Seventh Day Adventists' Beliefs Regarding Food

by Elise Medina
Seventh-Day Adventists practice a vegetarian lifestyle.

Seventh-Day Adventists practice a vegetarian lifestyle.

Seventh-Day Adventists believe the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore stress the importance of taking care of the body and treating it with respect. An important part of honoring God and striving to be more like Christ is eating healthfully, abstaining from alcohol, coffee and tea, and choosing not to eat any foods deemed scripturally "unclean." The Seventh-Day Adventist Church also recommends its members adhere to a vegetarian diet as a way to glorify God and achieve optimal health.

Temple of the Holy Spirit

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church's beliefs about food and living a healthy, active lifestyle are motivated by the church's desire to honor God and obey the Bible's teachings. The church explains that because the Holy Spirit dwells in each Christian, it is the believer's duty to "adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures." For Seventh Day Adventists, living a health-conscious life is a spiritual discipline and a means of enjoying God's love and goodness.

Healthful Eating

Seventh-Day Adventists emphasize the importance of eating a healthy, well-rounded diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. The Seventh-Day Adventist Dietetic Association recommends "nine or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day and six or more servings daily of a combination of whole grains, cereals, and legumes." The Association advises individuals to pay special attention to consuming adequate amounts of key nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamin B12.

Vegetarian Lifestyle

Vegetarianism is a cornerstone of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church's teachings regarding living a Christ-centered lifestyle. The Church teaches that the vegetarian lifestyle was initiated by God in the book of Genesis, and believes it is integral to practicing good stewardship of the Earth and the human body. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council recommends "the generous use of whole grains, vegetables and fruits; and a moderate use of low fat dairy products (or nutritional equivalent alternatives), legumes, and nuts; a very limited use of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt."

Prohibited Foods

Seventh-Day Adventists do not consume foods identified in Leviticus and Deuteronomy as unclean, such as pork or rodents. (Reference 1) Additionally, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council recommends "a very limited use of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt; abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages." The Council's advice is not only based on scientific findings, but it is also in keeping with the church's teachings on Christian-like behavior. For Seventh-Day Adventists, avoiding certain foods is an important aspect of living a Christ-centered life.

About the Author

Elise Medina writes and cooks in northern Virginia, where she works as a nutrition consultant. She holds a B.A. in political science and Spanish from Virginia Tech, as well as a master’s degree in political science from George Mason University.

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