“I went on my knees and asked for His help”

Elodie Picard FamilyBy: Elodie Picard

I am a 34-year old native of France, currently living in Austria. I was born into the covenant. I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband, Paul, and we take great joy in rearing our three children in the Gospel: Eva, 13 years old, Jérôme, 11 years old, and Lynn, 5 years old.

For a long time, I believed that my family was eating healthy. I always cooked from scratch with lots of fruits and vegetables. We ate meat once a week, some form of dairy products daily, and I limited our consumption of sweets. I took great pleasure in preparing tasty meals for my family and friends that I thought were nutritious.

In October 2011, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I followed the normal procedures and had it surgically removed a week after my diagnosis. Unfortunately, I experienced surgical complications. My laryngeal nerve was severed (I have now a paralyzed left vocal cord), and I also suffered from “permanent hypoparathyroidism.” As a consequence, I started to experience serious hypocalcemic attacks. The specialists responded by administering massive doses of calcium (12 times the daily recommended dose) along with vitamin D. They told me that it was the only way to avoid the attacks and that I should also eat lots of dairy products to get as much calcium as possible. However, they also warned me that those supplements would eventually damage my kidneys permanently. Nevertheless, they could offer no other treatment.

Then I did what any child of God does in this situation—I went on my knees and asked for His help. I knew our Heavenly Father is the maker of our bodies, and He would know what to do. So day after day I prayed.

The months following my cancer treatment, I was not doing well physically. I was vomiting a lot. I lost the sense of taste (every food I ate had absolutely no flavor), and I was extremely tired and nauseous . . . To add to all that, the tumors came back right were my thyroid was. Since I was in no shape to go through the treatment all over again, I refused it.

Along with my fervent prayers, I decided to educate myself and learn as much as I could on my condition: hypoparathyroidism and cancer.

All my research and prayers pointed towards nutrition.

In February 2012, I decided to take a leap of faith and test for myself this new diet: I cut out all animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs) along with gluten, soy, and sugar, and increased considerably my consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Within 6 months, I was able to go from 12 supplements a day to none.

As of today, inasmuch as I eat right, I don’t need to take any calcium supplements, which is a real miracle. Also, all the tumors disappeared completely. It’s been three years, and I have absolutely no trace of tumors or cancer.

Today, I am full of energy and feel fantastic. I have a very supportive husband who decided to follow me in my new diet right away and has ever since been converted to this new way of life having also experienced very positive changes in his health. Our children also followed us in our new diet, and they did it willingly having understood the reasons behind these changes. (I am homeschooling my children, and as part of their education, I taught them a course on these new dietetic principles for several weeks.)

This new way of eating made me realize how important our nutrition is and how the average person lacks real knowledge in these essential life habits.

This new knowledge has become so fundamental for me that I eagerly share it with all my family, friends and whomever are interested, many of whom have made considerable changes in their own diet. All of them are now aware that what they eat has tangible consequences for their overall health.

I don’t push my way of eating, but when people ask questions, I am happy to answer them. Since arriving in the Vienna International Ward in May 2012, our family has had a positive impact on our potlucks, without saying anything (example is everything). It used to be that we could only eat what I brought from home; now there is a lot on the table that we can eat! There are so many salads, fruits, and veggie options—it’s great to see. In our last Ward Council, there was only fruit for snacks, and I did not bring them (it used to be only junk food).

I had also the opportunity to organize three firesides on “Healthy Nutrition” in our Church, which impacted a lot of members of our Stake. In addition to adult audiences, I have also addressed the younger generation of our ward on the matter as part of their Duty to God and Personal Progress.

I now host workshops at my home and teach people how to prepare healthy meals while discussing the benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet. They all love it!

I know that many more people are looking for ways to improve their health, but in this era of mass information it is easy to get lost and not know what to do. After three years of following this whole-food plant-based diet, I can tell you that for me and my family, it is for sure the best diet! We all are in great physical shape. We rarely get sick, and if we do it’s usually a day or two at the most.

Like many of you I was amazed at how many “hidden treasures” became apparent when I controlled my appetite and treated my body as a Temple, giving it the best kind of food.

The Word of Wisdom is really much more than don’t eat or drink that. I am truly grateful that my Heavenly Father helped me take care of my body by teaching me what I needed to do. I am also very aware that my cancer was a blessing. One of the reasons is that I am now raising my children in a very different way of eating, and I am giving them a strong foundation for a healthy body.

I know our Heavenly Father loves us and wants our happiness. I know that He listens when we pray, and He answers, but we have to be ready to follow through with the answers we receive. It was very challenging at first to change our eating habits, and I had to learn all over again how to prepare tasty meals with completely new ingredients. It was not an easy road, but it is so worth it. Our health is worth it. It is my belief that when we are eating healthy, our bodies and spirits can fill the full measure of their creation.

I am very humbled by what I went through, and so grateful for my Heavenly Father who directed me, inspired me and helped me when I needed Him. He gave me much more than what I asked for.

I hope that my story will be able to help my brothers and sisters realize that they are the ones in charge of their bodies and that they can help themselves.

Elodie Picard is 34 years old. She was born in France, but currently lives in Vienna, Austria with her husband, Paul, and their three children. Elodie enjoys reading, board games, spending time with her family and friends, preparing healthy meals and practicing yoga. She also loves sunny weather and spends as much time as possible outside when the sun is out. Her best treat happens during sunny weather when she can practice yoga in her garden with her three children. Elodie has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Bordeaux, France and is currently serving in the Relief Society presidency of the Vienna International Ward.

 

Comments

  1. I’m so happy Elodie contacted me and shared her beautiful story. I’m touched that the Lord is leading Saints all over the world to the principles in the Word of Wisdom. What a great blessing we have in this divine revelation. Elodie’s enthusiasm and joy is contagious. She inspires me by the way she shares with others. We need more people like Elodie and her good family! Thanks so much, Elodie!

  2. Elodie, thank you so much for sharing. What an inspiration you are to me. So nice to know that it is never too late to start the Word of Wisdom diet. One would think that since you had your gland removed there would be no hope but to depend on medications. Thank you again.

  3. How wonderful that you found the answer to your trouble with prayer and research. Isn’t God merciful. All we have to do is ask and He says, ‘Oh, so you want to know about that now. Here you go.’ Who knows maybe your illness was a blessing in disguise. Hmmm…sort of hard to imagine that cancer is a blessing, but you never know.

  4. Elodie, along with the others who have responded to your success in beginning to eat the Word of Wisdom Way I congratulate you on your much faith, effort and determination. I also think verse 14 of Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is very significant:

    “All grain 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, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;”

    Because the Lord tells us that grains are the “staff of life” for man as well as for animals it is good for us to add some grains to our diets. I personally actually use nine different grains on a daily basis. I could get by using just a few different kinds of grains, but I really enjoy the variety of tastes that gives me. I just mix up some portions of the various grains I’ve cooked and then eat after adding various fruits to eat with them. I think anyone doing this might be surprised that in so doing, they’ll soon begin enjoying the variety of tastes besides feeling more energized!

    I really believe when people begin using grains they will notice that we have more energy which is something each of us need plenty of, especially when we are raising children and when we are very active physically!

    Neil Birch

  5. Dear all, thank you for your nice comments!

    Dear brother Birch,
    We do eat lots of grains all the time and for sure they are a great source of energy and vital nutrients. We just avoid the ones with gluten, and I am not saying you all have to, but for my health I had to.
    The gluten was not allowing my body to absorb completely all the good nutrients I was eating. When I was eating food that contained gluten I still needed to swallow 2 calcium supplements a day. Only when I got rid of gluten was I able to stop taking all my calcium supplements.
    Futhermore, my children, who suffered from severe eczema as long as they kept eating food containing gluten, still suffered from it , when we stop all gluten food their eczemas stopped.

    That said, I do know wheat is really good and we do drink wheat grass, which does not contain gluten:)

    Have a wonderful Easter,

    Elodie

  6. Elodie, I really appreciated your response to what I wrote to you. I guess I’ve been greatly blessed in my not having problems with gluten. It appears to me that a good number of people which includes you and at least some of your family members do have problems with gluten. You intrigued me in your last sentence just above when you mentioned drinking wheat grass. I’ve never even heard of that before. I’m glad you know that “wheat is really good.”

    Thank you for wishing me and others too a “wonderful Easter.” Like you we will soon be enjoying the Sunday morning edition of General Conference. I’m so grateful that the Church is able to instantly get General Conference Sessions to countries throughout the world and in the actual language of your choice! My wife, Melva and I served a mission in Finland (2004 to 2007) where a very different kind of language is spoken and I’m glad that the dear Latter-day Saints that live there will benefit also from what the Church has done to bring General Conference to many countries throughout the world including Austria and France.I traveled through those countries and a number of others in Europe right after my first mission to Finland. I have good memories of the two countries you you have lived in! I learned some of the German language spoken in Austria in my first year in college many years ago. I still speak Finnish and also some Spanish.

    I just began hearing the Tabernacle Choir singing from our front room where our TV is located so I know that their broadcast which just proceeds the first session of the Sunday Morning Conference broadcast will follow right after. You may be viewing or listening to that broadcast.

    I pray with all my heart and soul that the Lord will bless you and your family and the many others who will also be reading this!

    Neil Birch

  7. Thank You Elodie for sharing your journey with us. today I watched the movie Forks Over knives and have committed to immediately begin a whole food plant based diet.

    I am grateful to find a group of like-minded who believe like I do the Lord knew exactly what he was talking about when He gave us the Word of Wisdom and that to enjoy the full benefits of that revelation we have to recognize that every part of it is significant and important and it we can’t pick and choose what we decide to accept wholeheartedly and expect to have the destroying angel pass us by.

    some of the wonderful comments and suggestions here help me out tremendously and I thank you.

  8. I just got back from the hospital where I had half of my thyroid removed, including a calcified nodule which had pressed into my vocal cord, paralyzing it. My surgeon was alarmed to see tumors which seem to be spreading, and wants to remove the other half of the thyroid in four days, and put me on radioactive iodine treatments. I remembered reading about Jane Birch’s diet and immediately looked it up with renewed interest.

    Then I saw your post — of course, it spoke to me, as I am in a similar situation. I am praying that I will not have to undergo more surgery and would like to give this way of eating a good trial. My main problem in the past has been too many sweets plus cheeses. I tried many healthful eating strategies, but was not consistent.

    Interesting that you should mention wheatgrass as sort of an “aside” — it is pretty much a perfect food, especially if you do not tolerate gluten. I read a book about a lady who avoided a mastectomy by consuming mass quantities of wheatgrass (even did enemas with it) and growing her own vegetables. Her tumors shrank down to very tiny, but if she went off her good eating, they would start to grow again.

    How do you take your wheatgrass? I grow mine and just chew on it, as I find it hard to get enough going to juice it, and I hate to waste the pulp. I also snip it in pieces and put it in my green smoothies. Do you use any particular teas, vitamins or herbal preparations?

    Thank you so much for posting your experience — it has given me hope.

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