43. Dietetic Changes

We have taken care to consult medical opinion in all our dietetic experiments, and whilst books on diet and vitamins have been useful, we have had quite a lot of support from Dr. Tilak's little booklet on Balanced Diets* which contains all necessary information on a balanced diet of enough proteins, carbohydrates, fats, organic salts and vitamins, to keep a man perfectly fit and healthy. The book is based on experiments made in the improvement of the diet of over a hundred children in the Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Home, Matunga (Bombay), whose diet was re-modelled and brought as near to a balanced diet as possible by the inclusion of soya beans, rice polishing, fresh oilcake, dried skim milk, and preparations of sprouted seeds, the children having been on this diet for over eight months. Soya beans and oilcake we have not yet tried. We made a beginning with oilcake this week. Oilcake is more proteinous than milk and less than pulses, and Gandhiji wondered if during the rainy season at any rate, we might not substitute it for dal. The first day's preparation in which oilcake was mixed with water and served in liquid form scared many of us away, more because it was sticky being linseed, than because it was unpalatable. The next day it was served in the form of dry powder. That did not scare people away, and the third day it was served in a liquid form, mixed with buttermilk and slightly spiced. This last carried people off their feet and promises to be very popular.

The dal has not yet been eschewed, but we seem to be on a fair way to it. Dr. Tilak's balanced diet chart allows two ounces of pulses and half an ounce of oilcake for and adult. We propose to try next the introduction of soya beans.

The introduction of this new article in our diet was the occasion of considerable excitement in our midst and Gandhiji asked everyone to express in writing what he or she felt about it. The next day came a little slip of paper signed by three members of the household expressing strong disapproval of the innovation. Gandhiji who had given only oilcake that day in substitution of dal, immediately restored dal in our menu and reassured the family that he did not want to rush these innovations.

M. D.
Harijan, 27-7-1935

[1] To be had of Dr. H. V. Tilak, Bombay Presidency Baby and Health Week Association, Bombay-11.