Section 0
Principles of Health

Part 4f
Sixth Law of Health - Nutrition


THE FOOD YOU EAT


The human body was created by the God of heaven on the sixth day of Creation Week. It is marvelously made.

Because of this, we have a special responsibility, as His children, to carefully obey His health laws. He has provided bountifully from the things of nature for our care, and it is our responsibility to use these blessings to keep ourselves in good health so that we may better minister to the needs of those around us.

We can live as did Daniel, in full obedience to all of God's laws. A basic aspect of this is the diet we choose. Our physical health is maintained by that which we eat, for that which you put into your body affects all of your organs and tissues. A wrong diet, or an indulged appetite of a good one, greatly hinders mental and physical efficiency. An improper diet not only injures our bodies, but keeps our minds from functioning as well as they should. For example, an intemperate man cannot be a patient men.

Eating the right amount of the right food, and only at regular hours, is what is needed. The food should be of a simple, healthful quality, and eaten slowly in an atmosphere of cheerful thankfulness to God for His many blessings. In order to understand these matters aright, we need individually to reason from cause to effect, study the Word of God, and act from principle. We dare not let the fads and fashions of the world become our criteria.

All of our enjoyment or suffering may be traced to obedience or transgression of natural law. To make these laws plain, and to urge their obedience in the strength of God—is the special work for our time in history. Men of God in Bible times carefully obeyed the moral and health laws, and we should obey them today. A significant aspect of this is the fact that the body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. How important it is, then, that we do all in our power to yield ourselves in obedience to God's pattern for our lives. This is the greatest work we can do. And we can be thankful that He will, by His enabling grace, strengthen us to fulfill His will.

The original diet, given by Heaven to our human family, consisted of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a way as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.

This diet that God gave to our first parents did not include meat. It is contrary to His plan to have the life of any of His creatures taken in order to supply us with food. He desires to bring us back to this original plan. He does not want us to subsist upon the flesh of dead animals.

And this diet should be a simple one. It is very easy to take simple food—and make a complicated dish out of it that is hard to digest. Our diet should be simple: composed of simple food, simply prepared. By this is meant simple, healthful food, both raw or properly cooked, free from spices, grease, flesh meats, and complicated mixtures. Raw food is good, but warm food is needed by the system also. Eating only cold food draws vitality from the body to heat it up in the stomach prior to its digestion. Also helpful is the eating of fewer kinds of food at a meal, and eating it with thanksgiving. A cheerful heart will help your food digest better. Simply prepared meals will be more nourishing for your family and guests. Fashionable eating with its many dishes, mixtures, and hurtful foods is an invitation to gluttony. And this, of course, you do not want.

The diet also needs to be adequate. Do not consider it a matter of indifference as to what you eat. Your diet should not be impoverished, but nourishing, for only in this way can your body make good blood. Perfect health is keyed to perfect circulation, and this cannot be done without good blood.

Fruits, grains, vegetables, and nuts, prepared in a simple way—free from meat or spice or grease of every kind,—constitute the most healthful diet. It requires careful thought to prepare nourishing food. This effort requires faith in God, earnestness of purpose, and a willingness to help one another. We are mortal and must supply ourselves with food that will give proper sustenance to the body.

Investigate your habits of diet and study from cause to effect. You do not want a rich, greasy, complicated worldly diet, but neither do you want a skimpy, impoverished one. There are healthful foods that you need. Do not avoid them.

However, in some cases, you will find certain articles of diet that do not agree with you. For example, beans bother some people. In such instances, change the diet; use less of some foods; try other things. And be alert to food combinations; some are healthful and some are not. Individually study this matter for yourself and come to your own decisions as to what you shall eat. There is no doubt but that there is generally an ample variety of foods from which to select.

In making this choice, keep in mind the climate. Certain foods may be suitable for one country and not for another, or for one season of the year and not for another. Then, too, there is the matter of your occupation. If you are engaged in hard, physical labor, you can eat somewhat more amply than can a more sedentary person.

The warmer the climate, the less severe our physical work should be, and the less food is correspondingly needed. In connection with this, too much sugar in the diet, in hot weather or in a hot climate, can cause trouble.

Yet no precise line of diet is marked out for those living in various seasons, climates, and countries. As you depend on Him for help, God will guide you from day to day.

In those lands in which an abundance of fresh fruits, grains, and nuts are available, flesh food is not necessary. And in countries in which there is an extra abundance of fruit throughout most of the year, we should make use of it.

God will guide His children to develop simple, healthful recipes that will help many others. Develop your talents and learn how to develop more healthful meals.

In order to better understand these things, we need to better understand the process of normal digestion within our bodies. Overeating injures the stomach and weakens all the digestive organs. Disease is thus brought on. Too much vital power is being expended in trying to digest so much food. The immediate effect may be headache, indigestion, pain, or temporary stoppage of digestion. Eat sparingly of the best food. Allow nothing to pass your lips that in any way might weaken your health and life. Constantly study from cause effect, as you go from meal to meal, day to day.

That which we need more of is spiritual food—study in God's Word,—for that will give us overcoming power in controlling our selection and intake of physical food.

Overeating has a worse effect on the body than overworking. The excess food only clogs the system, burdens the life, and, if continued, leads to disease. Too much food, even of the right quality, is harmful. Eat moderately, of the right food, and only at regular periods.

Do not study, or do heavy work or violent exercise immediately after a meal. As soon as it is concluded, both the blood and brain power are needed in aiding in its digestion. When the meal is completed, go outside and take a short walk, with your head erect and your shoulders back. This light exercise will greatly help your digestion. Your mind is thus diverted from yourself to the things of nature about you. And that is another benefit of the after-meal walk.

There are far too many people who worry about their food. Eat it cheerfully, with a sense of thankfulness to God. Do the best you can, and then go about your work believing that He will bring the best. If you are in constant fear that your food will hurt you, it most assuredly will. Forget it—and all your other problems too. Think of something cheerful and trust that all will work out for the best.

Pure, fresh air, breathed in through lungs unhindered by tight clothing or belts or lacing, will greatly help your digestion. This is no unimportant detail. It is better to suspend your clothing from the shoulders, instead of using belts. Avoid cramping or compressing your lungs or your abdomen.

Do not spend most of your time thinking about yourself. Act from principle, and then live to bless others.

There are a number of foods which it is best to eliminate or minimize in our diets. A meal of only cold food should not be partaken. Warm it first. Hot drinks and hot food debilitates the stomach; very cold foods require too much vital force in order to be warmed up in the stomach prior to digestion. Cold water drunk with the meal diminishes the flow of saliva. The colder the food or water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice water or ice lemonade stops digestion until it is warmed up. Food that is washed down with liquids results in poor digestion. When liquids are taken with meals, the stomach must absorb the liquid before it can begin to digest the food. Overworking the stomach in many little ways can add up to more serious problems at a later time.

When you sit down to a meal, take time to eat. Chew your food slowly, and do not crowd in a great variety of food at one meal. The benefit derived from food depends less on the quantity eaten than on how thoroughly it was masticated, and digested. The amount of time the food is in the mouth and how well it is chewed are both very important to thorough digestion. In order to do this effectively, it is necessary to eat your food slowly.

Do not have too great a variety at a meal; three or four dishes are plenty. It is more important that we eat that which will agree with us than that we taste of every dish set before us.

It is well not to eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal. Vary the meals from day to day. All mixed and complicated foods are injurious to the health.

And, above all, do not overeat. It is one of the quickest avenues to disease and death. Especially should sedentary workers be careful in regard to this point.

It is best that five hours elapse between meals. Two meals a day are better than three, especially for those who obtain relatively little exercise. Late suppers, just before bedtime, are particularly harmful. If eaten at all, the third meal should be light and several hours before bedtime.

Eat your meals at regular times and between meals eat nothing.

Fruit is a wonderful blessing from God. Whenever it is available, you will want to make use of it. Fresh fruit, freshly picked, is especially good. It would be well to do less cooking and eat more fruit raw. But also preserve them in sealed jars for winter usage. Fruits of different kinds—but not too many kinds—at a meal are very fine. But even fruit should not be eaten after a full meal of other foods.

Never eat fruit if it has any decay on it. Decayed vegetables and fruit ferment in the stomach and poison the blood. As with grains, nuts, and vegetables, prepare the fruit for the table in as simple a manner as possible.

Brain workers do well, from time to time, on a fruit diet for a day or two.

The dried fruits are very helpful in the diet. Apples are one of the best standby storage fruits that you can find.

The grains are another blessing from our Creator. When you eat grains and vegetables, you are obtaining your food first-hand; but when you eat meat, you are getting it second-hand. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and muscular strength maintained without the use of animal flesh. The grains, along with peas, beans, and lentils, are foods that store well. Do not use grease on your grains or in preparing them. This principle applies to the preparation of fruits and vegetables also.

Grains used for porridge or cooked cereal should have several hours cooking. But even then, they are still less wholesome than dry foods which require careful chewing. For this reason, to eat largely of cereals does not ensure health to the digestive organs, for they are too much like liquid. Instead, eat fruit, vegetables, and bread.

Bread should be thoroughly baked, and should be light and dry. Do not use baking powder or soda when preparing it. The strong alkalinity of soda injures the stomach. Use water in making bread, instead of milk. Milk bread does not keep sweet as long, and ferments in the stomach. The loaves should be small, with no taint of sourness. Never eat fresh raised bread (yeast bread) before it is a day old. And two- or three-day-old bread is more healthful still. (This is because there is no baker's yeast remaining in it by then.) But unleavened bread—without yeast—can be eaten fresh out of the oven.

Zwieback is bread that has been baked a second time. ("Zwieback" means "twice baked.") This transforms the bread into one of the most easily masticated and digestible foods you can find. Simply cut ordinary raised bread into slices and then lay it in a warm oven to dry until the last trace of moisture disappears. Then let it be browned slightly all the way through. If kept dry, zwieback can be kept much longer than regular bread, and it can be reheated before using, to freshen it up. Since it is so easily digested, zwieback does well, along with fruit, for the evening meal.

Beware of partially baked bread. If it is soft, doughy, or sticky inside, do not eat it. Hot, raised biscuits should not be eaten. Sour bread is not healthful either. Do not put sour milk into your bread mix.

Whole wheat bread is far better than white bread. Sweet breads and sweet cookies cause problems in the stomach.

Thank God for the good vegetables that we can serve to our families. They afford us solid nourishment. When picked fresh from the garden, they are the best. Hearty, hard-working men need plenty of vegetables. Such a simple diet is by far the best for us.

God wants to bring His people back to simple fruits, vegetables, and grains. These have the nutritive properties that our bodies need. This is the food needed, not meat or grease.

There are those who are not able to digest certain vegetables as well as others.

Avoid fried foods, or any food that has been prepared with grease or butter (or margarine). These clog the system and lead to serious trouble later on.

Raw and cooked greens are among the most nourishing foods obtainable. Other good foods include such items as tomatoes, corn, or peas. But never use decayed vegetables.

It would be well to obtain a piece of land so you can grow fruits and vegetables.

Sugar is a real problem. People use far too much of it in preparing their food, and yet it causes fermentation in the stomach. Milk and sugar combined is one of the worst combinations you can find, yet the two are mixed into breads, puddings, pastries, and other things.

Sugar clogs the system. Some people try to make sugar supply the place of good food, properly cooked. But the result is sickness and disease. Sugar, overused in the diet, is worse than meat eating. Avoid eating the sweet foods that are prepared. Candies and confections are best kept out of the diet.

A little sweetening, such as honey, mixed in with the preserved fruits is helpful. It is not wrong to use a little milk or a little sweetening. But only a little sugar is all that is needed. Some put a lot of it on their mush, or use milk and sugar mixtures. But this is not healthful. Milk, eggs, and sugar mixed together in recipes are not good either.

Pies, cakes, pastries, and puddings may taste good, but this does not make them good for you. Many of these desserts are detrimental to health. Rich dinners, highly flavored sauces, sweet delicacies, sweet cakes, sweet puddings, and custards would be better omitted from the diet entirely. Often spices are added, which only makes the mixture worse. The jellies, jams, and all the rest are an active cause of indigestion.

Instead, use fruit. Fruit, fresh or stored in jars, can provide your family with the nourishment that the other treats, mentioned above, lack. But plain, simple pies, with a small amount of sweetening is helpful—as long as you stay with only one piece.

Other worthwhile desserts would include plain cake with raisins, rice pudding with raisins, prunes, and figs.

Always be careful in regard to the sweet things. They are not really needed, and they can be harmful to your system.

Spices and condiments, so frequently used in our world today, are ruinous to the digestion. The less exciting the food, the better. Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and similar articles only irritate the stomach and fever the blood. Condiments have a similar effect on the stomach as does drinking alcohol. And both begin a subtle craving for something more stimulating to eat or drink.

In reality, the use of spicy food develops a craving that leads many onward to become alcoholics. Yet many place these luxurious foods before their children,—spiced foods, rich gravies, cakes, and pastries. This highly seasoned food irritates the stomach and causes a craving for still stronger stimulants.

Those who have indulged in such foods find it difficult to sit down to a meal of simple, wholesome food. But if they will stick with it, their enjoyment of simple food will return.

Soda, or baking powder, should never be placed in your breads when you are preparing them. Soda inflames the stomach and often poisons the entire system. But good bread can be made without them.

Do not use much salt in your diet. Some people advocate a no-salt regime, but this is not good. A little salt is needed in the diet, but only a little.

Pickles and vinegar should not be eaten. (Soda and baking powder are very high alkaline products that remain excessively alkaline in the system; pickles and vinegar are the opposite; they are excessively acid and likewise derange the delicate gastrointestinal track.) It would be well if pickles, vinegar, mustard, mince pies, and such things were entirely omitted from the diet.

Folk often put vinegar and oil on their salads. (Mayonnaise is a vinegar, oil, and raw egg combination.) Yet the vinegar causes a fermentation in the stomach, and the food does not digest but instead decays or putrefies. As a consequence of such a diet, the blood is not nourished, but instead becomes filled with impurities. Eventually liver and kidney problems develop.

The effect of butter in the body is quite different than that of cream. (Chemically, cream is composed of oil droplets surrounded by water, and thus is relatively more digestible. When churned, cream becomes butter, which is water droplets locked into an ocean of hardened oil. This grease-like substance causes very serious problems in the digestive system, and later in the blood vessels. Never eat anything that is grease-like.) It is best to dispense with butter and not use it at all.

It has been said that a little milk or cream in the diet is helpful, but you need to know that it is well to work away from their use. Soon there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, or cream. This is due to the increase in animal diseases. God will give His people ability to prepare food without these substances.

If eggs are used at all, they should be from hens that you know to be well-cared for and suitably fed. It is best that children have few, if any eggs. Milk should come from livestock that you know to be healthy, be boiled first, and only used in moderate amounts.

Some individuals, in abstaining from milk and eggs, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence have become weak and unable to work. Still others cannot afford the better food, such as nuts and fruit. And there are those who do not know how to properly supply the place of milk and eggs with other foods. They need instruction.

The time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet for others to follow. But let the diet be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk. Tell them that soon there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals in increasing. Do know that the time will come when it will not be safe for anyone to use milk and eggs. (Many believe that that time has already come.)

Animals from which milk is obtained are not always healthy. They may be diseased so that a cow, apparently well in the morning, dies before night. Then she was diseased in the morning, and her milk was diseased, but you did not know it.

Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach.

It is wholly unfit for food. Lard and grease clog the system. The body cannot handle them. Keep grease out of your food. It defiles any preparation of food you may make. It renders the food difficult of digestion (and produces a clogging of the arteries, leading to heart attacks later on). For example, fried potatoes are not healthful, for grease or butter is used in preparing them. Instead of this, serve baked or boiled potatoes with cream and a sprinkling of salt.

Eat only food that is free from grease. Such a diet will prove a blessing to you, and will avoid later suffering and grief.

Olives may be so prepared that they may be eaten with good results at each meal. They can take the place of butter. Olives and nuts, along with the other protein vegetables, can supply the place of butter and flesh meats.

Nuts and nut foods are coming largely into use to take the place of flesh foods. Care must be taken not to use too large a proportion of nuts. Time should be spent learning how to prepare the nut foods, but do not eat too heavily of them.

Some kinds of nuts are not as wholesome as others. Do not reduce the diet to a few articles composed largely of nut foods. They should not be used too freely. Combined in large proportions with other articles in recipes, they make the food so rich that it cannot be properly assimilated. One-tenth to one-sixth part of nuts to other foods is sufficient in recipes, varied according to the combination.

Almonds are preferable to peanuts, but peanuts, in limited quantities, may be used with grains to make nourishing food.

Water is the best liquid possible to cleanse the tissues of the body, but take it between meals rather than with your meals. Especially do not use hot drinks or cold drinks at mealtime. Warm or hot water taken a half hour or so before the meal is helpful.

Tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and the narcotics are not good for your body and should never be used. Such things may at first appear to stimulate and excite the nerves, but later will come trembling nerves and lack of self-control. Tired nerves need rest and quiet, not artificial stimulation. Intemperance begins at our tables, in the use of unhealthful food. Then stimulants are resorted to, and the nerves, artificially excited, borrow from the future. Later comes sickness and nervous prostration. The only safety is to leave them totally alone.

Be careful of apple cider. It is often made of wormy or half-rotten apples. And it may have some alcoholic content.

Fresh and properly prepared fruit juices are wholesome and a blessing from God.

How very thankful we can be that the God of heaven has provided us with wonderfully designed bodies, and so many blessings in nature to keep us in good health. He is our Creator and how we love Him. Let us carefully use each of the Eight Laws of Health—pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, and trust in divine power,—to keep ourselves in the best health in our daily service to Him.

A brief summary of some of the basics in this invaluable instruction would include several of these points:

The meal should be simple, appetizing, but not complicated, or hot, cold, or too liquid. Eat unhurriedly and at regular hours, chewing well, and without overeating. The diet itself is best to consist of fruit, vegetables (especially greens), grains, and some nuts. Be cautious about the many highly processed, sweet, and spiced foods. Exercise afterward and eat nothing between meals. Throughout the day, be cheerful, positive, and live to help and bless others. Let gratitude to God fill your thoughts, and praise Him who cares for you.

ADDITIONAL PRINCIPLES

"God gave our first parents the food He designed that the race should eat . . The fruit of the trees in the garden was the food man's wants required [Genesis 1:29: and afterward, field crops also, Genesis 3:17-18]. God gave man no permission to eat animal food until after the Flood. Everything had been destroyed upon which man could subsist, and therefore the Lord in their necessity gave Noah permission to eat of the clean animals which he had taken with him into the ark [Genesis 9:3] . .

"After the Flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And He permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the Flood the race began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years. [Compare Genesis 5:3-32 with 11:10-26]."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 373.

"In choosing man's food in Eden, the Lord showed what was the best diet; in the choice made for Israel, He taught the same lesson. [Psalm 105:37]. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt, and undertook their training, that they might be a people for His own possession. Through them He desired to bless and teach the world. He provided them with the food best adapted for this purpose, not flesh, but manna, `the bread of heaven.' [Exodus 16; Psalm 78:24]. It was only because of their discontent and their murmurings for the fleshpots of Egypt that animal food was granted them, and this only for a short time. Its use brought disease and death to thousands. [Numbers 11:4-12, 31-33; Psalm 78:17-37]. Yet the restriction to a non-flesh diet was never heartily accepted. It continued to be the cause of discontent and murmuring, open or secret, and it was not made permanent."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 374.

"Had they been willing to deny appetite in obedience to His restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. [Exodus 23:25; Psalm 107:4-9]. Their descendants would have possessed physical and mental strength. They would have had clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment. But they were unwilling to submit to God's requirements, and they failed to reach the standard He had set for them, and to receive the blessings that might have been theirs. They murmured at God's restrictions, and lusted after the fleshpots of Egypt. [Psalm 106:13-15]. God let them have flesh, but it proved a curse to them. [1 Corinthians 10:5-6]."—Counsels on Diet and foods, p. 378.

SPIRITUAL LESSONS

We have our physical food which we need to partake of daily. It should be of good quality. But, in addition, we need spiritual food each day.

"And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." (Deuteronomy 8:3).

As the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness, God provided manna from heaven for their daily food. It was filling and nutritious. But, as the above verse reveals, the giving of the manna was to serve as an object lesson. God's people were always to receive spiritual food from Him every day of their lives.

"But He [Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, by by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4).

We are to obtain that spiritual food from the Inspired Scriptures. God alone can supply the necessities of the soul. We are to partake of the Word of God. Jesus is the living Word, and His words are found in the Bible.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:1, 14). "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4).

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." (John 6:35).

Jesus is the spiritual manna from heaven.

"As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is that bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever." (John 6:57-58). "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63).

As we prayerfully study the Bible, we partake of this life in Christ. "And have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come." (Hebrews 6:5). "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11). "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16).

We have been bought with a price, and are no longer our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We belong to God and are to eat the food He gives us.

Doing so will bring us the deepest happiness in this life, and bring us salvation unto the world to come.

Receive the manna daily. Study God's Word with prayer every day, and live it in your daily life. If you will be humbled and submitted, God will use it to change you and, use you to help others.

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