By: Alethea Galke
I first heard of whole food, plant-based (WFPB) eating from a friend who recommended the book How Not to Die. I bought it but didn’t read it. A few months later she encouraged us again, and I took the book with us on our three-day drive to take our son to the MTC. I read it to my husband as he drove. He is a Family Practice physician, and he was impressed with all of the studies the book contains to back up the claims. After reading 1 1/2 chapters on how to cure diseases, we didn’t need to read any more; we believed!
We believed so much that we began on that trip to eat WFPB the very best we could. We arrived home June 5, 2016, and the next day I went out and put together a whole new WFPB menu, and having faith, I went shopping. One year later we are still faithfully eating WFPB; we love it!
I had been working my way up to WFPB over the years; I just didn’t know it. I found that the older I got the less I wanted to eat meat. With four boys, Five Guys was a special treat for the family. I was tired of hamburgers. I didn’t like them. Once or twice I ordered a hot dog, but I didn’t like that meat either. I found I could pile a small burger with jalapeños, mushrooms, lettuce, onions (both grilled and raw), and lots of sauce to hide the taste of the meat. I never added cheese because I wasn’t really a fan. I would eat it, but if I had a choice I would decline. I would serve soups without meat, but my husband complained he was still hungry. I found a compromise by opening a bottle of shredded chicken, warming it up and setting it on the table for “anyone that wants meat” to add to their soup. When we switched to WFPB eating my husband’s palate changed so quickly. He loved the flavors and looked forward to what I would prepare. He didn’t even miss the meat.
We have always been fairly healthy. Even now, in our 50s, we have no aches or pains, no diseases, no pills. We are healthy. I have always had very low blood pressure, but it has been slowly creeping up. I had gone to the doctor shortly before starting WFPB eating and was concerned that it was higher than usual, now up in the slightly high range. Nine months after starting WFPB eating I went to the doctor for a regular check up, and my blood pressure was completely normal. I know it was because of our new eating lifestyle. I am so grateful.
Before we started eating WFPB, I had begun getting whisperings from the spirit to cook one food storage meal a week. I knew I needed to do it, but it was soooo much work, and I kept putting it off. A few months into our new eating plan I realized I hadn’t started cooking a food storage meal a week. I also noticed the promptings were gone. It was then that I understood that by eating WFPB we were eating food storage meals every day! I know how to cook with my beans and wheat and rice! We know how to eat that way, and it won’t be a huge change for our family in times of emergency. Not only are our bodies healthy now, but we are also blessed for a time when we will need to use our food storage.
My husband, Curt Galke, is the director of the new Family Practice residency program in south Texas that the University of Texas has started. He is also a professor at their new medical school and teaches as well as helps write the curriculum. With our newfound belief in WFPB eating (I don’t like to call it a diet, because diets are made to have an end goal, and we don’t ever plan to end eating this way) we have wanted to share it with others. He wants to teach his residents the benefits. There also happens to be a young couple in our ward who also eat WFPB. He is graduating from UTRGV, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (the same university my husband teaches at) with his Master’s in nutrition. His focus has been on plant-based eating. He will be graduating soon and is looking for ways to put his Master’s degree to use, and they would love to stay here. As fate would have it, if you believe in fate, my husband is in charge of writing the curriculum at the medical school for digestive health and nutrition. Curt is hoping together with our friend, Andrew, to propose a WFPB curriculum. Andrew has all the studies and facts firmly in place in his mind, more than Curt does. Together they are hoping to persuade the UTRGV medical school to be on the cutting edge of medicine and add in WFPB eating to their medical school.
Curt would like to have me go into the Residency once a month and teach how to cook WFPB sharing menu ideas and recipes. There is one other faculty member at the residency that also eats WFPB. We feel so blessed to have others around us both as friends and professionally that support us in this endeavor.
Alethea Galke, 50, lives in Mission, Texas. She and her husband are parents of five children (26-17). Born in in Connecticut and raised in Houston, they have lived all over the mid-west and west as well as Panama for seven years and Mexico City for two years. Alethea has an Associate’s degree in clothing and textiles and is currently finishing up the Pathway program and preparing to go to BYU-I online to finish up her Bachelor’s degree. She loves to cook, can, and sew and share what she has learned with others as well as learning from others. She especially loves learning ethnic cooking. She and her husband are hoping this year to try their hand gardening in south Texas where they can grow year round. Alethea accompanies her husband at EFY (Especially for Youth) each year where he has been directing for 22 years.