5 Foods to Avoid on the Graham Diet

The Graham diet was invented by a Presbyterian Minister, Sylvester Graham, in 1829. It consists of fruits and vegetables, whole wheat breads and high fiber foods (such as legumes) with an occasional use of very fresh milk, eggs or cheese.

Rev. Sylvester Graham had a keen interest in human health and well being. He thought that excessive lust and sexual activities caused a lot of problems in human health. In order to fight these sinful urges he advised to follow his vegetarian diet, drink only pure water, take frequent baths, have a good night sleep on a hard mattress with open windows in any weather, and wear comfortable clothing. His ideas were very advanced for his time and were not met with a lot of approval. Though the Graham diet is a vegetarian diet, it has some differences from common vegetarian diets people follow nowadays. Here are some foods that you should avoid while following the Graham diet.

1. Alcohol

According to Rev. Graham, alcohol is the most damaging agent to your health. It causes confusion, “impure” thoughts and excessive sexual desires, thus should be avoided in the diet.

2. Meats

The Graham diet does not allow consumption of meats of any kind since meats, in Graham’s opinion, cause diseases and ill health. He stated that the nations who ate mostly vegetables and high fiber foods (legumes and whole grains) were much more physically fit than the ones who consumed animal products.

3. Spices

Unfortunately, Rev. Graham also considered spices – even benign ones such as mustard, pepper and ketchup – to be bad for your health. This restriction is the main difference between modern vegetarian diets. It causes foods to be bland, but it is an essential restriction of Graham’s diet.

4. White Bread

White bread, as well as any products made from bleached flour, is not allowed because of the chemical unnatural agents used to bleach flour. Rev. Graham was an advocate of coarse whole wheat bread and even invented his own Graham flour and bread.

5. Highly Processed Foods

Obviously, the processed meats are not allowed on the diet since Graham diet is a vegetarian one. However, even processed foods which are made of non-animal sources should be eliminated as well because they have a lot of artificial components in them. No chemicals, artificial coloring or artificial sweeteners should be present in the food and drinks you are going to consume if you decide to follow Graham diet.

As you can see, the Graham diet is a lacto-ovo (allows milk and eggs) vegetarian diet with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and high fiber foods. It also has restrictions on consumption of alcohol, meats, spices, white bread, artificial substances and chemical components used in food manufacturing. This diet is supposed to improve health and purify thoughts.


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