Counsels on Diet and Food
The Value of a Consistent Course

[C.T.B.H. 55] (1890) C.H. 153-155 
315. Many of the views held by Seventh-day Adventists differ widely from those held by the world in general. Those who advocate an unpopular truth should, above all others, seek to be consistent in their own life. They should not try to see how different they can be from others, but how near they can come to those whom they wish to influence, that they may help them to the positions they themselves so highly prize. Such a course will commend the truths they hold.

Those who are advocating a reform in diet should, by the provision they make for their own table, present the advantages of hygiene in the best light. They should so exemplify its principles as to commend it to the judgement of candid minds. 

There is a large class who will reject any reform movement, however reasonable, if it lays a restriction upon the appetite. They consult taste, instead of reason and the laws of health. By this class, all who leave the beaten track of custom and advocate reform will be opposed, and accounted radical, let them pursue ever so consistent a course. But no one should permit opposition or ridicule to turn him from the work of reform, or cause him to lightly regard it. He who is imbued with the spirit which actuated Daniel, will not be narrow or conceited, but he will be firm and decided in standing for the right. In all his associations, whether with his brethren or with others, he will not swerve from principle, while at the same time he will not fail to manifest a noble, Christlike patience. When those who advocate hygienic reform carry the matter to extremes, people are not to blame if they become disgusted. Too often our religious faith is thus brought into disrepute, and in many cases those who witness such exhibitions of inconsistency can never

196

afterward be brought to think that there is anything good in the reform. These extremists do more harm in a few months than they can undo in a lifetime. They are engaged in a work which Satan loves to see go on.

Two classes have been presented before me: first, those who are not living up to the light which God has given them; secondly, those who are too rigid in carrying out their one-sided ideas of reform, and enforcing them on others. When they take a position, they stand to it stubbornly, and carry nearly everything over the mark. 

The first class adopted the reform because some one else did. They did not obtain a clear understanding of its principles for themselves. Many of those who profess the truth have received it because some one else did, and for their life they could not give the reason of their faith. This is why they are so unstable. Instead of weighing their motives in the light of eternity, instead of obtaining a practical knowledge of the principles underlying all their actions, instead of digging down to the bottom and building upon a right foundation for themselves, they are walking in the light of another's torch, and will surely fail. 

The other class take wrong views of the reform. They adopt too meagre a diet. They subsist upon a poor quality of food, prepared without reference to the nourishment of the system. It is important that food be prepared with care, so that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it.

Because we, from principle, discard the use of those things which irritate the stomach and destroy health, the idea should never be given that it is of little consequence what we eat. I do not recommend an impoverished diet. Many who need the benefits of healthful living, and from conscientious motives adopt what they believe to be such, are deceived by supposing that a meagre bill of fare, prepared without painstaking, and consisting mostly of mushes, and so-called gems, heavy and sodden, is what is meant by a reformed diet. Some use milk and a large amount of sugar on mush, thinking that they are carrying out health reform. But the sugar and milk combined are liable to cause fermentation 

197 

in the stomach, and are thus harmful. The free use of sugar in any form tends to clog the system, and is not unfrequently a cause of disease. Some think that they must eat only just such an amount, and just such a quality, and confine themselves to two or three kinds of food. But in eating too small an amount, and that not of the best quality, they do not receive sufficient nourishment. . . . 

Narrow ideas, and overstraining of small points, have been a great injury to the cause of hygiene. There may be such an effort at economy in the preparation of food, that, instead of a healthful diet, it becomes a poverty-stricken diet. What is the result?--Poverty of the blood. I have seen several cases of disease most difficult to cure, which were due to impoverished diet. The persons thus afflicted were not compelled by poverty to adopt a meagre diet, but did so in order to follow out their own erroneous ideas of what constitutes health reform. Day after day, meal after meal, the same articles of food were prepared without variation, until dyspepsia and general debility resulted.

Mistaken Ideas of Reform

(1905) M.H. 318-320 
316. Not all who profess to believe in dietetic reform are really reformers. With many persons the reform consists merely in discarding certain unwholesome foods. They do not understand clearly the principles of health, and their tables, still loaded with harmful dainties, are far from being an example of Christian temperance and moderation. 

Another class, in their desire to set a right example, go to the opposite extreme. Some are unable to obtain the most desirable foods, and instead of using such things as would best supply the lack, they adopt an impoverished diet. Their food does not supply the elements needed to make good blood. Their health suffers, their usefulness is impaired, and their example tells against rather than in favour of reform in diet. 

Others think that since health requires a simple diet, there need be little care in the selection or the preparation of food. Some restrict themselves to a very meagre diet, not 

198 

having sufficient variety to supply the needs of the system, and they suffer in consequence. 

Urging Personal Views Those who have but a partial understanding of the principles of reform are often the most rigid, not only in carrying out their views themselves, but in urging them on their families and their neighbours. The effect of their mistaken reforms, as seen in their own ill-health, and their efforts to force their views upon others, give many a false idea of dietetic reform, and lead them to reject it altogether.

Those who understand the laws of health, and who are governed by principle, will shun the extremes, both of indulgence and of restrictions. Their diet is chosen, not for the mere gratification of appetite, but for the upbuilding of the body. They seek to preserve every power in the best condition for the highest service to God and man. The appetite is under the control of reason and conscience, and they are rewarded with health of body and mind. While they do not urge their views offensively upon others, their example is a testimony in favour of right principles. These persons have a wide influence for good.

There is a real common sense in dietetic reform. The subject should be studied broadly and deeply, and no one should criticise others because their practice is not, in all things, in harmony with his own. It is impossible to make an unvarying rule to regulate every one's habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all. Not all can eat the same things. Foods that are palatable and wholesome to one person may be distasteful, and even harmful, to another. Some cannot use milk, while others thrive on it. Some persons cannot digest peas and beans; others find them wholesome. For some the coarser grain preparations are good food, while others cannot use them.

Avoid an Impoverished Diet

(1870) 2T 366,367 
317. But what about an impoverished diet? I have spoken of the importance of the quantity and quality of food 199 being in strict accordance with the laws of health. But we would not recommend an impoverished diet. I have been shown that many take a wrong view of the health reform, and adopt too poor a diet. They subsist upon a cheap, poor quality of food, prepared without care or reference to the nourishment of the system. It is important that the food should be prepared with care, that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it. Because we from principle discard the use of meat, butter, mince pies, spices, lard, and that which irritates the stomach and destroys health, the idea should never be given that it is of but little consequence what we eat. 

There are some who go to extremes. They must eat just such an amount and just such a quality, and confine themselves to two or three things. They allow only a few things to be placed before them or their families to eat. In eating a small amount of food, and that not of the best quality, they do not take into the stomach that which will suitably nourish the system. Poor food cannot be converted into good blood. An impoverished diet will impoverish the blood. 

[C.T.B.H. 49, 50] (1890) C.H. 118 
318. Because it is wrong to eat merely to gratify perverted taste, it does not follow that we should be indifferent in regard to our food. It is a matter of the highest importance. No one should adopt an impoverished diet. Many are debilitated from disease, and need nourishing, well-cooked food. Health reformers, above all others, should be careful to avoid extremes. The body must have sufficient nourishment.

MS 59, 1912 
319. Dear Brother -----, In the past you have practised health reform too rigorously for your own good. Once, when you were very sick, the Lord gave me a message to save your life. You have been too strenuous in restricting your diet to certain articles of food. While I was praying for you, words were given me for you to set you in the right path. The message was sent that you were to allow yourself a more generous diet. The use of flesh meat was not advised. Directions were

200

given as to the food to be taken. You followed the directions given, rallied, and are still with us. 

I often think of the instruction then given you. I have been given so many precious messages to bear to the sick and the afflicted. For this I am grateful, and I praise the Lord. 

Vary the Menus

(1868) 2T 63 
320. We advise you to change your habits of living; but while you do this we caution you to move understandingly. I am acquainted with families who have changed from a meat diet to one that is impoverished. Their food is so poorly prepared that the stomach loathes it, and such have told me that the health reform did not agree with them; that they were decreasing in physical strength. Here is one reason why some have not been successful in their efforts to simplify their food. They have a poverty-stricken diet. Food is prepared without painstaking, and there is a continual sameness. There should not be many kinds at any one meal, but all meals should not be composed of the same kinds of food without variation. Food should be prepared with simplicity, yet with a nicety which will invite the appetite. You should keep grease out of your food. It defiles any preparation of food you may make. Eat largely of fruits and vegetables.

Y.I., May 31, 1894 
321. Many have misinterpreted health reform, and have received perverted ideas of what constitutes right living. Some honestly think that a proper dietary consists chiefly of porridge. To eat largely of porridge would not ensure health to the digestive organs, for it is too much like liquid. 

Consideration for Individual Needs

(1869) 2T 254 
322. You have erred, and thought it was pride which led your wife to desire to have things more comfortable around her. She has been stinted, and dealt closely with by you. She needs a more generous diet, a more plentiful supply of food upon her table; and in her house she needs things as

201 

comfortable and convenient as you can make them, things to make her work as easy as possible. But you have viewed matters from a wrong standpoint. You have thought that almost anything which could be eaten was good enough if you could live upon it and retain strength. You have pleaded the necessity of spare diet to your feeble wife. But she cannot make good blood or flesh upon the diet to which you could confine yourself and flourish. Some persons cannot subsist upon the same food upon which others can do well, even though it be prepared in the same manner. 

You are in danger of becoming an extremist. Your system could not convert a very coarse, poor diet into good blood. Your blood-making organs are in good condition. But your wife requires a more select diet. Let her eat the same food which your system could convert into good blood, and her system could not appropriate it. She lacks vitality, and needs a generous, strengthening diet. She should have a good supply of fruit, and not be confined to the same things from day to day. She has a slender hold of life. She is diseased, and the wants of her system are far different from those of a healthy person. 

Not to Be the Cause of a Time of Trouble

(1859) 1T 205, 206 
323. I saw that you had mistaken notions about afflicting your bodies, depriving yourselves of nourishing food. These things lead some of the church to think that God is surely with you, or you would not deny self, and sacrifice thus. But I saw that none of these things will make you more holy. The heathen do all this, but receive no reward for it. A broken and contrite spirit before God is in His sight of great price. I saw that your views concerning these things are erroneous, and that you are looking at the church and watching them, noticing little things, when your attention should be turned to your own soul's interest. God has not laid the burden of His flock upon you. You think that the church is upon the background, because they cannot see things as you do, and because they do not follow the same rigid course 202 which you think you are required to pursue. I saw that you are deceived in regard to your own duty and the duty of others. Some have gone to extremes in regard to diet. They have taken a rigid course, and lived so very plain that their health has suffered, disease has strengthened in the system, and the temple of God has been weakened. . . .

I saw that God does not require any one to take a course of such rigid economy as to weaken or injure the temple of God. There are duties and requirements in His word to humble the church and cause them to afflict their souls, and there is no need of making crosses and manufacturing duties to distress the body in order to cause humility. All this is outside of the word of God. 

The time of trouble is just before us; and then stern necessity will require the people of God to deny self, and to eat merely enough to sustain life; but God will prepare us for that time. In that fearful hour our necessity will be God's opportunity to impart His strengthening power, and to sustain His people. . . .

Those who labour with their hands must nourish their strength to perform this labour, and those also who labour in word and doctrine must nourish their strength; for Satan and his evil angels are warring against them to tear down their strength. They should seek rest of body and mind from wearing labour when they can, and should eat of nourishing, strengthening food to build up their strength; for they will be obliged to exercise all the strength they have. I saw that it does not glorify God in the least for any of His people to make a time of trouble for themselves. There is a time of trouble just before God's people, and He will prepare them for that fearful conflict. 

When Health Reform Becomes Health Deform

Letter 37, 1901 
324. 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

203 

are treated, if you prescribe for the patients the same diet you have prescribed for yourself and your 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 flesh meat as injurious, something less objectionable may be used, and this is found in eggs. Do not remove milk from the table or forbid its being used in the cooking of food. The milk used should be procured from healthy cows, and should be sterilized.

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. . . .

I have told you what I have because I have received light that you are injuring your body by a poverty-stricken diet. I must say to you that it will not be best for you to instruct the students as you have done in regard to the diet question, because your ideas in regard to discarding certain things will not be for the help of those who need help.

Brother and Sister -----, I have all confidence in you, and I greatly desire that you may have physical health, in order that you may have perfect soundness spiritually. It is the lack of suitable food that has caused you to suffer so keenly. You have not taken the food essential to nourish your frail physical strength. You must not deny yourself of good, wholesome food.

At one time Doctor ----- tried to teach our family to cook according to health reform, as he viewed it, without salt or anything else to season the food. Well, I determined to try it, but I became so reduced in strength that I had to make a change; and a different policy was entered upon with great success. I tell you this because I know that you are in positive danger. Food should be prepared in such a way that it will be nourishing. It should not be robbed of that which the system needs. 

The Lord calls upon Brother and Sister ----- to reform, to take periods of rest. It is not right for you to take burdens 

204

as you have done in the past. Unless you take heed, you will sacrifice that life which is so precious in the sight of the Lord. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." . . .

Do not go to extremes in regard to the health reform. Some of our people are very careless in regard to health reform. But because some are far behind, you must not, in order to be an example to them, be an extremist. You must not deprive yourself of that class of food which makes good blood. Your devotion to true principles is leading you to submit yourself to a diet which is giving you an experience that will not recommend health reform. This is your danger. When you see that you are becoming weak physically, it is essential for you to make changes, and at once. Put into your diet something you have left out. It is your duty to do this. Get eggs of healthy fowls. Use these eggs cooked or raw. Drop them uncooked into the best unfermented wine you can find. This will supply that which is necessary to your system. Do not for a moment suppose that it will not be right to do this. . . .

We appreciate your experience as a physician, and yet I say that milk and eggs should be included in your diet. These things cannot at present be dispensed with, and the doctrine of dispensing with them should not be taught.

You are in danger of taking too radical a view of health reform, and of prescribing for yourself a diet that will not sustain you. . . .

I do hope that you will heed the words I have spoken to you. It has been presented to me that you will not be able to exert the most successful influence in health reform unless in some things you become more liberal to yourself and to others. The time will come when milk cannot be used as freely as it is now used; but the present time is not the time to discard it. And eggs contain properties which are remedial agencies in counteracting poisons. And while warnings have been given against the use of these articles of diet in families where the children were addicted to, yes, steeped in, habits of self-abuse; yet we should not consider it a denial 

205 

of principle to use eggs of hens which are well cared for and suitably fed. . . .

God calls upon those for whom Christ died to take proper care of themselves, and set a right example to others. My brother, you are not to make a test for the people of God, upon the question of diet; for they will lose confidence in teachings that are strained to the farthest point of extension. The Lord desires His people to be sound on every point in health reform, but we must not go to extremes. . . .  The reason for Doctor -----'s poor health is his overdrawing on his bank stock of health, and then failing to replace the amount drawn out by wholesome, nutritious, palatable food. My brother, devote your whole life to Him who was crucified for you, but do not tie yourself down to a meagre diet; for thus you misrepresent health reform.

While working against gluttony and intemperance, we are to remember the means and appliances of gospel truth, which commend themselves to sound judgement. In order to do our work in straight, simple lines, we must recognise the conditions to which the human family are subjected. God has made provisions for those who live in the different countries of the world. Those who desire to be co-workers with God must consider carefully how they teach health reform in God's great vineyard. They must move carefully in specifying just what food should and should not be eaten. The human messenger must unite with the divine Helper in presenting the message of mercy to the multitudes God would save.

We are to be brought into connection with the masses. Should health reform be taught them in its most extreme form, harm would be done. We ask them to leave off eating meat and drinking tea and coffee. This is well. But some say that milk also should be given up. This is a subject that needs to be carefully handled. There are poor families whose diet consists of bread and milk, and, if they can get it, a little fruit. All flesh food should be discarded, but vegetables should be made palatable with a little milk or cream or something equivalent. The poor say, when health reform is presented to them, "What shall we eat? We cannot 

206 

afford to buy the nut foods." As I preach the gospel to the poor, I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I cannot say to them: You must not eat eggs, or milk, or cream; you must use no butter in the preparation of food. The gospel must be preached to the poor, and the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet. 

The time will come when we may have to discard some of the articles of diet we now use, such as milk and cream and eggs; but my message is that you must not bring yourself to a time of trouble beforehand, and thus afflict yourself with death. Wait till the Lord prepares the way before you. 

The reforms that are strained to the highest tension might accommodate a certain class, who can obtain all they need to take the place of the things discarded; but this class forms a very small minority of the people to whom these tests seem unnecessary. There are those who try to abstain from what is declared to be harmful. They fail to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought to disrepute. The work we have tried to build up solidly is confused with strange things that God has not required. The energies of the church are crippled.

But God will interfere to prevent the results of these too-strenuous ideas. The gospel is to harmonise the sinful race. It is to bring the rich and the poor together at the feet of Jesus. . . . 

But I wish to say that when the time comes that it is no longer safe to use milk, cream, butter, and eggs, God will reveal this. No extremes in health reform are to be advocated. The question of using milk and butter and eggs will work out its own problem. At present we have no burden on this line. Let your moderation be known unto all men.

Letter 37, 1904 
325. Last night I was in my sleep talking with Doctor -----. I said to him: You must still exercise care in regard to extremes in diet. You must not go to extremes either in your own case or in regard to the food provided

207

for the helpers and the 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. [SANITARIUMS TO AVOID EXTREMES IN DIET.--427, 428, 429]

The Food Should be Made Appetizing

(1867) 2T 538 
326. Health reformers, above all others, should be careful to shun extremes. The body must have sufficient nourishment. We cannot subsist upon air merely; neither can we retain health unless we have nourishing food. Food should be prepared in good order, so that it is palatable. 

(1909) 9T 161-163 
327. A diet lacking in the proper elements of nutrition, brings reproach upon the cause of health reform. We are mortal, and must supply ourselves with food that will give proper nourishment to the body. 

Some of our people, while conscientiously abstaining from eating improper foods, neglect to supply themselves with the elements necessary for the sustenance of the body. Those who take an extreme view of health reform are in danger of preparing tasteless dishes, making them so insipid that they are not satisfying. Food should be prepared in such a way that it will be appetizing as well as nourishing. It should not be robbed of that which the system needs. I use some salt, and always have, because salt, instead of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood. Vegetables should be made palatable with a little milk or cream, or something equivalent.

While warnings have been given regarding the dangers of disease through butter, and the evil of the free use of eggs by small children, yet we should not consider it a violation of principle to use eggs from hens that are well cared for and suitably fed. Eggs contain properties that are remedial agencies in counteracting certain poisons. 

Some, in abstaining from milk, eggs, and butter, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as 

208

a consequence, have become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought into disrepute. The work that we have tried to build up solidly is confused with strange things that God has not required, and the energies of the church are crippled. But God will interfere to prevent the results of these too strenuous ideas. The gospel is to harmonise the sinful race. It is to bring rich and poor together at the feet of Jesus.

The time will come when we may have to discard some of the articles of diet we now use, such as milk and cream and eggs; but it is not necessary to bring upon ourselves perplexity by premature and extreme restrictions. Wait until the circumstances demand it, and the Lord prepares the way for it.

Those who would be successful in proclaiming the principles of health reform must make the word of God their guide and counsellor. Only as the teachers of health reform principles do this, can they stand on vantage ground. Let us never bear a testimony against health reform by failing to use wholesome, palatable food in place of the harmful articles of diet that we have discarded. Do not in any way encourage an appetite for stimulants. Eat only plain, simple, wholesome food, and thank God constantly for the principles of health reform. In all things be true and upright, and you will gain precious victories. 

Harmful Influence of Extremists

(1870) 2T 374, 375 
328. And while we would caution you not to overeat, even of the best quality of food, we would also caution those that are extremists not to raise a false standard, and then endeavour to bring everybody to it.

(1870) 2T 384-387 
329. I was shown that both B and C have dishonoured the cause of God. They have brought upon it a stain which will never be fully wiped out. I was shown the family of our dear Brother D. If this brother had received proper help at the right time, every member of his family would have been alive today. It is a wonder that the laws of the land 

209 

have not been enforced in this instance of maltreatment. That family were perishing for food--the plainest, simplest food. They were starving in a land of plenty. A novice was practising upon them. The young man did not die of disease, but of hunger. Food would have strengthened the system, and kept the machinery in motion. . . .

It is time that something was done to prevent novices from taking the field and advocating health reform. Their works and words can be spared; for they do more injury than the wisest and most intelligent men, with the best influence they can exert, can counteract. It is impossible or the best-qualified advocates of health reform to fully relieve the minds of the public from the prejudice received through the wrong course of these extremists, and to place the great subject of health reform upon a right basis in the community where these men have figured. The door is also closed in a great measure, so that unbelievers cannot be reached by the present truth upon the Sabbath and the soon coming of our Saviour. The most precious truths are cast aside by the people as unworthy of a hearing. These men are referred to as representatives of health reformers and Sabbathkeepers in general. A great responsibility rests upon those who have thus proved a stumbling block to unbelievers.

Urging Personal Opinions and Personal Tests

Letter 39, 1901 
330. The time has come when health reform will be received in its importance by many in high places and in low places. But we are to allow nothing to eclipse the message we have to bear, the third angel's message, connected with the messages of the first and second angel. We must not allow minor things to bind us in a small circle, where we cannot obtain access to the people at large.

The church and the world need all the influence, all the talents God has given us. All we have should be appropriated to His use. In presenting the gospel, keep out all your own opinions. We have a world-wide message, and the Lord wants His servants to guard sacredly the trust He

210

has given them. To every man of God has given his work. Then let no false message be borne. Let there be no straining into inconsistent problems the grand light of health reform. The inconsistencies of one rest upon the whole body of believers; therefore when one goes to extremes, great harm is done to the cause of God.

The carrying of things to extremes is a matter to be dreaded. It always results in my being compelled to speak to prevent matters from being misunderstood, so that the world will not have cause to think that Seventh-day Adventists are a body of extremists. When we seek to pull people out of the fire on the one hand, the very words which then have to be spoken to correct evils are used to justify indulgence on the other hand. May the Lord keep us from human tests and extremes.

Let no one advance extreme views in regard to what we shall eat and what we shall drink. The Lord has given light. Let our people accept the light and walk in the light. There needs to be a great increase in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This knowledge is eternal life. An increase of piety, of good, humble, spiritual religion would place our people in a position where they could learn of the Great Teacher.

The time may come when it will not be safe to use milk. But if the cows are healthy and the milk thoroughly cooked, there is no necessity of creating a time of trouble beforehand. Let no one feel that he must bear a message as to what our people shall place on their tables in every particular. Those who take an extreme position will in the end see that the results are not what they thought they would be. The Lord will lead us by His own right hand, if we will be led. Love and purity--these are the fruits borne upon a good tree. Every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.

I was instructed to say to those in the ----- Conference who had been so strenuous upon the subject of health reform, urging their ideas and views upon others, that God had not given them their message. I told them that if they would soften and subdue their inherited and cultivated tendencies, in which there is a large amount of stubbornness, they would see that they need to be converted. "If 

211

we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. . . . God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." . . .

Human wisdom is to be combined with divine wisdom and the mercy of God. Let us hide self in Christ. Let us work diligently to reach the high standard God has set up for us,--moral transformation by the gospel. God calls upon us to advance in right lines, to make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Then will Christ be satisfied.

Error on Side of People Preferable to Opposite Extreme

Letter 57, 1886 
331. Brother and Sister ----- carried the matter of indulgence in eating to extreme, and the institute became demoralized. Now the enemy would push you into the opposite extreme if he could, to have a poverty-stricken diet. Be careful to keep level heads and sensible ideas. Seek wisdom from heaven and move understandingly. If you take extremely radical positions, you will be obliged to back down, and then however conscientious you may have been, you have lost confidence in your own sound judgement, and our brethren and unbelievers will lose confidence in you. Be sure to go no faster than you have positive light from God. Take no man's ideas, but move intelligently in the fear of the Lord.

If you err, let it not be in getting as far from the people as possible, for then you cut the thread of your influence and can do them no good. Better err on the side of the people than altogether away from them, for there is hope in that case that you can carry the people with you, but there is no need of error on either side. 

You need not go into the water, or into the fire, but take the middle path, avoiding all extremes. Do not let it appear that you are one-sided, ill-balanced managers. Do not have a meagre, poor diet. Do not let any one influence you to have the diet poverty-stricken. Have your food prepared in a healthful, tasteful manner; have your food prepared with a nicety that will correctly represent health reform. 

212

The great backsliding upon health reform is because unwise minds have handled it and carried it to such extremes that it has disgusted in place of converting people to it. I have been where these radical ideas have been carried out. Vegetables prepared with only water, and everything else in like manner. This kind of cookery is health deform, and there are some minds so constituted that they will accept anything that bears the features of rigorous diet or reform of any kind. 

My brethren, I would have you temperate in all things, but be careful that you do not strain the point or run our institution into such a narrow channel that it comes out to a point. You must not fall into every man's notions, but be level-headed, calm, trusting in God.

Both Extremes to Be Avoided

(1900) 6T 373, 374 
332. I know that many of our brethren are in heart and practice opposed to health reform. I advocate no extremes. But as I have been looking over my manuscripts, I have seen the decided testimonies borne and the warnings of dangers that come to our people through imitating the customs and practices of the world in self-indulgence, gratification of appetite, and pride of apparel. My heart is sick and sad over the existing state of things. Some say that some of our brethren have pressed these questions too strongly. But because some may have acted indiscreetly in pressing their sentiments concerning health reform on all occasions, will any dare to keep back the truth on this subject? The people of the world are generally far in the opposite extreme of indulgence and intemperance in eating and drinking; and as the result, lustful practices abound. 

There are many now under the shadow of death who have prepared to do a work for the Master, but who have not felt that a sacred obligation rested upon them to observe the laws of health. The laws of the physical system are indeed the laws of God; but this fact seems to have been forgotten. Some have limited themselves to a diet that cannot sustain them in health. They have not provided nourishing food to take the place of injurious articles; and they have not

213

considered that tact and ingenuity must be exercised in preparing food in the most healthful manner. The system must be properly nourished in order to perform its work. It is contrary to health reform, after cutting off the great variety of unwholesome dishes, to go to the opposite extreme, reducing the quantity and quality of the food to a low standard. Instead of health reform this is health deform. [IMPORTANCE OF INSTRUCTION IN PREPARING WHOLESOME, APPETIZING FOOD--SEE COOKING SCHOOLS IN SECTION XXV]