Archive for Single Adult

“You no longer need to be on insulin!”

By: Helen Bileen

All of my adult life my health has had its ups and downs. I’m sure many factors contributed to the lack of consistency with my health. During my annual visits to the doctors, they wrote in their reports that I was managing my pre-diabetes with diet and exercise. I’m a full-blooded Native American of the Navajo Nation. Type 2 diabetes is running rampant among my people. I know too many people who were diagnosed with this disease and eventually died. I used a low carb diet and walking to control blood sugar level and weight. It worked for a short period of time, and my numbers (i.e., blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) would always plateau. Then with a busy lifestyle, I reverted back to eating comfort foods.

After I retired from my career, I served a full-time mission for the LDS Church. One day I was complaining to a missionary friend about my lack of sleep, feeling tired, and my craving for more food. She invited me to her whole food plant-based support group which included missionaries and local people. My first impression was that it was too restrictive. I knew I was addicted to food, and I just couldn’t imagine limiting my diet to whole food plant-based. I needed a brownie or chocolate chip cookie at least once a week. Where I served there was always food everywhere: in the Zone office, the cafeteria, potluck dinners, and dining out. I strived to limit myself to eating comfort foods in smaller portions. Even though I had good intentions, I was not always successful!

After serving two and a half years, I temporarily moved in with my son and his family. Naturally, I ate what my family ate. Also, people in the community drove to their destinations. Therefore, I naturally walked less. It was different from serving a mission in downtown metropolitan city where I walked everywhere.

After five months, I began feeling symptoms of type 2 diabetes that previous doctors had taught me through the years. Finally, in March I made an appointment to see a health care provider at a Public Health Service. Since I was new to their clinic they took my blood and urine samples for tests. My new health care provider was astonished to see my numbers. At the time, my weight was about 147 pounds. He was surprised that my A1c was 14 (normal is below 5.7)! The other numbers were also not within normal range. He didn’t tell me I was pre-diabetic which is what I was expecting to hear. No, this time I was full-blown diabetic! He gave me a choice of taking insulin or Metformin to control my diabetes. Years ago I had my gallbladder removed and the doctor prescribed Metformin for me to begin taking on a regular basis. It had side effects that made me feel sick. Therefore, I told him I would try the insulin, and he assured me that there would be no side effects. At the time, I was totally naïve. I trusted my health care provider.

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“For the first time in nearly 20 years I am medication free!”

Sara FosterBy: Sara Foster

I grew up in the backwoods of Tennessee in a family of eight kids with a stay-at-home dad and a mother who is a physician. Dad was raised in the country on a farm, so our plates were filled with meat, dairy and lots of fried and processed foods. That was the norm, and I knew nothing different at the time. If we ate vegetables, they were mostly fried.

Beginning when I was 12 years old, I had very painful menstrual cramps. They were so severe that I had to take pain shots and narcotics on the days of my menstrual cycle, and I would often have to be checked out of school. One day when I was a little older, I landed in the ER and had to have morphine given to me through IV. That day the Elders of the LDS Church gave me a blessing. They blessed me that I would find a way that I would never have to take medication again for this. I took that blessing to heart and did not let up in a search for the reason why I was having such intense menstrual cramps. I knew there must be a remedy other than medications.

Some years later I found out I had endometriosis. This is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus. It is often extremely painful and can result in infertility. This helped explain the problems I had.

My father also had significant health issues. I watched him struggle with weight and high blood pressure almost my entire life. His blood pressure eventually got so high it took his life. It was shortly thereafter that I discovered plant-based eating. By the grace of Our Father in Heaven, I stumbled upon a book about plant-based nutrition. As I was reading it, my mind kept drifting back to the Word of Wisdom. It sounded so similar. That led me to open the Word of Wisdom again and re-examine what I thought I knew. I started seeking out other authors of books that had similar views and decided to give plant-based eating a try.

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“I vow to never take my beating heart for granted”

judy-morse-thurberHave you ever been inspired and motivated by reading the story of someone on a whole food, plant-based diet? If you have, please share YOUR story! Contact me —Jane

By: Judy Morse Thurber

My mother and I were alone for 3 1/2 years while my dad served in WWII. I remember rationing with stamps to limit purchases and eating pretty basic, low budget, comfort foods. We ate mac and cheese, chipped beef on toast, cream of chicken on toast, oatmeal, and toasted cheese sandwiches. Milk was always the drink with every meal. One distinct memory from my youth was when margarine was first introduced to the world. As a child, I loved adding the yellow color to make it look more like butter. After Dad returned from the war, we had roast beef on Sunday and used the leftovers to make sandwiches for Sunday dinner. I never felt deprived . . . until I got old enough to evaluate the fake butter. Then I began to rail against that and vowed that there would always be real butter on my table as an adult (little did I know!).

I was married and the mother of five children when my husband and I were involved in a business that purchased one of the first supplement companies in the nation. We had to quickly learn the importance and value of food supplements. This enlightened me to the fact that we were not getting the full value out of our food. At the time, I suffered with night blindness and complexion problems and a few other issues that were nutritionally based. The supplements helped me overcome those issues and started to direct my attention to the need for better nutrition. (I now love to help people eliminate supplements by eating whole food, plant-based!)

While raising a family, I was a music teacher, organist, choir director, and soloist. I kept very active as a mother (now seven children), business partner with my husband in the supplement business, and as a musician. In all of my busyness, and above all, I have been a “Truth Seeker,” which is what led me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in my thirties.

The Word of Wisdom fit perfectly into my views of life. After we joined the Church, we refined our eating habits considerably, but not sufficiently. My first husband died at a young age of cancer. I cared for him for two years, trying to overcome the cancer naturally. This added to my knowledge and determination to know, understand, practice, and teach alternative, natural healthcare methods. I studied and became a Naturopath, and discovered special healing gifts.

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“I am getting younger instead of older”

lily-sparksBy: Lily Sparks

In the late summer of 2010, I went onto the web to look up something to help me. I was overweight and obese, with high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high cholesterol. My glucose blood test had inched out of the average range and into the prediabetes range. Everything hurt . . . my joints, my muscles. Getting out of bed in the morning hurt so bad if I did not take lots of grape seed. My knees were helped by glucosamine and chondroitin. I spent quite a bit of money every month buying the supplements so I would not hurt or at least reduce the aches and pain. I just accepted it as part of growing older even though it started in my late forties. I received enough relief with the supplements that my life just went on, and I accepted it.

Being overweight was the biggest fight. I had lost weight using Atkins, hCG, and counting calories. I would successfully lose weight, but those diets are not sustainable so when I went back to my regular eating, which always happened, I would gain the weight back and more. I tried to watch what I would eat, but I liked food and even after I ate a full meal I would be hungry in an hour and a half. I could not understand how I could be hungry again after a full meal. I think that happened because of the lack of good nutrition in the meal. I think my body was saying, “You gave me bulk but no nutrition.” Sometimes I just ate what I wanted because I was tired of fighting it.

I got so I would not weigh myself because I was afraid to know how much I weighed. I think I got to 220 lbs and wore a size 20 or 22.

I was not happy. Read More→

“Why did God invent food?!?”

Shara MitchellBy: Shara Mitchell

Up until the last year of my life, I have lived with one foot in the camp with the “health nuts” and one foot in the Standard American Diet (SAD). When I was a child, my mother taught me to love wholesome foods, vitamin supplements, and occasional fasting for detoxification. I was never really taught how to cook, however, and when I became an adult and got married, I wanted to please my family. Although I started out trying very hard to cook from scratch and make healthy foods, eventually I found that my family liked it better when I made recipes that were less healthy.

I had vowed to never let my children drink soda, but as many years went by (years of overwhelm that can wear a person’s resolve down), I not only started allowing my kids soda, but also found myself drinking Diet Coke daily… sometimes twice per day. My kids hated chunky vegetables in the soup that I loved to make, so I stopped making it and made the creamy soups that made them happy. My husband at the time seemed to appreciate it more when I gave in and kept the peace by serving less healthy foods, so I felt like I was alone, and I gradually gave up my resolve to feed my family in a healthy way.

Although I had never struggled with weight, energy, or general heath after my first two babies, things started to change after baby number three. I couldn’t get rid of the last 10 pounds of baby weight, and I started to feel really tired and achy much of the time. My stress level was high, and I was overwhelmed with small children. I basically ignored the problem, and coped by doing yoga to ease the muscle tension that at times would overwhelm me. I wasn’t really exercising much and my cooking was “survival cooking”… cheese quesadillas and juice, you know, convenient kid food.

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“I love wheat”

Annette DraperBy: Annette Draper

I remember the thrasher coming to our farm. All the farmers in the area came to help in hauling the wheat bundles to the farm. The job of the children was pushing the wheat to the back of the bin so everything fit. Every year we made wheat gum by chewing the wheat to the point of being able to blow bubbles. It was tradition. Later as flour was needed, a couple gunny sacks would be filled and taken to the mill to be ground.

I had been taught by example to store food and helped do it. One day I was looking at my children and had a very vivid realization of how I would feel if they were crying because they were hungry. It made me cry. I was not doing the things I’d grown up with to provide for my family. I began to renew my knowledge of canning and baking bread. We obtained our one-year food supply, which included a great deal of wheat.

Using whole wheat flour in bread, cookies and other baked goods and eating wheat cereals had become our regular routine. Still, I received a prompting to learn to use wheat. I thought I already knew. I was very involved in church and family life was very busy. I had all the usual excuses for not doing as I had been instructed. Because of procrastination, we experienced what I call, “The tithing in reverse principle.” Our income had not changed nor had our expenses; but we were very broke. It didn’t take me long to realize that what I had been instructed to do needed to be done now.

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“My body doesn’t need animal eggs or milk”

Pilar ArceBy: Pilar Arce

(Read the Spanish version of this story.)

I remember the first great commercial of milk and cereal I saw when I was a kid. It convinced me that my body really needed milk to be strong, happy, and healthy like the kids on TV. Even though milk sometimes made me sick, I knew my bones would be stronger if I had some milk, cheese or butter with my breakfast.

When I was on my mission I got a disease called “chronic fatigue.” It sounded funny, but after some months it affected my back and I came home three months early. After going home, I had the well-known “chronic phases,” which means there were weeks when I felt extremely tired, and those days I had to rest, eat really good food, and say good bye to the stress. It was funny that when I rested the most I felt more tired. The good thing was that every time the “chronic fatigue crisis” ended, I had my normal and very active life back. I’m a climber, college student, a freelance worker, Relief Society counselor, traveler, etc. For a couple of years my life was like that, going up and down all the time.

Two and a half years ago I decided to be vegetarian (because I didn’t agree with how big industries treat animals like slaves). Even though I didn’t do it to be healthier, I received both emotional and physical rewards. I felt more energy, and my “chronic fatigue crisis” lasted for shorter periods.

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“I gave it a three-month trial”

Elon MangelsonBy: Elon Mangelson

My dad was a wonderful gardener. I grew up eating crisp fresh radishes, tender green onion, luscious red ripe tomatoes (my favorite), and many other earth jewels that sprang up under his watchful eye. We had a chicken coop full of chickens who supplied our eggs and a cow or two that lived out back and gifted us with rich creamy milk for our growing family, which eventually swelled to 11 of us including mom and dad.

Our diet was composed of mostly clean, homegrown unadulterated food. My dad was always telling us that we should eat meat sparingly, in times of cold and famine. The usual pattern was to eat vegetables with boiled potatoes and milk gravy made with a browned flour rue or vegetable soup and other variations during the week. Then our meat meal was reserved for Sunday dinner.

I don’t exactly know how my dad got to be such an unrelenting advocate of what he considered healthy eating. He became the real food police. No black pepper in the house since it was hard on the lining of the stomach. Mustard was questionable. No double desserts for birthdays, only cake but no ice cream—already too much sugar. No added sugar in the hot cereal we ate each morning. Deep fried foods were another no no. Some unexplained disappearances of sweets were solved when one day we found a half eaten cake, dry and hard, safely hidden in Dad’s dresser drawer.

After graduating with a PhD in biochemistry and nutrition, Dad could lay claim to being a real professional. He became a much sought after public speaker on the Word of Wisdom and its implications for everyday eating habits. He delved into the parts of the Word of Wisdom that many had not even considered before. I emerged from all this with a pretty healthful attitude toward food and respect for trying to eat well.

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“It’s not God’s plan that so many of us be sick”

Sue Reuser

By: Sue Reuser

I’ve been interested in physiology since I was in college, but when I was young I was not necessarily concerned about my own good health. In fact, I was a smoker for almost 20 years. After getting married in 1980, it was only in consideration of my new family of four children that I finally quit.

I first became involved with Dr. John McDougall’s plant-based diet in 1985 when I heard him interviewed on a radio talk show. McDougall sounded very extreme to me at the time, but everything he said was so logical that I couldn’t deny its correctness. It was completely different from everything that I had been taught about food and what I had always eaten, but deep down I just knew that he was right.

In 1985 I talked my husband into both of us enrolling in Dr. McDougall’s 12-day program. It was for him, not me. I didn’t need it. I was healthy, active, and trim, but at 30 he could not get insurance because of his high blood pressure. We attended the program together. Even though we had enrolled for my husband, the science soon convinced me to switch to a low fat starch-based diet.

Changing my diet was not easy. A huge part of my diet was sweets, and I sure didn’t want to give those up! Meat was not a problem for me. In fact, I liked the idea of not killing animals to eat them, but I still couldn’t imagine how I would feed a family without using lots of hamburger and cheese. Even though I had lots of questions, I was able to work things out. I didn’t know it at the time, but I think that even back then (before I joined the Church) I was feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost.

It was only later that I realized that the McDougall program most likely saved my life. My mother died of breast cancer when I was 10 and she was 49. My sister died of breast cancer when she was 51. If I hadn’t changed my lifestyle I probably would have been dying of breast cancer in 1994 instead of getting baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and getting a new and happy life.

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“My stirrings as a child were correct”

Julie BealBy: Julie Beal

My journey to plant-based eating started when I attended Brigham Young University at age 17. I was not a member of the Church at that time. Although I lived several states away, I was drawn there due to the clean living and purity I had noticed among new LDS friends I’d met while in a beauty pageant. Another contestant felt I had a happy glow and invited me to church!

I loved learning the Lord’s teachings at BYU. I was particularly proud of earning an A in my college Book of Mormon class, as it was all new to me. I had been intimidated by that class and tried really hard to do well. I was also a serious student of the gospel. Reading the New Testament on my own the previous year had prepared me for all I would later study in my quest for truth.

The knowledge I gained of the doctrine at that time has blessed me immensely through the years. As an investigator, I was able to take any doubt or concern that my family expressed and study it out, make inquiries, and then gain a testimony of all of the details prior to baptism. I respected my parents enough to do this, and it has given me an even greater foundation in my faith and beliefs.

I took the same approach to the beautiful latter-day revelation of Doctrine and Covenants Section 89, the Word of Wisdom, which is instruction from God for our health. I took the Word of Wisdom literally, believing it means what it states. I loved knowing that God is not some mythical, magical entity, but truly a loving Father in Heaven who teaches his children how to live in the happiest and most joyful way.

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