Archive for heart disease

“I am 110 pounds lighter”

By: Brad Clark

In March 2013 I was 43 years old, 281 pounds, eating the standard American diet, working long hours, and generally not taking care of myself. My wife and five kids (aged 5 to 15) were used to my low levels of energy and high levels of frustration. I had recently given up on yet another diet program sponsored by my work which “worked” because I’d lost 20 lbs on it, but it was also a failure because just like the dozens of times I’d tried to lose weight before I’d put the weight back on. And that is when I started to notice some discomfort when I’d try any activity more than casual walking.

At first I just thought it was a new low in my level of fitness and that if I stuck it out and got on a treadmill I could raise my fitness. But no, the pain persisted. It took more than a month for me to get the guts up to make an appointment with my primary care physician. The day I called to make the appointment the receptionist asked why I wanted to visit. The alarm in her voice as I explained my symptoms—and the fact that she made an appointment for me to see him the same day—scared me even more.

I worked in the middle of San Francisco, so leaving for the doctor mid-day meant having to walk almost a mile to the BART (transit) station. On the walk I was alarmed that the pain I had been hoping to brush under the rug was now intense enough that I was relieved each time I got to stop at the crosswalk. The reality of my situation was finally sinking in, and I knew I was in trouble. That was Wednesday, May 22, 2013. By that Friday I was on my cardiologist’s treadmill and though the official diagnosis took a little longer to receive, that Friday is also the last time I’ve eaten any animal products and the day I started on my return journey to health.

Having lost both parents to heart disease I had previously researched preventative programs. Years earlier I had even followed the Ornish program for about six months before falling off of it. But because of that experience, the day I was diagnosed with heart disease I knew exactly what I needed to do and was finally motivated enough to do it.

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“Wisdom comes in the righteous use of our agency”

By: Bruce Roberts

Beginning in October of 2015 I had one of those trying years that make you sit back and ask, “Why me?” After the challenge has passed and you have time to analyze what has happened to you, you start to realize that there is a learning process in this life that causes us to be humble enough to receive light and knowledge from Heavenly Father and Jesus. It is kind of, as the old saying goes, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” In this case, I am the student, and the Holy Ghost is the teacher.

My family and I were out camping at East Canyon Resort. My brother Jeff and I decided to go fishing down at the Lake. The fish were jumping like crazy and in my excitement, I forgot to be extra careful. The way down to the lake from the road was quite treacherous, especially for a guy 73 years old. I slipped and fell, shattering my ankle. It took nine men to carry me out strapped to a board. Then the ambulance hauled me to Ogden Regional Hospital, and they performed surgery. The funny part of all this was that while lying on the banks of the reservoir, the thing that I was afraid of most was that the TV Channel 2 helicopter might be coming, and I might end up on the nightly news. While in the ER, my son Monte told me that didn’t matter because I was already all over Facebook. The family in Denmark had even seen me lying on the banks of the Lake and had responded with sympathy. Well so much for privacy.

The next few months were stressful. I wasn’t allowed to drive for three months so I did a lot of reading and not a lot of moving around except for the physical therapy sessions. Whenever we are inactive in anything we seem to go backwards. In a lot of situations in life we become careless. The inactivity and my lack of paying attention to what I was eating, and the amounts I was eating, apparently took its toll. I really bulked up. I look at it now as an experience that set me up for something to come that was life changing in a big way. After coming back from the Pac 12 basketball tournament in Las Vegas in March 2016, I wasn’t feeling well. Yes, I pigged-out at the buffets (to get my $ worth). It does not take long to send caution to the wind, and your life changes.

I had been considering writing a book on the Word of Wisdom for several years and had done a lot of studying and gathering of information, when in April, I came across a book on the internet I hadn’t seen before. It was called, Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective by Jane Birch. My interest was immediately peeked! I ordered two copies, one for each of us, because my wife Helen fills hers with sticky notes. We read the book and were astonished. We both had a spiritual witness. It was many of my very thoughts, and I am sure, written and put together better than I would ever have done. I also believe Heavenly Father got tired of waiting for me to get it done, and the message is critical for our happiness and for our time here in the Last Days.

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“I vow to never take my beating heart for granted”

judy-morse-thurberHave you ever been inspired and motivated by reading the story of someone on a whole food, plant-based diet? If you have, please share YOUR story! Contact me —Jane

By: Judy Morse Thurber

My mother and I were alone for 3 1/2 years while my dad served in WWII. I remember rationing with stamps to limit purchases and eating pretty basic, low budget, comfort foods. We ate mac and cheese, chipped beef on toast, cream of chicken on toast, oatmeal, and toasted cheese sandwiches. Milk was always the drink with every meal. One distinct memory from my youth was when margarine was first introduced to the world. As a child, I loved adding the yellow color to make it look more like butter. After Dad returned from the war, we had roast beef on Sunday and used the leftovers to make sandwiches for Sunday dinner. I never felt deprived . . . until I got old enough to evaluate the fake butter. Then I began to rail against that and vowed that there would always be real butter on my table as an adult (little did I know!).

I was married and the mother of five children when my husband and I were involved in a business that purchased one of the first supplement companies in the nation. We had to quickly learn the importance and value of food supplements. This enlightened me to the fact that we were not getting the full value out of our food. At the time, I suffered with night blindness and complexion problems and a few other issues that were nutritionally based. The supplements helped me overcome those issues and started to direct my attention to the need for better nutrition. (I now love to help people eliminate supplements by eating whole food, plant-based!)

While raising a family, I was a music teacher, organist, choir director, and soloist. I kept very active as a mother (now seven children), business partner with my husband in the supplement business, and as a musician. In all of my busyness, and above all, I have been a “Truth Seeker,” which is what led me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in my thirties.

The Word of Wisdom fit perfectly into my views of life. After we joined the Church, we refined our eating habits considerably, but not sufficiently. My first husband died at a young age of cancer. I cared for him for two years, trying to overcome the cancer naturally. This added to my knowledge and determination to know, understand, practice, and teach alternative, natural healthcare methods. I studied and became a Naturopath, and discovered special healing gifts.

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“Changing my eating habits has saved me”

Warren TownsendBy: Warren Townsend

I was diagnosed some years ago with pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a dangerous buildup of plaque in my arteries. If one of these maladies didn’t incapacitate, cripple or kill me another one would.

The doctor prescribed warfarin or Coumadin, which is the main ingredient in rat poison. It thins the blood to the extent veins and arteries can no longer contain the blood and the animal bleeds to death. I was given information on a diet for diabetics and was told it would help stabilize my condition.

Diabetes, heart failure, cancer and obesity have plagued my mother, father, sisters, brother and their mates for many years. Dad died at age 59 of oat cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer. At the age of 86, Mother died of congestive heart failure, also called myocardial infarction or heart attack. Her life was not easy during my lifetime. When Mother was 37 years old we nearly lost her to uterine cancer, ulcerated colitis, and improper combinations of conflicting medications prescribed by her doctors. She was prescribed Coumadin, refused it, and turned to the natural help of gingko biloba and cayenne pepper capsules, which did indeed thin her blood. As she got older, continually testing her blood sugar she was able to somewhat control her type 2 diabetes through a prescribed diet for diabetics that still allowed meat and dairy products. Mother developed neuropathy in her feet and so got little exercise and was middling obese for many years.

I have put all this down to tell you of my experience.

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“The doctor was giddy about my results.”

Dave and Petra HansenBy: Dave Hansen

Having been raised in Idaho in a family that has always been very active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was taught about the Word of Wisdom. I was taught that the use of tobacco, drinking of alcoholic beverages as well as coffee and black tea was prohibited. I was aware that other substances were ordained for the use of man by God including fruits in their season, vegetables, and grains. I had been raised to believe that since meat was ordained for the use of man, it was also good to consume. In addition our family took pride in the dairy business that they were involved in, even though my father chose another path of employment shortly after my birth. We believed the commercials that milk “does a body good.”

After getting married and being on my own, I never allowed margarine on my dinner table, only the finest butter. Ice cream was purchased by the gallons and always readily available, as well as cheese. I reveled in some of my specialty dishes; my three egg ham and cheese omelets were a favorite of my family, as well as my pecan pie, grilled New York Steak, and my award winning chili (which was always more carne than beans). In the United States, the LDS culture is immersed in the Western diet that I was so accustomed to. Potlucks, barbeques, funerals, ice cream socials, and all other social gatherings within the Church are centered on a diet of meat and dairy.

On a Sunday morning in the spring of 2013 I woke to a nagging pressure in my chest with radiating pain in my neck and left arm, deep inside. This is a symptom that had been slowly getting worse over the previous two years. At first it was only noticeable when I was involved in extreme exercise, but it gradually showed up when I simply walked up a flight of stairs. This morning I was not doing anything, but it was there. I thought about skipping Church that day and resting, thinking that I may have just overdid it the day before on our motorcycle ride. I was reminded of a talk that I had heard at some conference in the past that if we didn’t want to do something the Lord wanted us to do, then we should really do it because there was something that we were supposed to learn from it, so I got ready for Church with my wife and we went.

During Sacrament meeting one of the speakers relayed a recent experience he had endured when he had a heart attack, so afterward I felt inspired to ask him about the symptoms. He asked me why, and I relayed to him what I was feeling. He told me to go immediately to the emergency room, and to not attend the following Sunday School or Priesthood meetings. Well I, being the stubborn soul that I am, attended Sunday School anyways; however, the pressure in my chest was not getting better, so afterward I told my wife that maybe we should go to the emergency room so they could rule out my heart as the culprit.

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“The results were nearly miraculous”

Marc and Vicki SorensonBy: Marc Sorenson

Much of my youth was spent at our ranch/farm, located within one-half mile of the Nevada border in Utah’s west desert. We had no electricity and no indoor plumbing, necessitating old methods of cutting wood for the heater and carrying water in from the well for drinking and culinary purposes. It was a hard but good life, and we always had plenty to eat. We ate the typical cowboy fare, starting with bacon and eggs for breakfast, with an occasional bowl of cereal, and always a plethora of milk. I milked the cow, who was quite generous to us, providing not only milk, but cream and butter, which I often ate by the spoonful.

We did have some healthful foods, since my Dad loved fruit and often would buy cherries, apricots, peaches, watermelon, and apples, and we had some corn, peas and tomatoes from our garden or the gardens of our neighbors who sometimes had surplus.

Every meal contained meat and/or chicken, duck, turkey, fish or other animal food. I killed them, cut them up, put them in a cool area, and sometimes cooked some meals. When Mom was gone for a few weeks to keep her teaching certificate renewed (she taught school in the winter), Dad and I would eat as many as 16 eggs daily, he consuming about 8-10 and I another 6 or so. They were all sloshed liberally with bacon or other meat grease. I feel fortunate to have survived past my teenage years, considering the mountain of animal products along with their cholesterol and saturated fats that went through my digestive and circulatory systems! In spite of the hard ranch work my weight at one time was as high as 217 pounds at a height of 5’10 ½.” I now weigh about 178 pounds and am very muscular for a man of 72 years.

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“Self-Punishment” by W. Dean Belnap (1951)

From Word of Wisdom Literature by: Jane Birch

W. Dean Belnap, M.D., “Self-Punishment”

Improvement Era Sept 1951, p. 632-634; 672–673

[Notes on more current science are marked with an asterisk (*); see end of article for details.]

THE longer we live, the more likely we are to die (when death eventually comes) from causes associated with hardening of the arteries—a disease called arteriosclerosis. This condition, characterized by hardened arterial walls, is accompanied by a multiplicity of disease processes that account for the majority of deaths among the white races. It is estimated to affect twenty-six percent of people between forty and forty-nine years of age, forty-eight percent of those between fifty and fifty-nine years, seventy-eight percent ofaf individuals between sixty and sixty-nine years, and ninety percent of persons over seventy years of age. 1

Arteriosclerosis is a crime against man in which bacteria have no part. The major drugs of sulfa, penicillin, and other related substances do nothing to protect man from the crime; however, the weapons with which the crime is committed are there for all of us to see. They are animal protein and animal fat with their bi-product, cholesterol.

The crime is murder but—who is the murderer?

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“An 1833 Guide for the Prevention of Heart Disease” by Ray G. Cowley (1969)

From Word of Wisdom Literature by Jane Birch. See also: Discovering the Word of Wisdom Pioneers: A Heart Attack Proof Diet

Ray G. Cowley, M.D “An 1833 Guide for the Prevention of Heart Disease,” Improvement Era (August 1969), pp. 60-63.

Cowley Article

The blood of man, which delivers oxygen and nutrition to billions of body cells, requires an unfailing propulsion source to drive it through the many miles of blood channels of its never-ceasing circulatory route. This driving force, the human heart, is a complex dual circuit pump with unidirectional valves that is responsive on an instant’s notice to every body need.

In addition to this rapidly responsive capability, durability of an unbelievable degree is required for the span of a lifetime. Yet the healthy heart has these qualities in surplus amounts. The pump action is provided by muscles that contract forcefully and rhythmically under the influence of self-generated electrical impulses. Provide these heart muscles with sufficient oxygen and proper nutrients via a good blood supply, and, in the absence of chance disease or injury they will outlast average life span today.

The blood flow to heart muscles is through coronary arteries originating directly from the large aorta. These are the first arteries supplied by freshly oxygenated and nutritionally renewed blood. If the heart’s blood supply is diminished slightly, it cannot respond maximally to stress. If it is diminished more, severe disability and painful angina pectoris or failure may ensue.

If it is cut off completely, the heart muscles in the deprived area will die, and if the whole person survives, they are replaced by functionless scar tissue.

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“We avoided a massive heart attack”

Deb Hadden Family 2015By: Deb Hadden

My story goes back to 1997 when I was diagnosed with Sheehan’s Syndrome, postpartum hypopituitarism. I was nine months post-partum and still nursing. The doctor wanted me to go on radioactive iodine, but something inside of me felt very horrible about that decision. I told the doctor to give me two weeks to make the decision. He was hesitant, but said okay. During that time I prayed with all of my being. The idea came to me that I was not done bringing babies into the world and that I needed to find a natural way to heal my body. Then I heard the words in my mind, “Thou shalt run and not be weary, walk and not faint.”

I knew that I needed to take a deeper look into the Word of Wisdom and train myself on how to follow the dietary counsel. I went to the library and looked up every cookbook that I could find that fit most closely to the Word of Wisdom dietary counsel. The book 12 Days to Dynamic Health by John McDougall, M.D. was the only book in that Utah library that I could find that even remotely supported the counsel. I took the book home, combed through, followed it’s guidelines, and two weeks later my blood work was normal.

What I learned was that eating high amounts of sugar depletes the B vitamins in our bodies, and messes up the thyroid. My doctor, who was also LDS, was so impressed that he too switched to the McDougall program. I lost 50 pounds, and all the while, I did not know that I was already in an early pregnancy with my fourth baby. Had I gone on the radioactive iodine, his health would have been severely compromised. I have since that time had three more babies, who would probably have not been able to come to our family with the thyroid trouble I was having.

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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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