How to have a balanced diet, 1926

“The essential principles in the diet are protein, carbohydrate, fat, mineral matter, vitamins and water.”

So claim the authors of this interesting little article that appeared in the October 1926 issue of McCall’s magazine.

a vintage balanced diet

Those authors are E. V. McCollum and Nina Simmonds. I was surprised to find out that E. V. McCollom was Elmer McCollom, who according to Wikipedia was a faculty member in agricultural chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and later worked with Herbert Hoover’s U.S. Food Administration. I could not locate much information about Ms. Simmonds, unfortunately, but it does look like she authored various papers with McCollum and also contributed to a book called “Woman’s World Book of Diet and Beauty.

The article stresses the importance of a balance of all the various parts of a diet in order to live a healthy life. The authors go so far as to state that, “Many a woman who constantly feels ill and who pities herself, bemoaning her sad fate in being a member of the weaker sex, would have a very different outlook on life if she had adhered to a diet which was so balanced as to promote health.”

The following tips from Dr. McCallom show how anyone can achieve a balanced diet:
balanced diet, 1926

Tips for a balanced diet from Dr. McCollum

1. Build up the daly menus around a quart of milk for each member of the family.

2. Use eggs and meat frequently, but not excessively.

3. Serve salads twice a day to insure such raw vegetable foods as fruits, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, onions and so forth appearing regularly in the menu.

4. Serve one leafy vegetable, such as beet-tops, kale, spinach, and so forth, each day.

If you meet these requirements you can eat whatever else you desire.

(So even though kale seems so trendy today, even our ancestors eighty years ago saw its appeal.)

I find it very interesting to compare these ideas with the real food movement today and the movement away from processed foods for many people. In any case, Dr. McCollum lived a long (88 years) and healthy life…

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