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Looking Back: Thank Goodness for Whiskey.

This is a post from February 2013 about the “diabetic diet” perceptions from back in the 1940’s, and when I came across it again this morning, I marveled once again at the power of whiskey.  See below for what old school diabetes diets were once in play.

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I received an email from Krista, one of my oldest friends in the world (not that she’s old, but she’s one of the people I’ve known the longest), and the attached file made me laugh out loud.  Her email said, “I found this list in an old (as in published in 1924, and stuffed with articles clipped from various magazines from the 30s and 40s) cookbook that I got from a friend when she cleaned out an old relative’s house … anyway, thought you’d appreciate it.”

Oh, I did.


(link to original version, which is way bigger)

This list is an old-school “diabetic diet” list, and the contents read as follows:

Foods Allowed: 
Soups and broths not thickened with flour
Meats, fresh, smoked and cured, except liver, without flour gravy
Eggs in any way without flour
Fish, all kinds except scallops, clams and oysters
Fats, butter, olive oil, etc.
Cheese, all kinds.
Vegetables and salads, asparagus, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, celery, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, string beans, tomatoes
Sour pickles, ripe olives
Cream, not over 3 oz a day
Desserts, jellies, etc. sweetened with saccharin
Nuts
Tea and coffee sweetened with saccharin and with small amount of cream
Whiskey, brandy, rums up to 3 oz a day
Lemonade sweetened with saccharin

Articles Forbidden:
Sugar and sweets
Pastry, puddings, preserves, cake and ice cream
Bread, biscuit, toast, crackers, griddle cakes
Cereals, except oatmeal in small amounts
Macaroni, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beans, peas, corn, turnip
Fruit of all kinds
Alcoholic beverages, except as above

It’s not so much that the list of actual foods is ridiculous, but what kills me is the fact that the second half of the list is deemed “FORBIDDEN ARTICLES!”  No wonder people with diabetes can have such a strange and confusing relationship with food.  Even now, food for me is not always simply food, but becomes a combination of medicine, guilt, sustenance, and math.

Thank goodness for whiskey?

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. A terrible list, though back in 1924 insulin had been ‘discovered’ but wasn’t yet available.

    I read a recent biography of Dr. Elliott Joslin. Many (most) of his patients died within a few years of diagnosis despite being on grim diets like this one. I can’t imagine the fortitude needed to continue treating PWDs in those days when the diagnosis was essentially a death sentence.

    We’ve a lot to be thankful for.

    07/30/15; 12:20 pm
  2. Heather B #

    I kind of like it … even the “Forbidden” part. It’s pretty close to the low-carb diet I try to follow, and I read the warning over the second list as an old-school version of “These foods will either fuck up your BGs or give you a headache as you try to dose for them!”

    07/31/15; 2:57 pm

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