By: Arianna Rees
May of last year, as I was sitting at the kitchen table one morning, a distinct thought came into my mind, “You can do better.” It wasn’t in a tone of chastisement, but rather it came as one stating a simple fact. I sat startled for a moment, but quickly recognized the source of those words as being from the Spirit. I had recently felt prompted to study the effects of nutrition on mental health, a topic close to my heart. The research that I found was fascinating and led to further and further study and discovery of the very powerful effects that food choice can have, not only on our physical health, but also on our emotional and mental well-being as well.
That morning in the kitchen, I had just read several articles on the effects of antibiotics given to farm animals and their documented negative effects on long-term health on those of us consuming those animal products. The truth of those statements and facts, for whatever reason, spoke to me more clearly and more directly that day than ever before. And so I sat and pondered. It was then that the Spirit helped me to see that I could do better, especially since I was the gatekeeper of my family’s general diet and eating habits.
It is often said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. The teacher showed up in a big way from familiar sources that morning. I was immediately reminded of the Biblical account of Daniel gaining favor and strength due to his firm decision to eat grains and abstain from the king’s meats. I turned to the Bible to re-read the account and found myself reading a well-known story with fresh eyes. Daniel’s countenance shown and was filled with great knowledge and wisdom. What an amazing blessing! I felt so strongly that he was not only blessed for his courage in being obedient to a spiritual law, but he also was experiencing direct effects physically for having obeyed a physical law that had physical consequences. He was living the Word of Wisdom fully and experienced blessings of spirit, mind, and body.
I quickly turned to D&C 89, a section that I was so very familiar with. What was different this time in my reading was that I read each verse more literally than ever before. I no longer focused on the “thou shalt not’s,” but rather read from the perspective of the “thou shalt’s.” I had been keeping the portion of the Word of Wisdom well when it came to abstaining from drugs, alcohol, etc. I had been eating a healthy and well-rounded diet by most standards. But there it was stated so clearly—I could do better in eating meat sparingly, eating more whole foods, and foods in season.