I believe the Lord intended us to have joy and to be healthy!

Chris DrysdaleBy: Chris Drysdale

Even though I felt I knew quite a bit about nutrition, I was always looking for new information. It wasn’t that I had to lose a lot of weight; I just wanted to be healthier. I was also worried about getting cancer. I had a tumor on my thyroid removed when I was 31 years old. And then at 44 years old I had a tumor removed from a lymph node in my neck. Plus I was hearing of other people passing away too early in their lives from either heart disease or cancer. Last, I was concerned about osteoporosis, which runs in my family.

In studying nutrition, I learned there is a lot of conflicting information out there: carbs are bad, meats are good, etc. But I felt at least semi-educated on nutrition and thought I was a fairly healthy eater. After all, I rarely had fried foods or red meats. But I was eating a lot of lean meats like chicken and fish. The buzz word in nutrition was “protein,” so I would make sure I ate lots of dairy, chicken, and fish.

Just over two years ago, my mom told me about the documentary Forks Over Knives. My husband and I watched it together. After viewing the program I knew I was done eating animal protein. But though I wanted to cut the animal protein out of my diet, I didn’t really know what to eat. A few weeks later I learned about the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. That book really educated me and helped me know what I should be eating. Shortly after that, I was given Jane Birch’s book Discovering the Word of Wisdom.

My eyes were opened after watching Forks Over Knives and reading to Eat to Live, but after reading Jane’s book I realized how this whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet goes right with Heavenly Father’s guidelines and recommendations.

After watching Forks Over Knives, and without having a full understanding of a WFPB diet, we first eliminated meats, dairy, and all animal proteins—cold turkey (pun intended). But, I still didn’t know exactly what to do. We were still eating some processed foods like chips and crackers, and wondering where all my protein was going to come from.

After reading Eat to Live and Discovering the Word of Wisdom, I realized that we needed to be eating more plant-based foods, and I would be getting all the protein I needed. We started eating lots of salads. I continued to research WFPB diets and found many websites with good recipes and ideas, which gave me the knowledge to expand beyond just salads. While our meals don’t vary much (and that’s by choice, not necessity) I find it exciting to eat healthy, knowing that I can eat until I am full and not worry about how many calories I eat or about becoming unhealthy. We have fun coming up with new things to make. We truly enjoy our food.

I am fortunate that my husband has also chosen to eat a WFPB diet as well. He felt he had been prepared to switch to this way of eating. A few years prior to viewing Forks Over Knives, he paid a visit to his former mission president. During the visit, his mission president explained that he had stopped eating meat because D&C 89 says it is pleasing to the Lord, and he wanted to please the Lord. At that time, my husband began seriously considering cutting out meats. After viewing Forks Over Knives, he was on board. My daughters are not fully on board, but are starting to make incremental changes.

I am now 48 years old, and I have never felt better and have so much energy. I have found this is by far the easiest way to maintain and even lose weight. Before this, I had to drastically reduce my calories in order to lose weight. I also noticed that my skin has changed; it is more clear. The girls at work tell me my skin glows. I have never been told that before. I am a busy working mom who has a lot on her plate. When you feel really good, it truly gives you the strength to run and not be weary.

I feel bad I didn’t go to the Word of Wisdom years before for guidance in my quest for optimal health. I thought I already “knew” the principles that were taught. After learning all I have about how good plant foods are for us and the wonderful nutrition that is packed in them, I understand why Heavenly Father wants us to use them with prudence and thanksgiving. And after all I have learned about the effects animal protein can have on the human body, I understand why Heavenly Father recommends eating meat sparingly and only in times of winter, cold, famine or excess hunger. The Lord knows what excess animal protein will do to us.

I have tried to share a little bit about how I eat with others. I was even asked to teach a class at our Enrichment Night. I feel this information is so important and can change people like it did for me. This is the main reason I am sharing my story: I want others to understand there is a better way to eat. We can’t do any better then advice and counsel from our all-knowing Heavenly Father.

I believe the Lord intended us to have joy and to be healthy! That is why He gave us this wonderful (and I feel far too often overlooked) advice. When I bless my food I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for what I have learned, I feel so grateful I know what is truly best for my body. I am so thankful that I know about the benefits of eating a WFPB diet.

Chris Drysdale is a 48-year-old dental hygienist living in the Chicago area. She is a mother of three daughters ages 15-21. She keeps busy with work and her church callings. She enjoys exercising as frequently as she can and loves to prepare WFPB meals.


  1. I’m impressed that Chris has been willing to share her learning with others in her ward and to support them in efforts to eat a better diet. We each have opportunities to bless the lives of others by being good examples and opening our mouths when we have the opportunity to speak of the joy we are experiencing by embracing the Lord’s wisdom.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with all of us, Chris! I’m grateful to be your plant-based friend!

  2. Chris, I didn’t read in what you submitted to my daughter, Jane, anything about your including grains in your meals. Perhaps you just overlooked mentioning grains even though you regularly may include them in your Word of Wisdom based meals. As you may recall, in Section 89, verse 14 the Lord tells us: “”All grain is is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field,” etc.

    I include cooked whole wheat stored in containers my dear father, (who died many years ago at an older age, (and who is my dear daughter, Jane’s grandfather, enlisted me at age 11 along with my two younger brothers, to help him store whole wheat he had most likely purchased somewhere. All of the wheat I now cook and eat every day and each meal except for lunch, is what I take out of one of the metal cans my and my two brothers’ father, Philip John Birch, helped him put in metal cans. I’m grateful I have a number of those cans that contain that wheat our in my and my wife’s shed. I eat other grains now too, especially corn from right off the cob!

    Inasmuch as the Lord mentions in Section 89 of the D.&C. that grains are the staff of life I thought perhaps I ought to mention what I just did.

    I congratulate on how your revised eating which is surely in accordance with Section 89, has helped you significantly improve your health. May you continue to be blessed eating in accordance with Section 89.

    • Mr. Birch, thank you for recognizing my mistake by not mentioning grains, it was unintentional. I feel bad because we include them in our diet every day. I guess I just thought it was assumed. I love how you mention using the wheat from your metal cans. I have plastic bins filled with wheat that I grind and make fresh bread out of. Our new favorite thing is making whole wheat pita bread. They are so good! We also love to crack the wheat and cook it for breakfast. I love eating all kinds of grains such as millet, quinoa, steal cut oats, spelt, rice, etc. We find all different ways to incorporate grains into our diet. I so agree with you when you mention D&C 89 about grains being the staff of life. We were meant to eat grains!!

  3. I like how your coming to a WFPB diet was a process and not just an quantum step from the SAD to the WFPB lifestyle, because in general, the Lord leads us line upon line, precept upon precept. I wish I had found the WFPB earlier, and I also wish that I had followed through what I learned years ago from reading Pritikin and Ornish. I am now paying the price for a lifetime of SAD. But I’m also thankful that I now know and follow the WFPB lifestyle. I may still have physical issues due to my past, but I am slowing down their progress and maybe even reversing them. May you and all of us continue to enjoy the WFPB way.

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