>Home >Righteousness By Faith >The Will and God’s Way To Victory >Maxson Letter On Mrs. White's Personal And Family Diet (Lt73a-1896)

Maxson Letter On Mrs. White's Personal And Family Diet (Lt73a-1896)

Ellen G. White

"All who come to my table are welcome, but I place before them no meat. Grains, vegetables, and fresh and canned fruit constitute our table fare."

"I have written this to give you some idea of how we live. I never enjoyed better health than I do at the present time, and never did more writing. I rise at three in the morning, and do not sleep during the day. I am often up at one o’clock, and when my mind is especially burdened, I rise at twelve o’clock to write out matter that has been urged upon my mind. I praise the Lord with heart and soul and voice for His great mercy toward me."



This letter follows up Letter 73, written to Brother and Sister Maxsons, in which she urged them to adopt a meat-free diet. In this letter she provides information on the meat-free diet served in her home. Both of the letters should be read to get a fuller picture of her communication with the Maxson.

Maxson, Brother and Sister, Letter 73a, 1896

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 30, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in Spaulding Megan 38-45.

Dear Brother and Sister:


You have the light which the Lord has given our people and kept before them for many years. The Lord does not say Yea and Nay to His people, but Yea and Amen. I will send you testimonies given to others upon the subject of health reform. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 2}

I was somewhat surprised at your argument as to why a meat diet kept you in strength, for if you put self out of the question, your own reason will teach you that a meat diet is not of such advantage to you as you suppose. You know how you would answer the tobacco devotee if he urged as a plea for the use of tobacco the arguments you have advanced as a reason why you should continue to use the flesh of dead animals as food. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 3}

In California there is an abundance for the table, in the shape of fresh fruit, vegetables, and grains, and there is no necessity that meat be sued [used]. The weakness you experience without the use of meat is one of the strongest arguments I could present to you as a reason why you should discontinue its use. Those who eat meat feel stimulated after eating this food, and they suppose that they are made stronger. After [one] discontinues the use of meat, he may for a time feel a weakness, but when his system is cleansed from the effects of this diet, he no longer feels the weakness, and will cease to wish for that which he have pleaded as essential to strengthen him. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 4}

I have a large family, which often numbers sixteen. In it there are men who work at the plough, and who fell trees. These have most vigorous exercise, but not a particle of the flesh of animals is placed on our table. Meat has not been used by us since the Brighton camp meeting. It was not my purpose to have it on my table at any time, but urgent pleas were made that such a one was unable to eat this or that, and that his stomach could take care of meat better than it could anything else. Thus I was enticed to place it on my table. The use of cheese also began to creep in, because some liked cheese; but I soon controlled that. But when the selfishness of taking the lives of animals to gratify a perverted taste was presented to me by a Catholic woman, kneeling at my feet, I felt ashamed and distressed. I saw it in a new light, and I said, I will no longer patronize the butchers. I will not have the flesh of corpses on my table. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 5}

You have told me what advantage a meat diet is to you. I must tell you what a non-flesh diet has done for me. Ever since the stone was thrown in my face, when I was nine years old, I have had difficulty. At that time I nearly lost my life through loss of blood. Dropsy set in, and since then I have suffered much from kidney affliction. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 6}

After a long siege of eleven months of malarial fever and rheumatism, I was not able to ride without the most easy spring seat. Even when this was made as easy as possible with spring cushions, it was torture to my hips and the lower part of the spine to ride. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 7}

I prayed much over this matter. I sought the Lord during the night hours, and He heard me. Some months ago a new spring seat was made for me. One day I said, Take that spring seat out, and put it in the store room; I shall not need it any more. This was done by faith, and never since have I needed it. The difficulty which made it agony for me to sit in meeting or in a carriage was taken away. After I had suffered for years, the Lord healed me. My hip continues to trouble me, but I think it is better than it has been all through my lifetime. I prayed much in regard to the affliction of the kidneys, and I am healed of that trouble, also. So for years I was dependent on the use of a syringe in order to have a movement of the bowels, but after the lower part of my spine was healed, I had no need to resort to artificial means. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 8}

I eat only two meals, and cannot eat vegetables or grains. I do not use meat. I cannot go back to this. When tomatoes, raised on my own land, were placed on the table, I tried using them, uncooked and seasoned with a little salt or sugar. These I found agree with me very well, and from last February until June, they formed the greater part of my diet. With them I ate crackers, here called biscuits. I eat no dessert but plain pumpkin pie. At my meals I often eat nothing but a few crackers and a piece of pumpkin pie. I use a little boiled milk in my simple home-made coffee, but discard cream and butter, and strictly adhere to a limited amount of food. I am scarcely ever hungry, and never know what it is to have a feverish, disagreeable feeling in my stomach. I have no bad taste in my mouth. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 9}

All who come to my table are welcome, but I place before them no meat. Grains, vegetables, and fresh and canned fruit constitute our table fare. At present we have plenty of the best oranges, and plenty of lemons. This is the only fresh fruit we can get at this season of the year. We ride about five miles into the country to get this fruit, for which we pay three pence per dozen, six cents in American money. We enjoy picking the large golden fruit from the trees. Lemons are two pence per dozen. If I could obtain some of the apples you have in California, I should enjoy them far more than I do the oranges. I manage to keep a box of apples for my own use, but they are inferior to the apples we get in America. I pay one dollar and seventy-five cents at this time of the year for a box of apples holding less than a bushel. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 10}

I have written this to give you some idea of how we live. I never enjoyed better health than I do at the present time, and never did more writing. I rise at three in the morning, and do not sleep during the day. I am often up at one o’clock, and when my mind is especially burdened, I rise at twelve o’clock to write out matter that has been urged upon my mind. I praise the Lord with heart and soul and voice for His great mercy toward me. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 11}

I have felt urged by the Spirit of God to set before several [individuals] the fact that their sufferings are caused by a disregard of the light given them upon health reform. I have shown them that their meat diet, which was supposed to be essential, was not essential, but that as they were composed of what they ate, brain, bone, and muscle was in an unhealthy condition because they live on the flesh of dead animals. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 12}

Their blood was being corrupted by this improper diet, and their perception was clouded. The flesh which they ate was diseased, and their entire system was becoming gross and corrupted. More than this, I set before them the fact that by placing several kinds of food in the stomach at one meal, they were causing disease which was not attributed to the food eaten. I told them that they would realize much benefit if they would eat only two meals a day. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 13}

There is an alarming lethargy shown on the subject of unconscious sensualism. It is customary to eat the flesh of dead animals. This stimulates the lower passions of the human organism. The human family is under the despotism of custom and false education, of hereditary and cultivated habits. Appetite reigns as a king over the mind and reason. The animal propensities are allowed to become a controlling power, and proportionately as Nature’s laws are transgressed, mind and will become enfeebled. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 14}

If appetite, which should be strictly guarded and controlled, is indulged to the injury of the body, the penalty of transgression will surely be the result. When Nature’s laws are transgressed, physical suffering and disease of every stripe and type is seen, for every transgression of the laws of physical life is a transgression of the laws of God. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 15}

Christians should regard a transgression of these laws as a sin against God, to be accounted for in the day of judgment, when every case shall come in review before God. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 16}

The world today is full of pain and suffering and agony. Is it the will of God that such a condition should exist? No; God, the Creator of our bodies, has arranged every fiber and nerve and sinew and muscle, and has pledged Himself to keep the machinery in order if the human agent will co-operate with Him, and refuse to work contrary to the laws which govern the physical system. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 17}

God’s law is written by His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty, which has been entrusted to man. These gifts were bestowed upon Him, not to be abused, corrupted, and abased, but to be used to His honor and glory. Every misuse of any part of our organism is a violation of the law which God designs shall govern in these matters, and by violating this law, human beings corrupt themselves. Sickness, disease of every kind, ruined constitutions, premature decay, untimely deaths—these are the results of a violation of nature’s laws. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 18}

The living organism is God’s property. It belongs to Him by creation and by redemption; and by a misuse of any of our powers, we rob God of the honor due to Him. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 19}

The need of healthful habits is a part of the gospel which must be presented to the people by those who hold forth the Word of life. The importance of the health of the body is to be taught as a Bible requirement. “I beseech you, therefore, brethren,” writes Paul, “that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” [Romans 12:1-5.] {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 20}

This is a sermon which needs to be presented to the people. The question of health reform is not agitated as it must and will be. A simple diet, and the entire absence of drugs, leaving nature free to recuperate the wasted energies of the body, would make our sanitariums more effectual in restoring the sick to health. The intellectual and moral energies of Christians need to be awakened. Far less money and time should be given to the table, and more to the advancement of missionary work in our land. Cooks should be thought of, and their strength saved as much as possible, for they have souls to save. The many dishes usually prepared for desert should be dispensed with. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 21}

Every minister who preaches the gospel to the people should study the laws of physical health. He should carefully consider what effect eating and drinking have upon the health of the soul. By precept and example, by a life of obedience to nature’s laws, he can present the truth upon this subject in a forcible manner. The teachers and workers in our sanitariums should not only preach, but practice abstinence from food which stimulates the fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 22}

“Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Nearly all the members of the human family eat more than the system requires. This excess decays, and becomes a putrid mass. Catarrhal difficulties, kidney diseases, headache, and heart troubles, are the result of immoderate eating. Even so-called health reform needs reforming on this point. When men and women cease to indulge their appetites by eating too largely of food of a questionable character, when they treat the stomach as respectfully as it deserves to be treated, when they relieve it of one-half or two-thirds of the laborious task they now require it to perform, when nature is more respected than perverted appetite, there will be a change for the better in health and morals. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 23}

If more food, even of a simple quality, is placed in the stomach, than the living machinery requires, this surplus becomes a burden. The system makes desperate efforts to dispose of it, and this extra work causes a tired, weary feeling. Some who are continually eating call this all-gone feeling hunger, but it is caused by the overworked condition of the digestive organs. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 24}

At too many tables, when the stomach has received all it requires to properly carry on its work of nourishing the system, another course, consisting of pies, puddings, and highly flavored sauces, is placed upon the table. Society has sought out many inventions, and she has decreed that the food be placed on the table in different courses. Not knowing what is coming next, one may partake of a sufficiency of food which perhaps is not the best suited to him. Then the last course is brought on. This may be composed of articles of food, which, if they had been placed on the table at the first, would have added much to his enjoyment of the food. Many, though they have already eaten enough, will overstep the bounds and eat the tempting dessert, which, however, proves anything but good to them.{Lt 73a, 1896, par. 25}

The custom of placing different courses of food upon the table better never have been invented. Let that which is provided for the meal be placed upon the table at the beginning, and then let each one eat that which will be the most healthful for him. Let each have an opportunity to choose what shall compose his meal. If the extras which are provided for dessert were dispensed with altogether, it would be a blessing. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 26}

Another custom, which has been instituted, is that which requires all to keep their places at the table till the last one has finished. But this makes eating a burden to those who eat no more than they feel that their stomachs can properly care for. Health reformers need not observe these inventions of fashion. If you are where those who eat to excess continue to pass tempting dishes, it is well to break human rules, and pass quietly from the table. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 27}

Eating merely to please the appetite is a transgression of nature’s laws. Often this intemperance is felt at once in the form of headache, indigestion, and colic. A load has been placed upon the stomach that it cannot care for, and a feeling of oppression comes. The head is confused, the stomach is in rebellion. But these results do not always follow over-eating. In some cases the stomach is paralyzed. No sensation of pain is felt, but the digestive organs lose their vital force. The foundation of the human machinery is gradually undermined, and life is rendered very unpleasant. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 28}

By indulging in a wrong course of action in eating and drinking, thousands upon thousands are ruining their health. And not only is their health ruined, but their morals are corrupted, because diseased blood flows through their veins. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 29}

I have a suggestion to make to those who [have] moral courage and self-control enough to try it. If your work is sedentary, take exercise every day, and at each meal eat only two or three kinds of simple food, taking no more of these than will satisfy the demands of hunger. Make up your mind that this is all the food you will give your stomach. For a few days perseveringly carry out your determination to eat less than you have in the past. See how this will work. Strong, healthy men, who are engaged in active physical labor, can eat food which those of sedentary habits cannot eat without injury to their health. Those engaged in physical labor are not compelled to be so careful as to the quantity or quality of their food. But even these persons would have better health by practicing self-control in eating and drinking. But one stomach cannot be made the rule for measuring the diet for every one else. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 30}

It is the positive duty of physicians to educate, educate, educate, by pen and voice, all who have the responsibility of preparing food for the table. Teach them to bind about their ambitious desires to place before their family and before visitors a variety of tempting dishes. It would be much better to eat only two or three different kinds of food at a mealthan to load the stomach with many varieties. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 31}

There are many kinds of intemperance in this world. Overeating is intemperance just as surely as is liquor drinking.Intemperate eating wears on the system, producing a morbid appetite which enslaves men and women. The stomach must have careful attention. It must not be kept in continual operation. Give this misused and much abused organ some peace and quiet and rest. After it has done its work for one meal, do not crowd more work upon it before it has had a chance to rest, and before a sufficient supply of gastric juice is provided by nature to care for more food. Five hours at least should elapse between each meal, and always bear in mind that if you would give it a trial, you would find that two meals are better than three. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 32}

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37-39.] “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” [Luke 17:28-30.] {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 33}

The sin of the Noachic world was intemperance, and today the sin exhibited by intemperance in eating and drinking is so marked that God will not always tolerate it. By eating and drinking we sustain life, and in themselves, if kept within the bounds of temperance, eating and drinking are of no harm, but a blessing. But when they carried to excess, they come under the head of intemperance. Man carries to excess that which is lawful, and his whole being suffers the result of the violation of the laws which the Lord has established. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 34}

Intemperance in eating and drinking is on the increase. Tables are spread with all kinds of food with which to satisfy the epicurean appetite. Suffering must follow this course of action. The vital force of the system cannot bear up under the tax placed on it, and it finally breaks down. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 35}

God is greatly dishonored by the way in which man treats his organism, and He will not work a miracle to counteract a perverse violation of the laws of health and life. The Lord Jesus purchased man, paying for him the infinite price of His own life. Man should estimate himself by the price which has been paid for him. When he places this value upon himself, he will not knowingly abuse one of his physical or mental faculties. It is an insult to the God of heaven for men to abuse his precious powers by placing himself under the control of satanic agencies, and besetting himself by indulging in that which is ruinous to health, to piety, and to spirituality. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” [1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.] {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 36}

When man educates the appetite to desire the flesh of dead animals, and to love wine and strong drink, he becomes a body of corruption. Oh, how little God is honored by him; how little he is brought into the thoughts.Gluttony and strong drink degrade the beings who are God’s property by creation, His property because He gave His only begotten Son for their redemption. Look at that party of judges, lawyers, and ministers, who claim to be servants of God and co-workers with Jesus Christ, united at the festive board. Through the indulgence of perverted appetite, they have made of themselves a set of drivelling fools, bereft of reason. And these are men for whom Christ died to make it possible for them to live a life of usefulness, to wear Christ’s yoke, and show their loyalty to God. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 37}

Satan is the destroyer; God is the Restorer. He calls upon us to co-operate with Him by doing our utmost by precept and example to restore the moral image of God in man. It is our duty to engage in the work of helping our fellow men to stand in their God-given freedom, men of self-control, vessels unto honor. We can show ourselves of much value as co-laborers with God by elevating the standard of temperance, by trying to raise our brethren from their degradation, so that Christ shall not have died in vain. Thus we show our nobility as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ, and manifest our fitness for the immortal inheritance, which Christ has gone to prepare for us. All this we may be and do if we will submit to the control of God. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 38}

But, oh, how fast the world is rushing on in its madness, hastening to the day of retribution. “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37.] Each day man is forming his own destiny. Each day his account is recorded by the heavenly Watcher in the books of heaven. The time will come when each one will meet the history of his life. But how much of the money which God has given man, the money which should be used to restore the obliterated image of Jesus, is used to gratify appetite and ambition, to prepare extravagant festivals, and to build and furnish grand houses. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 39}

One soul saved for Jesus is of more value than the whole world. Then how God would be honored if He could see that the physical, mental, and moral powers of men and women were kept free from every unnatural appetite, every wrong practice, every species of intemperance, tobacco using, liquor drinking, and gluttony. Let man and women obey the Word of God, and they will bring heaven very near to earth. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 40}

I feel deeply over the existing state of things. It is today “as it was in the days of Noe.” [Luke 17:26.] Then they ate and drink, and planted and builded, stirred with an enthusiasm from beneath. This made them intensely active to follow the evil imagination of their own hearts, and that continually. There was violence in the land. What do we see now, in 1896? Men working in the same manner as in Noah’s day, forgetful of God, education themselves in habit and practice to corrupt soul and body. We see terrible calamities coming upon this world because of iniquity. Thousands are being killed by floods, by terrible tornadoes, by earthquakes. Ships that are upon the great deep perish in the angry billows. Yet in spite of this, men continue to act in opposition to God. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 41}

My brother, there is need that economy be practiced in every line of our work. There is need of prayer, earnest, heartfelt, sincere prayer. There is need that temperance in eating, drinking, and building be practiced. There is need to educate the people in right habits of living. Put no confidence in drug medicine. If every particle of it were buried in the great ocean, I would say, Amen, for physicians are not working on a right plan. A reform is needed which will go deeper, and be more thorough. Meat-eating is doing its work, for the meat is diseased. We may not long be able to use even milk. The very earth is groaning under the corrupted inhabitants. We need to consider closely our habits and practices, and banish our sinful, darling self-indulgences. I have had light from God on this subject, and I have been endeavoring to give the light to our people in this country. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 42}

I could write you pages upon pages upon this, but I feel so deeply over these things that I scarcely dare take my pen in my hand. I tell you, my brother and sister, we are living in the Laodicean state of the church. If ever a people needed to fall upon the Rock and be broken, it is the people in California, and all through our churches in America. We need to arouse and act as one man. We need to be earnest and alive. Horrors upon horrors are following in the destruction of human life, yet those things receive only a few remarks. The world will not be warned. But the day of the Lord is coming, unawares, as a thief in the night. {Lt 73a, 1896, par. 43}—Ellen G. White, Letter 73a, 1896.


Return to The Will And God's Way To Victory