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    August 1894

    “What Is Not Good Food” The Home Missionary, 6, 8, pp. 171-174.


    In the previous lesson we studied what is not food at all, and is therefore never to be used at all; that is, those things which have only a stimulating effect upon the system. We found that “from tea to haschisch, we have, through hops, alcohol, tobacco, and opium, a sort of graduated scale of intoxicants which stimulate in small doses and narcotize in larger.” We studied the effect of these things, particularly tea and coffee, because they are so largely used by people who profess to be strict temperance reformers. The substance of that lesson will be recalled and freshly impressed upon the mind by the following valuable extract from Dr. Foot’s Health Primer:—HOMI August 1894, page 171.1

    “Tea and coffee are merely stimulants that seem to replace appetite for food, and serve as transient susbstitutes [sic.], but they are not nourishing, and in excess they are likely to cause indigestion, loss of appetite, headaches, peevishness, nervousness, muscular tremors, sleeplessness, and irregular heart action, loss of flesh and general debility. They belong among drugs rather than foods, and have uses at times for those who have not become habituated to them.HOMI August 1894, page 171.2

    “The nerves are subject to two directly opposite influences or effects resulting from the use of so-called stimulants. The first is truly a stimulating, goading, or irritating effect, which, carried to the extreme, results in spasms, or convulsive explosions in the nerve centers, and such is the effect of the active principles of tea and coffee; and to apply this sort of influence day after day is to tire out or exhaust the nervous system, by keeping it keyed up too high, and though tea and coffee do not inebriate, they do intoxicate to some extent.HOMI August 1894, page 171.3

    The second influence the nerves are subject to is of precisely the opposite kind—an anesthetic, depressing, deadening or paralyzing effect, such as is provided by alcohol in greater or less degree as it is used much or little in wines, beers, or liquors.HOMI August 1894, page 171.4

    “When such things seem to brace one up, it is merely because they benumb the normal sense of being tired, which is nature’s indicator that the nerves need rest. The same sort of effect is got from tobacco, whether chewed, snuffed, or smoked, and from opiates and other narcotics. All such drug habits tend to retard recovery of health, and some diseases simply cannot be cured while the habit is continued.”HOMI August 1894, page 171.5

    All these things having only a stimulating, narcotizing, intoxicating effect—having no other than an injurious effect—upon the human system, are not foods in any sense, and therefore are never to be used at all by those who would present their bodies “holy, acceptable unto God,” and who are prepar- ing to be translated at the soon coming of the Lord.HOMI August 1894, page 171.6

    Having found, then, what is not food at all, we will now studyHOMI August 1894, page 172.1


    It is proper indeed to study not only what is not good food, but what is not the best food, for the Lord wants his people to have the best of everything. He has given us the best gift in his power. In this he has given us the best religion in the universe; and he wants us to have the best health, so that we can enjoy in the best way the religion that he has given. And that we may have the best health, he wants us to live on that which is the best. On this subject the Testimonies use the expression that such and such “is not the best,” many more times than the expression, “is not good.” This simply illustrates the thought that the Lord wants us to use that which is the best.HOMI August 1894, page 172.2

    Two questions have been asked concerning the previous lesson. Having shown up the injurious effects of tea and coffee, and that those things have no other than injurious effects, the questions have been asked “What about cocoa?” and, “When we leave off tea and coffee, is not cocoa a good substitute for them?”HOMI August 1894, page 172.3

    Is we use the word “substitute” in the sense of doing the same thing that tea and coffee would do, then cocoa is a perfect substitute for them. But if we use the word “substitute” in the sense that is evidently here intended, of using cocoa with the expectation of its doing good where tea and coffee do only evil, then it is not a substitute at all.HOMI August 1894, page 172.4

    We have seen that the evil effects of tea and coffee come altogether from the theine and the caffeine that they respectively contain—theine and caffeine, however, being but different names for the same identical thing. Now the truth is that a given amount of cocoa contains always nearly as much and often more of the same identical poison than is found in the same quantity of tea; and one-and-one-fifth times as much as is found in the same quantity of coffee. The active principle of tea is theine; the active principle of coffee is caffeine; and the active principle of cocoa is theobromine. And all three of these names are simply three different names for the same thing. Theine and caffeine and theobromine are identical. Perhaps we had better have the proof of this; so here it is:—HOMI August 1894, page 172.5

    “Theine is an alkaloid identical with the caffeine obtained from coffee.... Theine is precisely the characteristic constituent of coffee.”—“Encyc. Britannica,” art. Tea.HOMI August 1894, page 172.6

    “The constituent upon which the peculiar value of coca depends is the theobromine, an alkaloid substance which till recently was suppose to be distinct from, though closely allied to, the theine of tea and coffee. It is now, however, known that the alkaloid in these and two or three other substances similarly used, is identical, and their physiological value is consequently the same.”—Id., art. Cocoa.HOMI August 1894, page 172.7

    “The physiological and dietetic value of coffee depends principally upon the alkaloid caffeine which it contains in common with tea, cocoa, mate, or Paraguay tea, guarana, and African kola-nut.”—Id., art. Coffee, also under Tea.HOMI August 1894, page 172.8

    The proportion of this constituent that is identical in tea and coca is as follows:—Tea, 1.8 or 3 per cent, average 2.4; cocoa, 2 per cent; coffee, 8 per cent.HOMI August 1894, page 172.9

    Now when you leave off coffee because of the evil effects of four fifths of one per cent of stimulant, and take in its place coca that has in it two-and-a-half times as much of the same identical stimulant, it is evident enough that that is not exactly health reform. Indeed it is not reform of any kind, it is only to make the matter worse than it was before. And when you leave off tea because of the injurious effects of two and two-fifths per cent of stimulant, and “substitute” for it cocoa that has almost as much, and in many cases more, of the same identical stimulant, it is evident that this also is just as far from being true health reform as is the other.HOMI August 1894, page 172.10

    This only illustrates the necessity of our using thought and judgment in all this work of health reform. It is not acting sensibly to leave off a thing that we have learned is bad, and then blindly take up, simply because it tastes well, something that is as bad or perhaps worse or is the same identical thing under another name or in another shape. Such is not health reform. We need to think on all these things, and act upon a thoughtful, well-informed, and well-balanced judgment. Of all things this is one in which hap-hazard action is not allowable. Every one needs to learn and never to forget that health reform does not consist in simply leaving off what we have learned is not good, but in using that which is good or even the best. When we use only what is good or the best, all those things that are injurious will drop away as dead leaves from a tree, and will simply be left behind aud [sic.] never missed.HOMI August 1894, page 172.11

    There is a difference, however, between cocoa and tea or coffee. That is, whereas tea and coffee have very little or none at all of food elements, cocoa has a great deal. More than four fifths of the constituents of cocoa, 82 per cent, are food elements; while in coffee less than one fifth are food elements, and in tea there are practically no food elements. So that from tea and coffee practically nothing is obtained but the stimulants, which are only injurious; while from cocoa the same or a greater amount of the same stimulant is obtained, yet along with it there is more than forty times as much of food elements. The proportion is, theobromine 2 per cent, food elements 82 per cent, fat 52 per cent, nitrogenous compound 20 per cent, and starch 10 per cent. Yet the greater proportion of food elements does not by any means destroy the stimulant. The effect of the stimulant is the same whether taken with the larger proportion of food elements in cocoa, or with very little or none in tea or coffee. It is better to do without the food elements as found in cocoa, and thus escape the stimulant, than to take the stimulant with the food elements. In other words, it is far better to use that which contains food only, than to use what contains food and stimulant both.HOMI August 1894, page 172.12

    This brings us to another principle of health reform. It is this: As anything, the effect of which is only to stimulate, is not food and therefore is not to be used at all; so also anything that carries with it any stimulant, is not good food and is therefore not to be used if it is possible to avoid it.HOMI August 1894, page 173.1

    This is one of the reasons why flesh meats are not good food. Flesh meats have in them stimulating properties akin to those in tea, coffee, etc. Perhaps we had better have the proofs of this statement too, and so here they are. The “Encyclopedia Britannica” in discussing tea and its kindred stimulants, says:—HOMI August 1894, page 173.2

    “The theobromine of cocoa is closely allied to theine, and the characteristic components of the extract of meat show certain points of contact with these stimulant bodies.”HOMI August 1894, page 173.3

    And Dr. Foote writes on this point as follows:—HOMI August 1894, page 173.4

    “All flesh contains excrementitious products, upon which depend its so-called stimulating properties, as well as the strong or distinct flavors, which may taint the flesh of the feeders. Those who are unaccustomed to the use of meat are, by its occasional use, noticeably stimulated by these so-called extractive matters—so-called because they can be extracted in the laboratory, though it is not possible to eliminate them from butcher’s meat. The Abyssinians and other tribes addicted to occasional gluttonous sprees, when they consume immense quantities or raw meat, have been observed to exhibit signs of intoxication as though stimulated with wine.... It is a common observation that children are made restless, irritable, and quarrelsome by much meat eating; due to the fact that they are very susceptible to its stimulating properties.... The origin, nature, and effects of ... these extractive matters ... are analogous to those of alcohol and ammonia. Every drop of venous blood is laden with it; so much so that if an animal is not well bled when it is killed, the meat is rendered quickly putrescent and is not a safe food. All waste products of living tissues, when applied to other living tissues, produce effects which are called stimulating. To the hungry stomach and faint heart these effects give a sort of quick satisfaction, and this is soon followed by the more staying gratification of the real food properties of the meat ... Meat eaters are generally impatient of any delay of their meals beyond the usual hours; they miss their accustomed stimulus at the expected time. The stimulating effects of meat are probably the cause of that habit of the system which makes it seem sometimes unwise as well as difficult to do without it. Those who are prompted by their finer feelings to rid themselves of what they have come to regard as a savage propensity, are often held in the strong bonds of appetite and habit, and reluctantly conclude that it will be ‘unnatural’ for them to do without it.”—“Food—What’s Best to Eat,” pp. 18, 19.HOMI August 1894, page 173.5

    After these plain statements of scientific authorities as to the stimulating properties of flesh meats, perhaps I may be allowed to present, without being counted an extremist on health reform or the Testimonies, the statement the Lord made to us twenty-six years ago that “meat stimulates.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:486. And in view of the fact that so “high” an authority as the Britannica shows the stimulating effects of the extract of meat to be akin to the stimulating effects of tea and coffee, it may not be too “strong meat” to present a statement to the same effect upon the authority of the Lord from the Testimonies.HOMI August 1894, page 173.6

    “We do not hesitate to say that flesh-meat is not necessary for health or strength. If used, it is because a depraved appetite craves it. Its use excites the animal propensities to increased activity, and strengthens the animal passions. When the animal propensities are increased, the intellectual and moral powers are decreased. The nse [sic.] of the flesh of animals tends to canse [sic.] a grossness of body, and benumbs the fine sensibilities of the mind.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:63.HOMI August 1894, page 173.7

    This and other statements concerning the injurious effects of flesh-meat are followed immediately with the statement of the injurious effects of tea and coffee. Thus these things are classed together in the Testimonies just as they are by the scientific authority. And this was done for us twenty-six years ago. Shall we then allow the evil effects of this stimulant in flesh-meats to hold us “in the strong bonds of appetite and habit,” any more than we shall allow the kindred stimulant in tea and coffee and cocoa to hold and injure us?—Not if we are to be temperate in all things. Not if we are to practice temperance—self-control—indeed.HOMI August 1894, page 173.8

    There is another thing that should be mentioned in this connection before we close,—a thing that makes meat much more injurious than it would otherwise be, and much more injurious than it was in olden time. That is, the way in which it is killed and the length of time between the killing and the eating of it. The way that animals are taken to the market, the way that they are killed, the way that the meat is handled, and the length of time that it is kept after the animal is killed before the meat is sold,—all these things are only direct and positive means of manufacturing those “extractive matters” in which lie the stimulating properties. Besides, such usage puts the meat in that condition where the fiber of the meat itself begins to break down in the first stages of putrefaction; and to eat such meat is to take into the system that which can only load it with deadly humors. And this is the kind of meat that nine tenths of the people use who use meat.HOMI August 1894, page 173.9

    “Those who subsist largely upon flesh cannot avoid eating the meat of animals which are to a greater or less degree diseased. The process of fitting the animals for market produces in them disease; and fitted in as healthful a manner as they can be, they become heated and diseased by driving before they reach the market. The fluids and flesh of these diseased animals are received directly into the blood, and pass into the circulation of the human body, becoming fluids and flesh of the same. Thus humors are introduced into the system. And if the person already has impure blood, it is greatly aggravated by eating of the flesh of these animals. The liability to take disease is increased tenfold by meat eating.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:64.HOMI August 1894, page 174.1

    “Could you know just the nature of the meat you eat, could you see the animals when living from which the flesh is taken when dead, you would turn with loathing from your flesh meats. The very animals whose flesh you eat are frequently so diseased that, if left alone, they would die of themselves; but while the breath of life is in them, they are killed and brought to market. You take directly into your system humors and poison of the worst kind, and yet you realize it not.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:404, 405.HOMI August 1894, page 174.2

    These statements could be abundantly corroborated from the writings of others; but what is the use of it? If a person will disregard the evidences here presented on this subject, he would disregard all the evidences that could possibly be brought together.HOMI August 1894, page 174.3

    The evidences here given clearly show that flesh-meats, cocoa, tea, and coffee form but a graduated scale of stimulants and intoxicants; and that flesh-meats as they are to-day are not the least injurious in the scale.HOMI August 1894, page 174.4

    As true temperance is not to use auy [sic.] stimulants at all, it therefore excludes all foods which contain stimulants, and consequently true temperance excludes flesh-meats from dietetics.HOMI August 1894, page 174.5

    “Will the people who are seeking to become holy, pure, refined, that they may be introduced into the society of heavenly angels, continue to take the life of God’s creatures, and enjoy their flesh as a luxury? From what the Lord has shown me, this order of things will be changed, and God’s peculiar people will exercise temperance in all things.”HOMI August 1894, page 174.6

    There are other things yet to be named that are not good food; but we shall have to leave them till the next lesson. But in the meantime be sure that in leaving off these things that are injurious, you do it by taking that which is good and only good and good for you.HOMI August 1894, page 174.7

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