For the past 10 years or so, I have had a hard time maintaining or losing weight. I tried a lot of different methods, but didn’t have much success. I have always been good about exercising, but I couldn’t seem to find the right eating plan. In January of 2013, my sister found a diet that seemed fairly healthy, so my husband and I tried it. We were both able to lose weight, but we didn’t feel like we could live that way. Also, I didn’t like eating the amount of meat that it included, and I always felt less than satisfied because of the lower carb content.
Once in a while I would look through the Word of Wisdom to see if I could pick out something that I had missed before. When I would do this, I would often end up feeling discouraged. I could see that it said to eat meat sparingly and that grains should be the main part of our diets. But I felt like I had to choose between eating that way and being in a healthy weight range. It made me sad. Also, I felt like I didn’t know what to cook for meals that would fit into those guidelines.
In December of 2013 my husband and I were looking at returning to the diet that my sister found that had worked for us. I’m sure my husband wasn’t looking forward to it and started looking online for alternatives. On December 23, he sent me a link to an article by Jane Birch with the words, “This seems like the right approach.”
I read the article and immediately wanted to learn more. I can’t really explain the excitement I felt over learning how I could possibly eat like the Word of Wisdom suggests, lose weight, and avoid a wide range of disease, all at the same time! I didn’t want to wait to get Jane’s book in the mail so I ordered the ebook version of Discovering the Word of Wisdom. I couldn’t put it down. My husband and I decided to give it a try. Through the holidays we tried a few recipes here and there. On January 14, 2015, we went 100% (at least as far as we had learned at that point).
Besides wanting to follow the guidelines in the Word of Wisdom, I was really drawn to whole food plant-based eating because of the diseases it could help eliminate. I already have low bone density. My dad has had bypass surgery. I’m really in a bad spot for breast cancer with my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother all having had it. For the first time in my life I feel empowered to do something to prevent breast cancer. That is really exciting for me!
There are many other things I love. The food is wonderful! I eat so many healthy, delicious, satisfying complex carbohydrates. And no worries about not knowing what to cook. I bought a few cookbooks and may never get through all the wonderful recipes. I can grow and preserve a lot of food, and I can store a lot of what we eat. Even though it was not a motivating factor at first, I do like that we are eating in a way that is good for the environment. For the first few months I sometimes felt so happy about this turn of events, I could hardly keep from giggling.
As I share the joy of whole food plant-based eating with people (and I do all the time) they ask, “But don’t you miss ________ (fill in the blank)?” I tell them, as long as I’m eating lots of satisfying, delicious food all the time, which I am, I don’t miss it! At age 54 I weigh what I did when I graduated from high school – 123 pounds. I never thought I would see that weight again. My cholesterol dropped from 200 to 160. I feel great, have more energy, and my mind is clearer. I have felt SO blessed that my husband stumbled upon that article and decided to send it to me.
Alena C. Johnson and her husband live in Smithfield, Utah. She is an Accredited Financial Counselor, a Senior Lecturer at Utah State University, author of Money Management booklets, and water aerobics instructor. Alena’s greatest joy comes from being a wife, mother, and grandmother.