By: 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.