Media & Adventist Benefits – Paul Harvey on Ellen White and Nutrition

Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a young lady named Ellen White. She was frail as a child, completed only grammar school, and had no technical training, yet she lived to write scores of articles and many books on the subject of healthful living.

Remember, this was in the days when doctors were still blood-letting and performing surgery with unwashed hands. This was in an era of medical ignorance bordering on barbarism. Yet Ellen White wrote with such profound understanding on the subject of nutrition that all but two of the many principles she espoused have been scientifically established.

Professor of Nutrition, Dr. Clive McCay of Cornell said, How much better health the average American might enjoy if he but followed the teachings of Mrs. White.

Perhaps we should reread what she has taught: The oil, as eaten in the olive, is far preferable to animal oil or fat. Today we know about cholesterol.

She knew: Fine flour white bread is lacking in nutritive elements to be found in bread made from whole wheat. Today we have re-enriched our bread.

She wrote: Do not eat largely of salt. Now we know we should keep the sodium intake low.

She wrote whole articles on the importance of not overeating; of not becoming overweight; of eating at each meal two or three kinds of simple food; and eat not more than is required to satisfy hunger.

We have come to accept the wisdom of such advice so completely that it is difficult for us to realize how revolutionary her theories were almost a century ago. (Seventh-day Adventists consider her knowledge divinely inspired.)

A long time before we learned about TV snacks, Mrs. White wrote: After irregular eating, when children come to the table, they do not relish wholesome food; their appetites crave that which is hurtful to them.

She urged: Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise.

She wrote: Tobacco is a slow, insidious, but most malignant poison. It is all the more dangerous because its effects are slow and at first hardly perceptible. Divinely inspired or not, Ellen White was, indeed, ahead of her time.

Are there additional recommendations which this remarkable woman urged upon us which we have, so far, ignored?

Two of her teachings haunt the more progressive nutritionists because if she is right about these also, most of us are wrong and have yet to catch up to her advanced knowledge of nutrition.

Mrs. White wrote: All-wheat flour is not best for continuous diet. A mixture of wheat, oatmeal and rye would be more nutritious.

Also, Mrs. White was essentially a vegetarian. She wrote: The life that was in the grains and vegetables passes into the eater.

We receive it by eating the flesh of the animal. How much better to get it direct. Do you suppose we’ll discover she was right about these things, too?

Source: The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Students’ Source Book; The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 9. 1962; 2002. Review and Herald Publishing Association

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