Our hearts are tender in the days after General Conference. Three new apostles! Hearing their voices for the first time! The many changes and all that has happened, in the Church, in the World, in our own lives over the past six is a marvel to most of us, and fills us with a pressing desire to do better and be better for the last days.

After the inspiration of this weekend, what changes do you want to make in the next six months to be a better member of the Lord’s restored church, a better member of your family, a better member child of God? More like the Savior? For me, the health of my body and what I am eating (or not eating) has a direct effect on my spirit health and motivations.

Personally speaking, April 2015 Conference found us at the beginning stages of selling our family home of over 20 years and buying another 900 miles away. All that goes with that kind of situation means eating out a lot, and not doing as much cooking as we normally do. We’ve relaxed on a number of healthy habits with the nature of it all. We’re ready, now that we’re settled, to be more focused.

A quick view of Jane Birch’s marvelous new video will leave the Prophet’s words of how they’d love us to eat and honor the Word of Wisdom is a must for all of us.

But is it a drag to be constantly mindful of what we’re eating —or an opportunity to be closer to the Savior?  It’s all in how you look at it!

Paradigm Shift Girl-Hag

Steven R. Covey spends considerable time in many of his books explaining the necessity of a paradigm (or viewpoint) shift before significant behavior changes and progress towards a desired for goal can be made. Perhaps you remember the drawing he frequently uses to make his point:  looked at one way, it’s the profile of an old ugly woman, looked at another way, it’s the profile of a beautiful young woman.  It’s the same drawing, although without some conscious effort, it’s nearly impossible to see both within the one drawing.  With some practice, however, your eyes can easily switch back and forth to both drawings.  Until both views are seen it’s hard to believe that it can be achieved.

It’s just amazing what your eyes can adapt to and fun to switch back and forth when you’ve figured it out.  He makes the point, of course, that many of us are locked into one way of viewing and doing things, until someone or something challenges your point of view.

I’ve had an opportunity for actual paradigm changes as changing vision after age 50 has left me needing new prescription glasses.   Wanting to save some money, I got brave and ordered my new glasses online.  The total came to $78 – including shipping!  This was nearly $200 less than the ones I purchased two years ago – at Wal-mart no less.  At the site, you can upload a picture of yourself, try on glasses, mark the pupils for distance, then fill in your own prescription.  They have an 800 number to help you by phone if necessary. If you don’t like them, you can return within 30 days for no charge. What’s not to love?

When they arrived 10 days later they were just beautiful! I could see wonderfully – for an hour.  Then I got a headache and had to take them off.  Bummer!  I’d have to return them! I was so disappointed, but desperately needed new glasses, so I went to Walmart, picked out new frames and sat down to order them.  When they told me the final price, just under $300, I gasped and pulled out the new glasses ordered online from my purse and asked, “Would you mind checking these?”

I was a little embarrassed when they wondered where I’d gotten them, but they quickly analyzed them and said, “These are perfect!  We won’t be able to create anything better!”

When I told them about the headache, the optometrist replied “This is not unusual since these are stronger than your last ones!  You’re going to have to take some time adjusting to them.”

Well!  I left the store with a huge smile and new glasses on my face — and over $200 in my pocket!  I wore the new ones for several hours each day for the next two or three days, and my eyes quickly adjusted to them just fine.  (In case you’re interested, the website where I got these wonderful prescription eyeglasses is www.eyebuydirect.com. I have bought from them repeatedly for several years now and saved a lot of money!)

A Paradigm Shift: What did Jesus Eat?

Is it possible to be more like Jesus by eating what he ate?  In “What Would Jesus Eat – The Ultimate Program for Eating Well, Feeling Great and Living Longer” by Don Colbert, M.D., an eating plan consistent with the Word of Wisdom is presented.

It’s a fascinating book where the Savior’s teachings and parables about bread, fish, food and water are highlighted with what he himself would be eating.  Of course, it’s a very healthful way of life (in fact the author prefers the term “healthstyle” instead of lifestyle) and well worth adopting ourselves.

At the absolute base is not a food at all, but EXERCISE!  For Jesus, it would have been walking, walking, and even more walking. What a beautiful thought it is to consider that be increasing our walking each day, we are following the Savior’s exercise plan!

His food pyramid would have been like this:

Since walking/exercise is the base of the pyramid, level two is brown rice or whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta.

The third level of the pyramid consists of fruits, vegetables, beans, other legumes and nuts.  Fruit is eaten mainly as a dessert or as a snack.  The legumes and beans are served in soups, added to salads, served mashed as dips, and even as a main course.

The fourth level is olive oil, to be used in place of margarine, butter, shortening and other oils.  It is routinely combined with balsamic vinegar to make a tasty salad dressing.

The fifth level on the Mediterranean food pyramid is cheese and yogurt:  But not the fat-laden cheese we’re used to. This is freshly-grated parmesan cheese and feta cheese sprinkled on salads.  Milk is not consumed as a beverage, rather it is in the form of about a cup of yogurt – prepared plain and without sugar – each day.

The sixth level is fish, the seventh level is poultry and the eighth is eggs.  Fried chicken is virtually unknown to the Mediterranean nations and is skinned before cooking.  Average egg consumption is 0-4 per week, as eggs are usually considered an item for cooking and not a staple breakfast item.

At the ninth level are sweets.  Typically, sweets, high-sugar desserts and candies are not eaten daily, but saved for birthdays weddings and other times of celebration.  Dessert is usually fruit.

At the absolute top of the pyramid is red meat.  Think of it as a condiment, and actually not necessary at all.

Of course, water is a staple, and we all need at least 6-8 glasses per day.  Many doctors feel that the 8 glasses are necessary simply for good functioning of the bowels and to eliminate waste.

Do you think the Savior ate like this?  The author based much of his research on the Levitical law, the law that was given to the Israelites from God through Moses.  He says  “The foods that Jesus ate in accordance with the law provided Him with the raw materials to produce a healthy body and a healthy mind.  He lived and walked in divine health.  The good news for us is this, the ancient dietary secrets associated with Jesus’ way of living can bring us to greater health today.” (What Would Jesus Eat p. 7, italics added.)

This is all well and good to live like this, you may be saying, but easier said than done!  How wholeheartedly I agree.

Anyone who knows me and my very difficult time managing my sweet tooth will tell you that I write these articles for ME as much as anyone who reads them!

The paradigm shift of eating this way a major percentage of the time, with special foods saved for special occasions, and food as a primary means of physical sustenance rather than social or emotional sustenance is not an easy one for most of us!

Following His Path To Health and Peace

In seeking ways to emotionally and spiritually make the paradigm shift a permanent and lasting one, there is true inspiration in the sacrament hymn How Great the Wisdom and The Love.  Verse three never fails to inspire me:

“He marked the path and led the way and every point defines

To light and life and endless day where God’s full presence shines.”

Yes!  He marked the path for our eternal salvation and set the example for how to follow him.

But is it possible he also marked the path to a physically healthy life?  In our great desire to be like him in all ways, what if we were to adopt his way of eating and exercise?  The answer is clear:  we would be eating better and feeling better!

What if we developed the question we often ask ourselves and help our children to use at times of difficult decisions, “What would Jesus do?” to not only “What would Jesus do?” but also “What would Jesus eat?” before each meal, snack and nibble?  There would be a great many foods rejected, replaced by those that provide true nourishment for mind and body.

Talk about a paradigm shift!

Use Your Imagination and Take Action

The author suggests 10 wonderful steps to help us eat more like the Savior.  As you read through these thoughts, go back in time.  Think of loving Mary as a devoted Mother in her kitchen preparing meals for him as a child and teenager, then of the countless meals he ate with family, his disciples, his followers.  It’s a wonderful image!  I can easily imagine him eating, and laughing, and enjoying every bite, can’t you?

1)  Eliminate all processed foods from your cupboards.

2) Cook and bake with whole grain products.  Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and nuts.

3)  Use little or no oil. When necessary, use a small amount of olive oil for butter, margarine, salad dressings and other oils.  Avoid all fried or deep-fried foods.

4)  Limit cheese intake to very small amounts of parmesan or feta cheese.  Do not eat blocks of cheese. Do not eat eggs.

5)  The Savior would have had the benefit of raw dairy products that are unprocessed. Since we do not, eliminate all dairy products.

6) Use fish and red meats very, very sparingly – almost as a garnish if at all

7) Cut out sugary sweets except for special occasions.

8) The author recommends an occasional glass of red wine, but we can get the benefits from eating grapes with their skins.

9) Exercise regularly – especially increase walking!

10) Make dining an experience that you enjoy with others.  Slow down, savor each bite and focus on the pleasure of the entire experience.

With the sure knowledge that there are few things in life we can control more than what we put in our mouths, following the Savior through adopting the ways he ate will surely bring us closer to Him and help us find peace and harmony with our eating habits and bodies. Here’s a welcome to the next six months, and looking forward to April General Conference as healthier, happier saints.

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available HERE.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of ten. They have lived in the Washington D.C. area since 1979 and are currently moving to Jackson Tennessee. Carolyn currently serves as the Ward Primary pianist.

Click HERE to learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian!