A Guide to Healthy EatingOn December 26, 2018 by Elyse
If your holiday festivities were anything like mine, they were filled with delicious meals and celebratory drinks, quickly followed by a painfully tight belt buckle and a fervent promise to eat better next year. But before we resolve in 2019 to say goodbye to snacks, sweets and other indulgences, the early 20th-century press has a reason for us—and our taste buds—to celebrate in the new year.
According to some newspaper clippings, many of the foods we think of as unhealthy today were at one time considered nutritious. . . at least, according to the companies advertising them. So, whether you’re on a treadmill or curled up on your couch with a bag of chips, have a helping of early 1900s wisdom. After all, aren’t we supposed to learn from the past?
I have good news for the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member and anyone who enjoys a cold beer on a hot (or chilly) day: Your favorite drink is, in fact, a “health-giving food” that provides “nourishment in an agreeable form.” In addition to giving lightweights like me a pleasant buzz, the “liquid bread” produced by the Jacob Ruppert Brewery was purported to “aid in the digestion of starchy food” and was “often prescribed by physicians with good results.”
Likewise, Becker’s Beer called itself “a true health food” and was said to be a “body, nerve and brain builder.” Cheers to that.
If it’s your family’s tradition to fry a turkey or anything else during the holidays, there’s no need to worry about raising your cholesterol or clogging your arteries—just make sure you use Crisco.
Dessert has always been my favorite part of any meal, so imagine my delight at learning I can cut out the middle man and have ice cream for lunch. According to an Imperial Ice Cream Co. advertisement, “hurried eating” was “ruining American health.” Because ice cream is easily digested and can be served quickly, it made for an ideal midday meal, since it allowed even those with short lunch breaks plenty of time to eat and fit in a walk before punching back in at work. I’m not sure how solid that logic is. . . gobble it up before it melts.
Moreover, a few years earlier, the completely unbiased Dairy Products Publicity Bureau assured newspaper readers that “a dish of ice cream has a fuel value equal to seven large bananas or four whole cans of high quality tomatoes,” along with “essentials [for] growth and development.” I’ll take mine with a cherry on top, please.
Among my favorite 21st-century articles are the ones that declare chocolate is good for me. Whether that’s true or not, it was an opinion shared by Professor John C. Olsen, PhD, a chemist at the precursor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In 1908, he seemed to suggest that chocolate creams and peanuts are part of—if not the entirety of—a well-balanced diet. Forget Dr. Oz, I want Dr. Olsen to be my new nutritionist.
If you have a toothache, fear not: It’s apparently just as healthy to drink chocolate as it is to eat it.
Hope the new year brings you food that is both healthy and delicious. . . at least by early 20th-century standards. Bon appétit!
Recent Posts You
May Have Missed
Did you click through Facebook or Twitter? We got lucky—don’t let social media algorithms keep you from seeing a post! Save yourself a click, and subscribe to have stories delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re published.
Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
- Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Subscribe to the Blog via Email
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- January 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- August 2020
- July 2020
- June 2020
- May 2020
- April 2020
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018