Ellen G. White Writings

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Messenger of the Lord, Page 321

penned that bread should be “thoroughly baked that, so far as possible, the yeast germs shall be destroyed.” She was scoffed at for this statement, even as late as the 1940s. For years popular magazines advocated eating a cake of live yeast daily! We now know that live yeast cells “take up B vitamins from the food material in the intestine, thus making them unavailable for the body.” 6L. Jean Bogert, in Nutrition and Physical Fitness (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 7th ed., 1962), p. 406.

Butter. In 1870 Ellen White wrote that “from principle” she had discarded the use of meat, butter, mince pies, spices, and lard. 7Testimonies for the Church 2:367. In 1903 she stated that “as for myself, I have settled the butter question. I do not use it.” 8Counsels on Diet and Foods, 357. Health principles, for Ellen White, guided one’s plan of life in determining what the best choice should be under all circumstances. At times, in the absence of the best, we must settle for the good.

Here again we see her principle of “progressive” diet reform: “Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter.” 9Testimonies for the Church 7:135. Further suggestions included: “Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking.” 10The Ministry of Healing, 302. “When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats.” 11The Ministry of Healing, 298.

What’s bad about butter? Two basic problems: disease and health factors relating to fat and cholesterol in the diet. Regarding disease, in the late 1800s butter “was often rancid ... a mixture of casein and water, or of calcium, gypsum, gelatin fat [sic] and mashed potatoes.” 12“The alternative was ‘bogus butter,’ and the ingredients of this concoction were so wildly incongruous as to generate several investigations by city and state. Fat from hogs along with every conceivable animal part that the slaughterhouses could not turn to cash were picked up ... and processed in filthy work sheds. Bleaches were blended into the mix to give the product the appearance of real butter. “A margarine [not vegetable oil margarine] factory employee in 1889 told New York State investigators that his work had made ‘his hands so sore ... his nails came off, his hair dropped out and he had to be confined to Bellevue Hospital for general debility.’ That customers frequently bought this pestilent muck and fed it to their families was due to the artfulness of the grocers, who scraped off the real labels and relettered the boxes ‘Western butter’ or ‘best creamery butter.’” Bettmann, The Good Old Days, p. 117.

Referring to the future, Ellen White wrote: “Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing.” 13Testimonies for the Church 7:135 (1902).

Apart from the danger of disease, butter is almost pure fat. It has many of the long-chained saturated fatty acids that tend to increase serum cholesterol (as well as short-chained fatty acids which do not cause the problem). One tablespoon of butter contains 33 mg. of saturated fats and cholesterol.

The American Heart Association stated on May 13, 1994: “Because butter is rich in both saturated fat and cholesterol, it is potentially a highly atherogenic food [causing hardening of the arteries]. Most margarine is made from vegetable fat and provides no dietary cholesterol. The more liquid the margarine, i.e., tub or liquid forms, the less hydrogenated it is and the less trans fatty acids it contains. Therefore, though still high in fat, margarine is a preferable substitute for butter, and soft margarines are better than hard ones.” 14American Heart Association News Release, May 13, 1994.

Dietary fiber. Ellen White warned that “fine-flour bread cannot impart to the system the nourishment that you will find in the unbolted-wheat bread. The common use of bolted-wheat bread cannot keep the system in a healthy condition.” 15Counsels on Diet and Foods, 320 (two statements, 1868 and 1905).

The body needs two major types of fiber in the diet. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The best sources are oats, beans, apples, barley, and buckwheat: thus these foods help reduce the risk of a heart attack. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran, which reduces the risk of colon cancer. Foods high in fiber help to reduce the risk of carcinogenic agents in the intestines. The fiber attaches to the cholesterol and bile acids that have been secreted by the gallbladder, and removes them from the intestinal tract rapidly.

Animal products have little or no fiber. Refined grains and other refined products have very little. In an Adventist Health Study, 16G. E. Fraser, J. Sabaté, W. L. Beeson, T. Strahan, Archives of Internal Medicine (1992), 152:1416-1424. men who often ate whole wheat bread had only 56 percent of the expected non-fatal heart attack rate and 89 percent of the expected fatal heart attack rate.

Numerous recent studies relate the risk of colon cancer to the lack of fiber in the diet. Gastrointestinal transit time is seventy-seven hours when on a refined diet, but thirty-five hours on an unrefined diet. 17D. P. Burkitt, British Medical Journal (1972), 2:556-561. Populations on a refined diet have a higher incidence of colon cancer than in countries where most are on an unrefined diet. 18H. S. Page and A. J. Asire, Cancer Rates and Risk, 3rd edition, NIH Publication 85:691 (Bethesda, Md.: National Cancer Institute, April, 1985). Colon-cancer risk decreases as the

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