About Jane Birch

Jane about page

My Journey

Like most Mormons, I grew up thinking I knew exactly what the Word of Wisdom said. My life was half over before I realized there is SO MUCH MORE to this precious revelation than I ever imagined!

My passion for the Word of Wisdom was sparked by discovering a “heart-attack proof” diet, otherwise known as a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. Careful study of the scientific literature convinced me that this diet not only prevents heart disease but also most of the other common chronic diseases rampant in our society (like diabetes, strokes, obesity, kidney disease, arthritis, and many types of cancer). I became so convinced that this is that way humans should be eating that I decided I better start eating this way myself.

As my diet changed, I quickly lost weight. Within seven months, I lost 25 pounds, which was ALL of the remaining weight I had gained since graduating from high school over 30 years earlier. I discovered that not only was I losing weight but literally every health issue I had disappeared. And I was feeling great—full of energy and vitality. As I read about the experience of others on this diet, I learned that they all had the same experience: they eliminated disease, reached their ideal weight, gained energy, and felt fantastic!

It was only after I discovered this magnificent diet that I realized EVERYTHING I was now learning was already contained in D&C 89, the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom. It was then that I realized that this diet is not only key to helping us reach our highest physical potential, but it is also key to helping us achieve our highest spiritual potential. As Elder Russell M. Nelson said in the October 2013 General Conference, the decisions you make in how you care for your body will “determine your destiny” because “your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit.”

As I began sharing my experience with other Mormons, they too found interesting connections between the WFPB diet and the Word of Wisdom. Eventually my exploration of the relationship between this diet and D&C 89 spurred me to write more about the Word of Wisdom. As I shared my writing with friends and colleagues, many of them encouraged me to turn it into a book.

The Book

The book is now a reality: Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective. This book is my journey, and the journey of many other Latter-day Saints, in discovering the Word of Wisdom. It is an exploration of the verses of D&C 89 that we often skip over in our discussions of the Word of Wisdom, even though these verses are just as important to receiving the promised blessings as all the “don’ts” with which we are so familiar.

More About Me

I’m the oldest of nine, four brothers and four sisters, and the aunt of lots of beautiful nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings are all supportive of my whole food plant based (WFPB) lifestyle, and some of them are giving it a try!

I live in Provo, Utah and have served as Assistant Director of the Brigham Young University Faculty Center since 1996. As a faculty developer, I work with all of the faculty at BYU, but I have worked most extensively with new BYU faculty. We support them in every stage of their career, over a wide spectrum of their professional responsibilities. The best part of my job is helping faculty explore the relationship between the gospel of Jesus Christ and their work as teachers and scholars.

I have a PhD, but it is not in nutrition. I’ve discovered we do not need advanced degrees to learn how to eat the way God intended for us to eat. In fact, given the current academic prejudices, having a PhD in nutrition can be stumbling block.

Through my work in faculty development at BYU I associate with literally hundreds of professors, most of whom have PhDs, so I know from personal experience that having a PhD, even being an expert in nutrition, does not necessarily mean a person is more enlightened about the meaning of D&C 89 or understands the optimal diet for human beings.

Intelligence does not necessarily make a person more wise about what they eat or how disciplined they are. Believe me, I know. As part of the seminars and workshops we provide to faculty, we often serve meals, and I’ve been to literally hundreds of food events with BYU professors. They are welcome to give us special food requests, but it is rare for anyone to ask us if they could please have food that is actually the most nutritious for our bodies. Some complain about the rich desserts we sometimes serve, but hardly anyone fails to consume them.

What I bring to this effort is my testimony of the gospel, my love for the Savior, my passion for the WFPB diet, and my joy in helping others discover the Word of Wisdom. I have researched both the Word of Wisdom and WFPB diets meticulously. I know the literature well. I have now discussed this diet with hundreds of people, mostly through one-on-one exchanges and have been delighted to find so much interest.

I love the plan of salvation and the opportunity each of us has to participate in something as grand as building the Kingdom of God on earth. I sincerely believe that “waking up” to the Word of Wisdom is a critical part of preparing the Saints for the last days and the coming of our Savior.

Bless You!
Jane Birch

Jane’s Testimony

Mormon Scholars Testify

Jane’s Writings on the Word of Wisdom

Jane Birch on the Word of Wisdom

Jane’s Whole Food, Plant-based Story

“An Answer to a Question I Did Not Ask”

Presentations by Jane Birch

I love speaking on the Word of Wisdom. Check this out if you’d like to invite me to speak to a group.

 

Comments

  1. Greetings Jane from The Land Down Under

    I just read About Jane Birch and I am pleased I did. I am not a medical Dr, I am a naturopath and run on just a diploma. I am 73 and have been involvedin natural medicine since age 27 and along the way have met some very interesting people who taught me a ton of stuff I never thought existed. One of my favorites was the late John Christopher who ran The School of natural Healing in Springville, Utah. He was LDS and a very spiritual man who always kept an open mind and he loved The WOW.

    I haven’t yet read yor book but I will get a copy soon. I just read Vic Werlhofs letter about you stressing the comma in verse 13 and immediately recognised what he was talking aboutr. Back in the 80s a guy on the Stake Presidency was going all out to shut down my herbal practice becuase he was trying gain favour with the local doctor in order to do some social climbing. He didn’t realise that the doctor and I got along well and had common patients. One Sunday morning he decided to put the spotlight on me in front of the congregation and started yelling that I was an apostate for advising people to follow the WOW. He tried quoting verse 13 and omitting the cooma. he had quite and audience and had an evil smirk as he was doing it. he quoted Mc Conkie as saying I was a fadist and a crank etc. I brought him back to the comma and told him any eight year old could tell him what the comma is for and to go ask his son. A school teacher came forward to back me up. Then I told him Mc Conkie was a lawyer with no idea of nutrition and had died of cancer, a nutritional disease.

    Being ex army I know what grows wild and my wife and I eat a lot of so called “weeds”. And what is a weed? It is a herb we haven’t found a use for yet. The Lord has well and truly provided for us and if we take a little time to learn from the people with the knowledge we can eat well, stay veery healthy and we do it very cheaply.

    The WOW is a lot deeper than it looks at first glance

    The first LDS dinner I went to was a table covered in KFC and cakes and soda. I avoided LDS social occasions for some years after that. Then I moved to New Zealand and went to a stake house feed. I soon learned why all the Polynesians there were so big. Man, they are ravenous crocodiles once the food is blessed. Plenty of meat, plenty of cakes and ice cream, lots of pizza, cordial, Fried chicken in batter, hangi lamb and pork. I couldn’t believe they ate it all in one go. Then they go home and have an evening meal.

    So when I got to lecturing on the WOW it really upset many. Those who listened started seeing results quickly. Diabetic amputation is endemic to Polynesian and many of these from my stake had the black/purple lower legs and were slated for amputation. My knockers went very quiet after several of these people were reporting their legs were going to stay attached to them. In about a year most of them had normal circulation back in the legs and were looking good too. They were sticking pretty close to the WOW with the breakout from time to time. You could always tell when the chronic arthritics had their little day of eating junk. They really felt it come back on them, so back to the WOW and see mefor a course of herbals. Once they were taking the herbs plus avoiding meat and processed foods they became arthritis free fast.

    In my lifetime I suffereda lot of injuries including a total of 7 cracked vertebrae. My lower back was a real mees and I really knew what pain was. The good side of it was that I knew what other back injured people were going through and was able to treat hem when the docs had given up and condemned them to a lifetime of drugs. I was so busy that I didn’t take time to lok after me. At times the pain was excruciating and I had used everything availabe from health stores, with only a little relief. So I prayed for help and got it. Now, I mentioned I was always busy and the Lord was well awareof that. So a few days after that prayer I was on a toilet in a movie theatre. Not much chance of being distracted there. And along comes this inspiiration. I was told to get certain vegetables together and to treat them in a particular manner. Some of them I had never heard of.

    When I got home I wrote it all down. I Mwas amazed tat I remembered it. With the help of my Chinese wife I was able to source all the vegetables in the list. Therewere no medicinal herbs at all. I did as instructed with them and in eight weeks they wereready. At the time I was real p[ain in every joint. I took one teaspoon of the product and a hot flush went over me. FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER i WAS PAIN FREE. I couldn’t believe it. The pain returned the next morning so I determined to really test this stuff. I atea teaspoon of white sugar. Man! That pain went into hyperdrive. I put up with it till 8pm then took another teaspoon of the burbli’ gurglin’ brew. Same story. In 15 minutes I was pain free.

    I took a teaspoo twice a day and in 10 months was rid of the arthritis. I have had none since 2002.

    This brings me to another scripture that I ally to WOW. Nowhere in scripture are we advised to use drugs. 2 Nephi 4:34 says it all.
    I have seen so many people on drugs for acid diseases getting sick with heart disease and diabetes and oher undesirables. That’s the arm of flesh. I stayed away from the arm of flesh and am in pretty hgood health as a result.

    All the bestin what you are doing to help people learn

    Gary Powell

    • Gary, would you mind giving me your arthritis cure. I would sure like some help with this. Thank you. (We lived in Takapuna for 15 months. We sure love all the lands down under.)

  2. I too, have realized the benefits of a whole foods in my diet, and especially the elimination of refined foods. I whole-heartedly support and agree with the word of wisdom. I do however, cringe each time I read a response from someone who takes a stand against meat. In moderation and sparingly is best, but meat and dairy products are essential for the health and well-being of most individuals. (aside from a few health issues people may have. D&C 89 was inspired revelation given for our day. I believe the following was also divine revelation:

    “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;

    “For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.” (D&C 49:18–19; see also 1 Tim. 4:1–3.)

    Following is also an excerpt from an article in the April 1977 Ensign. Read the full article at:
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/04/the-dos-in-the-word-of-wisdom?lang=eng

    “What is meat’s nutritional value? It contains good quality protein and iron. The general nutritional composition of eggs is enough like meat that they are considered a “meat alternate.” Milk and cheeses are also high in protein, but contain calcium instead of iron. Dried peas and beans such as pigeon peas, navy beans, and soybeans contain moderate to high quality protein as well as some iron, so these may be used as meat alternates.

    Grains contain less protein than most of these other foods; it’s also of poorer quality. However, grain protein contributes to the day’s total, especially when eaten with meat or meat alternates. Vegetables contain only small amounts of protein, and fruits practically none at all. Thus a diet which relies totally on grains, fruits, and vegetables usually means protein deficiency.

    In addition to protein, meats provide us with several of the vitamins in the vitamin B group: thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine. One member of this group, vitamin B12, is found only in meat, milk, cheese, and eggs; thus strict vegetarians must take a vitamin B12 supplement to avoid eventual irreversible damage to their spinal cord. Meats also contribute to a full feeling after a meal, because they contain some fat, which stays in our stomach longer than the other nutrients.”

    We now know from recent studies that saturated fats are also actually good for us. So, if I may reiterate:
    “For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, IS ORDAINED FOR THE USE OF MAN FOR FOOD AND FOR RAIMENT, AND THAT HE MIGHT HAVE IN ABUNDANCE.” (D&C 49:18–19; see also 1 Tim. 4:1–3.)

    So the key takeaway here is to follow the Word of Wisdom, realizing the meat, used sparingly is also good for us.
    Thank you. I have enjoyed reading your articles.

    • Thanks, Shanna! I appreciate the kind words. My impression is that many people would enjoy much better health if they ate meat more sparingly, as you suggest! However, I hope you won’t worry about others who have chosen to go without meat. This certainly would be a concern is there were good health reasons for eating meat, but the science on this point is now very clear: there are no essential nutrients that we must get from meat. We can get all of the nutrients we need on a healthy plant-based diet. Anyone interested can study this summary of the research, “Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets.”

      I really love the scriptures you refer to: D&C 49:18–19 & 1 Tim. 4:1–3. It is helpful to realize that the word “meat” in the Bible does not mean the flesh of animals; it means “food.” 1 Timothy 4:3 is most often translated as commanding others to abstain from certain foods (see http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/4-3.htm). This also suggests a similar interpretation of the related verse in D&C 49 (see also What does it mean to “command to abstain from meats”?). Regardless, I very much agree that we should not forbid others from eating certain foods, including the flesh of animals. As both D&C 49 & 89 agree, the Lord has ordained meat for our use. But of course, He not only asks us to use it sparingly, He tells us specifically that “it is pleasing unto me that [meat] should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine” (D&C 89:12–13). The Lord does not command us to eliminate meat, nor should we forbid others from consuming it. But I believe there are blessings we can obtain by doing those things that are pleasing to Him. Apparently, one of those is reserving the use of meat for times of need. Now that science has confirmed we can get all the nutrients we need from plant foods, and that meat consumption is associated with many chronic illnesses, we have even more reason to reserve the use of meat for only those times of need.

      If you are interested, you may even consider giving this way of eating a try. I believe you would quickly discover why going plant-based has blessed so many people. If you are not interested, that is fine also! No one will forbid you or other members of the Church from consuming meat! But I also hope you will not discourage others from giving this a try. Since not using meat (except in times of need) is something the Lord tells us is pleasing to Him, surely we should not worry about people who wish to give it a try.

      Thanks again for your comment. I wish you all the best on your journey!

  3. Dear Jane,

    I am so happy to have discovered your website and information you have provided. My husband and I have been changing our diets to the WFPB way of eating for about two months now. We both love it, are losing weight, and are seeing health improvements. I joined the church as a young adult and have been a member since 1983. Many times I have wondered why we don’t follow the word of wisdom as it is written in Doctrine and Covenants 89. But recently because of health problems (high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes) I began to prayerfully and earnestly study it again. Then I was blessed to watch the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and I could see a connection there. I had my husband watch it and then he started the WFPB diet with me.

    Thank you for the work you have done!

    Sincerely,
    Tammy Hans

    • Tammy:

      That is awesome. It fills me with joy to know that so many others are experiencing the same happiness and blessings that I’ve experienced.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience! I’d love to get to know you better. Please consider sharing a longer version of your story on this site. See: Share Your Story.

      Jane

  4. Thank you 🙂 I has been a pleasure to find “my tribe” on this website. I appreciate your efforts to share this message and look forward to the day when this is shared from the pulpit.

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