Do you still adhere to vegetarianism? If so, do you still use the meat substitutes? What are your reasons for remaining veggie, if you do?
For me, I became an SDA and a vegetarian shortly before I honed life skills like preparing nutritious meals and shopping for food. So I just really don't know how to prepare meat. Also, I'm pretty healthy well into my late 50s, and I can't help but think that might have something to do with it. EGW said enough crazy and erroneous health stuff to fill a library, but the major points of the "health message" seem to be sound.
I was born and raised in the SDA church but I never was a vegetarian.
Is that common in your experience? Most SDAs I knew were not strict veg, or not veg all the time. But it remained the ideal, or the gold standard.
Based on my experience with Adventists I knew and what I learned studying theology at WWC about 50% of US SDAs are vegetarians and a very small minority of international SDAs are.
I was raised on an SDA mission in Angola, Africa. The only vegetarians I knew growing up were my grandparents. We even had meat at potlucks after church.
Today I will try anything and I eat almost anything, except cuddlefish and sea cucumber; I learned that lesson the hard way!
My wife and I both eat meat. But I was always on the periphery of the SDA church and always did.
She on the other hand was raised SDA and went to a conservative missionary school (one of those that aren't actually recognized by the SDA conference due to their fanatic beliefs) and was just letting go of veganism about the time we met. She was still a vegetarian though. That didn't last to long with all the good stuff she had to watch me eat.
I think we do eat way to much meat in the west. We developed as hunter/gatherers with the emphasis on gatherer. Just look at modern tribes in South America. They only hunt once a week or so for the whole tribe. Our bodies are setup (almost said designed but caught myself) to conserve as much as possible, so with our sedentary lifestyles and easy access to fatty foods, its no wonder we have an obesity epidemic.
White was right to a degree on the health message. But I think she also mentioned that every cult is based on a grain of truth (don't quote my quotation, I'm no EGW scholar).
She was totally out to lunch (pardon the pun) on spices and (as it turns out) tea and coffee. She merely assumed (as so many uptight Victorians did) that hot spices inspired lust, and that if it made you feel good it was bad for you.
And she thought wigs and masturbation made you insane, can't forget that...
I too was born and raised as an SDA. Although my family certainly followed the rules in Leviticus and the health message, we were never strictly vegetarian. The funny thing is that I didn't become vegetarian until my teens--after I started to have serious doubts about Christianity and God. My boyfriend at the time was vegetarian and I thought it might be a good way to help with some of the (TMI alert) female health issues I was having. LOL I found it to be very difficult to sustain this practice, particularly when it came to visiting developing countries where fish and meat were pretty ubiquitous. Fast forward to graduate school, I started eating fish again. I eat many vegan and vegetarian foods but I am not planning to go back to an exclusively vegetarian lifestyle for the time being.
I've since found out that healthy diets aren't exclusive to the SDA church--look at the LDS church, for example. As Matthew points out, Ellen wasn't saying anything unique about healthy foods and was also quite wrong on the harmful effects of several things such as tea.
The one real "contribution" SDAs may have made to modern day health consciousness is the guilt based, punitive approach people tend to take toward things like diet or exercise. In SDAism it was always "those Cinnabons may keep you out of heaven." The secular world seems to have watered it down somewhat, but associates eating properly and getting up out of the barcalounger occasionally with being "good," and the opposite with being "bad." I'm quite allergic to this sort of toxic thinking now.
I doubt this could be attributed directly to SDAism--SDAism just isn't really that important or influential, despite the denominational megalomania--but I wonder if it has something to do with the half baked religiosity so prevalent in our culture in recent years.
Oh, and sorry for the "scare quotes," but I think they're warranted.
The myth that sugar suppresses your immune system is an Adventist gem that has become nearly universal. It was based in a quote from Egg White and "proven" by a crackpot researcher at Loma Linda whose study was never able to be reproduced. Sometimes, an idea from an obnoxiously anti-scientific minority takes hold, and once it has, there is no removing it from the collective consciousness.
i think egw's health message is ridiculous. that said, i am still a vegetarian. i was raised vegan, not with processed substitutes though, my mom cooked all kinds of stuff from scratch. i've realized that balance and moderation are the best guides when it comes to food. believing that if you ate something 'bad' could keep you out of heaven was awful. i wonder what the statistics are on eating disorders in the ranks of ultra-conservative adventists.
BTW, have you ever heard the cliche from SDAs about how "balanced" Ellen White was? I later figured out that this was essentially because she was anti-everything!
love this! ha!