Instruction Concerning a Change in Diet. —“It is 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. 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!
When the use of flesh 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 dram (a small drink, or draft, especially of liquor), 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. This is especially necessary in the case of those who are weak, or who are taxed with continuous labor.”
Well-prepared Substitutes Are Helpful. – “Especially where meat is not made a principal article of food is good cooking an essential requirement. Something must be prepared to take the place of meat, and these substitutes for meat must be well prepared, so that meat will not be desired.”
Overcoming the Unnatural Diet. —“Persons who have accustomed themselves to a rich, highly stimulating diet have an unnatural taste, and they cannot at once relish food that is plain and simple. It will take time for the taste to become natural and for the stomach to recover from the abuse it has suffered. But those who persevere in the use of wholesome food will, after a time, find it palatable. Its delicate and delicious flavors will be appreciated, and it will be eaten with greater enjoyment that can be derived from unwholesome dainties. And the stomach, in a healthy condition, neither fevered nor overtaxed, can readily perform it task.”
Healthful Eating is Not a Sacrifice. —“ While the children should be taught to control the appetite, and to eat with reference to health, let it be made plain that they are denying themselves only that which would do them harm. They give up hurtful things for something better. Let the table be made inviting and attractive as it is supplied with good things which God has so bountifully bestowed.”
Regularity in Eating. —“Irregularities in eating destroy the healthful tone of the digestive organs, to the detriment of health and cheerfulness. In no case should the meals be irregular. If dinner is eaten an hour or two before the usual time, the stomach is unprepared for the new burden; for it has not yet disposed of the food eaten at the previous meal and has not vital force for the new work. Thus the system is overtaxed. Neither should the meals be delayed one or two hours, to suit circumstances, or in order that a certain amount of work may be accomplished. The stomach calls for food at the time it is accustomed to receive it. If that time is delayed, the vitality of the system decreases and finally reaches so low an ebb that the appetite is entirely gone. If food is then taken, the stomach is unable to properly care for it. The food cannot be converted into good blood. If all would eat at regular periods, not tasting anything between meals, they would be ready for their meals and would find a pleasure in eating that would repay them for their effort.”
Teach Children, When, How, and What to Eat.—“Children are generally untaught in regard to the importance of when, how, and what they should eat. They are permitted to indulge their tastes freely, to eat at all hours, to help themselves [even to] fruit when it tempts their eyes; and this, with the pie, cake [pastries], bread and butter, and sweetmeats eaten almost constantly, makes them gourmands [one who delights in “luxurious foods”] and dyspeptics [people suffering indigestion].
The digestive organs, like a mill which is continually kept running, become enfeebled, vital force is called from the brain to aid the stomach in its overwork, and thus the mental powers are weakened. The unnatural stimulation and wear of the vital forces make them nervous, impatient of restraint, self-willed, and irritable. They can scarcely be trusted out of their parents’ sight. In many cases the moral powers seemed deadened, and it is difficult to arouse them to a sense of the shame and grievous nature of sin; they slip easily into the habits of prevarication, deceit, and often open lying.
Parents deplore these things in their children, but do not realize that it is their own bad management which has brought about the evil. They have not seen the necessity of restraining the appetites and passions of their children, and they have grown and strengthened with their years. Mothers prepare with their own hands and place before their children food which has a tendency to injure them physically and mentally.”
Late “Snacks” a Pernicious Habit. — “Another pernicious habit is that of eating just before bedtime. The regular meals may have been taken; but because there is a sense of faintness, more food is taken. By indulgence this wrong practice becomes a habit and often so firmly fixed that it is thought impossible to sleep without food. As a result of eating late suppers, the digestive process is continued through the sleeping hours. But though the stomach works constantly, its work is not properly accomplished. The sleep is often disturbed with unpleasant dreams, and in the morning the person awakes unrefreshed and with little relish for breakfast. When we lie down to rest, the stomach should have its work all done, that it, as well as the other organs of the body, may enjoy rest. For persons of sedentary habits late suppers are particularly harmful. With them the disturbance created is often the beginning of disease that ends in death. “
Youth is the sowing time; old age is the harvest time! Solomon understood by experience and wrote by inspiration these familiar lines, which now take on greater meaning because of the focus of our study: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them.” Eccl. 12:1, N.K.J.V. Paul spoke of the same: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Tim. 2: 22. Consider the shining examples of special youth in the Bible such as Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
“The youth may have principles so firm that the most powerful temptations of Satan will not draw then away from their allegiance.”- Maranatha, p. 82. “One wrong trait of character, one sinful desire cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel. . . . The pains of duty and the pleasure of sin are the cords with which Satan binds men in his snares. Those who would rather die than perform a wrong act are the only ones who will be found faithful.” – Ibid.
See Gal. 6: 7, 8. “What is it to sow to the flesh? It is to follow the desires and inclinations of our own natural [not spiritual] hearts. Whatever may be our profession, if we are serving self instead of God we are sowing to the flesh. The Christian life is a life of self-denial and cross-bearing. We are to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We cannot inquire, What is for our convenience? but only, What are our orders? No one looks upon the life of a soldier as a life of self-pleasing and gratification. We are on the battlefield today, and two great forces are ever contending for the mastery. . .
“What are you sowing in your daily life? Are you sowing to your flesh? Are you thinking only of your pleasure, your convenience? Sowing to pride and vanity and ambition?. . . Sow to the Spirit. Every temptation resisted will give you power to sow to the Spirit in another time of trial [and temptation]. If you are sowing faith, rendering obedience to Christ, you will reap faith and power for future obedience. If you are seeking to be a blessing to others, God will bless you. . . The joy we give to others will be reflected on us again, for as we sow, we shall reap.” – That I May Know Him , p. 92.