Diet and Character Development

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Diet and Character Development

The recent evidence evaluation and announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the carcinogenicity of red and processed meat adds to numerous studies suggesting a vegetarian lifestyle as a better dietary option.

A simple Google search comparison of the scholarly interest in vegetarianism between 2000 and 2015 suggests a threefold increase in attention to this topic. This significant shift in the scientific community may be attributed to the growing number of diet-related chronic diseases.

Noting this sudden change, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reached the following conclusion a while ago:

Recent scientific advances seem to have resulted in a paradigm shift: diets largely based on plant foods, such as well-balanced vegetarian diets, are viewed more as improving health than as causing disease, in contrast with meat-based diets.

Health is not by chance, but by choice. Whereas, in the past, calls for a plant-based diet often fell on deaf ears within and without the church, the mushrooming evidence in support of a plant-based diet can only be ignored to one’s own detriment. For many Adventists, the WHO report is not a surprise. It emphasized the church’s position, held for 120 years, that a vegetarian diet has far more benefits than a diet that includes meat.

While heaven will not be gained by diet but by a relationship with Christ, eating habits play a crucial role in the development of this relationship. As noted here before, there is a strong correlation between diet and mental health. Sincere Christians should pay significant attention to diet since it impacts their minds and thereby affects their walk with God.

As an advocate for a plant-based diet, Ellen G. White penned these warnings more than a century ago:

Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with the light which God has been pleased to give us. (Child Guidance, p. 383)

Elsewhere she writes,

The health should be as sacredly guarded as the character. (Child Guidance, p. 342)

For the heaven-bound Christian, the WHO report underscores the importance of heeding the Bible message of a plant-based diet.

[Photo: Mario Carangi/FreeImages.com]

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Valmy Karemera is associate editor of The Compass Magazine and posts daily news updates on the Compass Twitter page. Originally from Rwanda, he now lives and works in Texas with his family.