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This article is part of a series on the Word of Wisdom. To view all the articles in this series, see Discovering the Word of Wisdom.

Last week, I announced the upcoming European Word of Wisdom Conference on July 9 in Switzerland. If you live in Europe (or are planning to visit), you are warmly welcome to participate! At the conference, I’ll be addressing the Word of Wisdom from a whole food, plant-based perspective and my co-presenters will be sharing their personal experience and introducing practical cooking tips. There will be lots of time for interaction and eating some delicious whole food, plant-based meals together! For more details see, European Word of Wisdom Conference. Note: I’ll also be doing a presentation on the Word of Wisdom in The Netherlands (Rotterdam) on July 16, which anyone may attend.

In honor of the upcoming conference, last week in Featuring International Saints I shared stories of Latter-day Saints from Europe, Africa, and Asia who are embracing the Word of Wisdom and experiencing many of the promised blessings. This week, I’ll be featuring more international saints, this time from North and South America.

North America

Perpetue Robert Pardieu ‬(originally from Haiti, now living in L’Assomption, Québec, Canada)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Perpetue Robert

Perpetue Robert Pardieu recalls, “All my life my legs and feet have felt really heavy, sometimes swollen, but I never knew why. I remember ten years ago I was praying and asking the Lord for help and He sent me to D&C 89. At that time I learned that meat was to be eaten sparingly, during winter and famine. It was summer, and it was difficult, so I did not follow it. So, I remained with my swollen feet.”

Years later, after a serious car accident, Perpetue intensified her search for answers from the Lord. As she learned about healthy ways of eating, she tried changing her diet, but she felt full of anxiety about the foods she was eating. It was then that she learned about other Mormons who are following a whole food, plant-based Word of Wisdom diet. She says, “I automatically knew [this] was a confirmation of what the Lord had told me ten years ago.” With support from a community of other Latter-day Saints eating this way, she was able to stop eating meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, and most processed food.

The resulting health and other physical benefits have been tremendous, but there have been other blessings as well. She says of her experience:

I love eating this way. It makes life so simple. There is no grease, and you do not feel heavy. I have so much energy. I don’t know if this way of eating has been why I feel closer to the Lord, but the spirit is different. I feel my mind is clearer, and the way I see everything is different. I have an added love for nature, animals, and people, and my capacity to show love has increased. I can’t say that all of this is because I changed my eating. It could be also because of my desire to follow His counsels. It does make a difference.

To read Perpetue’s story in her own words, see “I love eating this way. It makes life so simple.”

Albert Schindler‬ (Cardston, Alberta, Canada)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Albert Schindler

When he was 81 years old, Al Schindler was diagnosed with kidney cancer, which then spread to his bladder. Chemotherapy resulted in infection, and between the chemo and the infection, his “entire body, from the neck down, ached terribly.” The pain was so intense, he couldn’t sleep, but he could barely stay awake. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In distress, Al searched for ways to relieve the pain. The “Aha! moment” came when “a very clear, audible voice” said to him, “Man is not made to eat flesh.” From that moment on, Al no longer ate meat of any kind. He says of his recovery:

Since that epic day I have had continued evidence that the promptings from the Spirit had my health in mind. Even though I’m 85 years of age, I feel better now, on average, than I did when I was in my 60s! My kidney and bladder cancer is in full remission! I’ve recently had my annual medical and physical exam by my family doctor, and am happy to announce that I’m (to quote my doctor) “100% normal in all my tests.” The Word of Wisdom does work!

To read his Al’s story in his own words, see “Man is not made to eat flesh.”

South America

Isabela C. de Marques (Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil)

Isabela Selmi

Isabela de Marques has struggled with weight for as long as she can remember and has been insulin resistant since she was 14 years old. As a young mother, questions about the treatment of animals led her to give up meat. But it was only when she stopped consuming dairy and eggs (just four months ago) that she started to notice improvements in her health. She says of these changes:

I love everything about this way of eating. It is practical, inexpensive, my kids love it, and it makes me feel energized and happy after my meals.

In just four months I have enjoyed so many rewards already. My triglycerides have dropped from 296 to 157. My cholesterol was 195 before and is now 156. I have also dropped 33 lbs (and look forward to losing even more). My personal favorite is that I am no longer pre-diabetic and my glycaemia is completely normal now.

Eating this way has increased my testimony of the fullness of the gospel, which ennobles every aspect of existence. It has helped me realize how everything is connected, body and spirit, as well as individuals and the planet. We are all God’s creations and carry divine DNA. I feel so blessed and loved and lucky to have increased my understanding of the Word of Wisdom in times of such nutritional misinformation.

Pilar Arce (Lima, Peru)

Pilar Arce

Chronic fatigue forced Pilar to come home from her mission three months early. Resting helped, but the “chronic phases” continued. Later, after adopting a vegetarian diet for humanitarian reasons, she experienced emotional and physical rewards, including more energy and much less chronic fatigue.

Then in 2014, through studying a whole food, plant-based approach to the Word of Wisdom, Pilar realized she could do more to improve her diet and enjoy greater health and physical blessings. Of this experience, she writes:

Now that I don’t drink milk and almost never use eggs, I feel so much better. I haven’t had my famous “chronic fatigue crisis” for more than six months now. I think meat and dairy are responsible for so much illness. I’m trying to follow what I believe is right. I trust my personal revelations and the knowledge I have gained when I study and ponder in my heart.

To read Pilar’s story in her own words, see “My body doesn’t need animal eggs or milk.” You can also read Pilar’s story in Spanish.

What is Your Experience?

Have you experienced promptings to eat a healthier diet? You are certainly not alone. I hear from people all over the world who tell me that the Lord is directing their attention to D&C 89, the Word of Wisdom. Often, they are surprised when this is the answer to their prayers. They believe they already understand and live the Word of Wisdom completely. But as they prayerfully study the verses in D&C 89, the eyes of their understanding are opened, and they discover some of the “hidden treasures” in these precious verses. This is an experience that all of us can have!

What is even more amazing to me is that the Lord is directing the attention of a great many of His children who are not of our faith to these same principles that we have in the Word of Wisdom. I have a personal testimony that the principles found in the Word of Wisdom have a vital role to play in preparing the world for His coming. The Lord needs more of us to wake up to the importance of caring for our body temples, and I know that He is eager for us to experience the blessings that result as we do this. If you’d like to read some of the amazing stories of non-LDS people who are embracing a diet in harmony with the Word of Wisdom and experiencing powerful journeys of transformation, check out these success stories on the Fork Over Knives website.

Find Latter-days Saints Living Near You!

Want to locate others in your geographic area interested in a whole food, plant-based Word of Wisdom diet? Join the WFPB Mormon Map! Add your name so that others can find you and you can find others.

View the WFPB Mormon Map. To find someone, type your state or country into the search bar, or click directly on the map. Click on the pins to get the person’s name and email address. Contact the person and introduce yourself!

Add your name to the WFPB Mormon Map. Don’t be shy! At least leave your first name and email address to that others can contact you.

Getting Started

For help getting started on a healthy Word of Wisdom diet, see: “Getting Started.”

Jane Birch is the author of Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective and many articles on the Word of Wisdom. She can be contacted on her website, Discovering the Word of Wisdom. Watch the video “Discovering the Word of Wisdom: A Short Film.”