(Editor’s Note: This blog was originally posted here.)
This is a post about Jim’s food addiction and eating/overeating habits. I was going to mention details about his weight here, but his weight deserves its own analysis, so it will be posted separately. The photo shows an unopened can of Diet Pepsi next to Jim’s fridge after the massacre. Sugary drinks were his favourite type of drink. Food was another addiction for Jim, which Stephan confirmed. Jim referenced this during a 1974 audio. He can be heard saying he gets into a “food problem” to keep his mind from thinking too much. He said if he ate as much as he felt, he’d weigh 300 pounds in 2 weeks. In 1972 he spoke about fasting, but it was only a brief occurence. Even amphetamines which can often cause appetite loss, did not have that effect on Jim. Eating seemed to be a pleasure and a problem for him. All through his life he was never cooperative when it came to diets. In Indiana in the 1950s and 1960s, he saw a hospital dietician named Jane Haldeman for a short time. She confirmed he was not very compliant. When he was preaching throughout the 1970s, Temple members would mention the amount of food he had at the pulpit. Meat, like steak as an example, along with some sweet things. There was KFC and cake on his bus number 7. He often spoke about living humbly but contradicted himself when he ate the most expensive food, including more steaks, at restaurants in California. A doctor in Jonestown said he was supposed to consume just 1700 calories, which would also help to manage his blood sugar, but again, he obviously did not do it. He ate fruit and vegetables, but his main daily menu included eggs, potatoes, chicken, pork, beef and a variety of candy, cake and pastries. He took massive amounts of insulin to counteract the effects of the sugary food and drink, which was another way he abused his medication. A cook named Rose Shelton was said to oversalt his food which was bad for his high blood pressure. There are conflicting view points regarding the quality of food for the followers in Jonestown. Some describe near starvation, others describe the food as satisfactory. Either way, Jim was clearly never without it.
Bonus details: In the early 1960s he would visit a Mexican restaurant in Indiana called Acapulco Joe’s. Dr. Pepper was another drink he loved. He also drank fruit juice and milk. He also said he could eat eighteen pancakes “without thinking about it.”