464 IDEAL HOME LIFE
When convenient, the principal meal should be taken about noon, when the activity of physical organization is at its height, and the body is expending more energy and needing more heat producing and repair materials than at any other time. This meal should be confined to one dish of good, well-cooked meat; beef or mutton preferably; whole wheat, or some whole grain, bread, butter, a few potatoes, rice or other starchy vegetable, and all the watery, saline vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, turnips, lettuce, celery, cresses, etc., that the appetite craves. For dessert, rice or tapioca pudding or fruit is the best.
Plenty of time should be taken at this meal, and every morsel thoroughly masticated. Nine-tenths of the stomach disorders arise from swallowing food improperly masticated; and all the physical exercises you can take will not make up what you lose in omitting to exercise the muscles of your jaws sufficiently at meals.
If I were called upon to point out the most important exercise that a man or woman could take, I would unhesitatingly say, exercising the muscles of the jaws at meal time. This thorough mastication not only desiccates the food, and turns it into the stomach in a condition that permits the speedy action of the digestive fluids upon it, but it constantly sends out into the mass of food tiny jets of saliva, which is one of the most important juices in the digestive apparatus, and without a sufficient quantity of which complete digestion is utterly impossible.
The last meal should be eaten several hours before retiring ; and when the principal meal is eaten at noon, it should not include any meat. Bread, cheese, vegetables of all kinds, and stewed fruits, should be the principal ingredients.
It is of the utmost importance, where one desires the quickest and best muscular development, to omit coffee, tea, and stimulants from the dietary, and to avoid pastries, highly seasoned and spiced dishes. In the place of coffee or tea as a beverage, substitute either cocoa or a mixture of hot water, milk, and sugar.
There is a mistaken idea that meat is the only strengthening food. On the contrary, if you want to develop good, firm, elastic muscles, and put the organs of your body in a healthy