Lose Weight with Beef Tea and Stewed Fruit on the President Taft Diet


William Howard Taft was, notoriously, our fattest president, weighing in somewhere between 314 and 340 pounds during his term. One time he got stuck in a bathtub or something (maybe). This is literally the only thing anyone remembers about President Taft, even though—little known factoid—he was actually doing all kinds of other notable non-bathtub-related activities around the same time, such as being the goddamned President of the United States. But who cares, right? GUY HAD A HUGE BUTT.

Anyhoo, apparently around 1905 Taft decided to stop GLORIFYING OBESITY and consulted “English physician and diet expert” Nathaniel E. Yorke-Davies for weight loss advice. Because, Taft wrote, “no real gentleman weighs more than 300 pounds.” (Um, I beg to differ.) Yorke-Davies sent Taft a recommended diet regimen, on which the President eventually lost 80 pounds, stopped falling asleep during state dinners (“and even while standing”), and trekked his bikini boday around Alaska. Then he died.

And now you can lose weight the President Taft way too! Here’s the daily menu prescribed for Taft by Dr. Yorke-Davies:

8 a.m. A tumbler of hot water with lemon, sipped slowly.
9 a.m. Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee, “two or three Gluten biscuits,” and 6 ounces of lean grilled meat.
12:30 p.m. Lunch: 4 ounces of lean meat, 4 ounces of cooked green vegetables without butter, 3 ounces of baked or stewed unsweetened fruit, 1 gluten biscuit, and 1 of the recommended “sugarless” wines. Afternoon cup of tea, coffee, or beef tea without milk or sugar advised.
7-8 p.m., Dinner: clear soup, 4 ounces of fish, 5 ounces of meat, 8 ounces of vegetables, and 4 ounces of stewed fruit. Plain salad and 2 gluten biscuits, if desired. A list of vegetables and condiments were recommended for variation.t

Ugh, so THAT’S my problem! I’ve been putting too much milk and sugar in my beef tea! Thanks, Fat President.

(Seriously, you guys, if I did this diet for a week and kept a President Taft Weight Loss Diary, would you read it and laugh? And then vote for me for president at the end?)

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