There remains, nevertheless, a vast amount of food prejudice and faulty eating habits arising from sheer ignorance, foolish fads and fashions, and from faulty and even fraudulent advice and advertising about food. Nonsense preached in the name of nutrition is sometimes nauseous; for example, "Eat raw foods only," "Don't mix carbohydrates and proteins at the same meal" (the stomach mixes them beautifully), "Molasses and yoghurt guarantee a ripe old age," and the like. Protection against such nonsense against your own and other people's silly prejudices is to be found in a sound knowledge of the science of nutrition, as far as it has yet gone.
The facts about food are easy enough to come by, and we shall present a number of them in this and the following chapter. Nevertheless lies, half-truths, and misstatements about food find millions of willing listeners and believers. This is a field in which the "big lie" told with a straight face readily flourishes. People are more gullible about food nonsense than about almost anything else. They will swallow myths and fallacies about food without choking. They can be easily sold on the "magic" powers of one food or another. Here are some more of the lies about food that you are likely to encounter. Don't believe them.
"You are what you eat" Nonsense you are also what you breathe and what your hereditary determines you shall be.
"Fish is brain food." So is all other food."An apple a day keeps the doctor away." The apple-growers get sick and call physicians.
You may also hear such nonsense as celery is a tonic, onions will cure a cold, garlic is good for heart disease, only "organic" foods supply proper nourishment, tomatoes are poisonous, corn is hog food. Don't believe it! You may also be urged to buy "health foods" (at fancy prices), daily vitamin pills (at even fancier charges), or "reducing foods." Save your money!
All pure foods are health foods when included in a scientifically sensible eating plan. A wide variety of common foods will supply all the vitamins you need. There are no "reducing foods." The amount not the kind of food is what counts in any diet safely designed to effect weight loss. We shall have much more to say about this in the next chapter. Knowledge of the scientific facts about food and nutrition will fortify you against any of the food fallacies and myths you may henceforth encounter.
For a different, and perhaps larger, group of college students and adults the problem of exercise resolves itself into the problem of not overdoing it. For such a rule of thumb is: exercise to the point of mild fatigue, but not beyond it.
The amount of fatigue produced is probably the best measure of the amount of exercise that ought to be taken. On this score a statement prepared by the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation offers sound guidance.
"The ability to recuperate after exercise is a good guide at any age. Recuperation should be reasonably prompt. If (1) breathing and heart rate are still greatly accelerated at the end of ten minutes after exercise, and if (2) there is marked weakness or fatigue persisting after a two-hour rest period, (3) restlessness with broken sleep after retiring for the night, or (4) a sense of definite fatigue the day following, the exercise has been too severe or too prolonged for that person in his present stage of physical training and strength."
Choice of Exercise for Recreation
The best choice of exercise is that which gives the most satisfaction. Many factors must be considered to determine suitability of physical activity, but one should certainly like the sports he chooses. There is little to be gained, and much lost, in teaching a girl who wants to go swimming how to swing a pair of Indian clubs instead.
Exercise should be fun! Exercise is part of the normal desire for play that inhabits the human psyche. In young children play and exercise are nearly synonymous.
Several important studies have shown that sports and games are definitely better than calisthenics and apparatus work in conditioning men for physical fitness. Wilbur's study of college freshmen, for example, indicated that games were better than formal gymnastics in building strength in the arms and shoulder girdle, in establishing body coordination, agility, and control, and in reaching a higher degree of general physical fitness.
Recreation has been defined as "activity for pleasure." It achieves relaxation of mind and muscle. The range of recreational exercises is far broader than most people think. Here are some of the possibilities: walking, swimming, dancing, skating, rowing, canoeing, fencing, bicycling, horseback riding, tennis, squash, handball, Softball, volleyball, badminton, skiing, sailing, hunting, table tennis, archery, bowling, fishing, gardening, croquet, shuffle board, horseshoe pitching, hiking, climbing, and golf. How many of these recreations have you tried? All of these can be coeducational if desired.
Walking is the most flexible and natural of all forms of exercise. Dancing also is a beneficial form of exercise, especially folk dancing and "modern dance." Social dancing has its place too. The rhythms of dance can afford release of emotional and psychosexual tensions rather than unduly heightening them. There is an advantage in learning sports and obtaining reasonable proficiency at games that you can play for fun for many years after college.
A contrast between work and play activity is also advisable. People whose occupations are generally sedentary and indoors should choose games and sports that take them out of doors and offer opportunity for the exercise of trunk, leg, and arm muscles. Conversely, the man who stands on his feet all day should not select recreations that keep him on his feet all night too.