By: 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.