How to Beat The Summer Heat

Unbearable summer heat is nothing new though each year we seem to think we’ve never had it this bad.

While many are googling tips on how to survive this wretched heat wave, I turned to my trusty 1954 World Book Encyclopedia to get some time-tested tips.

Seventy years ago when accessibility to air conditioning was limited, overheated folks who were uncertain how to keep cool in the sweltering summer, depended on the encyclopedia for practical ideas to beat the heat.

World Book Encyclopedia  illustration 1954

Like the it-never-crossed-your-mind idea of keeping windows open. World Book let you in on a special tip- open both top and bottom.

Forget about those slushy, icy drinks to cool you down. Experts in 1954 warned against too many iced drinks claiming they interfere with circulation.

Who knew an iced grande latte might actually make you warmer?

Fruits and vegetables should be eaten, they suggest, but “they should be attractively served to stimulate the appetite!”

Mid-century, meat-loving Americans needed encouragement and enticement to eat those nasty greens.

Speaking of meat, to keep cool in summer, folks were also advised to limit foods with high protein content- best to stick to starchy ones instead. Conventional wisdom at the time led folks to believe that we should “cut down on protein foods” when the weather gets hot.

Forget about burgers?

Forget about juicy, red-blooded all-American steaks?

Forget that piece of unpatriotic advice!

American meat beats the heat, hands down!

Vintage ad American Meat Institute 1954

Vintage ad American Meat Institute 1954

The World Book might be good for geography, maps, and historical facts, but when it came to up-to-the-minute, scientific nutritional information, those thickly bound books could be behind the times.

According to The American Meat Institute, up-to-date protein in its best form- meat -their self-proclaimed yardstick of protein foods-was exactly what you should be eating to beat the heat.

New, scientific research proved it!

Completely contradicting World Book’s suggestion of avoiding protein, The Meat Institute, citing recent nutritional research, flooded the market in the 1950s with a series of advertisements encouraging the necessary consumption of protein i.e. meat during hot summer months.

Vintage ad American Meat Institute 1954

Vintage ad American Meat Institute 1954

In fact, in the 1954 ad featured above, they more than suggest sluggishness is due to not enough sirloin.

Don’t blame the heat or the humidity when the weather gets you down. It could be that you’re not getting enough protein.”

“People used to think that we should “cut down on protein foods” when the weather gets hot. Now science has shown that nothing could be farther from the truth.

And of course, the only kind of protein was the kind from meat -the yardstick of protein foods

In the 1950’s protein was king, hear me roar, and the finest kind came from animals.

In the us against them, cold war, spy vs spy environment, there were of course the good, hardworking patriotic proteins (Animal products) and bad, lazy proletarian protein (vegetables.)

Yes You’re Right in Liking Meat

Vintage ad American Meat Institute 1954

Vintage advertisments American Meat Institute

To make certain mid-century Americans included plenty of essential red meat in their diet, The American Meat Institute created a long-running ad campaign touting the benefits and magic of meat, assuring the public that yes, you’re right in liking meat!

The ads that ran from WWII through the 1950s drew no distinction in food value or health benefits whether from the lowly hot dog or the king of meat, the sirloin steak.

Meat was the yardstick of protein, the gold standard of nutrition, or as the American Meat Institute called it “the nutritional cornerstone of life.”

And it was so much more

Meat Was What Made America Great.!

The pulse-quickening excitement of a sizzling steak brought out the patriot in a man.

Meat was what made America great.

“No other nation in the world,” my father would boast, breathing deeply of the steaming fragrance of the charred carcinogenic meat, a first off-the-grill sirloin, “is blessed with the amount of good, rich, nourishing meat”.

“Meat helped win the war by keeping us healthy and vigorous. American meat,” Dad would say nearly choked up, “had done its job!”

The copy in the ad confirmed my father’s convictions.

The experience of millions of servicemen in the tropics during the war years helped to show the importance of meat in hot weather.

Their high protein diet included upwards of a pound of meat a day and contributed immeasurably towards keeping up their stamina, vigor and readiness for action.

Vintage ad

“Studies have shown, that too little protein for just two days can bring on that washed-out feeling of fatigue or lethargy,” the ad informs us.

“A juicy broiled steak does a lot more than pick up your appetite and your spirits. It can help to make you feel like “getting into the swim” instead of sitting on the sidelines.”

Vintage ads, Jantzen Bathing Suit (L) American Meat Institute (R)

Speaking of swimming- “How do you look in a swimsuit?” the reader is asked.

If m’lady needed to whittle her summer waistline to fit into her new Jantzen swimsuit, nothing would help her shed pound quicker than a diet heavy on meat.

If the fit of your summer clothes shows that you’ve added a few pounds over the winter, nows the time to start on a high protein diet built around meat.

Shedding excess fat is like shedding a heavy overcoat. You’ll l feel cooler, fee better. And you’ll be able to push a lawn mower or caddy cart farther without nearly as much feeling of exertion.

Meat could not only keep you cool, but it could also help you sizzle!

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2022 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



One comment

  1. Sally, cool beans. Pun intended. I was watching this show about some of the most impactful inventions. Air conditioning allowed the southern US to prosper as productivity in manufacturing became more possible, as well as more white collar jobs. Keith


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