Counsels on Diet and Food

Part I-Butter

Progressive Reform

(1902) 7T 135 
579. Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth.

God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things. Let our people discard all unwholesome recipes. [HEALTH EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS OF JAMES AND ELLEN WHITE IN WHICH "POSITIVE TESTIMONY" WAS BORNE AGAINST "TEA, COFFEE, FLESH MEATS, BUTTER, SPICES," ETC., IN 1871-803]

(1905) M.H. 302 
580. Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking; but, as a rule, it is better to dispense with it altogether. [HOT SODA BISCUITS AND BUTTER--501]

Replacing With Olives, Cream, Nuts, and Health Foods

(1902) 7T 134 
581. Olives may be so prepared as to be eaten with good results at every meal. The advantages sought by the use of butter may be obtained by the eating of properly prepared olives. The oil in the olives relieves constipation, and for consumptives, and for those who have inflamed, irritated stomachs, it is better than any drug. As a food it is better than any oil coming secondhand from animals.

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(1905) M.H. 298 
582. When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats. The oil, as eaten in the olive, is far preferable to animal oil or fat. It serves as a laxative. Its use will be found beneficial to consumptives, and it is healing to an inflamed, irritated stomach.

Union Conference Record (Australasian), Jan. 1, 1900 
583. The health food business is in need of means and of the active cooperation of our people, that it may accomplish the work it ought to do. Its purpose is to supply the people with food which will take the place of flesh meat, and also milk and butter, which, on account of the diseases of cattle, are becoming more and more objectionable. [REPLACING WITH CREAM--586, 610]

Not Best for Children

(1873) 3T 136 
584. Children are allowed to eat flesh meats, spices, butter, cheese, pork, rich pastry, and condiments generally. They are also allowed to eat irregularly and between meals of unhealthful food. These things do their work of deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves to unnatural action, and enfeebling the intellect. Parents do not realize that they are sowing the seed which will bring forth disease and death. [BUTTER A STIMULANT--61] [FREE USE OF BUTTER BY CHILDREN--288, 356, 364] [DISCARDING BUTTER FROM PRINCIPLE--389]

Free Use Obstructs Digestion

Letter 37, 1901 
585. Butter should not be placed on the table; for if it is, some will use it too freely, and it will obstruct digestion. But for yourself, you should occasionally use a little butter on cold bread, if this will make the food more appetizing. This would do you far less harm than to confine yourself to preparations of food that are not palatable.

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When the Purest Butter Cannot Be Obtained

Letter 45, 1903 
586. I eat but two meals a day, and still follow the light given me thirty-five years ago. I use no meat. As for myself, I have settled the butter question. I do not use it. This question should easily be settled in every place where the purest article cannot be obtained. We have two good milch cows, a Jersey and a Holstein. We use cream, and all are satisfied with this. [USE OF CREAM IN PLACE OF BUTTER IN WHITE HOME-APPENDIX I:20, 23] [USE OF BUTTER IN THE WHITE HOME-APPENDIX I:4] [BUTTER NOT ON WHITE TABLE, BUT USED IN COOKING-APPENDIX I:14] [BUTTER NOT ON TABLE IN WHITE HOME, AND NOT USED BY E. G. WHITE-APPENDIX I:5, 8, 9, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23]

Not to Be Classed With Flesh Meat

(1902) 7T 135 
587. Milk, eggs, and butter should not be classed with flesh meat. In some cases the use of eggs is beneficial. The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded. There are poor families whose diet consists largely of bread and milk. They have little fruit, and cannot afford to purchase the nut foods. In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet.

Allow Others Their Convictions

[LETTER 331, 1904] M.M. 269 
588. We must remember that there are a great many different minds in the world, and we cannot expect every one to see exactly as we do in regard to all questions of diet. Minds do not run in exactly the same channel. I do not eat butter, but there are members of my family who do. It is not placed on my table; but I make no disturbance because some members of my family choose to eat it occasionally.

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Many of our conscientious brethren have butter on their tables, and I feel under no obligation to force them to do otherwise. These things should never be allowed to cause disturbance among brethren. I cannot see the need of butter, where there is abundance of fruit and of sterilized cream.  Those who love and serve God should be allowed to follow their own convictions. We may not feel justified in doing as they do, but we should not allow differences of opinion to create disunion.

Letter 104, 1901 
589. I cannot see but that you are trying your best to live out the principles of health reform. Study economy in everything, but do not withhold from the diet food which the system needs. With regard to the nut foods, there are many who cannot eat them. If your husband enjoys dairy butter, let him eat it until he is convinced that this is not best for his health.  Caution Against Extremes

Letter 98, 1901 
590. There is danger that in presenting the principles of health reform some will be in favour of bringing in changes that would be for the worse instead of for the better. Health reform must not be urged in a radical manner. As the situation now is, we cannot say that milk and eggs and butter should be entirely discarded. We must be careful to make no innovations, because under the influence of extreme teaching there are conscientious souls who will surely go to extremes. Their physical appearance will injure the cause of health reform; for few know how to properly supply the place of that which they discard.

(1909) 9T 162 
591. 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.

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Some, in abstaining from milk, eggs, and butter, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as 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 the rich and poor together at the feet of Jesus.  Letter 37, 1901 592. The poor say, when health reform is presented to them, "What shall we eat? We cannot 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. . . .

God Will Guide

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.

Part II--Lard and Grease 

[* GREASE IS DEFINED BY WEBSTER AS "ANIMAL FAT, ESPECIALLY WHEN SOFT; ANY FATTY, OILY, OR UNCTUOUS SUBSTANCE." ELLEN WHITE STATED THAT OLIVES, PROPERLY PREPARED, MAY BE EATEN WITH BENEFIT AT EVERY MEAL, THE OIL IN THEM PROVIDING A SUBSTITUTE FOR ANIMAL OIL AND BUTTER. (SEE MH 298; 7T 134.) THIS SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT A LIMITED AMOUNT OF FAT, PARTICULARLY FROM VEGETABLE SOURCES, IS A PART OF A HEALTHY DIETARY.]

(1868) 1T 681 
593. Many do not feel that this is a matter of duty, hence they do not try to prepare food properly. This can be done in a simple, healthful, and easy manner, without the use of 

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lard, butter, or flesh meats. Skill must be united with simplicity. To do this, women must read, and then patiently reduce what they read to practice. [LARD DISCARDED FROM PRINCIPLE--317]

[C.T.B.H. 47] (1890) C.H. 115 
594. Fruits, grains, and vegetables, prepared in a simple way, free from spice and grease of all kinds, make, with milk or cream, the most healthful diet.

(1868) 2T 63 
595. 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.  

[C.T.B.H. 46, 47] (1890) C.H. 114 
596. Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood. The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion.

Letter 322, 1905 
597. We do not think fried potatoes are healthful, for there is more or less grease or butter used in preparing them. Good baked or boiled potatoes, served with cream and a sprinkling of salt, are the most healthful. The remnants of Irish and sweet potatoes are prepared with a little cream and salt and rebaked, and not fried; they are excellent.  Letter 297, 1904 598. Let all who sit down at your table see upon it well-cooked, hygienic, palatable food. Be very careful in regard to your eating and drinking, Brother -----, so that you will not continue to have a diseased body. Eat regularly, and eat only food that is free from grease.

(1868) 2T 45 599. 
A plain diet, free from spices and flesh meats and grease of all kinds, would prove a blessing to you, and would 

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save your wife a great amount of suffering, grief, and despondency.

(1869) 2T 352 
600. Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven. [LARD NOT USED IN WHITE HOME--APPENDIX I:4] [CAMP MEETING FOOD TO BE SIMPLE AND FREE FROM GREASE--124] [GREASY MIXTURES NOT USED IN THE WHITE HOME--APPENDIX I:21]

Part III--Milk and Cream

Part of a Nourishing, Palatable Diet

[C.T.B.H. 47] (1890) C.H. 114, 115 
601. God has furnished man with abundant means for the gratification of an unperverted appetite. He has spread before him the products of the earth,--a bountiful variety of food that is palatable to the taste, and nutritious to the system. Of these our benevolent heavenly Father says we may freely eat. Fruits, grains, and vegetables, prepared in a simple way, free from spice and grease of all kinds, make, with milk or cream, the most healthful diet. They impart nourishment to the body, and give a power of endurance and a vigour of intellect that are not produced by a stimulating diet.

(1909) 9T 162 
602. 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. . . .  Some, in abstaining from milk, eggs, and butter, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence have become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought into disrepute. . . .

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 

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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.

The Danger of Unsafe Milk

(1902) 7T 135 
603. Milk, eggs, and butter should not be classed with flesh meat. In some cases the use of eggs is beneficial. The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded. There are poor families whose diet consists largely of bread and milk. They have little fruit, and cannot afford to purchase the nut foods. In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet.

Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth. [NOT TO BE WHOLLY DISCARDED BY THOSE ESPECIALLY NEEDING MILK--625] [PEOPLE TO BE TAUGHT HOW TO COOK WITHOUT MILK--807]

Letter 1, 1873 
604. We have always used a little milk and some sugar. This we have never denounced, either in our writings or in our preaching. We believe cattle will become so much diseased that these things will yet be discarded, but the time has not yet come for sugar and milk to be wholly abolished from our tables. [USE OF MILK AND SUGAR TOGETHER, SEE "MILK AND SUGAR," SECTION XX] 

(1870) 2T 369 
605. Animals from which milk is obtained are not always healthy. They may be diseased. A cow may be apparently

357

well in the morning, and die before night. Then she was diseased in the morning, and her milk was diseased, but you did not know it. The animal creation is diseased.

Union Conference Record (Australasian), July 28, 1899 
606. The light given me is that it will not be very long before we shall have to give up any animal food. Even milk will have to be discarded. Disease is accumulating rapidly. The curse of God is upon the earth, because man has cursed it. 

Sterilization of Milk

(1905) M.H. 302 
607. If milk is used, it should be thoroughly sterilized; with this precaution, there is less danger of contracting disease from its use.

Letter 39, 1901 
608. 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.  

A Substitute for Butter

Letter 45, 1903 
609. I eat but two meals a day, and still follow the light given me thirty-five years ago. I use no meat. As for myself, I have settled the butter question. I do not use it. This question should easily be settled in every place where the purest article cannot be obtained. We have good milch cows, a Jersey and a Holstein. We use cream, and all are satisfied with this.

[Letter 331, 1904] M.M. 269 
610. I cannot see the need of butter where there is abundance of fruit and of sterilized cream. [FOR CONTEXT SEE 588]

Letter 5, 1870 
611. We place no butter upon our table. Our vegetables are generally cooked with milk or cream and made very palatable. . . . We think a moderate amount of milk from a healthy cow not objectionable.

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[MILK AND CREAM USED IN THE WHITE HOME--APPENDIX I:4, 13, 14, 16, 22] [USE OF MILK AND CREAM IN THE PREPARATION OF FOOD--517, 518, 522] [RECOMMENDED FOR CAMP MEETING DIET--491]

The Strictest Diet Not Best

Letter 37, 1901 
612. 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. That 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 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.

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 should be procured from healthy cows, and should be sterilized.

The time will come when milk cannot be used as freely as it is now used; but the present is not the time to discard it. . . .

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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. [HEALTH FOODS TO TAKE PLACE OF MILK AND BUTTER--583]

God Will Provide

Letter 151, 1901 
613. We see that cattle are becoming greatly diseased, the earth itself is corrupted, and we know that the time will come when it will not be best to use milk and eggs. But that time has not yet come. We know that when it does come, the Lord will provide. The question is asked, meaning much to all concerned, Will God set a table in the wilderness? I think the answer may be made, Yea, God will provide food for His people.

In all parts of the world provision will be made to supply the place of milk and eggs. And the Lord will let us know when the time comes to give up these articles. He desires all to feel that they have a gracious heavenly Father who will instruct them in all things. The Lord will give dietetic art and skill to His people in all parts of the world, teaching them how to use for the sustenance of life the products of the earth. [USE OF MILK IN BREADMAKING--496] [USE OF MILK IN WHOLE-WHEAT ROLLS--503]

Part IV--Olives and Olive Oil

(1905) M.H. 298 
614. When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats. The oil, as eaten in the olive, is far preferable to animal oil or fat. It serves as a laxative. Its use will be found beneficial to consumptives, and it is healing to an inflamed, irritated stomach.

(1902) 7T 134 
615. Olives may be so prepared as to be eaten with good results at every meal. The advantages sought by the use of 

360

butter may be obtained by the eating of properly prepared olives. The oil in the olives relieves constipation; and for consumptives, and for those who have inflamed, irritated stomachs, it is better than any drug. As a food it is better than any oil coming secondhand from animals.

Letter 14, 1901 
616. The oil in olives is a remedy for constipation and kidney diseases.