Testimony Studies on Diet and Foods

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Chapter 38b—Sanitarium Dietary

Letter 45, 1903

Brother and Sister -----, I wish to present for your consideration a few points that have been revealed to me since first there arose the difficulties connected with the question of discarding flesh-meat from the tables of our medical institutions.... TSDF 136.2

I have been plainly instructed by the Lord that flesh-meat should not be placed before the patients in our sanitarium dining-rooms. Light was given me that the patients could have flesh-meat, if, after hearing the parlor lectures, they still urged us to give it to them; but that, in such cases, it must be eaten in their own rooms. All the helpers are to discard flesh-meat. But, as stated before, if, after knowing that the flesh of animals can not be placed on the dining-room tables, a few patients urge that they must have meat, cheerfully give it to them in their rooms. TSDF 136.3

Accustomed, as many are, to the use of flesh-meat, it is not surprising that they should expect to see it on the sanitarium table. You may find it unadvisable to publish the bill of fare, giving a list of the foods supplied at the table; for the absence of flesh-meat from the dietary may seem a formidable obstacle to those who are thinking of becoming patrons of the sanitarium. TSDF 136.4

Let the food be palatably prepared and nicely served. More dishes will have to be prepared than would be necessary if flesh-meat was served. Other things can be provided, so that meats can be discarded. Milk and cream can be used by some. TSDF 136.5

I make myself a criterion for no one else. There are things that I can not eat without suffering great distress. I try to learn that which is best for me, and then saying nothing to any one, I partake of the things that I can eat, which often are simply two or three varieties that will not create a disturbance in the stomach. TSDF 136.6

Let us remember that we have had a long time to become accustomed to the health reform diet. We can not expect anything else than that in our sanitariums it will be necessary to furnish dishes prepared somewhat differently from those prepared for our own use; for we have learned to relish plain food. It is necessary to plan more liberally for a medical institution than for a private family. Many things must be taken into consideration, and concessions must be made to meet the peculiar needs of the many classes of patients coming to our sanitariums. A strait-jacket is not to be put on the appetite suddenly. When you become acquainted with these people, and understand their true condition, prescriptions can be given to meet the individual requirements. TSDF 136.7

In all our sanitariums a liberal bill of fare should be arranged for the patients’ dining-room. I have not seen anything very extravagant in any of our medical institutions; but I have seen some tables that were decidedly lacking in a supply of good, inviting, palatable food. Often patients at such institutions, after remaining for a while have decided that they were paying a large sum for room, board and treatment, without receiving much in return, and have therefore left. Of course, complaints greatly to the discredit of the institution were soon in circulation. TSDF 136.8

There are two extremes, both of which we should avoid. May the Lord help every one connected with our medical institutions not to advocate a meager supply of food. The men and women of the world who come to our sanitariums often have perverted appetites. Radical changes can not be made suddenly for all these. Some can not at once be placed on as plain a health reform diet as would be acceptable in a private family. In a medical institution there are varied appetites to satisfy. Some require well-prepared vegetables to meet their peculiar needs. Others have not been able to use vegetables without suffering the consequence. The poor, sick dyspeptics need to be given many words of encouragement. Let the religious influence of a Christian home pervade the sanitarium. This will be conducive to the health of the patients. All these things have to be managed carefully and prayerfully. The Lord sees the difficulties to be adjusted, and He will be your Helper.... TSDF 136.9

Yesterday I wrote to you some things that I hope will in no wise confuse you. I may have written too much in regard to the importance of having a liberal dietary in our sanitariums. I have been in several medical institutions where the supply of food was not as liberal as it should have been. As you well know, in providing for the sick we must not follow one set regimen, but must frequently vary the bill of fare, and prepare food in different ways. I believe that the Lord will give all of you good judgment in the preparation of food. TSDF 137.1

Letter 331, 1904

In the night season I was talking with you both. I had some things to say to you on the diet question. I was talking freely with you, telling you that you would have to make changes in your ideas in regard to the diet to be given those who come to the sanitarium from the world. These people have lived improperly, on rich food. They are suffering as a result of indulgence of appetite. A reform in their habits of eating and drinking is needed. But this reform can not be made all at once. The change must be made gradually. The health foods set before them must be appetizing. All their lives, perhaps, they have had three meals a day, and have eaten rich food. It is an important matter to reach these people with the truths of health reform. But in order to lead them to adopt a sensible diet, you must set before them an abundant supply of wholesome, appetizing food. Changes must not be made so abruptly that they will be turned from health reform, instead of being led to it. The food served to them must be nicely prepared, and it must be richer than either you or I would eat. TSDF 137.2

I write this because something needs to be done to set forth the principles of true health reform. Have you a cook who can prepare dishes that the patients can not help but see are an improvement on the diet to which they have been accustomed? The one who does the cooking in a sanitarium should be able to make wholesome, appetizing food-combinations and these food-combinations must necessarily be somewhat richer than you or I would eat. TSDF 137.3

I write this because I am sure that the Lord means you to have tact in meeting the people where they are, in their darkness and self-indulgence. As far as I am concerned, personally, I am decidedly in favor of a plain, simple diet. But it will not be best to put worldly, self-indulgent patients on a diet so strict that they will be turned from health reform. This will not convince them of the need of a change in their habits of eating and drinking. Tell them the facts. Educate them to see the need of a plain, simple diet, and make the change gradually. Give them time to respond to the treatment and the instruction given them. Work and pray, and lead them along as gently as possible. TSDF 137.4

I remember once at -----, when at the sanitarium there, I was urged to sit at the table with the patients, and eat with them, that we might become acquainted. I saw then that a decided mistake was being made in the preparation of the food. It was put together in such a way that it was tasteless, and there was not more than two-thirds enough. I found it impossible to make a meal that would satisfy my appetite. I tried to bring about a different order of things, and I think that matters were helped. TSDF 137.5

In dealing with the patients in our sanitariums, we must reason from cause to effect. We must remember that the habits and practices of a lifetime can not be changed in a moment. With an intelligent cook, and an abundant supply of wholesome food, reforms can be brought about that will work well. But it may take time to bring them about. A strenuous effort should not be made unless it is actually demanded. We must remember that food which would be appetizing to a health reformer might be very insipid to those who have been accustomed to highly seasoned food. Lectures should be given explaining why reforms in diet are essential, and showing that the use of highly seasoned food causes inflammation of the delicate lining of the digestive organs. Let it be shown why we as a people have changed our habits of eating and drinking. Show why we discard tobacco and all intoxicating liquor. Lay down the principles of health reform clearly and plainly, and with this, let there be placed on the table an abundance of wholesome food, tastefully prepared; and the Lord will help you to make impressive the urgency of reform, and will lead them to see that this reform is for their highest good. They will miss the highly seasoned food to which they have been accustomed, but an effort must be made to give them food that is so wholesome and so appetizing that they will cease to miss the unwholesome dishes. Show them that the treatment given them will not benefit them unless they make the needed change in their habits of eating and drinking. TSDF 137.6

Letter 37, 1901

I have something to say in reference to extreme views of health reform. Health reform becomes health deform, a health destroyer, when it is carried to extremes. You will not be successful in sanitariums, where the sick are treated, if you prescribe for the patients the same diet you have prescribed for yourself and wife. I assure you that your ideas in regard to diet for the sick are not advisable. The change is too great. While I would discard fleshmeat as injurious, something less objectionable may be used, and this is found in eggs. Do not remove milk from the table or forbid it being used in the cooking of food. The milk used should be procured from healthy cows, and should be sterilized. TSDF 138.1

Those who take an extreme view of health reform are in danger of preparing tasteless dishes. This has been done over and over again. The food has become so insipid as to be refused by the stomach. The food given the sick should be varied. They should not be given the same dishes over and over again. TSDF 138.2

Letter 37, 1904

I have received instruction in regard to the use of flesh-meat in our sanitariums. Flesh-meat should be excluded from the diet, and its place should be supplied by wholesome, palatable food, prepared in such a way as to be appetizing. TSDF 138.3

Those who come to our sanitariums for treatment should be provided with a liberal supply of well-cooked food. The food placed before them must necessarily be more varied in kind than would be necessary in a home family. Let the diet be such that a good impression will be made on the guests. This is a matter of great importance. The patronage of a sanitarium will be larger if a liberal supply of appetizing food is provided. TSDF 138.4

Again and again I have left the tables of our sanitarium hungry and unsatisfied. I have talked with those in charge of the institutions, and have told them that their diet needed to be more liberal and the food more appetizing. I told them to put their ingenuity to work to make the necessary change in the best way. I told them to remember that what would perhaps suit the taste of health reformers would not answer at all for those who have always eaten luxuries, as they are termed. Much may be learned from the meals prepared and served in a successfully-conducted hygienic restaurant. TSDF 138.5

Unless you give much attention to this matter, your patronage will decrease instead of increasing. There is danger of going to extremes in diet reform. TSDF 138.6

Last night I was in my sleep talking with Dr.-----. I said to him: You must still exercise care in regard to extremes in diet. You must not go to the extremes either in your own case or in regard to the food provided for the helpers and patients at the sanitarium. The patients pay a good price for their board, and they should have liberal fare. Some may come to the sanitarium in a condition demanding stern denial of appetite and the simplest fare, but as their health improves, they should be liberally supplied with nourishing food. TSDF 138.7

You may be surprised at my writing this, but last night I was instructed that a change in the diet would make a great difference in your patronage. A more liberal diet is needed. TSDF 138.8

Testimonies for the Church 7:95

We are not building sanitariums for hotels. Receive into our sanitariums only those who desire to conform to right principles, those who will accept the foods that we can conscientiously place before them. Should we allow patients to have intoxicating liquor in their rooms, or should we serve them with meat, we could not give them the help they should receive in coming to our sanitariums. We must let it be known that from principle we exclude such articles from our sanitariums and our hygienic restaurants. Do we not desire to see our fellow-beings freed from disease and infirmity, and in the enjoyment of health and strength? Then let us be as true to principle as the needle to the pole. TSDF 138.9

Letter 100, 1903

Obtain the best help in the cooking that you can. If food is prepared in such a way that it is a tax on the digestive organs, be sure that investigation is needed. Food can be prepared in such a way as to be both wholesome and palatable. TSDF 138.10

Manuscript 93, 1901

The cook in a sanitarium should be a thorough health reformer. A man is not converted unless his appetite and diet correspond with his profession of faith. TSDF 138.11

The cook in a sanitarium should be a well trained medical missionary. He should be a capable person, able to experiment for himself. He should not confine himself to recipes. The Lord loves us, and He does not want us to do ourselves harm by following unhealthful recipes. TSDF 138.12

At every sanitarium there will be some who will complain about the food, saying that it does not suit them. They need to be educated in regard to the evils of unhealthful diet. How can the brain be clear while the stomach is suffering? TSDF 138.13

Letter 37, 1901

There should be in our sanitarium a cook who thoroughly understands the work, one who has good judgment, who can experiment, who will not introduce into the food those things which should be avoided. It is well to leave sugar out of the crackers that are made. Some enjoy best the sweetest crackers, but these are an injury to the digestive organs. Butter should not be placed on the table; for if it is some will use it too freely, and it will obstruct digestion. TSDF 138.14

Letter 127, 1904

The danger of going to extremes in diet must be guarded against in the sanitarium. We can not expect worldlings to accept at once that which our people have been years in learning. Even now there are many of our ministers who do not practice health reform, notwithstanding the light they have had. We can not expect those who do not realize the need of abstemiousness in diet, who have had no practical experience on this subject, to take at once the wide step between self-indulgence in eating and the most strenuous diet in health reform. TSDF 139.1

Those who come to the sanitarium must be provided with wholesome food, prepared in the most palatable way consistent with right principles. We can not expect them to live just as we live. The change would be too great. And there are very few throughout our ranks who live so abstemiously as Dr.-----has thought it wise to live. Changes must not be made abruptly, when the patients are not prepared for them. TSDF 139.2

The food placed before the patients should be such as to make a favorable impression on them. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways. Lemon pie should not be forbidden. TSDF 139.3

Too little thought and painstaking effort has been given to making the food tasty and nourishing. We do not want that the sanitarium shall be destitute of patients. We can not convert men and women from the error of their ways unless we treat them wisely. TSDF 139.4

Get the best cook possible, and do not limit the food to that which would suit the taste of some who are rigid health reformers. Were the patients given this food only, they would become disgusted, because it would taste so insipid. It is not thus that souls are to be won to the truth in our sanitariums. Let the cautions that the Lord has given Brother and Sister ----- in regard to extremes in diet, be heeded. I was instructed that Dr. ----- must change his diet, and eat more nourishing food. It is possible to avoid rich cooking, and yet make the food palatable. I know that every extreme in diet that is brought into the sanitarium will hurt the reputation of the institution.... TSDF 139.5

There is a way of combining and preparing food that will make it both wholesome and nourishing. Those in charge of the cooking in our sanitariums should understand how to do this. The matter should be treated from a Bible standpoint. There is such a thing as robbing the body of nutrition. The preparation of the food in the best manner possible is to become a science. TSDF 139.6

I eat the most simple food, prepared in the most simple way. For months my principle diet has been vermicelli and canned tomatoes, cooked together. This I eat with zwieback. Then I have also stewed fruit of some kind and sometimes lemon pie. Dried corn, cooked with milk or a little cream, is another dish that I sometimes use. TSDF 139.7