Thursday, February 10, 2011

Join the Wartime Reducing Party


This is an advertisement from the inside back cover of the June 1943 edition of Journal of Living (The Home Nutrition Magazine). Victor H. Lindlahr was the editor of the magazine at the time and also the creator of the Wartime 7-Day Reducing Diet.

In 1940, Lindlahr had written the book "You Are What You Eat," and he is the one who originally popularized that expression.

The June 1943 issue of Journal of Living1 also included the complete "Wartime 7-Day Reducing Diet." (Apparently the diet dates to 1936, when it was just the Lindlahr 7-Day Reducing Diet, as there was no war.)

An outline of the diet's regimen:
  • Hold down the salt intake (table salt).
  • Drink no water at meals.
  • Walk a half-mile or more each day.
  • Take a hot sitting bath each night in the wintertime.
  • Set aside twenty minutes each morning for your air bath.

Air bath? Here's exactly what Lindlahr writes: "Just loll or walk about your room completely nude. Avoid drafts, of course, but be sure the air is fresh. Let the skin breathe. This burns up body weight amazingly. It is cleansing, too. Better get up a half-hour earlier. If you can't take an air bath in the morning, take it any time during the day."

The diet itself seems extremely restrictive and unhealthy. For the duration of the seven days, the average daily intake ranges from 630 to 700 calories. A typical day's lunch would consist only of fruits and vegetables, usually in the form of a salad. The first day's dinner consists of watercress salad, three-and-a-half ounces of broiled round steak, one-half cup of stewed tomato and celery and four ounces of pears. The other main courses for dinner include scrambled eggs with asparagus, a cheese omelet, broiled codfish, beef liver and broiled chicken. The bedtime snack each night is half of a grapefruit. Dieters were expected to lose, on average, one pound per day.

Presumably, Lindlahr's daily 15-minute radio show would turn this diet into a "party." As the above advertisement reads: "It's Fun to Lose Weight This Easy Way!"

Footnotes

1. This issue also included features titled "More Meat For Ration Points," "Food Lessons From The Great Religions," "Huey Long's Debate on Pot Liquors," "Lemonades Check Factory Colds," "The Basic Seven Foods For War Strength," and "Your Victory Garden Guide For June".

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