The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters


The Use of Flesh Foods

I have been calling to mind the light God has given me on health reform. Have you carefully and prayerfully sought to understand the will of God in this matter? PC 360.2

The use of meats is entirely out of harmony with health reform principles. If we would allow reason to take the place of impulse and love of sensual indulgence, we should not taste the flesh of dead animals. What is more repulsive to the sense of smell than a shop where flesh meats are kept for sale? The smell of the raw flesh is offensive to all whose senses have not been depraved by culture of the unnatural appetites. What more unpleasant sight to a reflective mind than the beasts slain to be devoured? If the light God has given in regard to health reform is disregarded, he will not work a miracle to keep in health those who pursue a course to make themselves sick. PC 360.3

You may think, you cannot work without meat. I thought so once, but I know that in his original plan, God did not provide for the flesh of dead animals to compose the diet of man. It is a grossly perverted taste that will accept such food. Then the fact that meat is largely diseased should lead us to make strenuous efforts to discontinue the use entirely. PC 360.4

My position now is to let meat altogether alone. It will be hard for some to do this - as hard as for the rum-drinker to forsake his dram - but they will be better for the change. PC 360.5

You know how you would answer a tobacco devotee if he urged, as a plea for the use of tobacco, the arguments some advance as a reason why they should continue the use of the flesh of dead animals as food. The weakness some experience without the use of meat is one of the strongest arguments that can be presented why they should discontinue its use. Those who eat meat feel stimulated after eating this food, and they suppose they are made stronger. After one discontinues the use of meat, he may for a time feel a weakness, but when his system is cleansed from the effect of this diet, he no longer feels the weakness, and will cease to wish for that which he had pleaded for as essential to his strength. PC 360.6

I have a large family which often numbers sixteen. In it there are men who work at the plow and who fell trees. These men have vigorous exercise, but not a particle of flesh of animals is placed upon our table. PC 361.1

I have felt urged by the Spirit of God to set before several the fact that their suffering ill health was caused by a disregard of the light given them upon health reform. I have shown them that their meat diet, which was supposed to be essential, was not necessary, and that, as they were composed of what they ate, brain, bone and muscle were in an unwholesome condition because they lived on the flesh of dead animals; that their blood was being corrupted by this improper diet; that the flesh which they ate was diseased, and their entire system was becoming gross and corrupted. PC 361.2

There is an alarming lethargy shown on the subject of unconscious sensualism. It is customary to eat the flesh of dead animals. This stimulates the lower passions of the human organism. In the preparation of food, the golden rays of light are to be kept shining, teaching those who sit at the table how to live. Physicians are not employed to prescribe a flesh diet for patients, for it is this kind of diet that has made them sick. Seek the Lord. When you find him, you will be meek and lowly of heart. Individually, you will not subsist upon the flesh of dead animals, neither will you put one morsel in the mouth of your children. Physicians will not prescribe flesh, tea or coffee for their patients, but will give talks showing the necessity of a simple diet. They will cut away injurious things from their bill of fare. To have the physicians of our institutions educating by precept and example those under their care to use a meat diet, after years of instruction from the Lord, disqualifies them to be superintendents of our health institutes. The Lord does not give light on health reform that it may be disregarded by those who are in positions of influence and authority. The Lord means just what he says, and he is to be honored in what he says. Light is to be given upon these subjects. It is the diet question that needs close investigation and prescriptions should be made in accordance with health principles. PC 361.3

The Lord intends to bring his people back to live upon simple fruits, vegetables, and grains. He led the children of Israel into the wilderness, where they could not get a fresh diet, and he gave them the bread of heaven. Men did eat angels’ food, but they craved the fleshpots of Egypt, and mourned and cried for flesh, notwithstanding that the Lord had promised them if they would submit to his will, he would carry them into the land of Canaan and establish them there, a pure, holy, happy people, and there should not be a feeble one in all their tribes, for he would take away all sickness from among them. But, although they had a plain thus saith the Lord, they mourned and wept and murmured and complained until the Lord was wroth with them, and because they were so determined to have the flesh of dead animals, he gave them the very diet he had withheld from them. The Lord would at first have given them flesh if it had been essential for their health; but he created and redeemed them, and led them a long journey in the wilderness to educate and discipline and train them into correct habits. The Lord understood what the influence of flesh eating is upon the human system. He would have a people that would, in their physical appearance, bear the divine credentials notwithstanding their long journey. PC 362.1

When I hear those who profess to believe the truth for this time pleading for the use of flesh meats, I am forcibly reminded of the complainings of the children of Israel because they were not favored with a meat diet. The diet of animals generally used for food is vegetables and grains. Must the vegetables be animalized before we can eat them? Must they be incorporated into the system of an animal before we can digest them? Must we obtain our vegetable diet by eating the flesh of dead creatures? God provided fruit in its natural state for our first parents. He gave Adam charge of the garden to dress it and to care for it, saying, “To you it shall be for meat.” The plan was not for one animal to destroy another animal for food. After the fall, the eating of flesh was suffered in order to shorten the period of the existence of the long-lived race. It was allowed because of the hardness of the hearts of men. One of the great errors that many insist upon is, that muscular strength is dependent upon animal food. But the simple grains, fruits of the trees, and vegetables have all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. This a flesh diet cannot do. PC 362.2

When a limb is broken, physicians recommend their patients not to eat meat, as there will be danger of inflammation setting in. Condiment and spices used in the preparation of food for the table aid in digestion in the same way that tea, coffee and liquor are supposed to help the laboring man perform his tasks. After the immediate effects are gone, they drop as correspondingly below par as they were elevated above par by these stimulating substances. The system is weakened, the blood is contaminated, and inflammation is the sure result. PC 362.3

After all the light that has been given on the diet question, for the people of God to lament because they cannot exercise freedom in meat eating is very similar to the complainings, lamentations and weeping of the children of Israel in the ears of the Lord. PC 363.1

Our sanitariums should never be conducted after the fashion of the hotel. A meat diet changes the disposition and strengthens animalism. We are composed of what we eat, and eating much flesh will diminish intellectual activity. Students would accomplish much more in their studies if they never tasted meat. When the animal part of the human agent is strengthened by meat eating, the intellectual powers diminish proportionately. A religious life can more successfully be gained and maintained if meat is discarded, for this diet stimulates into intense activities lustful propensities, and enfeebles the moral and spiritual nature. “The flesh warreth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.” PC 363.2

We greatly need to encourage and cultivate pure, chaste thoughts and to strengthen the moral powers rather than the lower and carnal powers. God help us to break from our self indulgent appetites! The idea of eating dead flesh is abhorrent to me; the thought of one living animal eating the flesh of another animal is shocking. There is no call for it. PC 363.3

Cancers, tumors, and all inflammatory diseases are largely caused by meat eating. From the light God has given me, the prevalence of cancers and tumors is largely due to gross living on dead flesh. I sincerely and prayerfully hope that our physicians and our people will not forever be blind on this subject, for blindness is mingled with a want of moral courage to deny appetite, to lift the cross, which means, to take up the very duties which cut across the natural passions. PC 363.4

The juices and fluids of what we eat pass into the circulation of the blood, and, as we are composed of what we eat, by feeding on flesh we become animalized; thus a feverish condition is created, because the animals are diseased, and by partaking of their flesh we plant the seeds of disease in our own tissue and blood. Then when exposed to the changes in a malarious or poisonous atmosphere, these are more sensibly felt; also when we are exposed to prevailing epidemics and contagious diseases the system is not in condition to resist disease. PC 363.5

I have the subject presented to me in different aspects. The mortality caused by meat eating is not discerned; if it were, we would hear no more arguments and excuses in favor of the indulgence of the appetite for dead flesh. We have plenty of good things to satisfy hunger without bringing corpses upon our tables to compose our bill of fare. PC 363.6

I might go to any length upon this subject, but I forbear. I do hope that our physicians will not, by precept and example, counterwork that which the Lord has given me to enlighten minds and bring in thorough reforms. I am working earnestly along these lines, and shall never cease working against the practice of meat-eating. I have had opened before me the stumbling block which this diet question has been in the spiritual advancement of some, and what a stumbling block they in turn have placed in the paths of others, and all because their own sensibilities were blunted through the selfish gratification of the appetite. For Christ's sake, look deeper, study deeper, and act in accordance with the light God has been pleased to give on this subject. - PC 364.1