In the vision at Otsego, Michigan, light was given to Ellen White on major changes that would improve their health. She was shown the contrast between the human race today and Adam and Eve in Eden. Our first parents were noble in stature, perfect in symmetry and beauty, sinless, and in perfect health."I inquired," she stated, "the cause of this wonderful degeneracy, and was pointed back to Eden" (ibid., p. 120). It was the disobedience of our first parents, leading to intemperate desires and violation of the laws of health, that had led to degeneracy and disease. She called for reform in eating habits; these included eliminating meat from the diet. She referred to the risks of contracting disease because of the increased prevalence of disease among animals.
I have thought for years that I was dependent upon a meat diet for strength. I have eaten three meals a day until within a few months. It has been very difficult for me to go from one meal to another without suffering from faintness at the stomach, and dizziness of the head. . . . Eatingmeat removed for the time these faint feelings. I therefore decided that meat was indispensable in my case.
But since the Lord presented before me, in June, 1863, the subject of meat eating in relation to health, I have left the use of meat. For a while it was rather difficult to bring my appetite to bread, for which, formerly, I have had but little relish. But by persevering, I have been able to do this. I have lived for nearly one year without meat. For about six months most of the bread upon our table has been unleavened cakes [gems], made of unbolted wheat meal and water, and a very little salt. We use fruits and vegetables liberally. I have lived for eight months upon two meals a day. I have applied myself to writing the most of the time for above a year. For eight months have been confined closely to writing. My brain has been constantly taxed, and I have had but little exercise. Yet my health has never been better than for the past six months (ibid., pp. 153, 154).