|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
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. 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, NJ. It was called the Greenberg Farm. It remained a family farm until the middle of the 20th century. My mom tells me that they milked 14 cows. As a little girl, she also remembers 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 in 1890) "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 in 1905) "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 hygenic 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.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (email@example.com)
Dairy Education Board
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