“Learning to master our appetites brings us closer to God”

George FamilyBy: Rebekah George

My plant-based journey started the summer I turned 25 (2002), when my mom called and said Dad had been diagnosed with diabetes and was going to try a vegan diet for three months. She thought he would have an easier time if his kids were doing it with him. My five sisters and I joined him in his three-month trial. I gladly jumped on board to support my dad, but I remember thinking, “How am I going to give up my cheese?!” I rarely cooked meat, but I had cheese all the time. As I cut all dairy from my diet, I was surprised at how quickly my cravings and taste for cheese disappeared.

During the trial period, I had many conversations with my mom, who had been vegan for several years, and I also started doing my own research. I read some of T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study and all of Food for Life by Neal Barnard. I also studied the Word of Wisdom with a new perspective, focusing on the verse that says the Lord is pleased when we do not eat meat.

By the end of the three months, not only were my dad’s blood levels normal and the pre-diabetic condition gone, but I was also convinced a plant-based diet was the way to go.

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“I am a food addict”

Scott Zimmerman After WFPB (Sevilla Spain) May 2013By: S. Scott Zimmerman  

I have four confessions:

1. I am a food addict. I often seem unable to stop eating, and forage for food all day long, food that is often high in fat and sugar.
2. I have coronary artery disease (CAD) caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.
3. I have lost over 50 pounds three times in my life, only to regain the weight two of the three times.
4. During my 30 years as a professor of biochemistry at Brigham Young University, I always included principles of nutrition as part of my biochemistry courses for pre-medical and pre-nursing students, but I have recently realized that much of what I taught about nutrition was wrong.

So here is My Story of ups and downs in body weight and in nutrition management. It’s a story of a long, slow process of making mistakes, trying to learn from those mistakes, and finally finding the value of a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle. I’ll start with my first confession.

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“We couldn’t believe how delicious our meals were!”

Dallin and Robyn RowleyBy: Robyn Rowley

I am 26 years old and have weighed a sprightly 100 pounds since 7th grade. I never gave much thought to what I ate, since candy, French fries and ice cream didn’t seem to affect me negatively, at least in the sense that they never added any pounds to my slight figure. And did I ever take advantage of my unbelievably good genes! As a missionary in France, my motto was, “Why buy one pastry when you can buy two?”

During my last year as an undergraduate, I was working with Jane Birch when she made her radical diet change. I was fairly skeptical of all she preached at first and told myself that, though great for her, it probably wasn’t for me. After all, eating a handful of carrot sticks and three different kinds of fruit every day meant I was pretty healthy myself . . . right?

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“I just wanted to feel normal”

Kevin Tunstall at a raceBy: Kevin Tunstall

My journey to a plant-based diet began soon after my diagnosis with prostate cancer. However, to begin fully, I should probably start earlier. My grandmother passed away from cancer, after being terrified of the big ‘C’ from youth. My mother passed away from lung cancer; then a few years later, my wife’s only sister developed breast cancer. She ended up having a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

I had been called as bishop of a very busy ward in New Zealand. One of my first challenges was dealing with a single sister with two teenage children who had breast cancer, but refused to get treatment or let me tell anyone. The week my sister-in-law finished her radiation treatment, our 15-year-old daughter developed what was thought to be a form of leukemia. We were devastated. It was a harrowing time but through a ward fast and miracles, her life was spared.

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“I am awed at how the ‘destroying angel’ has passed me by again and again.”

Winona DaviesBy: Winona Davies

In 1989, I was 50 pounds overweight (it could have been much more, but because my genes are good, it was “only” 50 pounds). I had gotten divorced a year earlier. I was depressed and struggling to care for my large family. We relied heavily on government help to buy food and ate a pretty “standard” diet. I’d been exposed to some herbal and alternative health experts in my teens, so I knew, for example, that sugar wasn’t good for me or the kids, but it seemed too hard to avoid, so as a single mother, I just didn’t try. I had numerous health problems, though I was only 31 years old, including not being able to sleep because I woke up several times a night to take antacids. I also had gall bladder problems and allergies.

By June of 1989, things had gotten pretty desperate for me, and my bishop decided I needed a break before I broke. He arranged for my children’s father and new wife to care for the kids while I took a bus to my parent’s home 350 miles away. On the bus, I read a book about co-dependency which suggested that if I identified with the book (I did) I was probably a drug addict, an alcoholic, or a compulsive overeater. I was active in the Church and had never used either drugs or alcohol, but I had to take an honest look at my food. I came home and joined a 12 Step group for my problem and realized that my main addictive foods included meat and dairy. I gave up meat then, but I struggled for another 15 years before I could face the idea of giving up dairy, and then only because my compulsive eating was again out of control, and it was absolutely clear that the only foods that were really serious problems for me were dairy-based.

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — March 2014

Yellow PotatoesLittle Wins

Along the way to achieving my ultimate weight loss and health goals, it’s important to celebrate the little wins….

  • My pants are looser. I noticed the change in my shirts last month, and this month my pants have felt looser and even started to ride a little lower so that I continuously have to pull them up and re-tuck in my undershirt.
  • I can reach the gas cap lever in my car! It was getting pretty dicey for a while there. It is located on the floor between the pedals and driver’s seat, and when I was at my largest weight, I’d have to hold my breath and lunge for it. Now I can reach down easily and without pain.
  • I’ve stayed 100% WFPB for ¼ of the year already!
  • A coworker noticed that I’ve been losing weight.
  • I reached and surpassed my first 50lb milestone; my visiting teachers took progress pictures.
  • I came home from an appointment last Saturday having put some potatoes in my countertop convection oven and then forgotten about them. My first thought as I opened the door was “Mmm, smells like brownies.” A few minutes later when I cut into one of the still-warm potatoes I thought, “This smells delicious!” Although I never before liked potatoes any way other than mashed with butter, I may be on my way to becoming a potato lover.

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“I feel the Spirit testifying to me that the way I am eating is pleasing to my Heavenly Father”

Marian StewartBy: Marian Stewart

My journey to eating a whole food, plant-based diet started when I was young. I was lucky enough to have a very health conscious mom who was always seeking to learn truths about healthy nutrition. She was vegetarian (and then vegan), used all whole grains, sweetened things with honey, and we never had junk food around. I was mostly vegetarian when I got married, though I did it mostly because I didn’t like the taste and texture of most meat, not because I fully understood the health benefits.

When I had my first daughter a few years later she was very colicky. My mom told me to try giving up dairy to see if that would help, so I decided to give it a try. It worked amazingly, and as an added bonus, I felt so much better when I wasn’t eating dairy. At that point, I started to learn a little bit more about nutrition, especially how animal products affect our health, but it wasn’t until after I had my second child a few years later that I really started to integrate what I was learning into my life. Up until this point, I wasn’t eating meat or dairy, but I was eating a lot of “fake” meats and cheeses to take their place. I also was eating a lot of processed food. I read a few books and listened to a lot of lectures about eating a whole food, plant-based diet, and it all made so much sense to me. The more I learned, the easier it became to give up the unhealthy foods I had been eating and start adding more whole foods into my diet.

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“Out of compassion for animals, I became a vegan”

Christine BradleyBy: Christine Bradley

I originally didn’t give much thought to the verses in D&C 89, except to follow the directions needed to be baptised in my early 20′s in 1972 and to obtain a temple recommend a year later….until….I became vegan in May 2011. Then I embarked on considerable study of the full Word of Wisdom and gained a great appreciation of the inherent wisdom afforded us.

It all began when I watched a video called “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky. He is an American animal rights activist and presented his speech at Georgia Tech in summer of 2010. His presentation was about the atrocities to animals that we humans do and allow, for unnecessary food and entertainment, etc. The video was posted on Facebook by a man named Carl Scott who lives in Dunedin, New Zealand.

That very day, out of compassion for animals, I became a vegan. My youngest daughter who still lives at home here was very happy to join me in this new way of living, and my husband, without even looking at the information, was okay about it too.

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Mormon Children Share Their Perspectives

Three SistersWhole food, plant-based eating is not just for adults! Children being raised in WFPB families have their own experiences with this way of eating and their own ideas about the Word of Wisdom. Here three young children from Oklahoma share their perspectives.

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“I felt whole in that moment, as if I had come home”

Sandra CherryBy: Sandee Cherry

The “moment” came as I was reading the third chapter of The China Study by Colin Campbell. I had been in physical therapy for a couple of months when my PT, Rogan Taylor, asked me about my diet. I proudly told him how healthy I ate: not much red meat with a helping of carbohydrates and veggies. He asked if I would be willing to read a book about nutrition and health. I said, “Yes,” and he proceeded to leave the room and return with The China Study. I asked him if this book was about not eating meat and if he was a vegetarian. He answered affirmatively and testified that the book was based on many years of scientific research that supported diet as the source of health. Since he had been both a bishop and a member of a stake high council, I jokingly told him I did not know they called vegetarians, let alone vegans, to those positions! He laughed and said his wife, a Relief Society president, and all five of their children were vegans. Needless to say, I was impressed.

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