” Carrots are to be avoided, for no old stomach can digest them.”
~~ The Old Man`s Guide To Health And Longer Life by Mr John Hill, Esq ~~
The Old Man`s Guide to Health and Longer Life was published in the 18th century, as an up to the minute resume of the do`s and don`ts of healthy living for the gentleman ripe in years. Written in an age when most didn`t live beyond 40, it presents tips on a healthy lifestyle, such as diet, alcohol intake, and exercise, as well as the benefits of a solid night`s sleep. Scribbled in earnest by experienced exponent of Physick for human ailments, John Hill, it gives an illuminating, and hilarious insight into the whys and wherefores of healthy longevity in the 18th century.
” ….tho` vegetables may be thought innocent, there are many cases in which they prove hurtful. The pine-apple, the most pleasant of all fruit, is the most dangerous. Cold air chills the blood…….This is the air at the tops of hills and such situations all old men should avoid.”
So, what Mr Hill seems to be saying is, that to proceed to a long life, proficient in years, the titular `Old Man` must avoid vegetables, fruit, and the draughty out doors with it`s numerous incumbent hazards to the aged gentle person.
“A warm bath and a glass of wine if you are having difficulty getting to sleep. Use medicines only as a last resort – address diet and lifestyle first to resolve illness. Quiet, good humour, and complacency of temper will prevent half the diseases of old people; and cure many of the others.”
Plenty of wine sounds just the ticket, I feel; as well as a well chilled disposition and laid back lifestyle, to help gently shoehorn the old man into a well deserved postponement of his one way ticket to heaven being punched by some celestial jobsworth.
The list of contents to Mr Hill`s medical magnum opus is most illuminating to the discerning reader:
1. How the old man may know he is in good health.
2.Of preserving a healthful state in old age.
3.Of the diet of old men.
4.Of the foods old men should avoid.
5.Of air for old persons.
6.Of exercise for old men.
7.Of substitutes for exercise.
8.Of a regulation of the temper. And of the passions.
9.Of sleep for old men.
10.Of particular faults in old men`s constitutions.
11.Of a fullness of blood.
12.Of wasting and decay.
13.Against sharp humours.
14.Of pain and inflammations.
16.Of the gravel and stone.
18.Of the asthma.
It`s a compendium of sage wisdom and trouser splitting jocularity, made even funnier by the straight faced language and seriousness of purpose; this book was written with the best intentions, taking advantage of the most up-to-date medical knowledge at the disposal of the cutting edge, 18th century doctor about town. It`s a priceless compendium of unintentional hilarity to be partaken of two times of the day, with a glass of wine and a well rolled spliff. A gem of a book.