“Changing my eating habits has saved me”

Warren TownsendBy: Warren Townsend

I was diagnosed some years ago with pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a dangerous buildup of plaque in my arteries. If one of these maladies didn’t incapacitate, cripple or kill me another one would.

The doctor prescribed warfarin or Coumadin, which is the main ingredient in rat poison. It thins the blood to the extent veins and arteries can no longer contain the blood and the animal bleeds to death. I was given information on a diet for diabetics and was told it would help stabilize my condition.

Diabetes, heart failure, cancer and obesity have plagued my mother, father, sisters, brother and their mates for many years. Dad died at age 59 of oat cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer. At the age of 86, Mother died of congestive heart failure, also called myocardial infarction or heart attack. Her life was not easy during my lifetime. When Mother was 37 years old we nearly lost her to uterine cancer, ulcerated colitis, and improper combinations of conflicting medications prescribed by her doctors. She was prescribed Coumadin, refused it, and turned to the natural help of gingko biloba and cayenne pepper capsules, which did indeed thin her blood. As she got older, continually testing her blood sugar she was able to somewhat control her type 2 diabetes through a prescribed diet for diabetics that still allowed meat and dairy products. Mother developed neuropathy in her feet and so got little exercise and was middling obese for many years.

I have put all this down to tell you of my experience.

Some 30 years ago I read and studied the vegetarian way of eating. It seemed to be a healthy way to proper nutrition, but I was alone in my thoughts and actions and gradually returned to the unhealthy consumption of animals and animal products. In my 40’s I became a father to a beautiful, intelligent daughter. I quit smoking at once so that I might live to dance at her wedding. I felt like I could do anything after that. Smoking is a really rotten addiction. It looks like the wedding dance is approaching, and I’m going to make it.

While in her teens my daughter questioned many things including nutrition, and the things she talked about sounded factual and reasonable. I could no longer ignore the effects of my errant eating habits as I went into my 60’s. The doctors were annoying me with diagnoses of gloom and doom, and I was overweight, tired, unhealthy and a bit frightened. My gall bladder gave up, and I have had a lens replacement in my left eye due to cataracts. I really believe these problems could have been avoided or lessened with an earlier change to plant-based foods.

When I was around 67 years old, I became determined to improve my health with new eating habits. I became a vegetarian, suddenly. I could not believe how well that went. I never even think of going back on that decision. After two years or so I became vegan. I am a very good vegetarian, but once in awhile I slip as a vegan when I tangle with the wrong cookies or pastry.

OK. The results:

A thorough physical in my 70th year showed a dramatic change in my health. My doctor knew of my concern with pre-diabetes and at the top of the report, in his handwriting was a note which read, “Warren, you are no longer pre-diabetic. Enjoy your good health.” The report on all of my test readings showed all test results in the middle range in all categories, and I had lost 40 pounds.

Today, at the age of almost 73 years, I feel healthy and well with renewed energy. I am enjoy gardening, walking, flying kites, social stuff and even rode my old “Santa Cruz” beach cruiser bicycle about two miles yesterday. I take no pain medications or prescription drugs, rarely even aspirin and when I see a doctor, which is fairly infrequent now, they ask, “So you don’t take any medications at all?” It drives the doctors nuts. Hey, I am not a chemistry set.

I testify to all, without hesitation or reservation, changing my eating habits has saved me. The Word of Wisdom is not just a suggestion from our Heavenly Father, it is instructions for maintaining the bodies he has given us. Eat the good foods, let the animals live, and keep yourselves healthy, strong and happy!

Warren Townsend was born in 1943 in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in San Jose, California. He attended San Jose Community College and had a career in automated tooling development with IBM from 1970 to 1992. He married Pat in 1987. They have a daughter Sarah and a son Josh. Josh is married and has twin boys. Warren enjoys Church, playing music, gardening, crafts, reading and family doings. He was big in 2011 and is now 40 lbs lighter!


  1. I love when Warren reminds us, “The Word of Wisdom is not just a suggestion from our Heavenly Father.” Nonetheless, our Father is very patient with us, and willing to wait as long as it takes for us to decide to take better care of our bodies. Even at age 73, it can make a HUGE difference. Way to go, Warren!

  2. Warren, you were able to begin eating the way the Lord advises us to eat at about age 67. I was eighty years of age when my daughter, Jane patiently and very effectively taught me what the Lord clearly tells us in Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses ten through 21. how to eat wisely and how doing that will greatly extend our lives.

    I’m now in my eighty fifth year and never have been healthier except perhaps when I was in my pre-teen years. I pray fervently that the Lord will continue to bless both of us with His guidance which has surely been life saving for each of us! I hope that both of us will still be healthy and happy when we reach one hundred years of age and even beyond!

  3. Thanks for sharing your amazing journey.

    I love these stories, Jane!

    I did the vegetarian rollercoaster for awhile, too. After some amazing initial results with veganism, I decided to stick with it. I have 99.9% of the time for several years. I can’t remember if I started this in 2009 or 2010. Anyway, I felt pretty level for those years not being 100% healthy, but still 200% better than before WOW. Suddenly, I’ve left this plateau and feel amazing. I eat very simply, which is why I think I am doing so much better. I hike 5 or 6 mountain miles with my two yorkies six days a week. AND I ride my bike 10 or 15 miles. Next week, my kayak arrives. I can’t wait. I finally am experiencing the promise to run and not be weary and walk and not faint. God didn’t say it would happen in microwave time; He simply said it would happen. Hurray for the Word of Wisdom!

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