Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Health is a Blessing: The Connection Between Diet and Health"

I have known Jonell Francis for over ten years now. We have been part of a girlfriends' lunch group that meets almost every month over a potluck lunch. She always has the most fascinating things to say about nutrition and the connection nutrition has to spiritual matters . In her talk, she shared her story of overcoming debilitating symptoms that doctors told here were part of fibromyalgia over ten years ago. She had a friend who suggested that she change her diet and go wheat and dairy free for a time. It worked for Jonell. She has recovered and been able to "run and not be weary, walk and not be faint." She could have easily decided that she was done having children when she was feeling weak and pained (I think she had five at the time) but she has achieved vibrant health and gone on to have four more for a total of nine. You wouldn't know it to look at her because she looks so young, but she has a married daughter.

Jonell shared some facts about the dismal state of America's health in general. She talked about the importance of eating a plant-based diet to improve this dismal state, in alignment with the Word of Wisdom. She then shared that a little bit of animal food is needed, according to the research of Dr. Weston Price.

Jonell said that "health begins in the navel." She was referring to overcoming leaky gut syndrome, which is what she did by avoiding allergens, to overcome her symptoms. She talked about Candida or yeast infections and how that can be caused by a leaky gut. Her mention of health beginning in the navel made a light click on in my brain. I thought, "Yes, it begins in the womb with how the mother nourishes the baby with the food the mother eats (see that goes through the umbilical cord (the navel) into the child, from the first tree of life, the placenta. Then the health in in the child's navel, or gut, is preserved by the mother's milk from the second tree of life, the ****** (mammary organ)." Mother's milk is sterile and has a huge amount of good bacteria to help the bacteria in the gut keep out the bad bacteria that make a baby sick and keep the baby's gut a virgin gut until the permeability of the gut has sealed closed, which happens during the middle of the first year of life. If you preserve the virgin gut of a baby iwth mother's milk, the baby is much less likely to get sick. After the gut permeability has closed then the baby is ready for solid foods, around the middle of the first year of life, but it could be different for each baby, depending on the family history of allergies.

I really appreciate all that Jonell has done to share her story. She is a gourmet cook and mother, so her appreciation of healthy and tasty, kid-pleasing foods shines in her cookbook, The Feel Good Cookbook. See it at I think she took it on herself as a personal mission to visit every non-fast food restaurant in Provo and Orem Utah, copy all of their delectable dishes and put the recipes in her cookbook. You will find some delicious French, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Chinese and Japanese recipes in her book. She is a wonder and I think you will love her cookbook!

My two favorite parts from her talk are as follows. First, she said that she often repeats the following affirmation to herself (paraphrased), "I have a personal savior who loves me. He is Jesus Christ. He is stronger and more powerful than any problem I have." I got to watch a recording of her talk during my recent illness and just hearing her say this brought a tangible feeling of hope in my body that the Savior would heal me from my affliction. She says she teaches this affirmation to her children and reminds them to say it aloud whenever they are stressed and burdened.

She also said "Ladies, we can build Zion from our kitchen counters." Amen, sister, let's do it! Let's build healthy strong bodies of ourselves and our families physically able to carry out the work of building Zion to usher forth the coming of our Savior.

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