GOOD EATING HABITS
Chew your food well. This makes the food easier for the body to use and also gives healthy exercise to the teeth and gums.
Use only clean food. Cooked foods should be well cooked, as heat kills germs.
Eat the smallest meal at night and the largest meal in the morning. The body, including the stomach, was made to work in the daytime and to rest at night. A person eating a large meal in the evening is likely to have bad dreams and to rest poorly. Drink plenty of water between meals, but not with your meals. It is best not to drink for one-half hour before meals, and for one hour after meals.
Regularity in eating is important. Try to have your meals at the same time each day, with four or five hours between meals.
Africa is fortunate to be able to grow so many different kinds of foods, but too many people follow the bad custom of eating just two or three kinds of food day after day. It takes more effort to grow and cook a larger variety of foods, but the reward to be gained in better health is well worth any extra effort. Foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice, appetite or likes and dislikes, are not safe guides. You can train yourself to enjoy a healthful diet.
It is possible to grow foods and plan so that each day your family can have a combination of beans or peas, some green or yellow vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole- grain cereals or bread. Such a variety will assure good nutrition, health, and happiness.
As you try to put into practice all the good health rules in this chapter, remember that right physical habits promote mental and physical superiority.
Why Diseases Come
Disease never comes without a cause. Many diseases and sicknesses are the result of wrong habits and of not obeying the laws of health. Some people suffer because of the careless lives of their parents. But most people suffer because of their own wrong course of action, because they have disregarded the laws of health.
WRONG HABITS OF EATING CAUSE DISEASE
As motor-cars cannot go without petrol, our bodies cannot go without food. If a -person does not eat, he dies. And if he does not eat the right kind of food, he is likely to get sick, and may die.
Our food should he chosen, not only to satisfy our hunger and make us go, but also to build up the body and obtain the highest degree of health and well-being. In chapter three we were told what kinds of foods to eat. Now let us consider the results of not having enough of the good, body-building foods.
If protein is lacking in the food, which is especially serious in growing children, the body will have nothing with which to build. The most serious disease commonly seen due to lack of protein is “kwashiorkor” and is described in the first part of chapter five. To avoid this disease, and other diseases resulting from a lack of protein, use protein-rich foods.
A lack of iodine in the food causes “goitre” can be avoided by the use of iodized salt.
A lack of iron in our food can cause anaemia. This makes it difficult for the body to carry oxygen in the blood, and is serious. In order to have more iron in our diet, eat more of the iron-containing foods
Lack of vitamins can lead to such diseases as scurvy, beri-beri and anaemia. The use of a variety, of several different kinds of fruits and vegetables will help you to have enough vitamins.
Let us also consider some of the things we should avoid using, and some of the things we should not do.
Food should not be eaten very hot, or very cold. Very hot and very cold foods make the stomach work harder, and slow down digestion.
Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and other similar things, irritate the stomach and make the blood feverish and impure. Soon ordinary foods do not satisfy the appetite.
One should not eat when very tired, hot, excited, anxious, upset, or hurried. It is better to wait until rest or relief is found before eating.
Overeating is just as harmful as not having enough good food. Too much food burdens the system, and weakens the digestive organs. If an adult begins to gain weight and to get fat, it means he is eating too much. Fat is not healthy—it causes overwork of the heart and many other organs of the body which have to carry around and nourish the fat. A thinner person will be likely to live several years longer than a fat one. Moderate, temperate use of good food will be rewarded with physical, mental, and moral energy.
Sweets, pie, cake, doughnuts, and puddings contain very little, if any, vitamins or minerals or proteins. These sweet, expensive foods cause fatness, tooth decay, and other ills. Your body does not need them.
God has been good to provide the necessary things for your body in the simple foods such as fruits and vegetables, which usually cost less also.
Do not eat between meals. Your stomach needs time to rest. There should be four or five hours between the times of eating.
WRONG HABITS OF DRINKING CAUSE DISEASE
Drinking tea and coffee are harmful habits. Both tea and coffee contain substances that effect the nervous system by causing stimulation. This means that the nerves become excited. Thus a person may feel better for a little while after drinking tea or coffee. But these stimulants also prevent people from sleeping well if taken at night. Whenever nerves are stimulated or excited, they should afterwards have extra rest; but they cannot get this rest when continually stimulated by using tea or coffee. Headaches and nervousness often accompany the use of tea or coffee. In addition, especially with coffee, there may be irritation of the stomach which causes pain and may lead to stomach ulcers.
Because their nervous systems are more sensitive, children particularly should not be allowed to use these things.
Parents may appear to drink tea and coffee without harm, but they pass on a weakened inheritance to their children.
Those who attempt to quit drinking tea and coffee will for a time feel a loss and will suffer without them. But by persistence they will overcome the desire, and will stop feeling the lack, and will, then have better health.
It is better not to drink with your meals because the stomach, must first absorb, or take care of, the liquid, thus making your stomach work longer and also slowing up the digestion of your food. Your food should not be washed down with liquid: your food should be chewed slowly and thoroughly.’