“We don’t need animals for good health”


After I switched to a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, my youngest sister, Sunny, reminded me she tried going vegetarian a few years before me (after reading The China Study). I have no memory of this, but she said that when she told me she was going vegetarian, I gave her a very puzzled look and said, “Why would you want to do that!?” My how times have changed!

By the time I was eating plant-based, my sister had given up her vegetarian experiment. When I gave her a copy of my new book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom, she wasn’t ready, but in the back of her mind, she knew it was something she eventually wanted to do. She waited until she was ready, and then after reading the book announced that she and her family were going to transition to WFPB. This was in April 2014. I was thrilled.

Sunny’s two youngest children never got fully on board, but the oldest, ten-year-old Luke, did really well. Sunny enjoyed cooking all kinds of new foods, and Luke was great about liking them.

Then Sunny got pregnant. Morning sickness became a daily reality. Cooking, even thinking about food, went out the window. Sunny felt she’d have to put the WFPB experiment on hold. Luke, on the other hand, was willing to forge ahead as best he could, even though his mother was not able to do much to support him.

I live in a different state, but last July we were all in New York together visiting our brothers. I was pleasantly surprised to observe ten-year old Luke trying to eat vegan, pretty much on his own. With no demands, and no complaints, he cheerfully made the best of whatever the food situation was. What a kid! Impressed, I interviewed Luke about his experience. Here is his story.

Luke’s Story

I decided to eat a plant-based diet because I was having problems with my body hurting, especially when I woke up. Every day I would wake up and an arm or a leg would hurt. My stomach would also hurt. My mom said, “We’re going to try to become vegan.” I said, “No way, I can’t give up this stuff,” but I tried it, and I started feeling better. I love it now. I don’t hurt in the morning. I also used to be allergic to all nature. My nose was running, and I had to sneeze a lot, but after I became vegan, it was all gone.

It was not too hard to give up animal foods. We ate meat and dairy a lot, but I’m used to not eating them now. I’m giving up unhealthy foods in stages. I first gave up animal foods. Next I’m giving up oils and soda. I’m also going to try to eat less candy.

My mom made me good vegan foods like healthy plant-based chips and pizza. But when she got pregnant, she had to eat whatever sounded good to her because she has different cravings. So, now I usually have microwavable burritos or my dad makes us food. One time he made us some delicious spaghetti with healthy rice noodles, and he put tofu and veggies in it. It was really good.

When we went to New York this summer, I had to eat whatever I could because there were not many choices for me. So, I sometimes ate things I normally would not, and it started to make my stomach hurt badly, all day.

I want to be vegan when I grow up. I don’t believe people who say vegans can’t be strong. I think it is sad that people eat animals. We kill them just to eat them. We don’t need animals for good health. We just need vegetables and fruits.

Heavenly Father gave us the Word of Wisdom. It says to not drink coffee or beer or wine. It also says to only eat animals in times of need. Heavenly Father gave us the Word of Wisdom so we can be healthy. He is happy when we do not eat His animals because we are following His words, and we are letting His animals live. Pigs are some of my favorite animals.

Luke is the oldest of three. He loves video games (Minecraft is his favorite). He enjoys eating food and hanging out with his family and friends. He is in the 5th grade, and his favorite subject is math. He also likes karate!


  1. Luke, you sound like a very smart young man. It took me most of my life up ’til now (I’m 60) to figure out how to make my body healthy. I got very, very sick before I just finally asked the Lord how to take care of myself. He showed me what your mom and aunt found and now I don’t get sick anymore with normal stuff and the stuff I was really sick with have improved a whole bunch. Keep up your good diet. You will be so much healthier than everyone that isn’t eating this way. If people tease you, just tell them what you told us. How could they argue with you when you have found out for yourself how to be healthier? Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope you never have to find out about chronic illness in your life because you chose to eat right when you were young! Good luck, Luke!

  2. Hi Luke! You are inspirational. I’m a grandma and like math, too. My grandchildren all enjoy Minecraft, too. Make sure to develop some hobbies that include activity outdoors, since food isn’t the only consideration for good health.

    When you travel, you can always find something that fits veganism in restaurants. Salads, plain nuked or boiled or roasted potatoes, plain rice, oatmeal, beans, fruit, and cooked (or raw) veggies all work. If you are eating as a guest in someone’s home, ask the host if they have a potato you might nuke (or bring your own). People are so nice about it usually.

    I was like you as a youngster and tried to be a vegetarian (not vegan back then.) It was hard, because I knew nothing about nutrition. I survived by becoming the family cook, although my vegetarian meals weren’t the healthiest.

    Right now information is easy to get, which should help you a lot in the nutrition department. There are a couple great videos out there by Jeff Novick which teach young (and old) people how to cook healthy, low-fat, vegan food easily. They’re called Fast Food: The Basics and Fast Food: Burgers and Fries. The method in The Basics is so easy someone your age could definitely master the principles. Burgers and Fries is a little more complex, but not too much. Maybe you could ask your parents to get the videos for you if you promise to be the family cook and food shopper part of the time. Parents always appreciate their children helping out. This way you not only help them but help yourself eat the godly, gentle, healthy way you know to be the best way to eat. This will also help you prepare to be a better missionary and father, because you will be able to keep yourself well fed on a budget. Jeff also has some fun nutrition videos on Youtube and a third Fast Food video called Shopping School that might be very helpful. I’ll say a prayer for you. Keep trying!

  3. Luke, this is your Grandpa Birch. I really enjoyed reading what your Aunt Jane wrote about you:

    “I live in a different state, but last July we were all in New York together visiting our brothers. I was pleasantly surprised to observe ten-year old Luke trying to eat vegan, pretty much on his own. With no demands, and no complaints, he cheerfully made the best of whatever the food situation was. What a kid!”

    (I, Grandpa Birch, was not there too because of Grandma Melva’s health problems!)

    As you probably know I, Neil Birch, your mother’s father, eats the Word of Wisdom Way and have done that since just before I turned eighty years of age. Your Aunt Jane taught me how to eat that way. Making that change in how I eat was one of the wisest things this Grandpa of yours has ever done!

    Eating the way I do really helps me have the strength and energy to do fifty minutes of exercising six days a week on a very challenging exercise machine at our Murray City (Utah) Recreation Center. It is a Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer. Very few people actually ever use it or the one just like it.

    I never miss a day of exercising or have to cut my exercise time some, because I’m blessed with so much strength with all of the grains I eat which are, as the Lord tells us in Section 89 of the D&C, “The Staff of Life!” And I don’t eat those things the Lord tells us not to eat! I have not even had a cold or a headache or any kind of sickness during the past three years of my life! I’m sure I will be able to keep saying that until I am a number off years past one hundred!

    Before I began eating the way the Lord tells us to eat I had some serious illnesses, Type 2 Diabetes, Diverticulitis, etc. and overcame them with improving my eating and exercising. I’m sure I would have never had those illnesses had I been eating the way I do now!

    On this coming February Thirteenth I will turn eighty three years of age and I know that many people think, for good reasons, that anybody that age doesn’t have many years left to live, or they may just think that I’m lucky to have lived as long as I have! But that won’t be so in my case! I will live many more years because I eat the way our Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ teach us how to eat in Their Word of Wisdom, Section 89: verses 10 through through the very last verse, 21.

    “And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.Amen.” (D&C 89:21.

    The Lord Bless You Dear Grandson, Luke! Keep eating the way you’ve have been eating and I know He will keep on blessing you like He already has!

    With Very Much Love/! Your Grandpa, J. Neil Birch

  4. This is so inspirational. I loved hearing this young man’s story. I am thrilled he has discovered how to help his body feel better. I have been a vegetarian off and on for 20 years. I need to hear stories like this to help me.

  5. I am so glad to hear Luke’s story. My son is eleven and he has been sick a lot before. He also loves minecraft and math and was actually sick when he was supposed to get his math award in school for being in the top ten on a world math’s day event in the country we live in. Our diets haven’t been good but because of my son’s illness to the point that I thought he was going to die, I decided that we had to change. For three years now we have tried eating healthy, even moved to a farm, growing our own vegetables and fruits, and we have seen a big improvement. I came across DTWoW a few days ago as I was searching for the WoW book of Dr. John Christopher in amazon. Dr. Christopher’s writings on cayenne has helped me when I had a heart attack 3 weeks ago due to unhealthy eating during the holidays. Anyway, when I saw DTWoW, I got attracted to it for some reasons and just had to get it. I checked out this website and found so many likeminded people. I am so impressed at Luke and I want him to be also an example to my boys to eat healthy because they are about the same age group. I am so grateful to Jane for her book and from reading her book yesterday, I have decided to adapt the whole foods and plant based diet. This will be a hard thing but I know we will be blessed for it. Again Jane, thanks so much!

  6. Good for you, Luke, but remember the WoW also says that (whole) grains are the staff of life and wheat is especially for man!

  7. Luke, Now that your updated story has just been published by your Dear Aunt Jane, I decided to once again make a comment.

    I quote something you just submitted to us this time:

    “I want to be vegan when I grow up. I don’t believe people who say vegans can’t be strong. I think it is sad that people eat animals. We kill them just to eat them. We don’t need animals for good health. We just need vegetables and fruits.” I really agree with you what you said in that quote.

    As you possibly know I am right now in my fifth year of eating the Word of Wisdom Way. Before I started eating That Way I had suffered several serious illnesses, two of which were: Diverticulitis and Type 2 Diabetes. I think there were several other serious illnesses I had suffered from but I can’t remember their names..

    The good health I have now has made it possible for me to exercise six days each week on a machine that informs me on a dial that I have gone the equivalent distance of one mile and at that time I end my exercise. I plan to keep up that exercising until the day my life has come to an end. I actually believe my life could even be extended past one hundred years of age because of the great health I have. If the promised Millennium comes after I have reached one hundred years of age I expect that my body will be automatically resurrected, if I understand the promises the Lord has given us in His scriptures.

    You have been blessed with parents who really love you and do their best to care for you. I hope you continue to follow the counsel they give you.

    With Very Much Love, Your Maternal Grandpa.

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