Ellen G. White was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Born in 1827 in Gorham, Maine, her spiritual calling began at an early age. For the remainder of her life, she conducted a public ministry, spreading her revolutionary Christian thinking around the country and the world. In 1863, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was established and she became its first spiritual leader. Through her inspired guidance, what began as a handful of believers has grown to include millions of followers throughout the world. - Robert Cohen is a contributor for Square One Publishing Inc. titles including God's Nutritionist.
In 1863, Ellen Gould White became one of the spiritual founders and architects of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) faith. Believed to be a prophet of God, White was a woman of remarkable spiritual gifts. Today, her followers include some 13 million church members. The essence of Ellen G. White’s dietary philosophy on physical and spiritual health is presented in this book in the form of 500 divinely inspired “pearls of wisdom.” Each “pearl” was gleaned from letters, speeches, articles, and books that were written by White over her seventy-year career. Eventually, these writings were edited by the trustees of her estate and compiled in the work Counsels on Diet and Foods, first published in 1938. Long before America’s first fad diet book was written, Ellen G. White recognized the harmful effects of meat and dairy products on the human body, and her beliefs were eventually validated through scientific research. Fascinating excerpts from scientific magazines and peer-reviewed journals, verifying White’s inspired beliefs, are presented in this book along with each of her “pearls of wisdom.”
Over the years, Ellen G. White has become the most translated author in the history of American literature. During her writing career, she produced 50,000 pages of manuscript, which have been translated into 140 different languages. Many Adventists believe that her writings are just one level below that of the Scriptures.
Born Ellen Harmon on November 26, 1827, she married Preacher James White at seventeen years of age, and gave birth to their first child before her twentieth birthday. At the age of twenty-four, White published her first book in which she disclosed many of her own personal revelations. By age thirty-three, she was mother to four sons. Shortly after the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, she experienced her first vision of the relationship between physical health and spirituality. That vision became one of the cornerstones of the SDA religious credo.
Ellen and James were married for thirty-five years when James died. Ellen continued to write and lecture for an additional thirty-four years until her own death in 1915 at age eighty-seven. Through her passionate mission, some 136,000 Adventists came to believe that she was a messenger of God.
In 1870, White wrote, “Very many animals are sold for the city market known to be diseased by those who have sold them, and those who buy them are not always ignorant of the matter. Especially in larger cities this is practiced to a great extent, and meat eaters know not that they are eating diseased animals.” These prophetic words can easily apply to newly emerging diseases that are spread by animals, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as “Mad Cow Disease.”
At about the same time that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were arguing for women’s rights, Ellen G. White was advocating for animal rights. When Buffalo Bill was killing thousands of bison to feed railroad workers, Ellen G. White was organizing tens of thousands of people to love animals by not eating them. While General Custer was experiencing his last stand, Ellen G. White was taking a stand for animals that was heard by people throughout the world. To date, her movement has inspired over 13 million followers.
White’s dietary advice was combined with her compassion for animals. She wrote, “Animals are often transported long distances and subjected to great suffering in reaching a market. Taken from the green pastures and traveling for weary miles over the hot, dusty roads, or crowded into filthy cars, feverish and exhausted, often for many hours deprived of food and water, the poor creatures are driven to their death, that human beings may feast on the carcasses.” She also wrote, “Some animals that are brought to the slaughter seem to realize by instinct what is to take place, and they become furious, and literally mad. They are killed while in that state, and their flesh is prepared for market. Their meat is poison, and has produced, in those who have eaten it, cramps, convulsions, apoplexy, and sudden death. Yet the cause of all this suffering is not attributed to the meat.”
White also warned, “Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach.” Through her controversial declaration, “Animals from which milk is obtained are not always healthy. They may be diseased. A cow may be apparently well in the morning, and die before night. Then she was diseased in the morning, and her milk was diseased, but you did not know it,” she gained ardent followers. Today’s vegans would have applauded statements such as the following one, which was written in 1893: “Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients. The use of milk and sugar taken together should be avoided.”
White recognized that consumers needed alternatives to the standard American diet. In her millennium address of January 1, 1900, she told thousands of listeners, “The health food business is in need of means and of the active cooperation of our people that it may accomplish the work it ought to do. Its purpose is to supply the people with food which will take the place of flesh meat, and also milk and butter.” Her message to avoid milk included this food for thought, “If for dessert sweet cake is eaten with milk or cream, fermentation will be created in the stomach, and then the weak points of the human organism will tell the story. The brain will be affected by the disturbance in the stomach.”
White’s inspirations were revealed without the benefit of modern-day scientific peer-reviewed journals, which, by the late 1900s, had cumulatively published thousands of articles supporting the conclusion that adverse effects result from the consumption of milk and dairy products. Scientists living in 1870 did not dream of the existence of bovine growth hormones, nor did they possess the conclusive scientific link between bovine proteins and insulin-dependent diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis. There was little exposure to cancer, heart disease, asthma, and osteoporosis. Their nineteenth-century diets little resembled the foods eaten in our twenty-first century world, in which man has the ability to process foods in factories, add chemicals to emulsify and preserve, and refrigerate those foods to retard spoilage.
White dedicated seventy years of her life to health reform. Her 1883 advice rings true over 100 years later, “Fresh air, exercise, pure water, and clean, sweet premises, are within the reach of all, with but little expense; but drugs are expensive, both in the outlay of means, and the effect produced upon the system.”
It is my hope that you, the reader, will use this book as a daily inspiration, or as an uninterrupted reading event that may lead you to a lifestyle change or confirm what you already know: that diet influences every aspect of one’s physical, intellectual, and philosophical growth. If Ellen G. White were with us today, her voice, energy, and spirit would still be leading us on a way of life that is in tune with nature—in tune with God. Born long before her time, she was truly an amazing woman whose message is as relevant now as it was then. Here then are 500 pearls of wisdom from Ellen G. White to guide and inspire us all.