Archive for dairy

“The fact that I don’t itch constantly is a miracle”

Julia and Austin DoutreBy: Julia Doutre

Nine months after our marriage, my husband and I moved for the third time and I started a new job managing apartment complexes. I had to quit another job to keep up with the demand of managing. Our lives were a little chaotic, and I was extremely stressed. Some days it was so stressful that I would get awful stomach pains that lasted all day.

A few months after starting my job, I noticed these terrible rashes on my skin that started to spread all over my body. My skin would itch all day, every day. Parts of my body were so inflamed and raw that it would “weep” and bleed. Because of that, I needed to wear gauze pads every day for about 7 months to keep it from leaking on to my clothes. It was really embarrassing to say the least! I’ve had issues with eczema growing up but never had it this bad before.

Over this period of time, I tried many skin creams and lotions, and I spent hundreds of dollars at the dermatologist with rounds of antibiotics and strong medications, which cleared up my skin until the moment I got off of them. It just wasn’t sustainable, and I felt out of whack. My wise mother suggested I get off dairy as she’d heard stories of people having success with skin problems when they went off dairy, but I told her I couldn’t live without my cheese and milk. I even ignored the prompting one night, when the itching on my skin was extremely painful, that the reason why it itched so badly is because of all the sugar. This was after having my daily dose of chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. Yet I still caved in almost every night and brushed off the thought that all these foods were probably the reason why I wasn’t able to get over this issue.

Because I had graduated just before we got married, I had a little more time on my hands to make meals, and I learned to love to cook. Looking back on it now, I realized I always went with food lathered with oil, chicken, cheese, and a milk cream base. Those seem to be my everyday staples. What also was my staple every night was feeling bloated and sick to my stomach. Sadly, I thought this was normal for my body. My weight went up significantly, and I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. In some photos, I didn’t even look like myself.

About a year after I started developing this skin problem, I was talking to my sister, Alice-Anne, who was telling me that she wanted to get a hold of her health and start eating a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet without any meat or dairy products. I told her what I told my Mom, that I simply could not live without cheese or milk. And wasn’t chicken healthy for you? Deep down inside I felt like she was right, but I just thought that was too hard to do. I didn’t even know where to start.

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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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“Satan no longer has a hold on me through pain in my body and addiction to food”

Cynthia SumnerBy: Cynthia Sumner

During my first year of marriage I started experiencing the effects of eating a mostly processed “dead food” diet. I gained almost 50 pounds during my first pregnancy, but after losing the weight by eating better and exercising, I kept losing without trying. I began to feel sick. I was hungry no matter how much I ate, and I had no energy. Every morning I woke up with very painful hunger pains. I had to sit on the side of my bed with my head over my knees. I felt hot and had absolutely no energy. I had a horrible headache every morning as well, with congestion in my ears and sinuses. The congestion in my ears was so bad that one or both of my ears were completely plugged. I would eat and then feel hungry within an hour. I was unable to go for walks or work in the yard, something I loved to do. I had a hard time staying awake to read a book to my baby. I was very backed up and felt constantly bloated. I chose to be happy, but I felt irritable all of the time.

I had many experts look over me and many tests done, but no one could help, so I felt compelled to search things out on my own. I knew something wasn’t right, and I wanted to figure it out. As I was led to people, books, and resources about natural health, the most profound and powerful feeling moved through me from head to toe, and I knew that my body could heal. The Spirit whispered to my heart through the gift of the Holy Ghost that I was born capable to heal. It makes sense! We are creations of a loving Heavenly Father. Look at the magnificent mountains, breathtaking sunsets, beautiful fields of flowers and trees. We are the most precious creation of all. Surely we are born capable to heal!

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“My journey of discovery began when I was diagnosed with MS”

Vicki YoungBy: Vicki Young

In April 2004, my doctor ordered a brain MRI, because I was having a lot of migraines. The MRI showed lesions in the white matter of the brain, indicative of a demyelinating disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS). She referred me to a neurologist who said that I didn’t have MS. Four days later, I was rear ended in a car accident. I had whiplash and pain in my left shoulder. After a few months of physical therapy, there was no improvement. I then had a MRI of the cervical spine, which showed lesions. And so my journey of discovery began when I was diagnosed with MS in January 2005.

When I was diagnosed with MS I felt relief to know that was the problem. When the first neurologist told me that I didn’t have MS, I didn’t feel that was right. Then a few days later I was in the car accident. I think that Heavenly Father wanted me to be diagnosed with MS. When I was diagnosed, I was thinking, what is going to happen next? Of course, I would have liked to have kept on going with a lot of energy for the next 20 years, like some people do, but that was not to be. I am OK with where I am now because of what I have learned in overcoming my challenges. I remember one person saying, “After 10 years, you will be in a wheelchair.” I am so glad that is not true!

Beginning in 2000, even before I was diagnosed with MS, I started to have gastrointestinal pain nearly daily. In 2003, my doctor ordered a scan that showed that my gallbladder was only functioning at 30% capacity. The surgeon said that my gallbladder needed to be removed, which he did, but I still had pain for years after that.

I also had tingling and numbness in my left foot off and on for years, and I had a tremor. After I was diagnosed, I noticed problems with my balance, making me trip a lot. By August 2006 I had fatigue so bad that I was not able to work anymore.

In August 2006, I got my first book on eating a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet called Original Fast Foods by James and Colleen Simmons. The authors explain all of the benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet, like Daniel’s diet in the Old Testament. The information in this book resonated with me. They talked about the Word of Wisdom and quoted many prophets and other Church leaders on the benefits of living the dietary guidelines in the Word of Wisdom.

After reading the book, I made some changes in my diet. I already did not eat much candy, pop, or meat, but now I started eating more fruits and vegetables and less dairy. I used to eat a lot of dairy. I had three or four canker sores nearly all of the time and yogurt and ice cream tasted good. They seemed like the only things I could eat when I had canker sores. I was surprised to see that with this small change of eating less dairy, I was getting fewer canker sores. What I thought was soothing to my sore mouth was actually the cause of the problem!

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“I now know I can be the person I want to be”

Chelsey RussellBy: Chelsey Russell

I started my whole food, plant-based (WFPB) journey 7-ish years ago—I just didn’t know it at the time!! I read an amazing book called Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup. She covers women’s health in pretty much every way possible, and I instantly fell in love with the book and Dr. Northrup. One of the things she wrote about that really impacted me was the harmful effect of dairy products. She explained:

“Human milk, a living, dynamic food, is designed for the optimal growth and development of baby humans. Cow’s milk, very different in composition from human milk, is designed for the optimal growth and development of baby cattle.”

That statement just made so much sense to me, and I was immediately grossed out, and freaked out—like oh my gosh, why are humans drinking milk that is made for/from another animal?? And how have I never thought about how disturbing/unhealthy that is until now?? She then went on to explain a lot of health problems that dairy has been associated with, and sure enough I was “suffering” from one of those issues . . . good ol’ acne—and it was bad.

You know when you are reading or listening to something and you can just totally feel of it’s truth? Well that’s what happened to me while reading this book. The Holy Ghost told me that what I was reading was true . . . seriously. Moroni 10:5 says, “And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things”—ALL things, how awesome is that??!!! On multiple occasions the Holy Ghost has testified to me the truths of eating a WFPB diet.

When I first gave up milk, my intent was to give up all dairy except for the occasional treat here and there. And I did, for a bit. But the treats started becoming more frequent, and then my husband’s job moved us to Texas—where I had been introduced to Blue Belle ice cream as a child—and the whole “dairy as an occasional treat” went completely out the window. Blue Belle ice cream was soooo nostalgic for me—so as long as the ice cream was Blue Belle it was OK to eat all the time??—Haha, crazy, I know! I was eating an entire pint of ice cream almost every night after putting my daughter to bed, like seriously almost every night. Craziness! I still believed dairy was bad, I just chose to ignore that for a bit, because well, I felt that this ice cream was worth it. It reminded me so much of my summers with my nana and papa where we ate a bowl of Blue Belle every night—so it felt, and tasted, soooo good. Oh yeah, and I was totally addicted.

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“There is nothing I want more than to please the Lord”

Marsha BurdickBy: Marsha Burdick

One evening when my children were quite small, as I put the lamb chops on the table, I thought to myself, “I can’t eat this. This is someone’s child.” A picture of a frisky little white fluffy lamb by its mother’s side came to my mind, and I knew that eating it was wrong.

In the nearly thirty years since that day, I have had no desire to consume meat. I couldn’t have told you then where the thought came from, and I didn’t explore the source of that inspiration, but there was no question in my heart that my life changed in that moment and there was no going back.

Perhaps the seed of the idea was planted when I was but a toddler. As the youngest child of four, during my early years I was my mother’s shadow on a small family acreage in Idaho. She adored animals and each spring would quietly sit in the pasture watching the newborn calves until they would approach her and allow her to pet them. I learned how to gain their trust as well, but she warned me not to give them a name because she knew that would form an attachment leading to problems on the day they were sent to butcher. It was not uncommon to see her sitting near the trough and talking to the pigs while they ate, or clucking to the chickens as she gathered the eggs. I am sure this example of love for animal life contributed to my sensitivity to consuming flesh later on.

My mother was not blessed with strength; she could not run without becoming weary, in fact, there were many days that she did not have the power to even hold up her head above her shoulders because she was burdened with a terrible disease. At the time of my birth, the doctors did not expect her to be able to raise me, giving her three years at best. Nevertheless, her life, though weak, extended well into my teenage years.

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“I’ve decided to stick with revelation on the subject of nutrition”

Barbara CramerBy: Barbara Cramer

I am 61 years old, and from the time I married at age 20, I have always been interested in health and nutrition. My parents were ahead of their time in that they believed in cracked wheat cereal, whole wheat bread, and eating lots of fruits, vegetables and salads every day; however, there was always plenty of meat on the menu, and drinking milk at every meal was gospel.

I have enjoyed good health most of my life, and through vigilance, never had a weight problem. However, about six years ago I started having severe knee pain and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I visited an orthopedic doctor and was seriously considering surgery on my right knee. I had also had a couple of colonoscopies with several pre-cancerous polyps. My cholesterol levels were on the high side, although not dangerous. I was always constipated and also had rosacea, a skin condition.

My mother (now aged 92) has severe osteoporosis and arthritis, and my father (an amazing and active 94) has used statins and blood-thinners for years; both have had bouts with cancer (now seemingly in remission after surgeries and radiation). My husband’s father died at age 62 from heart disease, and his mother from stroke. With all this in the family, I became interested in finding ways to maximize our health possibilities.

About five years ago, I started making and drinking lots of green smoothies, per “Green Smoothie Girl.” This helped my digestion, but I continued to use lots of dairy every day, plus some meats and eggs. Then, three years ago, a friend recommended the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The next week, we had lunch with friends who told us they were on a vegan diet and that it had cured their migraine headaches and prostate cancer. Then yet another friend recommended the book The China Study by Colin Campbell. I wondered why I was suddenly having all these encounters with whole food, plant-based (WFPB) information, but I did the reading and became convinced that the science was reliable.

I decided I would try the diet for three months and see how I felt. I had read and studied a number of diets before, so it was like a light went on when I realized that the WFPB diet was really just the Word of Wisdom stated anew! Now when people present me with information that contradicts it, I just say that I’ve decided to stick with revelation on the subject. Otherwise, one month it’s this, and the next month, it’s that. Tossed to and fro . . . whom to believe? But with divine counsel, it’s easy. Why did it take me so long to come to this understanding? It seems so obvious now. But cultural influences are powerful and had prevented me from embracing it sooner.

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“I have received wisdom and great treasures, even hidden treasures”

Sandi HemmingBy: Sandi Hemming

When I think about the influence of the Word of Wisdom in my life, my mind goes way back to the blessing of being born into a family with strong gospel roots. From there, it has been many years of learning and listening.

I was raised in southeastern Idaho on a small acreage. There I had an idyllic childhood in a wonderful family. We grew a large garden with a big strawberry patch and two long rows of raspberries and had a small root cellar where we stored potatoes, carrots, and apples for the winter. Each spring we would order 50 baby chicks and just six weeks later we would chop the heads off half of them, pluck their feathers, and put them in the freezer to supply fried chicken for half a year of Sundays.

My dad would wake my brother every day at 5:30 am to go milk the cows. Before I made it out of bed, they would be back with buckets of warm whole milk. The milk got poured through a strainer to get the bits of manure out. The thick cream would float to the top and be skimmed off for whipping cream and for putting on Dad’s cereal. Since I never enjoyed the taste of milk, I would leave my tall glass of it to the end of my meal before gulping it down. From some of the cream we churned our own butter, and since we had an ample supply of butter, we used it generously. It is hard to believe today that this vegetable-loving dietitian once buttered her fried pork chops!

Every spring each of us children would get a calf, and by the following fall, our calf would be ready for market—the proceeds would buy our school clothes and Christmas presents for each other. We also had a couple of family calves that were raised for beef. Every fall, we would take them to butcher. A few days later we would go back and pick up the tallow, from which we would made our own lye laundry soap (outside over a fire). And then back again, to pick up all the wrapped roasts and steaks and burger to fill the freezer for the winter. We were quite a self-sufficient family. We really bought very little from the store and our meals were very “animal based.”

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“I thank the Lord for teaching me the laws of health”

Roy BarnesBy: Roy Barnes

Our journey began in 2004 when I read a book by Roger K. Young. In chapter six, which is about the Lord’s antidote for the scourges and plagues of the last days, it had a lot of quotes from Elder John A. Widtsoe’s book The Word of Wisdom. After reading that chapter I told my wife that I thought we should change our diet. As we looked into it we found Dr. Kenneth E. Johnson’s book, The Word of Wisdom Food Plan, and read it. We also found the book The Mormon Diet: 14 Days to New Vigor and Health by Earl F. Updike.

During this time we were occasionally going to a vegetarian restaurant in St. George, Utah. One night there was a book at the table we sat at called The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. I read a little while we were there, then I bought a copy for myself.

When I found information in the book about Dr. John McDougall, we bought a copy of his book and tried the recipes in it. After going fully plant-based, in just two weeks I received an increase in energy, just like it said in 14 Days to New Vigor and Health. We followed that diet pretty strictly for quite a while but gradually we got a little lax about dairy and things with oil in them.

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