[* "We have never heard so many good things before." "So down-to-earth and practical." "Such a sensible handling of healthful living. I wish everyone could hear this." "I would not have missed these fascinating health classes for anything." "Where can we get this valuable material in print? I want to pass it on to others." These, and many other like expressions of appreciation, are heard from many of the large audiences that attend Dorothea Van Gundy's outstanding nutritional lectures at camp meetings, churches, and auditoriums throughout the country. Men and juniors, as well as women, attend her lectures. She believes good nutrition should be a family adventure.
We are fortunate to be able to present a series of ten articles from Miss Van Gundy's pen in THE MINISTRY. Her subjects will include: "Have We Been Following Cunningly Devised Fables?" "Road Blocks," "Are You a Breakfast Skipper?" "Beverages—When and What Kind," "The Protein Question," "Miraculous Healing," "Counterfeit Food Programs," "Prophecies Being Fufilled Today," "Spiritual Giants v. Christian Dwarfs."
Our ministers will find the information, illustrations, and unique presentations of healthful living a source of value in their pastoral and evangelistic work.--Editors.]
Some time ago I visited one of the finest, most modern specialty food shops in southern California. It had a large book section, and I began browsing around to find a new book on nutrition. On one shelf I saw the book Let's Cook It Right, and alongside was the book, Eat It Raw.
These two books started me thinking of all the controversial questions in the field of food and nutrition. Let us just mention a few: There are people who believe everything should be eaten raw. On the other hand, there are those who believe most foods should be cooked. Some of the points of controversy are: raw milk against pasteurized milk, high protein groups and low protein advocates, vegetarianism versus nonvegetarianism, salt versus no salt, fat versus fat-free diets, animal fats versus vegetable fats, butter against margarine, vegetable juices used in the place of vegetables, and two meals a day versus three meals.Now we are beginning to find a controversy between the three-meal-a-day group and those who advocate five meals a day, while there are others who believe in only one meal a day. Then there are the others who believe that all difficulties can be taken care of by fasting.
There certainly are a multitude of ideas on food and nutrition and much confusion when you look at the field as a whole. Is it possible to bring a common-sense program out of all these controversies?
There must be a solid foundation upon which we can build a good, sensible program, for we are told: "There is real common sense in dietetic reform. The subject should be studied broadly and deeply, and no one should criticize others because their practice is not, in all things, in harmony with his own. It is impossible to make an unvarying rule to regulate everyone's habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all. Not all can eat the same things."—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 319, 320.
There are many ways that the nutritional program can be worked out. It is true that no two people are exactly alike. No two have the same thumbprints, body chemistry, or the same reaction to food. Because of this it is impossible to make a rule or even a set of rules that will fit everyone. It just can't be done.
It is the purpose of this series of articles to study and present principles that will, we hope, help in working out a sound nutritional program, clearing up some of the confusion and gross misinformation concerning food and nutrition.
There seems to be some difference as to the way some people regard their body. I think it would be well to consider these various ideas very briefly.
One group believes the body to be a hindrance to spiritual and mental growth. Therefore, they punish the body by walking on tacks, beating it, and sticking pins into it. Another segment of this same group seems to think that any physical enjoyment is wicked. Carrying this over into the field of nutrition, they think that if food tastes good, it isn't supposed to be good for them, and the worse it tastes the better it is for them. I believe that a Creator who made all the wonderful flavors in fruits and vegetables and other foods intended that they should be enjoyed.
Another class of people ignore the body. They believe it to be just a carrier for the brain, and it makes no difference how you care for it. They think there is no relationship between the physical, mental, and spiritual nature.
There is a third group who think overmuch about their bodies. These are. always planning for physical pleasures—what they can eat and do that will bring physical enjoyment, regardless of whether it is violating the laws governing the body. There seem to be some in this group who have learned a bit about food and its utilization in the body, and they are always worrying about this food or that hurting them. They will eat and then hold a post-mortem over the food, wishing they hadn't eaten it. This can be a dangerous and damaging attitude.
As we look around we find a fourth group who believe that the body is a temple to house their mind and soul, and as such it must be taken care of in a proper manner. It must be kept clean, given good nourishing food, be properly exercised, and have sufficient rest. All the other laws must be carefully observed in order to have the harmonious development and efficient operation of the most wonderful machine that has ever been created—the house we live in. This group takes, in a rather literal sense the verse found in 1 Corinthians 10:31, that whatsoever they do should be to the glory of God, even on the physical plane of eating and drinking. We find many today who are treating their bodies more like a tavern than a temple.
To which group do you belong? In the final analysis it makes little difference what you or I think about matters of food or nutrition and the kind of care the body should be given, but it does make a great deal of difference what God says about it. This is what is important.
In my work I do a great deal of traveling—much of it by car. When going across country. I follow the maps and signposts directing my way to various appointments. But when I arrive in a specific city, then my general road map is not so useful as a city map that will give me the detailed information needed. To my mind this illustrates in a very simple way the relationship between the Bible and the inspirational writings of Ellen G. White. In the comprehensive covering of the great controversy from the beginning of this world to the close of its history as given in the Bible, there wasn't room for many details about living down in the time just before the second advent of our Lord. God in His great mercy has graciously given us more specific directions as to how we should live when all around us are so many temptations to violate the laws of health.
Everywhere we look today we see evidence of the violation of God's law. Let's take a look at what God has to say about this:
God endowed man with so great vital force that he has withstood the accumulation of disease brought upon the race in consequence of perverted habits, and has continued for six thousand years. This fact of itself is enough to evidence to us of the strength and electrical energy that God gave to man at his creation. It took more than two thousand years of crime and indulgence of base passions to bring bodily disease upon the race to any great extent. If Adam, at his creation, had not been en. dowed with twenty times as much vital force as men now have, the race, with their present habits of living in violation of natural law, would have become extinct. . . . The wretched condition of the world at the present time has been presented before me. Since Adam's fall, the race has been degenerating. Some of the reasons for the present deplorable condition of men and women, formed in the image of God, were shown me. And a sense of how much must be done to arrest, even in a degree, the physical, mental, and moral decay, caused my heart to be sick and faint. God did not create the race in its present feeble condition. This state of things is not the work of Providence, but the work of man; it has been brought about by wrong habits and abuses, by violating the laws that God has made to govern man's existence. Through the temptation to indulge appetite, Adam and Eve first fell from their high, holy, and happy estate. And it is through the same temptation that the race have become enfeebled. They have permitted appetite and passion to take the throne, and to bring into subjection reason and intellect.
The violation of physical law, and the consequence, human suffering, have so long prevailed that men and women look upon the present state of sickness, suffering, debility, and premature death as the appointed lot of humanity. . . . 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.. . . Appetite is the great law which governs men and women generally.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp- 22-24.
As we study the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White we find a close correlation between obedience to the laws governing our bodies, and our preparation for heaven: "Yes; we are God's property, and the path of obedience to nature's laws is the direct path to heaven. He who is converted from errors in eating, drinking, and dressing is being prepared to hear and receive the truth into a good and willing heart. Many, by practicing the laws of nature and by receiving the renovating grace of God into the soul, obtain a new lease of physical and spiritual life."—Counsels on Health, p. 222.
In operating any kind of machine intelligently, mature adults study the laws or the directions for the efficient operation of such machines and endeavor to the best of their ability to follow the instructions.
Our human body is more wonderful than any machine ever made, and there are definite rules for its efficient operation.
"Many have inquired of me, What course shall I take best to preserve my health? My answer is, Cease to transgress the laws of your being; cease to gratify a depraved appetite, eat simple food, dress healthfully, which will require modest simplicity, work healthfully, and you will not be sick."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 85. Isn't that a wonderful promise?
There is nothing radical or fanatical about a good nutrition program. It's just good common sense. There is real common sense in healthful living, and the subject should be studied thoroughly and put into practice that we may have all the benefits which will follow the obedience of all of God's commandments.
Counsels From the Spirit of Prophecy
"Time is short, and our forces must be organized to do a larger work."—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 27.
"So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power." —Ibid., p. 47.
"Wherever a church is established, all the members should engage actively in missionary work. They should visit every family in the neighborhood and know their spiritual condition."—Ibid., vol. 6, p. 296.
"The best help that ministers can give the members of our churches is not sermonizing, but planning work for them. Give each one something to do for others."—Ibid., p. 49.
"Everyone who is added to the ranks by conversion is to be assigned his post of duty."— Ibid., vol. 7, p. 30.
"The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God."—Christian Service, p. 253.
"The minister and the church members are to unite as one person in laboring for the up-building and prosperity of the church. Every one who is a true soldier in the army of the Lord will be an earnest, sincere, efficient worker, laboring to advance the interests of Christ's kingdom. Let no one presume to say to a brother who is walking circumspectly, 'You are not to do the work of the Lord; leave it for the minister.' Many members of the church have been deprived of the experience which they should have had, because the sentiment has prevailed that the minister should do all the work and bear all the burdens. . . .
"The burden of church work should be distributed among its individual members, so that each one may become an intelligent laborer for God."—The Review and Herald, July 9, 1895.