“I was thrilled with how smooth the transition was”

Ashley ParkinsonBy: Ashley Parkinson

I have loved nutrition and healthy eating for years. I have tried so many eating styles because I was curious to see if they felt right for our family. My driving force in searching for a healthy diet was really all about my children. I wanted to make sure that I was nourishing them with the best nutrition. I researched a lot of different eating philosophies, each one promising to be healthier than the last. We would test these eating styles out to see if we felt they were truly impacting our family for the best. We tried vegetarian, raw food, vegan, and of course lapses into the standard American diet in between. As we tested each eating style, we felt that they bounced from one extreme to the other. Our home base for nutrition was always the Word of Wisdom, and though some eating styles came close, none quiet meshed with the revelation given in the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

I studied the Word of Wisdom with a lot of effort, trying to make heads or tails of all the information within the scriptures with all the contradictory eating habits so prevalent around us. I wanted something that was modern, current, and avoided large portions of meat, eggs, dairy, etc. I was impressed when I learned of The China Study because it was more in line with the expectations I had for an ideal explanation of a balanced diet. In his extensive research, Dr. Campbell describes a direct correlation between health and nutrition and sheds a lot of light on the value of plant-based eating. I started looking for a book that merges the principles of The China Study with the revelations in the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

I came upon Jane Birch’s amazing book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom, when I was doing a search for any new books on the topic that I hadn’t seen before. I was curious after seeing so many positive reviews and checking out her beautiful website, and I wanted to read her take on some questions I had about milk, eggs, and things of that nature.

To say I was delighted in Jane’s refreshing explanations of the 89th section in the Doctrine and Covenants would be an understatement. I was thrilled to finally have things explained in a way that both my head and my heart could understand and come to terms with. I could finally express my understanding about nutrition to my family and friends articulately with valid sources of information for my opinions. My husband is extremely supportive of my passion for wanting to eat healthy. He read her book with me and was really pleased with its thoroughness. We were excited to share our new insights with our children and to develop a nutritionally balanced eating style in our home.

We talked the matter over with our children. I had already taught them about the primary food groups before, but we started doing more fun lessons on the Word of Wisdom with them. We taught them how to take care of their bodies nutritionally the way the Lord has counseled us to. I was so surprised at how quickly eating a whole food, plant-based diet took off in our home. Our children understood its principles quickly since it utilized the same ones we taught from the scriptures. Replacing processed foods with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains was simple. Even cooking our meals with plant-based dishes was a lot easier than I anticipated. We started enjoying a variety of beans, legumes, and whole grains. I was thrilled with how smooth the transition was, and I am still just tickled pink at how well it’s merged within our home and our lifestyle. It truly is simple and very symbolic of my faith in the Gospel in so many ways.

Since reading Jane’s book we have adopted a more whole food, plant-based lifestyle. Once in a while we still have an ice cream treat in the summer or enjoy a cheeseburger . . . but those times are very rare. Everything from our food storage, pantry shelves, freezers, and dinner plates is real, homemade, and based on whole, plant-based foods! Whole food, plant-based really can be done with a family!

Ashley Parkinson, 32, lives in upstate New York with her husband and their four daughters. Ashley is passionate about food storage and has published a cookbook using all pantry stable (non-freeze dried) ingredients that only require a stove top, wood burning stove, or open fire! To find out more about Ashley or to get more information about her cookbook, please visit Ashley Parkinson.


  1. It is always great to see someone grasp the truth so quickly and make it their own. It is a joy to share Ashley’s story on my site. Thanks, Ashley, for your kind words about my book and for sharing your story!

    • Brent, a lot of the meals we really enjoy and also eat on a regular basis will be in my food storage cookbook coming out this fall. Keep an eye out for it…you can follow my Facebook page if you’d like. I’ll make sure to share links to it when it’s available. 🙂 Thank you.

  2. Ashley, In your picture you provided all of us in your response which Jane published just yesterday, the joy of being truly healthy is clearly seen in your countenance! I now will quote just a part of what you wrote above to assist me in my response:

    “To say I was delighted in Jane’s refreshing explanations of the 89th section in the Doctrine and Covenants as explained in her book, “Discovering the Word of Wisdom” would be an huge understatement. I was thrilled to finally have things explained in a way that now, with both my head and my heart I now for almost four years have been much more able to function much more fully mentally and physically and to be able to more fully share this treasure trove of functional and inspired knowledge with family, friends and even at times, casual acquaintances.”

    My wife, Jane’s step-mother eats somewhat the way you and have been blessed to do. I appreciate her being sufficiently supportive of my passion for eating the way I now do.

    Of course I have to agree with you about the thoroughness of Jane’s book. She was still in the process of writing it when she drove from her home in Provo to Murray, Utah, almost four years ago on a Sunday afternoon to teach me how the Lord wants us to eat. I’m now in my eighty fourth year and ever since that day Jane taught me what she did I’ve never been ill at all (I’ve not even had a cold or a headache!) That is amazing because I previously had to recover from Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, diverticulitis and a number of other serious medical conditions.

    I wish that when her mother and I were raising Jane we had already learned and taught her and her siblings that which she taught me that Sunday afternoon!

    I will be forever grateful about the amazing improvement I was enabled to make health wise after beginning to fully live in accordance to what is taught in Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants in verses ten through 21.

    In my eighty fourth year of life I can testify that the Lord’s Way of Eating has been the means of helping me to gain confidence that I have many more years of life to look forward to. The very regular strenuous exercise I’m able to do at the Murray, Utah Recreation Center because of my healthy body, plays its important role in lengthening and improving my life. I actually believe I may possibly eventually be blessed to live long enough to be among those who are alive to greet our Savior, Jesus Christ’s return to Earth at the beginning of the Millennium!

    I believe some of the key events that will take place when Our Savior, Jesus Christ, returns to Earth will take place in Jackson County, Missouri which is the county just South of of the Missouri county Jane’s mother and our other children were living in when Jane was attending High School!

    I’m glad to learn from the Scriptures that the mode of eating during the Millennium will be just like that diet which is suggested to us in Section 89 of the D&C.

    Ashley: Best wishes to you and your family!

    Neil Birch

    Neil Birch

    • Thank you so much Neil, that’s remarkable about your experiences with Jane’s information. She truly is a beacon to so many. I completely agree with everything you have said! Thank you again for sharing such amazing thoughts and impressions. 🙂

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