Health Site‎ > ‎

Email to Family

Original email to friends and family
Sent on October 25, 2006, only two months after becoming Vegan


We have made drastic changes to what and how our family eats. Following is a brief outline of much of that info, including websites and cookbook recommendations.

First, a bit of history for those who don’t already know why the changes came about - within our church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), we are encouraged to eat according to doctrine referred to as the Word of Wisdom Within it, we are essentially commanded to eat meat sparingly, in times of winter or famine (unlikely, considering our current state of food production and year-round availability.) All grain, fruit and fruit of the vine both above and below the ground (vegetables) are ordained to be the staff of life, or our primary consumption.

That being the case, I searched for LDS Word of Wisdom eating plans, diets, etc. and found little to no information on a comprehensive grain-based lifestyle. What I did find were numerous referrals and articles about the Seventh Day Adventists and their approach to heath and eating. It aligns with the Word of Wisdom, and has been a standard within their faith for 140+ years Some of the facts that motivated us to change included:

Seventh-day Adventists follow dietary restrictions that conform to Biblical guidelines and sound medical advice and most are vegetarians. According to numerous medical studies, Adventists are among the healthiest people in North America.

The recommended Seventh-day Adventist diet includes the generous use of whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, a liberal use of fresh vegetables and fruits, a moderate use of legumes, nuts, seeds and low fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses. Egg yolks should be used in moderation. It is best to avoid high saturated fat and cholesterol foods such as: beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and seafood. Coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages provide few nutrients and may interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients.

Since 1954 more than 250 articles have been published in scientific journals on the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle and health.  In the 1960s, Loma Linda University, in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute, began to study the health of SDAs.  Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, data on the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle was collected and analyzed under contract with the National Institutes of Health. SDAs in general have:
  • 50% less risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, strokes, and diabetes.
  • Vegetarian men under 40 can expect to live more than eight years longer and women more than seven years longer then the general population
  • Current evidence demonstrates that the more closely a person follows the vegetarian diet the lower the risks of major diseases, including heart disease, certain types of cancers, stroke and diabetes
  • Vegetarians have reduced risks of certain diseases because of their increased consumption of whole grains, dried beans, nuts, fresh and dried fruits, and vegetables.  Vegetarians are exposed to fewer carcinogens and mutagens because they do not eat meat
  • Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts are often less expensive than meat.  Plant foods use fewer natural resources from the environment
  • Vegetarians typically enjoy a great variety of plant based foods, international and ethnic dishes
  • A significant correlation exists between the frequent and long term consumption of high-fat, high-cholesterol animal based foods and the incidence of fatal heart disease, certain types of cancer, strokes, and diabetes
  • A vegetarian diet provides a greater consumption of phytochemicals and fiber rich foods which help protect from heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes and hypertension
Researchers believe this added length of life and quality of health is due in particular to the consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as the avoidance of meat, alcohol, coffee and tobacco.

I purchased a few cookbooks at the SDA bookstore. These cookbooks expanded my understanding of what Seventh Day Adventists practice and why, which made conversion much easier. As I read them, I established the basis of techniques, shopping, substitutions, ingredients, etc. that made our transition easy. I like the writing style, hints, tips, information, footnotes, column notes, suggestions, etc. and especially appreciate recipes using relatively common kitchen ingredients and simple techniques. My recommendations of my favorites:

7 Secrets Cookbook by Neva and Jim Brackett ISBN #0-8280-1995-9
Best Gourmet Recipes from Five Loaves Deli & Bakery by Neva Brackett ISBN #0-967-59570-3
The Guilt Free Gourmet by Vicki B. Griffin ISBN #1-891041-25-8
The Total Vegetarian Cookbook by Barbara Watson ISBN #1-58019-188-6

All the above can be purchased from the SDA bookstore online although I found it very beneficial to go to the bookstore and browse. There are also books on resolving health issues such as cancer, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, etc., healing with food, natural medicine, etc.  Also, here is the SDA Resources site (look under Health Ministry)

Here are some SDA / Vegan / Vegetarian recipe sites (no particular order):

Our entire family (we have four daughters, age 3-13) has been completely vegan for 2 months with tremendous success. We consider it a permanent lifestyle change. Increased

We look forward to your responses and will be happy to provide further information, help, or anything else we can assist in.

With Love,

April & Jared Howell

p.s. Here is a couples experience with recovery from serious disease in order to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you want some more references and insights on how our society looks from the vegan side: