December 21, 2012

Medicine in the Nineteenth Century: Holiday Cheer

At this season of the year feasts and celebrations abound.  Here is an excerpt from "The Common School Question Book and Review" (around 1880 - 1904) which demonstrates what a teacher was expected to know and share with students:

Q.  Mention the evils arising from rapid eating.

A.  1rst.  The food is swallowed without suffucient saliva.  2nd.  The particles of food are so large as to hinder the action of the digestive juice, which is often weakened by the use of drinks poured down with the food.  3rd.  We do not realize the quantity eaten until the stomach is overloaded.  4th.  Failing to get the taste of our food we think it insipid, and resort to condiments which over stimulate the digestive organs.

Although we know much more about the physiology and biochemistry of digestion today, the basic principle applies:  Slow down and enjoy!

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