Since I was little, I've never digested milk very well. It gave me stomach aches, and a host of other uncomfortable side-effects. But, it was just so darn good that I didn't care! Cheese, milk, ice cream, you name it. I was a dairy fiend. Added on to that, I loved meat. A nice medium rare steak with running pink juices, crispy bacon, and tender rotisserie chicken that melted in mouth...they were regular favorites.
Then, in 2011, I came down with a nasty flu which caused an ear infection. I was 26, and dealing with an EAR INFECTION. So, the doctor gave me the normally administered antibiotics and sent me on my way. The antibiotics wiped my digestive system clean--even all the good bacteria. And my problems with milk and dairy intensified. I had a Candida Overgrowth. It caused mood swings, stomach pains, acne, and a host of other ridiculous side effects. In order to clean it up, I made changes to the Healthy diet I thought I was eating. I never ate a lot of sugar. I never drank soda. And I felt I followed the Word of Wisdom pretty close. The changes I made, in order to heal myself at the time, included removing gluten, dairy, fermented products, and sugars. And since then, I stayed off dairy. I noticed a slow incline of energy, the mood swings disappeared, and the stomach pains were gone.
At the beginning of 2013, my parents, after doing research--a LOT of research--made the decision to try "Meatless Monday." Since that's really their story...I'll let them tell it later. But quickly, they went "Full-Kale."
And I thought they were nuts. Afterall, didn't the Doctrine and Covenants tell us that those who don't eat meat are not of God? Of course it did! And no one should have gotten me started on the grammatical placement of semi-colons and commas in section 89, proving that we should eat meat not JUST in winter. Right?
I fought it. I fought it hard. And I just knew my parents were going to make themselves sick. They'd never really be healthy because as humans, we "need" animal protein...um...right?
Then, in July of the same year, I spent about two weekends with my parents while my mom (who was shedding pounds like a snowman in Summer) talked and talked and talked about how great she felt. How much weight she'd lost. How many ailments had been cleared up. And all about the research she and my dad had done.
I didn't want to hear it. But, as I also knew regarding the spirit...when something feels right...it's right.
That same month, I dug deeper into my family history work. What I found, disturbed and frightened me. My great-grandmother died of cancer at a young age with little kids still living at home. Her sister-in-law, my great-great-aunt, had tumors removed from around her intestines or stomach. My grandmother died of cancer at a young age while my father was on his mission. My grandpa dealt with high-cholesterol since his 30s--and he was active, and thin--you know, "Healthy." Current family members on the same side of the family have battled other forms of cancer. On my mother's side, diabetes, high-cholesterol, breast cancer, heart disease, and other horrible diseases are common. I couldn't let that be me. I didn't want to become a mother, be diagnosed with cancer at the age of 40, and leave my family behind.
After my own scripture study, science study research, family history research, and some prayer, I realized I needed to make a change. God had already told me how to eat, but I hadn't been listening. Even when he'd shoved it right up into my face. Now, I was listening. I was listening to prophets, apostles, scriptures, and other resources, telling me to make a change. So, I did. Within five months, I lost 20 pounds (I'm 5'9" and when I started, I weighed 155 lbs. To some people, I was still a bean pole--I realize that--but I wasn't healthy). The clammy feeling on my hands went away. My seasonal allergies disappeared (My sinuses used to close off, itchy and watery eyes...the worst). My energy level shot through the roof. And even with as "healthy" as I was, my young blood pressure and cholesterol dropped to even better levels.