If your aging friend or relative is in a home for the elderly, you may be able to persuade him or her to choose a diet that is wiser than the average diet people eat there. This can help a lot. Just stopping drinking the coffee, decaf, iced tea and carbonated beverages that are served, and switching to the recipes in this book could get them off some of their medicines.
The beverages to encourage are sterilized milk and hot water— delicious with whipping cream, honey and cinnamon. This gets them away from solvents, oxalic acid, and caffeine.
Old age is not a time when you “no longer need milk.” Calcium losses increase in old age. Milk has the organic form of calcium, chelated with lactic acid, and it has the cream to promote absorption. For this reason, milk should never be reduced in fat content (not less than 2%). The cream is necessary to improve calcium absorption.
In old age, it is downright dangerous to be taking many calcium tablets. The stomach does not have the acid necessary to dissolve them. They pass into the intestine, disturbing its function and acid levels. With tablets, too, one must be careful with dosages, while food is self-limiting. No elderly person would be able to drink more than one cup of milk at a time. This contains 250 mg. of calcium.
Milk, however, requires stomach acid to curdle it as the first step in digestion. If there is not sufficient acid, it will pass undigested into the intestine, causing new problems. We must listen to the elderly when they say milk gives them gas or other troubles.
Having the milk warm to hot helps in getting digestion started in the stomach. Milk served hot with cinnamon accomplishes two purposes: it will stimulate acid secretion and the cinnamon is an insulin aid. Milk served hot with honey adds the nutritive value of honey, displacing the need for other unnatural sweets. The meal should always include something sour to curdle the milk. It does not have to be added to the milk; it can simply be included in the meal somewhere.
Lemon juice or vinegar can be put in certain foods but the most reliable way to get it into the diet is to put 1 tablespoon into the water glass along with a teaspoon of honey. This gives the water a “sweet and sour” flavor, enough to make it interesting throughout the meal. The fresh lemon juice or white distilled vinegar and a honey dispenser that is easy to use should always be on the table. Bring these two items to your loved one at the “home” if it cannot be provided regularly and reliably. Pop in at mealtime to check up on it. Powdered vitamin C (¼ tsp.) is another useful acid if the first two are not effective enough.
The lemon and honey habit, alone, can add years (healthier years) to an elderly person. The extra acid taken with lunch and supper (the stomach has its own best supply of acid in the morning, for breakfast) improves overall digestion and helps dissolve the calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, and other minerals in the food so they can be absorbed.
The habit of using vinegar and honey in water as a beverage was made famous by Dr. Jarvis in his book Folk Medicine, circa 1960. He recommended apple cider vinegar for its extra potassium.
In those days, vinegar was made of good apples. Now, all the regular vinegar have mold in them. The toxin, patulin, in moldy apples has been carefully studied by scientists. It taints the vinegar as well as apple juice and concentrates made from them. I have not tested patulin to see if it can be detoxified by vitamin C.
We must use only white distilled vinegar, even though it lacks potassium, aroma, and popularity. Using a variety of honey can make up for the need to vary the flavor. Get orange blossom, linden blossom, buckwheat, wildflower, and sage honey, besides clover blossom.
But honey is not the perfect food. It usually has ergot mold, a very serious toxin. To detoxify the ergot, you simply add vitamin C to the honey as soon as it arrives from the supermarket. This gives it plenty of time to react with the ergot before you eat it. Bring your “fixed” honey to the home.
If your elderly loved one has not tolerated milk in years, start with the vinegar and honey beverage, or lemon and honey, and be patient until that is accepted. Then add only ¼ cup milk to the day's diet, (in the morning, on homemade cereal). Go up very gradually and only when digestion allows it. Of course, the milk must be sterile.
If it is not sterile, the final warming will only increase the bacterial count. You must be sure of its sterility. Boil the milk yourself. Near-boiling is not hot enough. It must be heated until it bubbles up and almost goes over the container for ten seconds.
Use a non-metal pot that holds one to two quarts. You may throw away the skin. Then cool and refrigerate. Supply it to the home, too. Milk that is marketed in paper containers that need no refrigeration has been sterilized; it is safe.
Once the body, even an aged body, finds a nutritious food that does not cause troubles of its own, it asks for more. Your loved one will accept it and drink it without forceful coaxing if there is no problem with it. As long as your loved one tries to avoid drinking it, your challenge is to find the problem and solve it. It is not a matter of taste or habit. It is a matter of digestibility and lack of toxicity. When your loved one is drinking three cups of milk (or buttermilk or whey) a day and three cups of water, there will be no room (nor request) for the usual coffee and tea and other bad beverages.
We all must die of something. But it needn't be a stroke, or heart failure, or cancer. Choose what seems to be the most pressing problem to work on. Common problems that plague the aged are brain problems, incontinence, bad digestion, diabetes, tremor, weakness, feeling cold, sensitivity to noise, losing the sense of taste and smell, hearing loss, insomnia, kidney, and heart failure.