Monday, October 17, 2011

The Journey

Once upon a time, I started a journey. In retrospect, it seems that all along there were little tiny things pushing me along, but I think the most important event that really "started" it (comparable to Harry finally leaving to go to Hogwarts, or Frodo actually leaving the Shire. Geek? absolutely not...) was probably during my senior year of high school, and it was all because of my art teacher: Mr. Hooley.

Mr. Hooley was the first person to ever talk to me about nutrition in specific ways. I'm pretty sure he was what I have now become: someone very passionate, but with a very small audience. I, however, was very willing to listen and learn. He told me of the dangers of hydrogenated oils, packaged foods, too many animal products in a diet. It made a lot of sense, the things he told me. He recommended books, I read them. At 17, this was the beginning of my journey.
Honestly, if it wasn't for a certain friend who lead me to (incorrectly) believe certain food choices (or lack of food choices) was wrong, it wouldn't have taken me so long to get where I am today. But, as it happened, it did take a few years. Thus, I continue:

My first step was to stop eating hydrogenated oils. That was the first decision I ever made that would benefit me long term physically. I have stuck to that decision ever since my senior year; trans fat has not been a part of my diet. Another decision I made was to change my small soda intake to a non existent one. I wavered a little bit on this one through out the years, but it has never been a habitual thing at all. (I can only imagine how thankful my bones are for that.)

When I started my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. As I was reaching adulthood, it had become ever more prevalent, and I was prescribed medication.

Not too long after, I married Evan. He was very passionate about living an active lifestyle, while I was very passionate about eating well (as some of you may recall). Together, we formed a standard for our family diet. We agreed that hydrogenated oils would not enter our house. We soon stopped eating sugar. We tried to cut down on the amount of foods we ate from packages.

During this time, I also went through an internal battle regarding my disorder. During depressive episodes, I would feel guilty, (falsely) believing that maybe I was just making myself sad? Maybe I could help it more than I admitted, and that if I just willed myself a little more, I could get over this? However, bi-polar disorder is just that: a disorder. Through many tears, and many priesthood blessings, I learned that this was NOT my fault. I knew that, the Lord knew that, and He was willing to help me cope.

As I started eating healthier, I also started becoming more active. I had never been a fan WHATSOEVER of exercise; I detested running more than nearly anything else (besides hiking). But, I knew it was something I needed to do, so with perseverance, and support from Evan, (and a long enough time line) I actually learned to enjoy exercise! It made me feel strong, it gave me more energy, it made me less anxious and stressed. It also definitely helped with my mood swings that are caused by my disorder.

Since eating well and exercise seem to go hand in hand, it probably goes without saying that eating well also helped my moods. So, when I strayed from my usual diet, I would feel the effects of it not only physically but also emotionally. I would start feeling sluggish and depressed.
This was what happened about a month ago. I was feeling less than great, and I knew exactly why. I had eaten some pretty crappy stuff for the past week, despite knowing that it would effect me negatively. I felt bad, since even though its not my fault that I have bipolar, I knew full well that the things that I CAN control (what I eat, how much I exercise) greatly effect the severity of my disorder. I am supposed to do ALL THAT I CAN DO, and then the Lord can bless me. So, I said a prayer of repentance. I didn't realize I was asking for an answer, because I didn't realize I was asking a question. But the Lord knows me, and apparently He knew that I was ready to live in a way that would bring me greater health, happiness, and spirituality.

"Our religion impresses upon us the importance of taking care of our bodies. There is a carelessness and an indifference even among us that are not found among many well-informed people in the world. Many of the Saints do not seem to be alive to the importance of those laws which pertain to well-being and preservation of the health and strength of the body. Their old traditions cling to them." -George Q. Cannon, LDS apostle

"It was shown in the history of plant science that plants contain all the necessary food substances: proteins, fats, starches and the carbohydrates, minerals...water [and] vitamins. The Great builder of the earth provided well for the physical needs of His children. Countless varieties of edible plants, vegetables, cereals, fruits and nuts are yielded by Mother Nature for man's daily food. If one uses meat it must be used sparingly and in winter or famine only.... They who wish to be well and gain the promised reward stated in the Word of Wisdom must obey all of the law, not just part of it as suits their whim or their appetite, or their notion of its meaning."
-John A. Widstoe, LDS apostle

"In general, the more food we eat in its natural state and the less it is refined without additives, the healthier it will be for us."
-President Ezra Taft Benson

I understand that not only is everyone on their own journey; everyone's journey is different as well. I am now going to be so bold as to say that EVERY person must eat the SAME way and it must happen NOW. (that sounds like an idea Satan would have, does it not?)
However, I have arrived to a place that I believe I was led to by Someone with a much better understanding than me. I believe that the Word of Wisdom is inspired scripture, and that the more closely we follow it, (EVERY part of it, not just the convenient ones...) the more open we will be to the "wisdom and great treasures of knowledge" promised to us in D&C section 89.


  1. So proud of you Tiffany!!!!! Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Good for you! Thanks for sharing. I work with the opposite end of the Bi-Polar spectrum on a daily bases. It's wonderful to know that you are doing something to manage your trial in life, and that you are so devoted to a healthy lifestyle and the Word of Wisdom. :-)

  3. I have a very unhealthy relationship with food. It's amazing though, my new little baby has a dairy sensitivity, and I've started to keep track of how many calories I eat a day so I don't overeat (Hi, my name is Brittanie and I'm a food addict). Between the two, my diet has changed significantly. I find myself eating more raw fruits and vegetables during the day because 1) they're non-dairy, so I can eat them without causing Allison problems, and 2) they're low in calories but filling, so they make better snacks.

    It's amazing to me the difference I feel in myself just the last month. So I guess this is the beginning of my own journey. Maybe I'll be able to actually get past my weight-loss wall?