Archive for energy increase – Page 2

“I wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world.”

Ari McLaughlinBy: Ari McLaughlin

I was overweight, had low energy, hated my appearance, and got sick a lot. One day, I decided I wanted to lose weight. I made a goal and started that day. From what I googled and read online, every single article was saying the answer was to cut calories, exercise a lot, eat lean meats with some salad, have eggs for breakfast, etc. (In other words, high fat, low carb SAD diet). So that’s what I did. At first it worked! I was losing weight rapidly. Everyone was stunned and said I looked great.

I went on with this for five months before I knew I couldn’t proceed any longer. I had become obsessed with every little thing I put in my mouth, ESPECIALLY anything that had carbs! I would not even eat a banana. My aim was 50g or less per day. I did my absolute best to hide the fact that I was miserable. I had so many mood swings it was ridiculous. I would google the calories in every little thing that entered my mouth. I even googled the calories/carbs in a tomato! That was it, brother. I knew where I was at and where it would go if I continued down that path.

On the 4th of July 2014, my friend’s cousin came to watch the fireworks with the whole neighborhood. We got talking, and she told me how she was a high carb, low fat vegan. My initial reaction was “How did she lose weight like this?” since all she ate was fruits, veggies, rice, potatoes, beans, etc., foods I thought were not weight-loss foods. She told me she had read Discovering the Word of Wisdom by Jane Birch, and I kinda flipped out. I was like “NO WAY! That’s my Mom’s, like, life-time best friend!” She was pretty envious that I knew her. 🙂

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“I asked the Lord for a definitive answer”

Mignon ProbstBy: Mignon Probst

Weight loss was not a driving factor in my change of diet. Just under 5’8″ my top weight was 155 pounds, but I typically kept it in the mid 140’s. It was my belief that as we age, our metabolism slows down and weight gain is inevitable. I was married to a dairy/cattle farmer (he has since gotten out of the dairy business, but still raises a few cows) so those foods were a huge part of our family diet and we loved the foods we ate.

There were two reasons I was searching for a better way of eating. Firstly, in my early forties, my doctor began talking to me about my unfavorable lipid count. For two or three years I tried to get my cholesterol under 200 and lower my lipids without prescription medications, trying many different “low fat” diets. None were successful. In years past, my father had a quadruple bypass surgery in his mid fifties after suffering a mild heart attack. Father took a regimen of pills for the remainder of his life and suffered the side effects of them. I began to believe bad genetics had sealed my fate and was fearful that ill health would limit my ability in future years to serve a senior couple mission, which had long been my desire.

Secondly, I was very troubled with the idea of being reliant upon prescription medications to sustain life. I worried that a time might come when I could not obtain medications. What then? I find it paradoxical in our LDS culture of preparedness that we spend a great deal of money and effort to store food and other necessities, yet may have only a three month supply of life sustaining drugs at any given time for conditions brought upon us by consuming the “king’s meat” (see Daniel 1:5) and other rich foods. So of what personal value is our home storage beyond that? I am satisfied that self-reliance not only includes gathering and storing, but decreasing/eliminating the need for prescription medications. I believe that after having done all we can do, we might more confidently call upon the Lord’s healing power for conditions beyond our control.

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“I love wheat”

Annette DraperBy: Annette Draper

I remember the thrasher coming to our farm. All the farmers in the area came to help in hauling the wheat bundles to the farm. The job of the children was pushing the wheat to the back of the bin so everything fit. Every year we made wheat gum by chewing the wheat to the point of being able to blow bubbles. It was tradition. Later as flour was needed, a couple gunny sacks would be filled and taken to the mill to be ground.

I had been taught by example to store food and helped do it. One day I was looking at my children and had a very vivid realization of how I would feel if they were crying because they were hungry. It made me cry. I was not doing the things I’d grown up with to provide for my family. I began to renew my knowledge of canning and baking bread. We obtained our one-year food supply, which included a great deal of wheat.

Using whole wheat flour in bread, cookies and other baked goods and eating wheat cereals had become our regular routine. Still, I received a prompting to learn to use wheat. I thought I already knew. I was very involved in church and family life was very busy. I had all the usual excuses for not doing as I had been instructed. Because of procrastination, we experienced what I call, “The tithing in reverse principle.” Our income had not changed nor had our expenses; but we were very broke. It didn’t take me long to realize that what I had been instructed to do needed to be done now.

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“When God, science, and logic all line up”

Greg WilliamsBy: Greg Williams

It is hard to communicate the love of junk food and meat I have maintained throughout my short 26 years. Because my mom was careful to ensure we had primarily healthy options at home, I frequently raided my cousins’ and friends’ pantry and cupboards when I was invited over for play dates or sleepovers. I relished the white bread and sugary cold cereal. I snarfed down candy bars and gobbled up anything with a hint of sugar. What a great treat after being restricted to whole wheat, home made bread, and oatmeal! For my birthday one year my mom got me a package of steaks, and a year later she gave me some beef sticks. She knew me well and was good enough to indulge me.

As a missionary my love of food grew. Serving in the U.S. I ate as much lasagna, burgers, and whatever I could each night and agreed to third and fourth servings of dessert. The members were always emphatic that “missionaries need lots of food!” and I was quick to agree with them. That was the life! Of course I gained 13 pounds after just 3 weeks in the MTC and nearly 40 pounds in the mission field. When I met and married my wife she often noted my funny way of choosing meals at restaurants. “How big is it?” was (and often still is) my primary question. While I had gained some weight, I wouldn’t say I was unnaturally big. Indeed I didn’t really even feel I had a problem. What I wasn’t as thoughtful about was how this way of eating might be influencing other aspects of my life, including my spirit.

Over a year ago, my wife and I made a drastic change (documented in a blog post, “Our New Diet”). My father had given us a copy of Jane Birch’s book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom for Christmas (2013). After reading it, we agreed to give it a shot for at least three months and see how it went. Remarkable things happened for me physically, including the elimination of headaches that were once prevalent, an abundance of energy, and a newly discovered joy in eating foods I had once considered beyond touching with a fork! I also continued to lose weight and settled down at a point that I was at in probably 8th grade. Often I would wonder, is this a good or a bad thing that I weigh so little?! I consider it a good thing since I have more energy than ever before, continue to exercise each day, and feel wonderful. I finished a triathlon earlier this year and have almost beat my mile time set my freshman year of high school. That is pretty crazy!

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“I’m planning on dancing at my 150th birthday celebration”

Hyrum JonesBy: Hyrum Jones

I have always been healthy. I grew up with plenty of space to run around in, plenty of things to climb, and plenty of brothers to play with. And run, climb, and play, I did! My entire life I was stronger and faster than everyone else in my age group, as well as many people older than me. I felt myself to be entirely fit. I never had allergies, never any serious sicknesses, never any problem with blood sugar or fatigue, never even a broken bone. I also ate healthier food than anyone I knew. I had whole wheat mush every morning and almost never ate prepackaged food.

About three years ago, when I was 14 years old, I started Irish Step Dancing. I was still healthy, still strong, still eating good food, and getting more physical activity than ever, but I found myself needing even more. Conditioning for competitive Irish Dance was exhausting. I pushed myself hard to improve my endurance and my leg strength, but it was a long and slow process. Due to the limited time I had left to compete before leaving for college, I was very open to any new idea that might help me improve faster.

About a year after I began dancing I watched Forks Over Knives and was introduced to whole food, plant-based eating. It began simply as yet another of the many health documentaries I had seen, but this one made more sense than most, and by the time it was over, I had decided to switch to a whole food, plant-based diet. Though I had never eaten excessive amounts of meat, animal products, or processed foods, it was not until I stopped eating them that I realized how small quantities here and there really added up!

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I heard the Savior say, “You are going to be okay”

Patty ButtsBy: Patty Butts

My journey with chronic fatigue began over twenty years ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction (CFIDS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS). I was so ill my doctor wanted to give me medical disability. After four years of agony, I finally said to my doctor, “I either want to get better or I want to die.”

Since then, I have drastically changed my diet, recovered, finished a doctoral degree in Holistic Nutrition, and have more energy than I did 30 years ago. My passion now is to educate others and give them hope for recovery.

It began with a sudden onset. I had gone on the Fit for Life diet, eating fruit in the morning and vegetables in the afternoon. I didn’t realize I had candida and eating fruit was like pouring gasoline on a fire….fueling systemic candida. I felt like a walking corpse. While trying to walk or get out of bed in the morning, it seemed as if I was beating a dead horse.

With each step I took my feet felt like I was walking on pins and needles. The pain was excruciating, not only in my feet, but in every joint and muscle. My lymph nodes ached and were swollen. My kidneys, my liver, and my spleen hurt. My doctor did a round of blood tests and found the blood tests were normal. Nothing was wrong with me. I felt like I was dying, and he found nothing wrong with me.

My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant that caused tardis dyskinesia (swelling of the tongue because of an allergic reaction to medication). My tongue became thick, and I couldn’t enunciate my words properly. My mouth was constantly dry. While attempting to sleep, I felt like I was doing round after round of backward somersaults. My life was so out of control I thought I might die and knew I could if I stopped fighting to get well and just stayed in bed. When I stopped taking the antidepressant, the side effects of dyskinesia went away.

The doctor then referred me to a counselor who recommended Prozac as the panacea for everything. By the first week I was more depressed than ever and by the second week I felt suicidal. Since then I have learned about the gene mutation MTHFR that doesn’t allow the liver to detoxify. Therefore, taking a medication that the liver cannot detoxify can cause suicidal feelings. All mental health begins in the gut. The counselor recommended doubling the dosage. No way was I going to double the dose. I had done some research and found I was not the only one who responded to Prozac that way.

Some of my friends and family thought I was faking my illness because I looked okay. Others knew me to be hard working and dedicated and knew I was really ill. I looked okay, but I couldn’t stand up without leaning on a wall because I was so weak and dizzy. My short-term memory was fouled up. Concentrating and thinking was a chore and trying to read was difficult. I wondered if I had an early onset of Alzheimer’s. I was depressed, and it seemed I was being sucked into a black hole.

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“I felt so great I never looked back”

April AshcroftBy: April Ashcroft

My mother passed away when I was 5 years old, so my brother and I went to live with our paternal grandparents. Grandma had diabetes at that time, and Grandpa was diagnosed shortly thereafter and then died suddenly of a heart attack in his early 70’s. Throughout my adolescent and teen years, I witnessed my grandmother suffering greatly with the consequences of her disease. She was in and out of a rest home in her later years and during my many visits with her, I saw not only her suffering but the suffering of others in the rest home. This made a huge impression on me as a young child.

I’ve also seen the suffering of many others in my family. My mother had died of cancer at a very young age. My father had heart disease and was eventually diagnosed with diabetes. He died about a year later from pancreatic cancer. My maternal parents both had diabetes and heart disease and suffered strokes. One of my mother’s brothers had diabetes, heart disease, and eventually kidney failure, so he went on dialysis. After 5 years, he took himself off because of the great suffering he had experienced. My mother’s sister was diagnosed with diabetes in her early 40’s. She also has heart disease and has suffered a stroke. She continues today to live with the impact of these diseases.

Over the years I’ve thought about family members plagued with chronic diseases and wondered: Are these diseases and their suffering my destiny? Am I doomed because of my genetics? I was concerned about this at an early age. I did not want to go through what I saw my family and others going through. So I decided in my early 20’s that I was going to do everything in my power to avoid what many would say is my genetic destiny.

I now find it a blessing that I began to battle my weight after high school because I went from being sedentary and a bit lazy to being very dedicated to exercise. I thought that was going to keep me healthy. Unfortunately, my commitment to exercise turned into an obsession, and before I knew it, I was on a vicious cycle of dieting and exercise in my early 20’s. Worse, it was discouraging to see women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s who were still struggling to maintain their ideal weight. I hated the mental madness of the dieting game, and I did not want to still be dieting when I was 40! I firmly believed that Heavenly Father didn’t want me spending so much time and energy worrying about my weight. Along with being consumed about my weight, I felt terrible. At 21 I was fatigued and tired all the time. I couldn’t understand why at this young age I felt so bad. I wanted to have energy and be active and healthy. I believed that Heavenly Father wanted that for me as well.

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I felt the Lord telling me, “This is a good thing. You can do this.”

James and Parie DrechselBy: Parie Drechsel

I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy foods. My mother helped me understand good nutrition and raised me on healthy foods, lots of vegetables, beans and rice and those kinds of foods. I naturally enjoyed that. When I married, I tried to prepare healthy foods for my family, and as time went on, I worked harder at doing that.

I’ve also always loved the Word of Wisdom, but I’ve questioned the “eat meat sparingly” advice throughout the years. I would ask my husband, James, “What do you think this means?” I wondered why God would tell us to eat meat sparingly when we as a Church don’t do that. Sometimes, I’d limit meat to just twice a week or otherwise cut it down. I was confused, but I don’t think I ever prayed about it. I think I didn’t want to give up meat. It kind of scared me.

Last October (2013), my sister, Jane Birch, came to visit for a week. Because I enjoy cooking, I enjoyed modifying my recipes to cook whole food, plant-based foods for her. I knew it was healthy and thought it was great she was eating that way, but I really didn’t feel ready to do that. I felt it would be very drastic. I felt like I was already doing a lot to feed my family healthy foods. We were eating whole grains and vegetables, and I had cut out a lot of white stuff: white flour and white sugar. A whole food, plant-based diet seemed too radical.

Then on the Sunday when my sister was here, I suddenly had a prompting to not eat meat. I was kind of bothered by this, and I certainly did not tell my sister! I kept wondering why I was feeling that way and why the feeling didn’t go away. By that evening I decided, “OK, I’m not going to eat meat. Fine.” And then that unhappy feeling I had went away, and I felt peaceful.

I realized I’d have to tell my husband. I was nervous, but when I told him, he seemed OK with it. So we decided to not eat meat. I think I may have told him it would just be for a little bit, but really in my heart I felt it would be forever. At some point I said to him, “Honey, instead of just trying it out, we are going to do this.” And he said “OK.” Because it was a spiritual prompting, he was willing to go along with it.

A few days later, I cleaned all of the meat out of my freezer and took it to the neighbor family who are on a special diet with lots of meat. The mother had just purchased a quarter of a cow, so I doubted she’d want all of mine, but she said she would love it. When she asked what we were doing, I said, “We decided to try vegetarian.” She asked, “You aren’t going to do that scary vegan stuff are you?” I replied, “Oh no! But my sister does that. She doesn’t eat oil either.” My neighbor seemed very shocked!

I went away feeling very excited to be vegetarian. Later that night while I was cooking, I had a feeling, “We can do this. We can go vegan.” I felt the Lord telling me, “This is a good thing. You can do this.” I called my sister Jane to tell her.

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“Seventh-day Adventists taught us how to live the Word of Wisdom”

Victor WerlhofBy: Vic Werlhof

The Standard American Diet was the only diet I knew for most of my life. While sedentary and pudgy when very young, I became more lean and active in high school and college. During the final year of my residency in anesthesiology, over working got the best of me. Frequent trips to the medical center cafeteria for calorie-rich, processed foods became the norm. Twenty extra pounds appeared out of nowhere. This is the point where my meandering journey of yo-yo dieting began.

While reading a newspaper, my wife learned about a diet that eliminated all refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, etc.). It was a sort of “sugar busters” diet. Without getting any books or outside help, we tried to apply it as best we could. The twenty pounds vanished and my energy level increased. For the first time since Physical Education, I began to exercise. We did well with this make-shift program for about three years.

When we were taught the missionary discussions and the Word of Wisdom was introduced, we embraced it. In high school and for a couple of years in college, I had smoked. Committing to avoiding tobacco forever made a lot of sense. As young as I had been at the time, I would get bronchitis each winter that lasted for months. Eliminating alcohol has also been a blessing. That is something that harms so many people in so many ways. We were also coffee drinkers, but willing to give that up.

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“The Word of Wisdom is a sparkling treasure!”

Gina Alo OriginalBy: Gina Alo

When I became a member of the LDS church in 1992, I was already not eating red meat. I mistakenly thought I needed to eat chicken and turkey for the protein though, and I continued to do so sparingly. I always thought it was strange that the Latter Day Saints I knew were heavy meat eaters, despite the Word of Wisdom that seemed so clear-cut to me. I would occasionally ask members why they only obeyed the coffee, tea and alcohol part of the Word of Wisdom and not the meat part. Trendy diets like Atkins, South Beach, Wheat Belly, and Paleo all felt inherently wrong to me.

I love to learn and practice “constant and never-ending improvement” so I made it my mission to continue to improve my health and the health of my family. The more I learned, the less animals I ate. All this happened very gradually, but eventually I stopped eating all meat.

After I turned 40, my children were a little older and more self-sufficient, so it was easier to make exercise a regular activity, and I started to get into pretty good shape. As my activity level increased, so did the desire to properly fuel my body. I started doing more plant-based nutrition research and fine-tuning my diet.

I watched movies like Forks Over Knives; Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; and Food Inc. Forks Over Knives in particular opened up a world of plant-based experts to me. Some of my favorites include Joel Fuhrman, Colin Campbell, John McDougall, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Michael Greger. I began to devour the books these doctors have written as well as listening to their talks on YouTube. They all come to the same conclusion: whole, unprocessed plant foods are the key to good health. It’s so simple and yet it was an epiphany for me.

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