Archive for International

“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 went on my knees and asked for His help”

Elodie Picard FamilyBy: Elodie Picard

I am a 34-year old native of France, currently living in Austria. I was born into the covenant. I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband, Paul, and we take great joy in rearing our three children in the Gospel: Eva, 13 years old, Jérôme, 11 years old, and Lynn, 5 years old.

For a long time, I believed that my family was eating healthy. I always cooked from scratch with lots of fruits and vegetables. We ate meat once a week, some form of dairy products daily, and I limited our consumption of sweets. I took great pleasure in preparing tasty meals for my family and friends that I thought were nutritious.

In October 2011, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I followed the normal procedures and had it surgically removed a week after my diagnosis. Unfortunately, I experienced surgical complications. My laryngeal nerve was severed (I have now a paralyzed left vocal cord), and I also suffered from “permanent hypoparathyroidism.” As a consequence, I started to experience serious hypocalcemic attacks. The specialists responded by administering massive doses of calcium (12 times the daily recommended dose) along with vitamin D. They told me that it was the only way to avoid the attacks and that I should also eat lots of dairy products to get as much calcium as possible. However, they also warned me that those supplements would eventually damage my kidneys permanently. Nevertheless, they could offer no other treatment.

Then I did what any child of God does in this situation—I went on my knees and asked for His help. I knew our Heavenly Father is the maker of our bodies, and He would know what to do. So day after day I prayed.

The months following my cancer treatment, I was not doing well physically. I was vomiting a lot. I lost the sense of taste (every food I ate had absolutely no flavor), and I was extremely tired and nauseous . . . To add to all that, the tumors came back right were my thyroid was. Since I was in no shape to go through the treatment all over again, I refused it.

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“My journey started before I joined the Church”

Warner Molema FamilyBy: Warner Molema

My journey towards a whole food, plant-based diet is a long one. It started before I joined the Church…

In my mid teens I remember reading that we become what we eat. The article was accompanied with a picture of a man with a pig’s snout. The article also mentioned that a diet of meat leads to increased anger and hostility. I did not want these traits and made up my mind to become vegetarian – no meat, but I still had dairy and eggs – ovo-lacto vegetarian. My mother supported me by preparing a separate vegetarian addition to the family meal. I was the only vegetarian in my family.

A few years before this time, while living in Cape Town South Africa, missionaries knocked on our door. I remember my parents purchasing a copy of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants… they had to be purchased in those days. I remember a few visits by the missionaries. I think my parents indicated that they appreciated their visits, however would not be joining the Church. During those early years of being a vegetarian, I remember browsing the burgundy covered Doctrine and Covenants and reading Section 89. I stopped drinking all hot drinks thereafter. I refused alcohol and did not partake in tobacco. Both my parents both smoked at the time.

After completing high school in Welkom, I attended university in Bloemfontein. I stayed on campus in the student housing – dormitories or in Afrikaans koshuisse. At meal times I would swap my meat for extra vegetables or dessert with fellow dorm dwellers. I held to my resolution to be a vegetarian and to refrain from hot drinks, alcohol, and tobacco.

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“I felt the Spirit guiding me and telling me things”

Gary Powell and Siew-LeeBy: Gary Powell

I was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941. I have moved around the world a lot and have always tried hard to adapt to the local cultures. This has taken me to some out-of-the-way places. I have met some very interesting people and eaten some interesting food over the years, everything from exotic European cuisine to dog kidney stew in a Dyak village. I learned the truth of the saying “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

I did some time in the Australian army and learned to live off the land, eating what nature provided. While in the army I had an aboriginal tribal brother who taught me a whole lot about living in tune with nature. In 1965 I was badly injured. With broken vertebrae in the lower back and neck, I was in and out of the hospital for the next three years. The army “specialists” were contract people who didn’t seem to care much about soldiers in their care. After each session with these people I felt a lot worse. In three years no one ever had an X-ray of my back done.

After I was discharged, things got steadily worse. I went to a very expensive back specialist who got the X-rays done. He shocked us both when he said I had three split vertebrae in my lower back and another badly damaged one in my neck. The specialist put me in a cast for a month and assured me this would fix all the problems. It didn’t work. In fact I felt even worse.

At this stage I was suicidal. A hippie friend noticed my distress. He knew exactly how bad it was and saw I was about to take a jump off a high bridge. He said he knew someone who could help. I said I would never go to a medical specialist again because they had got me this way. My friend said, “This person isn’t a medical specialist. He is a chiropractor and naturopath. Come with me to see him, and if he gets you right you are in front. If he doesn’t you can still jump.”

Chiropractor? Naturopath? Was he talking Greek or Russian?

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“I just wanted to feel normal” (Long Version)

Kevin TunstallNote from Jane: I also published a much shorter version of the following story. I’ve always wanted to share the original, long version, so I’m happy to do so here. The entire story is well worth reading, but if your time is limited, you may want to read the abbreviated version instead. Either way, this is a remarkable story!

By: Kevin Tunstall

My journey to a plant-based diet began soon after my diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, to begin fully, I should probably start earlier than the diagnosis as a series of events that some could call miracles led me to review my understanding of the Word of Wisdom and renew my understanding of the gospel, a journey that is still evolving.

My grandmother passed away from cancer after being terrified of dying of the big ‘C’ from a young age—she was in her eighties when it caught up with her. My mother passed away from lung cancer on my birthday in 2002, then a few years later my wife’s only sister developed breast cancer, which was aggressive and had started to move through the lymph nodes. She ended up having a mastectomy and her ovaries removed due to her age. This was followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

I had been called as bishop of a very busy ward here in New Zealand just four months earlier and ironically one of my first challenges was dealing with a single sister in the ward with two teenage children who had breast cancer but refused to get treatment or let me tell anyone.

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“Out of compassion for animals, I became a vegan”

Christine BradleyBy: Christine Bradley

I originally didn’t give much thought to the verses in D&C 89, except to follow the directions needed to be baptised in my early 20’s in 1972 and to obtain a temple recommend a year later….until….I became vegan in May 2011. Then I embarked on considerable study of the full Word of Wisdom and gained a great appreciation of the inherent wisdom afforded us.

It all began when I watched a video called “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky. He is an American animal rights activist and presented his speech at Georgia Tech in summer of 2010. His presentation was about the atrocities to animals that we humans do and allow, for unnecessary food and entertainment, etc. The video was posted on Facebook by a man named Carl Scott who lives in Dunedin, New Zealand.

That very day, out of compassion for animals, I became a vegan. My youngest daughter who still lives at home here was very happy to join me in this new way of living, and my husband, without even looking at the information, was okay about it too.

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“I just wanted to feel normal” (Abbreviated Version)

Kevin Tunstall at a race

Note from Jane: This is a remarkable story. The original is quite a bit longer, so I’ve published an abbreviated version here. If you prefer, you can read the long version.

By: Kevin Tunstall

My journey to a plant-based diet began soon after my diagnosis with prostate cancer. However, to begin fully, I should probably start earlier. My grandmother passed away from cancer, after being terrified of the big ‘C’ from youth. My mother passed away from lung cancer; then a few years later, my wife’s only sister developed breast cancer. She ended up having a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

I had been called as bishop of a very busy ward in New Zealand. One of my first challenges was dealing with a single sister with two teenage children who had breast cancer, but refused to get treatment or let me tell anyone. The week my sister-in-law finished her radiation treatment, our 15-year-old daughter developed what was thought to be a form of leukemia. We were devastated. It was a harrowing time but through a ward fast and miracles, her life was spared.

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