True Education


Chapter 22—Temperance and Dietetics

Every student needs to understand the relation between plain living and high thinking. It rests with us individually to decide whether our lives shall be controlled by the mind or by the body. Each one makes the choice that shapes the life, and no pains should be spared to understand the forces with which we have to deal, and the influences that mold character and destiny. TEd 121.1

Intemperance is an enemy against which all need to be guarded. The rapid increase of this terrible evil should arouse everyone to warfare against it. Instruction on temperance topics should be given in every school and in every home. Young people should understand the effect of alcohol, tobacco, and like poisons in breaking down the body, beclouding the mind, and sensualizing the soul. It should be made plain that those who use these things cannot long possess the full strength of their physical, mental, or moral faculties. TEd 121.2

But in order to reach the root of intemperance we must go deeper than the use of alcohol or tobacco. Idleness, evil associations, or lack of aim, may be the predisposing cause. Often the cause is found at the home table, in families that consider themselves strictly temperate. Anything that disorders digestion, that creates undue mental excitement, or in any way enfeebles the system, disturbing the balance of the mental and physical powers, weakens the control of the mind over the body, and thus tends toward intemperance. The downfall of many a promising young person might be traced to unnatural appetites created by an unwholesome diet. TEd 121.3

Tea and coffee, condiments, confectionery, and pastries, all are active causes of indigestion. Flesh food also is harmful. Its naturally stimulating effect should be a sufficient argument against its use, and the almost universally diseased condition of animals makes it doubly objectionable. It tends to irritate the nerves and excite the passions, thus giving the balance of power to the lower propensities. TEd 122.1

Those who accustom themselves to a rich, stimulating diet, find after a time that the stomach is not satisfied with simple food. It demands that which is more and more highly seasoned, pungent, and stimulating. As the nerves become disordered and the system weakened, the will seems powerless to resist the unnatural craving. The delicate coating of the stomach becomes irritated and inflamed until the most stimulating food fails to give relief. A thirst is created that nothing but strong drink will quench. TEd 122.2

It is the beginnings of evil that should be guarded against. In instructing the young, the effect of apparently small deviations from right should be made plain. Teach students the value of a simple, healthful diet in preventing the desire for unnatural stimulants. Establish the habit of self-control early in life. Impress the young with the thought that they are to be masters, not slaves. God has made them rulers of the kingdom within them, and they are to exercise their Heaven-appointed kingship. When such instruction is faithfully given, the results will extend far beyond the students themselves. Influences will reach out that will save thousands of men and women who are on the very brink of ruin. TEd 122.3