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The Health Principle of NUTRITION
Our bodies are built up from the food we eat. There is a constant breaking down of the tissues of the body; every movement of every organ involves waste, and this waste is repaired from the food we eat. Each organ of the body requires its share of nutrition. The brain must be supplied with its portion; the bones, muscles, and nerves demand theirs. It is a wonderful process that transforms the food into blood and uses this blood to build up the varied parts of the body, and this process is going on continually, supplying with life and strength each nerve, muscle, and tissue.
It is in our best interest to choose to eat those foods 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, the appetite has become perverted. Often it demands food that impairs health and causes weakness instead of strength. Neither is it safe to be guided by the customs of society. The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.
In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man's diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food.
“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.” Genesis 1:29.
This would include grains, fruits, and nuts. Upon leaving Eden, we were also given permission to eat another article of food.
“...and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” Genesis 3:18.
This herb of the field would include vegetables. So you can see that God has given permission for all of us to eat freely of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. These 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. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.
But not all foods wholesome in themselves are equally suited to our needs under all circumstances. Care should be taken in the selection of food. Our diet should be suited to the season, to the climate in which we live, and to the occupation we follow. Some foods that are adapted for use at one season or in one climate are not suited to another. So there are different foods best suited for persons in different occupations. Often food that can be used with benefit by those engaged in hard physical labor is unsuitable for persons of sedentary pursuits or intense mental application. God has given us an ample variety of healthful foods, and each person should choose from it the things that experience and sound judgment prove to be best suited to his own necessities.
The diet appointed man in the beginning did not include animal food. Not till after the Flood, when every green thing on the earth had been destroyed, did man receive permission to eat flesh.
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. 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.” It was only because of their discontent and their murmuring 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. 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.
Upon their settlement in Canaan, the Israelites were permitted the use of animal food, but under careful restrictions which tended to lessen the evil results. The use of swine’s or pig’s flesh was prohibited, as also of other animals and of birds and fish whose flesh was pronounced unclean. Of the meats permitted, the eating of the fat and the blood was strictly forbidden. Only such animals could be used for food as were in good condition. No creature that was torn, that had died of itself, or from which the blood had not been carefully drained, could be used as food.
By departing from the plan divinely appointed for their diet, the Israelites suffered great loss. They desired a flesh diet, and they reaped its results.
“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15.
The Israelites did not reach God’s ideal of character or fulfill His purpose. They valued the earthly above the spiritual, and the sacred pre-eminence which was His purpose for them they did not attain. The same will occur today to those who choose to go beyond God’s chosen diet and who add flesh meats into their meals.
Flesh was never the best food–even in Noah’s time; but its use now is 10,000 fold more objectionable since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing. Those who use flesh foods little know what they are eating. Often if they could see the animals, fowls, fish, etc., when living and know the quality of the meat they buy, prepare and then eat, they would turn from it with loathing. People are continually eating flesh that is filled with disease, parasites, and cancerous germs. Thus cancer and other fatal diseases are communicated. This is one reason why many in the meat processing industry are vegetarians!
It is also a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood and thus produce good health. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning at the garden of Eden. Besides, in eating meat, you are actually eating grains and vegetables second-hand; for the animal receives firsthand the greatest nutrition from these live foods. The life that was in the grains and vegetables has already been used up. So you can see that it would be much to our advantage to get the life-giving benefits directly from the natural food that God provided, and not second-hand!
When the use of flesh food is discontinued, there is often a sense of weakness, a lack of vigor. Many urge this as evidence that flesh food is essential; but it is because foods of this class are stimulating, because they fever the blood and excite the nerves, that they are so missed. Some will find it as difficult to leave off flesh eating as it is for the drunkard to give up his drink; but they will be the better for the change.
When flesh food is discarded, its place should be supplied with a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits that will be both nourishing and appetizing. In some countries where poverty abounds, flesh is the cheapest food. Under these circumstances the change will be made with greater difficulty; but it can still be done. But consideration needs to be given to those in such a situation, as well as how long they have been in the habit of eating meat, and we should be careful not to urge a quick change overnight. The place of meat should be supplied with wholesome foods that are inexpensive.
Nuts and nut foods can easily take the place of flesh meats. With nuts may be combined grains, fruits, and some roots, to make foods that are healthful and nourishing. Care should be taken, however, not to use too large a proportion of nuts. It should be remembered, too, that some nuts are not so wholesome as others. Almonds are preferable to peanuts, but peanuts in limited quantities, used in connection with grains, are nourishing and digestible.
If milk is used in the diet, it should be thoroughly sterilized to make it a less dangerous carrier of disease. But it can still make you sick. Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking; but it is better to dispense with it altogether. Aged cheese is totally unfit for food. If eggs are used, be sure to get them from healthy fowls. But because disease in the animal and fowl kingdom abounds, it is best to avoid all animal products altogether.
When properly prepared, nuts and soy beans can easily take the place of milk, and thus you avoid altogether the risk of contracting disease from milk. Also olives, like nuts, can take the place of butter. Of all oils, Olive is by far the best oil to use. It serves as a laxative. Its use will be found beneficial to most all people, and it had a healing effect on an inflamed, irritated stomach.
Besides meat and other animal products being harmful to our health, far too much sugar is ordinarily used in food. Cakes, sweet puddings, pastries, jellies, jams, are active causes of indigestion. Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients. The free use of milk and sugar taken together should be avoided, because it ferments in the stomach and thus produces alcohol. There have been cases where individuals have died of cirrhosis of the liver, a diseased condition wholly attributable to alcohol, yet they had never drunk liquor in their life. It was found that their diet consisted of a lot of ice-cream and other milk-and-sugar combined deserts.
It is also vital to health that we have regularity in eating. There should be a specified time for each meal, generally no more than three meals a day. At each meal let everyone eat what their system requires, and then eat nothing more until the next meal. There are many who eat at irregular intervals, or snack in-between meals, not because their bodies need food, but because they have not sufficient strength of will to resist inclination. If we would eat at regular times and only of food that is simple and nutritious, we would not feel so great weariness nor suffer so much from sickness.
Of course, the key to changing our diet from one that is bad, to one that is healthful, is in food preparation. It is a sacred duty for those who cook to learn how to prepare healthful food. Many souls are lost as the result of poor cooking. It takes thought and care to make good bread, and there is more religion in a loaf of good bread than many realize.
If we would live by the following rule, many of our health problems due to poor nutrition would vanish!
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.