Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


The White Family Applies Health Reform Diet

First of all, light given in regard to proper diet, when put into effect, brought about quite radical changes in the food program of the White home and of the homes of a few neighbors and acquaintances who learned of the basic points. Among them was the Amadon family and the Andrews family. As Ellen White recounted the experience a few months later—in August, 1864—she wrote: 2BIO 74.1

I have thought for years that I was dependent upon a meat diet for strength. I have eaten three meals a day until within a few months. It has been very difficult for me to go from one meal to another without suffering from faintness at the stomach, and dizziness of the head.... Eating meat removed for the time these faint feelings. I therefore decided that meat was indispensable in my case. 2BIO 74.2

But since the Lord presented before me, in June, 1863, the subject of meat eating in relation to health, I have left the use of meat. For a while it was rather difficult to bring my appetite to bread, for which, formerly, I have had but little relish. But by persevering, I have been able to do this. I have lived for nearly one year without meat. For about six months most of the bread upon our table has been unleavened cakes [gems], [See appendix B for the recipe.] made of unbolted wheat meal and water, and a very little salt. We use fruits and vegetables liberally. I have lived for eight months upon two meals a day. [See appendix C for a two-meal-a-day plan.] I have applied myself to writing the most of the time for above a year. For eight months have been confined closely to writing. My brain has been constantly taxed, and I have had but little exercise. Yet my health has never been better than for the past six months.—Spiritual Gifts, 4a:153, 154. In an address given in Battle Creek on March 6, 1869, Ellen White further described her experience as a health reformer: 2BIO 74.3

I suffered keen hunger. I was a great meat eater. But when faint, I placed my arms across my stomach and said: “I will not taste a morsel. I will eat simple food, or I will not eat at all.” Bread was distasteful to me. I could seldom eat a piece as large as a dollar. Some things in the reform I could get along with very well, but when I came to the bread I was especially set against it. 2BIO 75.1

When I made these changes I had a special battle to fight. The first two or three meals, I could not eat. I said to my stomach: “You may wait until you can eat bread.” In a little while I could eat bread, and graham bread, too. This I could not eat before; but now it tastes good, and I have had no loss of appetite.—Testimonies for the Church, 2:371, 372. [For a review of Ellen White's experience as a health reformer, see CDF, pp. 481-494, appendix I. In this fifteen-page compilation will be found her own statements of her experience, with a delineation of how she related to a reform in diet under varying circumstances and at different times.] 2BIO 75.2

She continued: 2BIO 75.3

I left off these things [meat, butter, and three meals] from principle. I took my stand on health reform from principle. And since that time, brethren, you have not heard me advance an extreme view of health reform that I have had to take back. I have advanced nothing but what I stand to today. I recommend to you a healthful, nourishing diet.—Ibid., 2:372.

She declared how she looked upon the change in her way of life: 2BIO 75.4

I do not regard it a great privation to discontinue the use of those things which leave a bad smell in the breath and a bad taste in the mouth.

Is it self-denial to leave these things and get into a condition where everything is as sweet as honey; where no bad taste is left in the mouth and no feeling of goneness in the stomach? These I used to have much of the time. I have fainted away with my child in my arms again and again. 2BIO 76.1

I have none of this now, and shall I call this a privation when I can stand before you as I do this day? There is not one woman in a hundred that could endure the amount of labor that I do. I moved out from principle, not from impulse. I moved because I believed Heaven would approve of the course I was taking to bring myself into the very best condition of health, that I might glorify God in my body and spirit, which are His.—Ibid. 2BIO 76.2