"I stand here before you not as a prophet,
but as a humble servant of you, the people."
- Nelson Mandela
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Ellen G. White's 19th Century Milk Advice
Who is Ellen G. White? She represents many things
to many people, and she is the most translated
author in the history of American literature.
She was also America's first Notmilkwoman. Sadly, I have
attended many potluck dinners with people who continue to
adore White's prophecies while ignoring her Notmilk advice.
The same can be said about some of my friends and family.
Some practice good health, and will continue the Notmilk
legacy. Others, sadly, live by the Standard American Diet
sword, while others have died by that same sword.
In 1890, my grandmother was born in a small town in
Russia, near the Polish border. During that same year,
most of her family escaped the deadly pogroms which
killed my great-great grandfather, and emigrated to
the United States to operate a dairy farm and raise
cattle for slaughter. Their farm was in Stillwell Corners,
New Jersey. It was called the Greenberg Farm. It
remained a family farm until the middle of the 20th
century. My mom told me that they milked 14 cows. As
a little girl, she also remembered feeding the chickens
with homegrown corn and digging potatoes. At about the
same time my great-grandma was milking cows and churning
butter, Ellen G. White wrote:
"Butter and meat stimulate. These have injured the stomach
and perverted the taste." (Counsels on Diets and Foods,
Page 48, written in 1870)
During her 70 years of writing, White produced 50,000 pages
of manuscript which have been translated into 140 different
languages. White was one of the spiritual founders and
architects of the Seventh Day Adventist Church which today
includes over 20 million members.
Seventh Day Adventists believe that Ellen White's writings
are just one level below that of scripture. They have inspired
a religion, and continue to inspire me. One of White's greatest
works is her "Counsels On Diet and Food," edited and first
published in 1938.
White makes a most convincing argument that we become what
we eat. Her book includes five hundred+ pages of witticisms
and intellectual arguments regarding diet.
I take this opportunity to share some of my favorite passages
from White's book, Counsels on Diets and Foods:
"Animals from which milk is obtained are not always healthy.
They may be diseased. A cow may be apparently well in the
morning, and die before night. Then she was diseased in the
morning, and her milk was diseased, but you did not know it."
(Page 356, written in 1870)
"Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family.
Flesh meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods,
and condiments are freely partaken of by both young and old.
These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting
the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect." (Page 237, written
"Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet
chosen for us by our Creator. These foods prepared for us
in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the
most healthful and nourishing." (Page 310, written
"Children are allowed to eat...cheese...Parents do not
realize that they are sowing the seed which will bring
forth disease and death." (Page 350, written in 1873)
"Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach."
(Page 368, written in 1868)
White's dietary philosophy can be summed up by
these words of wisdom:
"Let it ever be kept before the mind that the great
object of hygienic reform is to secure the highest
possible development of mind and soul and body."
(Page 23, written in 1890)
The last memory I have of my grandmother is of her
resting in a hospital bed, groaning, painfully dying
of a cancer that had spread from her pancreas to other
internal organs. The cancer was eating her body from
within. I was only 15-years-old, and cannot swear that
she was a big-time dairy user. I do remember her last
meal, though. She begged me for ice cream. I walked
from the hospital, which was located in the South
Bronx, to a small store and fulfilled her last request.
She was in such pain. Before leaving her room, I talked
with the attending physician. I let him know, even at
15, that our family believed in euthanasia, and that
as she was suffering so, our wish would be for her to
have her endure no more pain. She died a few hours after
I left. I will never know if her death was physician-assisted.
I like to think that it was.
My younger sister died yesterday afternoon. She was 60 years
old. Two months ago, Cindy's breast cancer spread to her brain,
and that's all she wrote.
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