My journey to eating a whole food, plant-based diet started when I was young. I was lucky enough to have a very health conscious mom who was always seeking to learn truths about healthy nutrition. She was vegetarian (and then vegan), used all whole grains, sweetened things with honey, and we never had junk food around. I was mostly vegetarian when I got married, though I did it mostly because I didn’t like the taste and texture of most meat, not because I fully understood the health benefits.
When I had my first daughter a few years later she was very colicky. My mom told me to try giving up dairy to see if that would help, so I decided to give it a try. It worked amazingly, and as an added bonus, I felt so much better when I wasn’t eating dairy. At that point, I started to learn a little bit more about nutrition, especially how animal products affect our health, but it wasn’t until after I had my second child a few years later that I really started to integrate what I was learning into my life. Up until this point, I wasn’t eating meat or dairy, but I was eating a lot of “fake” meats and cheeses to take their place. I also was eating a lot of processed food. I read a few books and listened to a lot of lectures about eating a whole food, plant-based diet, and it all made so much sense to me. The more I learned, the easier it became to give up the unhealthy foods I had been eating and start adding more whole foods into my diet.
There are so many things I love about eating this way, but one of them is that now when I read the Word of Wisdom, I feel the Spirit testifying to me that the way I am eating is pleasing to my Heavenly Father. My husband (who is not completely onboard with eating this way, but is a great sport about the way I cook and the kind of food we have in the house) commented after a Sunday School lesson about the Word of Wisdom that if you can’t “run and not be weary,” you are probably not following the Word of Wisdom correctly. I love that he has come around to seeing the direct correlation between the foods we eat and the blessings of health we receive because of it.
I feel like a lot of people who come up with new diets are just trying to get appearance-based results. They just want the pounds to come off and don’t really care about what the diet is doing to their health. I love that with a whole food, plant-based diet you get to lose the weight while also improving your overall health. I think so many people think a skinny person equals a healthy person, but there is so much more to it than that. I love that the Word of Wisdom doesn’t say anything about becoming skinnier or more attractive as a blessing for eating this way, but that the blessings are about a healthy body and a clear mind.
I feel so blessed to have been lead to this way of eating, and I hope to be able to share the truths I have learned with others around me through my example.
Marian Stewart, 31, lives in Virginia. She and her husband have four children, ages 9 years to 2 years old. She is currently serving in the Young Women’s presidency. She enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and doing Bikram Yoga.
Marian’s parents (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.”