Sometimes the salvaged items that are donated to our reuse warehouse come with fascinating looks into the lives of the previous owners. Photos, letters, Christmas cards, business cards, and newspapers are just a few of the items that we’ve found stashed in the backs of drawers or at the bottoms of trunks.

The message below was found wedged in a vintage office desk! Typed on the letterhead of a local safe and lock company, this copy of “Mayo’s Two Week Diet” details a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu for weight loss. A similar diet was published in The Oxford (Michigan) Leader on November 1, 1961 and the safe and lock company was located at the address on the letterhead from 1952 to 1966, so this typed letter could be from around then.

In any case, it’s an interesting snapshot of food and language at a specific time. Transcription below!

Mayo’s Two Week Diet – No substitutes please

Follow this diet carefully for two weeks, not only abstaining from anything not included in it but also eating what is assigned rather than doing without. Naturally a certain amount of common sense has to be used; for example the vegetables without butter, the salads without oils other than mineral, the grapefruit without sugar, and no cream in the coffee or tea, and of course only the lean part of steak or chop to be eaten.

It is better to begin the diet on a Monday, though, of course, Monday’s menu may be the start of the two weeks on any one day of the week, in which case Monday is the first day of the diet, Tuesday, the second, etc. The advantage of actually beginning on a Monday is that it works out a little better with regard to Monday dinner, etc. It is possible to begin on any other day with the diet of that day: for example begin on Wednesday with the diet of Wednesday, although the meals are a little more substantial toward the end of the week. The loss of weight over the period may be neither so large nor so rapid if it is gone about in this way. Alcoholic beverages are debatable at this time, but at any rate sweet cocktails and beer should not be taken.

Weight loss may be from ten to twenty pounds in two weeks. Do not follow this diet for longer than two weeks. It is harmless for two weeks but not longer. To keep from regaining lost weight simply cut down on meals in general, starches and sweets in particular.

Breakfast: Exactly the same for every day of the diet.
Grapefruit, one or two eggs, and black coffee. No butter on eggs. if they are fried, use mineral oil.

Luncheon: 3 eggs, tomatoes, coffee
Dinner: 3 eggs, combination salad, one piece of dry toast, grapefruit

Luncheon: One or two eggs, grapefruit, coffee
Dinner: Steak, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives, cucumbers, coffee

Luncheon: 2 eggs, tomatoes, spinach
Dinner: Two lamp chops, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, coffee or tea

Luncheon: Combination salad, grapefruit, coffee
Dinner: Eggs, cottage cheese, spinach, one piece of dry toast

Luncheon: Eggs, spinach, coffee
Dinner: Fish, combination salad, one piece dry toast

Luncheon: Fruit salad, nothing else
Dinner: Plenty of steak, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, tea or coffee

Luncheon: Cold chicken, tomatoes, grapefruit
Dinner: Chicken, tomatoes, cooked cabbage, carrots, celery, vegetable soup, grapefruit, coffee or tea


Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse.  We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.