Health Principles

I love sweets! Unfortunately, my loving husband willingly indulges my sweet tooth because he, too, loves sweets.

For the first year of my daughter’s life she did not receive any type of sweets. During her second year, I rarely allowed her to have sweets. Now that she is four, I will allow her – us – to have a weekly treat; sometimes it’s hot chocolate on Sabbath, or frozen yogurt on Sunday. The treat, though, is always a surprise and always after I have seen her eat a healthful, hearty meal.

I don’t think it wise for me to deny my child sweets. I want her to know there are limits. I want her to learn temperance. I want her to learn self-governance. Through patient instruction and consistency, I want my daughter to learn the eight laws of health. In order to teach these laws, I must first live them.

I know that the path of self-denial is the only path of safety.1 Self-denial in the area of appetite will help strengthen her self-control and prevent self-indulgent behaviors. Respecting the laws of health will help her appreciate eternal realities. Learning and following the laws of health will also teach her about obedience.

Each day, I make sure each law of health is followed. When we have a day where we have failed in some areas, I make sure to point out the error and consequences. For example: If we do not eat a hearty breakfast, we will be hungry in just a few hours – and fussy! If the little one misses her nap, she will be tired and fussy! If we do not get outside during the day, we begin to get restless and argumentative. If we don’t get enough nutrients and water into our bodies, we begin to have cravings for unhealthy food.

In today’s rushed society, it is very difficult to eat a healthy, balanced, varied diet. I’m not talking about Italian food on Monday, Mexican food on Tuesday, Chinese food on Wednesday, etc. I’m talking about making sure the family eats a variety of fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables every day and introducing a new food item on a regular basis. We recently discovered pineapple-guava and persimmons!

The other laws of health are just as important as nutrition2: Sunshine3, fresh air4, exercise5, adequate sleep6, water7, temperance8 and, oddly enough, trust9, 10. Honestly, the most difficult part of following the eight laws of health is having a consistent daily routine that supports your health efforts. A pre-determined regular bedtime and wake-up time were the most difficult in our home; but if we stay faithful in that one area, the rest of the items seem to fall into place easily.

To learn more about the eight laws of health, visit the links and references provided.


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© 2011, C. Gillan Byrne

Complete Publishedwritings of EGW

Bible Gateway website for KJV


1 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Health Principles (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 104, ¶2). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 Amazing Discoveries/Amazing Health, P.O. Box 189, 7101C – 120th Street, Delta, BC V4E 2A9. (604) 572-9457.

8 Galatians 5:22-23 and 2 Peter 1:5-8

10 Trust. Young Child Ministries, P.O. Box 27, Ojai, CA 93024. (805) 490-6055.