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Showing posts from 2012

Kids ate vegetables in the 1950s because it was cool

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Granted, this 1958 ad is sexist by marketing the concept that boys and not girls should eat "Seabrook Farms" vegetables for strength. What really strikes me though is that they weren't selling the idea to parents that that they should feed veggies to their kids. Kids were eating far more vegetables at home in the 1950s than today. Plus, they were marketed as being positives, such a source of strength, and not a negative, as in "you're fat so now you have to eat your broccoli."
Check out the complaints about the new USDA school lunch program in this excerpt from Students Trash Veggies Rather Than Eat Them
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is standing behind the program and responding to concerns.
USDA officials say students should not be coming home hungry.  While some portions are smaller than in the past, kids can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want.
The new guidelines are designed to teach kids about proper portion sizes and how to make health…

Lady, hold that line! Weigh yourself every day!

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Have you weighed yourself today? In the past week? Month??

1950s: Skinny chicks. 2012: Chicks, drugs, and big breasts

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Chicken in the 1950s:



Chicken today:

Those Perdue chickens don't have breast implants. What's in their diet is in yours, too.

1950s Girdles vs Gimmicks of Today

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This is a 1950s ad for Bestform shapewear that will give you "hips you'll hooray" and "a waist worth buying a belt for." 
Today the girdle has transitioned into big business, only it's now "Spanx" or "Not Your Daughters Jeans" offering "Lift Tuck Technology."
What I find alarming are products like these that lead women to believe that if you're at an unhealthy weight there's no need to exercise or change unhealthy eating habits when you can simply squeeze yourself into their product:

Seems to me that generally speaking, from the other ads that I've seen, the girdles of the 50s were mostly designed to enhance women's curves while slightly slimming whereas now shapewear is designed and marketed as an alternative to dieting as well as suppressing "curves"/bulges.

Personally I prefer to work for that "muscular girdle" Jack LaLanne promises can be yours. The 50s way is about fitness, not just fat…

How to get a 1950s waistline! Jack LaLanne's EASY & SIMPLE exercise!

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I love Jack LaLanne more and more since reading his vintage, out-of-print book Abundant Health and Vitality After 40. I'll be sharing a few of his exercises in it, and the first one is so simple and easy! I can't wait to see the results after some time because my "mid section" has been the most challenging to me.
This exercise is called "Side Leans" and is designed "for you ladies who'd like to have a tiny waist." You'll need a chair with a straight back. "Sit astradle of it facing the back, arms dangling at your sides, feet flat on the floor."


Then, on the count of One, lean as far to the left as you can then on the count of Two, to the right. Repeat, and try to lean further each time. 
I did this and wasn't feeling it in my waist at first but instead in my thighs. I sat up straighter, keeping my back as flat as possible and did it again as I leaned to the left and to the right and YES, I could feel it in the sides of my wa…

Don't mistreat your stomach all day! 1951 "Good Eating Habits."

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This is great advice for adults and not just kids! Sadly, America's eating habits are like this today: Eating in a rush or on the go, snacking on too many sweets, gulping and shoveling food instead of taking small bites. A stomach ache is just one of many physical reactions to being mean to yourself. That's exactly what it is, you know, only now we call it "treating" ourselves: "I'll treat myself to this candy bar and cookies" while not eating enough of the kind of foods that are, well, kind!

"If you aren't sparkling people won't understand what you're saying."

I just found out that a lady with whom I visited once a week for over a year at a local assisted living facility has passed away. She was very dear to me.
Sometimes, because I have so many interests that are outdated, I am able to converse more easily with folks much older than I am. I love to learn from them.
During our visits we talked about her life in the 1950s and 60s, Sinatra, shopping, old movies, and as she liked to call it, "junkin'" otherwise known as "antiquing" or "yard sale-ing." I'm an avid picker and love to go to flea markets, estate sales and the like. I'd tell her about my adventures and often brought her something from my travels. One such gift was a pair of framed "Pinkie" and "Blue Boy" prints to hang in her room. She spoke about having them long ago and how she missed them. She also loved to wear flashy jewelry, beads, bangles and lovely sequined ensembles. I often brought her pieces of vintage costum…

What do you feed your mind before you go to sleep?

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I make a point to surround myself with positive messages which is not to say I'm not a news junkie. I do tune in to the wrong (for me) things more often than I like so I'm working on reducing my news time. In the 50s people didn't have access to the news 24/7 which can be a much healthier way to live. The continual negative/ridiculous/depressing/horrifying information bombardment of 2012 can be conducive to creating excess stress and annoyance. Many of us turn to overeating and/or junk food to tune it out. I sure used to and I find it much easier to eat well as I cut back and create a positive space in my home.
Right now I'm reading Abundant Health and Vitality after 40 published by Jack LaLanne in 1962 and I love it and his message. He is so upbeat and positive and very solution-oriented. I don't always read diet/health books before bedtime but I do try to read mostly vintage wisdom. 
What do you feed your mind before you drift off to sleep? Is it helping you rel…

1950s Advice from "Diet and Like it": Just say "No, thank you."

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I have a charming little diet booklet from 1957 called "Diet and Like it." In it I found this advice: 
As a guest in a private home, you are somewhat at the mercy of your hostess. But no code of manners calls for accepting a second slice of cake and you can refuse without appearing ungracious. In fact, in this age of dieting, the ungracious one is the insistent hostess.
Have you ever had an awkward moment as a guest when you felt obliged to indulge beyond what you wanted to eat? Or maybe you are like me and have memories of wanting to eat (or actually eating) way more than beyond "polite!"

Sugar at Supper Time! Lawrence Welk on PBS

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I have a secret that will be no more. Well, some close friends know.


I sometimes watch The Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday evenings.

What's nice is that whenever I bring it up in a conversation I pretty much get the same response: "Is that still on? I used to love watching it at my grandparents' house!" And their faces light up before they realize how uncool that might sound.
Good news! Although the show began airing in 1955 and ran until 1982, you can watch Lawrence Welk reruns on PBS!
Yes, it's often syrupy but sometimes I need that to offset the dark and seedy "entertainment" of 2012. If you don't like the music then the sets, outfits and hair are a feast for admirers of vintage style. Look at the fantastic "Mad Men" hair in the above video!
But no, that isn't enough for me. I'm going to live wild tonight because I recently purchased vintage TV trays so that I could eat dinner at the same time.
I hope you're laughing at me bec…

American PETS Didn't Get Fat in the 50s

I just discovered the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. In their news section:
The fifth annual veterinary survey found 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats to be classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals 88.4 million pets that are too heavy according to veterinarians. 
“The most distressing finding in this year’s study was the fact that more pet owners are unaware their pet is overweight.” comments APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward. 

“22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese. This is what I refer to as the “fat pet gap” or the normalization of obesity by pet parents. In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.” 

The changing bodyscape of Americans is distorting our idea of what is healthy. Obesity has become normalized and it's hard for many to see it not just in themselves but in their pets now, too!

When's the best time to exercise? Joe Bonomo explains!

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From a 1950s healthy and beauty guide by Joe Bonomo.
I like that exercise is described as enjoyable and being good to yourself in conjunction with making time to relax and enjoy your dinner. Plus, he recommends fresh air and beauty sleep!

What did women eat in the 1950s?

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I collect vintage recipes- not just from cookbooks published in the 1950s but also those that were handwritten. Handwritten family recipes tend to be more authentic as far as what was being served at that time since many published recipe booklets were really ads for various food products.

Women in the 50s generally ate simple, wholesome foods and served them in a manner that wasn't necessarily picture-perfect by today's standards. (Have you seen the Regrettable Food Gallery over at Lileks?) People didn't cook with the idea that they would be posting pictures of everything they ate on facebook, nor was there pressure to make elaborate meals like a celebrity chef.



The photo above is from a 1950s Maine seafood recipe book. It looks pretty delicious to me!


A presentation like the salad above was common and also appears in a cookbook. Pictured below is a roasted chicken with homemade cranberry sauce also in a cookbook- very simple. I think some people might scoff at the stalk…

"Size 6 Is Plus Size." Right. They Don't Mention VANITY SIZING

Circulating the headlines today: Size 6 Is Plus Size (for models):

Plus-size models have shrunk, too. A decade ago, plus-size models averaged between size 12 and size 18. Today, the majority of plus-size models an agency boards are between size 6 and size 14, the magazine said, based on its own research.
There was no mention of vanity sizing, so the alarmist declaration of shrinking plus-size models is inaccurate unless they use reliable metrics like actual measurements of the models.