' standing was saved from a surgical operation, and the objectionable discharge relieved within ten days, because the loss of control was due entirely to the constant Irritation from certain irritating food and drinks.
Prurigo or "Itch" chronic beyond the remedies of doctors and skin specialists, completely disappeared within three months.
A chronic sufferer, weighing 415 pounds, unable to exercise, reduced over 150 pounds (in public life under many witnesses) gained strength and firmer flesh, and lost rheumatism.

"The New Brainy Diet System" sent for 10 cents. Send Addresses of Sick Friends to G. H. Brinkler , Food Expert, Department 20B, Washington, D. C.

I think I could definitely stick to this next diet....

Excerpt from: Webster, Mrs. A. L. . The Improved Housewife, or Book of Receipts; with Engravings for Marketing and Carving.. 18 ed. Boston: Phillips; Sampson, and Company, 1853. Print. p114

296. Diet Bread.
Mix a pound of sifted flour with a pound of powdered sugar; stir into the mixture, very gradually, eight wellbeaten eggs; season with essence of lemon, rose-water, or to the taste; and bake fifteen or twenty minutes.

Good luck to any fellow travelers bravely following our ancestors' footsteps. Here's to 2010! Excuse me while I refill my protein shake...


  1. I do so enjoy your collection of old "homey" articles. You must have quite a collection of old books that draw friends from near and far to peruse your library.

  2. I've awarded you the "Happy 101 Award". You can read about it and pick it up here:

  3. I've given you a Happy 101 Award over at:

  4. Me too! I really enjoy your blog and I have given you a HAPPY 101 SWEET FRIENDS AWARD. Please stop by Roots’n’Leaves to pick it up.

  5. Intersting diet ideas! When I was learning Swedish, I was surprised to find out that the word for diet came from the name of an Englishman, William Banting, who wrote what must have been one of the earlier weightloss manuals, "Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public" in 1862. He recommended cutting out sugar, so that last recipe wouldn't have gotten passed him, but you're right, it does sound pretty good.