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.