Mormon Moms for Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Cooking!

This blog is intended to be a support for anyone who desires to make the vegetarian, vegan {and or} raw food diet change. Whether you want to drastically change to a completely raw diet or just add a few more vegetarian meals to your weekly menu, we are here for you! It doesn't matter who you are or why you want to make the change. We want to share our love, support, tips, testimonies and - recipes - to make your life easier, happier and healthier!

The Fruit

Testimonies of the vegetarian, vegan and raw diets.

My name is Amy Coffield.  I am the founder and author of this blog.  I am also a mormon, a mother, a wife, and a vegetarian (working to be vegan).  I created this blog to offer a positive and supportive place for others who want to incorporate more vegetarian, vegan and raw foods into their diets.

For me this decision was 9 years in the making.  I grew up in a large, middle class family raised on meat, potatoes and lots of love.  Since we didn't have tons of money anytime we wanted to make something special we would just make good food.  I LOVE FOOD.  Donuts, candy, cookies and dogs, hamburgers, steaks, fried, tacos, orange chicken...chips...chips...more chips... cheese... pasta... cheese....and bread....not to mention Arby's! If it's unhealthy, fattening and delicious then I love it.  I was also raised in a very devote LDS household (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  I was taught to pray always, to love and serve Jesus Christ and my fellow beings, to repent and to read and obey the word of God daily among many other faith promoting things.  I made my share of mistakes as I matured to adolescence but for the most part I was true to my faith and I was happy.  When I was 17 years old I received my patriarchal blessing and although I didn't know it at the time that was the first 'nudge' from my loving Heavenly Father leading me to choose a peaceful vegetarian life-style.

You see my patriarchal blessing is very detailed and thorough.  It will take me a life time to absorb all of the information offered in it.  One thing that I always wondered about was the charge to keep the Word of Wisdom.  There is an entire paragraph devoted to the principle of the Word of Wisdom.  It's always seemed so random.  I have NEVER been tempted to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or do drugs and having grown up in a mormon household I'd never even considered drinking coffee and was never around.  I always thought of the Word of Wisdom as something I didn't have to worry about, so I wondered why the Lord would take the time to remind me very specifically and personally to "observe the word of wisdom".  I have not once read my patriarchal blessing and not wondered about that paragraph.  At times I was so bothered by it I wondered if at some point in my life I might be tempted to abuse prescription drugs or something and when I ended up needing surgery a few years ago the idea of taking the prescription pain pill scared me so much, I endured the pain and opted for extra-strength tylenol.  I wasn't prepared or mature enough to understand what my blessing was telling me.

Shortly after receiving my blessing a very good friend of mine who struggled with  depression and chronic pain among other things her whole life, came over to my house and shared with me a miracle she had just experienced.  She had been completely healed of all of her ailments.  She was off ALL of her prescription medications and feeling better than she had ever felt.  She told me about how she drastically changed her diet.  First she went vegetarian, then quickly dropped all animal products from her diet and was vegan and then she went all the way - she only ate a live raw food diet.  It was truly a miracle and I witnessed it with my own eyes.

At the time I was intrigued.  I was interested.  I was NOT converted though.  I said to her so many times, "I could never give up meat!",  "I love food way too much.",  "I need my hamburgers!" etc.  She kindly and lovingly listened.  A couple years later when I found a lump in my breast for the second time and knew that I would need another surgery I worried.  I wondered what kind of damage was being done to my body each time I had surgery.  I wondered if I would be able to breast feed my children.  I wondered about cancer.  A lot.  I talked to my live raw foodist friend and she explained how changing my diet can give my body the power to heal and prevent this from happening again and even prevent cancer.  I was much more interested at this time.  I tried a cleanse to detoxify my body and I tried to eat better but I wasn't ready.

It's now about 6 years later and after serving a full time mission, getting married and becoming a mother (among other defining things) the Lord has finally found me ready to learn.

As a mother I want the best for my children.  I want them to be healthy and happy.  My worst fears are either something happening to my children or something happening to me and my husband and not being able to be there for our children when they need us.  Naturally, I have been meditating the past few months about health and nutrition and have questioned our traditional American diet.  I started researching health and nutrition strictly for temporal purposes.  Everything I found was leading me to a vegetarian, vegan and raw food diet.

This was so overwhelming!  I was just getting good at planning and cooking meals for my family.  I was getting really good in the kitchen and even had a "meal idea blog" where I posted some of my own recipes.  I knew what kinds of foods my family liked and would eat.  I loved having easy, satisfying recipes on hand for flexible cooking on crazy busy days.  Now, I'm going to have to learn how to eat vegetables and fruits...nuts and seeds...beans (not my favorite things) and I'm not going to be able to dowse them in butter cream sauces and loads of cheese.  Really?  Do I really want to do this?  The truth was, yes.  I really wanted to do it if it was going to make me and my family healthy and protect us from disease.

I decided to pray about this decision and talk it over with my husband.  I turned to the scriptures and that is when this decision turned from being a temporal thing to a spiritual thing.  I studied the Word of Wisdom and as I read it I felt like I was reading it for the first time.  The spirit was so strong and as I read it was as though the Holy Ghost was adding emphasis as I went.

"And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs (plants) God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man.  Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.  Yea, flesh (meat) also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;  And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.  All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;  And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.  All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground....and all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones."

Is this the same Word of Wisdom I've been reading all my life?  For the first time it was so clear.  The Lord reveals to us what he has provided for us as food.  He said, all plants are for our CONSTITUTION, NATURE and USE.  He then tells us that he has ordained the use of meats as food but they are to be used sparingly.  When I read sparingly I thought, "SPARINGLY?  That is NOT what I would call the way I have been using meat.  Meat is the main dish in almost everything I cook on a regular basis.  I use meat regularly - not sparingly."  As I kept reading I found that the Lord clarifies this for us, by saying that it is pleasing unto Him that meat NOT BE USED, ONLY in times of winter, cold or FAMINE.  I realized when I read this, that when this revelation was given the majority of the saints lived off the land.  Winter brought little fresh produce and if there was an unexpected frost there might also be a shortage of food.  In these cases as well as in the case of famine are the ONLY times that the Lord has ordained meat to be used.  And if there was any doubt or confusion left when it comes to the use of meat the Lord offers yet one more clarification: "And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger."  "So basically", I thought, "before eating meat ask yourself 'am I in a situation of excess hunger?' If the answer is yes then by all means - eat the meat, if not, then think again.  I realized how blessed I am to live in a time and a place that I am never threatened with hunger.  It doesn't matter if it's winter or cold - I've got 3 grocery stores with in walking distance filled with a wide variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds, nuts, and beans.  I'll never forget the moment that all of this just clicked in my mind.  In the same moment the spirit confirmed in my heart everything I had just read and I knew that my life would never be the same.

I sat on my bed with my scriptures open on my lap awe struck.  I wondered how I could live 26 years of a mormon life and not have learned this before now.  I wondered why there were not more vegetarian mormons.  I've only ever known 2.  I wondered how my husband would react.  I pondered the blessings promised to those who obey these words and I felt complete peace.

I have come to the Lord with a sincere heart, with real-intent - meaning that I was committed to acting on whatever it was that I learned, and I had true faith in Christ that I would receive an answer.  I received this truth through the power of the Holy Ghost and my testimony of Moroni 10:5 is deepened (Moroni 10:3-5).  I have been edified by the spirit as I have shared these things with my husband and friends and I know that with out a doubt I am doing what the Lord would have me do.  I have never been more grateful for my Heavenly Father who despite my craziness leads me and guides me. Sometimes its little nudges, other times its big pushes but in the end I am always where I need to be - to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.  I thank the Lord for this gift of truth and I pray always that I will have the strength, courage and knowledge to live it through out the rest of my life.

My name is Ronda Loveridge. I am the co-author of this blog. I am also a wife, a mother to four darling daughters, a MOSTLY vegetarian, sometimes vegan, and occasionally a raw foodist Mormon. I am excited to participate in this blog because my vegetarian tendencies have been viewed as extreme in my Mormon world.  This is sad to me.   I think it is a worthwhile endeavor to share what I have learned in my four years of mostly meatless eating. I hope there is something helpful you can find from my trials and errors.

It is still surprising to me that I ended up eating like a vegetarian. Like Amy, I would have never sought after giving up meat. I grew up in the midwest surrounded by all varieties of meat dishes. To me, a plate of Grandma's pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy was the embodiment of love. Leaving the food I knew, loved, and showed love with was a big deal for me.

Suffice it to say that I have been married for 13 years and a mother for twelve. During this time I have spent a lot of time contemplating, looking for, and praying for guidance on what would be the best thing to feed my family. My faith assumes that God is the creator of this earth and of every living thing on it. I therefore assume that since He created my body, He knows what would make it run optimally. I knew He could teach me.

Enter The China Study, by T. Collin Campbell stage right. The Lord went to great lengths to get this book into my hands, (My apology to the Amanda Wilding Family) but once I got it I knew what to do with it. I was convicted of the truth of the information by the second or third chapter. I knew for certain that this was the information I had been looking for. I followed it up with more reading. Dr. Mcdougal, Dr. Ornish, are just a few of my continuing inspirations. This stuff was for real! A plant based diet of 85% plant and no more than 10-15% animal based was known to ward off disease, bring you to optimal body weight, and many more benefits. This ratio helped me to understand the concept of "Sparingly" from the Word of Wisdom.  I knew I had to do it. I also knew that my reasons were different than for any other diet I had ever tried. There was no vanity involved in my conviction. I wanted this for my health, my energy level, and for the example it would give for my daughters. I didn't want them to have to overcome my bad eating example to lead a healthy life. I was gifted with the power to change.

I went straight to work. I started reading cook books like they were novels.  I started eating things I had never touched before like tofu and quinoa. I was so enthused and happy about my change.  It took a lot of time and effort.  We ate a lot of things that we didn't particularly like, and we have now settled into things that we like and can even share with others.  It has been over four years now.  My excitement and enjoyment have only increased.  My testimony of the Word of Wisdom has been strengthened as I have come to more fully understand the concept of eating meat sparingly.  I have performed a trial on my faith like unto Alma 32.   I can tell you the fruit is good.  My testimony has grown with gratitude for modern day revelation and a loving Father who answers prayers.  As I have embraced this information the Word of Wisdom has become clearer to me.  I think I have a glimmer of understanding about hidden treasures of knowledge. 

So that is a glimpse into my story.  I share it with the hope that any new virtual friends I make who are considering or investigating this line of thinking might open their minds to a trial. A trial on the word of wisdom and a trial for their bodies. I believe that you will see that this trial will bear fruits that are desirable and pleasing to yourself and the Lord. If you have already changed the paradigm of your thinking and are now looking for some ideas of what to feed your family this is the place!

I never dreamed that I would be able to use my Grandma's secret ingredient of Love in other kinds of food.  I have found that when vegetables and legumes are prepared with Love the recipients still feel the magic of the meal and still think it tastes great. My kids just get excited for different food.  I stick to the old family culture by making meals a special place to be with consideration of each persons likes and dislikes, but I have started a new culture with the plant based options that we embrace.  I believe that the new culture will keep us loving each other a little bit longer on this earth. In the very least, I hope to live up until the moment that I die. 

If you would like to share a testimony about the vegetarian, vegan and raw diets please email your your story to thevegetariantree {at} gmail {dot} com
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