Eden Diet

March is National Nutrition Month, an educational campaign focusing on the significance of physical fitness as well as eating nourishing meals.

National Nutrition Month – March

This is also a good time to talk about the “Eden Diet.” It began with my gut response to a post on a friend’s Timeline. She posted about having eaten a sandwich made with boiled white potato, onion, and pickle, with mayonnaise and mustard, on bread because it reminded her of something her mother used to make for her when she was a child. I said that having potato on bread seems redundant to me (why would you have a starch on a starch?). Like it never made sense to me why you would have garlic bread with spaghetti!

One of our group members posted, “In the days of my grandparents’ generation, growing up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most people lived on farms. Lots of hard physical work was required every day to keep the farm going. Their dietary needs were quite different from ours today when we are often less physically active people. So a starch on starch sandwich was just part of their diet. Meats were scarce and costly on many farms. Even if you raised cattle, hogs, and chickens you ate them sparingly. They and their offspring were part of the income generated by a farm when sold on the market. Sometimes, in winter season, fresh veggies and meats weren’t available. So you ate things stored in your root cellar (root vegetables and canned fruits). Maybe you were lucky to have some cured meats available such as hams and cured or smoked red meats. My grandfather use to eat onion sandwiches. It all seems odd to us today but for many it was necessary for their survival.”

I responded, “You are right about the historical context of eating. Which is why it doesn’t make sense to me to attempt to replicate a former era! This includes the so-called Adventist ‘Eden diets’ to the currently popular ‘paleo diets’! We are not living in the Paleolithic era. We are not living in Eden. Our bodies—as well as our food supplies—are vastly different from those historical times. And—guess what—we’re even different now than people were in Sister White’s time! (The ONLY food that is essentially the same, and which I support EG White 100% on, is breast milk for babies. Even that is somewhat dependent on the breastfeeding mother’s diet!) But I digress. We need to eat today’s foods that support health for today’s bodies. Okay. Rant over.”

We were taught growing up that the “best diet” is fruit, grains, and nuts, which could not have been the “Eden diet” (as I understand it) because grains (as well as below-ground vegetables) would have been something that would have to die in the life cycle process. I can easily see that green leafy vegetables could have been eaten in Eden because leaves (think spinach) as well as flowers (think broccoli) can be picked and eaten without the plant having to die. Example: you can harvest and eat beet greens without killing the beet plant, but once you pull up the beetroot (for food or whatever) the plant is dead!

Another member posted, “In Genesis 3:18, herbs were added to our diet after sin.” Some translations read, “You will eat the grain of the field.” So I guess that’s when I thought grains were added. And root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.). Then “clean meat” was permitted after the Flood, the rationale being to shorten human lifespan. Then there are those who believe that the “clean meat” ban was lifted in the New Testament with Peter’s vision of the animals on the sheet! Of course, that’s not the interpretation that Adventists teach (or believe). That’s why in this group we do not publish recipes containing “unclean meat.”

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