Chapter 5—The Food on Our Tables

Tracing Intemperance to Their Own Tables—Many mothers who deplore the intemperance that exists everywhere, do not look deep enough to see the cause. Too often it may be traced to the home table. Many a mother, even among those who profess to be Christians, is daily setting before her household rich and highly seasoned food, which tempts the appetite and encourages overeating.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 75, 76. Te 156.3

After a time, through continued indulgence, the digestive organs become weakened, and the food taken does not satisfy the appetite. Unhealthy conditions are established, and there is a craving for more stimulating food. Tea, coffee, and flesh meats produce an immediate effect. Under the influence of these poisons the nervous system is excited, and, in some cases, for the time being, the intellect seems to be invigorated and the imagination to be more vivid. Because these stimulants produce for the time being such agreeable results, many conclude that they really need them and continue their use.... Te 157.1

The appetite is educated to crave something stronger which will have a tendency to keep up and increase the agreeable excitement, until indulgence becomes habit, and there is a continual craving for stronger stimulus, as tobacco, wines, and liquors.—Testimonies for the Church 3:487, 488. Te 157.2

Healthful Food, Simply Prepared—Every mother should carefully guard her table, and allow nothing to come upon it which will have the slightest tendency to lay the foundation of intemperate habits. Food should be prepared in as simple a manner as possible, free from condiments and spices, and even from an undue amount of salt. Te 157.3

You who have at heart the good of your children, and who would see them come up with unperverted tastes and appetites, must perseveringly urge your way against popular sentiments and practices. If you would have them prepared to be useful on earth and to obtain the eternal reward in the kingdom of glory, you must teach them to obey the laws of God, both in nature and revelation, instead of following the customs of the world. Te 157.4

Painstaking effort, prayer and faith, when united with a correct example, will not be fruitless. Bring your children to God in faith, and seek to impress their susceptible minds with a sense of their obligations to their heavenly Father. It will require lesson upon lesson, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.—The Review and Herald, November 6, 1883. Te 157.5

Half the Mothers Deplorably Ignorant—Not one half the mothers know how to cook or what to set before their children. They place before their little nervous children these rich substances that burn in the throat and all the way down to the tender coats of the stomach, making it like a burnt boot, so it does not recognize healthful food. The little ones will come to the table, and they cannot eat this, or they cannot eat that. They take control and get just what they want whether it is for their good or not. Te 158.1

I would recommend letting them go without for at least three days until they are hungry enough to enjoy good wholesome food. I would risk their starving. I have never placed on my table things which I did not allow my children to partake of. I would place before them just what I myself would eat. The children would eat of this food and never think of asking for things not on the table. We should not indulge the appetite of our children by placing before them these rich foods.—Manuscript 3, 1888. Te 158.2

Paving the Way for Intemperance—The tables of our American people are generally prepared in a manner to make drunkards.—Testimonies for the Church 3:563. Te 158.3

Those who believe present truth should refuse to drink tea or coffee, for these excite a desire for stronger stimulant. They should refuse to eat flesh meat, for this, too, excites a desire for strong drink. Wholesome food, prepared with taste and skill, should be our diet now.—Evangelism, 265. Te 158.4

Meat Stimulates—The immediate results of meat eating may be apparently to invigorate the system, but this is no reason for its being considered the best article of diet. The moderate use of brandy will have the same effect for the time being, but when its exciting influence is gone there follows a sense of languor and debility. Those who depend upon simple and nutritious food, that is comparatively unstimulating in its effects, can endure more labor in the course of months and years than the meat eater or the liquor drinker. They who work in the open air will feel less injury from the use of flesh-meats than those of sedentary habits, for sun and air are great helps to digestion, and do much to counteract the effect of wrong habits of eating and drinking. Te 158.5

The Effects of Stimulants—All stimulants hurry the human machinery too fast, and although, for the time, activity and vigor may seem to be increased, in proportion to the irritating influence employed, there must be a reaction; a debility will follow corresponding in degree to the unnatural excitement that has been produced. Te 159.1

When this debility is felt, something to stimulate and tone up the system is again used to give immediate relief from disagreeable languor. Nature is gradually educated to rely upon this oft-repeated remedy, until her powers are enfeebled by being often aroused to unnatural action. All persons should become acquainted with the laws of their being. It should be an important subject of study, how to live, how to regulate labor, and how to eat and drink in reference to health. Te 159.2

The more simply and naturally we live the better shall we be able to resist epidemic and disease. If our habits are good and the system is not weakened by unnatural action, Nature will furnish all the stimulus that we require.... Te 159.3

Appetite an Unsafe Guide—The rule which some recommend, is to eat whenever there is a sense of hunger, and to eat until satisfied. This course will lead to disease and numerous evils. Appetite at the present day is not generally natural, therefore is not a correct index to the wants of the system. It has been pampered and misdirected until it has become morbid and can no longer be a safe guide. Nature has been abused, her efforts crippled by wrong habits and indulgence in sinful luxuries, until taste and appetite are alike perverted. Te 159.4

It is unnatural to have a craving for flesh meats. It was not thus in the beginning. The appetite for meat has been made and educated by man. Our Creator has furnished us, in vegetables, grains, and fruits, all the elements of nutrition necessary to health and strength. Flesh meats composed no part of the food of Adam and Eve before their fall. If fruits, vegetables, and grains are not sufficient to meet the wants of man, then the Creator made a mistake in providing for Adam.... Te 160.1

That Israel Might Preserve Physical and Moral Strength—God did not withhold meat from the Hebrews in the wilderness simply to show His authority, but for their good, that they might preserve physical and moral strength. He knew that the use of animal food strengthens the animal passions and enfeebles the intellect. He knew that the gratification of the appetite of the Hebrews for flesh meats, would weaken their moral powers, and induce such an irritable disposition that the vast army would become insubordinate, that they would lose the high sense of their moral obligations, and refuse to be controlled by the wise laws of Jehovah. Violence and rebellion would exist among them, making it impossible for them to be a pure and happy people in the land of Canaan. God knew what was best for the children of Israel, therefore He deprived them in a great measure of flesh meats. Te 160.2

Satan tempted them to consider this unjust and cruel. He caused them to lust after forbidden things, because he saw that through the indulgence of perverted appetite they would become carnally minded and could be easily brought to do his will; the lower organs would be strengthened, while the intellectual and moral powers would be weakened. Te 160.3

Satan is no novice in the business of destroying souls. He well knows that if he can lead men and women into wrong habits of eating and drinking, he has gained, in a great degree, the control of their minds and baser passions. In the beginning man ate of the fruits of the earth, but sin brought into use the flesh of dead animals as food. This diet works directly against the spirit of true refinement and moral purity. The substance of that which is taken into the stomach, passes into the circulation, and is converted into flesh and blood.... Te 161.1

God requires that His people should be temperate in all things. The example of Christ, during that long fast in the wilderness, should teach His followers to repulse Satan when he comes under the guise of appetite. Then may they have influence to reform those who have been led astray by indulgence, and have lost moral power to overcome the weakness and sin that has taken possession of them. Thus may Christians secure health and happiness, in a pure, well-ordered life and a mind clear and untainted before God.—The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1876. Te 161.2

Reform as the New Convert Sees It—When the message comes to those who have not heard the truth for this time, they see that a great reformation must take place in their diet. They see that they must put away flesh food, because it creates an appetite for liquor, and fills the system with disease. By meat eating, the physical, mental, and moral powers are weakened. Man is built up from that which he eats. Animal passions bear sway as the result of meat eating, tobacco using, and liquor drinking.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, 268, 269. Te 161.3

Intemperance in Variety of Dishes—I go farther. Temperance should be practiced in the cooking of the food and in the variety of dishes provided, that the mother may be spared all the labor possible. A great variety of food is not essential for the sustenance of life; instead, it injures the digestive organs, causing a war in the stomach. With the blessing of God, plain, simple food will sustain life, and be the best for the entire being. Te 161.4

Few realize that generally more food than necessary is placed in the stomach. But the extra food eaten is a tax on the stomach, and injures the whole human structure.—Manuscript 50, 1893. Te 162.1

Overeating Is Intemperance—Intemperance is seen in the quantity as well as in the quality of food eaten.—Counsels on Health, 576. Te 162.2

Intemperance embraces much. With some it consists of eating too largely of food which, if taken in proper quantities, would not be objectionable. All that is taken into the stomach above the actual need of the system becomes a dangerous element. It decays in the stomach, and causes dyspepsia. Continual overeating uses up the vital forces, and deprives the brain of power to do its work.—Manuscript 155, 1899. Te 162.3

One who indulges freely in eating, who overloads the digestive organs until they are unable properly to care for the food eaten, is also an intemperate man, and he will find it impossible to discern clearly spiritual things.—Manuscript 41, 1908. Te 162.4

Our heavenly Father would have us use with discretion the good things He has provided for us.—The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1909. Te 162.5

An Important Place in Our Salvation—Those who are not health reformers treat themselves unfairly and unwisely. By the indulgence of appetite they do themselves fearful injury. Some may think that the question of diet is not important enough to be included in the question of religion. But such make a great mistake. God's word declares, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the working out of our salvation.—Evangelism, 265. Te 162.6

If men and women perseveringly live in accordance with the laws of life and of health, they will realize the blessed results of an entire health reform.—The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1876. Te 163.1

All Are Being Proved—It is of great importance that individually we act well our part, and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink, and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether they will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, 34. Te 163.2