The Biblical Lifestyle

Preparing men and women for the soon Advent of Jesus by obedience to God's Word and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Articles on Health

The Biblical Lifestyle by Michael Snyder
The Sacred Calling of a Physician by Michael Snyder            Uploaded 4/30/09

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The Biblical lifestyle

The first part


Michael Snyder, MD

The goal of lifestyle medicine is to give you more life to enjoy the pleasure.  During our Biblical lifestyle seminars we teach the NEWSTART principles.  NEWSTART is an acronym for nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in the creator god.  The nutrition part of what we teach involves a Vegan diet.  A Vegan diet consists of based solely plant based diet.  So, if it has a face or a mother or if it comes from something that has a face or a mother, we do not advocate its use.  When I first advocate the use of a Vegan diet to my patients a common response is “that is too hard.” The reality is however, that learning how to cook Vegan style is the difficult part.  I often tell my patients that the key to success are good recipes or a good cookbook.  I explain to them, “Eating good food is not difficult.”  It is learning how to make that good food that has a steep learning curve.  This is one of the reasons that we have developed the Biblical Lifestyle Seminars.  Good health is not just about “knowing” but about “doing.”  My desire is to teach you how to live in the manner that the Bible tells us. This is the way that God intended man to live.

In the Bible, you will find a text located in the 3 John 2 that says, “beloved, I wish above all things they you would prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.” I believe that this was God’s intention from the beginning.  He is our creator.  As a creator, he knows what fuel works best in our bodies.  And if we look back to Genesis chapter one, we find that he gave us a Vegan diet.  In the beginning, God gave us a nutritional guide.  In Genesis 1:29 it says,

and God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is a upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree Yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

And when sin entered in, God gave us the animal food to eat which consisted of the vegetables.

The Bible also teaches us that we should exercise.  In the beginning, God made a perfect creation.  He gave a perfect diet to those creatures whom he created.  He also gave them perfect exercise.  We’ve read in Genesis how he gave to man the Garden of Eden to dress.  Man was not given tractors, cars, motorcycles, or any other type of vehicle to substitute for the exercise of his walking muscles.  He was to be a gardener at he was to walk; this is two of the best exercises recommended to man.  We try to teach our students to walk to 10,000 steps every day.  10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles in distance.  When I tell my patients this they often get a distraught look on their face while they are trying to imagine how they’re going to fit 5 miles of exercise into their already busy day.  “Relax” I quickly tell them, “every step counts, from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night.” What you need to do is buy yourself an inexpensive Pedometer.  Put it on in the morning when you get out of bed and take it off at night before you go to bed and see how many steps you’ve traveled.  Your goal is 10,000 steps every day.

We also urge a judicious use of water.  We recommend half your body weight in ounces.  So, if you allow a 150 pounds you should write about 75 ounces of water daily.  Science is also teaching us that we should get 10 to 40 minutes of pre-erythemal sunlight every day.  There are many new studies now showing that most Americans are vitamin D deficient.  I believe this is due to our inactive lifestyle in close proximity to fluorescent lighting.  To correct this, we need to go outside.  What better thing to do when we go outside, than to exercise in the fresh air.  We should get plenty of fresh air.  If we have an active lifestyle will find that much of our exercise will be spent in fresh air and sunshine.

The bible has a great deal to say about temperance.  Temperance teaches us to avoid things that are harmful for our bodies and to use the things that are good in moderation.  Things that are harmful to our body include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, fermented foods, and drugs.  We should avoid these substances altogether.  It was these issues of nutrition, temperance and trust in God that was involved with the fall of man in eating of the forbidden fruit.  If man had obeyed God, he would never have fallen.  He would still be living by faith in the Garden.

There are four types of rest that we teach in our seminars.  The first is physical rest that includes sleep.  Approximately 8 hours of sleep is essential for good health.  Recent studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to hypertension.  In one study male college students were sleep deprived for one week.  The result showed that those who are sleep deprived have a much higher risk of diabetes.  Most Americans do not get enough sleep.  In a Los Angeles Times report it was estimated that even on the weekends when we tend to get our most sleep residents of Los Angeles average only about 7 hours of sleep per night.  The second type of rest that is essential for good health is mental rest.  This is the type of rest that we get when we go on vacation, enjoy a fun activities, and may even achieve during exercise.  The idea is to cause our mind to forgot about the day-to-day stresses of life.  We need to relax.  And this is somewhat related to the third type of rest; spiritual rest.  Spiritual rest as you may well imagine would include activities of meditation.  In Christianity, we stress the necessity of prayer in a healthy spiritual life.  Prayer is the lifeline between man and God.  It is a communication that is sacred and yet casual as one friend speaking to another.  As our Creator, he desires direct communication with each one of us.  And the good news is, we do not need any other human agency to intercede in our behalf.  We may go directly to the Creator of the universe.  Heb. 4:16 says,

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

Finally the fourth type of rest, is the ultimate rest, the Sabbath rest.  The bible speaks of the Sabbath as one of two institutions given in a Eden.  God gave man the Sabbath and marriage in the garden.  The world scorns both.  Humanity cannot achieve true happiness or peace without a high regard of both. Luke 4:16 says that Jesus kept the Sabbath,

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Jesus obeyed His Father, in Exodus 20:8 we read,

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 

Lifestyle vs Medicine

The difference between lifestyle medicine and traditional medicine is both very great and yet very small.  Traditional medicine desires to alleviate the sufferings of man, so does lifestyle medicine.  It is how this is achieved that is different.  Lifestyle medicine tends to focus on prevention.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  That is if we can spend a little bit and prevent a disease, then that may be much more valuable than trying to cure the disease once it has occurred.  Lifestyle medicine emphasizes prevention.  Those practitioners of lifestyle medicine teach that through the foods we eat and the lifestyle that we live we may achieve a disease free state.  Traditional medicine waits for disease to occur and then tries to treat it.  This is proven very costly.  In fact, most media outlets report that the United States has a health care crisis.  Biblical lifestyle Seminars believes that this crisis could be alleviated by everyone in the United States adopting NEWSTART principles.

We want to teach you how to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.  This is a lifestyle where you can learn how to reverse the effects of adult onset diabetes and coronary artery disease.  The main focus of Biblical Lifestyle Seminars is diabetes reversal, physical fitness, weight loss, coronary artery disease reversal, heart attack prevention, and lifestyle modification.  To understand how this works we have to examine the differences between the standard American diet and a Vegan diet.  The standard American diet (SAD) is a sad diet.  It is high in fat content, low in fiber, high in refined foods and has been implicated in the development of many lifestyle diseases.  It is a diet that includes meat, cheese, eggs and milk.  While many will look at these components as healthful, they are mistaken.  There are now a multitude of studies associating these foods with diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, osteoporosis and several types of cancer such as breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers.

Biblical Lifestyle Seminars uses the best scientific research we can find to justify the Biblical teachings we present.  But, we are not shy concerning our faith.  God has given a great gift to this world in these last days.  That gift is the spirit of prophecy.  We believe that Ellen G White was the recipient of such a gift.  While the Seventh-day Adventist church is often reluctant to use the writings of Ellen White, we have found that many in the world are not.  In fact, many researchers use the writings of Ellen white as a nutritional guide.  One such researcher is Clive Mckay, Ph.D at the department of nutrition at Cornell University who said “in spite of the fact that the writings of Mrs. White were written long before the advent of modern scientific nutrition, no better overall guide is available today.” Another well known nutritional expert is Nathan Pritikin who said in 1979, “I think that if you one to get to the originator of the proper diet, you have to go back to Ellen White.  She laid the guidelines that unfortunately are not being adhered to as strictly as they should be.”

So, what exactly does Ellen White say about flesh foods?  From her book entitled, Counsels on Diets and Foods we find on page 387,

Flesh meats will depreciate the blood. Cook meat with spices, and eat it with rich cakes and pies, and you have a bad quality of blood. The system is too heavily taxed in disposing of this kind of food. The mince pies and the pickles, which should never find a place in any human stomach, will give a miserable quality of blood. And a poor quality of food, cooked in an improper manner, and insufficient in quantity, cannot make good blood. Flesh meats and rich food, and an impoverished diet, will produce the same results.

These councils were written over 100 years ago before the advent of modern medicine.  It is amazing that she could understand that the blood carries nutrients that supports health in the body.  It is the nutrients, toxins, oxygen, and other substances that are carried by the blood which can lead two health or disease.  For example, blood that is full of fat and harmful proteins leads to clog arteries and high levels of the inflammation that promote coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.

Lifestyle and Disease

Dr. Lamont Murdoch of Loma Linda university school of medicine has said, “faulty genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” We have seen in scientific research where there is much made of genetic tendencies towards lifestyle diseases.  But the truth is that our bibles teach us in Exodus 15: 26,

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that heals you.”

So, if we are obedient to God then He would not put Egyptian diseases upon us.  The question is, what constitutes Egyptian disease?  The answer is found in studies of anthropology and research of Egyptian mummies which has found the same lifestyle diseases in them.  Now, we may just want to chalk this up to diseases that are common to man.  But, in mummies that were found to be vegetarian these lifestyle diseases are virtually nonexistent.  So, while modern scientific research tends to lean toward lifestyle diseases being caused by faulty genetics, God teaches us that lifestyle diseases are caused by faulty lifestyle.  This is especially true concerning diet.  When we eat a diet that is rich in meat, cheese and other dairy products we are susceptible to the diseases of Egypt or lifestyle disease.  Is God correct?  My faith in God says “yes.”

I might also point out that modern science has not prevented the doubling of their rate of obesity in the United States over the past 20 years.  This increase in obesity correlates with a huge increase in type two diabetes.  In fact, one might argue that it is modern scientific research that has caused the doubling of the rate of obesity in the United States.

Something has happened to our Food Supply, the amount of food consumed, or both.  Scientific research shows that humans are hardwired to consume a certain amount of food every day.  I’ll discuss this in more detail later.  The weight of evidence shows the something has happened to our Food Supply.  Our Food Supply has become more calorically dense.  It is higher in fat, more refined, more processed with less nutrients than ever before in the history of the United States.  According to the American diabetes association, the cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 including direct and indirect costs was $174 billion.  Costs that were related directly to medical expenses was $116 billion.  Other indirect costs included disability, work loss, and premature death which cost us $58 billion.  The cost of caring for someone with diagnosed diabetes is one out of every five total Health Care dollars.

I recently heard Dr. John McDougall arguing that over 300,000,000 people in the United States are sick.  You say as I did, hold on there!  What are you talking about!  That is nearly the whole total population of the United States.  To prove it, he stated the following, “almost all people over age 30 are overweight and a large portion, well over 30%, are obese.” Being overweight and being obese are lifestyle diseases, and as such increase our risk of other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.  Therefore, he is correct there are over 300,000,000 sick people in the USA.  I’d read an article about a year ago that was saying that this next generation of young people will be the first generation of Americans that wilt not outlive their parents.  They’re estimating that they will begin seeing congestive heart failure in this generation when they are in their twenties.

The reason for this is obvious.  A Time magazine article dated June 23, 2008 is examined the obesity epidemic.  They argue that in the leanest states such as Utah and Colorado only 21 and 22% respectively, of children are overweight but in other states like Washington, DC and Kentucky there is an overweight rate of about 40%.  The article goes on to tell us that the cost of food may be part of the reason for this epidemic.  While fruits and vegetables rose in price nearly 75% between 1989 in 2005, the price of fats fell almost 26%.  Their article also points out that in 1994 children with a diagnosis of diabetes only 5% of them were type 2, now in 2008 is estimated that somewhere between 30 and 40% of children with diabetes are type 2.  It starts at birth, we use baby formula instead of breast milk that subjects are children to its 60 fold increase of pneumonia in the first your life, a 2 to 4 times to increase risk of SIDS, a tenfold increase in hospitalization in the first year of life, lower on IQ scores by an average of 10 points, behavior and speech difficulties and increase rates of infections, eczema, asthma, and type 1 diabetes.

And if the food that we eat were problem enough, most people are not interested in a lifestyle change that includes a Vegan diet.  The problem is there are very few other lifestyle changes that one can make that will prevent lifestyle diseases.  The medical industry is bogged down by a behemoth drug industry.  It is a multi-billion dollar industry that has become so ingrained in the way that doctors think about and treat patients that it is difficult, and nearly legally impossible, to not treat lifestyle diseases with their drugs.  But even in their own literature, they admit that there are many serious side effects, many of which are worse than the disease are treating.  Coupled with the fact that the cost of these medications is so high that most patients cannot afford them, we find ourselves in a perplexing predicament.  On the one hand, we must treat with medication or face legal liabilities while on the other hand, the patient can barely afford the treatment.  Let us take a look at the brand name Crestor, which is the most potent statin available on the market.  To it has the potential to decrease negative event occurrences by less than 1%.  At a cost of approximately $3.45 per day, the number of doses that would be have to be dispensed in a given population to prevent one cardiovascular event would cost nearly $300,000.

In an interesting surveillance study that looked at patients with lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, and constipation and patients that chose to participate.  Over two years of standard treatment regiments with medications were given and not one patient was cured.  Not one patient had their diabetes reversed.  This is in stark contrast to the experience and I’ve seen in my office.  Every single patient, now over 200, that are on the Biblical Lifestyle Program have seen improvement, of the couple dozen diabetics that are on our program, most of them have seen complete reversal.  Including one 68 year old female who was insulin dependent type 2 diabetic with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and was obese.  She was on medications for these, a total of nine different medications.  She is now medication free, including her insulin.  Her last hemoglobin A1C was 5.7. 

Another patient, a 39 your old male was started on insulin an oral diabetic medication for his newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes by the ER and was sent to a primary care Physician.  Fortunately, for him, he found me and I put him on our program which he happily consented to do because he did not want to take medications.  Within a few weeks he was completely off medications with a hemoglobin A1C of 5.5 after the first 3 months.  For those of you who do not understand what a Hemoglobin A1C is, it is a measure of damage to red blood cells by glucose over the previous ninety days.  Therefore, it allows us to estimate the average glucose level in a patient over that 90 day span.  Anything under 6.0 is normal.  These are not the only cases where I have seen complete reversal, there are many more.

But What About Supplements

Another issue I commonly find in my practice revolves around the use of supplements.  People want to find a natural remedy for their disease as long as it does not involve changing the food they eat.  So they ask, “what about supplements aren’t there in any vitamins or minerals or herbs that I could take that would too are my disease.”  In just a brief perusal of herbs you will find from an herbal PDR that every herb has side effects just like medications.  I remember when I was in college I had met an acquaintance who was really into herbs and supplements.  He was just continuing to get sicker the more he took, and so the individual would find more supplements and herbs to treat his side effects.  Finally, his load of supplements and herbs became so heavy they finally killed him.  Recent science has shown that vitamin A can damage your bones, vitamin E increases the risk of dying, and Folic acid causes heart disease.  Other studies have shown that beta carotene increases the risk of cancer.  Many other popular supplements have been found to do nothing but drain your wallet.  For the cost of many people’s average supplement regimens they could easily afford organic Vegan Foods which would bring true health to their bodies.

I generally oppose the concept of universal Health Care.  I believe the model in Canada and Great Britain have shown us that it would be detrimental to our seniors or anyone who is really sick.  With six month waits for common surgeries it will not satisfy the fast food mentality of Americans.  There is one concept in universal Health Care that makes sense—a Vegan diet for every one!

Is it true?

Is it true that fat people eat too much?  Did you know that there are over two million species on earth?  But there are only three species that have a problem with their weight; humans, dogs, and cats.  Other species do not have to eat less to maintain their weight.  Doesn’t eat-less exercise-more regimen work?  NO!!  It is a scientific well known fact that animals eating to their full satisfaction in their natural environments or niche will, over time, neither eat too much nor too little for optimal health. 

Science would reveal that in 51 years I have eaten about 51,000 pounds of food.  If I were 1% short what implications would that have for my health?  I would be seriously malnourished.  If I were 1% to over the 51,000 pounds what implications would that have for my health?  I would be seriously overweight.  So, plus or minus 1% of the amount of food that I’ve eaten could have serious consequences to my health.  How is this engineered?  It is due to natural mechanisms that god has built into our hard wiring.  The bible says in psalms 139:14,

I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Physiologically speaking, the body weighs the amount of food and the gut by volumetric stretch receptors and nutrient receptors.  These receptors perform an analysis of that content, by weighing and analyzing calories based on a vegetarian diet.  The body is actually hardwired to receive a specific amount of food at each meal and then be satisfied.  To be consistent with a Vegan diet we will use 500 calories as that target.  So when a Vegan eats a meal when they reach the consumption of 500 calories the stomach stretch receptors and nutrient receptors send messages to the brain saying “we are full, eat no more,” this is how we feel full, and are satiated. 

A practical example of this would be to eat an apple.  An apple is about 5/6 fiber and water and about 1/5 carbohydrates.  Based on the fact that carbohydrates contain 1800 calories per pound that would mean that the apple has about 300 calories per pound.  If, the apple weighs ½ lb., then it would have about 150 calories.  The stomach can very precisely, measure this.  It analyzes the food and knows that it needs approximately 350 more calories to be satiated. 

So, what would happen if we fed the gut more calorically dense foods.  We could actually trick the gut into believing that we have put 500 calories in it when in reality we have put 800 or 1000 or more.  This is easily done by substituting some vegetables which have a caloric density of 200 calories per pound with some ice cream which has a caloric density of 3200 calories per pound, see Table 1.  Since calorically dense foods tend to be nutritionally lacking, the nutrient receptors did not think that the ice cream was enough food.  So, it decided that the individual needed more food, when instead, they actually increased their caloric intake for their meal from 500 calories, to well over 7 or 8 hundred calories.  People do not gain weight because they overeat but rather because they eat too many calories.

What would happen if this individual had a genetic predisposition to being obese?  This problem would be exacerbated many fold.  Processed foods fool the gut stretch receptors.  Stretch receptors are fooled by stripping the fiber out of processed foods.  Nutrient receptors are fooled because there are fewer nutrients in the process foods.  Both of these situations cause the stretch receptors to tell the brain that the individual needs to eat more food.  Of course, there are other factors involved in weight gain.  Probably the next most important factor would be a sedentary lifestyle or lack of exercise.  The bottom line is that processed foods under stretch the gut.  People are not eating too much, they are eating too many calories.

Table 1.

 Dietary Mistakes with Good Intentions

Some people with the best of intentions make terrible dietary mistakes by not understanding the caloric density of foods.  A good example of this would be those who eat largely of salads while dieting.  If they were to go to a salad bar they would load upon a wonderful this leafy greens, yummy vegetables, and probably some seeds or nuts.  But, when they got to the place in line where they’re standing in front of the salad dressing instead of simply squeezing some lemon or lime juice on top, or maybe some vinaigrette, they pour olive oil or some other fat laden and dressing and ruin a perfectly good salad.  What they’ve done is turned a 200 calorie salad into an 800 calorie salad.  You can see this mistake being made over and over again by people with good intentions.  It is simply a lack of understanding. 

Our food supply had become so laden with inexpensive refined carbohydrates and oils that it’s no wonder we have this burgeoning obesity epidemic. We should eat largely of the foods that are found at or below 800 kcal/lb and should not eat any of the rest with the exception of some nuts.  Oil and sweeteners should be used very sparingly.  If all of America ate this way, the rest of the world would not be hungry, we would be at our optimal weight and we would have 3 to 7% of our current lifestyle disease rate.  This would put most doctors, hospitals and drug companies out of business and would leave us with very little need for the very affordable health insurance that we would then have.

I think the problem of increasingly more and more processed foods that are calorically dense is somewhat related to the government food subsidy programs. In these programs, large food conglomerates and manufactures have realized that they can get inexpensive raw ingredients from producers of subsidized foods.  The problem lies in the subsidization.  Farmers have realized that they can make a steadier income by growing subsidize foods.  You can hardly blame them, but it is really not in our best interest nor there’s.  What is going on is that the government pays them money for certain crops that they grow such as wheat, rice, corn, soybeans and other foods such as milk, regardless of what the market conditions are.  This practically guarantees their income each year.  What that means is that we flood the nation with is an abundance of inexpensive crops that would otherwise be dumped in a ditch are stored in a warehouse. 

The food companies have figured this out and found that they can pay pennies on the dollar for these inexpensive products.  Then they take these raw goods and process them into proteins, oils, glutens, and other processed Food Products.  They then use these to manufacture everyday product that we find on our grocery store shelves such as Oreo cookies, breads, soft drinks, packaged meals, another process foods.  These foods, in addition to the burgeoning supply of meats and cheeses and other fatty foods are contributing to the obesity epidemic.  Ultimately, though, the responsibility belongs to us the citizens of the United States.  We have to make food choices that will dictate two food suppliers what we really want to eat.  You see, we have chosen our toxic food supply with our wallets.

Table 2.
One can quickly see from Table 2 that we are not all built the same.  Some of us are blessed with skinny or average genes and some of us are not.  It is important to understand how this affects us and our eating habits. As mentioned above, the caloric density of foods can affect us differently.  We all know those people who seem to be able to eat everything under the sun.  These people with skinny genes just don’t seem to have the ability to become overweight.  Their genetic makeup prevents them from becoming overweight.  They’re able to eat all the concentrated caloric foods they want and it just doesn’t make them fat.  But, the number of people with these type of genes are in the minority by far.  People with average genes on the other hand, can eat an average caloric diet and maintain average weight.  When you place people in a western society they will become obese just because they’re eating too high a calorically dense diet.  And people with fat genes, they have a struggle with just about any diet they are on.  They especially have trouble with the western diet, the S. A. D. diet, because it is so calorically dense.  This is where most of those Americans who are now overweight and obese are.  They have average genes, but are eating very calorically dense foods.

Dilution is the Solution

The solution to caloric pollution is dilution.  Referring back to Table 1 you can see that fruits, vegetables, grains, and salads are of the lowest caloric densities.  The nuts are higher caloric density but meant to be eaten in small quantities.  I recommend that you eat of 800 kcal/lb foods or less. This means that we should avoid all foods that are above that except nuts.  We should not eat oil or sweeteners except very sparingly.  The rich fat filled deserts, cakes, cookies, candies, sodas, meats, cheeses and other dairy products should not be eaten.  We should not eat packaged, processed, or canned foods of any type.

So, our meals should be diluted calorically with an abundance of salad and veggies, or fruits. We should avoid eating sweet fruits and veggies together as that may sour the stomach and produce unwanted side effects.  But, if would eat abundantly of these foods and eat them first at the meals, then there would be very little desire for the richer, more calorically dense foods.  One of the beautiful things about this is that as we reduce our caloric density we will increase the quantity of food we can consume.  One of the big problems with the usual American fad diets is the necessity to reduce the amount of food that you consume.  With this lifestyle, you will be able to eat all the food you want from these calorically sparse foods and be very satisfied when you get up from the table.  There are many other benefits to this lifestyle that will be discussed in other lectures. 

While analog meats, or fake veggie meats, may make a nice transitional meat, we cannot advocate their use.  Most people that are vegetarian rely heavily on these calorically dense foods and they are not as healthy as a whole plant food eaten whole.

When a patient comes in to my office I try to explain to them the health benefits and blessings of the Biblical Diet and Lifestyle, see Table 3.  I will explain to them that the S.A.D. diet is high in fat compared to the vegan diet.  The S.A.D. diet is usually in the 40-50% range while the Biblical diet is 20% or less.  The Biblical diet contains absolutely no animal products.  Whereas, the S. A. D. diet is loaded with animal products including meat, cheese, eggs and other dairy products.  Most Americans eat a great deal of processed and manufacture foods as well. 

Dieters have a huge advantage because when you compare the Vegan diet with the S. A. D. diet you will find because of the efficiency of our gut we absorb about 20% more calories with the standard American diet.  This is because a Vegan diet is so high in fiber.  Nutrients and calories are tightly bound to fiber that it is difficult for the gut to release them.  If we were to eat 2000 calories of a Vegan diet we would only absorbed about 1500 to 1700 calories whereas, with the S.A.D. diet we would absorb over 1900 calories.  I also point out to my patients that a Vegan diet will on average lower your cholesterol by about 100 points.  And as stated previously, the S. A. D.  diet predisposes humans to diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, obesity, and many types of cancers such as breast and colon.

Table 3 

But, Where do You Get Your Protein?

This is one of the first and most frequently asked questions by my patients.  I have several responses, but I usually hast them a question.  Where do elephants get their Protein?  These are the largest creatures that roam on land.  They eat nothing but leaves and grass and they don’t seem to have a problem getting enough protein.  In fact, by weight, many plants such as spinach have as much or more protein as beef.  Plan such as broccoli, pumpkin, tomatoes, asparagus, sweet potatoes, corn, rolled oats, beans and rice not only contain plenty of protein but contain a complete protein.  Beans and rice eaten together are a complete protein.

The problem with the standard American diet is that it is way, way, way too high in protein.  That is why a predisposes us to all the aforementioned lifestyle diseases.  That is actually far more important to reduce your protein intake.  For a very good and detailed explanation of why we should eat a Vegan diet I would recommend a book The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. In a study of Seventh-day Adventists living in Loma Linda, Ca, it was found that they had a lower prevalence of colorectal cancer and lung cancer than non-vegetarians.  National Geographic magazine looked at 3 people groups in the world that produce the most centurions and found that to Sicilians, Okinawans, and Seventh-day Adventists live longer than any other peoples in the world. One might reason that Sicilians and Okinawans have a genetic advantage, but you cannot say that about Seventh-day Adventists.  There are four things that they have in common.  First, they each very simply and are mostly vegetarian.  Second, they are spiritual people.  Third, they believe in family values.  Fourth, they are active people.  These are for very sound principles that these peoples have in common.  These values are given to us by God. In Genesis 1:29,

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 a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

So, to put it simply we were designed to eat a Vegan diet.  When we sit down to eat and we look upon our plate we should see our rainbow.  Our plate should be filled with whole plant foods eaten whole.  We should try to pick out fruits and vegetables of many different colors would to put a pot our plates.  I recommend they you try not to eat sweeten fruits with vegetables.  These foods tend to be high in antioxidants and help to prevent many of the lifestyle diseases that we suffer from here in the United States.

It is never too late to change!  And God will gladly help you do it!

Best wishes,

Michael Snyder, MD, President of Biblical Lifestyle Seminars

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  'width' is a duplicate attribute name. Line 1, position 37.The Sacred Calling
of the Physician


Michael Snyder, MD

This document is in response to the many fanatical teachings I have heard, some even from pulpits, on the matter of health reform. I want to examine some of the popular ideas that are being taught, and answer the question, "Is this really what God wants us to teach?" There are several ideas not supported in the Spirit of Prophecy yet treated like gospel by many. If you do not support such views, it is not uncommon to hear name calling such as that the physician is performing witchcraft, murderer, evil-doer, unconverted, unsanctified, denying the SOP, etc . . . Is this really true? Or, do we need to call physicians evil and murderers to attract a large crowd and help pay our bills?

Since the day some years ago when I embarked on my journey to become a physician, I have repeatedly witnessed a lack of support and disdain for this work among my conservative brethren. For many years I simply shrugged it off, understanding the mindset of some historic or conservative SDA thinkers. But recently an incident occurred that I must call to your attention. A friend of our church recently walked out of his first sermon ever while attending services a meeting. He is convicted, as am I, that the calling of the physician is a sacred calling, and he took it very seriously when the speaker bashed the work of the physician and made the claim that Luke had to quit being a physician in order to work effectively for Christ.

The Christian Physician -- Murderer or Sacred Worker?

I have to ask the question. Is it true that Luke quit being a physician? And even if he did, does that speak against the profession of physicians? And then I have to ask what do you think of the following quote from the Testimonies?

None but a Christian physician can discharge to God's acceptance the duties of his profession. In a work so sacred, no place should be given to selfish plans and interests. Every ambition, every motive, should be subordinate to the interest of that life which measures with the life of God. In all your business, let the claim of Jesus, the world's Redeemer, be recognized; let His example be copied. What the physician attempts to do, Christ can accomplish. They strive to prolong life; He is the Life-giver. Jesus, the Mighty Healer, is Physician in chief. All physicians are under one Master, and blessed indeed is every physician who has learned from his Lord to watch for souls while with all his professional skill he works to heal the bodies of the suffering sick. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 12-13, emphasis added here and throughout document).

It is very clear from this quotation that the work of a Christian physician is a sacred work. Of course, there are conditions upon which it is based, but it appears that the calling of a physician is a sacred calling that is blessed by God. How can we continue to let preachers come into our pulpits and slander the servants of God so unabashedly? Is this the reason why so many SDA physicians shun the SDA health message, while unconverted physicians are taking up our message? Do we not realize that this message was given to us as a people to aid in the soul-winning work? Satan is sabotaging the work of God by heathen physicians that will make the health work a less effective entering wedge. Why should the world come to what they view as religious fanatics for health information when they could get the same information from a worldly physician? Our own pious fanatical health workers, whose messages are being embraced by the conservative congregations around the world, are responsible for the health message becoming less vital as a weapon in the soul-winning arsenal. We are allowing heathens to desensitize the world and oftentimes applauding them for doing so.

So much good could come out of having SDA physicians preaching a complete Truth, as it is in Jesus, that includes the health message married to the message of the three angels of Revelation 14. Why chase them away with silly, uninformed statements and vege-name calling? It is so sad that there are so few among us realizing the sanctity of God's calling to be physicians. Fanatical "medical missionaries" have become a stumbling block to seeing large numbers of physicians accept the present truth more fully, thus, contributing to the lack of professionals joining the ranks of the believers and an increasing lack of unity among God's people. As a physician, I would never want to unite with those who denigrate God's servants -- it is not safe. I want to join with like believers in laboring for souls and looking forward to the soon coming of Jesus Christ. Look at the beautiful promises that I hold dear to my heart.

God will work with every Christian physician. And to Him the physician is to give the honor and glory for the success that attends his work. The only safety for physicians is in walking and working in humility and faith. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 34).

I realize that there are conditions to every promise; here, it is the promise of faithfulness to Jesus. But, are we such excellent judges of character that we can read the hearts of every physician? Or do you think that simply because one practices western medicine he must be evil? Look, some say that the physicians that Ellen White were referring to were of a different order than those of today. Is this true? What do the testimonies say?

The Lord is to be the efficiency of every physician. If in the operating room the physician feels that he is working only as the Lord's visible helping hand, the Great Physician is present to hold with His invisible hand the hand of the human agent and to guide in the movements made. The Lord knows with what trembling and terror many patients come to the point of undergoing an operation as the only chance for saving life. He knows that they are in greater peril than they ever have been in before. They feel as if their life were in the hands of one whom they believe to be a skillful physician. But when they see their physician on his knees, asking God to make the critical operations a success, the prayer inspires them, as well as the physician, with strong hope and confidence. This confidence, even in the most critical cases, is a means of making operations successful. Impressions are made upon minds that God designed should be made . . . (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 34-35).

Is it true that the only true medical missionaries are the non-physician types or physicians that have left the practice of western medicine? If it is true that the only true medical missionaries are the non-physician medical missionaries then I have to ask the question, when was the last time a medical missionary spent time in the operating room? These are interesting thoughts as I have yet to meet a self-described medical missionary worker who works in an operating room. The confusion has come in because we think that a physician is not a medical missionary worker and a medical missionary worker cannot practice western medicine. But Ellen White did not support this view. While at times the SOP makes a clear distinction between the two at other times it lumps them together and it seems that a true physician is to be a medical missionary worker. And yet, while medical missionary workers are not necessarily physicians, both are vital in soul winning.

The Redeemer expects our physicians to make the saving of souls their first work. If they will walk and work with God, in His love and fear, they will receive leaves from the tree of life to give to the suffering. His peace will go with them, making them messengers of peace. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 37).

The Lord gave me great light on health reform. In connection with my husband, I was to be a medical missionary worker. I was to set an example to the church by taking the sick to my home and caring for them. This I have done, giving the women and children vigorous treatment. I was also to speak on the subject of Christian temperance, as the Lord's appointed messenger. I engaged heartily in this work, and spoke to large assemblies on temperance in its broadest and truest sense. (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 33).

Sister White became a medical missionary worker, yet she did not become a physician. Not because being a physician was inherently evil but because she was told to become a medical missionary worker. She had specific instructions on what she should do. This in no wise makes physicians any less needed in the work. She comments that all the medical missionary workers are to unite with the church to help in the salvation of souls.

I would not now speak so plainly, were it not for the intense desire I feel that our medical workers shall be molded and fashioned after the similitude of Christ, in order that all their work and their relation to God's cause may be in harmony with His purpose. God calls upon every physician and every other medical missionary worker to take his stand on the platform of truth, where he shall not be influenced by any man's false theories and wrong devising. The pure, living principles of the gospel are to be respected. God has a people in His church who are laboring just as disinterestedly to save sinners, as the medical missionary workers have been laboring. He calls upon His medical missionary workers to labor unitedly with His church, and not to allow any physician to control their efforts by his authority. The Lord now calls upon His people to unify. Let all our medical missionaries unite with our ministers in soul-saving work. (Loma Linda Messages, pp. 67-68).

The message is clear, the physician is to join with the other ministers of the gospel and other medical missionary workers to preach the three angel's messages. The physician has a solemn responsibility to labor for the salvation of souls. The profession of physicians should never be run down from the pulpit. That is an insult to God and His great plan to reach all the people with the Truth.

The question has been asked many times, Should the physician feel it his duty to open the truth to his patients? That depends on circumstances. In many cases all that should be done is to point to Christ as a personal Saviour. There are those who would only be injured should any new doctrine not in accordance with their previous views be brought before them. God must guide in this work. He can prepare minds to receive the word of truth. It is just as much a physician's duty to prepare the souls before him for what is to take place as to minister to their physical needs. Let them know their danger. Be a faithful steward for God. Do not let anyone be launched into eternity without a word of warning or caution. You cannot neglect this and be a faithful steward. God requires you to be true to Him wherever you are. There is a great work to be done. Take hold of it, and do it intelligently. God will help everyone who does this. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 38).

Do we really want to teach that physicians are evil murderers from our pulpit? It is true that the godly ones are hard to find, but as I read in the Testimonies of their solemn import I cannot help but be struck by the sacred calling they bear.

How important that the physician shall be ever under the control of the divine Physician! Let the one who is trying to prolong life look to Him to direct his every movement. If the physician knows that by his side is One who is life itself, One who can accomplish that which human beings cannot attempt, what confidence this knowledge will inspire! And what a blessing the physician can be in a sickroom if he has learned to trust constantly in Him to whom belong the souls of those to whom he ministers. The Saviour will give him tact and skill in dealing with difficult cases. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 33).

Physicians need a double portion of religion. Of men in any calling, physicians are most in need of clearness of mind, purity of spirit, and that faith which works by love and purifies the soul, that they may make the right impression upon all who come within the sphere of their influence. The physician should not only give as much physical relief as possible to those who are soon to lie in the grave, but he should also relieve their burdened souls. Present before them the uplifted Saviour. Let them behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. . . . (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 31).

The physician is given a unique opportunity to reach men and women in times of great need. There are occasions when people who might never understand or accept the gospel by any other method of preaching, and at times when possibly no other method of preaching the gospel would work, and the physician is there. They may even reach not only the patient, but perhaps the patient's families and friends as well.

In attending the sick, the physician will often find opportunity for ministering to the friends of the afflicted one. As they watch by the bed of suffering, feeling powerless to prevent one pang of anguish, their hearts are softened. Often grief concealed from others is expressed to the physician. Then is the opportunity to point these sorrowing ones to Him who has invited the weary and heavy-laden to come unto Him. Often prayer can be offered for and with them, presenting their needs to the Healer of all woes, the Soother of all sorrows. (Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 121).

What an opportunity the consecrated physician has to show a Christlike interest in the patients under his care! It is his privilege to speak encouragingly to them, and bow at their bedside to offer a few words of prayer. To stand by the sickbed and have nothing to say, is a sad mistake. Let the physician make his mind a storehouse, full of fresh thoughts. Let him learn to repeat the comforting words that Christ spoke during His earthly ministry when giving His lessons and healing the sick. Let him speak words of hope and confidence in God. A genuine interest will be manifested. The precious words of Scripture that the Holy Spirit fixes in the memory will win hearts to Jesus, their Saviour. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 31-32).

Now, I am not asking for any honor or special acknowledgment, merely that the church would consider the matter and answer decidedly whether they want to continue to preach a message that flies in the face of God's plan. Do we really want to bash physicians who have a sacred calling? It is not advisable nor is it safe to continue in this practice.

Physicians must stand firmly under the banner of the third angel's message, fighting the good fight of faith perseveringly and successfully, relying not on their own wisdom, but on the wisdom of God, putting on the heavenly armor, the equipment of God's word, never forgetting that they have a Leader who never has been, and never can be, overcome by evil. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 32).

Physicians have a holy calling and a sacred responsibility to live up to the gospel and then to teach it to others in their practice. They must act as medical missionaries or they will perish. Let us unite together to lift up every messenger of the gospel that all of God's medical missionaries' efforts might be supported in the work through prayers, words of encouragement, and financial gifts. Some will say that a physician is not worthy because he practices his trade using drugs; but no statement from the SOP can justify such a position. Many have disagreed on the use of drugs, which will be addressed in a moment, but do not confuse this issue with that of the calling of the physician. It is sacred.

Drugs or Simple Remedies

Now let us deal with the issue of the use of drugs in medical missionary work. The question is, Can we safely use drugs in medical missionary work and still be blessed by God? Most who believe that it is not possible quote the following from Counsels on Diet and Foods,

There are many ways of practicing the healing art; but there is only one way that Heaven approves. God's remedies are the simple agencies of nature, that will not tax or debilitate the system through their powerful properties. Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God, are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying; yet these remedies are going out of date because their skillful use requires work that the people do not appreciate. 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. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 301).

The statement says that there is only one way of practicing the healing art that heaven approves and that is through simple agencies. She then lists those agencies and then ends the statement by saying that drugs are expensive in both means and health. Two questions need to be addressed: (1) what are considered simple agencies of nature, and (2) what did she consider "drugs"? While these questions may at the surface seem easy to answer, a little investigation makes them not such simple questions as one might think. Once these two questions are answered then we will address a third question -- does this statement apply to one who is already diseased or does it apply to the healthy?

This topic has hounded SDA physicians for over a century and a half. And, many have come up with many different answers. Some will discount this thesis as just another attempt to justify the use of drugs, but the serious student of the SOP and health should have a full grasp of this topic. It is important, and if this paper does nothing else but brings you to a stronger position where you currently stand by causing you study it out for yourself, then that is good enough. But, some facts that I have never heard expressed from medical missionary workers from the pulpit need to be understood and expressed for all to judge. Only one side of the issue is prominently presented. We need to hear all that the prophet had to say on the subject, then we can make informed judgment on the topic.

Ellen White received a letter from a medical student inquiring on this very question. His dilemma is obvious: how can a godly medical worker spend precious time learning about drugs if they are not to be used? His name is Edgar Caro and he writes the following:

Hearing so much about you from my Dear mother, knowing how much God has revealed to you concerning this, I have decided to take a little of your time to ask a question which has troubled several of our medical students. Next year a good number of us enter upon our last and most important year of the medical course at the university. From our study of the TESTIMONIES and the little work, HOW TO LIVE, we can see that the Lord is strongly opposed to the use of drugs in our medical work. We believed they were harmful because the Lord had said so through the TESTIMONIES. Now we know from our three years' study that "drugging" is a most unscientific practice.

Several of the students are in doubt as to the meaning of the word 'drug' as mentioned in HOW TO LIVE. Does it refer only to the stronger medicines as mercury, strychnine, arsenic, and such poisons, the things we medical students call "drugs," or does it also include the simpler remedies, as potassium, iodine, squills, etc. We know that our success will be proportionate to our adherence to God's methods. For this reason I have asked the above question.

Ellen's response may at first seem contradictory to her statement made in Counsels on Diet and Foods, but as we think this issue through I believe they harmonize perfectly. Here it is:

Your questions, I will say, are answered largely, if not definitely, in How to Live. Drug poisons mean the articles which you have mentioned [mercury, arsenic, strychnine]. The simpler remedies are less harmful in proportion to their simplicity; but in very many cases these are used when not at all necessary. There are simple herbs and roots that every family may use for themselves and need not call a physician any sooner than they would call a lawyer. I do not think that I can give you any definite line of medicines compounded and dealt out by doctors, that are perfectly harmless. And yet it would not be wisdom to engage in controversy over this subject.

The practitioners are very much in earnest in using their dangerous concoctions [mercury, strychnine, arsenic], and I am decidedly opposed to resorting to such things. They never cure; they may change the difficulty to create a worse one. Many of those who practice the prescribing of drugs, would not take the same or give them to their children. If they have an intelligent knowledge of the human body, if they understand the delicate, wonderful human machinery, they must know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that not a particle of these strong drugs should be introduced into this human living organism.

As the matter was laid open before me, and the sad burden of the result of drug medication, the light was given me that Seventh-day Adventists should establish health institutions discarding all these health-destroying inventions, and physicians should treat the sick upon hygienic principles. The great burden should be to have well-trained nurses, and well-trained medical practitioners to educate "precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10).

Train the people to correct habits and healthful practices, remembering that an ounce of preventive is of more value than a pound of cure. Lectures and studies in this line will prove of the highest value. -- Ellen G. White, Letter 17a, 1893; Selected Messages, bk. 2, pp. 279-280, [brackets mine]).

There are three issues to address in the first paragraph of Ellen's response. One, poisonous drugs are those things mentioned by the student in his question as to what constitutes drugs, "stronger medicines as mercury, strychnine, arsenic, and such poisons." Two, this is in contrast to other simpler remedies such as "potassium, iodine, and squills, etc." Ellen confirms his definition of what constitutes poisonous drugs--mercury, arsenic, strychnine. These poisons are not used by the western medical community at all today.

But there are those who would follow after this pattern in introducing other unmentioned heavy metals into our bodies. That is right, mercury is a heavy metal and nowhere in the SOP does it suggest we should use such poisons; yet there are among us those who advocate the use of Silver Colloid, which is a suspension of heavy metal silver in solution. Where does the SOP advocate such poisons as part of the health reform? If one heavy metal is a poison ought we not pause before introducing other heavy metals? She referred us to the use of simpler remedies such as roots and herbs. Such remedies include the use of squills which are extracts of bulbous roots that were used for diuresis, expectoration, and rat poison.

Ellen White also advocates the use of herbs, and she tells us to be wise as to their use. Mankind has developed an understanding of herbs so well that he has extracted the potent ingredients and put them in a dose regulated pill form. This is much safer than herbs, whose dosages can vary widely. Often they are from lot to lot of herb either very potent and can cause harm to the patient or they are not potent enough and no efficacy is realized. Also, one should realize that most herbs have similar side affect profiles to their pill form counterparts. Take St. Johns Wort for example. At first it was widely touted as a "safe" alternative to antidepressants, but after recent research it is now known to have the same side affect profile as an MAOI antidepressant, and has been classified as such in the herbal PDR. Other examples include: Valerian root whose pill form counter-part is Valium and has heart arrhythmias and somnolence as side effects. It is also addicting.

Chinese Ephedra or Ma Haung, has the same side effects as ephedrine and is largely the same active ingredient. Yet this herb is widely touted for its fat-burning capabilities and insomnia effects. It is being popularized by celebrities who are taking it and advertising it for Body Solutions. Do you know how the herb Foxglove [where the drug digoxin comes from] used to be given? It was given until the patient began vomiting [side effect of both the herb and the drug due to toxic levels in the system], then they knew that there was supposedly enough in the system. The modern method of dose regulation is much safer. There are many, many others. So, how do we know what herbs, drugs, etc are safe to take? Ellen White says that we need an understanding of anatomy and physiology.

It is important to understand how many modern drugs are developed. A large majority have their derivation from herbs. They are either simple extracts of the herbs or a synthetically modified version of the extract. The reason that the extract is synthetically modified is multi-faceted. Either the drug company is trying to avoid a patent by another company or the modification allows for a more potent, more easily assimilated, or a different or lessened side effect profile version. It is important to stress that the pill forms are much safer because they are in a uniform strength that allows for consistent, safe dosing of the medication.

Thirdly, going back to her answer to the medical student, she says that there is no one line of medications that doctors prescribe that are not totally harmless, yet she does not condemn all their medications. She only condemns the strong poisons -- by the way, so does western medicine today. Perhaps they have learned something in all their purported ignorance. Maybe John Harvey Kellogg was more influential than they give credit for.

We have been instructed that in our treatment of the sick we should discard the use of drugs [drugs of her day-arsenic, strychnine, and heavy metal compounds]. There are simple herbs that can be used for the recovery of the sick, whose effect upon the system is very different from that of those drugs that poison the blood and endanger life. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 73, 1908, Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 288, [brackets mine]).

Realize the benefit of health care workers understanding anatomy and physiology. This will help us see what is a practical simple remedy and that which is poison. It is essential to know that not all of western medicine's drugs are safe. Most have side effects, as do herbs, and some are down right poisonous. Again, the health reform is not so much for curing disease as it is to prevent disease. And, at the expense of overemphasis, Ellen White stresses the necessity of understanding how to properly assess disease and its pathophysiology. Finally, just to emphasize the point one more time,

I would not touch their nostrums [quackery or poisonous concoctions], to which they give Latin names. I am determined to know, in straight English, the name of everything that I introduce into my system. Those who make a practice of taking drugs [arsenic, mercury, strychnine] sin against their intelligence and endanger their whole afterlife. There are herbs that are harmless, the use of which will tide over many apparently serious difficulties. But if all would seek to become intelligent in regard to their bodily necessities, sickness would be rare instead of common. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 86, 1897 (General Manuscript, "Health Reform Principles," written from Cooranbong, Australia). Selected Messages, bk. 2, pp. 290-291, [brackets mine]).

God has caused to grow out of the ground herbs for the use of man, and if we understand the nature of these roots and herbs, and make a right use of them, there would not be a necessity of running for the doctor so frequently, and people would be in much better health than they are today. (Ellen G. White, Letter 35, 1890. Medical Ministry, pp. 230-231).

Is it possible that we have come to understand herbs so well that we can now isolate the active ingredients as extracts and purify them in order to give an accurate dose? I cannot think of how we could understand them better or make a better use of them. This method is certainly safer than giving the whole herb in unknown and unregulated doses [See discussion on foxglove for example].

Hygienic Principles

The next paragraph in Mrs. White's Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 280 is interesting because she says,

As the matter was laid open before me, and the sad burden of the result of drug medication, the light was given me that Seventh-day Adventists should establish health institutions discarding all these health-destroying inventions, and physicians should treat the sick upon hygienic principles.

She says that we should establish health institutions that are based on hygienic principles. These institutions should not use these other health destroying poisons previously mentioned. What are hygienic principles? She says,

In our cities interested workers will take hold of various lines of missionary effort. Hygienic restaurants will be established. But with what carefulness should this work be done! Those working in these restaurants should be constantly experimenting, that they may learn how to prepare palatable, healthful foods. Every hygienic restaurant should be a school for the workers connected with it. In the cities this line of work may be done on a much larger scale than in smaller places. But in every place where there is a church and a church school, instruction should be given in regard to the preparation of simple health foods for the use of those who wish to live in accordance with the principles of health reform. And in all our missionary fields a similar work can be done. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 274).

Notice that the hygienic restaurant is not a restaurant that serves silver colloid or does skeletal manipulation! It is a restaurant that serves healthful, palatable food. We would have to assume that since she also says that these restaurants are to instruct in the preparation of such foods as well, that these foods that are served there are in line with the health reform message which is simply a flesh-free, coffee, tea and alcohol-free, tobacco-free diet. In other words, a good healthy vegetarian diet. So good hygienic principles as Ellen White understood them means simply a healthy vegetarian diet. Therefore we would have to conclude that if we were to establish vegetarian hospitals we would be within the counsel of the Lord if we don't use poisonous drugs. The same idea is also found on page 296,

The Lord would have the institution with which you are connected one of the most satisfying and enjoyable places in the world. I want you to show special care in providing for the patients a diet that will not endanger health, and at the same time will recommend our principles of health reform. This can be done, and being done, it will make a favorable impression on the minds of the patients. It will be an education to them, showing them the advantage of hygienic living above their own way of living. And when they leave the institution, they will carry with them a report that will influence others to go there. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 296).

Finally and most importantly, she ended her response to the medical student, Edgar Caro, by emphasizing the health reform is not to focus on recovery from illness but rather, on the prevention of disease. It is not fair to condemn western medicine, even though it is not correct on all points, while we ourselves are not following the health reform in trying to prevent disease using the eight natural doctors -- Trust in God, Sunshine, Fresh air, Rest, Temperance, Nutrition, Exercise, and clean Water. Instead we are using some concoction of silver colloid, iridology, skeletal manipulation and other such remedies that are not prescribed by the SOP or are clearly defined as poisons in the SOP. We should condemn such health deform and not embrace it. The health reform calls for the discontinued use of flesh meats, coffee, tea, and other such stimulants from our diets. It also calls for cessation of tobacco and alcohol use. The use of simple remedies in times of illness are to be advocated, such as herbs, including squills, hydrotherapy, and massage. The eight natural doctors should be emphasized, not bone manipulation and iridology. This is to be the primary thrust of any call to health reform. Any deviation from this call is health deform.

Sister White has much to say about health deform and often much of what has been presented by some has not only bordered on health deform but precisely fit the definition!

Often health reform is made health deform by the unpalatable preparation of food. The lack of knowledge regarding healthful cookery must be remedied before health reform is a success. (Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 270).

Ellen White defines unpalatable preparation of food as health deform. She tells us how to make food more palatable:

Food can be prepared simply and healthfully, but it requires skill to make it both palatable and nourishing. In order to learn how to cook, women should study and then patiently reduce what they learn to practice. People are suffering because they will not take the trouble to do this. I say to such, It is time for you to rouse your dormant energies and inform yourselves. Do not think the time wasted which is devoted to obtaining a thorough knowledge and experience in the preparation of healthful, palatable food. No matter how long an experience you have had in cooking, if you still have the responsibilities of a family, it is your duty to learn how to care for them properly. (Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, pp. 372-373).

Notice that she is talking about cooked foods, not raw. Raw has its place as a healing diet for those that are sick. But it is extreme and becomes health deform when preached to the masses that are not sick. It is very difficult, if not impossible for some, to maintain your weight on an all raw diet -- especially if you have physically demanding work. For some of us that may be beneficial, but again, that would be consistent with a healing diet. Other counsel in regards to eating food on cold days is consistent with this view,

While cooking upon the Sabbath should be avoided, it is not necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather let the food prepared the day before be heated. And let the meals, though simple, be palatable and attractive. Provide something that will be regarded as a treat, something the family do not have every day. (Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, p 532).

Here she is advocating the heating of cooked food. Some of these fanatical health workers will go to great lengths to try to tell you that the enzymes are destroyed and the food is no longer alive when it is cooked. Yet, here Sister White counsels us to heat food on the Sabbath that was prepared the day before. How can this be? Is Sister White in violation of the health laws? Some fanatical workers would have you believe that you are in violation of the health laws if you cook your foods. Further, some think it a sin to eat dairy products, but the servant of the Lord has other counsel,

But some say that milk also should be given up. This is a subject that needs to be carefully handled. There are poor families whose diet consists of bread and milk, and, if they can get it, a little fruit. All flesh food should be discarded, but vegetables should be made palatable with a little milk or cream or something equivalent. The poor say, when health reform is presented to them, 'What shall we eat? We cannot afford to buy the nut foods.' As I preach the gospel to the poor, I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I cannot say to them: You must not eat eggs, or milk, or cream; you must use no butter in the preparation of food. The gospel must be preached to the poor, and the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 205-206).

Which is not to say that now is not the time for the strictest of diets, but only to point out that eating dairy products is not a sin. It may not be safe, but it is not a sin. Further, the preparation of food that is palatable is an art and a talent of the highest order.

Thus God regards the preparation of healthful food. He places a high estimate on those who do faithful service in preparing wholesome, palatable food. The one who understands the art of properly preparing food, and who uses this knowledge, is worthy of higher commendation than those engaged in any other line of work. This talent should be regarded as equal in value to ten talents; for its right use has much to do with keeping the human organism in health. Because so inseparably connected with life and health, it is the most valuable of all gifts. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 251).

Finally on this subject of palatable foods she says that they should be cooked hygienically, that is a cooked vegetarian diet.

Those who do not know how to cook hygienically should learn to combine wholesome, nourishing articles of food in such a way as to make appetizing dishes. Let those who desire to gain knowledge in this line subscribe for our health journals. They will find information on this point in them. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 255).

I wonder what these health journals recommend? Cooked or Raw? I will leave that for those with the resources to find these journals answer this question. How is it that SDA's have gotten so far afield from the SOP? We think we must eat raw or largely raw, we think doctors are murderers, we think silver colloid will keep us safe from Anthrax, we think iridology and bone manipulation are healthful, we think barley green and other juices between meals [SOP is clear about not eating between meals and not eating a largely liquid diet, I can give you much more info on this if you request it] is health reform and the SOP says this is extreme, even health deform.

SDA's are in the same boat on health reform that the Jews were in on the traditions of the priesthood. Both are extreme and both are legal religions. Health reform was introduced to increase the health and clear the mind of God's children; it is not to be another burden. What this church teaches on health reform is very often too burdensome and depressing for its members and visitors. We are not walking in the light on this point.

Health Deform and Extreme Views

I have something to say in reference to extreme views of health reform. Health reform becomes health deform, a health destroyer, when it is carried to extremes. You will not be successful in sanitariums, where the sick are treated, if you prescribe for the patients the same diet you have prescribed for yourself and your wife. I assure you that your ideas in regard to diet for the sick are not advisable. The change is too great. While I would discard flesh meat as injurious, something less objectionable may be used, and this is found in eggs. Do not remove milk from the table or forbid its being used in the cooking of food. The milk used should be procured from healthy cows [which are almost impossible to find anymore], and should be sterilized. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 202, brackets added).

Notice the simplicity and step-by-step progression. It is not wise to put the sick on extreme diets. Too much mental disorder can occur and the sick is already fighting disease, do not put cravings upon them as well. I cannot help but comment further on this statement. Here Sister White is actually advising us to process a natural food in sterilizing milk. You would think that as you listen to most reformers who come through our churches that to process something is evil. I am not advocating processed food, I am just simply pointing out the great inconsistency in fanaticism. We must present the health message in a balanced light -- true to the Spirit of Prophecy.

The great backsliding upon health reform is because unwise minds have handled it and carried it to such extremes that it has disgusted in place of converting people to it. I have been where these radical ideas have been carried out. Vegetables prepared with only water [bland, she counsels us to make them palatable], and everything else in like manner. This kind of cookery is health deform, and there are some minds so constituted that they will accept anything that bears the features of rigorous diet or reform of any kind. (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 212, brackets mine).

There are many now under the shadow of death who have prepared to do a work for the Master, but who have not felt that a sacred obligation rested upon them to observe the laws of health. The laws of the physical system are indeed the laws of God, but this fact seems to have been forgotten. Some have limited themselves to a diet that cannot sustain them in health. They have not provided nourishing food to take the place of injurious articles; and they have not considered that tact and ingenuity must be exercised in preparing food in the most healthful manner. The system must be properly nourished in order to perform its work. It is contrary to health reform, after cutting off the great variety of unwholesome dishes, to go to the opposite extreme, reducing the quantity and quality of the food to a low standard. Instead of health reform this is health deform. (Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 373).

The Operating Room

Now back to the main topic of this paper: are physicians murderers or God's servants? We better know, for to curse God's people is to do no better than Balaam. Let's move for a moment to a whole section of the Spirit of Prophecy that is found in 2SM 284-5. This is a section of counsel that I have never heard references to by so-called medical missionary workers.

Before performing a critical operation, let the physician ask for the aid of the Great Physician. Let him assure the suffering one that God can bring him safely through the ordeal, that in all times of distress He is a sure refuge for those who trust in Him. (Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 118, also Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 284).

The Saviour is present in the sickroom, in the operating room; and His power for His name's glory accomplishes great things. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 159, 1899 (Manuscript, "The Privileges and Duties of a Christian Physician"), Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 284).

It is our privilege to use every God-appointed means in correspondence with our faith, and then trust in God, when we have urged the promise. If there is need of a surgical operation, and the physician is willing to undertake the case, it is not a denial of faith to have the operation performed. After the patient has committed his will to the will of God, let him trust, drawing nigh to the Great Physician, the Mighty Healer, and giving himself up in perfect trust. The Lord will honor his faith in the very manner He sees is for His own name's glory. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength" (Isaiah 26:3, 4). (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 67, 1899 (General Manuscript), Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 284).

Who has been by your side as you have performed these critical operations? Who has kept you calm and self-possessed in the crisis, giving you quick, sharp discernment, clear eyesight, steady nerves, and skillful precision? The Lord Jesus has sent His angel to your side to tell you what to do. A hand has been laid upon your hand. Jesus, and not you, has guided the movements of your instrument. At times you have realized this, and a wonderful calmness has come over you. You dared not hurry, and yet you worked rapidly, knowing that there was not a moment to lose. The Lord has greatly blessed you. (Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 187, 188 (To the medical superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, 1899), also Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 285).

As you looked to God in your critical operations, angels of God were standing by your side, and their hands were seen as your hand performing the work with an accuracy that made the beholders surprised. (Ellen G. White, Letter 73, 1899 (To the physician addressed in the preceding item), Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 285).

Christ is the greatest medical missionary that ever lived. He never lost a case. He understands how to give strength and guidance to the physicians in this institution. He stands beside them as they perform their difficult surgical operations. We know that this is so. He has saved lives that might have been lost had the knife swerved a hair's breadth. Angels of God are constantly ministering to those for whom Christ has given His life. (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, p. 285).

God gives the physicians of this institution skill and efficiency because they are serving Him. They know that their skill is not their own, that it comes from above. They realize that there is beside them a divine Watcher, who gives wisdom to His physicians, enabling them to move intelligently in their work. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 28, 1901 (Words addressed to workers at the St. Helena Sanitarium), also Selected Messages, bk. 2, p 285).

Please note that in each paragraph, institutional medicine is blessed by God. These people are performing surgery and God sends angels to help guide the hand of a western medicine physician. She says that it is not a denial of faith to have an operation performed because God is there with His holy angels. Some have taught from our pulpits that surgery is evil and that in fact it has been represented in scripture as the destruction of the wicked when one goes under the surgical knife. I exhort this church to wake up! Study for yourselves for a change and quit believing every word that is preached from the pulpit. Further notice that it is a requirement of God that medical missionaries to other lands have a thorough knowledge of surgical procedures.

For many years I have been gathering rays of divine light on this subject. Let those who are being educated for the ministry receive an education in medical missionary lines. It is of great advantage to the minister of the gospel who expects to go to foreign fields that he should have a knowledge of surgery, that in cases of necessity he will know how to handle medical instruments. This knowledge will open doors for the presentation of the truth to the higher classes, as well as to the most lowly. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol.14, pp. 269-270).

I have just had in interview with Dr. Preston S. Kellogg. He has a knowledge of surgery, and has made a success in this line. For his spiritual good, he needs to be connected with some one of our sanitariums. Will you please favor me by giving him a close looking over, to see if he would not be one who could be used at Loma Linda to do the work that we once thought Dr. Holden would do. (Ellen G. White, Loma Linda Messages, p. 176).

Note that in this previous statement, Ellen White even recommended a surgeon for a position at one of our faithful sanitariums that practiced the healing arts the way that God recommended. Further, Sister White expresses our need for knowledge. We must understand these health issues to be of benefit to the human race. We are not supposed to become dependent on western medicine but rather be able to employ means at our own hands to bring about healing and prevention of disease. But it is plain that when the natural remedies don't work or a surgery is necessary we would not be exhibiting a lack of faith if we have it done.

Drugs are too often promised to restore health, and the poor sick are so thoroughly drugged with quinine, morphine, or some strong health -- and life -- destroying medicine, that nature may never make sufficient protest, but give up the struggle; and they may continue their wrong habits with hopeful impunity. (Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, p. 276).

The Prophet Often Participated in Western Medicine

Besides the fact that Ellen White was often sick and was very frail and sickly since her childhood she too fell victim to disease. She was in such a position later in life. She found herself with a serious lesion on her forehead. She went to Loma Linda and had radiation therapy performed for this lesion that may have been cancerous.

For several weeks I took treatment with the X-ray for the black spot that was on my forehead. In all I took twenty-three treatments, and these succeeded in entirely removing the mark. For this I am very grateful. (Ellen G. White, Letter 30, 1911 (To her son J. E. White), also Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 303).

Can you believe that? Ellen White actually went to western medicine for a probable cancer cure. It is hard to believe but most cancerous lesions are more susceptible to radiation than normal tissue and what she is describing very possibly could be melanoma or squamous cell cancer on her forehead. Note that she did not do it once or twice but 23 treatments. Note that Ellen White did not condemn western medicine when they did what was in accordance to God's will. Notice that she participated in western medicine and found a cure for her ailment, for which she was grateful.

A physician who has the moral courage to peril (imperil) his reputation in enlightening the understanding by plain facts, in showing the nature of disease and how to prevent it, and the dangerous practice of resorting to drugs [remember what Sister White considered dangerous drugs-mercury, strychnine, arsenic, etc . . .], will have an up-hill business, but he will live and let live. He will not use his powerful drug medication, because of the knowledge he has acquired by studying books. He will, if a reformer, talk plainly in regard to the false appetites and ruinous self-indulgence, in dressing, in eating and drinking, in overtaxing to do a large amount of work in a given time, which has a ruinous influence upon the temper, the physical and mental powers. Knowledge is what is needed. Drugs are too often promised to restore health, and the poor sick are so thoroughly drugged with quinine, morphine, or some strong health -- and life-destroying (word illegible [reads "medicine" in 15MR 276]), that nature may never make sufficient protest, but give up the struggle; and they may continue their wrong habits with hopeful impunity. Right and correct habits, intelligently and perseveringly practiced will be removing the cause of disease, and the strong drugs need not be resorted to. Many go on from step to step with their natural indulgences, which is bringing in just as unnatural condition of things as possible. Paulson Collection, p. 22, brackets added).

Mercury, calomel, and quinine [more strong drugs] have brought their amount of wretchedness, which the day of God alone will fully reveal. Preparations of mercury and calomel taken into the system ever retain their poisonous strength as long as there is a particle of it left in the system. [Science has since shown these to be carcinogenic which means that they accumulate in the body and do damage] These poisonous preparations have destroyed their millions, and left sufferers upon the earth to linger out a miserable existence. All are better off without these dangerous mixtures. Miserable sufferers, with disease in almost every form, mis-shapen by suffering, with dreadful ulcers, and pains in the bones, loss of teeth, loss of memory, and impaired sight, are to be seen almost every where [These are some of the side effects of lead, mercury, and strychnine poisoning]. They are victims of poisonous preparations, which have been, in many cases, administered to cure some slight indisposition, which after a day or two of fasting would have disappeared without medicine. But poisonous mixtures, administered by physicians, have proved their ruin. (Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 139, brackets mine).

James and Ellen White sponsored JH Kellogg in medical school, but more than that they sponsored their own children. Look at this,

The next mention of their son was in connection with his accompanying M. G. Kellogg back to the East, to enroll in Dr. R. T. Trall's Medical School, in Florence Heights, New Jersey. Kellogg had taken his medical training there and was returning for a second course extending through a few months. While at Woodland James and Ellen White had arranged for both Willie and Edson to accompany him to gain medical training (Letter 20, 1872). (Arthur White, EGW Biography, vol. 2, p. 368).

I can go on and on, but it should not be necessary. You should see the point by now. The health message that has been presented in some places has been very one sided and extreme. It is not a balanced message, in that it omits evidence that allows the health message to not be as narrowly defined as we have made it. Not all is bad, some have made very nice presentations that rightly use the SOP. I would point to Dr. Neal Nedly as an example of such.

Medical Education

It is important that in our school in Healdsburg all the instruction shall be as thorough as it is in any similar school. If the laws of the land require that youth preparing for a medical course shall study some branches which you do not now teach, you should provide instruction in these required branches. Which is worse, to send our youth to Battle Creek to gain this required knowledge, or to give it to them in our schools in the various union conferences where they are living? If it is right for this instruction to be given, we are to provide facilities for giving it in every training school in our land. Thus we shall be able to avoid the necessity of sending our youth to Battle Creek, or, as has been done in the past, to some worldly institution--to Ann Arbor or some other school of the world. (Ellen G. White, Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 246).

It is not necessary for you to go to a worldly school to obtain an education; for there are excellent opportunities before you in schools conducted by those who understand the truth, and where you can receive an education in Bible knowledge. If you desire to fit yourself for medical missionary work, you can find at Loma Linda the very best opening. If you need preliminary work, this you can obtain at the college in Healdsburg. Would it not be wisdom for you to attend one of these schools, rather than to place yourself in the company of those who (320) neither teach nor obey the commandments of God? (Ellen G. White, Loma Linda Messages, p. 184).

There is a very important principle that is contained in this previous statement. That is, the problem with medical training is not what it teaches, but rather where or how it is taught. She is saying here that if the world requires our physicians and nurses to be taught certain subjects then let them be taught at our schools, Why? Because they would [if our schools were still faithful to the message] be getting the tools they need in a spiritual environment instead of a worldly environment. The issue is not that western techniques are bad, but that secular schools are worldly and influence our people wrongly. Pray that more of the faithful will find their way to Loma Linda that it may return to the place it once held as a Bible believing institution.

As we studied over what would be necessary for the school to accomplish this work, it seemed to us it would be necessary to employ two physicians as teachers in the school, a Bible instructor, and one other general school man. These four instructors, with the three physicians employed by the Sanitarium and such practical instructors as those qualified to teach practical hydrotherapy, practical nursing, healthful cookery, etc., would be a strong educational faculty for the qualifying of the two classes of workers, one as nurses, and the other as physicians to engage in evangelistic medical work . . . (Ellen G. White, Loma Linda Messages, p. 7).

Notice the balance in this statement. She does not say that practical nursing, healthful cooking, and hydrotherapy should replace the existing curriculum and faculty but rather should supplement it. The current curriculum included surgery and other western medicine techniques.

With this I will close. But it is not without the greatest amount of concern for our spiritual health in these very last days. The three angels messages and the health message must be married together.  We have some fine gospel preachers and some fine health workers but we have very few who do both and effectively marry the health message to the gospel.  Ellen White tells us it is the right arm of the gospel. It is not the gospel.  When we effectively marry these two without the fanaticism that often accompanies the Health Message, we will swell the loud cry of the third angels message. We must provide a valid reason for the health message and an attractive picture of Jesus.  We must come together under the banner of truth. Let us first live up to all the light that God has revealed before we seek the light of those who have not a message that is taught in the Spirit of Prophecy. May God continue to richly bless us as we advance His cause by His might.


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Michael Snyder, MD, President
Biblical Lifestyle Seminars

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