“I am free!”

Cristie CarterBy: Cristie Carter

While I was a child growing up my father was in the produce business so fruits and vegetables were in abundance at our home. My dad would say, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead,” and mean it. But, we consumed all of the whole milk anyone could want. I remember always reaching for a glass of milk when I was thirsty, preferring milk to drinking water. I grew up healthy and active. It was when I went to college and then got married that I ate more convenience foods.

To be honest I have not been a moderation kind of girl and that has been my eating downfall. When it comes to sweets in the house, no matter what room I’m in they beckon me to come and enjoy. If I were bored or wanted some variety to my day the list of sweet indulgences is long and quite varied with all of the delicious concoctions I would come up with and consume. Epictetus wrote, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” This out of control compulsion was bondage to me.

If you were to visit my library you would soon see that I have been eagerly learning all that I can throughout the years about food and nutrition from the Diamond’s Fit for Life to The China Study by Campbell and numerous books in between. I knew much of this information was important, and in my quest for better eating and health I have experimented being raw vegan off and on for the past sixteen years. I felt great and the physical results were impressive, but because that regimen of eating was so restrictive I found it impossible to adhere to permanently.

This time last year I met up with a friend for lunch. As we were eating I mentioned how wonderful she looked. She told me about a new eating plan she had been following, and when I asked her about it I soon learned that it was very heavy in meat consumption. I asked her if she had any qualms about eating that much meat since the Word of Wisdom states quite specifically that little to no meat is better. That afternoon I went home and did a web search for “MOST HEALTHY FOOD DIET” which resulted in a plethora of varied information. It was then that I found Jane Birch’s blog, Discovering the Word of Wisdom, and began reading all of the inspiring testimonials found there.

On May 22, 2016 I decided to only eat whole food, plant-based (WFPB). I would have to say the “deciding to commit” was the most difficult part of this journey. After reading reviews of the most scientifically endorsed books I ended up buying an audible book, How Not To Die by Michael Greger. Each day I would read something inspiring from Jane’s blog and then each night I would listen to Michael Greger read from his book. I was saturating myself with information that would propel me to be successful another day. Then ten days later I watched Forks Over Knives and felt even greater resolve to continue my WFPB quest.

I believe Moroni when he reminds us that our weakness can be our strength if we will be faithful and have humility. After one year of WFPB I am here to share with you my miracle. I now have freedom from that compulsion of unbridled eating. My food has never tasted as good as it does now. I have peace. I am comfortable in my body. I have released 23 pounds, and my knees don’t ache when I do my daily walk of 3.5 – 5 miles. No longer do I feel lethargic after any meal. No more brain fog and my nightly sleep is sound. My energy is very good, and I have a sense of well being that is joyous. There is greater confidence that spills over into every area of my life. I am free! I know that Heavenly Father has blessed me to find a sustainable way to feed my body and spirit that is both delicious and satisfying. I feel like a missionary and want to shout this good news from the rooftops! It is an effort for me to share this exciting information in a restrained way because my joy is so full.

My advice would be…

  • Decide to change and trust that Heavenly Father will help you.
  • Flood your days with life affirming information.
  • Focus on the food possibilities.
  • Have three delicious go to meal options for breakfast and six to ten options for lunch and dinner.
  • Only weigh in once a month.
  • Count your blessings . . . gratitude is everything
  • Journal your journey so that you will have a story to share on Jane’s blog and as a reminder of your progress

Anne Sullivan said, “My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!” This is how I feel every single day.

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Cristie Carter and daughterCristie Clark Carter is 63 years old. She grew up in Bountiful, Utah and graduated from BYU, then with her husband raised eight children in California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and now Utah. Their children are all now launched and have blessed their lives with 28 amazing grandchildren. They have served a full-time mission and are now serving as ordinance workers in the Salt Lake Temple. Cristie enjoys learning, laughing, and having fun. Walking through every season of the year is a joy!


  1. Too many of us feel enslaved by food. It doesn’t have to be this way. We deserve better, and I believe Cristie is showing us the way to freedom. Thanks for sharing your amazing story, Cristie! I know you’ll inspire many others to set themselves free.

    • Jane, you have been a wonderful example and a tremendous strength to all who are looking for a sane and healthy way of eating. Thank you for your monthly feedback as I would report to you each month. This WFPB journey is a wonderful place to meet and make new friends. xox

  2. Hi, Christie, I’ll have to look for you in the SL Temple! what day/shift do you work? I come about once a week, and it would be fun to find you there. I feel the same way about my food life — going on 6 years now. I feel peace and satisfaction eating this way and enjoy sharing with others. We’re having a WFPB potluck at my condo bldg near downtown SLC on Friday, June 30 at 12 noon. Let me know if you’d like to come!

    • Barbara,
      I too would like to join you at your WFPB potluck. I have been eating WFPB since July 5th 2016, my husband and I are not quite a year on this eating plan and I am always looking for new recipes. I live in West Valley and have been traveling to Provo when Jane has her get togethers, however my husband and I are serving a part time service mission at the Conference Center as hosts and we have a shift on Saturday afternoon which ends at 5 and it isn’t always possible to get to Provo by 6. We are retired however, and Friday at noon would work great.

    • Hi Barbara… I serve Thursday mid-day at the Temple, and I would really like to meet a fellow six year veteran of WFPB living. Thank you for the potluck invite. I’m not sure I will be in town but I will let you know if I can come. I really appreciate the invitation. xox

  3. Yes, Joy, and anyone else; we will be at the Terrace Falls Condominiums, 171 3rd Ave. Salt Lake City, 84103. There is some limited parking at the building, or you can park on the street, or at the Ensign Stake Center across the street at 135 A Street. Please arrive promptly at 12 as someone needs to let you into the building. Bring a dish to share, and I look forward to meeting you!

  4. Hi Cristie☺️
    Loved your story! You look adorable!🤣
    You have inspired me my whole life!❤️
    And will continue. This I know with a surety.
    Always & forever,
    I love you with all of me,

  5. It has been many months since I have made a response to that which has been published by those who have submitted their accounts about how eating the Whole Food Plant Based Way has dramatically improved their lives to my oldest child Abbie Jane Birch.

    I am glad that in my eighty sixth year of life that I actually am so healthy and basically very happy. I dearly love my wife, Melva. She just turned eighty one. She doesn’t eat the way I do but doesn’t get seriously ill any more. I’m sure the way I eat has helped her to make some changes in her diet too. I just leave her eating up to her which is the way it actually needs to be. We were given our Free Agency by our Supremely wise and loving Heavenly Father. However examples of others can help us become motivated to begin eating the way our Heavenly Father has told us we should eat.

    Like Jessica was quoted above: “Thanks so much (Jessica) for sharing your story!”

    I’m actually Jane Birch’s father. She was the first born of nine children her mother and I and I brought into this life that I was blessed to be their father.

    I had been seeing a good number of specialist doctors for some serious medical problems for a fairly long time .The only one that comes to mind is: Diverticulitis, but there were others whose names I no longer remember! Those other medical problems were each serious. Therefor when my dear eldest child,Jane Birch called me at our home in Murray, Utah from her home in Provo, Utah she told me that she was aware of the medical problems that had been afflicted with and told me she would like to drive up to Murray that day to tell me of things I could do to significantly help me to improve my health!

    I really believed that she could help me to somehow to turn me away from the inclination to develop serious medical problems!

    I really followed very faithfully all that twas taught me by Jane Birch that day in my wife, Melva’s home here in Murray, Utah.

    That is all the medical history I’ll give you. To up date each of you on that I’ll just say: I actually have not been sick in any way except for one very mild cold I had about ten years ago. All of my meals are now what I reverently call: “Word of Wisdom meals.” I exercise very vigorously six days a week on one of two Precore Adaptive Motion Trainers located on the second floor of the Murray,Utah Recreation Center.

    When I first began using that machine I “went” for the equivalence of ten miles each exercise session. That only lasted about one month. I kept reducing that figure gradually. Now at age of” going on” 86″ I have reduced the distance “I travel” to one mile, however at my advanced age” I have to” go one half of a mile and then i sit down on the seat of a smaller machine located right next to the one I’ve been using and just rest for about three minutes and then I use the machine I actually exercise on to go the final half mile.

    Now I must tell you that years ago I teased our neighbor who was in pretty good physical condition for running down one of our streets out in Sandy, Utah until he had run for one half of a mile and then rested for about three minutes before running the final half mile. “What goes around ,comes around.” I’m glad we no longer live in the same area as that man, Dave Mecham lives in so I don’t have to confess that I was wrong in teasing him about resting after running a half mile, before running the final half mile. I actually ought to track him down and thank him for teaching an important exercising principal: “When you really need to rest, really rest!”

    If you are like me in wanting to have your body function the way you think it should, I suggest you consider faithfully eating “The Word of Wisdom Way! (Whole Food Plant Based Way!”

    May our Dear Lord and Savior continue to guide each one of us in being that which He desires of us!

    One of the best decisions I have made in my going on of eighty six years of life was one that I made when I was about two or three months away from turning eighty years of age. My eldest daughter, Jane Birch, knowing that although I had been treated by a number of physicians for various serious medical problems I continued to be in very poor physical condition.

    On a Sunday early afternoon after having made an appointment by telephone with her father to drive from her home in Provo to his wife’s home in Murray, Utah to teach him how learning to eat the Whole Food Plant Based Way of Eating would help him to become much more healthy and able to continue being physically capable throughout the rest of his life and to become more capable of functioning as an MSW Social Worker employee of LDS Family Services and as a husband and a father. of his eight t children who still lived with their mother in Sandy, Utah.

    When Jane arrived at her step-mother’s home in Murray she found her father very receptive to his need to begin immediately begin eating the Wholefood Plant Based Way. Jane then was very willing and very prepared to get him started eating in that way which was basically foreign to how he had been eating all of his life. He was a BYU graduate student and was committed to eventually earning his Master of Social Work degree which would do much to make his life more stable and give him the confidence he sorely needed.

    I didn’t take him very long to begin experiencing the kind of health he never had expected to have.

    Now at his advanced age of “going on to becoming eighty six years of age in February of 2018” J. n Neil Birch has great confidence that his mortal and eternal goals of experiencing a healthy and worthy life will be sufficiently met, He has a very deep gratitude for his success in eating “The Word of Wisdom Way of eating..He is grateful to his daughter Jane that she was willing to point the way for her father to followl

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