Our nutrition quest began many years ago, long before we became converts to the LDS church. Ellen and I met in 1970 in Boston, Mass., while I was in graduate school at Tufts University. Ellen was working for American Airlines and was traveling all over the world. Eventually, I followed my doctoral advisor and relocated to the University of Oklahoma in Norman. I began to frequent a vegetarian restaurant in Norman, and it changed my course, planting a desire in me to eliminate meat from my diet completely. Meanwhile, Ellen decided to take a year off and move to Telluride, Colorado. She soon befriended neighbors who were vegetarians. She decided that not only did it make sense intellectually, but she also felt compelled to make the change. Up to this point, neither of us had been exposed to anything other than the Standard American Diet. So, nearly 900 miles apart, independently, we both decided to become vegetarians. That was an interesting telephone call.
Ellen moved to Norman, and we married in 1977. At this point I was doing postdoctoral research in chemistry. We began to do extensive research on the subject of nutrition and natural healing. We enjoyed a huge garden from which we primarily ate. We were so interested in what we were learning that I decided to apply to a Naturopathic Medical School in California, and off we went. It was an amazing program and exposed both of us to every modality of natural and alternative healing. In 1980, we had our first child, Shanam. At this point we were primarily eating a plant-based diet, with goat milk products from a nearby farm.
After two years of study in California, I received a strong impression that I should apply to medical school. That decision brought us back to the University of Oklahoma to pursue a medical degree. This was a major shift from a holistic view of healing to a pharmaceutical-based medical approach. I came to realize that my gift was in working with the chronically mentally ill and took the direction of psychiatry. I have since discovered that a healthy diet and lifestyle can make a big difference in mental wellness, as well as physical well being, and there is a growing body of research to substantiate this. I have occasionally had the opportunity to lecture on nutrition and mental wellness to other physicians.
Our daughter, Elana, was born in Norman in 1987. Both our children were raised with organic, fresh foods and have been extremely healthy. They have never had a concerning illness and only one brief earache between them. They still live this way and are both great examples of mental, spiritual, and physical wellness.
In 1999, we moved to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts and met a couple who were from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Together Ellen and I had researched many religions for over 25 years. We were amazed to finally find the restored gospel and were soon baptized. We were so excited when we read D&C 89. We had found our people! The Lord gave us a revelation concerning a healthy lifestyle with beautiful promises for our obedience! As far as the promises go, Ellen likes to say, “I would eat grass for the promises in the Word of Wisdom!” We were shocked and dismayed when we went to our first church function and pork was being served. What? Still, to this day, we are saddened by meat being served at church functions. We always eat before we go.
Our son’s wife, Bethany, has embraced the Word of Wisdom lifestyle to the point of becoming a health coach and is making a great positive impact in her community and beyond. She has a Facebook site where she and her clients and friends post recipes and helpful information. They have two children (so far) and are raising them with a primarily plantbased diet and fresh foods from the garden. When Bethany and Shanam teach together, he says, “My parents are evidence of the results of a healthy diet and lifestyle. I want to be able to be as active and healthy as they are when I am their age. My father is still able to hike 14,000 foot mountains with me, and they both love to hike, ski, snowshoe, garden, and play with their grandchildren. When I look around at others their age, and even those much younger, I am shocked at how unhealthy and out of shape people are. The choice to make is obvious!”
Tim (67) and Ellen (64) McGaughy live in American Fork, Utah. Ellen is an avid gardener, creative food artist, and family history consultant. Tim received his BS and PhD in chemistry, studied naturopathic medicine, then went to medical school and is a practicing psychiatrist. Tim and Ellen love hiking the local mountains. They have two children and two grandchildren.