A year ago my life changed completely. My first child, a son, was born. During my pregnancy I was very nauseous, and not very many foods appealed to me. I ate a ton of pizza and crackers because they were the only things that sounded good. By the end of my pregnancy I gained about 50 lbs. I had already gained about 20 lbs due to the stress of a miscarriage and graduate school. I had no energy, and I was lost in the throes of depression.
Shortly after my son’s birth, my Dad read Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He lost a ton of weight and felt fantastic. I was anxious to lose the extra 70 lbs I was carting around, so I borrowed it. The things I learned about how diet affects disease both scared and encouraged me. My family has a history of heart disease, and I just expected that to be my fate. If there is something that I can do to increase the time I have to spend with my son and husband here on earth, that is what I am going to do!
What started as a means of losing weight for superficial reasons became a tool to increase my quality of life. In discussions with my dad, we marveled at the similarities between the “Eat to Live” diet and the parameters outlined in the Word of Wisdom.
As I studied Doctrine & Covenants 89, I kept thinking about the word “famine.” The Word of Wisdom says that meat is to be used sparingly, in times of famine. As my personal situation is not one of famine, it just makes sense for me not to eat meat. I can’t speak for anyone else about that.
I also began to think about the love God must have for the animals here on earth, and how saddened he must be at their mistreatment under current factory farming conditions.
As time went on, I struggled to cut out processed and sugary foods. I couldn’t control myself. If I had one cookie, I had to have five cookies (or more). I told myself I’d just have one slice of pizza, but then ate half of the pie. I couldn’t seem to control myself. I realized that I was addicted. Sugar and fat-laden foods are my addictions.
I had already removed meat from my diet, so I decided to cut out sugar, dairy, refined grains, and processed foods completely for six weeks. At the end of six weeks (January 2014), I felt better than I ever have in my life. I had more energy, and my depression was better controlled than ever before. I gained momentum, and each day I was successful made the next day even easier.
Every day is a battle not to go back to my old ways, and sometimes I falter, but with the Lord’s help I keep trying and keep improving. I am so much happier and healthier now. My depression is easier to manage, and I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father, and more in control of my body. I still struggle with my food addictions, but I know that I have been given the tools to overcome and rise above them.
Brecklyn lives in Kaysville, Utah with her husband and one-year-old son. She completed her Bachelors in Violin Performance at Indiana University, and her Masters in Music at the University of Utah. She chronicles her plant-based journey at www.veggiestrongmom.com.