Archive for anxiety

“I love eating this way. It makes life so simple.”

Perpetue RobertBy: Perpetue Robert Pardieu

All my life my legs and feet have felt really heavy, sometimes swollen, but I never knew why. I remember ten years ago I was praying and asking the Lord for help and He sent me to D&C 89. At that time I learned that meat was to be eaten sparingly, during winter and famine. It was summer, and it was difficult, so I did not follow it. So, I remained with my swollen feet.

In January 2012, I was hit by a car and my kneecap, tibia and femur broke. I had three surgeries and still was having inflammation even though I was taking anti-inflammatory medication. I hit my head during the accident, and I was having panic attacks and anxiety. I felt depressed and overwhelmed often. So, I started doing research because I did not want to be taking pills and become dependent. This is how I heard about alkaline and acid food. I started researching and changed my diet by eating more alkaline, non-hybrid foods. But I got so anxious about everything I was eating that I could not sleep. So, I went to the Lord with that and felt that that kind of anxious spirit doesn’t come from him.

By researching on the Internet, I discovered Jane Birch and the Word of Wisdom diet she writes about. When I read this, I remembered that ten years earlier the Lord had sent me to D&C 89. I automatically knew that what she was saying was a confirmation of what the Lord had told me ten years ago. I stopped eating meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, and most processed food. I now eat extremely little fish and use only a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil once in awhile. Now, the spirit I feel is one of peace instead of being anxious or stressed about food.

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“Our life will never be the same again!”

Markus and Caroline GappmaierBy: Caroline Gappmaier

I always thought we ate fairly healthy. Baking our own bread from grains I milled, eating only a little meat, and then basically no red meat, no drinking of soft drinks, etc. Of course, I did have a sweet tooth and liked cheese very much (you know, I’m Swiss, and those of you who have tasted our cheese and chocolate will understand!). Then, our family experienced an extended period of existential stress which brought me health-wise to a point where I hardly could eat anything anymore. I had suffered from severe rheumatism before, with chronic pain mainly in my shoulders, but with all the other joints suffering also (which meant never being without pain day and night). But now with this added stress, my skin had turned so yellowish that even strangers would address me about it. Around my eyes were deep, dark circles. I kept losing weight. I had random itches all over my body all the time. I started feeling as if my body could stop working at any given moment. My thighs had white marble lines on them and going to the toilet smelled like walking into some of those old folks’ rest rooms. I had to leave early for everything because hurrying was too much and got me out of breath. All the while I had no strength to deal with any kind of extra stress. I felt depressed constantly instead of being happy and easygoing, as would reflect my personality. I was always worried and feeling bad. It was miserable!

Realizing things could not go on like that much longer, I adjusted my diet. I had already let go of all refined sugar products. When I realized that cheese caused feelings of anxiety, I stopped eating that, too. Finally, I started eating only the things I digested well and made me feel physically good afterwards: fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds). For one year, I ate nothing else. Fruits in the morning (usually a fruit smoothie with some flax seeds, brown millet and pure honey in it) and a mixed salad of vegetables and lettuce with some seeds and nuts in the afternoon. Today I think this saved my life. As I got better, I started to reintroduce other foods again. A few years later, as my husband, Markus, also struggled with his health, we felt we should change to a whole food, plant-based diet. Our health improved slowly, but surely. I was able to go back to a more normal life style in general again, feeling less depressed and having more physical energy and no pain. Happiness came back and in the (early!) morning I started to be fully awake again. No more lead in the bones or short breath.

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“I have the goal of never needing medication”

Debi ReynoldsBy: Debi Reynolds

I grew up in California. We were a health-conscious family, although I didn’t know it at the time. It was just how we lived—lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and my parents were good examples of being active. But we also ate plenty of hamburgers, milk, ice cream, and treats. The Word of Wisdom was introduced to me when I was 17 and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although my parents are not members, they learned a bit about the Church at that time and were interested in the Word of Wisdom. I remember that they said to me, “The Church members may not smoke or drink, but they have their vices. You are joining a fat church. If this information is in the scriptures, and the members believe the scriptures are true, why don’t they follow the counsel?” And that’s a very good question. Why aren’t we LDS people a healthier example to the world?

My husband grew up on a potato farm in Idaho. They were a “meat and potatoes” family. His grandparents, who lived a few hours away, owned a dairy farm, so butter, cream and whole milk were plentiful when they visited. Some of their family’s favorite foods were creamed peas and new potatoes, Sunday roasts with potatoes and gravy, big farm meals to keep the workers filled. Bread and butter were on the table at every meal. There were always lots of sugary desserts and treats. They grew a big garden and canned everything. This diet was typical for that small, farming community.

Randy and I met in college, married, and had four children. Early in our marriage I had major surgery to correct an unknown birth defect and lost the use of one kidney. After recuperating, I was determined to be healthier than ever, eat well, and exercise. But as our family got busier, I turned to convenience foods— pizza, cold cereal, burgers, like everyone else. I always loved fruits and vegetables, but my finicky kids did not eat many vegetables and I’m sorry to say that I gave in to them rather than fight.

At age 32, I went back to college, taking 1-2 night classes each semester. This was a very stressful time as my husband was called up to serve in Desert Storm with his Navy Reserve unit. I was on my own with four young children for nine months while he served. I continued on with college, finally having to commute to USU in Logan for my last five years. I started to have feelings of anxiety that I did not understand. They were horrible and lasted for over ten years. I don’t remember what my family ate. I could barely swallow food during this time, but I battled through, finally receiving two college degrees at age 42.

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“He was not hiding it”

Katie Johnson FamilyBy: Katie Johnson

Since becoming a new mother in 2003, I began to develop a passion for nutrition and healthy cooking. I tried hard to teach and feed my family good and healthy things. Over the years, I learned to make homemade wheat bread and enjoyed taking healthy recipes and adapting them to make them even healthier. I didn’t, however, fully adopt all the things I was learning and often fell back into the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet). Through much of my own personal study, as well as trial and error, I learned many good nutritional principles but with this also came “the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.” While I see that I’ve been guided line upon line, I can see more clearly that it all was meant to come together to ultimately teach me light and truth.

Health trials

During the time of having our family, I began to develop anxiety and post-partum depression. I soon found that having a family was taking its toll on my body and my emotions. Pregnancies were accompanied by weight gain and hormone changes. Weight gain called for dieting and weight loss, finances caused stress, motherhood brought time constraints, and being a support to my husband through school taxed my mind, body, and spirit. I spent many years struggling with whether I should take medication to help alleviate the stress and just put up with the accompanying side effects. I decided that I was not willing to deal with those side effects and preferred to seek more natural ways of coping, such as yoga and vitamin supplements. Throughout the years, I also rode a giant roller coaster of different fad diets, including several versions of the oh-so-loved “high-protein, low-carb” diets.

In early 2011, I was 29, had born three children, had struggled through years of schooling for my husband, and we were now embarking on opening our own law practice in the worst economy since the Great Depression. It was then that I discovered a lump on my right breast. Shortly afterwards, my OBGYN also discovered that I had an ovarian cyst. I was terrified and knew some things with my health just were not right. I received a breast exam, and I was told I needed an ultrasound to check for cancer.

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“I have never felt better in my life!”

Julie Brown familyBy: Julie Brown

When I was only 8 years old, my maternal grandmother died of heart disease. She was 51. My grandpa died of cancer in his 70’s, and my other grandpa has had three heart attacks, a triple bypass surgery, and now wears a pacemaker. We do not have good “genes.” Subsequently, I exercised and fad dieted throughout my childhood and teenage years.

My interest in health continued into college where I studied fitness and wellness. A week after I graduated, my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world. She was perfect, except for one thing: she was a colicky baby. She would scream and cry and her little body would writhe in pain, night after night. By the early morning hours I was usually crying with her. After trying anything and everything to try to ease her discomfort, the only thing I could do was pray to God for help. I was nursing my baby and had several women tell me certain foods could cause colic. Around that time my Grandma Johnnie Belle gave all of her children and grandchildren a book entitled The China Study for Christmas. Out of respect for my grandmother and a feeling of desperation, I read the book. It was very overwhelming, but I felt impressed to at least cut out milk at that time. It was an attainable goal, and I began to see subtle changes right away; the irritable temperament of my fussy baby began to diminish, and, much to my surprise and delight, the little bumps that covered my upper arms began to disappear. I was beginning to learn what Hippocrates had said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Although five more children would bring joy and continue to bless my marriage, I unfortunately suffered bouts of anxiety and depression in varying degrees. I have always been able to maintain a consistent exercise regimen, but my weight fluctuated as I struggled to know “what” and “how” to eat. I also suffered recurring yeast infections. I felt I had more love and patience to give and felt sorry and guilty all the time. I pleaded for help in knowing how I might more fully serve my Heavenly Father and his children. One day I read Alma 38:12: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” I was guided to understand that my relationship with food and the food choices I was making were limiting my potential by affecting my mood and energy levels. But, book after book, conversation after conversation, scripture after scripture, article after article, it was very clear that when it comes to food choices and getting healthy, it can be very confusing and contradicting.

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“I knew I never needed or wanted to eat animal products again”

Paul & Jenni BroomheadBy: Jenni Broomhead

In high school and college I tried every diet under the sun, but ever since I’ve been married I have always eaten a normal western diet.

I became aware of plant-based eating when my friend had cancer and we read The China Study in our research to find a good diet for her. It made sense to me, but I wanted to compare it with the Word of Wisdom. I noticed a statement in D&C 89:13 that I hadn’t thought about before, which completely supported a plant-based diet:

“And it is pleasing unto me that they [animal flesh] should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”

After I read that, I knew I never needed or wanted to eat animal products again.

It was a relatively easy change. I have always liked vegetables, beans, and legumes, so I didn’t have to learn to eat many new foods. I only had to cut out some of the old ones. With Pinterest, blogs, and other social media at our fingertips these days, it is very easy to find recipes and ideas for plant-based eating, even while travelling, and I have found that restaurants are very willing to accommodate my way of eating and provide me with delicious food ideas to try at home.

I didn’t demand that my family change. Although they think I’m weird, they don’t care what I eat or don’t eat. I hope that as my kids get older they will learn that plant-based eating is best for them and they will know how to do it because of watching me. Once my last two kids have left the nest, I don’t intend to buy or prepare meat at all. My husband will just have to eat healthier at home by default!

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