DIETARY PRINCIPLES FROM THE BIBLE
The Diet in Eden
After God created our first parents, He said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed ... and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (food)" (Genesis 1:29).
After the Fall of Man
Vegetables were added to man's diet. God cursed the ground and said, "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field" (Genesis 3:18).
Before the Flood
Great wickedness prevailed. "The inhabitants of the Old World were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh meats, although God had given them no permission to eat animal food." E.G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 373.
After the Flood
Man was given permission to eat clean meat for the first time. Provision was made for meat eating as two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal entered the ark (Genesis 7:2). However, God forbade eating the blood of the clean animals. "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" (Genesis 9:4). Even the eating of clean, bloodless meat had serious consequences. The Bible records a marked decrease in the life span of the postflood patriarchs. After the flood God saw that the ways of man were still wicked. "He (God) 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." E.G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 373.
The Ideal Diet for Israel
The Israelites were permitted to eat the meat of clean animals (see Leviticus 11). However, they were instructed to eat neither the fat nor the blood. "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood" (Leviticus 3:17). In the New Testament, the Gentiles were told to "abstain from ... things strangled, and from blood" (Acts 15:20).
God's ideal diet for Israel is given in Exodus, chapter 16. "Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you....And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years" (Exodus 16:4, 35). "When God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it was His purpose to establish them in the land of Canaan a pure, happy, healthy people .... He removed flesh food from them in a great measure... .Had they been willing to deny appetite in obedience to His restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed physical and mental strength. They would have had clear understanding of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment." E. G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, pages 377, 378.
Daniel and his three friends stand out as Biblical examples of the benefits of a temperate, healthful flesh-free diet. "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank." Daniel requested that they be given pulse (beans) and water for ten days. "At the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter (better looking) in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat." This simple diet provided not only physical benefits, but also mental advantages. "In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm" (Daniel 1:8-20).
GOD'S DIET TODAY
What is God's diet today? As in the human race, disease in animals is increasing. Contaminated meat, dairy products, and eggs are common sources of food-related illness. "Disease in cattle is making meat eating a dangerous matter. The Lord's curse is upon the earth, upon man, upon beasts, upon the fish in the sea; and as transgression becomes almost universal, the curse will be permitted to become as broad and as deep as the transgression. Disease is contracted by the use of meat .... In a short time it will not be safe to use anything that comes from the animal creation." E. G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 411.
FOODS THAT FIGHT DISEASE
"Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing." E.G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 313
"Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design, --that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth.... Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavour to work steadily toward it." E. G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, pages 380, 381.
INSTRUCTION ON EATING
The disease and suffering that prevail everywhere are mainly due to popular errors in diet. Many ailments are cured if the following instruction is put into daily practice.
1. A major portion of the diet should consist of fruits and vegetables prepared in a natural, tasty way.
2. Vary the diet from meal to meal, but do not eat too many varieties at any one meal. Keep the recipes and the meals simple.
3. Use the whole (unrefined) grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice. Discard the use of refined grains such as white flour and white rice.
4. Eliminate rich, concentrated foods containing too much sugar, fats and oils (especially lard), salt, and protein (meat and other animal products).
5. Eat at the same time each day. The stomach functions best on a regular schedule. Allow at least 5 hours from the end of one meal to the beginning of the next meal.
6. Do not eat between meals. Eating between meals delays stomach emptying, which causes the partially digested food remaining in the stomach to spoil or ferment.
7. Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day. Supper, if eaten, should be the smallest meal. Supper should be eaten at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
8. Eat all you need to maintain health and enjoy your food, but do not overeat. Too much food dulls the mind, causes fatigue, increases disease, and shortens life.
9. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. This will increase the enjoyment and the nutritional benefits of the food. Mealtime should be pleasant and unhurried.
10. Drink enough water daily to keep the urine pale. Drink liquids in between mealtimes. Avoid drinking during meals, just before a meal, or soon after a meal.
11. Skip 1 to 4 meals periodically. Fasting is an aid in educating the appetite and a rehearsal for self-control. Fasting is an excellent remedy for many illnesses.
EATING TWO MEALS 6 HOURS APART
• Improves the memory and intellect
• Strengthens the bones and preserves kidney function
• Increases energy and decreases stress
• Helps maintain an ideal weight
• Decreases cancer growth, heart disease, and diabetes
PROMOTERS OF DIGESTIVE DISORDERS
1. All hot chilli peppers and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
2. Alcoholic beverages and foods having a fermenting, putrefying, or rotting phase in processing such as: sauerkraut, cheese, soy sauce, and vinegar; commonly found in pickles, mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, and salad dressings
3. Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas), theobromine (chocolate), and the use of tobacco
4. The concentrated foods listed on previous page, including the overuse of vitamin and mineral supplements
5. Milk, egg, and sugar combinations-used in cakes and custards
6. Baking soda and baking powder products in commercial crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and other bakery products
7. Unripe or over-ripe fruit
8. Fruits and vegetables eaten at the same meal
9. Foods that are too hot or too cold
10. Meals less than five hours apart
11. • Eating too much • Eating too fast • Eating late at night
12. Drinking water or any other liquids during the mealtime Liquids delay digestion and stomach emptying. Stagnation of food in the stomach is one of the commonest causes of ulcers and gastritis.
Many commercially processed foods contain chemicals or additives that injure the body in other ways. Aspartame (a commonly used artificial sweetener) and monosodium glutamate or MSG (a widely used flavour enhancer) may cause headaches, palpitations, as well as more serious problems such as seizures.
EATING MEALS TOO FREQUENTLY
• Focuses attention on food
• Decreases the appetite
• Delays digestion, increases toxic waste products in the blood
• Increases tooth decay
• Interferes with deep, health-restoring sleep