Feeding Children from Two to Six Years


   At the zoo here in San Antonio there are signs warning visitors not to feed the animals. The signs read as follows: "All birds and animals are scientifically fed the correct foods--in proper quantities to insure best physical condition." "The feeding of tid-bits and wrong kinds of food by the public is very harmful--and represents a cruel practice--which the Zoological Board cannot allow."

   In this same city, as in all other cities, there are thousands of children who are fed haphazardly, unscientifically and inadequately. The children are sickly, undeveloped, undernourished and deprived of many of the joys of life.

   Everywhere one goes he sees children eating cookies, candies, crackers, ice cream and other worthless things. "With hands full of cookies and pockets full of peanuts" they gorge and stuff, filling their little bodies with these acid-forming foods and robbing their tissues of their precious alkaline elements. Children are frequently made into a veritable dumping ground for all the various patented foods, emulsions, and even drugs that clever advertisers offer to the public and to physicians.

   Parents often feel sorry for their children when they see them deprived of certain foods, but they are wasting their sympathies. Such sympathies are tantamount to wishing for them a continuance of disease. "When parents are intelligent enough to know their duty to their children," says Dr. Tilden, "they will not feel sorry for them because they are not eating in a way to make them sick." Too many parents are ruled by their emotions and sentiments and not by knowledge and reason. Give children those foods that are good for them and do not cultivate in them an appetite for harmful foods.

   If you desire to bring up your child without the need of a doctor, with perfect digestion, freedom from disease, good teeth, a splendid body and alert mind, follow the advice given herein and keep away from sugars, refined starches and all processed foods. If you are fond of adding to the incomes of physicians and also of seeing your children suffer and die, follow the "good old fashioned way" that is the vogue all around you.


   Beginning with the second year fruits and vegetables may be added to the child's diet. Any fruit in season, if well ripened, may be fed. There is no reason to fear fruit of any kind; peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, figs, apples, pears, grapes, berries, bananas, and so on through the whole list. Give the child the pulp and all--not merely the juice. Water melons, cantaloupes, honey dew melons and melons of all kinds may be given. All kinds, of nuts, except peanuts, which are not nuts, may be given.

   Any or all fresh vegetables may be given either raw or cooked, preferably raw. Spinach, chard, kale, cabbage, beet tops, turnip tops, asparagus, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, squash, fresh green beans, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc., may all be given the child. Carrots, peas, fresh corn, (not canned corn or peas), beets, parsnips, salsify, etc., may also be fed. There is no reason to fear to feed your child vegetables, provided they are fresh and properly prepared.

   Berg advises "from five to seven times as much vegetables, potatoes and salt-rich fruits (apples and pears are poor in this respect), as of meat, eggs or cereal products--for otherwise an adequate excess of bases cannot be guaranteed," to supply the needs of growing children. With this I concur. The pregnant and nursing mother should make up her diet in the same way, if she wishes to supply her child with adequate bases.


   The growing organism requires a little more protein than the adult organism, but it has been clearly and definitely shown by numerous tests that the difference between the minimum amount required to maintain weight and the optimal requirement for growth is not great. Any excess of protein above the optimal requirement for growth does not increase the rate of growth. Nothing is to be gained from overfeeding on proteins. "Nitrogen, the chief ingredient of protein, is universally a good servant, but a bad master," says the British biologist, H. Reinheimer. It is therefore, best to avoid overfeeding of protein.


   The child should be taught early to thoroughly masticate all food. This is best done by giving it foods that require chewing when the child first begins to eat solid food. Many mothers feed their children mushes, gruels, and foods that have been put through a sieve (perhaps because the child specialist has ordered it), which may be swallowed without chewing. The result is they never learn to chew. Never give a child mashed food or mush. If the child can't chew its food it is not ready for that kind of food.


   Give the child three meals a day, including his three nursings which are simply supplemented with these foods.


   It is necessary to observe the same rules for combining foods, when feeding these to the child as when feeding them to the adult.


   This varied or general diet idea has been and is being greatly overworked, both as regards children and adults. At no previous period in history did man have the great variety of foods he now has. But he does not need to eat every food that grows just because they are now available.

   Children quite naturally eat monotrophic meals. They like to make a meal on one thing. Parents usually do not permit them to do this, being under the variety "spell" and being convinced that we must have our variety all at one meal. If children were given natural foods they could safely be left to follow out their instinctive monotrophic practices. But to permit a child to make a meal on jam and bread, or on cake, or on cheese, or macaroni, would be no good.


   My observations have led me to believe that children adjust themselves to the diet the mother has taken during pregnancy and lactation, more readily than to other diets. Certain experiments with insects have shown this to be positively so among these. Further study will show whether or not my observations of infants are accurate. If they are accurate they open the way for parents to adjust their children to the best diets.


   It would be safe to turn children loose and let them eat what and when they will, just as animals do, provided they are supplied with natural foods, are not urged to overeat and their sense of taste has not previously been perverted and the stuffing habit has not been cultivated in them. Don't season and sweeten their foods to stimulate a false appetite and induce them to over eat.

   Supply them with plain, wholesome natural foods and no other kind and leave it to their natural instincts to teach them to eat foods that are good for them. Set them a good example--they will follow a good example as readily as they will a bad one.


   One of the most common crimes against children is that of compelling them to eat when there is no desire nor demand for food. Many mothers complain that their children will not eat. They have to coax or force children to eat. If there is no desire for food, none should be given. Children may be depended upon, always, to take food, if and when they are hungry. If the child is not hungry let him go without food. His own sense of hunger is a better guide as to when he should eat than all the science of all the ex-spurts in the world, who know all about the thing, and know it all wrong.

   Morse-Wyman-Hill say children "must be made to eat what is given them, * * * whether they like it or not, because it is most important for older children and adults to eat a general diet. * * * A baby should be made to eat its foods as they are given to it, even if its nose has to be held in order to make it swallow."

   This is criminal advice and if followed, is a sure way of creating in the child an antipathy towards its food or some food and a spirit of antagonism. The spirit of children is not so easily broken and subdued as these authors assert. They resist coercion long after an adult has submitted himself to the yoke and become a slave.

   Children who refuse to eat at meal times are those, usually, who are permitted to munch crackers, cakes, candies, and other such dietetic abominations between meals. They are not hungry when meal time arrives. But there is a more profound reason why this type of diet "spoils the appetite." It loads the body with an excess of denatured carbohydrate and. in self-defense, nature cuts off the demand for food.

   There is no indispensable food. If a child does not like spinach and many of them do not, there are other foods just as good, or better, that he will like. I have seen a baby's nose held to force it to swallow a poisonous drug prescribed by a doctor, and I don't believe in this method of forcing a distasteful food down a child's throat any more than I believe in its use to compel the child to swallow the doctor's dope.


   McCarrison regards loss of appetite as an evidence of food deficiency. We noted in a previous chapter that animals fed on a mineral-free diet soon refused their food and had to be force fed. Experimenters who have, themselves, gone on a deficient diet, a white-bread diet for example, note the same thing. McCarrison says "It seems to me that loss of appetite' is one of the most fundamental signs of vitamin deprivation. It is a protective sign; the first signal of impending disaster. It should at once excite suspicion as to the quality of the food in any patient who may exhibit it."

   The head of a boarding school for children here informs me that children come to the school, thin, pale and without appetite and that on the abundance of fruits and green vegetables, they receive at the school, they gain weight, become normal in color and develop good appetites. I have seen the same thing occur many times in my own practice when mothers have brought their puny children to me with the wail that the children will not eat--"I have to make him (or her) eat." If a child is obviously undernourished and refuses food, it must be because its protective instincts have rebelled against more of the deficient food. Only a well nourished child can have a truly normal (or natural) food-demand. A finicky appetite should cause parents to become suspicious of the child's eating.

   McClendon noted among American soldiers in the trenches, that when their rations were restricted to eggs, sugar, chocolate and dried milk made into a sort of biscuit, a craving for fresh foods became overpowering within two or three days and caused them to refuse their rations. He considers that in a state of nature this craving has tremendous survival value for man and animal.

   Children do not have to be forced to eat that which is wholesome and good, if they have been fed properly from the start and have not had their appetite and sense of taste spoiled by sugar, salt, pepper, spices, etc. Too many children have their appetites for plain food spoiled by the vulgar habit of seasoning their foods and cultivating in them the same perversions of the sense of taste and the same abnormal cravings that are seen in adults. Jam or jelly is put on their bread or crackers, sugar is put into their milk, sweet cookies are fed to them often, they are given candy or ice cream or little knick-nacks between meals, or they are given sugar out of the sugar bowl. Mayonnaise or other such slop is smeared over their food. Their appetites become so cloyed and their sense of taste so perverted that they no longer enjoy simple foods. When they grow older their perverted taste and jaded appetites and overstimulated bodies will demand tobacco, alcohol, and petting; also sex-slush in their movies and novels.

   Children are victims of the fallacy that they require lots of fats and sugars and starches, which has evolved the present onesided and deficient diet. This diet is virtually robbed of mineral salts and vitamins and then doctors and parents add a few teaspoonfuls of tomato juice, or orange juice and nauseous cod-liver oil to this diet, to make up for its deficiencies. Cod-liver oil and other fatty emulsions added to a diet already over-burdened with fat only helps to make the child sick.


   A few words may be said about the foods that people have unfounded fears concerning.

   Fruits are especially valuable for the mineral salts, sugar, organic acids, vitamins and distilled water which they contain.

   I once saw a little child pick up a luscious ripe cherry in a fruit store and start to eat it. Her mother immediately said: "Don't put that in your mouth; it is not good for you. I will give you a cake when we get outside, but don't eat that."

   Such lamentable ignorance! Most people deserve to lose their children. My sympathies are for the children. Any parent can have the truth about the proper care of children who will seek to acquire it. Most of them are too brain-lazy and indifferent. It is so much easier to follow traditions and customs.

   If this mother desired to teach her child not to take fruit from the store, she certainly went at it the wrong way. The idea that she conveyed to the child was not that it should not take the fruit, because it should never take that which belongs to another; but that she should not eat the fruit, because it was not good for her--would make her sick.

   Bananas have long been condemned by the medical profession as indigestible. This was declared false by the Hygienists who highly recommended them. "Orthodox" experimenters now declare that the banana, when fully ripe, is easily digested. But the average physician has not found this out. Bananas are very wholesome food and rank high in vitamins. They should only be eaten when thoroughly ripe, and should never be cooked.

   Apples are among the choicest of foods. They are rich in phosphoric acid and are especially valuable for nervous and rickety children. They contain much iron in its most assimilable form.

   Strawberries are delicious and contain a sweet acid that makes them popular as food. They are rich in food-iron and food lime, excelling all other fruits, except the raspberry and fresh figs, in richness in iron. They are also richer in iron than most vegetables, being excelled as a source of iron only by green peas and fresh lima beans. They are also rich in vitamins.

   Dewberries, blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, and all other berries are fine for children. They should always be fed raw, never cooked, and never with sugar.

   Preserved Fruits are confections. Do not consume these abominations with any thought that they represent fruit.

   Sugar and honey should never be eaten with fruit of any kind. Fermentation is almost sure to result.

   Nuts are also very bad and very indigestible, if we listen to the antiquated pill-peddlers and serum squirters, who claim to have been commissioned by the Almighty to look after our health. Nuts are not indigestible. They are the best of foods, and if thoroughly masticated, and not eaten at the end of a hearty meal, are easily enough digested.

   Raw Starch is not indigestible as is generally taught and believed. It is well known that cattle digest raw starch more easily and completely than cooked starch.


   Do not give the child any processed starches, refined sugars, so-called "breakfast foods." Corn flakes, puffed rice, puffed wheat, bran foods, cream of wheat, cream of barley, wheatena, etc., are not good foods for child or adult. All the great claims made for them are false. For heaven's sake never feed these things to your child. Oatmeal is perhaps the worst of all cereals for child or adult. Cereals are among the most difficult of foods to digest. These certainly do not belong in the diet of infants and young children when the ability to digest starch is so low.

   The cracker-habit usually follows the sucking habit. Baby discards its nipple and takes up the cracker. If he is taken to church, to the theatre, to the park, to a friend's house or goes to see grandma, he must have his cracker. Mother carries a whole box of crackers--nice white ones, well salted, or "graham" crackers, well sweetened--along with her, for baby must have a cracker every few minutes. If he does not get a cracker he is pulling at mother's dress and crying and fretting. The cracker is given him to solace him and keep him quiet. Poor mother! Poor child! They are both undisciplined and ignorant. Mother is the slave of her badly spoiled child and is as badly spoiled as the child.

   The whole program of living of such children is wrong and in need of correction from the ground up. Can such mothers be induced to make the needed change? Have they the moral courage to let the baby "cry it out" and adjust himself to a better life? I fear not. Their emotions would get the best of them.

   Children are given tea, coffee, cocoa and chocolate to drink and eat, doctors often advising these poisonous substances. These things are properly called drugs and produce definite "physiological" effects when taken into the body. It is certainly not desirable to start children off with poison-habits of this kind. No good can come from the over-stimulation, loss of sleep and overwork of the kidneys these produce.

   Sugar: Dr. Wm. H. Hay says: "Without a doubt the greatest curse of the early years of child life is the general impression that sugars are good for active children, furnishing many calories of energy, either this or the use of pastries and the two evils are one, for the same objection that holds against the sugars holds equally against the pastries."

   One's heart must grow faint when he sees the children of this country stuffing bon-bons, cakes, crackers, bread and jam, candy, ice cream, soda-fountain slops, and similar stuff down their throats at all hours of the day. What do parents mean by giving these things to their children?

   Children soon cultivate a "sweet-tooth" and are not long in learning that they can get what they cry for, if they only cry loud enough and long enough. How many mothers and fathers have the moral courage to listen to a baby's cry? Not many. They are ruled by sentiment and emotion, rather than by knowledge and reason. It is so hard for them to listen to the cry of the baby; they feel so sorry for the poor child. They don't want their baby to cry. It is so hard on their nerves to listen to baby cry. They are just moral cowards and sentimental jelly-fish, who injure their children physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and morally, because they have not disciplined themselves to do what is right. They take the easiest course for the present, little reckoning that they have to pay for it later.

   Baby soon learns that if it will only cry for a few minutes it does not have to eat spinach, but can have cake instead. Mother will give it ice-cream or candy if it only cries for it. What a terrible moral lesson to teach a child!

   Morse-Wyman-Hill say: "There is no food which causes more disturbances of digestion in childhood than sugar. As money is said to be the root of all evil, so sugar may be said to be the root of all disturbances of digestion in childhood. Further than this, sugar is a very common cause of loss of appetite, and destroys their appreciation of proper food. It also, more than any other one thing, is responsible for the decay of children's teeth. Candy, therefore, should never be given to children. It can do them no good and may do them much harm. It is idle, of course, to claim that two or three pieces of candy a day will disturb the average child's digestion or prevent its normal development. Children that have two or three pieces, however, usually want more, and are quite likely to get more. It is true that some kinds of candy are richer and more indigestible than others, but they are all made of sugar, and plain sugar is bad for children. Children should be brought up not to eat sugar on anything. There is no objection to putting a little sugar in the food during its preparation, but no sugar should be put on it when it is served. (This is a case of splitting hairs--sugar is just as harmful when put in the food as when put on it. H. M. S.)

   "It is often said that sugar is a necessary article of diet for children. This belief is fostered by the manufacturers of sugar and candy. It is, however, not true. Carbohydrates are advisable for children as a source of energy. They are not absolutely necessary, however, as is shown by the fact that Eskimo children grow up without them." (Eskimo children do not grow up without carbohydrates. H. M. S.)

   Sugar, candy, syrup, etc., inhibit gastric secretion and impair digestion. This is true of cakes, pies, etc. It is just as true of brown sugar, maple sugar and cakes and cookies made of wholewheat flour and brown sugar or honey, as of white sugar and white flour products.

   Two or three pieces of candy a day may not perceptibly injure children; but when it is added to the cookies, cakes, pies, jams, jellies, white bread, denatured cereals, saturated with white, or even brown sugar, mashed potatoes, pasteurized milk and other denatured products, it only adds to an already preponderantly acid forming diet and further leeches the child's body of its precious alkaline elements.

   Many candies contain poisonous dry-stuffs, adulterants, flavors, etc., as well as nuts, milk and other things that form, with the sugar, bad combinations.

   Ice-cream is an abominable mixture of canned milk, powdered milk, pasteurized milk, gelatin, sugar or syrup, coloring matter, flavoring extracts and often canned fruits. It is no good for child or adult.

   The following is quoted from The Ice Cream Field, the national journal of the ice-cream manufacturers, for July, 1928; and is headed, "Baby Specialist Favors Ice Cream:"

   "Ice cream has been prescribed for infant food for several years by Dr. Luther R. Howel, of Columbus, Ohio, one of America's leading baby specialists. Dr. Howel states that ice cream has proven an ideal food for undernourished babies and in several instances was a means of saving their lives. He says that the homogenization of milk and cream, as carried out in the manufacturing process of ice cream, makes the food particularly digestible, an important factor in infant feeding."

   This is just plain ordinary bunk and known to be false even by the man who made the statement. In McCall's Magazine, July, 1926, Dr. E. V. McCollum wrote: "These is no more attractive way of serving milk to your family than in good ice cream. We have constantly emphasized the importance of drinking more milk, for the average amount consumed per person is still far too low. The more frequent serving of ice cream at the family table is one of the easiest ways of getting milk into the diet, especially for children who do not like milk and for persons who demand food with marked flavors."

   Men who have been stung by the milk-bug don't care how they get milk into you, so long as they get you to take it. Why do children cease to like it? If milk is so necessary, why does nature cut off both the supply and the demand? In opposition to this rank nonsense about ice-cream, I offer the following words of Morse-Wyman-Hill, who say:

   "Ice-cream, ice-cream soda and other sweet drinks * * * * are always inadvisable for and usually harmful to children. They are harmful chiefly because of the sugar which they contain, partly because they are too cold, partly because they are too rich, and partly because they are usually taken between meals. Children would be better off without any of them. Ice-cream is probably less harmful than the others. Vanilla ice-cream is not as rich as the other kinds. The majority of people are so willing to take the chance of injuring their children's health in order to give them temporary pleasure that we have found it useless to attempt to cut ice-cream entirely out of the diet of children. We therefore compromise and allow the children to have plain vanilla ice-cream without any sauce on it once a week."

   It was asserted at a dental meeting a few years ago that slaughterhouse offal and scraps are now bought up and the fat rendered out of these and used in ice-cream instead of the cream of milk--cooked animal tallow, suet and lard are now sold to your children in ice cream!, while subsidized ex-spurts lure you on to "eat a plate of icecream every day," and tell you that ice-cream is a "health food."

   Give no sugar, salt or soda with anything. The practice of neutralizing the acid of lemons, by adding soda to the lemon juice, is both useless and injurious.

   Meat should never be fed to a child under six years of age, and better never at all. Meat broths have practically no value. They act as excitants rather than as nutriments and should not be fed to children. Eggs are not good foods for children any more than for adults. Pickles are indigestible and unfit for food.


   Cod Liver Oil is not to be regarded as a food. Its use as a medicine covers several centuries but its magic virtues are recent discoveries. For a few years it was a specific for rickets, both preventing and curing the disease. Now it must have the aid of better food and sunlight, or at least lamp light. There is not really much attention given to sunlight.

   Mr. Harter's statement that the giving of "from six to ten drops of cod-liver oil every other day, increasing the proportion as the child becomes older, until at the age of twelve the child is taking" a half tea-spoonful three times a week "sounds a little like witchcraft," is good. He adds, "ft seems only a step from oil from fish livers to the extract of frogs' tongues and newts' gizzards."

   I have never used cod-liver oil, but it has fallen to my lot to care for children to whom it had been given for longer or shorter periods without benefit. I have seen troubles that I am convinced resulted from its use. I advise all parents not to give it to their children.

   When the Hawaiian Islands were first discovered, these people, among the finest in the world, had no milk, no cod liver oil and no grains. Their diet had lacked these things for centuries, perhaps since about 1 A. D., when the first people are supposed to have arrived on the Islands. Their splendid bodies and great vigor proved these "indispensibles" not to be indispensible.