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Counsels on Diet and Foods

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    Part 2—The Simple Diet

    An Aid to Quick Perception

    116. If ever there was a time when the diet should be of the most simple kind, it is now.—Testimonies for the Church 2:352, 1869CD 82.3

    117. God wants men to cultivate force of character. Those who are merely timeservers are not the ones who will receive a rich reward by and by. He wants those who labor in His cause to be men of keen feeling and quick perception. They should be temperate in eating; rich and luxurious food should find no place upon their tables; and when the brain is constantly taxed, and there is a lack of physical exercise, they should eat sparingly, even of plain food. Daniel's clearness of mind and firmness of purpose, his strength of intellect in acquiring knowledge, were due in a great degree to the plainness of his diet, in connection with his life of prayer—Testimonies for the Church 4:515, 516, 1880CD 82.4

    [Simple Diet Chosen by Daniel—33, 34, 241, 242]

    118. My dear friends, instead of taking a course to baffle disease, you are petting it and yielding to its power. You should avoid the use of drugs, and carefully observe the laws of health. If you regard your life, you should eat plain food, prepared in the simplest manner, and take more physical exercise. Each member of the family needs the benefits of health reform. But drugging should be forever abandoned; for while it does not cure any malady, it enfeebles the system, making it more susceptible to disease.—Testimonies for the Church 5:311, 1885CD 82.5

    Saving Much Suffering

    119. You need to carry out the health reform in your life; to deny yourself and eat and drink to the glory of God. Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. You need to practice temperance in all things. Here is a cross which you have shunned. To confine yourself to a simple diet, which will preserve you in the best of condition of health, is a task to you. Had you lived up to the light which heaven has permitted to shine upon your pathway, much suffering might have been saved your family. Your own course of action has brought the sure result. While you continue in this course, God will not come into your family, and especially bless you, and work a miracle to save your family from suffering. A plain diet, free from spices, and flesh meats, and grease of all kinds, would prove a blessing to you, and would save your wife a great amount of suffering, grief, and despondence....—Testimonies for the Church 2:45, 46, 1868CD 83.1

    Inducements to Simple Living

    In order to render to God perfect service, you must have clear conceptions of His requirements. You should use the most simple food, prepared in the most simple manner, that the fine nerves of the brain be not weakened, benumbed, or paralyzed, making it impossible for you to discern sacred things, and to value the atonement, the cleansing blood of Christ, as of priceless worth. “Know ye not that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”CD 83.2

    If men, for no higher object than a wreath or perishable crown as a reward of their ambition, subjected themselves to temperance in all things, how much more should those be willing to practice self-denial who profess to be seeking not only a crown of immortal glory, but a life which is to endure as long as the throne of Jehovah, and riches that are eternal, honors which are imperishable, and eternal weight of glory.CD 84.1

    Will not the inducements presented before those who are running in the Christian race, lead them to practice self-denial and temperance in all things, that they may keep their animal propensities in subjection, keep under the body, and control the appetite and lustful passions? Then can they be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.CD 84.2

    The Reward of Perseverance

    120. Persons who have accustomed themselves to a rich, highly stimulating diet, have an unnatural taste, and they cannot at once relish food that is plain and simple. It will take time for the taste to become natural, and for the stomach to recover from the abuse it has suffered. But those who persevere in the use of wholesome food will, after a time, find it palatable. Its delicate and delicious flavors will be appreciated, and it will be eaten with greater enjoyment than can be derived from unwholesome dainties. And the stomach, in a healthy condition, neither fevered nor overtaxed, can readily perform its task.—The Ministry of Healing, 298, 299, 1905CD 84.3

    Let Us Advance

    121. A reform in eating would be a saving of expense and labor. The wants of a family can be easily supplied that is satisfied with plain, wholesome diet. Rich food breaks down the healthy organs of body and mind.—Spiritual Gifts 4a:132, 1864CD 84.4

    122. We are all to consider that there is to be no extravagance in any line. We must be satisfied with pure, simple food, prepared in a simple manner. This should be the diet of high and low. Adulterated substances are to be avoided. We are preparing for the future, immortal life in the kingdom of heaven. We expect to do our work in the light and in the power of the great, mighty Healer. All are to act the self-sacrificing part.—Letter 309, 1905CD 85.1

    123. Many have inquired of me, What course shall I take best to preserve my health? My answer is, Cease to transgress the laws of your being; cease to gratify a depraved appetite, eat simple food, dress healthfully, which will require modest simplicity, work healthfully, and you will not be sick.—The Health Reformer, August, 1866CD 85.2

    Camp Meeting Diet

    124. Nothing should be taken to camp meeting except the most healthful articles, cooked in a simple manner, free from all spices and grease.CD 85.3

    I am convinced that none need to make themselves sick preparing for camp meeting, if they observe the laws of health in their cooking. If they make no cake or pies, but cook simple graham bread, and depend on fruit, canned or dried, they need not get sick in preparing for the meeting, and they need not be sick while at the meeting. None should go through the entire meeting without some warm food. There are always cookstoves upon the ground, where this may be obtained.CD 85.4

    Brethren and sisters must not be sick upon the encampment. If they clothe themselves properly in the chill of morning and night, and are particular to vary their clothing according to the changing weather, so as to preserve proper circulation, and strictly observe regularity in sleeping and in eating of simple food, taking nothing between meals, they need not be sick. They may be well during the meeting, their minds may be clear, and able to appreciate the truth, and they may return to their homes refreshed in body and spirit. Those who have been engaged in hard labor from day to day now cease their exercise; therefore they should not eat their average amount of food. If they do, their stomachs will be overtaxed.CD 85.5

    We wish to have the brain power especially vigorous at these meetings, and in the most healthy condition to hear the truth, appreciate it, and retain it, that all may practice it after their return from the meeting. If the stomach is burdened with too much food, even of a simple character, the brain force is called to the aid of the digestive organs. There is a benumbed sensation upon the brain. It is almost impossible to keep the eyes open. The very truths which should be heard, understood, and practiced, are entirely lost through indisposition, or because the brain is almost paralyzed in consequence of the amount of food eaten.CD 86.1

    I would advise all to take something warm into the stomach, every morning at least. You can do this without much labor. You can make graham gruel. If the graham flour is too coarse, sift it, and while the gruel is hot, add milk. This will make a most palatable and healthful dish for the campground. And if your bread is dry, crumb it into the gruel, and it will be enjoyed. I do not approve of eating much cold food, for the reason that the vitality must be drawn from the system to warm the food until it becomes of the same temperature as the stomach before the work of digestion can be carried on. Another very simple yet wholesome dish, is beans boiled or baked. Dilute a portion of them with water, add milk or cream, and make a broth; the bread can be used as in graham gruel.—Testimonies for the Church 2:602, 603, 1870CD 86.2

    [Selling Candies, Ice Cream, etc., on Campground—529, 530]

    [Needless Cooking in Preparing for Camp Meeting—57]

    The Picnic Lunch

    125. Let several families living in a city or village unite and leave the occupations which have taxed them physically and mentally, and make an excursion into the country, to the side of a fine lake, or to a nice grove, where the scenery of nature is beautiful. They should provide themselves with plain, hygienic food, the very best fruits and grains, and spread their table under the shade of some tree or under the canopy of heaven. The ride, the exercise, and the scenery will quicken the appetite, and they can enjoy a repast which kings might envy.—Testimonies for the Church 1:514, 1867CD 86.3

    [Avoid Excess in Cooking—793]

    [Advice to Sedentary Workers—225]

    [Simplicity in Sabbath Dietary—56]

    126. Let those who advocate health reform strive earnestly to make it all that they claim it is. Let them discard everything detrimental to health. Use simple, wholesome food. Fruit is excellent, and saves much cooking. Discard rich pastries, cakes, desserts, and the other dishes prepared to tempt the appetite. Eat fewer kinds of food at one meal, and eat with thanksgiving.—Letter 135, 1902CD 87.1

    Simplicity in Entertaining

    127. Christ has given in His own life a lesson of hospitality. When surrounded by the hungry multitude beside the sea, He did not send them unrefreshed to their homes. He said to His disciples, “Give ye them to eat.” Matthew 14:16. And by an act of creative power He supplied food sufficient to satisfy their need. Yet how simple was the food provided! There were no luxuries. He who had all the resources of heaven at His command could have spread for the people a rich repast. But He supplied only that which would suffice for their need, that which was the daily food of the fisherfolk about the sea.CD 87.2

    If men were today simple in their habits, living in harmony with nature's laws, there would be an abundant supply for all the needs of the human family. There would be fewer imaginary wants, and more opportunity to work in God's ways. Christ did not seek to attract men to Him by gratifying the desire for luxury. The simple fare He provided was an assurance not only of His power but of His love, of His tender care for them in the common needs of life.—Testimonies for the Church 6:345, 1900CD 87.3

    128. Men and women who profess to be followers of Christ, are often slaves to fashion, and to a gluttonous appetite. Preparatory to fashionable gatherings, time and strength, which should be devoted to higher and nobler purposes, are expended in cooking a variety of unwholesome dishes. Because it is fashion, many who are poor and dependent upon their daily labor, will be to the expense of preparing different kinds of rich cakes, preserves, pies, and a variety of fashionable food for visitors, which only injure those who partake of them; when, at the same time they need the amount thus expended, to purchase clothing for themselves and children. This time occupied in cooking food to gratify the taste at the expense of the stomach should be devoted to the moral and religious instruction of their children.CD 88.1

    Fashionable visiting is made an occasion of gluttony. Hurtful food and drinks are partaken of in such a measure as to greatly tax the organs of digestion. The vital forces are called into unnecessary action in the disposal of it, which produces exhaustion, and greatly disturbs the circulation of the blood, and, as a result, want of vital energy is felt throughout the system. The blessings which might result from social visiting, are often lost for the reason that your entertainer, instead of being profited by your conversation, is toiling over the cookstove, preparing a variety of dishes for you to feast upon. Christian men and women should never permit their influence to countenance such a course by eating of the dainties thus prepared. Let them understand that your object in visiting them is not to indulge the appetite, but that your associating together, and interchange of thoughts and feelings, might be a mutual blessing. The conversation should be of that elevated, ennobling character which could afterward be called to remembrance with feelings of the highest pleasure.—How to Live 1:54, 55, 1865.CD 88.2

    129. Those who entertain visitors, should have wholesome, nutritious food, from fruits, grains, and vegetables, prepared in a simple, tasteful manner. Such cooking will require but little extra labor or expense, and, partaken of in moderate quantities, will not injure any one. If worldlings choose to sacrifice time, money, and health, to gratify the appetite, let them do so, and pay the penalty of the violation of the laws of health; but Christians should take their position in regard to these things, and exert their influence in the right direction. They can do much in reforming these fashionable, health and soul destroying customs.—How to Live 1:55, 56, 1865.CD 88.3

    [Example of Christians at Their Table a Help to Those Weak in Self-control—354]

    [Elaborate Feasts a Burden and an Injury—214]

    [Effect of Elaborate Entertaining upon One's Own Children and Family—348]

    [Sin of Spare Diet for Family, and Excess for Visitors—284]

    [A Simple Diet Best for Children—349, 356, 357, 360, 365]

    [Simplicity in Preparation of Health Foods—399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 407, 410]

    Ready for the Unexpected Guest

    130. Some householders stint the family table in order to provide expensive entertainment for visitors. This is unwise. In the entertainment of guests there should be greater simplicity. Let the needs of the family have first attention.CD 89.1

    Unwise economy and artificial customs often prevent the exercise of hospitality where it is needed and would be a blessing. The regular supply of food for our tables should be such that the unexpected guest can be made welcome without burdening the housewife to make extra preparation.—The Ministry of Healing, 322, 1905CD 89.2

    [E. G. White's practice—no extra cooking for visitors—Appendix 1:8]

    [Simple food served in the White home—Appendix 1:1, 13, 14, 15]

    [The Menu to Be Varied from Meal to Meal and Prepared with Nicety—320]

    Think Less About Temporal Food

    131. We must be constantly meditating upon the word, eating it, digesting it, and by practice, assimilating it, so that it is taken into the life current. He who feeds on Christ daily will by his example teach others to think less of that which they eat, and to feel much greater anxiety for the food they give to the soul.CD 89.3

    The true fasting which should be recommended to all, is abstinence from every stimulating kind of food, and the proper use of wholesome, simple food, which God has provided in abundance. Men need to think less about what they shall eat and drink, of temporal food, and much more in regard to the food from heaven, that will give tone and vitality to the whole religious experience.—Letter 73, 1896CD 90.1

    Reforming Influence of the Simple Life

    132. Should we dress in plain, modest apparel without reference to the fashions; should our tables at all times be set with simple, healthful food, avoiding all luxuries, all extravagance; should our houses be built with becoming plainness, and furnished in the same manner, it would show the sanctifying power of the truth, and would have a telling influence upon unbelievers. But while we conform to the world in these matters, in some cases apparently seeking to excel worldlings in fanciful arrangement, the preaching of the truth will have but little or no effect. Who will believe the solemn truth for this time, when those who already profess to believe it contradict their faith by their works? It is not God who has closed the windows of heaven to us, but it is our own conformity to the customs and practices of the world.—Testimonies for the Church 5:206, 1882CD 90.2

    133. It was by a miracle of divine power that Christ fed the multitude; yet how humble was the fare provided,—only the fishes and barley loaves that were the daily fare of the fisherfolk of Galilee.CD 90.3

    Christ could have spread for the people a rich repast, but food prepared merely for the gratification of appetite would have conveyed no lesson for their good. Through this miracle Christ desired to teach a lesson of simplicity. If men today were simple in their habits, living in harmony with nature's laws, as did Adam and Eve in the beginning, there would be an abundant supply for the needs of the human family. But selfishness and the indulgence of appetite have brought sin and misery, from excess on the one hand, and from want on the other.—The Ministry of Healing, 47, 1905CD 90.4

    134. If professed Christians would use less of their wealth in adorning the body and in beautifying their own houses, and would consume less in extravagant health-destroying luxuries upon their tables, they could place much larger sums in the treasury of God. They would thus imitate their Redeemer, who left heaven, His riches, and His glory, and for our sakes became poor, that we might have eternal riches.—Testimonies for the Church 3:401, 1875CD 91.1

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