My daughter, Jane Birch, introduced me to her new whole food, plant-based diet in 2011, a few months before I turned 80 years old. Many years before this, I had changed my diet and lost over 70 pounds to get off medication for Type II diabetes. I thought I was eating a healthy diet, and I was exercising regularly. But as I learned about this new diet, I could see the reason in it. This was confirmed the more I studied the Word of Wisdom and realized this diet matches more perfectly the advice given by the Lord. I felt it would improve my chances of avoiding medical problems as I continue to age, so I started to change my diet, with help from my dear daughter.
I’ve been very happy with the results. Since starting this diet, I’ve been able to drop all of the medications I was taking, including ones for high blood pressure and cholesterol. I lost an additional 10 pounds, so I’m back to what I weighed in my early twenties! I never get sick: no colds, no headaches. I have plenty of energy for rigorous exercise, and because I’m never sick, I never miss my daily workout: 50 minutes on the arm and leg elliptical at the local rec center. Instead of feeling fatigued when I’m done, I feel energetic!
I’ve tried to share my newly found appreciation for the Word of Wisdom with my High Priest’s group. Judging from the weight of some of them, those particular brethren of mine appear to be in great need of these words of wisdom, but don’t appear ready to put into action these sterling truths. They seem to be content with eating what they like to eat no matter what it may be doing to them!
For me, I really enjoy eating grains, beans, potatoes, leafy green foods, and fruit. I am very grateful the Lord blessed each of us with the entire Section 89 of the D&C. He really knows what’s best for His children and even His animals, birds, and fish here on earth, and I want to show respect to Him for His love for me by following His counsel fully.
Neil Birch, 81, was born in Sacramento, California and raised in nearby, Roseville, California. He now lives in Murray, Utah. He served two LDS Missions in Finland. He earned a Master of Social Work and retired after 29 years with LDS Family Services. Before that he served for five years as an LDS Indian Seminary coordinator. He is the father of nine (Jane Birch is his oldest) and has 22 grandchildren. He enjoys publishing a weekly LDS blog and working out daily at the gym.