Counsels on Diet and Food
A Heritage of Degeneracy

[C.T.B.H. 7-11] (1890) C.H. 19-23 
194. Man came from the hand of his Creator perfect in organisation and beautiful in form. The fact that he has for six thousand years withstood the ever-increasing weight of disease and crime is conclusive proof of the power of endurance with which he was first endowed. And although the antediluvians generally gave themselves up to sin without restraint, it was more than two thousand years before the violation of natural law was sensibly felt. Had Adam originally possessed no greater physical power than men now have, the race would ere this have become extinct.

Through the successive generations since the fall, the tendency has been continually downward. Disease has been transmitted from parents to children, generation after generation. Even infants in the cradle suffer from afflictions caused by the sins of their parents. 

Moses, the first historian, gives quite a definite account of social and individual life in the early days of the world's history, but we find no record that an infant was born blind, deaf, crippled, or imbecile. Not an instance is recorded of a natural death in infancy, childhood, or early manhood. Obituary notices in the book of Genesis run thus: "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died." "And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died." Concerning others the record states, "He died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years." It was so rare for a son to die before his father, that such an occurrence was considered worthy of record: "Haran died before his father Terah." The patriarchs from Adam to Noah, with few exceptions, lived nearly a thousand years. Since then the average length of life has been decreasing. 

At the time of Christ's first advent, the race had already 

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so degenerated that not only the old, but the middle-aged and the young, were brought from every city to the Saviour, to be healed of their diseases. Many laboured under a weight of misery inexpressible.

The violation of physical law, with its consequent suffering and premature death, has so long prevailed that these results are regarded as the appointed lot of humanity; but God did not create the race in such a feeble condition. This state of things is not the work of Providence, but of man. It has been brought about by wrong habits,--by violating the laws that God has made to govern man's existence. A continual transgression of nature's laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. Had men always been obedient to the law of the ten commandments, carrying out in their lives the principles of those precepts, the curse of disease now flooding the world would not exist. 

"Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and 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." When men take any course which needlessly expends their vitality or beclouds their intellect, they sin against God; they do not glorify Him in their body and spirit, which are His. 

Yet despite the insult which man has offered Him, God's love is still extended to the race; and He permits light to shine, enabling man to see that in order to live a perfect life he must obey the natural laws which govern his being. How important, then, that man should walk in this light, exercising all his powers, both of body and mind, to the glory of God!

We are in a world that is opposed to righteousness, or purity of character, and especially to growth in grace. Wherever we look, we see defilement and corruption, deformity and sin. How opposed is all this to the work that must be accomplished in us just previous to receiving the gift of immortality! God's elect must stand untainted amid the corruptions teeming around them in these last days. Their bodies must be made holy, their spirits pure. If this work is 

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to be accomplished, it must be undertaken at once, earnestly and understandingly. The Spirit of God should have perfect control, influencing every action. . . .

Men have polluted the soul temple, and God calls upon them to awake, and to strive with all their might to win back their God-given manhood. Nothing but the grace of God can convict and convert the heart; from Him alone can the slaves of custom obtain power to break the shackles that bind them. It is impossible for a man to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, while continuing to indulge habits that are depriving him of physical, mental, and moral vigour. Again the apostle says, "Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

Willing Ignorance of the Laws of Life

(1872) 3T 140, 141 
195. The strange absence of principle which characterizes this generation, and which is shown in their disregard of the laws of life and health, is astonishing. Ignorance prevails upon this subject, while light is shining all round them. With the majority, their principal anxiety is, What shall I eat? what shall I drink? and wherewith shall I be clothed? Notwithstanding all that is said and written in regard to how we should treat our bodies, appetite is the great law which governs men and women generally.

The moral powers are weakened, because men and women will not live in obedience to the laws of health, and make this great subject a personal duty. Parents bequeath to their offspring their own perverted habits, and loathsome diseases corrupt the blood and enervate the brain. The majority of men and women remain in ignorance of the laws of their being, and indulge appetite and passion at the expense of intellect and morals, and seem willing to remain in ignorance of the result of their violation of nature's laws. They indulge the depraved appetite in the use of slow poisons, which corrupt the blood, and undermine the nervous forces, and in 

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consequence bring upon themselves sickness and death. Their friends call the result of this course the dispensation of Providence. In this they insult Heaven. They rebelled against the laws of nature, and suffered the punishment of thus abusing her laws. Suffering and mortality now prevail everywhere, especially among children. How great is the contrast between this generation and those who lived during the first two thousand years!

Social Results of Uncontrolled Appetite

[C.T.B.H. 44, 45] (1890) C.H. 112 
196. Against every transgression of the laws of life, nature will utter her protest. She bears abuse as long as she can; but finally the retribution comes, and it falls upon the mental as well as the physical powers. Nor does it end with the transgressor; the effects of his indulgence are seen in his offspring, and thus the evil is passed down from generation to generation.

The youth of today are a sure index to the future of society; and as we view them, what can we hope for that future? The majority are fond of amusement and averse to work. They lack moral courage to deny self and to respond to the claims of duty. They have but little self-control, and become excited and angry on the slightest occasion. Very many in every age and station of life are without principle or conscience; and with their idle, spendthrift habits they are rushing into vice and are corrupting society, until our world is becoming a second Sodom. If the appetites and passions were under the control of reason and religion, society would present a widely different aspect. God never designed that the present woeful condition of things should exist; it has been brought about through the gross violation of nature's laws.

Violated Laws--Natural and Spiritual

(1898) D.A. 824 197. To many of the afflicted ones who received healing, Christ said, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." Thus He taught that disease is the result of violating God's laws, both natural and spiritual. The great misery

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in the world would not exist, did men but live in harmony with the Creator's plan.

Christ had been the guide and teacher of ancient Israel, and He taught them that health is the reward of obedience to the laws of God. The great Physician who healed the sick in Palestine had spoken to His people from the pillar of cloud, telling them what they must do, and what God would do for them. "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord Thy God," He said, "and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee." Christ gave to Israel definite instruction in regard to their habits of life, and He assured them, "The Lord will take away from thee all sickness." When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified to them. "There was not one feeble person among their tribes." 

These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul.

Self-inflicted Suffering

(1866) H. to L., ch. 3, p. 49 
198. The human family have brought upon themselves diseases of various forms by their own wrong habits. They have not studied how to live healthfully, and their transgression of the laws of their being has produced a deplorable state of things. The people have seldom accredited their sufferings to the true cause--their own wrong course of action. They have indulged in intemperance in eating, and made a God of their appetite. In all their habits they have manifested a recklessness in regard to health and life; and when, as the result, sickness has come upon them they have made themselves believe that God was the author of it, when their own wrong course of action has brought the sure result.

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(1905) M.H. 234, 235 
199. Disease never comes without a cause. The way is prepared, and disease invited, by disregard of the laws of health. Many suffer in consequence of the transgression of their parents. While they are not responsible for what their parents have done, it is nevertheless their duty to ascertain what are and what are not violations of the laws of health. They should avoid the wrong habits of their parents, and by correct living, place themselves in better conditions.

The greater number, however, suffer because of their own wrong course of action. They disregard the principles of health by their habits of eating, drinking, dressing, and working. Their transgression of nature's laws produces the sure result; and when sickness comes upon them, many do not credit their suffering to the true cause, but murmur against God because of their afflictions. But God is not responsible for the suffering that follows disregard of natural law.... 

Intemperate eating is often the cause of sickness, and what nature most needs is to be relieved of the undue burden that has been placed upon her. [PARENTS SOW SEEDS OF DISEASE AND DEATH--635] [THE PENALTY INEVITABLE--11, 29, 30, 221, 227, 228, 250, 251, 294] 

Sickness follows Indulgence of Appetite

(1905) M.H. 227 
200. Many persons bring disease upon themselves by their self-indulgence. They have not lived in accordance with natural law or the principles of strict purity. Others have disregarded the laws of health in their habits of eating and drinking, dressing, or working.

Y.I., May 31, 1894 
201. The mind does not wear out nor break down so often on account of diligent employment and hard study, as on account of eating improper food at improper times, and of careless inattention to the laws of health. . . . Diligent study is not the principal cause of the breaking down of the mental powers. The main cause is improper diet, irregular 

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meals, and a lack of physical exercise. Irregular hours for eating and sleeping sap the brain forces.

(1900) 6T 372, 373 
202. Many are suffering, and many are going into the grave, because of the indulgence of appetite. They eat what suits their perverted taste, thus weakening the digestive organs and injuring their power to assimilate the food that is to sustain life. This brings on acute disease, and too often death follows. The delicate organism of the body is worn out by the suicidal practices of those who ought to know better. 

The churches should be stanch and true to the light which God has given. Each member should work intelligently to put away from his life practice every perverted appetite. [DISEASES FROM POVERTY-STRICKEN DIET DIFFICULT TO CURE--315] [EFFECT OF IMPROPER EATING ON TEMPER AND HOME ATMOSPHERE--234] [EFFECTS OF MISTAKEN REFORM--316]

Preparing the Way for Drunkenness

(1905) M.H. 334 
203. Often intemperance begins in the home. By the use of rich, unhealthful food the digestive organs are weakened and a desire is created for food that is still more stimulating. Thus the appetite is educated to crave continually something stronger. The demand for stimulants becomes more frequent and more difficult to resist. The system becomes more or less filled with poison, and the more debilitated it becomes, the greater is the desire for these things. One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another. Many who would not be guilty of placing on their table wine or liquor of any kind will load their table with food which creates such a thirst for strong drink that to resist the temptation is almost impossible. Wrong habits of eating and drinking destroy the health and prepare the way for drunkenness.

Diseased Liver Through Wrong Diet

(1868) 2T 67-70 
204. Last Sabbath, as I was speaking your pale faces rose distinctly before me, as I had been shown them. I saw your 

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condition of health, and the ailments you have suffered under so long. I was shown that you have not lived healthfully. Your appetites have been unhealthy, and you have gratified the taste at the expense of the stomach. You have taken into your stomachs articles which it is impossible to convert into good blood. This has laid a heavy tax on the liver, for the reason that the digestive organs are deranged. You both have diseased livers. The health reform would be a great benefit to you both, if you would strictly carry it out. This you have failed to do. Your appetites are morbid, and because you do not relish a plain, simple diet, composed of unbolted wheat flour, vegetables and fruits prepared without spices or grease, you are continually transgressing the laws which God has established in your system. While you do this, you must suffer the penalty; for to every transgression is affixed a penalty. Yet you wonder at your continued poor health. Be assured that God will not work a miracle to save you from the result of your own course of action. . . .

Rich Food and Fevers

There is no treatment which can relieve you of your present difficulties while you eat and drink as you do. You can do that for yourselves which the most experienced physician can never do. Regulate your diet. In order to gratify the taste, you frequently place a severe tax upon your digestive organs by receiving into the stomach food which is not the most healthful, and at times in immoderate quantities. This wearies the stomach, and unfits it for the reception of even the most healthful foods. You keep your stomachs constantly debilitated, because of your wrong habits of eating. Your food is made too rich. It is not prepared in a simple, natural manner, but is totally unfitted for the stomach when you have prepared it to suit your taste. Nature is burdened, and endeavours to resist your efforts to cripple her. Chills and fevers are the result of those attempts to rid herself of the burden you lay upon her. You have to suffer the penalty of nature's violated laws. God has established laws in your system which you cannot violate without suffering the

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punishment. You have consulted taste without reference to health. You have made some changes, but have merely taken the first steps in reform diet. God requires of us temperance in all things. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Blaming Providence

Of all the families I am acquainted with, none need the benefit of the health reform more than yours. You groan under pains and prostrations which you cannot account for, and you try to submit with as good a grace as you can, thinking affliction is your lot, and Providence has thus ordained it. If you could have your eyes opened, and could see the steps taken in your lifetime to walk right into your present condition of poor health, you would be astonished at your blindness in not seeing the real state of the case before. You have created unnatural appetites, and do not derive half that enjoyment from your food which you would if you had not used your appetites wrongfully. You have perverted nature, and have been suffering the consequences, and painful has it been.

The Price of a "Good Meal"

Nature bears abuse as long as she can without resisting; then she arouses and makes a mighty effort to rid herself of the encumbrances and evil treatment she has suffered. Then come headache, chills, fevers, nervousness, paralysis, and other evils too numerous to mention. A wrong course of eating or drinking destroys health and with it the sweetness of life. Oh, how many times have you purchased what you called a good meal at the expense of a fevered system, loss of appetite, and loss of sleep! Inability to enjoy food, a sleepless night, hours of suffering,--all for a meal in which taste was gratified! 

Thousands have indulged their perverted appetites, have eaten a good meal, as they called it, and as the result, have brought on a fever, or some other acute disease, and certain death. That was enjoyment purchased at immense cost. Yet many have done this, and these self-murderers have been

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eulogized by their friends and the minister, and carried directly to heaven at their death. What a thought! Gluttons in heaven! No, no; such will never enter the pearly gates of the golden city of God. Such will never be exalted to the right hand of Jesus, the precious Saviour, the suffering Man of Calvary, whose life was one of constant self-denial and sacrifice. There is a place appointed for all such among the unworthy, who can have no part in the better life, the immortal inheritance.

Effect of Improper Eating Upon the Disposition

Letter 274, 1908 
205. Many spoil their dispositions by eating improperly. We should be just as careful to learn the lessons of health reform as we are to have our studies perfectly prepared; for the habits that we adopt in this direction are helping to form our characters for the future life. It is possible for one to spoil his spiritual experience by an ill-use of the stomach. 

Appeals for Reform

(1905) M.H. 308 
206. Where wrong habits of diet have been indulged there should be no delay in reform. When dyspepsia has resulted from the abuse of the stomach, efforts should be made carefully to preserve the remaining strength of the vital forces, by removing every overtaxing burden. The stomach may never entirely recover health after long abuse; but a proper course of diet will save further debility, and many will recover more or less fully. It is not easy to prescribe rules that will meet every case; but with attention to right principles in eating, great reforms may be made, and the cook need not be continually toiling to tempt the appetite. 

Abstemiousness in diet is rewarded with mental and moral vigour; it also aids in the control of the passions.

(1905) M.H. 295 
207. Those foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice, appetite is not a safe guide. Through wrong habits of eating, 

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the appetite has become perverted. Often it demands food that impairs health and causes weakness instead of strength. We cannot safely be guided by the customs of society. The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.

(1909) 9T 160 
208. Only when we are intelligent in regard to the principles of healthful living, can we be fully aroused to see the evils resulting from improper diet. Those who, after seeing their mistakes, have courage to change their habits, will find that the reformatory process requires a struggle and much perseverance; but when correct tastes are once formed, they will realise that the use of the food which they formerly regarded as harmless, was slowly but surely laying the foundation for dyspepsia and other diseases.

(1909) 9T 156 
209. God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform many of us eat improperly. Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies largely at the foundation of feebleness and premature death. Let the individual who is seeking to possess purity of spirit bear in mind that in Christ there is power to control the appetite. [OVEREATING A CAUSE OF DISEASE: SEE SECTION VII, "OVEREATING," AND SECTION VIII, "CONTROL OF APPETITE"] [RELATION OF FLESH DIET TO DISEASE--668-677, 689, 690, 691, 692, 713, 722] [DISEASE CAUSED BY USE OF TEA AND COFFEE--734, 736, 737, 741]