Archive for social situations

Dealing with Family and Others (Handling Social Situations)

By: Jane Birch 

For most people, the social aspects of a healthy diet are the most challenging. Taste buds change, cooking skills improve, but it may take more time to learn how to deal with the variety of social challenges that can make a healthy diet difficult to maintain.

Fortunately, for a variety of reasons, people in our society are on all kinds of special diets, so we are not alone. In fact, you will find that many people will be sympathetic and will help you, even if they themselves are not on a special diet. Be sure to tell friends and family what you are doing and why and ask them to help support you. Make it clear that you do not expect anyone else to change their diet. Doing these two things will make a huge difference.

Presenting Your New Self

There are many ways to present your “new self ” to the world. Below are just a few. Try one or more to see what best suits you.

Be loud. Announce to everyone what you are doing and ask for support. If you have any health concerns, you can use them as an excuse and a reason to ask others to help you make this transition. Make it clear that you are now eating a different way, and tell all of your family and friends so they will know in advance to not be surprised when you don’t want a slice of the apple pie they just baked (in fact, they’ll know not to offer it to you). Read More→

“I find so much joy as I prepare nutritious meals”

Anne Marie Yates FamilyBy: Ann Marie Yates

I first heard the term “plant-based diet” a year and a half ago. I was nearing the birth of my fifth baby and was anxious to lose the baby weight and get back into shape. I had successfully lost weight in the past on a high-protein, low-carb regimen, so I visited a body builder web site, ordered protein powders and selected menus and workouts to begin as soon as possible after my baby was born.

In the meantime, my sister told me about a documentary on Netflix called Hungry for Change. I watched it, and then I watched Forks Over Knives. Both films outline the dangers of eating the standard American diet (SAD) and show the benefits of eating a variety of whole, natural foods. Forks Over Knives introduced me to a wealth of information about the danger of animal protein, which was completely new to me.

I knew immediately I should not follow my high-protein, low-carb weight loss plan. I ordered books from many of the experts in the documentaries including Colin Campbell, Rip Esselstyn, John McDougall, and Joel Fuhrman. I read everything I could about a plant-based diet and was impressed with how closely it follows the Word of Wisdom. I had always had a nagging feeling that the “body-building” diet was not in line with the Word of Wisdom, but I didn’t realize modern research so closely backs up the “do’s” in the Word of Wisdom and not just the “don’ts.”

One of my favorite parts of more fully living the truths found in the Word of Wisdom is learning how following a plant-based diet can prevent most, if not all of the commonly accepted diseases related to aging. Last spring, my mom lost her fourth sibling to cancer, my beloved Aunt Wilma. I felt very helpless as I realized that cancer seems to run in my family, and I prayed to know how to eat as healthfully as possible to avoid future illnesses. After watching the documentaries, I felt empowered that I could control my own health destiny. I decided to have my cholesterol tested to get a starting point to go from, and was shocked when the results came back high! I committed to six months of not eating animal products of any kind. I was retested in February and my cholesterol was down 30 points and is now in the “safe” zone. I am striving to lower it even more, and I love how healthy and strong I feel when I follow this way of eating. My migraines, body aches, acne, mood swings and cravings are greatly diminished, if not gone altogether.

Read More→

“I’ve decided to stick with revelation on the subject of nutrition”

Barbara CramerBy: Barbara Cramer

I am 61 years old, and from the time I married at age 20, I have always been interested in health and nutrition. My parents were ahead of their time in that they believed in cracked wheat cereal, whole wheat bread, and eating lots of fruits, vegetables and salads every day; however, there was always plenty of meat on the menu, and drinking milk at every meal was gospel.

I have enjoyed good health most of my life, and through vigilance, never had a weight problem. However, about six years ago I started having severe knee pain and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I visited an orthopedic doctor and was seriously considering surgery on my right knee. I had also had a couple of colonoscopies with several pre-cancerous polyps. My cholesterol levels were on the high side, although not dangerous. I was always constipated and also had rosacea, a skin condition.

My mother (now aged 92) has severe osteoporosis and arthritis, and my father (an amazing and active 94) has used statins and blood-thinners for years; both have had bouts with cancer (now seemingly in remission after surgeries and radiation). My husband’s father died at age 62 from heart disease, and his mother from stroke. With all this in the family, I became interested in finding ways to maximize our health possibilities.

About five years ago, I started making and drinking lots of green smoothies, per “Green Smoothie Girl.” This helped my digestion, but I continued to use lots of dairy every day, plus some meats and eggs. Then, three years ago, a friend recommended the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The next week, we had lunch with friends who told us they were on a vegan diet and that it had cured their migraine headaches and prostate cancer. Then yet another friend recommended the book The China Study by Colin Campbell. I wondered why I was suddenly having all these encounters with whole food, plant-based (WFPB) information, but I did the reading and became convinced that the science was reliable.

I decided I would try the diet for three months and see how I felt. I had read and studied a number of diets before, so it was like a light went on when I realized that the WFPB diet was really just the Word of Wisdom stated anew! Now when people present me with information that contradicts it, I just say that I’ve decided to stick with revelation on the subject. Otherwise, one month it’s this, and the next month, it’s that. Tossed to and fro . . . whom to believe? But with divine counsel, it’s easy. Why did it take me so long to come to this understanding? It seems so obvious now. But cultural influences are powerful and had prevented me from embracing it sooner.

Read More→

“Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven”

Susan D’AndreaBy: Susan D’Andrea

The phone rang on Labor Day weekend of 2011. One of my sons and I were in Pennsylvania to attend my niece’s wedding. My husband John was home in San Antonio, Texas. He had watched an ABC News special about Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. John started reading the book and was convinced that this book would protect us from cardiovascular disease, despite our high blood pressure and family history of heart attacks and strokes. By the time I was halfway through the first chapter, Dr. Esselstyn had convinced me that a vegan diet with no added fat would guarantee we would not have a heart attack. We were committed.

Next we watched the documentary Forks Over Knives (which is available on Netflix and various streaming websites). This strengthened our belief that a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet would protect us, not only from cardiovascular disease, but from cancer and a host of other illnesses. Our oldest son and his wife watched the movie and joined us. Now we had support and an opportunity to share favorite recipes.

We wanted so much to do this that every time we tried a new recipe, when we asked the blessing, we asked Heavenly Father to help us like the new dish. We have liked everything we have tried.

Read More→

Duffy’s WFPB Journey — March 2014

Yellow PotatoesLittle Wins

Along the way to achieving my ultimate weight loss and health goals, it’s important to celebrate the little wins….

  • My pants are looser. I noticed the change in my shirts last month, and this month my pants have felt looser and even started to ride a little lower so that I continuously have to pull them up and re-tuck in my undershirt.
  • I can reach the gas cap lever in my car! It was getting pretty dicey for a while there. It is located on the floor between the pedals and driver’s seat, and when I was at my largest weight, I’d have to hold my breath and lunge for it. Now I can reach down easily and without pain.
  • I’ve stayed 100% WFPB for ¼ of the year already!
  • A coworker noticed that I’ve been losing weight.
  • I reached and surpassed my first 50lb milestone; my visiting teachers took progress pictures.
  • I came home from an appointment last Saturday having put some potatoes in my countertop convection oven and then forgotten about them. My first thought as I opened the door was “Mmm, smells like brownies.” A few minutes later when I cut into one of the still-warm potatoes I thought, “This smells delicious!” Although I never before liked potatoes any way other than mashed with butter, I may be on my way to becoming a potato lover.

Read More→

WoW Moment – WFPB Relief Society Dinner

Debbie Christofferson

Debbie Christofferson

My good friend Debbie Christofferson, shared the following story with me yesterday. I’d like to feature short experiences like this as “Word of Wisdom Moments.” Please consider sharing your own WoW Moment!

“I had the greatest experience last night. I was asked to be in charge of our ward Relief Society birthday dinner. At first it was difficult because everyone wanted to serve foods that I don’t eat. I was willing to go along, but then after much thought and prayer, I decided the reason I was asked to be in charge was because I needed to make the meal a whole food, plant-based experience for everyone. I got my committee to agree on the menu by first serving the meal to them in my home. They loved it! Last night, we served an amazing dinner to our sisters. It was a huge success. And the best part is – one of the sisters on the committee is now eating whole food, plant-based because of the experience of being on the committee. She read Discovering the Word of Wisdom after a discussion we had, and she and her husband are fully committed. How exciting is that?! I am so grateful for Jane’s book and the difference it is making in so many peoples’ lives!”

Debbie Christofferson’s story of her conversion to WFPB eating is featured at the end of Chapter 2 in Discovering the Word of Wisdom. Debbie is both a Registered Dietician and an amazing cook. She was kind enough to share all the recipes with us!

Click here to view the Recipe PDF.


By Jane Birch (Last updated January 20, 2015)

Choose a topic from the drop-down menu or below. If you’d like to see a topic address, please contact me.

Overcoming Challenges?

  1. Figuring out what to eat
  2. Giving up certain foods (overcoming food addictions)
  3. Dealing with other people (handling social situations)
  4. Weight Loss

Gluten, Wheat, Grain—and Other Food Sensitivities

Why Start Now?

Why Go 100?

WFPB Food Storage

Word of Wisdom Frequently Asked Questions


Overcoming Challenges on a WFPB Diet

By Jane Birch

While some people find it relatively easy to switch to a WFPB diet, most people should expect a challenge. Big change is usually difficult, and we should expect it to require dedication, persistence, a willingness to suffer some temporary discomfort, and a determination not to give up until we succeed.

Most things in life that are worthwhile take effort: getting an education, building a home, establishing a career, and raising children. Taking care of our bodies and feeding ourselves appropriately is one of the important tasks of earth-life and is essential to our well-being, both physically and spiritually. Trying to figure this out is worthwhile, even if it takes some struggle and trial and error. Since Satan has a vested interest in our continuing to eat unhealthy foods that deaden our sensitivity to the Spirit, expect and prepare for some opposition. But remember that the Lord cares even more what we eat, and He will help us if we are determined and reach out to Him.

Once you are convinced that a WFPB diet is worth a try, you will face a number of challenges. These are probably the three biggest. They are discussed individually on separate pages:

  1. Figuring out what to eat
  2. Giving up certain foods (overcoming food addictions)
  3. Dealing with other people (handling social situations)

Not every person faces all three challenges, but many do. Each challenge is difficult, and each takes time and effort to work through, but all can be overcome if you are willing to do what it takes to make it work.

Remember, Remember

If making the switch is not easy, it is definitely worth it. Look at all the sick people around us. What is your health worth? Yes, eating this way is not always easy, but living with cancer or heart disease is not easy either. Believe me, if you get heart disease, you’ll learn to live with it because you’ll have no choice. I would rather freely choose to eat in a way to prevent heart disease in the first place.

I believe the problem is not knowledge; it is commitment. All the scriptures implore us to “remember.” It is right there in the Word of Wisdom, “remember to keep and do these sayings” (D&C 89:18). We know what to do to take better care of our bodies, but it is easy for us to not “remember” to make the best choices. Perhaps one reason is that we feel we are only hurting ourselves. We don’t remember that we are not our own, that we were “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). And what a price that was. “Therefore,” Paul admonishes, “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). If we believe this, what will it take to help us remember?

Ultimately, health reasons may not be enough to help us remember. I do believe our ability to commit ourselves to eating well is greatly strengthened when we see it in light of our religion and commitment to God, when we do it because we have a testimony that it is pleasing to Him. Gandhi, a life-long vegetarian, wrote:

Forty years ago I used to mix freely with vegetarians. . . . I notice also that it is those persons who became vegetarians because they are suffering from some disease or other—that is from purely the health point of view—it is those persons who largely fall back. I discovered that for remaining staunch to vegetarianism a man requires a moral basis.

Fortunately, we have the ultimate “moral” reason for eating a wholesome diet: an amazing revelation from God called the Word of Wisdom.

Last Updated: February 14, 2015