Archive for acne

“I have learned that our bodies are remarkable!”

Yessenia OrnelasBy: Yessenia Ornelas

My journey started when my husband and I were living in Provo, Utah. I was getting ready to finally bring my little premature baby home from the hospital four months after he was born. I remember wanting to take so many pictures of him, but I despised the idea of taking any pictures of myself with him because of how I felt about myself. I was very overweight, and I somehow felt that my being overweight and not healthy had played a hand in my preterm labor.

Like most people, I love eating out and trying new places. Growing up, I was told to eat all the food on my plate and not to be picky or wasteful. As a result, I ate as much as possible, and, as you can guess, the weight piled on quickly. I knew it was wrong for me to have such negative feelings about myself and that I needed to make changes if I wanted to see myself more positively. I became determined to do better. I wanted to only do this for health so I was not going to worry how fast or slow I got results.

I didn’t know much about eating healthy, just what you mostly hear, which is eating more vegetables. So I started there and then figured that perhaps I was eating too much meat and started to cut down my intake to only twice a week and just fish and chicken. My Pinterest board became filled with some vegetarian meals and lots of chicken and fish meals that I looked forward to each week. I was consistent with exercising and managed to lose 45 lbs with my own efforts.

During this time of learning about health, I talked with a good friend of mine, Olga Maletina, who was also living in student housing at BYU. I had heard she was a vegan and thought it was interesting so I was intrigued to learn why she had made a switch to that way of eating. She told me about her health benefits and how good she felt. At the time I felt that perhaps it would be too extreme for me and that I would continue to do what I was doing.

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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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“When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes”

Jennifer Wheeler and daughterBy: Jennifer Wheeler

Being healthy has been a goal of mine since I was very young. When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had an experience in the hospital that made a strong and lasting impression on my young mind. I’ve always been very social, so I was visiting all the kids on my floor while I was in the hospital and trying to get to know them. I went into one young girl’s room who had just had her leg amputated. She was on sitting on top of the sheets, so it was very visible. It shocked me, and I didn’t know what to say to her. After a few moments, I left. This experience stuck with me and became significant to my story a few years later.

My parents were referred to a good endocrinologist shortly after I was diagnosed. At this doctor’s office, I saw a dietician as well. She taught us what the best diet for a diabetic is. One of the first things we were taught is to avoid sugar. The second was to eat protein with every meal because it slows down the metabolic process and helps your blood sugars not spike as easily. We were told that the best form of protein is animal products. They also taught us about the importance of fruits and vegetables, but that fruits should be eaten sparingly because of their high sugar content. (The reason I remember what they taught us is because they reviewed the same things several times a year until I was an older teenager.)

Another thing we were taught was if we didn’t learn to control my blood sugar levels, all kinds of bad things could happen, like having my foot or leg amputated. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when this conversation registered with me, but I remember being very young (maybe 8 or so). Because I had seen the young girl in the hospital without a leg, I actually knew what the doctor and dietician were talking about when they told my parents this, and I determined at a very young age that I wanted to be healthy and keep both my legs and feet.

My parents were diligent about helping me avoid sugar, and eating protein with every meal was no problem because we all LOVED meat! As a teenager, I was counseled several times in various blessings to follow the Word of Wisdom. I felt the main emphasis was to avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco, but I recognized there was great counsel as to how we should eat. I tried to limit the amount of sugar I ate. I loved whole grains and ate lots of them. I didn’t love vegetables, but I’d eat some because I knew they were good for me, and I ate fruit sparingly. Even though the Word of Wisdom tells us to eat meat sparingly, if at all, I justified not following this counsel because of my diabetes. I was very active physically and had lots of energy. I thought I was healthy, and I thought I was following the Word of Wisdom.

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“I used to think people that LIKED running were strange”

elisabeth-barlowBy: Elisabeth Barlow

My food history could be summed up by the phrase “meat and potatoes,” as long as we were talking about fried potatoes. I liked meat, dairy, chips, cookies, white bread, sugar, etc. and was a generally picky eater. As a teenager, I remember opening a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos after school and eating most of the bag by myself. I am shocked I didn’t end up with more health problems, but I was a typical teenage girl who didn’t want to eat her veggies.

Once I was married, the pounds started to creep on. By the time I was pregnant with my first child, I was 10-15 pounds heavier than when I got married. After the baby was born, I had a lot of weight to lose, but I didn’t do anything until my baby was almost two years old and I realized I was as heavy as I was when I was full-term pregnant. I joined Weight Watchers online because I thought it was a safe and effective way to lose weight. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight after a few months, but I quit once I reached my goal and wanted to stop paying a monthly fee and obsessively track everything I ate. I went through the same cycle with each successive pregnancy until after my fourth baby which is when I found a better way!

I started thinking about my relationship to food after watching the Overcoming Addiction series that was put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. One of those videos was about a woman that overcame food addiction. I had never thought I had a food addiction, but I often felt like if I started eating a package of cookies or chips, I could never stop with just one or two! Many times I felt like the only thing that would relieve my stress was chocolate or a bakery item high in fat and sugar. I craved meals heavy in cheese and bacon. Although I knew I wasn’t eating the healthiest foods every day, I was resistant to anything that said to stop eating meat. I had read the Word of Wisdom before and knew that I could eat meat sparingly and that animals are for our use.

However, I was also worried about my health. I had a yearly blood draw coming up as part of our insurance requirements, and I wanted to be able to improve my numbers and not have to pay a surcharge if I had worse results than the year before. My post-baby weight loss had stalled, and to top it off I got sick with a horrible stomach virus or food poisoning and had to take two days off of work to recover. So, in March of 2016 when I found Forks Over Knives on Netflix, I was determined to try a whole food, plant-based diet. Now that I have been eating that way for 6, going on 7 months, I want to recap everything that has changed for me.

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“Having another life grow inside of me changed me”

Stephanie Berglind FamilyBy: Stephanie Berglind

My journey to a healthier way of living started when I became pregnant with my first son in 2004 and started to think differently about the foods I ate and the things that I put into my body. Up to that point, I hadn’t really cared too much. I exercised regularly and tried to limit my calories, but I didn’t put much thought into what those calories were made of and how they were hurting or nourishing my body.

Having another life grow inside of me changed me. I started reading about super foods and clean eating. I cut out most sugary or processed foods but still considered Greek yogurt and chicken as “health foods.” I continued my clean eating for the next few years. I had lost some weight but was suffering with hypothyroidism, gallstones, acne, and athlete’s foot—things that I just thought were a part of life.

Over time, I started to feel a tug towards a plant-based diet. I would read little snippets here or there, or watch things on social media. But it wasn’t until May of 2013 that it really hit me. I was recovering from the birth of my third child when I finally decided to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. As I watched this show, I was in shock to learn about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, as well as the environmental benefits. But it wasn’t until I got on my knees that night that I started to feel the beginnings of the spiritual benefits of taking care of my body, the animals God created, and the beautiful earth He gave to us.

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“I believe that health is our birthright.”

Lara Johnson 1

My Russian father and Venezuelan mother on the day of my Russian Orthodox christening.

By: Lara Johnson

I was raised eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). I was often sick with colds and flus and constipation. As a teenager I suffered from acne and depression, and I struggled to manage my weight, which led to bulimia.

Lara Johnson 2

My face covered in acne on my wedding day.

When I got married I wanted to be a good wife and homemaker so I would make all kinds of delicious SAD meals for my husband. We had dessert every night. I developed painful ovarian cysts and frequent urinary tract infections (UTI’s). They were very painful and when I would have one I would have to miss work because I could not get off of the toilet because of the discomforting urge to urinate.

In this 3-year anniversary photo I was barely pregnant and didn’t know it yet.

In this 3-year anniversary photo I was barely pregnant and didn’t know it yet.

When I became pregnant with my first child, I developed a UTI that would just not go away. One of my best friends, Joylene Scott, told me about a health book entitled Fit For Life that promoted a vegan lifestyle. She said that everyone in her mission had been following it. She came home vibrant and healthy and fifty pounds lighter. I on the other hand had put on twenty-five pounds and was miserable. Read More→

“Hodgkin’s Lymphoma made me the perfect student”

Katherine ScottBy: Katherine Scott

One of the most liberating pieces of knowledge I have learned is that the human body has the ability to heal itself. It has the power to heal any ailment or disease. Changing the diet is the ticket. If we continue to feed our bodies the same foods that made us sick in the first place (the typical dead American diet), then the body will not have the vitality it needs to heal. Changing to a vegan, living food diet provides the vitality for each cell in the body to detox and heal. This information is the hidden treasure that has been buried and most of us never find it, but “when the student is ready the teacher appears.” I WAS READY!

Nine months of chemical onslaught from conventional treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma made me the perfect student. I was ready to soak up everything I needed to know to get out from under the grip of fear. The fear of the cancer reoccurring was with me every moment of every day. I held a negative vision of a dire prognosis during my first check-up scan after I had finished treatment. I thought to myself, “I can’t live like this, fearing the worst.”

I wanted a day without fear. Ann Wigmore did more than that. She opened the door for me to the knowledge of green juices, living foods, and a way of eating that restores the body’s ability to heal itself. The information that is contained in her book, The Wheatgrass Book, inspired me so much that I immediately followed the instructions on how to grow wheatgrass. I don’t recall it being difficult. I obtained trays, organic soil, organic seeds, and a set of shelves, and set them up in my kitchen. I was living in London at the time and had no problem growing it. I took delight in seeing how quickly the grass grew.

The juice didn’t taste all that great, but I knew it was powerful stuff. There were times when just the smell of the grass juice would make me feel nauseated. I remedied that by holding my nose as I drank it! Because I knew it was good for me I religiously consumed 2 ounces of juice every morning. That wasn’t too hard to do for my health and peace of mind. That was way back in 1996, and I am thankful to say I have not needed the service of a physician since that time.

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“We love the food. We love how we feel.”

Michelle Jones FamilyBy: Michelle Jones

Our family was introduced to the whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet on March 23, 2013 when we watched Forks over Knives. My husband walked in the door that night to the exclamations of our elementary-aged boys saying, “Guess what, Dad! We’re vegan!” Boy, was he surprised.

With a host of health problems, including a recent three-year collapse, I was desperate for answers to my health woes and willing to try anything—although I did have reservations about a diet that didn’t include meat, dairy, or eggs. That went against everything I had ever learned in school.

We had always eaten lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but, at the time, we also had four dairy goats that we milked twice a day. I made yogurt and cheese several times a week, and we drank all the goat milk we wanted. Our ducks provided us with five fresh eggs every day, which I also managed to use with no problem. Meat wasn’t as big of an issue for us. With seven children (six of whom are boys), I always tried to stretch meat as far as possible—frying it and mixing it into our soups, chili, casseroles, etc. But I could immediately see that eliminating not only meat, dairy, and eggs, but also refined flour, sugar, and oils from our diet was going to be a hardship.

And it was. In spite of the four vegan cookbooks that my enthusiastic son ordered online from the library while we were watching Forks over Knives, I was at a loss. I had cooked from scratch for our family for twenty years, yet didn’t know how to cook without those “staples.” The first few weeks were a cooking nightmare. It felt like all I did was stand in the kitchen all day and chop fruits and vegetables. Physically, I felt miserable—tired and moody with lots of headaches.

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