“Having another life grow inside of me changed me”

Stephanie Berglind FamilyBy: Stephanie Berglind

My journey to a healthier way of living started when I became pregnant with my first son in 2004 and started to think differently about the foods I ate and the things that I put into my body. Up to that point, I hadn’t really cared too much. I exercised regularly and tried to limit my calories, but I didn’t put much thought into what those calories were made of and how they were hurting or nourishing my body.

Having another life grow inside of me changed me. I started reading about super foods and clean eating. I cut out most sugary or processed foods but still considered Greek yogurt and chicken as “health foods.” I continued my clean eating for the next few years. I had lost some weight but was suffering with hypothyroidism, gallstones, acne, and athlete’s foot—things that I just thought were a part of life.

Over time, I started to feel a tug towards a plant-based diet. I would read little snippets here or there, or watch things on social media. But it wasn’t until May of 2013 that it really hit me. I was recovering from the birth of my third child when I finally decided to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. As I watched this show, I was in shock to learn about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, as well as the environmental benefits. But it wasn’t until I got on my knees that night that I started to feel the beginnings of the spiritual benefits of taking care of my body, the animals God created, and the beautiful earth He gave to us.

I began a spiritual journey then that has taken me places and changed me in ways I never would have imagined. I changed my diet that day and haven’t looked back since. As far as physically, I no longer have hypothyroidism, my gall bladder is under control (without surgery!), my skin is clearer than it has ever been and my athlete’s foot is gone! I hardly every get sick and when I do, it’s a day or two and then I feel better. My weight is great and my energy levels are as high as they can be with three small children. I feel stronger, lighter, and happier.

As my family no longer consumes animal products in our home, I am grateful to be making a difference in the way animals are treated and used in the name of food. I am grateful to be making a difference in the environment. I am grateful to be teaching my children the benefits of eating this way. But most importantly, I am grateful for the spiritual change that has happened. I am more connected to my Heavenly Father as the Creator of all living things. I am working hard to glorify Him by showing reverence for my body, the animals, and the earth. I have received spiritual confirmations time and time again that this is the right path for me.

I have taken more time to really pray about, study, and understand the Word of Wisdom and what God’s message is in that section of scripture. My body is a gift. God created it, Christ died for it, and it is up to me to show respect for those gifts by fueling my body with the most nourishing foods I can. God wants us to be happy, to have joy, to have energy and to have all the knowledge we can take in. He wants us to be healthy. We cannot serve and be an instrument in His hands if we are sick or tired.

The blessings I have received from living the Word of Wisdom have been immeasurable. I have three healthy, happy kids who, most of the time, eat a whole food, plant-based diet. They sleep well, eat well, have lots of energy, and are rarely sick. They love animals and understand the connection we have with them and what our stewardship is.

There is so much nutrition advice out there! What a blessing that we need not look any further than our own scriptures. As we reach from those scriptures for answers, we will find health and wisdom and great treasures of knowledge. We will run and not be weary. I know this to be true. I now help coach others starting a whole food, plant-based journey, and it is one of the joys of my life. To watch others make the change and empower themselves to live a better, stronger and more spiritual life is priceless!

Stephanie Berglind is 32 years old. She has been married to her hard working, handsome husband for 10 years. They have been blessed with 3 children who bring them so much joy. They recently moved to Pleasant Grove, Utah from Bonney Lake, Washington. Stephanie loves to ski, jump on the trampoline, cook healthy food with her kids, sing, go on dates her husband, and spend time with her extended family.

Comments

  1. Stephanie, I love your beautiful story and your willingness to share it with all of us. You have a pure heart to seek for what is true and what will bless your amazing family. What a glorious journey!

  2. Stephanie, like my dear daughter Jane, I’m really glad to learn about how you and your family are eating to a great extent in accordance with the Lord’s Word of Wisdom! I really appreciated the following which I copied from that which you submitted to Jane:

    “But it wasn’t until I got on my knees that night that I started to feel the beginnings of the spiritual benefits of taking care of my body, the animals God created, and the beautiful earth He gave to us.”

    May the Lord to continue to greatly bless you, your husband and your children!

  3. I’m continually pleased and amazed how following His plan heals us. Even athlete’s foot! I’m enjoying freedom from vericose vein pain.

  4. When I was just about two weeks from turning eighty years of age, I have to thank t he Lord with all my heart for my having been helped then by my and her mother’s eldest of nine children, Jane Birch through her exceedingly helpful efforts, when she took several hours of her precious time to drive the about the forty five miles from Provo, Utah to Murray, Utah on a Sunday afternoon to very patiently yet fervently and skillfully teaching her father how the Lord Jesus Christ wants all of us to eat. I thought previous to that time that I knew exactly what the Lord tells us in His Word of Wisdom , Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, regarding how we should eat. Jane then skillfully assisted me to come to know that I had not been eating as healthfully as I should have been! How wrong I had been about that!!

    Previously I had had a number of serious health problems, T.B. of my left knee which had to be made stiff when I was just five years of age because I had been drinking T.B. infected milk from a local dairy near Roseville, California where I grew up (I now have two replacement knees) ; diabetes, diverticulitis and several other serious illnesses after I had grown up which I don’t even remember what they were, any more as it has been so long since I suffered from them! I just see my physician once a year for my annual exam which my insurance policy pays for, and during each of these almost four years thus far I have never been sick at all! I am not exaggerating! I’m sure my having illnesses are totally things of the past! We all have to die some time or the other but perhaps I will live into the promised Millennium!

    I have no medical prescriptions and haven’t had any during the past four years! I haven’t even had head aches or any other kinds of aches or pains during that time! I am able to vigorously exercise on a challenging “Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer” exercise machine at our local recreation center for one half of an hour and “going” the equivalence of two miles six days of every week! Just two weeks ago I had been exercising for a number of years for one full hour each session and going the equivalence of four miles each time, but I just felt I didn’t need that long of an exercise any more because I am so healthy and my long time physician knows that and always tells me that is so after each of my annual exams! I actually do not know anyone my age who is as healthy as Jane Birch’s father, me! Jane Birch and our Savior Jesus Christ get the credit for that!

    Forgive me, Stephanie for taking the focus off of you during these paragraphs, but I have actually done so in hopes that others will emulate your great example in eating the way our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ have taught us how to eat through the means of Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants which is published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! May the Lord bless each one of us with the courage and determination to eat the way our Lord has told us we should eat!

  5. How blessed you are to find the truth so young. Your children will rise up and call you blessed for building their health.

    Like you, I felt the tug towards a plant-based life, as I read and tried to adopt Diet for a Small Planet in high school. Unlike you I didn’t maintain it well for my children. The other day it all came back to me, when I repurchased the Mormon Diet Cookbook from amazon. Imagine that I owned and used this in 1992. I read Dr. McDougall’s books in 1994 and Dr. Ornish’s books around the same time. I even attended a Pritikin seminar in 1982. Often I was a junk food vegetarian but never vegan. It wasn’t until I got very ill that I actually listened. Now my husband is ailing, and I will never regain all I lost.

    Since I won’t cry over spilled rice milk, I will say I’m ever so grateful that the Holy Ghost continues to whisper truth to us until we can hear Him over the din of designing men.

  6. Stephanie- thanks for your great story. I do want to add a thought however. In teaching your children to love and respect animals I hope you are also teaching them that animals were placed on earth for the use of man under the conditions the Lord has established. I am a high school teacher and was the advisor to the PETA club for a number of years. I never met a group of students who W re so passionate BUT intolerant of others. I hope that when your son and daughter serve missions our travel in the world they will be considerate of cultures that don’t have the resources we do to go to the whole foods store and buy the plant based foods we do. I believe this is why the Lord says what he says in D&C 49:18… So we do not become too fanatical or judgmental.

    • Thanks, Brent!

      My own feeling is that most of us can do a whole lot more to learn to be MUCH more sensitive to respecting the Lord’s creatures and His creation. I’m not surprised some people (especially youth) are perhaps even too passionate on this topic because most of the people around us (I used to be one of them!) are almost totally deaf to what is happening.

      My experience with Mormons on a whole food, plant-based diet is that they are not at all fanatical or intolerant of others. I don’t know any WFPB Mormons who would not eat an animal in time of need, with thanksgiving, but they have grown immensely in their sensitivity and gratitude to the Lord for this amazing earth and all His amazing creatures.

      I hope all of us will teach our children these important values of honor and respect to God’s amazing creatures (which includes honor and respect to all His children, no matter their circumstances or prejudices)!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts Brent. I couldn’t agree with you more. Most of my family, including my husband, do not follow a WFPB diet. I would never want my children to even think less of their incredible aunts, uncles and grandparents just because they interpret the WofW differently. We are trying our best, as we know others are, to live the commandments and do what they feel is right. My kids eat animal products when there are at family functions because I would rather them be gracious and kind than judgmental or “holier than thou.” So I understand completely what you are saying and I am working to instill that in my children. Thank you!

  7. Stephanie- I wrote my previous response quickly this morning and in reviewing it, realized it sounded accusing for which I am sorry. Using the word of God (in this case , “The Word of Wisdom”) is the most important thing we can do in knowing truth and leading our lives. It sounds like you are following that. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Loved your story- thanks for sharing! Two questions:

    How did you get into helping others live a whole foods plant based diet? It’s such a passion of mine- in a good way.

    I have hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis- all of my other diseases, autoimmune disorders, deficiencies, etc have been healed from this diet but not my hypothyroidism. I’ve been living this way for almost a year. Did your levels slowly change? Did your Synthroid Rx slowly get smaller? I had my TSH, free T4 checked recently and I still need Synthroid. Just curious how that came about in your life. Thank you!!

    • Hi Candice! Thanks for you kind words. As far as helping other adopt a WFPB diet, it has mostly come through living it myself and being an example. People notice what I eat, and don’t eat and know my testimony. So they will come to me when they have questions or need help. I have also spoken at a few RS enrichment nights and shared my recipes and experiences.

      And as far as my thyroid, I had a very low case of hypothyroidism and was a taking a low dose of levothyroxine. Changing my diet helped to balance my hormones enough that I don’t need the meds anymore. I wouldn’t get discouraged if you don’t cure your thyroid issues with diet. Keep doing what you are doing and the Lord will bless you!

        • Diet will help the hypothyroidism (avoiding phyto- and xenoestrogens and bromine in foods like commercial bakery products and soda.) But it is important to address the chemical in your environment as well. I am still working on diet changes and had success. Changing all my soaps to a simple, no-additive lard and lye soap also helped. You could use an olive oil based soap instead. I use it in place of shampoo, body soap and laundry detergent. I will soon use it as dish soap. Good luck!

  9. Great story! I feel like we could be friends. I’ve been married ten years, have four kids, love to sing, eat WFPB for the last 4.5yrs. I would love to chat more especially about how to handle kids being handed treats everywhere they turn in today’s society, if you feel like finding me on FB!

  10. Stephanie! I didn’t realize you knew Jane! That’s awesome and I am blessed to know both of you! Stephanie, my grandparents lived in Pleasant Grove for many years and my Aunt and Uncle still do! Dale and Ruthie Pitts if you ever happen to see them and say hello. So great to read you story and I am grateful to Jane for putting these together on a regular basis to inspire the rest of us on our WFPB journey. Love and blessings to you both!

  11. Hi Stephanie! I loved reading your testimony of living a WFPB life. I have found myself being judged in that direction for years and have just started to make the transition with my husband and children. I have been reading so much and find myself flip flopping between excited, motivated, or encouraged, and completely overwhelmed. I wonder if you would be willing to correspond with me a little about how you feed your family.

    McKenna

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