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11. Minimum Diet

What statistics I have received go to show that all over India except in the Punjab, the articles of diet the masses live on are deficient in nutritive value.

The most helpful pamphlet on the minimum diet scale is the one prepared by Dr. H.V. Tilak, on behalf of the Bombay Presidency Baby and Health Week Association (Delisle Road, Bombay-11). It is called Balanced Diets. Its price is 4 annas. It has been translated in Marathi and Gujarati. The diet recommended by the pamphlet, containing a variety of whole grain (some of which is sprouted) including soya beans, dried skim milk and vegetables, increases a white rat to 55 grammes in weight from 13 grammes when fed on a diet containing an excess of highly polished rice with very little vegetables and milk. The diet scale recommended in the pamphlet has been prepared after careful experimentation. It costs in Bombay Rs. 5/- per month. I have my doubts about the possibility of introducing soya beans and dried skim milk in the poor man's diet even in a place like Bombay. The sprouting of pulses and malting of jowari recommended by Dr. Tilak is also very difficult of enforcement in private households. It is almost impossible of introduction in villages. Skim milk is unobtainable in the villages, and I know that in hun­dreds of them not a drop of fresh milk or good ghee is to be had. I mention these difficulties in order that taking Dr. Tilak's carefully prepared scale as a basis, experts may work out a scale more suited to the villages in their provinces and yet produce the results that Dr. Tilak's diet is claimed to have achieved.

Harijan, 31-8-1935