Coming from a family with a propensity for addictive behaviors, I worked diligently most of my adult life to create a healthy living environment in order to counter the tendencies in my own life. Yet, nearly seven years ago, I came to understand that I was not treating myself with the love and respect God expected of me.
My mother had died just two years prior from the side effects of the chemo treatments she was on for lung cancer, which was caused from a 2-packs-a-day smoking habit she had cultivated since age 13. My siblings were also struggling with unhealthy habits, which was also very distressing. In addition, the events in the world were weighing heavily on my mind. Verse 4 in Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants echoed in my head:
“Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—”
It was made manifest to me that I needed to become highly aware of those conspiring men and their evil designs.
So, I took a good look at my lifestyle and noticed where I was lacking. Though I thought I was doing well by avoiding the usual alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea, it became obvious I ought to be avoiding so much more. This awareness led me to make some serious changes. I cut out all junk, pork, and refined foods. I had a pretty hefty diet soda habit at that time, so this was a significant change for me. I switched to mostly organic food and unfluoridated water. I also cleaned up my environment by getting rid of chemicals and pollutants.
The improvements in my overall health were quickly noticeable. Not only did I go from a size 8 to a 4, many of the physical ailments I had completely cleared up, including the uterine fibroid tumors that plagued me for years. Shedding the excess made my profession as a yoga instructor much easier. I even mastered headstands!
Not only were the physical improvements evident, the mental and emotional improvements were soon obvious. I felt much more balanced, empowered, and optimistic. My spirituality increased exponentially, which got me through some difficult times. I became much more in tune with the Spirit and learned to lean more fully on the Lord during those trials. I am not sure I could have been as conscientious had I not made these changes beforehand.
I’ll never forget that the day I implemented the changes was the same day President Hinckley passed away, January 27, 2008. Through my tears at the news of his passing, I made a promise to myself to never go back to my old junky ways. After experiencing such incredible results, I knew I never would.
Since then, I have come to more fully love and appreciate the Word of Wisdom for what it promises. I began teaching classes, offering personal consults and coaching, and opened my own yoga practice. I have completely embraced my love of herbal medicine and holistic health. I have truly experienced the blessing in D&C 89:19 about finding, “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.”
In 2014, I was again inspired to improve my lifestyle by going completely plant based. As someone who taught Word of Wisdom classes and instructed others on their diet, I felt it was time I fully lived what I was preaching. Nothing is more frustrating to me than feeling like a hypocrite!
Thankfully, the transition was easier than expected, though my family expressed concern. I can’t count the times I heard, “But where will you get your protein?” As if animal protein consumption was all that kept me healthy! After some reassurance on my part that if I started to wilt and die, I would indeed go back to eating animal products, everyone relaxed. As my husband would testify, “Once my wife makes up her mind, she makes it happen.”
Since going completely plant-based, I have never felt healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, even spiritually. I feel free, unrestricted, clear, open.
I feel grateful to be more fully living the Word of Wisdom now than ever before. Through all of this, I have learned that living a healthy lifestyle is critical to my physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Especially in these latter days.
Amanda Kotter is 43 years old and lives in Plain City, Utah (near Ogden). She and her husband Kelly have been married for 25 years. She has a 29 year old step-son, a 23 year old son, a 21 year old son, and 4 grandsons. Amanda loves yoga, music, reading, and spending time with her family. She teaches various health classes and offers personal consultations. You can contact her at berrysprouts.blogspot.com, find her on Facebook under Berry Sprouts, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.