“I had begun getting whisperings from the spirit”

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.

Comments

  1. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know Alethea and now her husband. They are whole food, plant-based movers and shakers in their corner of the world. I’m inspired by their dedication to the cause and eager to learn more about the impact that are having and will have!

  2. I was very deeply impressed with this doctor’s enthusiasm for Whole Food Plant Based Eating and equally impressed with how effective he has been in getting approval and support from medical colleagues. So many people are being blessed by this couple’s enthusiasm and personal examples! It appears that they work very well together in their finding new ways to influence others to eat the way they eat!

    I just realized that I am in my sixth year of eating “Whole Food Plant Based” or as I personally, as a retired Full-Time Seminary Teacher with LDS Family Services prefer referring to that as: “The Word of Wisdom Way of Eating.”

    I am in my eighty sixth year of life and the way I’m eating and exercising I’m surely going to continue for a long long time reading great true accounts of how eating the way this dear couple is eating and being effective examples to many people in their doing that .Thanks to my very dear daughter, Jane and to the Lord’s 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants my life has undergone a very significantly huge step forward in its usefulness! By the way, it is utterly amazing that I actually have not been sick since my dear daughter Jane drove up to Murray, Utah from her home in Provo, Utah going on seven years ago to teach me how to eat in the Word of Wisdom Way! I only see my doctor at my annual visits. He hardly has anything to say or do during those visits!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this story- I love how unique everyone’s “conversion” is to (as J. Neil Birch put it) the “word of wisdom way of eating”.

    I am especially impressed at the position of influence you have, and that you intend to use it to help others not only live better lives, but to help them influence their patients to do the same. Let us know if you need another chef! 😉

    • Hi Erica! Alethea and Curt visited my home yesterday. Curt told me most of his patients are Hispanic, most are quite poor and most also have diabetes. He could really use some help in helping them. I look forward to meeting with you and others to see how we can better serve this community! I’m interested in first the Utah Valley LDS Hispanics and then LDS Hispanics world-wide. I have no doubt but that there are already many resources we can draw on that are already in Spanish, so that might be a place we can start.

  4. I’m so excited for you! While living in California I was a member of a Kaiser Permanente Health Plan. I discovered that they are teaching all their doctors WFPB eating and hope they will change their own lives and spread the word to their patients. The truth is spreading!!! What a thrill for you to have this opportunity placed before your husband!! I’ve been praying for things like this to happen!!!

  5. Wow, Aletha: This is so awesome. I have to somehow figure out a way to get together with you and share recipes. We share quite a bit of commonality. I finished Pathways, and have been studying through BYUI online in the marriage, family studies program, for about two years. I also teach pre school, piano and before and after school enrichment in my home (I am licensed small family daycare provider for the state of CA). All my toddlers, elementary and middle schoolers eat my WFPB food? In addition I talk about food choices with all my kids. I also love to cook, and I garden at home and in a community garden near my home. Because of living in middle CA, I can grow vegetables throughout the year (just somewhat different veggies between summer and winter). I totally agree with you that eating WFPB is great preparation for eating food storage. I now buy large bags of beans and rice (in addition to the #10 cans I purchased through the bishop’s storehouse…in fact the last few times I ordered anything through the bishop’s storehouse, it was wheat berries!) I have had success growing fava beans in my community garden, which make a wonderful hummus when dried or can be eaten fresh. We have a Costco close by, and they now carry large bags of rice (many different varieties) at reasonable prices. I have an large asian market close by, which also has a great selection of rice, glutinous rice (white and black), as well as red and black Thai rice (the brand name is Cargo). I shop at an Indian market for lentils, or dal, or sometimes find a good price at my local Lucky’s supermarket. I make my own hummus about once a week, and cook a large pot of beans (some of which I freeze). My husband was eating primarily WFPB, but has now decided to return to his previous food choices (mostly pasta, dairy and meat). He does eat the breakfast cereal I make (I cook apples/carrots/rhubarb/sweet potato/whole orange & ginger in the microwave (after being shredded in my Cuisinart), while hot, I add a little almond butter, coconut oil, honey and cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg/cardamom…this mixture is stored in the refrigerator…every day I grab a scoop of the cooked mixture and add it rice, quinoa, steel cut oats, wheat or whatever whole grain I have in the refrigerator, plus, cocoa nibs, coconut chips, fresh fruit (berries or whatever I have), nuts (walnuts) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp hearts), topped with some nut milk (almond/cashew/coconut), and a little maple syrup.

    I know I am rambling, but I wanted to share as many of my thoughts as they are exploding in my head after reading your post, and before I try to get some sleep before another busy week. I am on break right now from BYUI until September. All my knowledge of nutrition has come as a result of my focus on health and nutrition for almost as long as I can remember. I have not always made the best food choices, but over time I too moved away from eating meat/animal products, and began eating primarily vegetables or plants. For the last two plus years, I have not eaten any animal products or refined sugar. I have almost eliminated all oils, using the coconut oil in my cereal concoction, or sometimes in veggies for flavor as opposed to cooking with oil. In addition, I have greatly reduced the amount of honey and/or maple syrup I consume. I make a dessert using mashed bananas, cocoa nibs or cocoa powder, almond butter, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and nuts, and stuff dates with that mixture. I also like eating glutinous rice with mango and coconut milk. My mainstay of calories consists of eating beans (my beans are cooked in my rice cooker, in my Cuisinart I chop carrots, turmeric, garlic, hot pepper, bell peppers, egg plant, onion, hand chop celery, add stewed tomatoes, cooking the ingredients on the stove top in a heavy pan and add the cooked beans), rice, hummus, avocado, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower and when in season, tomatoes, fresh corn…I make tacos, using organic corn tortillas (from Costco) with the fewest ingredients possible or I like Iranian flat bread, Sangak (which I want to learn to bake). I make lots of soups, (using my vitamix when possible to save time), and I experiment trying to create plant based or vegan versions of all my favorite Indian/Thai/Vietnamese soups. I use a lot of fresh garlic, turmeric and ginger, a lot of lemon/lime (I grow citrus), as well as seasonal basil, parsley, chives, onions (I can grow chives, parsley and onions almost year around, as well as kale, collards, broccoli).

    Okay I am done rambling for now…well almost! Its funny because I made a rather large move towards an incredibly improved diet about five plus years ago, when my husband was diagnosed with type II diabetes. He asked me to come to the appointment with the nutritionist with Kaiser. I joined in on that appointment, and I remember telling the nutritionist that what she was describing to me was something I knew from a scripture called the Word of Wisdom. She described a way of eating that would fill a 9″ dinner plate: 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% complex carbohydrates; eliminating dairy. She further claimed that if my husband would begin eating this way his blood panel would completely change and would not require medication. I decided to begin cooking to fit the plate she described. Within 90 days his blood sugar levels began to drop (his dr reduced the medication to lower blood sugar) and then continued to do so until about 18 months later, he no longer required any medication to lower his blood sugar. In addition (as promised by the nutritionist) his liver function improved, his kidney function improved, his blood pressure and his cholesterol level dropped. He also lost about 50 lbs. Two years later his internist told him his blood work was so perfect that if he didn’t know the history, he could not say there was anything about his test results that would indicate type II diabetes. Since I was preparing food for my husband in this new way, I began eating this way as well. I didn’t have the diagnosis of type II diabetes, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to follow the Word of Wisdom more closely. I also lost weight, about 20 lbs. Then came my intro to Discovering the Word of Wisdom. I had already seen “Forks Over Knives”, and had read a little of China Study by this point in time…so I knew and believed the science, but I still focused on the Word of Widsom…”eat meat sparingly”…and in my mind misplaced the punctuation in verse 13 “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” I understood this verse to mean…don’t only use in times of winter…etc…totally ignoring the “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used…AND THE COMMA…between used and only…So I actually posted on Facebook a link to the video associated with Discovering the Word of Wisdom, without watching it (which I never post anything without reading to insure I am in agreement). A friend of mine followed the link and did READ everything, and then messaged me about it. She was so excited, thanked me for posting, and immediately began changing her way of eating (assuming I had already done so…her husband also. I was chastising her in my reply, that she should read D&C 89 carefully before making the dive. I even remember saying to her, “remember, D&C 89 says eat meat sparingly”…and not only in the time of winter, etc…She messaged me back and said, “Renée, look at the punctuation…look at the placement of the first comma in verse 13″…I did so on my phone, and then it hit me, or the spirit testified to me the truth that I had missed! I messaged her back immediately, apologized and thanked her for being so patient for me. That moment of revelation for me was exactly like the revelation I received to be baptized in 1991. When I was sufficiently prepared and ready to listen, I was invited to listen to the missionary discussions. I began the lessons on or about January 1, 1991, and was baptized on February 9, 1991. The Lord has a plan, the Word of Wisdom is an integral part of that plan. He loves us and wants us to bless us with everything He possesses. My husbands testimony is that diet does matter, and he cannot find any fault or justification to dispute what the Word of Wisdom says, nor the science from “Forks Over Knives” or the China Study, but is choosing his own path.

  6. Aletha: I almost forgot: I was born in Taylor, Texas (North and East from Austin), and still have family in Texas. I visit Texas as regularly as my schedule will permit. My niece and family live in Manor, Texas, my sister and brother in law in Georgetown, my maternal aunt and cousins in Taylor, plus extended family around Sealy.

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