1. Are animal passions increased by meat eating? - One of the principal reasons Ellen White encouraged vegetarianism
is because she believed that by eating meat, the lower, base, "animal" passions would be aroused. The basis of this is not
found in any Biblical or scientific evidence. Instead, the notion that animal passions were aroused by eating animals was popularized
in the 1800s by health reformer Sylvester Graham.
Graham taught that the "use of flesh" would arouse "sexual desire" and
would damage the "intellectual and moral faculties"2 Since meat eating aroused the sexual appetites, Graham
suggested that for those suffering from temptation, "no animal food, therefore, should be used in any quantity."3
2. Does eating meat cause disease? - Does eating meat, as part of an overall balanced diet, actually cause an
increase in disease? Dr. Stephen Byrnes, a naturopathic physician, writes:
"Oftentimes, vegans and vegetarians will try to scare people into avoiding animal foods and fats by claiming that
vegetarian diets offer protection from certain chronic diseases [osteoporosis, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer].
Such claims, however, are hard to reconcile with historical and anthropological facts. All of the diseases mentioned are
primarily 20th century occurrences, yet people have been eating meat and animal fat for many thousands of years. Further,
as Dr. Price?s research showed, there were/are several native peoples around the world (the Innuit, Maasai, Swiss, etc.)
whose traditional diets were/are very rich in animal products, but who nevertheless
did/do not suffer from the above-mentioned maladies (30). Dr. George Mann?s independent studies of the Maasai
done many years after Dr. Price, confirmed the fact that the Maasai, despite being almost
exclusive meat eaters, nevertheless, had little to no incidence of heart disease, or other chronic ailments (31).
This proves that other factors besides animal foods are at work in causing these diseases.
"Several studies have supposedly shown that meat consumption is the cause of various
illnesses, but such studies, honestly evaluated, show no such thing as the following discussion will show.
"Dr. Herta Spencer's research on protein intake and bone loss clearly showed that protein consumption in the form of real
meat has no impact on bone density. Studies that supposedly proved that excessive protein consumption equaled more bone
loss were not done with real meat but with fractionated protein powders and isolated amino acids (32). Recent studies have
also shown that increased animal protein intake contributes to stronger bone density in men and women (33). Some recent
studies on vegan and vegetarian diets, however, have shown them to predispose women to osteoporosis (34).
"Although protein-restricted diets are helpful for people with kidney disease, there is no proof that eating meat causes
it (35). Vegetarians will also typically claim that animal protein causes overly acidic conditions in the blood, resulting
in calcium leaching from the bones and, hence, a greater tendency to form kidney stones. This opinion is false, however.
Theoretically, the sulphur and phosphorous in meat can form an acid when placed in water, but that does not mean that is
what happens in the body. Actually, meat contains complete proteins and vitamin D (if the skin and fat are eaten),
both of which help maintain pH balance in the bloodstream. Furthermore, if one eats a diet that includes enough magnesium
and vitamin B6, and restricts refined sugars, one has little to fear from kidney stones, whether one eats meat or not (36).
Animal foods like beef, pork, fish, and lamb are good sources of magnesium and B6 as any food/nutrient table will show.
"The belief that animal protein contributes to heart disease is a popular one that has no foundation in nutritional science.
Outside of questionable studies, there is little data to support the idea that meat-eating leads to heart disease.
For example, the French have one of the highest per capita consumption of meat, yet have low rates of heart disease. In
Greece, meat consumption is higher than average but rates of heart disease are low there as well. Finally, in Spain, an
increase in meat eating (in conjunction with a reduction in sugar and high carbohydrate intake) led to a decrease in heart
"The belief that meat, in particular red meat, contributes to cancer is, like heart disease, a popular idea that is not
supported by the facts. Although it is true that some studies have shown a connection between meat eating and some
types of cancer (38), its important to look at the studies carefully to determine what kind of meat is being discussed, as
well as the preparation methods used. Since we only have one word for ?meat? in English, it is often difficult to know
which ?meat? is under discussion in a study unless the authors of the study specifically say so.
"The study which began the meat=cancer theory was done by Dr. Ernst Wynder in the 1970s. Wynder claimed that there was a
direct, causal connection between animal fat intake and incidence of colon cancer (39). Actually, his data on ?animal fats?
were really on vegetable fats (40). In other words, the meat=cancer theory is based on a phony study.
"If one looks closely at the research, however, one quickly sees that it is processed meats like cold cuts and sausages that
are usually implicated in cancer causation (41) and not meat per se. Furthermore, cooking methods seem to play a part in
whether or not a meat becomes carcinogenic (42). In other words, it is the added chemicals to the meat and the chosen
cooking method that are at fault and not the meat itself.
"In the end, although sometimes a connection between meat and cancer is found, the actual mechanism of how it happens has
eluded scientists (43). This means that it is likely that other factors besides meat are playing roles in some cases of
cancer. Remember: studies of meat-eating traditional peoples show that they have very little incidence of cancer.
This demonstrates that other factors are at work when cancer appears in a modern meat-eating person. It is not scientifically
fair to single out one dietary factor in placing blame, while ignoring other more likely candidates.
"It should be noted here that Seventh Day Adventists are often studied in population analyses to prove that a vegetarian diet
is healthier and is associated with a lower risk for cancer. While it is true that most members of this Christian
denomination do not eat meat, they also do not smoke or drink alcohol, coffee or tea, all of which are likely factors in
promoting cancer (44).
"The Mormons are a religious group often overlooked in vegetarian studies. Although their Church urges moderation,
Mormons do not abstain from meat. As with the Adventists, Mormons also avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.
Despite being meat eaters, a study of Utah Mormons showed they had a 22% lower rate for cancer in general and a 34% lower mortality for
colon cancer than the US average (45). A study of Puerto Ricans, who eat large amounts of fatty pork,
nevertheless revealed very low rates of colon and breast cancer (46). Similar results can be adduced to demonstrate that
meat and animal fat consumption do not correlate with cancer (47). Obviously, other
factors are at work.
"It is usually claimed that vegetarians have lower cancer rates than meat-eaters, but a 1994 study of vegetarian California
Seventh Day Adventists showed that, while they did have lower rates for some cancers (e.g., breast and lung), they had
higher rates for several others (Hodgkin?s disease, malignant melanoma, brain, skin, uterine, prostate, endometrial,
cervical and ovarian), some quite significantly. In that study the authors actually admitted that:
Meat consumption, however, was not associated with a higher [cancer] risk.
No significant association between breast cancer and a high consumption of animal fats or animal products in general was
"Further, it is usually claimed that a diet rich in plant foods like whole grains and legumes will reduce one?s risks for
cancer, but research going back to the last century demonstrates that carbohydrate-based diets are the prime dietary
instigators of cancer, not diets based on minimally processed animal foods (49).
"The mainstream health and vegetarian media have done such an effective job of ?beef bashing,? that most people think there
is nothing healthful about meat, especially red meat. In reality, however, animal flesh foods like beef and lamb are
excellent sources of a variety of nutrients as any food/nutrient table will show. Nutrients like vitamins A, D, several of
the B-complex, essential fatty acids (in small amounts), magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, iron, taurine, and
selenium are abundant in beef, lamb, pork, fish and shellfish, and poultry. Nutritional factors like coenzyme Q10, carnitine,
and alpha-lipoic acid are also present. Some of these nutrients are only found in animal foods--plants do not supply them."4
(You can read the entire article by clicking on the following link: The Myths of Vegetarianism)
Dr. Joel Fuhrman reports on his web site that, "following a strict vegetarian diet is not as important as eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables." He goes on to report some of the dangers of a vegan diet, particularly among those who do not eat a well-balanced vegan diet. Potential problems include B12 deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, low "levels of calcium, iron, zinc, and protein", and "the increased risk of hemorrhagic (vessel rupture leading to bleeding) stroke."5
3. Does eating meat ruin your spiritual life? - Perhaps the most outlandish of all the statements made by Ellen White
are those in which she says eating meat is detrimental to a person's spiritual growth. Let us compare this with what the
Jesus made it plain that what we put in our stomachs does not defile us in any way:
"Don't you understand either?" he asked. "Can't you see that what you eat won't defile you?
Food doesn't come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then comes out again."
(By saying this, he showed that every kind of food is acceptable.) (Mark 7:18-19 NLT)
Jesus had every opportunity to tell the disciples about the dangers of eating meat, and how it would destroy their
physical, mental, and spiritual health. But He did not. Instead Mark tells us that Christ declared all foods "acceptable."
Let us examine eight examples in the Scripture to determine if anyone else had their spiritual life impaired by eating meat.
#1 - When three beings, in the form of men, including the Lord Himself, visited Abraham at Hain Mamre, Abraham served
them butter, milk, and flesh meat:
And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set [it] before them; and he stood by them under
the tree, and they did eat.
Ellen White told us that we needed to "dispense with flesh food" in order to have the "companionship of heavenly angels",
and yet here we find heavenly beings eating "flesh food" with Abraham. This would have been the ideal opportunity for
the Lord and the angels to rebuke Abraham for serving food that would arouse their "animal passions", but nothing was said.
#2 - Notice that God instructed Aaron and the Levitical priesthood to eat meat:
And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram... (Ex. 29:32)
And the remnant of the meat offering [shall be] Aaron's and his sons... (Lev. 2:3)
And that which is left of the meat offering [shall be] Aaron's and his sons... (Lev. 2:10)
And all the meat offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it. (Lev. 7:9)
And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar... (Lev. 10:12)
But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat...the flesh of them shall be thine... (Num. 18:17,18)
And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether [it be] ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. (Deut. 18:3)
Why did God instruct His holy priesthood to eat foods that would diminish their moral strength? Surely God could have
commanded them to eat potatoes and bananas instead of meat!
#3 - Moses gave specific laws to the Israelites permitting them to eat wild animals that entered their towns:
These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers
is giving you to possess...you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires,
according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you;
the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike.
(Deut. 12:1,15 NKJV)
Notice that the animals are called a "blessing of the Lord". How could flesh meat be described as a "blessing" if it
destroyed the physical, mental, and spiritual nature of man?
#4 - When Elijah was by the brook Cherith, what diet did God prepare for him?
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and
flesh in the evening... (1 Kings 17:6)
Why would God choose to destroy the physical, mental, and spiritual health of his prophet by feeding him meat? Couldn't
God have just as easily commanded the ravens to bring Elijah carrots and cucumbers?
#5 - Notice what King Solomon served his court:
And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.
(1 Kings 4:22-23)
Isn't it interesting the greatest intellectual giant this world has ever known had an abundant variety of meat served at
his table? How could someone so full of divine wisdom fail to realize that meat "clouds the brain" and "benumbs the intellect"?
#6 - The young Daniel is held up by Adventists as a great example of a vegetarian because he would not eat of the king's table,
but notice what the older Daniel said:
I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until
the three weeks were over. (Dan. 10:3 NIV)
Why would Daniel need to emphasize that he abstained from "meat" for three weeks if it was not his custom to eat meat?
#7 - Even though Mrs. White claimed John the Baptist was a "vegetarian"6, the Bible says he ate "locusts" (Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6).
According to Matthew Henry, "Locusts were a sort of flying insect, very good for food, and allowed as clean (Lev. 11:22); they required little dressing,
and were light, and easy of digestion."7
#8 - As part of the traditional passover ceremony, instituted by God, a lamb was eaten. Jesus participated in this tradition with His disciples:
Jesus said, "I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal
with you before my suffering begins." (Luke 22:15 NLT)
Not only did Jesus eat meat with His disciples, but he also fed thousands of people fish (Matt. 14:17-19, 15:34-36)
and he also fed His disciples fish after His resurrection (John 21:9). Surely Jesus could have fed the disciples
apples and peanuts that morning by the lake, thereby instructing them upon the dangers of eating meat. But He did not.
These eight examples show that meat eating is perfectly appropriate for God's people and does not impair their spiritual well-being.