Susan, be smooth! by Nell Giles, 1940: Chapter VIII – Eat to Be Pretty

Chapter VIII

This is our sly way of approaching the diet question. If we say, “Susan, be smooth. . . be rounded and curved,” you think we mean fat.

Then you cut down on milk, potatoes and meat; you develop a haggard look; you’re devilishly grouchy; your skin becomes sallow; and you have the energy of a tin whistle. Isn’t it so?

You see that what we really mean is that you must eat properly to be pretty. We won’t mention health; we’ll stick to beauty. Shall we go on?

The proper diet is almost entirely responsible for the beauty of your skin and teeth and the shine in your eyes. This is a diet which contains protein for growth; iron for blood; calcium and phosphorus for teeth and bone; vitamins for strength, energy, good eyesight. (We are still talking about beauty. . . not health.)

Taking these essentials, we can quickly summarize what a beauty diet must contain each day.

For a clear skin:
Meat, fish, eggs, milk, fruit and fresh vegetables. These foods build red blood, firm your muscles and avoid constipation if they are eaten in this proportion every day: only one of these: meat, fish, eggs; one quart of milk; two green or yellow vegetables; one potato; at least one fruit. This diet is non-fattening.

For good teeth:
Your quart of milk a day will do most for this department; other boosters: fresh orange juice for breakfast, fresh vegetables and fruit for dinner.

For a shine in your eyes:
Foods which prevent constipation: fresh fruits, fresh, leafy vegetables, rough cereals and breads.

Now back to clear skin: we want to remind you that pie, cake, chocolate and fried foods will positively make your skin pimply and sallow if you eat them often. If you have an acne condition, you must eat them never! This is as irrevocable as the income tax law. Let this belligerent paragraph sink deep; choose for yourself whether you shall be pretty or pimply. Oh, Susan, . . . be smooth!

Your quart of milk, of course, can be blanketed with pudding, cereal or fresh fruit. We suggest that one glass of it be downed at lunch. Drinking milk is a fashion. . . manage a luncheon date at the smartest restaurant in town and you’ll see beauties from business and leisure. . . all drinking milk.


Which leads us to draw parenthesis about our shoulders and make this remark: (It is very smooth to do the simple thing, always. If you’re invited to lunch by someone you like very much, don’t order caviar or roast duck. . . order liver and bacon, a baked potato and a glass of milk.)

Just to prove that we aren’t fooling you about our suggested diet being non-fattening, we quote this table of calories from staid old Government statistics: Susans of sixteen and under twenty should have between 2200 and 2800 calories of food a day. Here is a diet of 2375 calories:



If you are really too fat, see your doctor, by all means before you go on a diet. You may have a thyroid trouble which diet will not help.

But remember that “skinniness” is just as unattractive. If you are too thin, rest more, eat more butter, drink cream, avoid “nerves.”

The happy medium is the smooth look.

To Be Continued. . . 

If this is the first time you’ve met Susan, be sure to check out:

Introduction and Table of Contents
Chapter I: Give it a Thought
Chapter II: Keep it Simple with Subtraction
Chapter III: Soap-and-Water Clean
Chapter IV: S-T-R-E-T-C-H
Chapter V: A Hairsbreadth Escape
Chapter VI: Oral Exam
Chapter VII: Don’t Mention It

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