Survival in the 21st Century

God’s moral law not only involves spiritual and mental health but also physical health. The sixth commandment states, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13.) This means not to commit homicide, which is to kill somebody else. It also means not to commit suicide, which is to kill yourself.

There are two basic ways a person can commit suicide: with an overdose of sleeping pills, a knife, a gun, etc., or a much slower way that might take twenty or thirty years, but nonetheless, suicide.

Every cigarette a person smokes shortens the life an average of six to ten minutes. If a person smokes forty a day for twenty years, his/her life is shortened by 3 ½ to 5 ½ years on average. This does not include extra sicknesses the person could suffer during his/her lifetime from cigarette smoking.

It is important to know how to survive in the 21st century and to find the path to real health. It seems to many that health comes in a bottle or by making sufficient visits to a physician. Our greatest need is for a new lifestyle. Health is not a matter of chance and does not come out of a bottle or a pill. Everybody wants health, but few people have it.

How can we find health? The Bible is the greatest book that has ever been written about health. It shows the path to good mental, spiritual, and physical health.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” John 10:10.

There is a startling message sent to the people living in the last days. This message involves a message about health. Revelation 14:6, 7 says, “And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

The people of earth are called to worship God because He is the Creator. The crowning work of creation was man. “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, and in our own likeness.” Genesis 1:26.

The Bible is very clear that we did not evolve from some lower creature. We were created at the beginning in the image of God.

David said in Psalm 139:14, “I will praise you; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvelous [are] your works; and [that] my soul knows very well.”

It is very serious to destroy the most wonderful thing God made in this world.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] you are.” I Corinthians 3:16, 17. (Literal translation.)

In I Corinthians 6:19, 20, He asks, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, who you have from God, and you are not your own?”

Why are you not your own? “For you were bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

The Bible says that you were bought with a price so, “Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31.

Our lifestyle is killing us slowly. The devil’s plan is to get us into habits that will destroy us. He has a counterfeit for everything God has made and a plan to destroy our health.

When God made air it was fresh, but all kinds of ways have been invented to pollute the air. At Slone-Kettering Institute for cancer research, substances are extracted directly out of cigarettes, painted on the skin of white mice which then develop skin cancers. Some of the diseases that cigarette smoking contributes to are:

  • Heart diseases—three times as many heart attacks among smokers
  • Strokes
  • Various forms of cancer—twenty times as much lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Premature births
  • Poor circulation
  • Shortness of breath

Smoking affects your health, and also that of your loved ones. New evidence links smoking to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). God doesn’t want us to kill somebody else or ourselves. He says, “You shall not kill.”

Some think smoking is a hard habit and impossible to get over. However, the Bible says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Many have been delivered from all sorts of bad habits. The Lord wants you to have better health. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] a brawler: and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Alcohol is deceptive, addictive, and destroys brain cells. When I was in Graduate School, a visiting lecturer said, “If you were to watch an autopsy, you would easily tell by looking at the human brain with your naked eye, without a microscope, if that person was an alcoholic.” Alcohol destroys so many brain cells that the brain smoothes out and you can tell the difference between a normal brain and the brain of an alcoholic.

Every drink destroys brain cells and dramatically affects the ability to reason. The Bible says, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it gives its colour in the cup, [when] it moves itself. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder. Your eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” Proverbs 23:31–33.

The Bible says it is best to abstain.

“Well,” somebody says, “aren’t there places in the Bible where we are advised to drink some wine?”

The Bible uses the word “wine” to refer to two distinct grape beverages. One is unfermented and the other fermented. The Hebrew word in the Old Testament and the Greek word in the New Testament can mean either the fresh unfermented juice of the grape, or the fermented intoxicating drink. You have to look at the context to see which it is talking about.

Actually, the Bible says in no uncertain terms, not to use alcoholic beverages, but it does condone the use of unfermented grape juice which it calls wine, fresh wine.

The Lord said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you, which I have brought on the Egyptians: for I [am] the Lord God who heals you.” Exodus 15:26.

What kinds of diseases were these people suffering from in ancient Egypt? We know from studying mummies that they had a problem with atherosclerosis and their arteries were clogged up just like people today. They suffered heart disease, strokes, obesity, cancer, tooth decay, and stress.

When God created the world He gave to Adam and Eve a diet. He told them what they were to eat. “And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (or for food).” Genesis 1:29.

Unfortunately, our first parents not only ate these things, but they ate from the forbidden fruit and were sent out of the Garden of Eden. When man sinned, God made an addition to His diet. Unfortunately, many of our children today do not like this addition to our diet but by its omission, millions of people have developed osteoporosis and other afflictions.

What was this addition? “You shall eat the green herb of the field.” Genesis 3:18. Things like spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, and all those things are not our children’s favorite food, but the literal translation of Genesis 3:18 is, the Lord told our first parents they were to eat the green herb of the field. At first, the people lived on this diet and they lived many years. “And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty nine years: and he died.” Genesis 5:27.

During the first ten generations before the flood, people lived between 750 and 950 or so years. The Lord told Noah, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female: and two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female.” Genesis 7:2.

Prior to the flood the people knew the difference between clean and unclean animals. After the flood, God gave His people permission to eat some flesh foods. However, in the book of Leviticus, it is made very clear that there are some things that should never be eaten. “It [shall] be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” Leviticus 3:7.

My grandparents did not know about that verse in the Bible for a long time, so they ate things like blood pudding. The very things that God said not to eat, is what the devil wants you to eat. The devil has a counterfeit diet. God told the children of Israel that there were certain things they were free to eat. God said, “Speak to the children of Israel saying, These [are] the animals which you may eat among all the animals that [are] on the earth. Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, have cloven hoofs [and] chewing the cud, that you may eat.” Leviticus 11:2, 3.

Some animals they were told not to eat. The Bible says, “Nevertheless of those that chew the cud or have cloven hoofs, you shall not eat such as these, the camel, the hare, for they chew the cud, but do not have cloven hoofs; they are unclean for you. Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hoofs, yet does not chew the cud: you shall not eat their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” Deuteronomy 14:7, 8.

The devil wants everybody in the human race to eat exactly what God said not to eat. But remember what the Bible says: “No good [thing] will he withhold from those that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11.

If God tells you not to do something, there is always a very good reason for it. Every instruction given by God is for the benefit of man.

There are many health related problems with eating pork. It is loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol. Cancer in the pig’s skin, kidneys, lymphatic system, and other internal organs is common. Pork products are regularly preserved with nitrates which are known to produce cancer producing compounds. Pork also contributes to numerous digestive and stomach problems.

Looking under the microscope at the flesh of pork, we find things like worms. People who eat a lot of pork will often get these little worms, trichina worms which embed themselves in the human muscle causing neuralgia, and different kinds of muscular problems.

The Lord said there are other foods that “you shall not eat.” Some fish they were told were clean and could eat and others that were unclean and not to be eaten. “These you may eat of all that [are] in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the river, that you may eat. But all in the seas, or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water, or any living thing which [is] in the water, they [are] an abomination to you.” Leviticus 11:9–10.

In 1988 nearly 300,000 Chinese of Shanghai developed Hepatitis A from clams which the Bible describes as unclean seafood. In addition to fish, the Lord told the people that there were some things that flew in the air that were scavengers, or birds of prey that were also an abomination to eat: “The eagle, the vulture, and the buzzard.” (Leviticus 11:13–20.)

The Bible talks about three different kinds of diets. First, is the ideal diet given to man when he was created. Then an acceptable diet with the use of clean flesh foods from clean animals, birds, or fish and also a diet that is unacceptable, one using unclean meats.

Some though may question that the health laws of Leviticus were nailed to the cross allowing the freedom to eat and drink anything you please. Some quote the story where God told Peter to not call any meat unclean.

A closer look at that story in Acts 10 sees Peter in a trance or dream seeing a sheet let down from heaven, tied at the four corners. In this sheet were snakes and all kinds of four footed creatures, and birds, and as he was looking at this, he was told to arise and to kill and to eat.

Peter, while in this trance told the Lord, “I’ve never eaten anything common or unclean.” Verse 14. He had never heard from Jesus, either before or after the resurrection, that it was all right to eat unclean animals, and he remonstrated with the Lord and said, “Look, I’ve never done anything like that.”

An angel appeared to a Roman centurion named Cornelius and said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up before God. And you are to send to Joppa, to a man by the name of Simon Peter, and he is going to come, and he’s going to tell you what you need to do.” Verses 31, 32. So he sent his servants to Joppa to get Peter. And as they were approaching the house where Peter was living, God gave Peter this dream and Peter was wondering what in the world does this dream mean?

Then the voice spoke the second time and said, “What God has cleansed, don’t call common.” Verse 15. And this was done three times and then the sheet was taken back up to heaven again.

And while that happened, the men from Cornelius came before the gate. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter and said, “There’s three men seeking you, go with them. Don’t doubt anything because I’ve sent them.” Verses 19, 20.

They told him about what had happened with Cornelius and so Peter is going to go with them. It says, “And then he invited them in and they lodged with him, and on the next day Peter went away with them and some brethren from Joppa went with him.” Verse 23.

It says the following day they came to Caesarea and Cornelius was waiting for them and he had called his friends and relatives. Verse 24.

“Then he said to them, You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with anybody of another nation; but, God has shown me that I should not call any man uncommon or unclean.” Verse 28.

Peter did not start eating unclean foods at this point. He understood that God was trying to teach him to not call any man common or unclean.

Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him; but what comes out. (Matthew 15:11.) Those things that come out are, “evil thoughts and murders, and adulteries, and thefts, and blasphemies.” Verse 19.

Everybody has some habits that are undesirable, that cause discouragement, realizing they are hooked and are slaves to those habits. So how can a person have victory over their undesirable habits?

Mark Twaine said, “It is not hard to quit smoking, I’ve quit a thousand times.”

We become slaves to these habits. The Bible says that people become bound, or enslaved, by their sinful habits. But God can deliver you from your evil habits. The Bible says, “But as many as received him, (that is, Jesus) to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12.

Some people think it doesn’t matter what the food is, as long as you have prayed over it. A clergyman one time took this position and there was a young lady who said, “All right, I’m going to test this out.” This lady fixed a dish, and invited the clergyman to dinner. She said, “Before you eat this food I need to tell you something. I have put some strychnine into the entree, but pray over it and bless it, and you will be able to eat it.”

The clergyman decided not to eat that day. God wants you to have good health, but He needs your cooperation and to remember the reason He said to stay away from certain foods and chemicals. It is so you will not suffer the consequences of using them, and get the diseases that go with their use.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” John 10:10.

He wants to give you eternal life, and very soon He is going to come in the clouds of heaven to give you eternal life. But right now, before He comes, He would like you to have good health.

Maybe there is somebody saying, “I’m such a slave to my evil habits, I cannot get free.” You may not be able to get free, but God can set you free. The Bible says, “The things which are impossible with man are possible with God.” Matthew 19:26.

God wants to set you free. “Beloved,” John wrote, “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health.” III John 1:2.

You can be delivered from evil habits, and have better health if you can believe that “all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23. Jesus wants to set you free from every habit. He wants you to have health right now and if He is going to give you health right now, you need to choose to cooperate, to obey, and to live according to what is written in His word.

An evangelist was having some meetings. He presented in one meeting what the Bible said about food and drink and different things like that.

After the meeting a man came to him and said, “I have to talk to you.”

“I’m in trouble for what you said tonight, because there is almost no food that I can eat. Any kind of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, anything, even beef, I can’t eat without breaking out in allergic reactions. There is only one kind of food that I can eat, and not get sick.”

The evangelist enquired what food that was.

“Well,” the man said, “it is pork. That is the only food I can eat. If I eat anything else, I get sick and you just showed me from the Bible that God said not to eat it. Now what am I going to do?”

The evangelist told him he was willing to go to this man’s house and take some elders with him. They would pray over him and ask the Lord to deliver him so that he could eat other kinds of food that the Lord allowed to be eaten.

The man was willing to try it so they came to his house. It was in the evening and they knelt around this man who could not eat anything but pork, and prayed to the God of heaven. “Lord, You have said in Your word that You do not want Your children to eat pork. You have said it over and over again in Your book, both in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. This man can’t eat anything except pork. We pray that You will deliver him from whatever his bodily affliction is that keeps him from eating anything besides pork without getting sick.”

When they finished the prayer, they got up and went home. The evangelist was very nervous that night. He wondered what would happen.

The man went to bed at about 10:00 at night and as he was lying in bed he was thinking, “If there is a God in heaven, and He said in His book that I am not to eat pork, and He is going to deliver me so that I don’t have to eat pork, that means that I don’t have to eat pork now and I can eat whatever I want to.”

He decided he was going to find out, so he got up. It was late at night but he went to a fast food place. He hadn’t been able to eat any dairy products for a long, long time. But he thought, “The Lord has delivered me. They prayed that the Lord would deliver me; I believe that He did and I’m just going to take God at His word. The Bible says not to eat pork so I am going to eat something else.”

He went to a Dairy Queen and he said, “I want you to fix me a banana split sundae and I want you to put everything on it; all the fixings.” They even put a maraschino cherry on top. Here it was late at night, he had a big banana split and he ate the whole thing. Then he thought, “Well, I don’t feel bad; I am going to go back to bed.”

So he went back to bed and slept all night. The next morning he was so excited. He hadn’t had any indigestion or any problem at all. He was so excited, he got up and got dressed and went straight to see the minister and told him his story.

He said, “The Lord delivered me.” And from that time on, he never ate any pork again and he wasn’t sick either. The Lord delivered him that night.

God will deliver anybody from whatever their affliction or slavery to habit is that is contrary to His word, when they want to do His will and simply ask Him for victory.

I have seen God deliver people over and over again, both men and women from their old habits. God wants you to have good health, and if you are willing to cooperate, God will work. Don’t let the devil discourage you over anything we have studied here.

Remember what God told the Israelites that, “if you will keep my laws, you are not going to get the diseases the Egyptians are getting.” What were those diseases? Heart disease, cancer, atherosclerosis, tooth decay, and all those kinds of things.

The Lord said, “You are not going to have to get those diseases if you will keep My laws, and do what I want you to do.”

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316–788–5559.

Health – The Dangers of Pork Eating Exposed

Taken from Good Health Publishing Company, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1897. Retypeset from the original 1897 edition.

Pork-raising has come to be one of the great industries of this country, and since the supply is wholly regulated by the demand, it may be taken as a proper index of the prodigious quantities of swine’s flesh which are daily required to satisfy the gustatory demands of the American people. No other kind of animal food is so largely used as pork in its various forms of preparation. …

In the case of no other animal is so large a portion of the dead carcass utilized as food. It seems to be considered that pork is such a delicacy that not a particle should be wasted. The fat and lean portions are eaten fresh, or carefully preserved by salting or smoking or both. The tail is roasted; the snout, ears, and feet are pickled and eaten as souse; the intestine and lungs are eaten as tripe or made into sausages; black pudding is made of the blood; the liver, spleen, and kidneys are also prized; the pancreas and other glands are considered great delicacies; while even the skin is made into jelly. In fact, nothing is left of the beast, not even the bristles, which the shoemaker claims. Surely it must be quite an important matter, and one well deserving attention, if it can be shown that an animal which is thus literally devoured, and that in such immense quantities, is not only unfit for food, but one of the prime causes of many loathsome and painful maladies. …

A Live Hog Examined

Straighten out his fore legs. Now observe closely. Do you see the open sore or issue, a few inches above his foot on the inner side? Do you say it is a mere accidental abrasion? Find the same on the other leg; it is rather a wise and wonderful provision of nature. Grasp the leg high up and press downward. Now you see its utility, as a mass of corruption pours out. That opening is the outlet of a sewer. With the offensive matter which discharges from it, you can be able to trace all through the body of the animal.

What must be the condition of the body of an animal so foul as to require a regular system of drainage to convey away its teeming filth? Sometimes the outlet gets closed by the accumulation of external filth. Then this sewer stream ceases to flow, and the animal quickly sickens and dies unless the owner cleanses the parts, and so opens anew the feculent fountain, and allows the festering poison to escape.

What dainty morsels those same feet and legs make—pickled pig’s feet! Do you suppose the corruption with which they are saturated has any influence upon their taste and healthfulness?

A Dead Hog Examined

Do you imagine that the repulsiveness of this loathsome creature is only on the outside? That within everything is pure and wholesome? Just as sickening and disgusting, as is the exterior, it is, in comparison with what it covers, a fair cloak, hiding a mass of disease and rottenness which grows filthier as we penetrate deeper and deeper beneath the skin.

What Is Lard?

Just under the foul and putrid skin we find a mass of fat from two to six inches in thickness, covering a large portion of the body. Some say lard is animal oil; an excellent thing for consumptives; a very necessary kind of food in cold weather. Lard, animal oil, very truly; and, we will add a synonym for disease, scrofula, torpid liver. Where did all that fat come from, or how happened it to be so heaped up around that poor hog? Surely it is not natural; for fat is only deposited in large quantities for the purpose of keeping the body warm in winter. This fat is much more than is necessary for such a purpose, and is much greater in amount than ever exists upon the animal in a state of nature. It is evidently the result of disease. So gross have been the habits of the animal, so great has been the foulness of its body, that its excretory organs—its liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, and intestines—have been entirely unable to carry away the impurities which the animal has been all its life accumulating. And even the extensive system of sewerage with its constant stream, which we have already described, was insufficient to the task of purging so vile a body of the debris which abounded in every organ and saturated every tissue. Consequently this great flood of disease made its way through the veins and arteries into the tissues, and there accumulated as fat! Delectable morsel, a slice of fat pork, isn’t it? Concentrated, consolidated filth!

Then the fatter the hog, the more diseased he is? Certainly. A few years ago, there were on exhibition at the great cattle show in England a couple of hogs which had been stuffed with oil cake until they were the greatest monsters of obesity ever exhibited. Of course they took the first premium; and if a premium had been awarded to the animals which were capable of producing the most disease, it is quite probable that they would have headed the list still.

Lard, then, obtained from the flesh of the hog by heating, is nothing more than extract of a diseased carcass! Who that knows its character would dare to defile himself with this “broth of abominable things”?

Disgusting Developments

Now let us take a little deeper look, prepared to find disease and corruption more abundant the deeper we go. Observe the glands which lie about the neck. Instead of being of their ordinary size, and composed of ordinary gland structure, we find them surrounded by large masses of scrofulous (rod-shaped bacteria that produce spores) tissue. Perhaps tuberculosis degeneration had already taken place. If so, the soft, cheesy, infectious mass is ready to sow broadcast the seeds of consumption and premature death. …

Now take a deeper look still, and examine the lungs of this much-prized animal. If he is more than a few months old, you will be likely to find large numbers of tubercles (bacteria). If he is much more than a year old, you will be more likely than not to find a portion of the lung completely consolidated. Yet all of this filthy, diseased mass is cooked as a delicious morsel. If the animal had escaped the butcher’s knife a few years, he would have died of tuberculosis consumption.

But what kind of a liver would you expect such an animal to have? Is not excessive fatness one of the surest evidences of a diseased and inactive liver? Then a fat hog must have a dreadfully diseased bile manufactory. Make a cut into its substance. In seventy-five cases out of a hundred you will find it filled with abscesses. In a larger percentage still will be found the same diseased products which seem to infest every organ, every tissue, every structure of the animal. Yet these same rotten, diseased, scrofulous livers are eaten and relished by thousands of people.

Taking just a glance at the remaining contents of the abdomen, in every part evidences, unmistakably, of scrofula, fatty degeneration, and tuberculosis masses are noticed.

Where Scrofula Comes From

The word scrofula is derived from the Latin scrofu, which means a sow. The ancient Romans evidently believed that scrofula originated with the hog, and hence they attached the name of the beast to the disease. Saying that a man has scrofula, then, is equivalent to saying that he has the hog disease. After we have seen that the hog is the very embodiment of scrofulous disease, can anyone doubt the accuracy of the conclusion of the Romans who named the disease?

Origin of the Tapeworm

We shall attempt to trace the history of this horrid parasite only so far as concerns its introduction into the human system.

With this end in view, let us glance again at the diseased liver. It will be no uncommon thing if we discover numberless little sacs, or cysts, about the size of a hemp seed. As soon as they are taken into the human stomach, the gastric juice dissolves off the membranous sac, and liberates a minute animal, which had been lurking there for months, perhaps, awaiting this very opportunity. This creature, although very small, is furnished with a head and four suckers that attach themselves firmly to the wall of the intestine, and the parasite begins to grow. In a short time an addition to its body is produced posteriorly, attached like a joint. Soon a duplicate of this appears, and then another, and another, until the body attains a length of several yards. Not infrequently tapeworms measuring thirty to one hundred feet in length are found in the intestines of human beings.

Under some circumstances the eggs of the tapeworm find entrance into the body, when the disease is developed in another form. The embryonic worms consist of a pair of hooklets so shaped that a twisting motion will cause them to penetrate the tissues after the fashion of a corkscrew. Countless numbers of these may be taken into the system, since a single tapeworm has been found to produce more than two million eggs. By the boring motion referred to, which seems to be spontaneous in the young worm, the parasites penetrate into every part of the body. Penetrating the walls of the blood vessels, they are swept along in the life-current, thus finding their way even to the most delicate structures of the human system. They have been found in all the organs of the body, even the brain and the delicate organs of vision not escaping the depredations of this destructive parasite.

When this lively migrating germ gets fully settled in the tissues, it becomes enveloped in a little cell, and remains quiet until taken into the stomach of some other animal, when it is liberated, and speedily develops into a full-grown tapeworm, as already described. But although quiet, the imprisoned parasite is by no means harmless. The cysts formed often attain such a size as to endanger life. When developed in the eye, they occasion blindness; in the lungs or other organs, they interfere with the proper functions of the organs; in the liver, which is the frequent rendezvous of these destructive creatures, a most serious and fatal disease known as hydatids is occasioned by the extraordinary development of the cysts, which are originally not larger than a pea, but by excessive growth assume enormous proportions. The same disease may occur in any other part of the body in which the germs undergo development.

The germs of these dreadful animals are found not only in the liver, but in other organs as well. Pork containing them is said to be “measly.” Sometimes the condition is discovered; but that such is not always the case is evidenced by the fact that tapeworm is every year becoming more frequent. It has long been common in Germany. In Iceland it has become extremely common. In Abyssinia the occurrence of the worm has become so frequent, owing to the bad dietetic habits of the people, that it has been said that every Abyssinian has a tapeworm. In this country [United States of America] the parasite is most common among butchers and cooks.

Some time since, we received from a friend in the South a specimen of pork which was so densely peopled with the germs of this dreadful parasite that every cubic inch of flesh contained more than a score of them. The writer has in his microscopical cabinet specimens of the embryonic worms taken from hydatid tumors of the liver of a patient who died of the disease in Bellevue Hospital, New York.

The poor victim who is forced to entertain this unwelcome guest suffers untold agonies, and finally dies, if he cannot succeed in dislodging the parasite.

The Terrible Trichina

Now, my friend, assist your eyesight by a good microscope, and you will be convinced that you have only just caught a glimpse of the enormous filthiness, the inherent badness, and the intrinsic ugliness of this loathsome animal. Take a thin slice of lean flesh; place it upon the stage of your microscope, adjust the eyepiece, and look. You will see displayed before your eyes hundreds of voracious little animals, each coiled up in its little cell, waiting for an opportunity to escape from its prison walls and begin its destined work of devastation.

An eminent gentleman in Louisville has made very extensive researches upon the subject, and asserts that in at least one hog out of every ten these creatures may be found. A committee appointed by the Chicago Academy of Medicine to investigate this subject reported that they found in their examinations at the various packing-houses in the city, one hog in fifty infested with trichina. Other investigations have shown a still greater frequency of the disease.

A few years ago I obtained a small portion of the flesh of a person who had died from trichina poisoning. Upon subjecting it to a careful microscopical examination with a good instrument, I discovered multitudes of little worms. Each individual animal seen was enclosed in a little cyst, or sac, which is dissolved by the gastric juice when taken into the stomach. The parasite, being thus set at liberty, immediately penetrates the thin muscular walls of the stomach, and gradually works its way through the whole muscular system. It possesses the power of propagating its species with wonderful rapidity; and a person once infected is almost certain to die a lingering death of excruciating agony.

In Helmstadt, Prussia, one hundred and three persons were poisoned in this way, and twenty of them died within a month.

It is doubtless not known how many deaths are really due to this cause; for many persons die of strange, unknown diseases, which baffle the doctors’ skill both as to cure and diagnosis. Trichinosis very much resembles various other diseases in some of its stages, and is likely to be attributed to other than its true cause. It is thought by prominent medical men that hundreds of people die of the disease without suspecting its true nature.

Pork Unclean

Have we not seen that a hog is nothing better than an animated mass of physical defilement? Few who have seen the animal will dispute that his filthiness is a most patent fact. How wise and sanitary, then, was the command of God to the ancient Jews: “It is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their dead carcass” [Deuteronomy 14:8].

Although it may not be said that this law still exists, and is binding as a moral obligation, it is quite plain that the physical basis upon which the law is founded is as good today as at any previous period. Could it be proved that the hog had kept pace with advancing civilization, and had improved his habits, we might possibly feel more tolerance for him; but he is evidently just as unclean as ever, and just as unfit for food.

Adam Clarke [British Methodist Theologian and Biblical scholar (1762–1832)], when once requested to give thanks at a repast of which pork constituted a conspicuous part, used the following words: “Lord, bless this bread, these vegetables, and this fruit; and if thou canst bless under the gospel what thou didst curse under the law, bless this swine’s flesh.”

The Mohammedans, as well as the Jews, abstain entirely from the use of pork. Such is also the case with some of the other tribes of Asia and Africa.

Evil Effects of Pork-Eating

At the head of the list we place scrofula. How almost universally it abounds. How few are entirely untainted by it. How do chronic sore eyes, glandular enlargements, obstinate ulcers, disfigured countenances, unsightly eruptions, including the long list of skin diseases, all proclaim the defilement of the blood with this vile humor. So, too, do the vast army of dwarfed, strumose, precocious children tell the same story.

Erysipelas, too, a dreadful scourge, owes more to pork than to any other predisposing cause.

Leprosy, that terrible disease, so common in Eastern countries, and now beginning to show itself upon our [United States] own shores, is thought by many to be largely attributable to pork-eating.

“Biliousness,” a name which covers nearly every bad condition for which no appropriate name can be found, is notoriously the result of pork-eating. This is the main reason why so many people complain of biliousness in the spring, after gorging themselves with fat pork all winter. The liver is overworked in attempting to remove from the system such a mass of impurity as is received in the eating of pork. It consequently becomes clogged, congested, torpid. Then follow all the ills consequent upon the irritating effects of the accumulation of biliary matters in the blood. The skin becomes tawny and jaundiced. The kidneys are overworked. Perhaps fever results. A partial clearing out then occurs, which enables the individual to pass along for a time again until some epidemic or contagious disease claims him as its lawful victim.

Consumption is another disease which is not easily separable from pork-eating. In fact, scrofula is its great predisposing cause. The narrow chests, projecting shoulders, thin features, and lank limbs of so many young boys and girls are evidence of a consumptive tendency, of which a scrofulous diathesis is the predisposing cause.

Dispepsia, that malady of many forms, frequently results from the use of pork, especially when fat and salted or smoked pork, one of the most indigestible of foods, is used. Pork requires between five and six hours for its digestion, while wholesome food will digest in half that time. This is the reason for the notion that salt pork is an excellent thing to “stick by the rib.”

Tapeworm, we have already mentioned as the result of eating measly pork. It is a very difficult disease to cure, and often baffles the best medical skill for many years. Few ever detect the cysts in the flesh of the hog unless their attention has been directed to the matter.

Trichinae produce in man an incurable disease. No remedy can stay the ravages of the parasite. All pork-eaters are in constant danger; for the worm is too small to be seen without the aid of the microscope. However, this disease is not nearly so formidable as the others named; for it is not so common, neither does it entail any weight of suffering upon posterity.

Apologies for Pork-Eating Examined

On every hand we are met by all sorts of excuses for continuing to make swine’s flesh an article of diet in spite of the striking evidences of its dangerous character. Let us examine a few of the most common of these apologies, and test their value.

Pork is Necessary as a Heat-forming Food in Winter. Are there not plenty of more healthful animals than hogs to supply all the animal fat necessary? Certainly there are; and, better still, we have the various grains and farinaceous vegetables, which are abundantly sufficient to furnish all the heat required by man in any latitude.

Our Fathers and Grandfathers Ate Pork, and yet Lived to very Old Age. Ah! yes, my good friend, and you are suffering the penalty of their transgressions. You may not be aware of it yet; but more than likely your old age will not be so free from ills as was theirs. And quite as probably you may even now see in your children the results of your own, as well as your father’s, disregard of the dictates of sound sense in feasting upon the hog. Their frequent sore eyes, sore mouths, tetter, crysipelas, and other eruptions, are all evidences of the scrofula which they have inherited.

Neither can you urge the plea, “Pork does not hurt me.” No man ever became a drunkard who did not make the same excuse for liquor. You may not feel it now; but the future will expose your delusion.

The Hog is Cleanly if You Give Him a Chance to Be So. It is surprising to us that any one who knows anything of the real nature of a hog can make such an assertion. Who has not seen hogs wallowing in the foulest mire right in the middle of a green, fragrant clover pasture? The dirty creature will turn away from the nicest bed of straw to revel in a stagnant, seething mud hole. If one of his companions dies in the lot or pen, he will wait until putrefaction occurs, and then greedily devour the stinking carcass. The filthy brute will even devour his own excrement, and that when not unusually pressed by hunger.

The hog is by nature a scavenger, and is especially adapted for that purpose. Let him pursue his natural hunger.

Sufficient Heat Will Kill the Trichinae and Incipient Tapeworms. Surely, dead worms cannot kill any one; but it must be delightful for the pork-eater to contemplate his ham or sausage with the reflection that he is partaking of a diet of worms. The Frenchman sometimes eats earthworms; the African relishes lizards; and one philosopher so far overcame his natural prejudices as to eat spiders. “How disgusting!” you say, and you shut your eyes and swallow a million monsters at a meal, because they are cooked and so cannot bite. The louse-eating Patagonian cannot equal that. But it should be remembered that in order that the parasite should be killed, every part of the meat must be subjected to a heat of at least 212 degrees which is quite difficult to do, and is seldom accomplished. A whole family was poisoned by eating pork-chops, which were well cooked upon the outside.

What Shall We Do With the Hog?

Stop raising him. Turn him loose. He will soon find his place, like the five thousand which ran down into the sea in the days of Christ. If he must be raised, use him for illuminating our halls and houses. Lubricate our car and wagon with his abundant fat. Do anything with him but eat him. It would be dangerous to adopt the principle that we must devour everything which is in the way, or which cannot be otherwise utilized. Adam Clarke thought of one appropriate use to make of the hog. He said that if he was going to make an offering to the devil, he would employ a hog stuffed with tobacco.

Reader, what will you do? Can you continue to use as food such an abominable article as pork, and in so doing run so many risks as you must do? And if you decide that the animal is unfit to claim a place upon your own table, can you conscientiously raise and sell him to your neighbors’ injury?

Cases of Trichina Poisoning

The reported cases of death from this terrible cause have become so frequent that we are no longer startled by them. Ten years ago the description of the death of a person literally infested with worms, and tortured to death by their inroads upon the system, would have excited feelings of the deepest horror; but these accounts have now become so common that little interest is shown in them, and death from this cause is one of the regular causes of additions to the mortuary list. Nevertheless, the disease is divested of none of its real horrors by its common occurrence. No one is safe; any one who uses swine’s flesh as food in any form is liable to the disease. Salting, smoking, and the other ordinary means of curing pork do not destroy the parasite.

A few years ago, Dr. Germer, health officer of Erie, Pennsylvania, was sent for in haste to see a patient who was supposed to be suffering from the cholera. He hastened to the bedside, and found a whole family sick with the symptoms much resembling those of cholera, though the season was then midwinter. Suspecting the possible cause, he secured a specimen from the pork barrel, and hastened to his office. Upon making a careful microscopic examination, he found myriads of the loathsome parasites in every part of the flesh examined. The writer prepared numerous microscopic specimens of the worm in various aspects from a portion of the infected meat kindly furnished by the doctor. These have been shown to hundreds of persons who were skeptical respecting the existence of such a pest.

In this case the hog had been fattened on the premises, having been purchased when quite young by the owner, a German, from a drove of hogs which passed through the city. It was known that, previous to the purchase of the hog, two of the drove had died on the road, and had been devoured by their scavenger companions. No doubt the deaths were the result of trichinosis; and by devouring the victims the whole herd became infected. It would be difficult to estimate what an amount of suffering and death was entailed by the consumption of this great herd of trichinous hogs. Several members of the German family died, together with several of the neighbors. Those who survived the acute stages of the disease escaped only to linger out a painful existence in the chronic and incurable state of the malady.

Some three years later the writer received a specimen of pork from a gentleman in Wisconsin who requested an examination of the same, stating that he procured it from the pork barrel of a neighbor whose family were suffering from a disease which the doctors called cholera infantum. Several of the children had died, and other members of the family were still dangerously ill. The pork had been suspected and examined, but no trichinae were found by the observers, though several physicians had inspected it. Upon making a careful microscopical inspection of the specimen, it was found to be alive with young trichinae.

Adapted from, May 3, 2011.