Archive for spiritual promptings

“My wife and I felt a yearning to know God better”

josh-wagner-familyBy: Josh Wagner

A little over a year-and-a-half ago, my wife Jamie and I felt a yearning to know God better. We began praying for help to make significant changes to be closer to Him and experience more of the gifts of the Spirit. We had no idea the Lord would answer those prayers by telling us to change how we eat.

This is how it happened: a little after Jamie and I started praying for this, we were reading scriptures with the kids while we ate dinner (we’ve learned that combining meal and scripture time reduces the chance that the kids will run off while we read). As was typical in our house (and most American houses), we were eating a protein-centric dish named for the meat it was built around.

On that particular day, I chose to read this section of holy writ which says the Lord wants us to joyfully use the things of the earth—plants and animals—to sustain and enrich our lives. But then comes this stern warning: “For unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion” (v. 20). A clear message from heaven pierced my mind to the core, “The way you eat meat is excess and extortion.”

This freaked me out. Read More→

“I got a very clear answer”

Carolynn SpencerBy: Carolynn Spencer

Healthy eating has always been one of my favorite topics and a lifelong passion. I went on my first diet at age 7 by deciding to forego desserts; by the time I was a teenager, I already had plenty of experience in trying all sorts of will-power tactics and diets in order to achieve my “best” body.  It was easy to see that everyone had a different, and sometimes very intense, opinion on the latest and greatest way to stay healthy and fit. I now feel that it makes sense to add eating plans to the list of topics to avoid (along with politics and religion) in social settings because people feel so strongly committed to their own ideas. I am reminded of a scripture that I feel is as applicable to our diets as it is to our religion:

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Switching our diets based upon the latest and greatest fad, not to mention the “cunning craftiness” of diet companies and others trying to make a profit on our desire to have a perfect body, is literally to be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.

In 2010, my brother-in-law shared with me a book he had just read, Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. He and my sister both said, “Don’t read it unless you’re ready to change your life.” My brother-in-law even testified it was the most life-changing book he’d ever read, other than the Book of Mormon. Intrigued, I read the book and was instantly convinced of the truth and wisdom found in eating only plant-based whole foods. This book, and many others like it that I also read, meshed completely with my study of the Word of Wisdom. I became vegan overnight and was committed . . . for a year or two.

However, as much as the information resonated with me and felt right, and as much as I could see the positive impact on my body, I still struggled. I was discouraged that I didn’t notice much weight-loss. I was the only vegan in my immediate family, and it was hard to have to make two different meals every night. Most often, I’d make what I had always been used to making (and my family was used to eating), and I’d only eat the plant-based half of the meal (such as the salad and steamed veggies, without replacing the meat with anything else). This left me feeling deprived and hungry.

Read More→

“I felt inspired to give my class ‘The Daniel Challenge'”

Christina McIntyreBy: Christina McIntyre

I thought I was living the Word of Wisdom well enough, however I knew I ate too much sugar, almost daily, and for years I have thought about the part of eating meat sparingly. More specifically I have pondered often why the Lord said it would be pleasing to Him if we didn’t eat meat except in times of famine. I was teaching Daniel in the Old Testament at seminary 10 days ago. I felt inspired to give my class “The Daniel Challenge,” not knowing there was a true Daniel challenge that already existed in its fullness.

On my 5th day of eating only what was prescribed in Section 89 of Doctrine & Covenants, my friend Kristin Myres sent me the link to a modern “Daniel’s Challenge.” I had never seen such support for the Lord’s law of health. I was so excited I started the fasting portion to lose weight, eating only between the hours of 12 noon and 6 pm and drinking 8 glasses of water from morning until 8 pm. I have lost 6 pounds in 10 days and I am full and more than satisfied. I have had blessings, miracles, daily. The promise in the Word of Wisdom is real, health in the naval, marrow to the bones, and I have found wisdom and great treasures of knowledge which are truly hidden from the world. For one must follow exactly for all of these promises to be fulfilled. And the Lord says in D&C 82:10, “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but if ye do not what I say you have no promise.”

I wish to share a couple blessings from the past 10 days. The first day I started I had the worst migraine headache I have ever had in my life and I had committed to take no medication. By the end of that day I was so nauseous I threw up twice. I haven’t thrown up in 20 years. It was almost like Joseph Smith in the grove when he was seized upon by some being from the unseen world. I felt in utter despair, and I see now the adversary was very much a part of it, for he knew what blessings awaited me if I could change my eating.

Read More→

“Our health is in our hands”

Annalise Jones before and afterBy: Annalise Jones

I grew up in a health conscious family. We used natural health care as much as possible. We never had soda or sugary cereal; desserts were rare. For a family home evening treat we would have almonds or apple juice. Almonds were a treat because they’re too expensive to eat regularly (with a family of ten!), but that same economic factor also meant that we relied more on cheap processed dinner foods such as Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, and hot dogs.

Things changed when I was a teenager. My parents became better informed and decided to give up animal products. Our dinners switched to couscous, whole wheat veggie pizza, and potatoes. I don’t remember anyone complaining much, but there was always the back up option of PB&J.

I was familiar with my parents’ reasons for making this change; I even did a presentation on the dangers of dairy products for my speech class. However I did not have personal conversion to the Word of Wisdom at this time. Pretty soon I was sneaking foods away from home and, once I got my drivers license, stopping at fast food places as much as possible. I have always been a big food addict, you see, and freedom just opened up a big world of possibilities!

A word on my health at this point in my life: I had depression, chronic yeast infections, hypoglycemia, parasites, acne, and serious fatigue. I also had an impulsive problem picking my skin, and I was covered in open sores. I played on the tennis team but had trouble doing the drills, and would always come in last when we jogged for warm-up. I was also insecure about my weight. I was heavier than all the other girls. My best friends were super skinny, and my cousin teased me about having extra jiggle.

Read More→

“I love eating this way. It makes life so simple.”

Perpetue RobertBy: Perpetue Robert Pardieu

All my life my legs and feet have felt really heavy, sometimes swollen, but I never knew why. I remember ten years ago I was praying and asking the Lord for help and He sent me to D&C 89. At that time I learned that meat was to be eaten sparingly, during winter and famine. It was summer, and it was difficult, so I did not follow it. So, I remained with my swollen feet.

In January 2012, I was hit by a car and my kneecap, tibia and femur broke. I had three surgeries and still was having inflammation even though I was taking anti-inflammatory medication. I hit my head during the accident, and I was having panic attacks and anxiety. I felt depressed and overwhelmed often. So, I started doing research because I did not want to be taking pills and become dependent. This is how I heard about alkaline and acid food. I started researching and changed my diet by eating more alkaline, non-hybrid foods. But I got so anxious about everything I was eating that I could not sleep. So, I went to the Lord with that and felt that that kind of anxious spirit doesn’t come from him.

By researching on the Internet, I discovered Jane Birch and the Word of Wisdom diet she writes about. When I read this, I remembered that ten years earlier the Lord had sent me to D&C 89. I automatically knew that what she was saying was a confirmation of what the Lord had told me ten years ago. I stopped eating meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, and most processed food. I now eat extremely little fish and use only a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil once in awhile. Now, the spirit I feel is one of peace instead of being anxious or stressed about food.

Read More→

“The Gospel is not weight. It is wings!”

The Gospel is not weight—it is wingsToday I’d like to share the story of one Mormon mother. This person represents many others: good, faithful members of the Church who live with a certain misery and despair over their weight, their health, and the impact it is having on their families. Almost weekly, I hear from such a person seeking for help and wondering if there is still hope.

I’ve received permission from this person to share excerpts from her emails to me last year. I have left out some details to protect her identity and shorten the story. (Note that I responded to every email she sent me, but I do not include my emails to her.)

I hope her amazing story of transformation will inspire everyone who reads this!

August 26, 2015

Dear Jane,

I have been following your comments on Meridian Magazine for some time now. I am writing to you in a bit of desperation. I am over 60 years old, about 5 feet tall, and about 100 pounds overweight. I have always been active in the church, have a strong testimony, love the Gospel with all my heart. I am only saying these things to help you understand my situation a little better. I was usually a little chubby, but since my marriage, I just got bigger and bigger and bigger. I have not been good at serving healthy, nutritious meals, as the cheaper “casseroles with cream of soups” were always my go-to. I love cake, cookies, brownies, candy, homemade ice cream, chips and dip, homemade bread, etc. Sadly, I raised my children the same way, and now some of them struggle with weight issues. One day a while ago, my daughter said to me that she felt that I didn’t understand the atonement, because I tried so hard to live every law perfectly, and repent for the tiniest mistake, yet in some areas (I know she meant weight) I was not following the commandments. Though it was a bit painful, it was truly a needed wake-up call, but still I have not taken the steps to change.

One day a few months ago in my personal prayers, I said that I really wanted to get my life in order, but I just could NOT be obedient to healthy eating. I knew I was sinning because of my refusal to humble myself and control my eating. I have felt badly since admitting to the Lord that I just wouldn’t do that, but I really believed it was true! It makes me disgusted to think that terrible food means more to me than eternal life with God! And in reality, it doesn’t, but I knew I couldn’t lie to Him, when I wasn’t willing to change.

Two years ago, I had been eating more healthy for quite a while and had lost some 66 or so pounds, though I was still at least 50 pounds overweight. But I went on a trip, and we celebrated with foods I hadn’t tasted in a long, long time. Coming back home, I just went wild and eventually gained almost 45 of those pounds back. It has now been two years, and I am still here, almost 45 pounds heavier, and just hopeless. I really am huge, and it’s terribly noticeable being so short. I know through the years it’s been awful for my husband to drag around a gigantic wife, and it has been extremely embarrassing for my children. What is wrong with me!!!! I honestly sometimes wonder if it is just too late for me—kind of the mentality that this is who I am, who I’ve always been, who I always will be, and that there is just no hope for me. I KNOW that is evil thinking, but I honestly feel so overwhelmed at this point in life that I don’t know if I even want to change. How could I really give up the foods I really like—FOREVER?

Read More→

“We had a major awakening”

Chelsea PorterBy: Chelsea Porter

I grew up learning how to shoot a gun and using it to hunt animals. Each year we had pheasant, dove, and the occasional antelope meat in our freezer that my dad, brother, or I most likely killed. My parents also bought part of a cow every year. Our freezer was always stocked full of meat. I literally hated vegetables and rarely ate any. I drank a glass of milk with dinner and thought that counting carbs and calories (even in high school) was as healthy as anyone could be!

I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was 21. At that time I drank alcohol, massive amounts of coffee and caffeine, smoked cigarettes and never wondered about the food I ate. As soon as I had my answer that I needed to be baptized, my desire and dependence to all my addictions vanished. I still have no desire or temptation to have them in my body.

When I had my first child, a boy, I had gained over 50 pounds during his pregnancy. It took quite a while to lose most of it before I was again pregnant, with another boy. I again gained 50 pounds during his pregnancy and although I was “healthier” I was still consuming meat and dairy in substantial amounts. I ate much less sugar and because I was making meals at home, I thought that was at least better than restaurant food. My husband, Jordan, also gained a total of forty pounds during the two pregnancies. So, maybe the food I was cooking was not as healthy as I thought.

My mother-in-law gave me Herbal Home Health Care by Dr. John R. Christopher after our first son was born. It teaches a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, and we tried living that way for a while. I did not have recipes ready and could not figure out how to cook that way; the cheese and meat were too tempting to leave behind at that point.

Read More→

“I have never felt better in my life!”

Julie Brown familyBy: Julie Brown

When I was only 8 years old, my maternal grandmother died of heart disease. She was 51. My grandpa died of cancer in his 70’s, and my other grandpa has had three heart attacks, a triple bypass surgery, and now wears a pacemaker. We do not have good “genes.” Subsequently, I exercised and fad dieted throughout my childhood and teenage years.

My interest in health continued into college where I studied fitness and wellness. A week after I graduated, my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world. She was perfect, except for one thing: she was a colicky baby. She would scream and cry and her little body would writhe in pain, night after night. By the early morning hours I was usually crying with her. After trying anything and everything to try to ease her discomfort, the only thing I could do was pray to God for help. I was nursing my baby and had several women tell me certain foods could cause colic. Around that time my Grandma Johnnie Belle gave all of her children and grandchildren a book entitled The China Study for Christmas. Out of respect for my grandmother and a feeling of desperation, I read the book. It was very overwhelming, but I felt impressed to at least cut out milk at that time. It was an attainable goal, and I began to see subtle changes right away; the irritable temperament of my fussy baby began to diminish, and, much to my surprise and delight, the little bumps that covered my upper arms began to disappear. I was beginning to learn what Hippocrates had said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Although five more children would bring joy and continue to bless my marriage, I unfortunately suffered bouts of anxiety and depression in varying degrees. I have always been able to maintain a consistent exercise regimen, but my weight fluctuated as I struggled to know “what” and “how” to eat. I also suffered recurring yeast infections. I felt I had more love and patience to give and felt sorry and guilty all the time. I pleaded for help in knowing how I might more fully serve my Heavenly Father and his children. One day I read Alma 38:12: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” I was guided to understand that my relationship with food and the food choices I was making were limiting my potential by affecting my mood and energy levels. But, book after book, conversation after conversation, scripture after scripture, article after article, it was very clear that when it comes to food choices and getting healthy, it can be very confusing and contradicting.

Read More→

“They strapped me down and ziplined me up to a hovering helicopter”

Jenny HarkleroadBy: Jenny Harkleroad

In August 2013 I was in the best shape of my life thanks to my addiction to power yoga and lots of weight and aerobic gym classes. I’d been camping and hiking and honestly feeling a little prideful that an exhausting hike had been so easy for me. My husband and I had gotten separated from our group, and found ourselves standing on a rock ledge and deciding how to get down. My husband said, “If I were young and in shape I’d jump from here.” Well, my pride got the better of me and I jumped! Really it was not that far. They say it was only 9 feet, but I guess 9 feet down is enough when landing wrong on a rock to break my back! I start yelling in pain. 911 sent in a ground crew to access me and then life flight came. They strapped me down and ziplined me up to a hovering helicopter and flew me to the nearest hospital.

The doctor’s said it would be 6 weeks before I could go back to yoga and exercise. I was not sure I’d survive another 24 hours without yoga, but I could hardly move so that helped keep me down, but it didn’t keep the tears from pouring out! What does an exercise addict do with a very busy life when bed rest hits suddenly? Cry and delete all my yoga/gym classes off my iPhone schedule, journal, read, find lots of rides for my four kids to their four different schools and activities, get others to help cover my church and volunteer commitments and real estate business and WAIT for my body to heal!

Read More→

“Why did God invent food?!?”

Shara MitchellBy: Shara Mitchell

Up until the last year of my life, I have lived with one foot in the camp with the “health nuts” and one foot in the Standard American Diet (SAD). When I was a child, my mother taught me to love wholesome foods, vitamin supplements, and occasional fasting for detoxification. I was never really taught how to cook, however, and when I became an adult and got married, I wanted to please my family. Although I started out trying very hard to cook from scratch and make healthy foods, eventually I found that my family liked it better when I made recipes that were less healthy.

I had vowed to never let my children drink soda, but as many years went by (years of overwhelm that can wear a person’s resolve down), I not only started allowing my kids soda, but also found myself drinking Diet Coke daily… sometimes twice per day. My kids hated chunky vegetables in the soup that I loved to make, so I stopped making it and made the creamy soups that made them happy. My husband at the time seemed to appreciate it more when I gave in and kept the peace by serving less healthy foods, so I felt like I was alone, and I gradually gave up my resolve to feed my family in a healthy way.

Although I had never struggled with weight, energy, or general heath after my first two babies, things started to change after baby number three. I couldn’t get rid of the last 10 pounds of baby weight, and I started to feel really tired and achy much of the time. My stress level was high, and I was overwhelmed with small children. I basically ignored the problem, and coped by doing yoga to ease the muscle tension that at times would overwhelm me. I wasn’t really exercising much and my cooking was “survival cooking”… cheese quesadillas and juice, you know, convenient kid food.

Read More→