Food – Helps for Digestion

For several months we have discussed the anatomy and physiology of the digestion system and the importance of eating based on the way God designed our body. The following is a review and listing of items important for good digestion:

  1. Meal time should be a pleasant, unhurried time to allow for good digestion.
  2. Digestion, both mechanical and chemical, begins in the mouth, so our food should be thoroughly chewed. There are no teeth in the stomach!
  3. We should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper. The breakfast should break our overnight fast, and is critical for the start of a productive day. The stomach, like all organs, needs rest. We should go to bed with an empty stomach, allowing the stomach and all of the organs of digestion and the brain to be relieved of digestion during the sleeping hours.
  4. We should avoid liquid drinks at meal times. Drinking liquids at meal times can interfere with the delicate balance of temperature and chemical regulation necessary to digest food.
  5. Our diet should be composed of as many raw foods as possible. Raw foods have the active components necessary for good nutrition. When we do cook our vegetables, it is best to lightly steam them and then use the water in soups and stews.
  6. We should allow five hours between meals to allow one meal to be processed in the stomach, and the stomach emptied before the next food is consumed. Studies have been done that demonstrate that eating between meals can result in breakfast food remaining in the stomach until nightfall when eating between meals is practiced.
  7. Adequate water is essential to health, digestion, and elimination and should be consumed between meals. An excellent formula to use to determine how much water you should drink daily between meals is to take your weight, divided by 2, and the number of ounces of water that you should drink is the result. (140 lbs. divided by 2 equals 70, so a person of this weight should drink approximately 70 ounces or nine 8 ounce glasses of water per day.)
  8. Light exercise after a meal improves digestion.
  9. From our instruction at creation, through the diet history in the Bible, through modern epidemiology, and through our anatomical design at the hand of God, man’s health would be best enhanced by a vegetarian diet.

Food for Life — Sanctified Meals

Happy New Year! I sincerely hope and pray, that in this coming year, God will protect you and answer all your prayers as He has mine in this last year. And I trust that He will inspire you to a closer walk with Him during the coming months. We do have so much for which to be thankful, and to praise His holy name for, don’t we?

Let us return to God’s word found in that beautiful book The Ministry of Healing. In the chapter “Diet and Health” it reads: “It is wrong to eat merely to gratify the appetite, but no indifference should be manifested regarding the quality of the food or the manner of its preparation. If the food eaten is not relished, the body will not be so well nourished. The food should be carefully chosen and prepared with intelligence and skill . . .

“Regularity in eating is of vital importance. There should be a specified time for each meal. At this time let everyone eat what the system requires and then take nothing more until the next meal. There are many who eat when the system needs no food, at irregular intervals, and between meals, because they have not sufficient strength of will to resist inclination. When traveling, some are constantly nibbling if anything eatable is within their reach. This is very injurious. If travelers would eat regularly of food that is simple and nutritious, they would not feel so great weariness nor suffer so much from sickness.

“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 eaten. 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 . . .

“After disposing of one meal, the digestive organs need rest. At least five or six hours should intervene between the meals, and most persons who give the plan a trial will find that two meals a day are better than three.

“Food should not be eaten very hot or very cold. If food is cold, the vital force of the stomach is drawn upon in order to warm it before digestion can take place. Cold drinks are injurious for the same reason; while the free use of hot drinks is debilitating. In fact, the more liquid there is taken with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must be absorbed before digestion can begin . . .

“Food should be eaten slowly and should be thoroughly masticated. This is necessary in order that the saliva may be properly mixed with the food and the digestive fluids be called into action.” The Ministry of Healing, 300–305.

Lentil Roast

2 cups cooked lentils

4 T. soy powder

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 t. sage

2-3 stalks celery, diced

1 1/2 cup oatmeal

2 T. Vegex

1 1/2 cup nut milk

1 4 oz. can mushroom

1/2 cup chopped walnuts pieces

1/2 cup bread crumbs or Grapenuts

1 t. garlic powder

Simmer chopped onion and diced celery in a little water till tender. Then mix all the ingredients and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes to one hour.

Restoring the Temple – Regularity in Eating

It is the custom and order of society to take a slight breakfast. But this is not the best way to treat the stomach. At breakfast time the stomach is in a better condition to take care of more food than at the second or third meal of the day. The habit of eating a sparing breakfast and a large dinner is wrong. Make your breakfast correspond more nearly to the heartiest meal of the day.

“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.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 173.

Intervals Between Meals

“In many cases the faintness that leads to a desire for food is felt because the digestive organs have been too severely taxed during the day. After disposing of one meal, the digestive organs need rest. At least five or six hours should intervene between the meals; and most persons who give the plan a trial, will find that two meals a day are better than three.

Two-Meal Plan

“Many indulge in the pernicious habit of eating just before sleeping hours. They may have taken three regular meals; yet because they feel a sense of faintness, as though hungry, will eat a lunch or fourth meal. By indulging this wrong practice, it has become a habit, and they feel as though they could not sleep without taking a lunch before retiring. In many cases, the cause of this faintness is because the digestive organs have been already too severely taxed through the day in disposing of unwholesome food forced upon the stomach too frequently, and in too great quantities. The digestive organs thus taxed become weary, and need a period of entire rest from labor to recover their exhausted energies. A second meal should never be eaten until the stomach has had time to rest from the labor of digesting the preceding meal. If a third meal be eaten at all, it should be light, and several hours before going to bed.” Ibid., 173, 174.

“In most cases, two meals a day are preferable to three. Supper, when taken at an early hour, interferes with the digestion of the previous meal. When taken later, it is not itself digested before bedtime. Thus the stomach fails of securing proper rest. The sleep is disturbed, the brain and nerves are wearied, the appetite for breakfast is impaired, the whole system is unrefreshed, and is unready for the day’s duties.” Ibid., 176.

“If those who only eat two meals have the idea that they must eat enough at the second meal to answer for the third meal also, they will injure their digestive organs.” Ibid., 178.

Not a Test

“The practice of eating but two meals a day is generally found a benefit to health; yet under some circumstances, persons may require a third meal. This should, however, if taken at all, be very light, and of food most easily digested. Crackers—the English biscuit—or zwieback, and fruit, or cereal coffee, are the foods best suited for the evening meal.

“Most people enjoy better health while eating two meals a day than three; others, under their existing circumstances, may require something to eat at suppertime; but this meal should be very light. Let no one think himself a criterion for all,—that every one must do exactly as he does.” Ibid., 176

“I eat only two meals a day. But I do not think that the number of meals should be made a test. If there are those who are better in health when eating three meals, it is their privilege to have three.” Ibid., 178.

Regularity Important

“After the regular meal is eaten, the stomach should be allowed to rest for five hours. Not a particle of food should be introduced into the stomach till the next meal. In this interval the stomach will perform its work, and will then be in a condition to receive more food.

“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 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. . . .

“Regularity in eating is of vital importance. There should be a specified time for each meal. At this time, let every one eat what the system requires, and then take nothing more until the next meal. There are many who eat when the system needs no food, at irregular intervals, and between meals, because they have not sufficient strength of will to resist inclination. . . .

No Between Meal Snacks

“Regularity in eating should be carefully observed. Nothing should be eaten between meals, no confectionery, nuts, fruits, or food of any kind. Irregularities in eating destroy the healthful tone of the digestive organs, to the detriment of health and cheerfulness. . . .

“I am astonished to learn that, after all the light that has been given in this place, many of you eat between meals! You should never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals. Eat what you ought, but eat it at one meal, and then wait until the next.” Ibid., 179, 180.

“Three meals a day and nothing between meals—not even an apple—should be the utmost limit of indulgence. Those who go further violate nature’s laws and will suffer the penalty.” Ibid., 182.

Christ our Example

“With Christ, as with the holy pair in Eden, appetite was the ground of the first great temptation.” Ibid., 185.

“Christ entered upon the test upon the point of appetite, and for nearly six weeks resisted temptation in behalf of man. That long fast in the wilderness was to be a lesson to fallen man for all time. Christ was not overcome by the strong temptations of the enemy, and this is encouragement for every soul who is struggling against temptation. Christ has made it possible for every member of the human family to resist temptation. All who would live godly lives may overcome as Christ overcame, by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony. That long fast of the Saviour strengthened Him to endure. He gave evidence to man that He would begin the work of overcoming just where ruin began,—on the point of appetite.

“When Christ was the most fiercely beset by temptation, He ate nothing. He committed Himself to God, and through earnest prayer, and perfect submission to the will of His Father, came off conqueror. Those who profess the truth for these last days, above every other class of professed Christians, should imitate the great Exemplar in prayer.” Ibid., 186.

True Fasting

“The true fasting which should be recommended to all, is abstinence from every stimulating kind of food, and the proper use of wholesome, simple food, which God has provided in abundance. Men need to think less about what they shall eat and drink of temporal food, and much more in regard to the food from heaven, that will give tone and vitality to the whole religious experience.

“Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food.

“All the fasting in the world will not take the place of simple trust in the word of God. ‘Ask,’ He says, ‘and ye shall receive.’ [John 16:24.]” Ibid., 188, 189.

What About You?

“Many eat at all hours, regardless of the laws of health. Then gloom covers the mind. How can men be honored with divine enlightenment, when they are so reckless in their habits, so inattentive to the light which God has given in regard to these things? Brethren, is it not time for you to be converted on these points of selfish indulgence?” Ibid., 182.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender.