Meridian Magazine – “Discovering the Word of Wisdom” series by Jane Birch

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Disclaimer: The first 20 articles were written before Meridian updated their site in Nov. 2014. When these articles were converted to the new site, many small, random formatting errors were introduced. Please ignore these errors and enjoy the articles. I welcome feedback on the content!

See also: Articles and audio by Jane Birch on the Word of Wisdom and WFPB nutrition.

Discovering the Word of Wisdom Basics

Discovering Joy!

The Flesh of Beasts, Part I

The Flesh of Beasts, Part II

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Wholesome Herbs and Every Fruit

Food Addiction

Healthy Fats & Vegetable Oils

All Grain Is Good

The Danger of Displacing Grain

Wheat for Man

What About Dairy and Eggs?

Commonly Asked Questions

Word of Wisdom: Why Aren’t We Told How to Eat?

LDS Leaders on the Word of Wisdom

Why the Preoccupation with the Prohibitions?

We are Not Very Different from the Early Saints!

The Evils and Designs of Conspiring Men

What about the Experts Who Disagree?

What about Alternative Health Products?

Is There One Ideal Diet?

What about Moderation in All Things?

Special Topics

Gifts From and For Our God

Ebola and the Destroying Angel

A Closer Look at the Scriptures

“Whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats”

Questioning the Comma, Part I

Questioning the Comma, Part II

Getting to the Meat of D&C 89, Part I

Getting to the Meat of D&C 89, Part II

The Word of Wisdom Way to Weight Loss

My Yoke is Easy

The End of Dieting

Calorie Density

Overcoming Food Addiction

Rely Wholly on the Lord

Can Wholesome Foods Taste Good?

Healthy Eating Made Easy…er!

Are Plant-based Diets Nutritionally Deficient?

The Social Pressures of Eating a Different Diet

Is it Worth Sacrificing Foods We Love?

Overcoming Procrastination

The End of Yo-Yo Dieting

Discovering the Word of Wisdom Pioneers

Hyrum Smith

19th Century Saints

More 19th Century Saints

19th Century Sister Saints

Heber J. Grant

Elder John A. Widtsoe and Leah Widtsoe

The Widtsoes on Meat

Early Counsel on Meat

The Most Vegetarian General Conference (Elder Joseph F. Merrill)

Just What is the Word of Wisdom? (Dr. John R. Christopher)

A Heart Attack Proof Diet (Ray G. Cowley, M.D.)

Preventing Heart Disease

A 1951 Murder Mystery (W. Dean Belnap, M.D.)

Our Evolving Understanding (of the Word of Wisdom)

Whole Food, Plant-based Champion (Earl F. Updike)

A WFPB Medical Doctor (Kenneth E. Johnson, M.D.)

Eating as a Sanctifying Experience (Paul H. Peterson, Ph.D.)

You Don’t Have to Push a Handcart (Becoming a modern-day Word of Wisdom pioneer)

Lessons Learned

Paleo Diet

The Problem with Paleo

Paleo Diet and Grains

Paleo Diet and Meat

The Positive Points of Paleo

“Discovering the Word of Wisdom: A Short Film”

Watch the New Video!

Two Extra Videos

Two More Videos

Before and After Photos

Another Transformation

Lost Over 200 Pounds

Misc. Topics

My Vegan Agenda?

Preparing for the Last Days

Healthy on a Budget

Meat Causes Cancer

Ask for a Recommend

Eat With Thanksgiving

The Best Gifts

Meat or Wheat?

Never Too Old!

Making Plans to Go WFPB

Why Start Now?

Baby Steps to WFPB Diet

Why Go Cold Turkey?

Strategies for Going Cold Turkey

Maximum Weight Loss Principles

Don’t Look Back

Mormon Mom Goes From Despair to Joy

Our Microbiome and the Word of Wisdom

The Mighty Microbes in Your Body

The Good and Bad News About Our Microbiome

Let’s Save Our Microbial Heritage!

5 Ways to Care for Your Microbiome

Food Cravings, Obesity, Mood, and Our Gut

Decisions, Not DNA, Determine Destiny

Meat and the Microbiome

Gut Reactions to Low Carb Diets

Don’t Give Up On Carbs!

Will the Destroying Angel Pass Us By?

The Role of Fat and Oils in Our Diet

5 Reasons to Ditch the Oils

What About Olive Oil?

The Coconut Oil Miracle?

International Saints Embracing a Word of Wisdom Diet

Featuring International Saints

More International Saints

Misc. Topics

Whole Food, Plant-based Made Easy

Who Can Eat This Way?

Out of Small and Simple Things

Is a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet Extreme?

Food Storage Made Easy

How to Handle Our God-Given Hunger

Join the 10-Day January Jumpstart

Celebrating Christ Through Food

A Key to Success in the New Year

Is This the Year to Radically Improve Your Diet?

If You Really Want to Be Both THIN and HEALTHY

Doctrines, Principles, and Applications

(For a short description of each article, see: Doctrines, Principles, and Applications of the Word of Wisdom)

Distinguishing Between Doctrines, Principles, and Applications

The Doctrine of the Word of Wisdom

Rethinking Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea

The Principle Behind Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea

The Letter of the Law

The Spirit of the Law

Section 89 as Parable

Why God Doesn’t Over-Explain

Three Foods Ordained by God

The Wholesome Herbs Ordained by God

Animal Flesh is Ordained by God

Are Fish Ordained by God?

Discovering the Word of Wisdom: God Ordained Grain as the Staff of Life

Going Beyond the Doctrines and Principles

Visualizing the Word of Wisdom

Why Whole Food, Plant-based Is Not the Word of Wisdom

Why Whole Food, Plant-based is a Superb Word of Wisdom Diet

The Word of Wisdom Vs. The Wisdom of the World


  1. Jane,

    I can appreciate your vigor and excitement over your personal discovery. You have obviously spent a great deal of time reading, studying, and pondering the matter. From your essays, we can surmise you have made the complete transition to a vegan diet. You may be applauded for your dedication and perseverance.

    However, it is also easy to appreciate others disdain for your sanctimonious approach to diet and health. Your interpretations and personal insights are your own. They do not represent the authoritative decree of the Lord’s church or His appointed ministers.

    I wish you the best in your personal journey. May we all find peace with our individual agency and decisions regarding the matter of diet and health.


    • Thank you, Justin, for sharing your thoughts! I completely agree with you that the ideas I express are my own interpretations and personal insights. I have never once thought or suggested that my ideas represent the authoritative decree of the Lord’s church or His appointed ministers.

      Every lay member who writes (you, me, and everyone else) is in the same position. We are expressing our personal interpretations and insights, but I hope none of us shy away from sharing what good we have found on that account. The Lord wants us each to share the light we have with others. You are free to agree or disagree and to criticize it fairly or unfairly. Either way, I wish you well!

  2. Justin,
    I have read each of Jane’s articles, as well as many of her responses to Facebook posts by many people responding to her articles, book, or discussions on various topics related to the Word of Wisdom and health in general. I have always been impressed with her non-judgmental tone and her acceptance of those with opposing views. Never once have I sensed the least degree of sanctimony (defined as “pretending to be morally better than other people”). Your statement, “it is also easy to appreciate others disdain for your sanctimonious approach to diet and health” perhaps could have been expressed in a way that would explain your disagreement with her conclusions without calling into doubt her character. Just a thought to consider.

  3. I have been so impressed with how Jane teaches without preaching.
    I love how she has an article called something similar to ‘WFPB is Not the Word of Wisdom Diet’.
    She has helped me, as a WFPB eater, stop being so intense in my attitudes and beliefs about food.
    I believe she is about as well-rounded as any one I’ve followed.
    I want to be like Jane when I grow up.😊


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