(Read the Spanish version of this story.)
I remember the first great commercial of milk and cereal I saw when I was a kid. It convinced me that my body really needed milk to be strong, happy, and healthy like the kids on TV. Even though milk sometimes made me sick, I knew my bones would be stronger if I had some milk, cheese or butter with my breakfast.
When I was on my mission I got a disease called “chronic fatigue.” It sounded funny, but after some months it affected my back and I came home three months early. After going home, I had the well-known “chronic phases,” which means there were weeks when I felt extremely tired, and those days I had to rest, eat really good food, and say good bye to the stress. It was funny that when I rested the most I felt more tired. The good thing was that every time the “chronic fatigue crisis” ended, I had my normal and very active life back. I’m a climber, college student, a freelance worker, Relief Society counselor, traveler, etc. For a couple of years my life was like that, going up and down all the time.
Two and a half years ago I decided to be vegetarian (because I didn’t agree with how big industries treat animals like slaves). Even though I didn’t do it to be healthier, I received both emotional and physical rewards. I felt more energy, and my “chronic fatigue crisis” lasted for shorter periods.
Since becoming vegetarian I’ve read many books, recipes, and blogs, and I started following vegetarian groups, doctors, and scientists on Facebook and Twitter. Eight months ago I discovered one excellent book, which is one of my favorites: Discovering the Word of Wisdom by Jane Birch. I love all the knowledge and investigation Jane does on this great project; it seems like the book was written for me. One of the great quotes that opened my eyes about dairy was from Jane’s book:
Milk is the perfect vital nutrient created by the mother animal for her young. Animal flesh is the physical tabernacle for God’s amazing creatures. . . . God has ordained and made it possible for humans to obtain nutrients from these creatures in times of need. But in normal times, we can easily get all the nutrients we need (and more) from plant foods without killing the animals or eating their eggs or drinking their milk; and since they are packaged with much that can harm the human body, there are no good nutritional reasons to consume them. Let’s save them for times of famine. (p. 45)
After reading Jane’s book, I understood that my body doesn’t need animal eggs or milk. I know they are a great resource in times of cold or famine as it says in D&C 89:12-13
I, the Lord, have ordained [animals] for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
When we have enough plant foods, we don’t need to eat meat or dairy. Now that I don’t drink milk and almost never use eggs, I feel so much better. I haven’t had my famous “chronic fatigue crisis” for more than six months now. I think meat and dairy are responsible for so much illness. I’m trying to follow what I believe is right. I trust my personal revelations and the knowledge I have gained when I study and ponder in my heart.
Pilar Arce (26 years old) is from Lima, Peru. She is a hiker, freelance writer, traveler, new vegan, and she is trying so hard to follow her heart instead her head.