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Counsels on Diet and Foods

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    Part 2—Eating Between Meals

    The Importance of Regularity

    281. After the regular meal is eaten, the stomach should be allowed to rest for five hours. Not a particle of food should be introduced into the stomach till the next meal. In this interval the stomach will perform its work, and will then be in a condition to receive more food.CD 179.1

    In no case should the meals be irregular. If dinner is eaten an hour or two before the usual time, the stomach is unprepared for the new burden; for it has not yet disposed of the food eaten at the previous meal, and has not vital force for new work. Thus the system is overtaxed.CD 179.2

    Neither should the meals be delayed one or two hours, to suit circumstances, or in order that a certain amount of work may be accomplished. The stomach calls for food at the time it is accustomed to receive it. If that time is delayed, the vitality of the system decreases, and finally reaches so low an ebb that the appetite is entirely gone. If food is then taken, the stomach is unable to properly care for it. The food cannot be converted into good blood.CD 179.3

    If all would eat at regular periods, not tasting anything between meals, they would be ready for their meals, and would find a pleasure in eating that would repay them for their effort.—Manuscript 1, 1876CD 179.4

    282. Regularity in eating is of vital importance. There should be a specified time for each meal. At this time, let every one eat what the system requires, and then take nothing more until the next meal. There are many who eat when the system needs no food, at irregular intervals, and between meals, because they have not sufficient strength of will to resist inclination. When traveling, some are constantly nibbling if anything eatable is within their reach. This is very injurious. If travelers would eat regularly of food that is simple and nutritious, they would not feel so great weariness, nor suffer so much from sickness.—The Ministry of Healing, 303, 304, 1905CD 179.5

    283. Regularity in eating should be carefully observed. Nothing should be eaten between meals, no confectionery, nuts, fruits, or food of any kind. Irregularities in eating destroy the healthful tone of the digestive organs, to the detriment of health and cheerfulness. And when the children come to the table, they do not relish wholesome food; their appetites crave that which is hurtful for them.—The Ministry of Healing, 384, 1905CD 180.1

    284. There has not been in this family the right management in regard to diet; there has been irregularity. There should have been a specified time for each meal, and the food should have been prepared in a simple form, and free from grease; but pains should have been taken to have it nutritious, healthful, and inviting. In this family, as also in many others, a special parade has been made for visitors; many dishes prepared and frequently made too rich, so that those seated at the table would be tempted to eat to excess. Then in the absence of company there was a great reaction, a falling off in the preparations brought on the table. The diet was spare, and lacked nourishment. It was considered not so much matter “just for ourselves.” The meals were frequently picked up, and the regular time for eating not regarded. Every member of the family was injured by such management. It is a sin for any of our sisters to make such great preparations for visitors, and wrong their own families by a spare diet which will fail to nourish the system.—Testimonies for the Church 2:485, 1870CD 180.2

    285. I am astonished to learn that, after all the light that has been given in this place, many of you eat between meals! You should never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals. Eat what you ought, but eat it at one meal, and then wait until the next.—Testimonies for the Church 2:373, 1869CD 180.3

    286. Many turn from light and knowledge, and sacrifice principle to taste. They eat when the system needs no food, and at irregular intervals, because they have no moral stamina to resist inclination. As the result, the abused stomach rebels, and suffering follows. Regularity in eating is very important for health of body and serenity of mind. Never should a morsel of food pass the lips between meals.—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 50] Counsels on Health, 118, 1890CD 180.4

    287. And the dyspeptic,—what has made him dyspeptic is taking this course. Instead of observing regularity, he has let appetite control him, and has eaten between meals.—Testimonies for the Church 2:374, 1869CD 181.1

    288. Children are generally untaught in regard to the importance of when, how, and what they should eat. They are permitted to indulge their tastes freely, to eat at all hours, to help themselves to fruit when it tempts their eyes, and this, with the pie, cake, bread and butter, and sweetmeats eaten almost constantly, makes them gormands and dyspeptics. The digestive organs, like a mill which is continually kept running, become enfeebled, vital force is called from the brain to aid the stomach in its overwork, and thus the mental powers are weakened. The unnatural stimulation and wear of the vital forces make them nervous, impatient of restraint, self-willed, and irritable.—The Health Reformer, May, 1877CD 181.2

    [Importance to Children of Regularity in Diet—343, 344, 345, 346, 348]

    289. Many parents, to avoid the task of patiently educating their children to habits of self-denial, and teaching them how to make a right use of all the blessings of God, indulge them in eating and drinking whenever they please. Appetite and selfish indulgence, unless positively restrained, grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength.—Testimonies for the Church 3:564, 1875CD 181.3

    [For context see 347]

    290. It is quite a common custom with people of the world to eat three times a day, beside eating at irregular intervals between meals; and the last meal is generally the most hearty, and is often taken just before retiring. This is reversing the natural order; a hearty meal should never be taken so late in the day. Should these persons change their practice, and eat but two meals a day, and nothing between meals, not even an apple, a nut, or any kind of fruit, the result would be seen in a good appetite and greatly improved health.—The Review and Herald, July 29, 1884CD 181.4

    291. When traveling, some are almost constantly nibbling, if there is anything within their reach. This is a most pernicious practice. Animals that do not have reason, and that know nothing of mental taxation, may do this without injury, but they are no criterion for rational beings, who have mental powers that should be used for God and humanity.—The Review and Herald, July 29, 1884CD 182.1

    292. Gluttonous feasts, and food taken into the stomach at untimely seasons, leave an influence upon every fiber of the system.—The Health Reformer, June, 1878CD 182.2

    293. Many eat at all hours, regardless of the laws of health. Then gloom covers the mind. How can men be honored with divine enlightenment, when they are so reckless in their habits, so inattentive to the light which God has given in regard to these things? Brethren, is it not time for you to be converted on these points of selfish indulgence?—Gospel Workers, 174, 1892 (old edition)CD 182.3

    294. Three meals a day and nothing between meals—not even an apple—should be the utmost limit of indulgence. Those who go further violate nature's laws and will suffer the penalty.—The Review and Herald, May 8, 1883CD 182.4

    [Ministers Who Disregard This Rule—227]

    [Eating between Meals at Camp Meetings—124]

    [Children Should Not Eat Candies, Fruits, Nuts, or Anything between Meals—344]

    [Allowing Children to Eat at Any Hour—348, 355, 361]

    [Results to Students—246]

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