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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Points Made Recently by Caldwell Essestlyn, Jr., M.D. Support the LDS Health Code, the Word of Wisdom

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a set of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants.  The Doctrine and Covenants contains in section 89, the Lord's code of health.  Here is the history of how the Word of Wisdom came to be.....

"When they (the School of the Prophets) assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet [Joseph Smith] entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry."Brigham Young, Journal of Discoursesvol. 12, p. 158

Here is a link to the text of the Word of Wisdom in Doctrine and Covenants 89.

Just to summarize, the Word of Wisdom commanded members to stay away from "hot drinks".... 

 "9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.' 

 and to "eat meat sparingly" .....

" 12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts 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 csparingly;
 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine."
In a recent advanced study conference held by John McDougall, M.D. in February 2014, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.  stated two things that really brought up my interest.  
1.  In a recent study done in Italy, caffeine was found to cause restriction in the brachial artery one hour after the consumption of coffee.  This was not found in participants who drank decaf.  I will add a note here that a similar study on this was done at the  Heart Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv University with the same results.
2.  In another study done at the Cleveland Clinic, by Stanley Hazen, M.D.   patients who were vegan were given one piece of steak.  The gut flora and blood chemistry of all patients were tested.  The end result was that the vegan patients did not produce the same bad bacteria that caused toxic chemical changes in the blood known to cause damage to endothelial cells.  But, patients who regularly consumed meat did. 
In other words, eating meat sparingly, meaning once in a long term time of being vegan, was not harmful, but eating it regularly was.  
In the Word of Wisdom the Lord sanctions the consumption of meat to be conducted "with thanksgiving" during time of winter, cold, or famine.
The Lord has made provisions through His creation for us to overcome the negative effects of "bad" bacterial flora in our digestive systems when we have to consume meat for survival, if we do not consume, but only sparingly.  
I think it is wonderful that studies that Dr. Esselstyn cites, prove scientifically why the sparing consumption of meat is safe, if you are regularly living on a plant based diet. 

I think it is also wonderful that this research highlights the benefits of not eating meat at all when it comes to digestive bacterial balance, and detoxing the system.

What I take from this is that I should keep eating my low-fat plant based diet, but if I were to find myself crossing the plains to Salt Lake City in the winter, like my pioneer ancestors did, I should know that it is okay for me to eat some buffalo meat to survive.  Or, should I find myself in some similar situation in our modern times, it's okay to eat meat.

However, this should not be a rationalization for me to go back to my old ways.

I also think it is wonderful to see how science proves out the Word of Wisdom as testing becomes more technologically advanced, as does the brachial artery studies on caffeine in coffee, which the LDS people refer to as one of the two "hot drinks" listed in the Word of Wisdom, the other being tea.
To watch Dr. Esselstyn's video and get more accurate details than my laywomen's report gives in the post,  please click here. 

Before I end here, I do want to say that I champion personal choice when it comes to dietary choices because we each do, indeed, have our own balance of gut flora as individual fingerprints.  Upon realizing that, I am determined to try my best not to judge others.  I provide this information as encouragement for those who desire to lower their meat consumption, not reprimand those who choose a different approach.  I realize that in the end how we treat each other is vastly more important than making other's feel bad in effort to be the person that is right on this matter.

My DH and my son working on cutting down a "widow maker" tree that fell into another tree in our backyard.  My son is a plant based rugby player and high school cross country star, and my husband is down 55 pounds and shows no signs of heart disease after having been on a low-fat plant based diet for 18 months.  Despite the nerve wracking/blood pressure raising nature of this task, he had no ill effects on his cardiovascular system, even after being up on the lift for 8 hours in 20 mph wind gusts.  This is something he could haven't even dreamed of doing a year ago.

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