This article is part of a series on Discovering the Word of Wisdom. To view all the articles in this series, see Featured Author Jane Birch.
Most of us know we should be eating a healthy diet. Most of us want to do so, but we face many obstacles. I’ve been addressing some of the discouraging thoughts that can dissuade us from even trying a Word of Wisdom diet:
- Taste: These foods won’t be yummy, and I’ll be unhappy.
- Convenience: It takes too much time to prepare healthy foods.
- Nutrition: A whole food, plant-based diet will be deficient in vital nutrients.
- Social Pressure: No one else eats this way, so this will be too hard or awkward.
- Comfort: I love my current diet and can’t imagine life without the foods I love best.
- Procrastination: Great idea, but I need to wait until I have time or energy to do this.
Last week, I addressed the first challenge: finding wholesome foods that taste good. Today I address the second: how to eat well without fearing you’ll spend the rest of your life in the kitchen.
Important Life Activities Usually Take Some Time
We live in a world where we expect things to be QUICK and CONVENIENT. Despite this, we also understand that some of the most precious things in life are neither quick nor convenient:
- Raising a child
- Gaining an education
- Strengthening our testimony
- Building a successful business
- Overcoming a weakness
In contrast, things that are quick and convenient are often not of great worth.
In which category should nourishing our body temples go into? Should this be something we should be able to do with hardly a thought or effort? Or should it be something we spend a considerable amount of time and energy on?
The Rewards Are in the Struggle
When you think about it, you can’t really separate major life rewards from the struggle to achieve those rewards. It would not mean the same if someone just handed you a good child, an education, a testimony, or a successful business, or made your weakness miraculously disappear. For the most important blessings in life, the rewards are in the struggle. Part of the value of anything is the price we pay to obtain it.
If cooking healthy food takes some planning, time, and effort, is that a waste? Or might not the challenge become the reward in the end?
There is no doubt but that eating the Word of Wisdom way takes more time, especially at first. Why would God create a world where we have to spend time finding and fixing food? Why should taking care of our body temples need to consume so much energy? What role do our physical bodies serve us now and in eternity that might make them worth this effort?
This Diet Can Save You Time!
Before wasting too much time bemoaning the extra minutes you may spend chopping vegetables, you may want to consider how much time a whole food, plant-based Word of Wisdom diet can save you! Just think of the hours, days, even years you can save over a lifetime of eating better:
- less time with low energy
- less time sick in bed
- less time visiting doctors
- less time earning all the money you need to pay for medical bills
- less time cleaning up (cooking without added fats/oils makes dishwashing and cleaning the kitchen many times easier!)
- less time in the bathroom (you’ll get this after you change your diet!)
- less time researching and trying the latest fad diets, supplements, and super foods
Think seriously about this next question: would you rather spend your time in the kitchen energetically chopping vegetables or spend time in bed feeling lifeless and crummy?
Spoiler Alert: Once you master the basics, the prep time becomes very manageable!
Cooking Can Be a Great Pleasure
As I confessed in the last article, I’m not a cook. I successfully managed to avoid the kitchen almost entirely before changing my diet in 2011. I had no desire to master any cooking skills, but when I changed my diet I faced one stark reality: I either had to learn to cook or not eat. This proved to be a powerful incentive. I learned to cook, at least well enough to feed myself. And in the process I learned what many people wiser than I have learned: cooking can be a great pleasure!
And cooking from scratch is doable, even on a busy schedule! While I don’t have a large family to feed, like most people, I am an extremely busy person. I work full-time, and I always have far more on my plate than I have time to do. With zero cooking skills, I had to learn from scratch how to cook from scratch. Somehow it all worked out, and now I can easily prepare all the delicious food I eat for an entire week in 2–4 hours.
I testify that I have learned what many others have learned: a Word of Wisdom diet is doable. The Lord will strengthen your skills and abilities. You’ll find new pleasures in cooking. You’ll also discover many ways to make creating this food relatively quick and convenient, but by then you’ll enjoy spending a little extra time on occasion, just for the joy of it!
Involve Your Family
I get the feeling that one reason the Lord made food preparation a significant part of our lives is that miracles can happen when we spend time together preparing and consuming meals. Not everyone lives with family, and not every family member is eager to learn to cook, but involving your family in food preparation and eating together can be a great learning and bonding experience.
Preparing food together is also a great way to teach your family the value of our physical bodies and the importance of caring for them. It is a wonderful opportunity to teach the principles of sound nutrition found in the Word of Wisdom.
Ways to Make Wholesome Food Prep Easy . . . er!
While it is true that eating the Word of Wisdom way takes more time at first, it does get MUCH easier once you have mastered the basics.
While there are people who can make the transition without much change in their lifestyle, this is not the case for many others. Most people probably need to set aside some time to revamp the foods stocked in their kitchen and pantry and to master the skills of whole food, plant-based food preparation.
My recommendation: make this your new adventure/hobby for at least a few weeks. Your body is worth it!
On this companion webpage you’ll find proven strategies that can help: “WFPB Made Easy”
You Can Do This!
I know I’m speaking to the choir when I say that “convenience” should not be our top priority when evaluating the worth of something. As Mormons, we know this. Most of what we do in our religion is not convenient! Our time is precious, so we have to evaluate our priorities carefully. But please consider this: we spent eternity preparing to come to this earth to receive the physical bodies we are now endowed with. Should we not make the time to care for them in a way pleasing to the Lord, even if it is not convenient?
I testify that the Lord will and does magnify our abilities when we choose what is pleasing to Him. He will make us equal to the task if we let Him know we are determined to follow His way.
Real Mormons • Real Stories
Michelle Jones is a LDS mother of seven children, including six boys mostly under the age of 20. She had mastered feeding her large family on a typical American diet, but when her whole family converted to whole food, plant-based eating overnight, it suddenly was a struggle to figure out what food to prepare, and she found herself spending most of her time in the kitchen. But as others have discovered, it was only a matter of time before Michelle mastered the new skills and her workload returned to what it had been before the change. But now, she and her entire family are enjoying the tremendous health benefits from living the Word of Wisdom way! Read the full story here: “We love the food. We love how we feel.”
Next Time in “Discovering the Word of Wisdom”
We hear a lot of scary things about “plant-based” diets and all the nutrients they supposedly lack. The fear of not getting enough protein or other nutrients keeps many people from taking the challenge of switching to a Word of Wisdom diet. Next week I’ll address the challenge of “nutrition on a whole food, plant-based Word of Wisdom diet.”
Jane Birch is the author of Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective (2013) and many articles on the Word of Wisdom. She can be contacted on her website, Discovering the Word of Wisdom.