For a while now I’ve been journeying through the scriptures in chronological order. I’ve learned lots by studying the scriptures in context of time. And now I’m in the home stretch.
This morning I looked at D&C 89. We’ve all heard that we tend to focus too much on what we should avoid and not enough on the what we should embrace. But when you tally the score on each side of that fence, you find something really interesting.
The Lords says “Yes” twice as much as He says “No.”
Let's take score
Count it out with me. Concerning what we should ingest, here’s what the Lord says.
1. No to alcohol. (v. 5 & 7)
2. No to tobacco. (v. 8)
3. No to coffee or tea. (v. 9)
So the Nays have 3. Now for the Yeas.
1. Yes to herbs. (v. 10-11)
2. Yes to fruit in season. (v. 11)
3. Yes to meat sparingly. (v. 12-13)
4. Yes to grains as “the staff of life.” (v. 14-15)
5. Yes to fruit as supplement to grains. (v. 15)
6. Yes to wheat as the central grain in diet. (v. 17)
A closer look
These days it seems like there’s always some new research study about the benefits of eating this food and staying away from that one. And many selections take turns. One day salt is good for you, the next it’s not. One day eggs are bad for you, the next they’re not. I could go on, but I think you know what I’m getting at.
That’s what makes the Word of Wisdom so wonderful. Look at the program which the Creator recommends. A diet based in herbs (which could be interpreted to include vegetables), fruits, and whole grains will promote health in the body. If the bulk of your daily caloric load comes from these plant-base sources, then you’ve got a good hold on taking care of yourself.
Of course, the body needs protein, especially to rebuild muscle torn down by exercise (which we all know we should get). While all meat is protein, not all protein is meat. So eating meat sparingly and then filling the rest of your protein needs with plant-based sources like lentils, beans, and nuts is a healthy approach to diet.
Now I’m not championing vegetarianism. I have friends with that lifestyle, and I respect their choice. The Lord advised that meat should be eaten sparingly, which means that it can be eaten. Just make sure not to make it an overly large part of your daily caloric load. For me, that means enjoying that bacon cheeseburger I love on a “blue-moon” basis.
I confess my diet hasn’t always been the best. In earlier years I was quite depressed about my single status, and like many in that boat I turned to food to compensate. But that was then. Now I’ve made great strides toward improving my diet. And I feel much better than I did when my diet was poorer.
That doesn’t mean I don’t eat what people say you shouldn’t eat. I disagree with those who say some foods are “clean” or “good” while others aren’t. In my perspective, there are no bad foods, only bad amounts.
So as I said before, I’ll eat that bacon cheeseburger. I just won’t eat it every day. The same goes for pizza and ice cream and chocolate and donuts and such.
A holistic approach
I can’t say that I’m perfect with the program. But I can say that I’m trying. And I am improving. I even have the numbers to prove it. My weight is dropping, my strength is increasing, and I’m running farther than I was at the start of the year. With each improvement I feel a little bit better, and not just in my body.
The Lord acknowledged not only a healthy body as a result of obeying the Word of Wisdom but also a healthy mind and spirit. Look at the promises He makes at the end of Section 89. The Lord reflect the interconnections between our different parts. He truly is interested in our whole salvation.
If you’re reading this and feeling guilty, please stop. Stop with the guilt and start getting on this train.
The changes I’ve made in myself were never large or sudden. They were all small steps taken one at a time. And collectively they’ve added into more than their sum. I can feel that difference.
So if you’re falling short of the Lord’s standard, don’t feel guilty. Just start doing something to move in the right direction. With each positive step you make, you’ll realize more of the Lord’s promises in your life. And you’ll feel so much better for it.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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