Getting Started on a WFPB Word of Wisdom Diet

By: Jane Birch 

Congratulations on your interest in learning more about a “whole food, plant-based” (WFPB) approach to the Word of Wisdom! I hope you find something useful on this site that will help you in your own study and interpretation of D&C 89. If you’d like to give this diet a try, I’m happy to help. It is easier than you think because it is so wonderful to adopt new practices that dramatically change your life for the better.

The 3 Dietary Principles in the Word of Wisdom

From my perspective, a WFPB diet sheds light on the three dietary principles found in the Word of Wisdom:

1. All “wholesome herbs [plants] . . . in the season thereof” should be used with “prudence and thanksgiving.” (D&C 89:10–11).

The first principle focuses on the prudent use of wholesome (think “whole”) plant foods. From a WFPB perspective, wholesome plant foods include whole vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes (beans, etc.). Animal foods are not plant foods. Highly processed foods (including refined carbs, oils, and junk foods) are neither wholesome nor prudent. They are nutritionally poor, highly concentrated foods designed to get us to over-consume. Whole plant foods contain all the amazing nutrients God packaged them with, along with fiber and water which create bulk and satiety. (See also: Wholesome Herbs and Every Fruit)

2. Animal flesh is ordained for human use, but it should be eaten sparingly, and it is pleasing to the Lord if it is not used, except in times of need (“times of winter . . . cold, or famine” and “excess of hunger”) (D&C 89:12–13, 15).

Study after study show a correlation between animal food consumption, obesity, and chronic disease. From a WFPB perspective, since animal foods are not needed for nutritional purposes and unavoidably contain harmful substances, these foods should be kept to a minimum, if eaten at all, for optimal health. Better to save them for times of need. (See also: The Flesh of Beasts, Part I and Part II)

3. “All grain is good” and is ordained to be the “staff of life.” (D&C 89:14, 16).

Fruits and vegetables are great at providing nutrients, but not at providing calories. Whole grains, beans, and other starchy plant foods provide sufficient energy with none of the extreme negative features of other calorie dense foods, like animal foods and processed foods. They are delicious, satisfying, and (despite the current rhetoric) key to weight loss. From a WFPB perspective, the bulk of our calories should come from whole starchy plants, which are primarily the whole grains, such as wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, and millet. (See also: All Grain is Good)

Step 1: Study the Word of Wisdom and a Whole Food, Plant-based Diet

You are, of course, encouraged to do your own research and seek the Lord’s guidance for your own understanding of the Word of Wisdom. This site shares insights from a WFPB approach. Here are some good places to start:

Step 2: Prepare to Eat the Word of Wisdom Way

1. If you find this approach useful, continue to prayerfully study both D&C 89 and the literature on a WFPB diet.  (See resources in the section above.)

2. Study the whole food, plant-based guidelines so you thoroughly understand what is considered ideal, even if you are not ready or planning to commit to all of them.

3. Find recipes that look appealing and try a few. You only need a good 6–7 to keep you going!

4. Decide how you want to get started changing your diet. Below are five different approaches. (You could also combine some of them or come up with your own!) No matter what method you choose, be patient with yourself! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t do as well as you’d like. It is NOT about perfection; it is about progress.

5. Don’t be surprised if you encounter challenges along the way! Satan does NOT want you to succeed, and he will try to make it difficult for you. But with God’s help, you are more powerful than Satan, and you can succeed! Here are some suggestions for helping overcome the two biggest challenges:

Step 3: Choose an Approach to Changing Your Diet (5 Options Below)

Option 1: Go Cold Turkey

This strategy involves deciding to make a 100% switch to a whole food, plant-based. It has several advantages:

  • For many people, totally avoiding addicting foods is easier than trying to moderate their use. Each time you taste food engineered to be highly pleasurable with excess fat-sugar-salt, you are dosing the dopamine-based pleasure receptors in your brain, which makes them crave more fat-sugar-salt laden food. Avoiding that altogether can be easier for many than having “just a little bit.”
  • Your sensitivity to certain tastes can change radically in just a few weeks. For example, it takes 90 days for your “fat receptors” to down regulate. (See: “Reducing Fat and Cooking Without Oil”)
  • You’ll experience the benefits quicker, and this can be highly motivating!
  • See more about the advantages here: Why Start Now? and Why Go 100%

How to do it: Pick a day that will be the first day 100% whole food, plant-based. Before that day, you may want to clean out your refrigerator and pantry, stock up on the new foods, and find some recipes that you like.

  • If you can’t completely clean out the refrigerator and pantry because other family members eat them, at least confine them all to one place/cupboard/shelf, etc.
  • Just like avoiding alcohol and tobacco are part of your Mormon identity, you can make being “whole food, plant-based” part of your identify. This makes it much easier to resist temptation. Those foods are simply no longer the types of food you eat.
  • If it helps, commit to going cold turkey for a shorter timeframe than “forever.” Twenty-one days is probably the shortest time that will still make a significant difference. Three months should kill off the worst cravings. Tell yourself, “It is just for three months, and then I’ll re-evaluate.” You can do anything for three months, right?

From more on this approach, see Why Go Cold Turkey? and Strategies for Going Cold Turkey

Option 2: Take Baby Steps

This strategy involves transitioning more slowly to a whole food, plant-based, though the goal is still to get to 100%. This strategy has several advantages:

  • It is easier for some people/families to tackle one aspect of the WFPB diet at a time, or to gradually reduce certain beloved foods.
  • You may feel less deprived.
  • There is a learning curve to this diet and way of cooking, and this gives you more time to learn and experiment before going 100%

How to do it: Choose one food (or food category) at a time to stop eating; then move on to your next goal. Examples foods to eliminate: meat, dairy, eggs, candy and sweets, sugar, soda pop, oils, refined flours, and processed foods. However you choose to approach it, make a concrete written plan. Using deadlines can be helpful.

  • An example from one family: We first eliminated meat, but not chicken broth. Then we eliminated fresh milk, then yogurt, then cheese, then ice cream. THEN we eliminated chicken broth. Then we began decreasing the amount of salt we used, and stopped using sugar and oil. We’re now transitioning away from other sweeteners.
  • A man who lost 300 lbs. on a WFPB diet suggests you make a list of everything you currently eat and then divide it into three categories: things you are going to completely eliminate this week/month (pick a time period); things you are going to reduce during this time period; and things you are not going to worry about during this time period. When you’ve got that list mastered or that time period ends, re-do the list.
  • For more ideas of ways to take baby steps, see: Word of Wisdom Health Challenge.

I highly recommend The Forks Over Knives Plan, which includes a great baby step program. They recommend first just transitioning your breakfasts to WFPB, then adding lunches, and last adding dinners. It includes lots of practical advice and recipes.

From more on this approach, see Baby Steps to WFPB Diet.

Option 3: Find a Buddy

This strategy involves finding a friend/family member who is willing to try the WFPB diet with you (or at least support you in doing the diet). This strategy has several advantages:

  • We are inherently social creatures and having the help and support of others can be critical.
  • Completing a goal with someone else can make it much more enjoyable.
  • We are more likely to complete a goal when we feel responsible for being an example to someone else and trying to help them accomplish their goals.

How to do it: Find a friend or family members who is willing to try the WFPB diet with you. Keep in touch on a regular basis. Work together on your goals. Encourage each other to stay strong. Eat together and also find enjoyable non-food activities to do together.

If you can’t find someone who is willing to change his or her diet with you:

  • Find someone who is willing to be your “buddy” in supporting you. Commit to reporting to that person each and every day (in person, over the phone, email, or text). Just knowing you will have to report every day will help you to stay on track. If that person can encourage you and provide nonfood rewards, all the better!
  • Use the McDougall Discussion Board. Write a post describing your situation and asking for advice and help. You’ll find others who can answer your questions, provide support, and inspire you with their own stories. You may want to report your progress every day or every few days until this new diet becomes your lifestyle.
  • Do the diet in conjunction with others in the 21-Day Kickstart program.
  • Contact Jane Birch. She is willing to be your buddy. You should plan to report to her at least once a week (but for the first week or month, once a day can be helpful!).
  • I sponsor two support groups on Facebook which you can join. One is an open group: Word of Wisdom Health Challenge. I also sponsor a “private” support group which allows you to post comments without anyone outside of the group seeing your comments: Discovering the Word of Wisdom Support Group.

Option 4: Experiment on the Word

In the Book of Mormon, Alma suggests we “experiment on the word” by planting the seed and observing the fruits (Alma 32). This is an excellent metaphor for trying a new diet. This strategy involves planting the seed of the Word of Wisdom diet and giving it every chance to grow and then becoming mindful of how your diet is affecting your physical and spiritual well-being. This strategy has several advantages:

  • An “experiment” is a sound scientific and spiritual principle. It is a way of testing truth for yourself.
  • The great thing about a whole food, plant-based diet is that there are NO negative side effects, only good ones. So it is a safe experiment to do.
  • Most of us are very disconnected from our food and our bodies. Becoming mindful of what we eat and how it affects us is a great spiritual discipline that can bless us in many ways.

How to do it: Prayerfully study the Word of Wisdom and decide on the experiment you wish to conduct. Learn to listen to your body. Keep a record of how you are feeling and the changes you experience. If the seed “swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good” (Alma 32:33). Keep a record of the blessings you experience as you “experiment on the word.”

I testify that as I have experimented on the word, I have found the Word of Wisdom seed to be very good. I love Alma’s description of this experience, “O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good” (Alma 32:35).

Option 5: Trust in the Lord

This strategy involves prayerfully studying the Word of Wisdom and seeking the Lord’s counsel on what you should do. This strategy has several advantages:

  • The Lord knows you and your situation. He is in the best position to guide you.
  • Knowing you are following the Lord’s counsel can give you great peace and confidence that the path you are taking will be for your blessing.

How to do it: Prayerfully study D&C 89, the Word of Wisdom. Let the Lord know you are serious about following His counsel. Ask for His guidance and then be completely open to the inspiration you receive. Do what you feel prompted to do. If you make mistakes, don’t chastise yourself, just do better the next day. After you have mastered the first set of instructions you receive, repeat the process to seek the Lord’s guidance on the next set. Remember to PRAY ALWAYS and rely WHOLLY on the Savior!

As you act on divine inspiration, it will open the floodgates of knowledge and skills and you will discover how and what to eat in your journey toward better health.

Good Books for Helping You Get Started

The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by  Alona Pulde & Matthew Lederman (2014)

The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-based Living by Lindsay S. Nixon (2014)

Notes about Making the Transition

It may take time for your body to adjust to more fiber. If your diet does not currently contain a lot of whole grains, starchy vegetables, and legumes, your body has long since adjusted to a low fiber diet. Suddenly switching to a high fiber diet can cause abdominal bloating, stomach pain and/or intestinal gas in some people. If you are worried, just increase the fiber more slowly. Your body will definitely adjust over time and thank you for it!

For some people, certain plant foods tend to produce gas even if they are used to a WFPB diet. These foods include: legumes (beans, split peas, and lentils) and some cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts). These strategies will help to reduce the amount of gas produced by these foods:

  • cook these foods thoroughly
  • chew these foods thoroughly
  • soak legumes overnight before cooking

For a more details see: Adjusting to Increased Fiber

It may take time for your taste buds to realize how delicious this food is. While many people love the foods on this diet from the start, we are so used to food with lots of fat, sugar, and salt that this diet can taste bland and uninteresting at first. It may take some time for your taste buds to wake up and for you to find what you like. You may need to experiment with seasonings. Be patient. Your taste buds WILL change, and you WILL figure out what to eat. You’ll soon be enjoying every meal! Expect anywhere from 2–12 weeks.

More WFPB Food Resources

Last updated: May 20, 2015


  1. Thank you for this site. I would say that it is “random coincidence” that I found this site, but I don’t believe in a God of coincidence, but providence! 21 years ago my husband and I and our 2 (then) children went on what we called the Word of Wisdom diet. Basically, my husband was so sick and no one could tell us what was wrong. We had already eliminated dairy for him and now I had had enough! Meat was going too! Within 2 weeks he was improved (but he was never 100% better). We lost all of our extra weight and had no problem keeping it off. Our kids were never sick, no chronic ear infections or other childhood issues. Yet skin issues were bad for all of them. Gradually, we added back meat and dairy but tried to do the grass fed and organic and stuff and he and all 3 of our children were diagnosed with celiac disease 4 years ago. Eating gluten free and hubby was better right away and much better in a year. However, he still had inflammatory issues and terrible skin issues. Now, I firmly believe it was our vegetarian diet that kept celiac at bay for so long. Once we added meat back in, it was too much for their bodies to continue to fight. In May, he went on the antihistamine elimination diet and his skin cleared. But neither of us lost any weight. I was eating gluten free for the first time and noticed NO benefit. I was crushing my own spices for heaven’s sake! We ate NOTHING from a can or jar for 6 weeks. We only ate out twice. Skin improvement for him and we both felt “better” but only he really had anything dramatic happen. I have done so much research into diets and health I feel like a freak! But I’m not losing an ounce!! No wonder, I was eating out at home! High-fat, high protein meals three times a day!
    AND every time we would start something new that wasn’t inline with revealed teaching on diet, (Ray Peat, Atkins, etc.) I would get very nervous. I would attempt to assuage myself by saying, “well, these experts must know. This is the latest research. Maybe I am reading the WOW wrong or am being too literal in my interpretation. Every member of the church I know eats meat. Remember all of the flack you got from it last time?” Yet, I believe that diet is critical for optimal health. Why? Because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I know the D&C is true and modern prophets speak on nutrition all of the time.
    So, what is my comment about? Basically, THANK YOU! you gave me the courage to follow the inspiration I received all along. My family has celiac disease but I don’t. I need to eat wheat. They need to get rid of animal product and oils and fats entirely to get the maximum health Heavenly Father designed them to have. I need to eliminate oils and fats and stop eating animal products completely. And honestly,for the most part, excluding cheese, I don’t really like them anyway. We need to follow the WOW again with our increased knowledge about their specific circumstances. I need to have the courage to follow the revelation I have received regarding my family’s nutritional needs like I should have done all along. I have much to repent for and much to be grateful for in finding your site and the truths contained here from the scriptures.
    The good news for us is that we’ve done it before so I know we can do it again. I need to dust off my veg cookbooks and practice making my garden marinara sauce and applesauce cookies again. Hopefully, it’s like riding a bike!
    You are a blessing to me! Thank you!!!

    • Wow, Christy! What am amazing story. Thanks for sharing with me. I would love to hear more, and I hope one day to share your story on this site. I know many would be blessed by it!

  2. Jane Birch

    21 September 2015 9:47 AM


    As a long time reader of the Meridan Magazine I knew of the blessings of the word of wisdom since i was a child that we will have health. And the blessing that come from be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, since 1979 I have had so many issues with weight gain and loss at times now I am finding at at 60 I am gaining weight again. I am so tired of gaining weight and wanting to lose it I was reading you talk a few months back of the Plant Base Diet you have talked about. So 1 week ago I was at my Chiapractor office and Irene has been talking about weight loss and what she is doing and I said to myself I dont want to hurt and more. She has chosen to limit the sugar and wheat from her diet I am doing that and have found my body does not hurt so much. So I have not for almost 2 weeks I dont eat sugar and doing my best to limit the wheat in my diet I go to bed at night and I don’t hurt as much and waking up in the morning I feel rested from a good night sleep. Thanks for all you are doing I am going to try this and see how my health improves and lose all this weight i have been caring around all these years.

    • Hi Judy, I hope you don’t mind me popping in here. My name is Colleen. I have been really interested in nutrition and am getting my certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from e-Cornell (Cornell University). It is my understanding that a plant-based, whole foods diet, includes wheat and all grains. Unless you are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive you do not need to give up wheat. Wheat and gluten have been given a bad rap and are very nutritious for us. Only about 3% of Americans have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. If you are not use to eating foods made from whole wheat you may want to ease into eating them but I would encourage you not to give them up. They are very nutritious.

      Good for you wanting to choose a lifestyle that promotes disease prevention, weight loss and well being. I would also encourage you to read the book, The China Study, the most comprehensive study ever done on nutrition. The author, Dr. T. Colin Campbell PHD is the one who coined the phrase, whole-food, plant-based nutrition.

      The good news is… the side effect to a whole-foods, plant-based diet is weight loss! “It’s all about the food”.
      *Remember for weight loss no added fats and not a lot of nuts. 🙂

      Best regards,

      p.s. I would also encourage you to educate yourself on nutrition. Find any lectures you can on youtube from, T. Colin Campbell PHD, John McDougall MD, Caldwell Esselstyn MD, Michael Greger MD, Neal Barnard MD, and The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

      • I might add that a lot of the wheat problems people experience are do to how the wheat is grown and processed. If you keep your wheat clean, pure and organic you would be surprised how many people can eat it without adverse reactions.

  3. Hi,

    I have been feeling for a while that we need to make some changes in our little family’s diet. I have always struggled with excess weight and I want to be healthy. We have eliminated most processed foods from our diet, but I have a couple of questions that maybe you (or someone else) can help with. My husband is a student and we are on a very limited budget, so how do you make it work financially? Also, we have young children, how can I help them to enjoy more vegetables? They love fruit, but only a few certain veggies. Thanks!


    • Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing your experience and for your questions. The good news is that this diet is among the least expensive in the world! It only makes sense that the Lord’s diet is affordable for His children. He designed a diet that even the poorest among us can use! Remember He states that grains should be the “staff of life,” or the staple of our diets (where most of the calories come from). Grains are the cheapest source of calories on the planet! Go to a place like Winco where you can buy them in bulk. Add other starchy vegetables that are very inexpensive, like potatoes. Beans are also a great source of calories and very inexpensive! Buy fruits and vegetables in their season at the store, and they’ll be at their lowest price (they do not need to be organic to be good). Better yet, grow them yourself.

      For your children, start right where they are with the vegetables they already like. Teach them the principles of the Word of Wisdom. Make it fun to explore more of the “wholesome” plants the Lord has provided for us. Have them help you grow their own vegetables. Slowly introduce them to new ones and make it an adventure. Here is a book you can use to help teach them: Dr. McDougall’s Color Picture Book: Food Poisoning

      Last, you may want to join a Facebook group where other mothers help each other with these same questions. I recommend two Facebook groups:
      Word of Wisdom Health Challenge
      Discovering the Word of Wisdom Support Group

      Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have additional questions or if I can help in any way! Jane

  4. I have to respectfully disagree with Dietary Principle #3.” All grain is good and is the “staff of life”. Please hear me out…..
    Years ago I was pondering the Word of Wisdom regarding grain because so many people have problems with grain. I was prompted to look up the word “staff” in the dictionary. …. a staff is a support or assistance…to the diet in this case. “Staff of life” does NOT MEAN the mainstay or bulk of the diet.
    Thats what I always thought it meant untill I got that little nudge. “Grain Brain” is an excellent book on all the health problems associated with the overuse of grains. Our modern diets are inundated with grains and look how unhealthy we are.
    Grains are also an herb that should be eaten in the “season thereof”. They are harvested at summers end. Fall is generally the time we put on more weight to prepare our bodies for the cold winter months. If you live in a tropical climate you dont need this as much.
    If we are eating from the fruit of the vine we should be eating locally grown foods that acclimate our bodies for the climate in which we live. Its a BRILLIANT PLAN!
    Another consideration is the quality of the foods we eat…including grain. Pesticides, herbicides and other poisons are NOT for the use of man. PLEASE WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY…”SEEDS OF DEATH” on Youtube to see what they are doing to our grains.
    Unfortunately, in our day, we need to research what we are eating before we pop it in our mouth. But we have abundant info at our fingertips. Due to evil designs in the last days we are to study it out !

    • Karen: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your passion! It is awesome that you are trying to be careful about what D&C 89 actually says. I encourage you to look at D&C 89:14. Note that the Lord does not tell us to use grain like a “staff.” He says something very different. He tell us that grain is ordained for our use to be the “staff of life.” The idiom “staff of life” has a VERY different meaning than the word “staff.” “Staff of life” means a staple food, or the foundation of one’s diet. You will not find any other dictionary definition for this phrase. (For more on the meaning of “staff of life” see: The Staff of Life.)

      I realize that grains are much vilified in our society. Books like Grain Brain are full of nonsense. All the good science points to the health benefits of whole grains. I realize it is very popular today to denigrate grains and to find all kinds of reasons to suggest they are not healthy, but the science does not at all support this. All large healthy populations throughout the history of the world have gotten the majority of their calories from grains.

      Pesticides, herbicides, etc. are not healthy of course, and we should do what we can to avoid them, but they are not the major sources of ill health. Nor are grains. The major food sources of ill health are what we are eating in place of whole grains: refined foods, junk foods, meat and diary, sugar, etc. Many people who “have problems” with grains find that when they switch to a healthy WFPB diet, their bodies adapt, and they can consume grains with no problem. If not, just use the grains (or other starchy vegetables) that you can.

      I hope you’ll be open to reconsidering what the Lord is telling us in D&C 89. “All grain” is “ordained” for our use. “All grain,” according to the Lord, “is good for the food of man.” It could not be more plain. Unfortunately, books based on bad or non-existent science like Grain Brain have gotten us to believe things that directly contradict the word of God. We Mormons are so fortunate to have the Lord’s word on this. No prophet or other Church leader has ever interpreted D&C 89 in any way except for the way I’m suggesting. No one, until recently, would have ever questioned the health role of whole grains. It is just too obvious.

      I welcome anyone to help me understand why God might have gotten it wrong when He ordained grain to be the “staff of life.”

      See also: Wheat & Grains. (To understand why grains are actually essential to the Plan of Salvation, see: Paleo Diet and Grains).

      If I sound passionate, it is because I do feel very passionate about principle #3. It is so important! Nevertheless, if anyone wants to avoid some grains or all grains, I recommend they get the bulk of their calories from the only other healthy food source that can play the same role: starchy vegetables and legumes (see: Search Starches).

  5. I have crohne’s that started with a virus and left me with inflammatory issues,inability to digest much of the vegetables and grains that before this time I truly loved. I was a vegan by choice since a teen adding enough fish and once a month a lean meat meal, I had two jobs and Primary music and 9 healthy,smart children,loved to dance and marathon walks. Now I have pernicious anemia,find that I am allergic(anaphilactic} to lots of my favorite veggies and cannot “digest” the fiber in most of them. I still LOVE a green salad but will within 4 hours have horrible relapse of crohnes symptoms again. Same with my favorite bean recipes.Help. I am tired of just yogurt every meal.I no longer have the energy to work longer than 4 hours without a rest. I am still meatless but I take B12 shots weekly.The uptick in cognitive abilities and energy has benefited greatly.But how do I get the whole food diet to work for my unique set of challenges?I believe that I can still “heal” my body little by little. I live in Florida where it can be warm and humid even in winter so boiled vegies can only be eaten a little while before it is too lot to eat soup again.I am home and need to be able to build up my body to be able to work a fulltime job again to pay for the doctor bills. I also want to have strength to be aTemple worker and perhaps be able to dance again.Any help would be greatly appreciated.Thank you for the work that you do.

    • Hi Sarah!

      Pam Popper is a respected WFPB expert. She has developed a diet specifically to help people with Crohn’s disease. If I had this disease, I could definitely contact her. Listen to this podcast, starting at minute 17:35. (Also at minute 15:50, she talks about how you can be a patient wherever you are and you can also call their office, and they will talk with you and help you.)

      I wrote and asked Pam Popper about this. She replied, “We have developed a protocol for treating Crohn’s disease with diet that places patients in remission most of the time. It is very specific and includes additional food restrictions. Call our office at 614-841-7700 between 9:00AM and 5:00PM Monday through Friday and ask for Kelly and she can explain everything.”

      See also these resources: “Crohn’s Disease & WFPB Diet”

    • I would highly recommend that you find a source of raw milk, preferrably goat milk and make kefir which is full of good bacteria. You would start by taking it in small doses, like a couple of spoonfuls at a time. But it restocks the digestive tract with good bacteria that can help it do its job in digesting food. Unfortunately most people resort to using drugs for their cures when there are so many natural ways to rebalance the body. I saw this work beautifully in my step brother who not only had crohns for years but recently was dying of cancer. I’m not declaring that it is a cure for cancer but it certainly cleared up his crohns.

      • Dear Bonnie:

        I love your reminder of the importance of good bacteria in our bodies. If you are interested, I did a 10-article series on the microbiome. I am passionate about this topic! (see: Our Microbiome and the Word of Wisdom)

        If I could suggest, I would personally not use raw milk for good bacteria because there are so many serious downsides to the use of dairy (see, Dairy — Not Good for the Body).

        Good bacteria feed on fiber in our bodies. This fiber comes from whole plant foods. Probiotics (bacteria as in raw milk) does little good when we are not feeding the bacteria in our bodies on the foods they need to survive (whole plant foods filled with fiber).
        A whole food, plant-based diet is filled with the fiber that nourishes our microbiome. For anyone who needs extra probiotics, there are healthy plant-based sources that do not have the risks of dairy.

  6. Hi Jane,

    Thank you so much for all of this information! I have been bothered by all the contradicting information out there and have always felt that God couldn’t be wrong, but didn’t really know how to go about changing mine and my families diet, especially since it’s sadly not talked about at church. And since I’ve always grown up eating meat based meals.

    Have you ever read “Eat to Live”. By Dr. Joel Furhman? That’s the only plant based diet book I’ve read so far. I just wanted to know your opinion of it.
    I just don’t understand why fats are bad for us? I thought we needed some fats for our nervous and endocrine system to function properly (when I say fats I mean: coconut oil, and olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, etc., what I thought were “healthy”oils)


    • Thanks, Amber! I’m glad you found this useful. Yes, “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is an awesome book, though it is too cautious about grains in my opinion (he doesn’t know about or believe in the Word of Wisdom!).

      You ask a good question about fats. Fats are not bad. They are actually essential. There are two essential fatty acids we must get from diet, but we only need very little of these. The problem is that the typical diet contains a LOT of fat. Where does this fat go? We don’t need all that excess fat for nutrients, so instead it just clogs up our arteries and makes us fat. All the fats we need are in whole foods. We have no need for oils, and worse, oils actually damage our bodies. For more details, I invite you to read this article and check on the references I cite, “Healthy Fats & Vegetable Oils.” Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions!

  7. Hi Jane, I suppose that I’m sending my message to you! I’m an old guy, almost 75, and have some wonderful experiences over the years with trying to overcome eating addictions and learning about foods and herbs. I’m a student for my lifetime, I know the Lord is the Expert. I’m LDS although not anywhere near perfect. I felt like sharing a recent helpful experience that the Lord allowed me to have. On April 2, while watching Saturday Morning Session of Conference, I received a definite prompting. In my refrigerator there are three one pound bottles of Alfalfa Seeds, Cabbage Seeds, and Clover Seeds. They have been there for more than ten years. I’ve been sometimes wondering if I might someday make sprouts out of them but I just left them there. A prompting was very clear and certain that Saturday morning that I should take some of those seeds and grind them up and swallow them in water or juice. My wife (who agreed to do this with me) and I have now been doing this every day since that day. I have Tachycardia, my heart rate is 112 to 120 beats per minute. Its come down from 130 four years ago when it started. When I started using these seeds like this my brain became zonky or stressed until yesterday when it became clear with no stress. Its clear today also. I wanted to ask you if you have ever known of anyone who uses sprouting seeds like this, and if so what are their results. I honestly feel increased strength and a clear feeling that there is some very real good going on with nutritional support. To me this is a great blessing. My wife Candy and I use almost 1 volume ounce each per day. We add some Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds, and Sesame Seeds to the other seeds, all ground up together. If you have any knowledge of using seeds like this I would appreciate you letting me know. All the Best, Lee Clark

    • What an amazing story, Lee! I honestly have not heard one like it. I love that you followed this prompting and received great blessings. This is the perfect time to now ask the Lord what to do next to continue to improve your diet. If you continue to ask the Lord and do as directed, I believe I can promise you that miraculous things will continue to happy. Please keep me posted! Jane

    • I just saw your comment and am very interestd in what you have to say. Do you have any update on this? Can you please tell me how much a volume ounce is? One Tablespoon? One teaspoon?
      I also have sprouting seeds in the back of our refrigerator and think this is a great thing to do.

      Thank you

  8. I did not see any mention of avoiding GMO plans and grains. This is critical in any plant based diet. If you are eating GMO plants then you are eating animal and human DNA as well as chemicals. Organic nonGMO is the only way a plant based diet is healthy. Also you should always soak legumes and sprout your grains so that your body can properly absorb them otherwise you will become severely vitamin deficient and may develop digestive issues. Eggs are a complete protein and are very healthy. Any meats should be organic grass fed or whatever natural diet a particular animal consumes. Dairy should also be organic and raw milk is the best for avoiding intolerance issues. Pasteurized and homogenized dairy products cause digestive issues due to all the beneficial enzymes being cooked out of them and those enzymes are essential to paper digestion. The WOW does not say to avoid animal products but to eat meat sparingly and that is because animal fats are healthy and essential for the absorption of some vitamins and minerals. All things in proper balance.

    • Dear Medra: Thanks for sharing your opinions. Needless to say, a whole food, plant-based approach to diet and nutrition is quite a bit different from the viewpoints you express. If you are interested, I hope you’ll investigate it further! I’m happy to answer any specific questions you have. Blessings, Jane

    • I’ve tried to put my best thoughts for getting started on this page. After you’ve read this page, let me what what your next question is! I’m happy to help in any way I can. Bless you! Jane

  9. Jane, I just want to strongly support the invitation you have given to all of those who have been blessed by living in accordance with the Word of Wisdom, Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants,verses 10 through 21 to share with the rest of us and in so doing all of us will rejoice together over the great level of health we each have been greatly blessed by the Lord to attain!

    As you know, because of course, we are in very frequent contact, I am deeply grateful for the great blessings given me as I age, and am as, you know, almost eighty five years of age and am fully expecting to live to an even to a much more advanced age with deep gratitude for the great health the Lord has led me to, with your loving assistance, by eating the way He advises.

  10. Here’s an interesting treasure of knowledge. Of course it’s my interpretation. In D&C 89, God mentions “beasts” and “fowls” to be eaten sparingly. He doesn’t mention fishes of the water. Study after study confirms the health benefits of fish as part of a healthy diet. Jesus also gave Simon Peter an abundance of fish as a staple to feed his family so he could preach the gospel.

    • Hi Michael! Thanks for sharing. Many people interpret the Word of Wisdom as you do on fish. I personally am more convinced that fish have many of the same drawbacks as any other animal muscle (not surprising since they share a similar nutritional profile). Fish have an added danger in our day as they are often contaminated with one or more heavy metals, toxins, or other pollutants. Perhaps that is why Jesus and the apostles ate fish but according to D&C 89, fish is not ordained for human use in our day. For more on why whole food, plant-based experts tell us fish is not healthy, see:

  11. Looking at this interpretation of the Word of Wisdom it would be quite a dilemma for some dieters.

    Personally, I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for about two months (which requires me to go on a high-fat, moderate protein, low carb diet) and on the surface some passages would contradict with how i am supposed to eat.

    But i think the keto diet has a place and even give credence to the word of wisdom overall.

    Wholesome “herbs” or vegetables are an essential part of the keto diet where nutrients like minerals and vitamins can come from fresh veggies.

    Eating meats sparingly is also not contradictory to a ketogenic diet since over-consumption of protein can cause some problems going into ketosis.

    And on the parts about fats, there is no passage in the Word of Wisdom that restricts or condemns it. It’s easy to think that fat comes from slaughtered animal meat, but we can get our fat intake from a variety of foods such as cheese, nuts, avacados, olive oil, coconut oil and even butter.

    The biggest issue would be grains since carbohydrates are considered an enemy to a keto dieter, but i would only agree if their condition was in a serious state of diabetes (which led from over consumption of carbs). In fact, grain and I mean Wholesome grains like you mentioned has many benefits to the health of the body. The catch being portion control at limits to your total calorie intake, as well as the rejection of sugary dense processed breads.

    Im not saying keto is the way but the human body is an amazingly adaptive construct that can live off in serval different.ways be they meat free or not.

    • Hi Jinho: Thanks for sharing your ideas! I agree that a keto diet can include some nutrient-rich foods. I’ve not discovered a condition where a keto diet works better with a than a whole food, plant-based diet (except for some cases of epilepsy have shown some benefit from a keto diet). Interestingly, diabetes responds VERY well to a whole food, plant-based diet. It turns out that it is high fat (and not high carb) that is the main problem with diabetes (though if someone reduces total calorie intake via a keto diet, they can show some improvement, low fat is even more beneficial). To anyone interested in using a whole food, plant-based diet with diabetes, I recommend these resources: Type 2 Diabetes.

      As you know the Lord ordained grain as the “staff of life,” which means the foundation (or bulk) of the diet. This is not possible to do on a keto diet, which is one clue to me that a keto diet may not be the best for humans. He also tells us it is pleasing to Him if we do without the flesh of animals, which is something to consider.

      If you are Chinese, you may be interested to know I served an LDS mission to Taiwan. If you are interested in whole food, plant-based nutrition, I’d love to help out in any way I can. I have these resources in the Chinese language. Here is my story if you are interested. I wish you well in your journey!

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