Archive for stomach problems

“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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“Satan no longer has a hold on me through pain in my body and addiction to food”

Cynthia SumnerBy: Cynthia Sumner

During my first year of marriage I started experiencing the effects of eating a mostly processed “dead food” diet. I gained almost 50 pounds during my first pregnancy, but after losing the weight by eating better and exercising, I kept losing without trying. I began to feel sick. I was hungry no matter how much I ate, and I had no energy. Every morning I woke up with very painful hunger pains. I had to sit on the side of my bed with my head over my knees. I felt hot and had absolutely no energy. I had a horrible headache every morning as well, with congestion in my ears and sinuses. The congestion in my ears was so bad that one or both of my ears were completely plugged. I would eat and then feel hungry within an hour. I was unable to go for walks or work in the yard, something I loved to do. I had a hard time staying awake to read a book to my baby. I was very backed up and felt constantly bloated. I chose to be happy, but I felt irritable all of the time.

I had many experts look over me and many tests done, but no one could help, so I felt compelled to search things out on my own. I knew something wasn’t right, and I wanted to figure it out. As I was led to people, books, and resources about natural health, the most profound and powerful feeling moved through me from head to toe, and I knew that my body could heal. The Spirit whispered to my heart through the gift of the Holy Ghost that I was born capable to heal. It makes sense! We are creations of a loving Heavenly Father. Look at the magnificent mountains, breathtaking sunsets, beautiful fields of flowers and trees. We are the most precious creation of all. Surely we are born capable to heal!

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“My journey of discovery began when I was diagnosed with MS”

Vicki YoungBy: Vicki Young

In April 2004, my doctor ordered a brain MRI, because I was having a lot of migraines. The MRI showed lesions in the white matter of the brain, indicative of a demyelinating disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS). She referred me to a neurologist who said that I didn’t have MS. Four days later, I was rear ended in a car accident. I had whiplash and pain in my left shoulder. After a few months of physical therapy, there was no improvement. I then had a MRI of the cervical spine, which showed lesions. And so my journey of discovery began when I was diagnosed with MS in January 2005.

When I was diagnosed with MS I felt relief to know that was the problem. When the first neurologist told me that I didn’t have MS, I didn’t feel that was right. Then a few days later I was in the car accident. I think that Heavenly Father wanted me to be diagnosed with MS. When I was diagnosed, I was thinking, what is going to happen next? Of course, I would have liked to have kept on going with a lot of energy for the next 20 years, like some people do, but that was not to be. I am OK with where I am now because of what I have learned in overcoming my challenges. I remember one person saying, “After 10 years, you will be in a wheelchair.” I am so glad that is not true!

Beginning in 2000, even before I was diagnosed with MS, I started to have gastrointestinal pain nearly daily. In 2003, my doctor ordered a scan that showed that my gallbladder was only functioning at 30% capacity. The surgeon said that my gallbladder needed to be removed, which he did, but I still had pain for years after that.

I also had tingling and numbness in my left foot off and on for years, and I had a tremor. After I was diagnosed, I noticed problems with my balance, making me trip a lot. By August 2006 I had fatigue so bad that I was not able to work anymore.

In August 2006, I got my first book on eating a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet called Original Fast Foods by James and Colleen Simmons. The authors explain all of the benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet, like Daniel’s diet in the Old Testament. The information in this book resonated with me. They talked about the Word of Wisdom and quoted many prophets and other Church leaders on the benefits of living the dietary guidelines in the Word of Wisdom.

After reading the book, I made some changes in my diet. I already did not eat much candy, pop, or meat, but now I started eating more fruits and vegetables and less dairy. I used to eat a lot of dairy. I had three or four canker sores nearly all of the time and yogurt and ice cream tasted good. They seemed like the only things I could eat when I had canker sores. I was surprised to see that with this small change of eating less dairy, I was getting fewer canker sores. What I thought was soothing to my sore mouth was actually the cause of the problem!

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I felt the Lord telling me, “This is a good thing. You can do this.”

James and Parie DrechselBy: Parie Drechsel

I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy foods. My mother helped me understand good nutrition and raised me on healthy foods, lots of vegetables, beans and rice and those kinds of foods. I naturally enjoyed that. When I married, I tried to prepare healthy foods for my family, and as time went on, I worked harder at doing that.

I’ve also always loved the Word of Wisdom, but I’ve questioned the “eat meat sparingly” advice throughout the years. I would ask my husband, James, “What do you think this means?” I wondered why God would tell us to eat meat sparingly when we as a Church don’t do that. Sometimes, I’d limit meat to just twice a week or otherwise cut it down. I was confused, but I don’t think I ever prayed about it. I think I didn’t want to give up meat. It kind of scared me.

Last October (2013), my sister, Jane Birch, came to visit for a week. Because I enjoy cooking, I enjoyed modifying my recipes to cook whole food, plant-based foods for her. I knew it was healthy and thought it was great she was eating that way, but I really didn’t feel ready to do that. I felt it would be very drastic. I felt like I was already doing a lot to feed my family healthy foods. We were eating whole grains and vegetables, and I had cut out a lot of white stuff: white flour and white sugar. A whole food, plant-based diet seemed too radical.

Then on the Sunday when my sister was here, I suddenly had a prompting to not eat meat. I was kind of bothered by this, and I certainly did not tell my sister! I kept wondering why I was feeling that way and why the feeling didn’t go away. By that evening I decided, “OK, I’m not going to eat meat. Fine.” And then that unhappy feeling I had went away, and I felt peaceful.

I realized I’d have to tell my husband. I was nervous, but when I told him, he seemed OK with it. So we decided to not eat meat. I think I may have told him it would just be for a little bit, but really in my heart I felt it would be forever. At some point I said to him, “Honey, instead of just trying it out, we are going to do this.” And he said “OK.” Because it was a spiritual prompting, he was willing to go along with it.

A few days later, I cleaned all of the meat out of my freezer and took it to the neighbor family who are on a special diet with lots of meat. The mother had just purchased a quarter of a cow, so I doubted she’d want all of mine, but she said she would love it. When she asked what we were doing, I said, “We decided to try vegetarian.” She asked, “You aren’t going to do that scary vegan stuff are you?” I replied, “Oh no! But my sister does that. She doesn’t eat oil either.” My neighbor seemed very shocked!

I went away feeling very excited to be vegetarian. Later that night while I was cooking, I had a feeling, “We can do this. We can go vegan.” I felt the Lord telling me, “This is a good thing. You can do this.” I called my sister Jane to tell her.

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“We don’t need animals for good health”


After I switched to a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, my youngest sister, Sunny, reminded me she tried going vegetarian a few years before me (after reading The China Study). I have no memory of this, but she said that when she told me she was going vegetarian, I gave her a very puzzled look and said, “Why would you want to do that!?” My how times have changed!

By the time I was eating plant-based, my sister had given up her vegetarian experiment. When I gave her a copy of my new book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom, she wasn’t ready, but in the back of her mind, she knew it was something she eventually wanted to do. She waited until she was ready, and then after reading the book announced that she and her family were going to transition to WFPB. This was in April 2014. I was thrilled.

Sunny’s two youngest children never got fully on board, but the oldest, ten-year-old Luke, did really well. Sunny enjoyed cooking all kinds of new foods, and Luke was great about liking them.

Then Sunny got pregnant. Morning sickness became a daily reality. Cooking, even thinking about food, went out the window. Sunny felt she’d have to put the WFPB experiment on hold. Luke, on the other hand, was willing to forge ahead as best he could, even though his mother was not able to do much to support him.

I live in a different state, but last July we were all in New York together visiting our brothers. I was pleasantly surprised to observe ten-year old Luke trying to eat vegan, pretty much on his own. With no demands, and no complaints, he cheerfully made the best of whatever the food situation was. What a kid! Impressed, I interviewed Luke about his experience. Here is his story.

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“I am more in tune with what my body needs”

Michael AndersonBy: Michael Anderson

Almost a year ago, I decided to stop eating meat. I have stomach issues— problems with digestion that run in the family. When I eat meat or diary, I end up in the bathroom about an hour later. My mother heard about a plant-based diet from her hairdressing clients (Debbie Christofferson and Ilene Christensen), so we decided to go the vegetarian route.

About a year before deciding to go vegetarian, I started to be very interested in health and taking care of my body, so this decision felt like a natural next step. I felt it would help me. Then as we did some research, and I learned what it really means to be vegetarian and what it really means to be vegan, I decided why not go the extra step and be a full-on vegan? So I’ve been doing that the past year, and it has helped me a lot with my stomach. I don’t have stomach issues with food any more, which is a big thing.

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