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Counsels on Diet and Foods - Contents
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    Progressive Dietic Reform in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions

    The counsel on the subject of flesh meat is not complete without the picture of the struggle for its nonuse in our institutions as brought to view in several communications from Mrs. White, and the instruction urging a progressive reform in diet. It is essential that the reader keep these facts and the time of writing of the several statements in mind as he gives study to this phase of the flesh-meat question.—Compilers.]CD 405.2

    Appeals for a Nonflesh Diet in Our Early Medical Institutions (1884)

    720. I have arisen this morning at four o'clock to write you a few lines. I have been thinking much of late how the institution over which you preside could be made all God would have it, and I have a few thoughts to suggest.CD 405.3

    We are health reformers, seeking to come back, as far as possible, to the Lord's original plan of temperance. Temperance does not consist merely in abstaining from intoxicating liquors and tobacco; it extends farther than this. It must regulate what we eat.CD 406.1

    You are all acquainted with the light upon the subject of health reform. But when I visit the Retreat, I see that there is a very marked departure from health reform on the matter of meat eating, and I am convinced that there must be a change, and at once. Your diet is largely composed of meat. God is not leading in this direction; the enemy is seeking to establish the diet question upon a wrong basis by leading those in charge of the institution to accommodate the diet to the appetite of the patients.CD 406.2

    When the Lord led the children of Israel from Egypt, He purposed to establish them in Canaan a pure, happy, healthy people. Let us study the plan of God, and see how this was accomplished. He restricted their diet. To a large degree, He took flesh food from them. But they hankered after the fleshpots of Egypt, and God gave them flesh, and with it the sure result.CD 406.3

    The Health Retreat was established at a great cost to treat the sick without drugs. It should be conducted on hygienic principles. Drug medication should be worked away from as fast as possible, until entirely discarded. Education should be given on proper diet, dress, and exercise. Not only should our own people be educated, but those who have not received the light upon health reform should be taught how to live healthfully, according to God's order. But if we have no standard in this respect ourselves, what is the need of going to such large expense to establish a health institute? Where does the reform come in?CD 406.4

    I cannot admit that we are moving in God's order. We must have a different order of things, or give up the name Health Retreat; for it is wholly inappropriate. The Lord has shown me that the Health Institute must not be molded to meet the appetite or any person's ideas. I am aware that the excuse for the meat eating allowed in the institution has been that the pleasure seekers who come are not pleased with any other diet. Then let them go where they can obtain the diet they wish. When the institution cannot be conducted, even for guests, according to right principles, then let it drop the name it has assumed. But the excuse that has been urged does not now exist; for outside patronage is very small.CD 406.5

    A positive injury is done to the system by continuous meat eating. There is no excuse for it but a depraved, perverted appetite. You may ask, Would you do away entirely with meat eating? I answer, It will eventually come to this, but we are not prepared for this step just now. Meat eating will eventually be done away. The flesh of animals will no longer compose a part of our diet; and we shall look upon a butcher's shop with disgust....CD 407.1

    We are built up from that which we eat. Shall we strengthen the animal passions by eating animal food? In the place of educating the taste to love this gross diet, it is high time that we were educating ourselves to subsist upon fruits, grains, and vegetables. This is the work of all who are connected with our institutions. Use less and less meat, until it is not used at all. If meat is discarded, if the taste is not educated in that direction, if a liking for fruits and grains is encouraged, it will soon be as God in the beginning designed it should be. No meat will be used by His people.CD 407.2

    When meat is not used as it has been, you will learn a more correct way of cooking, and will be able to supply the place of meat with something else. Many healthful dishes can be prepared which are free from grease and from the flesh of dead animals. A variety of simple dishes, perfectly healthful and nourishing, may be provided, aside from meat. Hearty men must have plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Occasionally some meat may have to be given to outsiders who have so educated their taste that they think that unless they have meat, they cannot keep up their strength. But they will have greater powers of endurance if they abstain from meat than if they subsist largely upon it.CD 407.3

    The principal objection with physicians and helpers at the Health Retreat to discarding a meat diet is that they want meat, and then plead they must have meat. Therefore, they encourage its use. But God does not want those who come to the Health Retreat educated to live on a flesh diet. By parlor talks and by example, educate in the other direction. This will call for great skill in the preparation of wholesome food. More labor will be required, but nevertheless, it must gradually be done. Use less meat. Let those who do the cooking and those who bear the responsibility educate their own tastes and habits of eating in accordance with the laws of health.CD 408.1

    We have been going back to Egypt rather than on to Canaan. Shall we not reverse the order of things? Shall we not have plain, wholesome food on our tables? Shall we not dispense with hot biscuits, which only cause dyspepsia? Those who elevate the standard as nearly as they can to the order of God, according to the light God has given them through His word and the testimonies of His Spirit, will not change their course of action to meet the wishes of their friends or relatives, be they one or two or a host, who are living contrary to God's wise arrangement. If we move from principle in these things, if we observe strict rules of diet, if as Christians we educate our tastes after God's plan, we shall exert an influence which will meet the mind of God. The question is, “Are we willing to be true health reformers?”CD 408.2

    It is essential that continuous sameness in diet be avoided. The appetite will be much better if changes in the food are made. Be uniform. Do not have several kinds of food on the table at one meal, and no variety the next. Study economy in this line. Let people complain if they will. Let them find fault if there is not enough to suit them. The Israelites always complained of Moses and of God. It is your duty to maintain the standard of health reform. More can be accomplished for sick people by regulating their diet than by all the baths that can be given them.CD 408.3

    Let the same amount of money expended for meat be used to purchase fruit. Show the people a right way of living. Had this been done from the first at the institution at _____, the Lord would have been pleased, and would have approved the effort....CD 408.4

    Care and skill should be used in the preparation of food. I hope that Doctor _____ will fill the position assigned her, that she will counsel with the cook, so that the food placed on the tables at the Health Retreat may be in accordance with health reform. Because one is inclined to indulge his appetite, he must not argue that his is the way to live; he must not by his course of action seek to mold the institution to suit his tastes and practices. Those who bear the responsibility of the institution should frequently counsel together. They should move in perfect harmony.CD 409.1

    Do not, I beg of you, argue that meat eating must be right, because this one or that one, who is a slave to appetite, has said that he could not live at the Health Retreat without meat. Subsisting on the flesh of dead animals is a gross way of living, and as a people, we should be working a change, a reform, teaching the people that there are healthful preparations of food that will give them more strength, and better preserve their health, than meat.CD 409.2

    The sin of this age is gluttony in eating and drinking. Indulgence of appetite is the god which many worship. Those who are connected with the Health Institute should set a right example in these things. They should move conscientiously in the fear of God, and not be controlled by a perverted taste. They should be thoroughly enlightened in regard to the principles of health reform, and under all circumstances should stand under its banner.CD 409.3

    I hope, Doctor _____, that you will learn more and more how to cook healthfully. Provide an abundance of good, wholesome food. Do not practice economy in this direction. Restrict your meat bills, but have plenty of good fruit and vegetables, and then you will enjoy seeing the hearty appetites with which all will partake of your preparations. Never feel that good, hygienic food that is eaten is lost. It will make blood and muscle, and give strength for daily duties.—Letter 3, 1884CD 409.4

    [Cooking of Flesh Food Not to Be Taught in Our Schools—817]

    [Meat-Eating Physicians Not to Be Employed in Our Sanitariums—433]

    721. I have been thinking much of the Health Institute at _____. Many thoughts crowd into my mind, and I wish to express some of them to you.CD 410.1

    I have been calling to mind the light God has given me, and through me to you, on health reform. Have you carefully and prayerfully sought to understand the will of God in these matters? The excuse has been, that the outsiders would have a meat diet, but even if they had some meat, I know that with care and skill, dishes could be prepared to take the place of meat in a large degree, and in a short time they could be educated to let the flesh of dead animals alone. But if one performs the cooking whose main dependence is meat, she can and will encourage meat eating, and the depraved appetite will frame every excuse for this kind of diet.CD 410.2

    When I saw how matters were going,—that if _____ had not meat to cook, she knew not what to provide as a substitute, and that meat was the principal article of diet,—I felt that there must be a change at once. There may be consumptives who demand meat, but let them have it in their own rooms, and do not tempt the already-perverted appetite of those who should not eat it.... You may think you cannot work without meat. I thought so once, but I know that in His original plan, God did not provide for the flesh of dead animals to compose the diet for man. It is a gross, perverted taste that will accept such food.... Then the fact that meat is largely diseased, should lead us to make strenuous efforts to discontinue its use entirely. My position now is to let meat altogether alone. It will be hard for some to do this, as hard as for the rum drinker to forsake his dram; but they will be better for the change.—Letter 2, 1884CD 410.3

    Meeting the Issue Squarely

    722. The sanitarium is doing good work. We have just come to the point of the vexed meat question. Should not those who come to the sanitarium have meat on their tables, and be instructed to leave it off gradually? ... Years ago the light was given me that the position should not be taken positively to discard all meat, because in some cases it was better than the desserts, and dishes composed of sweets. These are sure to create disturbances. It is the variety and mixture of meat, vegetables, fruit, wines, tea, coffee, sweet cakes, and rich pies that ruin the stomach, and place human beings in a position where they become invalids with all the disagreeable effects of sickness upon the disposition....CD 410.4

    I present the word of the Lord God of Israel. Because of transgression, the curse of God has come upon the earth itself, and upon the cattle, and upon all flesh. Human beings are suffering the result of their own course of action in departing from the commandments of God. The beasts also suffer under the curse.CD 411.1

    Meat eating should not come into the prescription for any invalids from any physicians from among those who understand these things. Disease in cattle is making meat eating a dangerous matter. The Lord's curse is upon the earth, upon man, upon beasts, upon the fish in the sea; and as transgression becomes almost universal, the curse will be permitted to become as broad and as deep as the transgression. Disease is contracted by the use of meat. The diseased flesh of these dead carcasses is sold in the market places, and disease among men is the sure result.CD 411.2

    The Lord would bring His people into a position where they will not touch or taste the flesh of dead animals. Then let not these things be prescribed by any physicians who have a knowledge of the truth for this time. There is no safety in the eating of the flesh of dead animals, and in a short time the milk of the cows will also be excluded from the diet of God's commandment-keeping people. In a short time it will not be safe to use anything that comes from the animal creation. Those who take God at His word, and obey His commandments with the whole heart, will be blessed. He will be their shield of protection. But the Lord will not be trifled with. Distrust, disobedience, alienation from God's will and way, will place the sinner in a position where the Lord cannot give him His divine favor....CD 411.3

    Again I will refer to the diet question. We cannot now do as we have ventured to do in the past in regard to meat eating. It has always been a curse to the human family, but now it is made particularly so in the curse which God has pronounced upon the herds of the field, because of man's transgression and sin. The disease upon animals is becoming more and more common, and our only safety now is in leaving meat entirely alone. The most aggravated diseases are now prevalent, and the very last thing that physicians who are enlightened should do, is to advise patients to eat meat. It is in eating meat so largely in this country that men and women are becoming demoralized, their blood corrupted, and disease planted in the system. Because of meat eating, many die, and they do not understand the cause. If the truth were known, it would bear testimony it was the flesh of animals that have passed through death. The thought of feeding on dead flesh is repulsive, but there is something besides this. In eating meat we partake of diseased dead flesh, and this sows its seed of corruption in the human organism.CD 412.1

    I write to you, my brother, that the giving of prescriptions for the eating of the flesh of animals shall no more be practiced in our sanitarium. There is no excuse for this. There is no safety in the after influence and results upon the human mind. Let us be health reformers in every sense of the term. Let us make known in our institutions that there is no longer a meat table, even for the boarders; and then the education given upon the discarding of a meat diet will be not only saying but doing. If patronage is less, so let it be. The principles will be of far greater value when they are understood, when it is known that the life of no living thing shall be taken to sustain the life of the Christian.—Letter 59, 1898CD 412.2

    A Second Letter Meeting the Issue

    723. I received your letter, and will explain as best I can in reference to the meat. The words you mention were in a letter to _____ and some others at the time Sister _____ was at the Health Retreat [720]. I had these letters hunted up. Some letters were copied and some were not. I told them to give dates to the time of the statements made. At that time the meat diet was being prescribed and used very largely. The light given me was that meat in a healthy condition was not to be cut off all at once, but talks were to be given in the parlor in regard to the use of dead flesh of any kind; that fruits, grains, and vegetables, properly prepared, were all the system required to keep it in health; but that they must first show that we have no need to use meat, where there was an abundance of fruit, as in California. But at the Health Retreat they were not prepared to make abrupt moves, after using meat so abundantly as they had done. It would be necessary for them to use meat very sparingly at first and finally discontinue it entirely. But there must be only one table called the patients’ meat-eating table. The other tables were to be free from this article....CD 412.3

    I labored most earnestly to have all meat discarded, but this difficult question must be handled discreetly and not rashly, after meat had been used three times a day. The patients must be educated from a health standpoint.CD 413.1

    This is all I can remember on that point. Increased light has been coming, for us to consider. The animal creation is diseased, and it is difficult to determine the amount of disease in the human family that is the result of meat eating. We read constantly in the daily papers about the inspection of meat. Butcher shops are continually being cleaned out; the meat being sold is condemned as unfit for use.CD 413.2

    The light has come to me for many years that meat eating is not good for health or morals. And yet it seems so strange that I have to meet this meat-eating question again and again. I had a very close and decided talk with the physicians in the Health Home. They had considered the matter, and Brother and Sister ----- were brought into very strait places. Meat was being prescribed for patients.... Sabbath, while at the Australian Union Conference, held at Stanmore, I felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord, to take up the case of the Health Home established at Summer Hill, which is only a few stations from Stanmore.CD 413.3

    I presented the advantages to be obtained in this sanitarium. I showed that meat was never to be placed on the table as an article of food, that the life and health of thousands were being sacrificed at the altars where dead flesh was being offered for consumption. I never gave a more earnest and decided appeal. I said, We are thankful that we have an institution here where the flesh of dead animals is not prescribed for any patients. Let it be said that not one morsel of meat has been placed on the tables, either for physicians, managers, helpers, or patients. I said, We have confidence in our physicians that this question will be treated from a health standpoint; for dead carcasses should always be looked upon as not fit to compose the diet of Christians.CD 414.1

    I did not varnish the matter one particle. I said that should those in our health home bring the flesh of dead animals upon the table, they would merit the displeasure of God. They would defile the temple of God, and they would need the words spoken to them, Whoso defileth the temple of God, him will God destroy. The light that God has given me is that the curse of God is on the earth, the sea, the cattle, on the animals. There will soon be no safety in the possession of flocks or herds. The earth is decaying under the curse of God.—Letter 84, 1898CD 414.2

    Remaining True to Our Principles

    724. Lately the number of patients at the sanitarium has decreased, owing to an array of circumstances that could not be helped. One reason for the lack of patronage is, I think, the stand that those at the head of the institution have taken against serving flesh meat to the patients. Ever since the opening of the sanitarium, meat has been served in the dining room. We felt that the time had come to take a decided stand against this practice. We knew that it was not pleasing to God for flesh meat to be placed before the patients.CD 414.3

    Now no tea, coffee, or flesh meat is served in the institution. We are determined to live out the principles of health reform, to walk in the way of truth and righteousness. We shall not, for fear of losing patronage, be half-and-half reformers. We have taken our position, and by God's help we shall stand by it. The food provided for the patients is wholesome and palatable. The diet is composed of fruits and grains and nuts. Here in California there is an abundance of fruit of all kinds.CD 414.4

    If patients come who are so dependent on a diet of flesh meat that they think that [they] cannot live without it, we shall try to make them look at the matter from an intelligent point of view. And if they will not do this, if they are determined to use that which destroys health, we shall not refuse to provide it for them, if they are willing to eat it in their rooms and willing to risk the consequences. But they must take upon themselves the responsibility of their action. We shall not sanction their course. We dare not dishonor our stewardship by sanctioning the use of that which taints the blood and brings disease. We should be unfaithful to our Master if we did that which we know He does not approve.CD 415.1

    This is the stand that we have taken. We are resolved to be true to the principles of health reform, and may God help us, is my prayer.CD 415.2

    Plans must be set in operation that will bring an increase of patronage. But would it be right for us, for the sake of obtaining more patients, to return to the serving of flesh meat? Shall we give the sick that which has made them sick, that which will keep them sick if they continue to use it as food? Shall we not rather take our stand as those who are resolved to carry out the principles of health reform?—Manuscript 3a, 1903CD 415.3

    [Tea, Coffee, and Meat Served in Patients’ Rooms—437]

    725. There are some in our institutions who claim to believe the principles of health reform, and yet who indulge in the use of flesh meats and other foods which they know to be injurious to health. I say to such in the name of the Lord, Do not accept positions in our institutions while you refuse to live the principles for which our institutions stand; for by doing this, you make doubly hard the work of teachers and leaders who are striving to carry the work on right lines. Clear the King's highway. Cease to block the way of the message He sends.CD 415.4

    I have been shown that the principles that were given us in the early days of the message are to be regarded as just as important by our people today as they were then. There are some who have never followed the light given us on the question of diet. It is time now to take the light from under the bushel, and let it shine forth in clear, bright rays.—Manuscript 73, 1908CD 416.1

    [Not to Be Served in Our Sanitariums—424, 431, 432]

    [Not to Be Served to Helpers—432, 444]

    [Excessive Use of Sweet Foods as Harmful as the Use of Undiseased Flesh Meat—533, 556, 722]

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