“My first impression was this diet was ridiculous”

3 StrawberriesBy: Paula Wright

I first heard about the Word of Wisdom diet in Meridian Magazine while my husband and I were serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My first impression was this diet was ridiculous and was not sustainable. However, as the articles continued, the diet started to make sense. However, since we ate at the homes of members and nonmembers and did not want to offend, I did not embrace the diet.

I grew up on a farm. We had a large garden that provided lots of fresh and canned vegetables. We also had plenty of milk, eggs, chickens, beef and pork, and they were the staples of our diet. When the Dr. Atkins diet came out, my friends and I embraced it, even though I was not over weight. I stayed with it for years, as I loved being able to eat as much as I wanted. Oddly enough, my cholesterol was always good. As with most diets, I eventually tired of it and went back to the SAD way of eating. Our table at mealtime had plenty of vegetables and grains, but we indulged heavily in dairy, fats, and sweets. One cookie led to eating a dozen.

Last Christmas, I made a determination to give up one thing I could do without. I gave up candy. It was easier than I thought. Only once or twice did I have a craving and cave in. Most people did not offer candy to us so it was easy to go without. As my desire for sugar subsided I found I could also go without most sugared desserts, and when offered by our guests I could say, “No thank you.”

We returned from our mission in April 2016, and I am working toward a full whole food, plant-based diet. I have always cooked with grains and beans and made my own whole wheat bread so that was a plus for this diet. I love cooking new dishes and have found it fun to try meatless meals.

Learning to eat fruit has been a challenge as fruit has seemed to pack on the pounds for me. I am a vegetable freak, loving all kinds. Giving up dairy products is a challenge, but I have eliminated milk for the most part and have switched to soy milk. I am working on giving up cheese, which I love. I allow myself only a small piece once a week and expect that I can eliminate it soon. Giving up fats and oils is still a problem, but I have decreased the amount I use significantly.

I was never really grossly overweight because I was (and am) so active, but I am amazed now that I can eat potatoes and corn along with lots of fruits and don’t have to worry about gaining weight. To date I have lost ten pounds. I don’t have that bloated feeling anymore and my resolve has increased to become the healthiest that I can. My husband is diabetic but very resistant to changing his diet. I put the good things on the table, and he has the choice to eat them or not. Most of the time he will eat them and then supplement them with things not so good. It is his choice. I am sure that I can make this change in diet so it becomes an easy and unconscious thing.

The Word of Wisdom is meant for us today. Many things that we should avoid are not in that document, but common sense and scientific studies show that we can eat plentifully and enjoy every bite while avoiding harmful foods.

Paula Wright is 67 years old and resides in Utah. She and her husband are college graduates and are now retired. They love walking and walk about 4 miles a day. They have traveled the entire United States and some foreign countries and enjoy cruises and trips by car. They are the parents of 7 children, 23 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. They are strong on family history research and are currently digitizing their family photographs.


  1. I’m not surprised at anyone who finds a whole food, plant-based diet “ridiculous.” I thought the same thing myself when I first learned about it! But the tremendous blessings that come from eating this way are anything but ridiculous. They are priceless. I’m so happy Paula discovered this and that she is willing to share her story with others. I hope it inspires many more people to give it a try. Thanks so much, Paula!

  2. You are on of the special, obedient ones. Your story is especially inspiring because it didn’t require you to hit bottom first. I too was quite resistant. I did NOT want to be a creepy, hippy vegan. However, after reading Eat to Live (and then many others by other doctors), the Spirit whispered the hidden mysteries of the Word of Wisdom to me. Like it or not, I am now a weird vegan but not a hippy or especially creepy. However, it feels ok, because it’s God’s way.

  3. I am especially blessed to be the father of Jane Birch. When when she drove a little over four years ago all the way from Provo to Murray, Utah to teach me The Word of Wisdom Way of eating, I quickly realized that which she was teaching about the importance of eating the Word of Wisdom Way was something that was urgently important for me. From that day on I have never even once slipped back to eating by the Standard American Way of Eating.

    Since that day I have never really been sick! The Lord whose words about eating the right way are easily available to us. I was really pleased when Jane helped me realize that the Lord means for us to live strictly by His words in verses 10 through 20 of Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants and that those verses are as equally important for us to strictly live by as are the first nine verses of that gem of a scripture!

    Previous to Jane coming to our home a little over four years ago, I had significantly suffered the effects of eating by the Standard American Diet. Since then except for several mild colds, I have been amazingly healthy!

    I am well into my eighty fifth year of life which I believe is being significantly extended to the point that I actually expect to live even beyond one hundred years because I live very strictly in accordance with not only verses one through nine,but also I live strictly in accordance with verses ten through twenty one.

    I actually exercise significantly six days a week. I especially appreciate the Lord’s words to us in verse twenty one of that Most Sacred Scripture:

    “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!” (Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants!

    At this point in my life I know that because I strictly eat in accordance to how the Lord tells us to eat in those sacred verses, that my life will be significantly extended!

    Please read those treasured verses, “ten through twenty one” of Section 89 of the Doctrine & Covenants, right now! By personal experience in eating exactly as the Lord urges us to eat in those sacred and truthful and treasured words of scripture, I know for certain that eating the Word of Wisdom Way, while getting sufficient vigorous physical exercise, I am very confident that I most likely will live past one hundred years of age!

    Our Father in Heaven and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ created our bodies and know how we should eat so as to extend our lives way beyond the usual span of life that seems to have been given to Mankind! Those of us who choose to eat in strict accordance with verses ten through twenty one as well as the first nine verses of that marvelous guide for healthy living, can expect to extend their lives way beyond that which those who don’t live by those treasured verses will be able to live!

    One of my assigned ward members I home teach, just celebrated his one hundredth birthday. I expect to at least equal what that dear friend of mine just did. I hope that many of you will do the same!

  4. I love this line, “I am sure that I can make this change in diet so it becomes an easy and unconscious thing.” After a while the vegan life becomes normal. The divine diet is almost on auto-pilot.

Leave a Reply