My name is Cy Welch. My wife is Pat Welch. I am 81, and my wife is 79.
When I read “Discovering the Word of Wisdom” by Jane Birch on Meridian Magazine, it rang a bell with me. I was struggling with the normal health problems of aging, such as lack of mobility, some arthritis, enlarged prostate (BPH), hypertension, hearing problems, and lack of strength. My wife is diabetic, arthritic, has fallen many times over the years, has hearing problems, and lots of migraine headaches, etc.
After I read a couple of the articles on “Discovering the Word of Wisdom” on the Internet, I bought the book and started the transition to a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) eating. It has been an interesting journey to say the least. I also bought and read The China Study as recommended by Jane. It connected the dots for me on health problems we were dealing with and just made sense. We went on a two-week vacation about this time while making the transition and found out just how difficult it can be to find food which supports the WFPB lifestyle on the fly so to speak. We did the best we could and are now about 90% changed over to WFPB.
One of the first benefits I noticed was my mobility began to return. I used to be fairly flexible, but I slowly lost my flexibility over the years. I am now flexible enough to get in and out of the van without bumping my head on the top of the door opening. I feel almost twenty years younger. I’m also slowly losing weight, although I wasn’t much over weight. I have much greater flexibility, strength and endurance.
I still work although I probably don’t have to. I tune and repair pianos, including a lot of church pianos. At times it is necessary for me to crawl under a grand piano and make something work better. I also install PNOmation player systems in pianos, which requires a lot of time working underneath pianos. Before I began my WFPB transition, it had become very painful for me to do this. About one month after I began my transition, I was called out on a job that required a lot of under the piano work. I gritted my teeth and said to myself, “Come on you can do this.” Then to my surprise it didn’t hurt, not even a little bit. Later I was preparing a player for delivery and everything went wrong. I had to replace several parts which had quit working, and I spent at least three hours on my back under the piano, getting up and down from the floor 20 to 30 times. The result was my leg muscles got sore from all the getting up and down, but I had no other pain in my back or any place else.
My wife was a little behind me changing over, but about a month into the WFPB change something nobody was expecting took place. For the last few years she looked like she had been putting on her makeup very badly (although she seldom uses makeup having been blessed with an excellent complexion). But now she looked like her face was on its last leg. Then about a month into the WFPB change, she came to me upset, and referring to her face, she said, “Look at my face, it looks like it’s falling off or something.” I looked her over closely and gave her my opinion that I thought that she was having a spontaneous face peel, that’s the best way I could describe it. The skin on her face just peeled off leaving new babylike skin in it place. She suddenly had a complexion at least twenty years younger! She is now slowly losing weight, her blood sugar levels are slowly normalizing and she’s getting her energy back.
I grew up in a house where we had meat, mashed potatoes, lots of gravy and milk and some vegetables. I did not believe that you were eating properly if you didn’t have meat of some kind at a meal and was still skeptical until I tried WFPB eating. I have been surprised at how quickly my tastes have changed. I really enjoy eating vegetables, whole grains, and fruits now. I have little interest in returning to my former eating habits. My digestive system works better than it ever has. I can work or play hard, golf, eat lots of good food, and sleep like a baby. My wife and I are both much more tolerant of the hot weather which is part of Sacramento living.
After starting this way of eating, I remembered something that happened about ten years ago. We lived in a different ward where we knew a couple who were both quite overweight. He played Santa Claus each year without needing any padding. She was a great LDS lady who raised her family right. She was sometimes referred to as Big Mama. She didn’t like this, of course, although it was said lovingly. They were both struggling with sleep apnea and were tired a lot of the time. They ended up both having to use CPAP machines in order to sleep safely at night. They moved out of the ward, and we did not see them for a couple of years. When we did meet again we did not know who they were until they told us their names; they did not look like the same people we knew. They were both fit, trim, normal weight and healthy with no hint of the previous obesity or other health problems. We asked, “What in the world did you guys do???” They answered, “Oh, we just decided to live the whole Word of Wisdom instead of just part of it and changed the subject.” He still played Santa Claus but with padding. This has always stuck in my mind, but it never occurred to me to join them in doing this . . . not at that time at least.
This WFPB eating has been a life-changing event for me. I am grateful for being led to it and look forward to living a much healthier and comfortable life. I recommend anyone who is not satisfied with their health or that of a loved one to give it a 90-day try. You won’t regret it!
Cy served for 20 years in the USAF as a musician. He married Pat West in 1956 and joined the Church in 1957. Cy Jr. was born in 1957, Victoria in 1963, and William adopted them in 1976 when Cy baptized him on Christmas Day. Between William, Cy Jr. (who died in Sept. 2012), and Victoria they have 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren (ages from 1 to 19 years). The children and grandchildren are interested in their NEW way of eating but as of now they are content to be observers. Time will tell! Cy retired from the USAF in 1973. He and Pat have served nine part-time proselyting missions and two service missions, as well as several years as temple workers.
Note: The Mrs. Claus Cy describes in this story recognized herself after it was posted and got in contact with him. Read her story here: Sheri Farley.