The phone rang on Labor Day weekend of 2011. One of my sons and I were in Pennsylvania to attend my niece’s wedding. My husband John was home in San Antonio, Texas. He had watched an ABC News special about Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. John started reading the book and was convinced that this book would protect us from cardiovascular disease, despite our high blood pressure and family history of heart attacks and strokes. By the time I was halfway through the first chapter, Dr. Esselstyn had convinced me that a vegan diet with no added fat would guarantee we would not have a heart attack. We were committed.
Next we watched the documentary Forks Over Knives (which is available on Netflix and various streaming websites). This strengthened our belief that a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet would protect us, not only from cardiovascular disease, but from cancer and a host of other illnesses. Our oldest son and his wife watched the movie and joined us. Now we had support and an opportunity to share favorite recipes.
We wanted so much to do this that every time we tried a new recipe, when we asked the blessing, we asked Heavenly Father to help us like the new dish. We have liked everything we have tried.
In July 2012 I read an article in Meridian Magazine by Carolyn Allen, “The WOW in the Word of Wisdom,” which included a PowerPoint slideshow on diet and the Word of Wisdom. For the first ten months of eating a WFPB diet, the motivation for my husband and me was to stay healthy. The PowerPoint slideshow taught me that the Word of Wisdom diet is a gift from Heavenly Father, that this is the way He wants us to eat in order to stay healthy throughout our lives. Suddenly I found joy in filling my grocery cart with fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and in cooking and eating this way.
It has been almost three years since our journey began. We continue to read and learn more about WFPB eating. We continue to reap the blessings of increased health, energy, and joy in eating the way Heavenly Father wants us to. Our doctors are thrilled with our results. John quickly got to his goal weight and maintained it. His cholesterol went from over 200 to 112! I lost 20 pounds initially, and am presently working on losing the rest. My blood pressure went from 140/90 to 123/72.
John and I pretty much do WFPB eating 100% at home and when just the two of us go out together. When eating with non-vegan friends and family, our level of success varies. Social situations are our weakest link, but we try to make healthy choices. For those difficult times, I try to remember the words from the hymn, “Praise to the Man,” that I put in a tiny frame on my computer desk next to a small picture of the Savior: “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.”
We testify that:
All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
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. (D&C 89: 18–21)
My husband John and I live in San Antonio, Texas. We are both 67 years old and retired. John was a research scientist with a PhD in Physiological Psychology, and I am a retired teacher with a B.A. and M.A. in Elementary Education. We have been married almost 49 years. We have four sons and eight grandchildren who are the joy of our lives. We enjoy traveling with our fifth wheel trailer and our German Shepherd Izzy to visit our sons and their families. At home John is a ham radio enthusiast, and I love family history.