Archive for irritable bowel syndrome

“I hoped it would help with the IBS”

joseph-peterson-familyBy: Joseph Peterson

I always thought I ate a fairly healthy diet. Coming from a larger family, my mom always cooked homemade meals, and I just assumed that if it was homemade, it was healthy. After going off to college, I had to begin cooking for myself, which was usually just whatever was easiest, which was anything from spaghetti to frozen dinners. Then on my mission in Monterrey, Mexico, we would either eat at the homes of Church members or buy tacos on the street. The food where I served in Mexico always contained lots of meat and lots of grease. At one point in my mission, my health got so bad because of the food there that I had to be hospitalized. At the time, however, I thought it was just one bad meal with lots of bacteria. I didn’t stop to think that how I ate everyday affected my life so much.

When I got married, my wife and I were just never motivated to cook for ourselves very often since it was just the two of us, so we would usually go out to eat or cook some kind of frozen meal. After a while of that, my wife got better at cooking homemade meals just about every night, but we would still eat meat and lots of cheese and things like that.

Then just last year, I heard my parents talking about a diet they were starting that they were very impressed with. It was the whole food, plant-based diet. At first, I didn’t really think I needed anything like that, since I have always been a pretty skinny, healthy guy. At most I weighed 165, and I’m 5’9’’, so about average. However, my whole life I’ve also suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I have been to many doctors who would just tell me to experiment with different pills, but none of them really worked.

After several months on their new diet, my parents were saying they lost around 40 pounds each and were feeling much better! I was shocked! I have always followed my parents example my whole life and seeing how much this new diet had changed their lives, I wanted to partake of the blessings too. While I didn’t need to lose weight, I hoped it would help with the IBS.

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“I am finally happy with my weight!”

Margie Burton Before and After
By: Margie Burton

I’ve had weight and health issues most of my life. As a child I was known as “thunderthighs” among the taunting peers. I had an emergency appendectomy the last day of elementary school, and that was the first of many surgeries yet to come. At the age of 13, a fall off my beloved horse broke my tailbone and began a series of issues with my lower back that has continued through adulthood.

I was bedridden due to my back the latter part of my senior year, and during that time I gained about 40 pounds. I never realized it since I never got up to dress or go to the bathroom. I tried dieting on and off with some success here and there. I lost 30 pounds in college during a month-long survival course traveling 250 miles on foot and living off the land. That life-changing experience shocked my internal system to change moving my bowels from once-a-week to a daily event. I went on to my first back surgery during college.

I married and had continued health problems during pregnancies. I was bedridden again during my second pregnancy when a disc in my lower back became herniated. I gained 45 pounds with each pregnancy but deliveries were successful. I was plagued with cluster migraine headaches, some of which lasted weeks. I tried every diet that came along: the grapefruit diet, Atkins, Weight-Watchers, Nutrisystem, SlimFast, and many I can’t even remember. I was successful in losing weight with most of them, but the pounds would creep back. I spent hours running at the school track, pushing the stroller and carefully watching my other children on the football field as I ran laps.

My health issues continued as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, rheumatoid arthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and degenerative disc disease. I took medication every day to help prevent the migraine clusters that still came if I forgot to take the meds. Many of the side effects of the medications included weight gain, so I had my excuse.

My two daughters developed eating disorders in their teenage years. I tried to convince myself that I had not caused them, but with mom dieting her way through life, the emphasis was definitely there. We shared Weight Watcher meetings together and celebrated successes at losing a few pounds. The girls threw themselves into exercising. I would convince myself that my poor health would not let me run anymore so my life became sedentary. I was tall, so I could carry many extra pounds without looking fat. It was my grandson who asked me one day why I was so fat.

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“The inspiration I received was to read the Word of Wisdom”

Candice BithellBy: Candice Bithell

For over 20 years I have struggled with stomach issues, asthma, and horrible seasonal allergies. My stomach issues and severe allergies both began when I was about 17 years old. I struggled with nausea, bloating, reflux, and diarrhea. I would get horrible hay fever every year that lasted from about April until October. I would get sinus infections. I was put on two allergy medications, including a sinus spray that I used for 26 years to prevent the sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes, and sinus infections.

I saw my first gastroenterologist at the age of 24 because I was having severe pain in my chest and food felt like it was coming back up when I ate. The gastroenterologist ordered a series of tests including an endoscopy, colonoscopy, barium swallow, nasogastric testing, etc. When I went in for my results I was told that every test was POSITIVE. I was diagnosed with H. pylori, reflux, esophageal spasm, esophageal stricture, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). I was put on a handful of pills everyday, but I still struggled with stomach problems. It was during this same time that I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and began taking an inhaler everywhere I went.

I lived this way for a long time, always looking for something to help my stomach. I discovered I was lactose intolerant and stopped eating dairy, which helped a little, but not enough. Over the years I have taken pills for nausea, pills for diarrhea, pills to slow down my digestive process, pills, pills, pills. About seven years ago my doctor discovered that I had hyperinsulinemia and was pre-diabetic. I stopped eating sugar, but I replaced it with sugar-free stuff, which hurt my stomach a lot. I felt like I couldn’t eat anything!

Because I was active, I thought I was healthy, but I was very thin and my diet was lousy. I took up distance running four years ago and struggled with what is known as “runners gut.” I would run with a feeling of nausea almost everyday.

Then about two years ago, I had a powerful spiritual experience in the temple. I felt the love of my Savior very, very strongly. I was going through some difficult things, and I really needed that feeling. It got me through that time, but I wanted that feeling all of the time, so I began to pray about what I needed to change. This led me to a path that included trying to do the will of my Heavenly Father and following the promptings for changes that needed to be made.

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“Hodgkin’s Lymphoma made me the perfect student”

Katherine ScottBy: Katherine Scott

One of the most liberating pieces of knowledge I have learned is that the human body has the ability to heal itself. It has the power to heal any ailment or disease. Changing the diet is the ticket. If we continue to feed our bodies the same foods that made us sick in the first place (the typical dead American diet), then the body will not have the vitality it needs to heal. Changing to a vegan, living food diet provides the vitality for each cell in the body to detox and heal. This information is the hidden treasure that has been buried and most of us never find it, but “when the student is ready the teacher appears.” I WAS READY!

Nine months of chemical onslaught from conventional treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma made me the perfect student. I was ready to soak up everything I needed to know to get out from under the grip of fear. The fear of the cancer reoccurring was with me every moment of every day. I held a negative vision of a dire prognosis during my first check-up scan after I had finished treatment. I thought to myself, “I can’t live like this, fearing the worst.”

I wanted a day without fear. Ann Wigmore did more than that. She opened the door for me to the knowledge of green juices, living foods, and a way of eating that restores the body’s ability to heal itself. The information that is contained in her book, The Wheatgrass Book, inspired me so much that I immediately followed the instructions on how to grow wheatgrass. I don’t recall it being difficult. I obtained trays, organic soil, organic seeds, and a set of shelves, and set them up in my kitchen. I was living in London at the time and had no problem growing it. I took delight in seeing how quickly the grass grew.

The juice didn’t taste all that great, but I knew it was powerful stuff. There were times when just the smell of the grass juice would make me feel nauseated. I remedied that by holding my nose as I drank it! Because I knew it was good for me I religiously consumed 2 ounces of juice every morning. That wasn’t too hard to do for my health and peace of mind. That was way back in 1996, and I am thankful to say I have not needed the service of a physician since that time.

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“We love the food. We love how we feel.”

Michelle Jones FamilyBy: Michelle Jones

Our family was introduced to the whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet on March 23, 2013 when we watched Forks over Knives. My husband walked in the door that night to the exclamations of our elementary-aged boys saying, “Guess what, Dad! We’re vegan!” Boy, was he surprised.

With a host of health problems, including a recent three-year collapse, I was desperate for answers to my health woes and willing to try anything—although I did have reservations about a diet that didn’t include meat, dairy, or eggs. That went against everything I had ever learned in school.

We had always eaten lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but, at the time, we also had four dairy goats that we milked twice a day. I made yogurt and cheese several times a week, and we drank all the goat milk we wanted. Our ducks provided us with five fresh eggs every day, which I also managed to use with no problem. Meat wasn’t as big of an issue for us. With seven children (six of whom are boys), I always tried to stretch meat as far as possible—frying it and mixing it into our soups, chili, casseroles, etc. But I could immediately see that eliminating not only meat, dairy, and eggs, but also refined flour, sugar, and oils from our diet was going to be a hardship.

And it was. In spite of the four vegan cookbooks that my enthusiastic son ordered online from the library while we were watching Forks over Knives, I was at a loss. I had cooked from scratch for our family for twenty years, yet didn’t know how to cook without those “staples.” The first few weeks were a cooking nightmare. It felt like all I did was stand in the kitchen all day and chop fruits and vegetables. Physically, I felt miserable—tired and moody with lots of headaches.

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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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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — July 2014


Note from Jane: This is the latest in a monthly series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, choose Duffy Chronicles from the Stories menu.


This month’s post is a little bit painful for me to write. This is the second month that I don’t have any significant weight loss progress to report. In fact I’ve gone up and down the scale by 6 lbs, most recently back up again, as I struggle with the pleasure trap.

Last month I wrote three goals for myself. Here is how I did: Read More→

Duffy’s WFPB Journey — June 2014

Duffy-RaindropsNote from Jane: This is the latest in a monthly series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, choose Duffy Chronicles from the Stories menu.


We’re now officially halfway through the year, my friends! Can you believe it? My summer has been made many times more pleasant than in years past by the recent addition of my window air conditioner. #moderndayblessing!

Yes, I use a measuring tape from my sewing basket as a tie-back. It’s the only ribbon the cat’s never tried to avenge!

Yes, I use a measuring tape from my sewing basket as a tie-back. It’s the only ribbon the cat’s never tried to avenge!

Two of my favorite things are cloudy, overcast days and rain. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, a.ka. The Valley of the Sun. We heated burritos and chimichangas on the windshield of our truck while waterskiing on the lake. We bought sunscreen in gallon jugs. We used water in our radiators (FYI: this was a really BAD idea when we subsequently drove our cars to northern parts and they FROZE). We complained that if the rest of the country got “snow days,” we ought to get “hot days” off of school.

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — May 2014

ThermometerNote from Jane: This is the latest in a monthly series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, choose Duffy Chronicles from the Stories menu.

A few weeks ago we had a sudden jump in temperatures from mostly 60’s to 88 degrees Fahrenheit! Personally, I prefer 65 and below as my ideal temperature. For as long as I can remember I’ve dealt with excessive sweating, especially on my face/scalp but also on other parts of my body to a lesser degree. The condition is known as hyperhidrosis and mine seems to be a less common variety than those who sweat excessively from their underarms, palms of their hands, or feet. Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, I can tell you that this was miserable. In recent years I’ve looked into a few different treatments and started taking an oral anti-secretory agent. I would also sometimes use the product Sweat Block, which is not recommended for facial use. Ooh, it itched like crazy while it dried!! Both of these things helped a little, but only a little.

About three weeks ago when we had the first temperature spike, I was standing in the hallway outside my classroom after teaching and thought man, its getting hot in here! I am uncomfortably warm right now. Even now it is a difficult sensation to describe as it was brand-new to me. I felt like warm air was pressing against my skin, like being inside an oven on low heat, and it was uncomfortable—but not to the point of distress. Most startling of all, I was not sweating. I wondered if this is how most people experience being hot? I cannot remember a time when I have experienced being hot without also being uncomfortably and excessively sweaty.

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — April 2014

scale upside downIts May 3rd and I’m just now getting to writing this blog post. I suppose if I told you my computer crashed, it might garner some empathy. But the honest side of me would have to admit it crashed last night… May 2, two days after I should’ve had this essay done and ready to post.

So lets talk about April. I’ve stayed 100% Whole Food Plant Based for 4 months, 1 week and 2 ¾ days. In other words, now just over 1/3 of the year! My coworkers have gone from asking me if I was still doing my New Year’s Resolution to exclaiming in surprise “You’re still doing that? Wow!” I think the best thing about this is the confidence I am gaining in myself. In the past, I haven’t always kept promises to myself, especially when they revolved around food and exercise.

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