The Role of the Nutritionist

The question of how to preserve the health is one of primary impor­tance.

By MARIA SAUNDERS PICKLING, Dietitian, Orlando, Florida

These are words given to us by one in­structed of God: "The question of how to preserve the health is one of primary impor­tance. When we study this question in the fear of God, we shall learn that it is best, both for -our physical health and for our spiritual ad­vancement, to observe simplicity in diet."—Medical Ministry, p. 273.

It is the work of the nutritionist to give this -type of instruction to the world. Medical work is called the right arm of the message. A knowledge of nutrition in connection with -health is part of the medical work as well as -part of the gospel message.

The health message should be linked with the preaching of the third angel's message from the -pulpit by our evangelists, or presented by the medical group where they are available. This -places a responsibility on the evangelistic workers to know the health message as well as the doctrinal messages 'they are giving. Those who have been professionally trained in nutri­tion need to be giving this instruction to our workers, along with the professional services they give to the public.

The medical phase of our work involves car­ing for the sick, healing diseases, and prevent-. ing disease. Disease is closely associated with ,diet. The regulating of diet is part of caring for the sick. Disease is definitely treated by diet, which aids in the healing process. This is a phase of missionary endeavor that a nutri­tionist may engage in. In whatever land one finds himself, whether overseas as a missionary -or in our own land as a welfare worker, help­ing to bring back health by diet can always open an avenue for sound health teaching. Our evangelists have found many opportunities of this kind where they have put to use their "knowledge in regard to health. People as a rule -are more receptive to health principles after they have experienced the results of mistreat­ing their body through improper eating.

Some diseases are not healed by diet or any other method, but may be brought under con­trol by diet. Here the ntitritionist can be of valuable help in health teaching, not only by one contact, but by repeated contacts. In help­ing those who are sick physically, we open the way for helping them spiritually.

Caring for the sick is fine, but the prevention of disease is of even greater importance. How much better to know how to keep well, than to mistreat the body and then have to be healed. This is a phase that is of the greatest impor­tance. Diet is considered one of nature's reme­dies and also a preventive. Disease may be brought on by wrong diet. Appetite is some­thing that one must struggle with throughout life in order to keep it under control. To teach people how to choose and prepare food so as to maintain health should be the aim in the work of a nutritionist.

Bad food habits impair health. Overeating is harmful to the system. Overeating of certain foods will impair the digestion even though in themselves they are harmless when taken in temperate amounts. "The digestive organs should not be burdened with a quantity or qual­ity of food which it will tax the system to ap­propriate. . . . Sometimes the result of over­eating is felt at once. In other cases there is no sensation of pain; but the digestive organs lose their vital force, and the foundation of physical strength is undermined."—Ministry of Heal­ing, p. 306.

Eating between meals is strictly forbidden if we wish to care for our bodies. Eating just be­fore retiring is included in this. This practice keeps the digestive organs working all the time, whereas they should be having rest in order to keep in good running order throughout life.

It is the business of the nutritionist to edu­cate along health lines as well as to help care for the sick. It is necessary to educate both par­ents and children. Anyone who is taking on the responsibility of feeding a family should make it his business to learn how to do it properly, for the health of the children and parents alike is to a large degree at the mercy of the cook.

Parents are oftentimes not interested, but can be reached through their children. In edu­cating a group of children, you will find it nec­essary to arouse their enthusiasm in the sub­ject; then you can carry them right along with you. It is wonderful what can be done with a group of enthusiastic children.

Different methods can be employed in edu­cating the people. A nutritionist should give health talks and demonstrations, keeping our health principles before their minds. By demon­stration the subject is made much more im­pressive. The eye is a better teacher than the ear, and thereby they will find it easier to take the material home with them and put it into practice. These lectures can be given to clubs, large gatherings, home and school associations, patients in our sanitariums, at camp meetings, and in the churches. A nutritionist should take advantage of every opportunity. As one goes before these groups, more requests come in for just this sort of information. Many people in our own church and in the world are seeking for knowledge in regard to health principles.

"It is a sin to place poorly prepared food on the table, because the matter of eating concerns the well­being of the entire system. The Lord desires His people to appreciate the necessity of having food prepared in such a way that it will not make sour stomachs, and in consequence, sour tempers. Let us remember that there is practical religion in a loaf of good bread."—Medical Ministry, p. 270.

We are instructed that cooking schools should be carried on for those in the church. "Every church should be a training-school for Christian workers. . . . There should be schools of health, cooking schools, and classes in vari­ous lines of Christian-help work. There should not only be teaching, but actual work under ex­perienced instructors."—Ministry of Healing, p. 149.

In conducting classes for the general public, we can teach our principles of diet. It is sur­prising how even those not of our faith will readily accept our health principles. This can be an entering wedge into the hearts and souls of unbelievers. "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 cookery."—Ministry of Healing, p. 302. By this statement we are impressed with the connection between cooking and the saving of souls. That is the ultimate aim in all our missionary en­deavor, the saving of souls for the kingdom.

It would be a good thing if cooking schools could be conducted regularly in our medical in­stitutions. Those who come to these institutions are in a receptive frame of mind, seeking either how to regain their health or how to main­tain it.

The medical work should go hand in hand with the ministerial or evangelistic work. Health instruction should be given right along with spiritual. Cooking schools conducted in connection with evangelistic efforts can be very effective. Those who can give this type of in­struction are few in number. If no medical workers are available, it would be well for the wife of the minister to learn how to carry on this type of work so that she can have such schools in the church or with an effort.

Individual instruction will reach many peo­ple who will not come for instruction with a group. It can be even more helpful in solving individual problems. Each person has been used to a different type of cooking, and often old habits need to be uprooted.

The school lunchroom is another avenue through which a nutritionist can work. School lunchrooms are often operated by those who do not have a knowledge of nutrition; conse­quently the best type of food for the growing children is not prepared. Food can be served in a manner to appeal to the appetite, and still be nutritious and healthful. In this way both children and parents can be reached. It is a good idea to keep in sight catchy posters that will be interesting and instructive. Ideas for balanced diets pictured in different ways will be benefi­cial.

A great deal could be done with health res­taurants, if properly conducted. This is a field that has not as yet been explored or expanded as widely as it could or should be. Some could be reached in this way who could not be reached otherwise.

"Every hygienic restaurant should be a school. The workers connected with it should be constantly studying and experimenting, that they may make im­provement in the preparation of healthful foods. In the cities this work of instruction may be carried forward on a much larger scale than in smaller places. But in every place where there is a church, instruction should be given in regard to the prepara­tion of simple, healthful foods for the use of those who wish to live in accordance with the principles of health reform. And the church-members should im­part to the people of their neighborhood the light they receive on this subject."—Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 112, 113.

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By MARIA SAUNDERS PICKLING, Dietitian, Orlando, Florida

March 1947

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