Under the head of stimulants and narcotics is classed a great variety of articles that, altogether, used as food or drink, irritate the stomach, poison the blood, and excite the nerves. Their use is a positive evil. Men seek the excitement of stimulants, because, for the time, the results are agreeable. But there is always a reaction. The use of unnatural stimulants always tends to excess, and it is an active agent in promoting physical degeneration and decay.
“In this fast age, the less exciting the food, the better. Condiments are injurious in their nature. Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and other things of a like character, irritate the stomach and make the blood feverish and impure. The inflamed condition of the drunkard’s stomach is often pictured as illustrating the effect of alcoholic liquors. A similarly inflamed condition is produced by the use of irritating condiments. Soon ordinary food does not satisfy the appetite. The system feels a want, a craving, for something more stimulating. . . .
Spices Irritate the Stomach and Cause Unnatural Cravings
“Our tables should bear only the most wholesome food, free from every irritating substance. The appetite for liquor is encouraged by the preparation of food with condiments and spices. These cause a feverish state of the system, and drink is demanded to allay the irritation. . . . Food should be prepared in as simple a manner as possible, free from condiments and spices, and even from an undue amount of salt. . . .
“You have perhaps seen a picture of the stomach of one who is addicted to strong drink. A similar condition is produced under the irritating influence of fiery spices. With the stomach in such a state, there is a craving for something more to meet the demands of the appetite, something stronger, and still stronger. . . .
Their Use a Cause of Faintness
“Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the natural sensitiveness of this delicate membrane. The blood becomes fevered, the animal propensities are aroused, while the moral and intellectual powers are weakened, and become servants to the baser passions. The mother should study to set a simple yet nutritious diet before her family. . . .
“With all the precious light that has continually been given to us in the health publications, we cannot afford to live careless, heedless lives, eating and drinking as we please, and indulging in the use of stimulants, narcotics, and condiments. Let us take into consideration the fact that we have souls to save or to lose, and that it is of vital consequence how we relate ourselves to the question of temperance. It is of great importance that individually we act well our part, and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink, and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether we will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence. . . .
Soda and Baking Powder
“The use of soda or baking powder in breadmaking is harmful and unnecessary. Soda causes inflammation of the stomach, and often poisons the entire system.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 339–342.
“Do not eat largely of salt, avoid the use of pickles and spiced foods, eat an abundance of fruit, and the irritation that calls for so much drink at mealtime will largely disappear.
“Food should be prepared in such a way that it will be appetizing as well as nourishing. It should not be robbed of that which the system needs. . . .
“I use some salt, and always have, because from the light given me by God, this article, in the place of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood. The whys and wherefores of this I know not, but I give you the instruction as it is given me.” Ibid., 344.
Pickles and Vinegar
“The blood-making organs cannot convert spices, mince pies, pickles, and diseased flesh meats into good blood. . . .
“The salads are prepared with oil and vinegar, fermentation takes place in the stomach, and the food does not digest, but decays or putrefies; as a consequence, the blood is not nourished, but becomes filled with impurities, and liver and kidney difficulties appear.” Ibid., 345.
“Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth.
“God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things. Let our people discard all unwholesome recipes.
“Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking; but, as a rule, it is better to dispense with it altogether.
Replacing With Olives and Nuts
“Olives may be so prepared as to be eaten with good results at every meal. The advantages sought by the use of butter may be obtained by the eating of properly prepared olives. The oil in the olives relieves constipation, and for consumptives, and for those who have inflamed, irritated stomachs, it is better than any drug. As a food it is better than any oil coming secondhand from animals.” Ibid., 349.
Allow Others Their Convictions
“The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded. There are poor families whose diet consists largely of bread and milk. They have little fruit, and cannot afford to purchase the nut foods. In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet.
“We must remember that there are a great many different minds in the world, and we cannot expect every one to see exactly as we do in regard to all questions of diet. Minds do not run in exactly the same channel. I do not eat butter, but there are members of my family who do. It is not placed on my table; but I make no disturbance because some members of my family choose to eat it occasionally. . . .
“Those who love and serve God should be allowed to follow their own convictions. We may not feel justified in doing as they do, but we should not allow differences of opinion to create disunion.” Ibid., 351, 352.