Does God have a Diet Plan?

By Rachael

It being the New Year, I, like 40-50% of Americans (according to “the internet”), made resolutions. Now, also according to “the internet,” 93-95% of diet plans fail, so I wanted something to help me continue to eat healthy and feel my best without failing miserably the next month. Enter the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants 89).

I think one of the first things people notice about members of our church is the fact that we abstain from certain substances, such as coffee and tea (“What, you aren’t partaking in the glorious Dunkin’ Donuts coffee drink?!”). Along with the things we “do not” there are things we should “do.” Things like eating lots of whole grains, getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, eating meat sparingly, getting enough sleep, and others. To me, this sounds like a pretty great diet plan; no smoking or drinking, eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains and produce — done.

But beyond the physical blessings that come from living life this way there are spiritual and emotional blessings that come into my life from following it. And that is how I keep this “diet plan” from failing on me. I won’t let it fail, because this is a commandment from God for me to follow. It is also a promise I make to him and to my husband and family that I will take care of the body I was given. And it has served me well as I follow it. I enjoy health and strength that I know comes from God blessing me (that is not to say people do not get sick and suffer ailments during life. They certainly do, even if they follow this commandment. It is part of God’s plan. But that is another discussion).

I think faith in God’s commandments and the promise to Him to follow the Word of Wisdom are essential because if I just did it because it is “healthy” I would likely stray and become confused as I daily read in health magazines and on the internet that “a glass of red wine a day helps your heart,” or “coffee several times a day helps prevent cancer.” I even read once that a glass of beer a day can be “healthy.” So if I tell people I follow this plan because it is the absolute healthiest way to live, someone might argue me on that position. But the the Word of Wisdom will not fail me as a diet plan because it is much more than a diet plan or a healthy way to live. It is a promise, it is a way of life, it is a commandment. It brings a lot of spiritual strength, along with the physical blessings.

So my simple health goal this New Year is to renew my faith and dedication to following the Word of Wisdom. I think I can be one of those successful 5%, how about you?

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2 thoughts on “Does God have a Diet Plan?

  1. wilamena says:

    In your experience, do you find that active Mormons are less committed to living that part of the Word of Wisdom that generally suggests pursuing nutritional health than they are to living the “don’ts” you described? In my experience I’ve found the commandment overwhelmingly associated with the latter, with plenty of members believing themselves to be living the Word of Wisdom regardless of a kitchen and belly full of too much meat and not nearly enough produce and grains. And let’s not even discuss getting adequate sleep and rising early… Of course these aspects are more ambiguous than “no smoking and no drinking” might be, but I still find it to be a curious phenomenon of perception and devotion. If you have also seen this discrepancy between what is taken as gospel in the Word of Wisdom and what is seen as more of a gentle suggestion, what do you think accounts for it?

    1. Rachael says:

      Very interesting point! I think as with many aspects of the gospel the Lord expects us to choose wisely for ourselves with His help. That’s the great thing about individuality and free agency. Obviously there are straight forward commandments that are definitely “do” and “don’t” that we can follow exactly the same (“Thou shalt not kill”. Got it.) But other things such as the Word of Wisdom and Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy are not so straightforward perhaps in their various facets. We have to pray, and with the Lord’s help decide what is right for our lives. The Lord doesn’t want to control every small aspect in our lives, I think He expects us to be wise and use our agency to choose what is right without being compelled in all things.
      That being said, yes, we all could be better at keeping the Word of Wisdom, especially those “do’s”! I think the best thing each of us could do would be to focus on how we can be better ourselves, rather than comparing ourselves to others and what they might do.
      Thanks for your comment!

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