Twenty-five years ago I had colon cancer and had to have part of my colon removed. There were complications following my surgery, and digestion became more and more difficult. The doctors could do very little to help, and I did nothing to change my diet at that time.
About five years ago I started getting some arthritis-like symptoms. Rheumatologists were not certain what to call what I had, but at its worst I couldn’t get out of bed or even hold my hand up to my ear to hold the phone. For a few years I was on Prednisone, but that obviously was not a good permanent solution.
My sister, Orva Johnson, suggested I give up ALL animal foods. I had already eliminated all dairy (except for butter) from my diet several years earlier because I found it wreaked havoc on my digestive system. Also, I ate VERY little meat, maybe a half cup per week. Butter was my weakness. In a way I thought I was so close to being vegan already, how much difference could the extra small changes make? But I knew I needed to get off Prednisone, and the pain of the arthritis was debilitating.
So, I did it. I gave up all animal foods and started living a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. Within weeks, I had gone off the Prednisone and was no longer in any pain. I am very grateful. Since then, reading and hearing the things I do about a whole food, plant-based diet, I would not switch back even if I had no arthritis to deal with.
I definitely see the Word of Wisdom differently now. In a way, I can’t figure out how I ever justified my eating practices. In our day and age, I don’t see when our circumstances would qualify as “times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” With food available at all times in stores, we don’t live the life our ancestors did. My restoration to health without pain is a blessing, which I associate with living the Word of Wisdom.
Elna Clark, 59, lives in Fairfield, California. She and her husband have six children and eight grandchildren. She is a pianist and enjoys quilting and reading.
Elna’s sister and brother-in-law (Paul and Orva Johnson) are featured in the video, “Discovering the Word of Wisdom: A Short Film” and also in an extra video featuring extended footage about their story. Don’t miss these amazing videos! You can find them here, “Video and Extras.”