It is just as easy to give too little food to dyspeptics as too much. When a stomach has once become whimsical, its whims will have to be disregarded in the process of breaking it into more wholesome habits. Of course, this will mean a certain amount of suffering at first, but the good results of it will soon be apparent.
When there is ulceration of the stomach present, it will be necessary to give only liquid food, and of all liquid foods in these states, Koumiss is the best.
In acute attacks of indigestion the best of all remedies is to go without any food at all until the stomach has had time too recover itself.
In the chronic cases where the vitality is low, and the general tone of health not robust, great care will be required in bringing the patient back to ordinary diet. Cold foods must be particularly avoided. Bread only sparingly used. Bread is not nearly so digestible an article as most people imagine, and dyspeptics should never eat bread and butter or hot buttered toast. Dry toast is all they should indulge in. When toast is not tolerated, rusks or biscuits may take its place. Plain water- biscuits are the best; such as Huntley & Palmer’s “Breakfast biscuits,” and “Captain’s biscuits”; Cracknells; and for breakfast there is one cold article of diet dyspeptics may take, and that is the fat of very good cold boiled bacon. They may have this with toast.
Tea is bad for the digestion, and for most people the habit of drinking tea in the afternoon is an exceedingly objectionable one. It breaks up the proper interval between lunch and dinner, and gives the tea its best possible chance of working its evil effects on the stomach. Coffee is not so injurious to the digestion as tea. It rather assists the digestion of fats which tea hinders.
Though coffee has more tendency to cause headache, and with some persons flatulence and constipation, with others it assists the action of the bowels. Tea should never be taken without milk or cream, and it should never be strong, or taken after it has been made more than a few minutes.
The teas of China are less injurious than those of India and Ceylon. Green teas are especially poisonous, and should never be taken under any circumstances.
Cocoa possesses more of the nutrient and sustaining properties and is less of a pure stimulant than either tea or coffee. Some object to it on that account, as they say they want a drink rather than a food. This difficulty may be avoided by using an infusion of the nibs; or the shells, or husks which contain the nibs, may be used for making the beverage.
When meat cannot be taken, beef-tea must be substituted. Mutton is more digestible than beef, because in beef the fat is more intermixed with the fibre of the meat, and the fat is more difficult to digest, and the fibre is harder.
In cases where there is manifest ulceration of the stomach, Koumiss is the best food. It may be given alone every hour or every two hours, until the pain and vomiting have ceased and other food can be taken. Or one of the forms of soured milk such as Hindley’s “Bulgolac” (119, Coniston Road, Bromley, Kent) may be substituted. This is an excellent preparation, and is valuable in many forms of dyspepsia.
When dyspepsia is constitutional, the particular constitution must be studied.
Gouty patients should avoid all rich or highly spiced foods, and eat little butter and milk except with tea or coffee. These should be taken not strong, and the tea only when freshly made. Meat should be taken once a day, never cold, and never cooked a second time. The less flatulent kinds of vegetables are good, as French beans, spinach, young peas, also stewed celery. Potatoes should be avoided, and cabbage. Malt liquors, wines and spirits should be avoided. Water is the best drink at meals; Salutaris water or toast-water may be substituted, or Caley’s Aerated Distilled water, or “Poland water.” Hard water should be carefully avoided. Gouty patients should drink freely of liquids. A tumbler of water taken half an hour before meals and at bedtime will supply all that is needed. Vittel and Contrexeville waters are useful as eliminators.
Those who have a tendency to rheumatism should observe most of the rules indicated for the gouty. Excess of meat and milk are not good. Oatmeal porridge should be taken at breakfast; at lunch or dinner, soup, meat from the joint, with vegetables, plain rice or other farinaceous pudding without eggs, and no fruit. Toast-water should be the drink with meals. Freshwater fish, and watery fruits and vegetables, must be avoided.