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!

As summer evolves into barbecue and ice cream season, we don loose clothing to help us beat the heat and relax.  Even so, it’s time to be mindful that calories count – even on vacation and when the world slows down a bit.  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!

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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 recently had the opportunity to make some eye adjustments of my own.  Needing new prescription glasses, but 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)

A Paradigm Shift: What did Adam and Eve Eat?

I repeat:  it’s amazing what our eyes can adapt to! In fact, the ability of the body, the human intellect and the spirit to grow and change is one of the great marvels of our very existence and mortality, and to me, proof that our heritage is divine.

Continuing with this thought, a beautiful young teacher at our high school is pregnant for the first time with twins. They are due in November.  Her body and the babies inside are changing day by day and it will be amazing for her students to see her when school starts again in September.    Naturally slender, with glowing skin, long blonde hair and head-turning looks, my daughter observed that she is always eating! But only fruits and nuts.  My daughter Kelly asked her about it one day.

“I’m a Paleo!” the teacher responded.

“A what!?” Kelly asked

“A Paleo! As in Paleolithic.  I only eat what the our earliest ancestors ate: fruits, veggies, nuts, fish and animals that have been allowed to move freely.  It’s the healthiest way to live!  The evolution of foods that people commonly eat in the United States are not really good for us.”  She and her husband have consciously made this change as a way of life.  With all my years of being involved with healthy eating, I had not seen this program, although it makes perfect sense.  I’m sure it’s how Adam and Eve must have eaten.

It’s easy to learn more about this program at www.thepaleodiet.com.  It is in complete harmony with the Word of Wisdom, Dr. Gardner’s plan and my favorite handbook of healthy living, “Fit for Life” by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.

It is also in perfect harmony with how Jesus no doubt 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 Paleo diet 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.

So what, exactly would he eat?  Like the Paleo diet, Jesus would have eaten primarily unprocessed foods, then fish, then poultry, then sweets and red meats.  In a very interesting chapter, the author compares the USDA food pyramid and then creates a new food pyramid based on what Jesus would have eaten.

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!

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!  The avalanche of responses the Dr. Gardner and Dian Thomas have to their articles here at Meridian confirms that many of us are deeply discouraged about the ability to change.


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)  Substitute olive oil for butter, margarine, salad dressings and other oils.  Avoid all fried or deep-fried foods.

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

5)  Eat lowfat, plain yogurt, add fruit, and sweeten with Stevia, a natural substitute for sugar that has no harmful side effects.

6.  Choose fish and poultry over red meat, and eat meat sparingly.

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.