Monday, June 22, 2009

She Said: Seeking to be Great and Good and Wise

So.... with all of the health risks Dr. B. mentioned above, WHY is the "eating meat sparingly" portion of the Word of Wisdom ignored in the modern Church? It continues to be taught in our lessons and manuals, but there isn't much of an effort made to cut meat out of our diets. When we go to our temple recommend interview and are asked if we obey the Word of Wisdom, if we have taken as much as one sip of wine, we would feel constrained to answer in the negative. But the amounts of meat we have eaten does not even cross our minds. Is this because the word "sparingly" is not defined? Is it because, with modern refrigeration methods we don't think the meat restriction applies any more? Or is it just inconvenient in our fast-food world to structure a diet around grains and fresh fruits and vegetables?

I really find it so odd that today's Mormons have taken the Word of Wisdom so strictly with regards to "hot drinks" (redefined as coffee and tea), that they will often rid their diets of any trace of caffeine, including soft drinks, aspirin, etc. Yet when it comes to eating meat, there is little effort to follow the guidelines.

Two Sundays ago we had an investigator sitting with our family during Church and the congregation sang the song: "In Our Lovely Deseret:"
That the children may live long, and be beautiful and strong
Tea and Coffee and Tobacco they despise:
Drink no liquor, and they eat but a very little meat,
They are seeking to be good and great and wise.

I wondered, uncomfortably, what our investigator was thinking as we sang this hymn. I knew it was very different than what is sung in the worship services in other churches. Our health code is very important to us, but perhaps we don't want to seem TOO peculiar or different. How much does this have to do with how we interpret the Word of Wisdom? How strange would Mormons be if we didn't frequent McDonald's?

Dr. B. and I have been talking about this subject this week and in our menu plans we've cut down the amount of meat we'll be eating in the next 7 days. But we find that we still have difficulty not planning meals, especially dinner, around a meat dish.

Yesterday's stuffed mushrooms didn't go over very well.


  1. Stuffed mushrooms are way too obvious -- they cry out, "look, no meat here." You have to be more subtle. There are a lot of meals that you would normally eat, that don't have meat.

    For instance:

    Pasta with marinara sauce.
    Cheese pizza.
    Nachos with bean dip.
    Scalloped potatoes (without ham, sorry).
    Lentil soup.
    Bean burritos.
    Pad thai (without the chicken).
    Peanut butter sandwiches. :)

  2. Kaimi, Cheese pizza, PB sandwiches and maybe the nachos would all be a hit.

    I would have to google pad thai...

  3. When my children were young, I told them that I was not a short order cook. I would be preparing the meals. If they didn't want what I cooked, they could eat cereal. And they could eat cereal 3X a day as far as that goes. They could have whatever they liked on their birthdays. They became complete omnivores, then vegetarian.

    Bread And Jam For Frances is one of our favorite books.

  4. You can usually find veggie options at restaurants, even if it’s ordering a potato and sides. For fast food, I love Chipotle's veggie burrito. Another quickie option is Taco Bueno's $1 taco with black beans instead of meat. I usually hold the cheese and add extra pico and onions.

    My first attempt at a vegan recipe was probably Aloo Gobi and it remains one of my favorites. Get the DVD of "Bend It Like Beckham" from your library and go to the special features. One is a cooking lesson on how to make Aloo Gobi or curried cauliflower and potatoes. You can Google 'aloo gobi' + 'bend it like beckham' to get the printed recipe, but the featurette is fun. (coriander = cilantro) A lot of Indian food is vegetarian. I was able to take an Indian cooking class at a local restaurant here in Dallas and learned a lot. There are a lot of Vegan/Vegetarian cookbooks available and there are a lot of recipes available online.

    The Vegetarian Society of Hawaii has free lecture videos by experts online.

    The Vegetarian Resource Group:

    Vegan recipes from the Healing Heart Foundation:

    Recipes from

    There are several McDougall cookbooks, but many of the recipes are available online. They put out a monthly newsletter with a lot of good information as well as recipes. Here is the recipe index; then you have to go to the newsletter index to get the recipe.

    I still cook meat for my kids and the missionaries, but over the last 5 years I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like handling it. I usually buy the microwavable meat entrees by Tyson or Hormel on sale and keep them in the freezer

    Thanks for the discussion. You both made some good points. Good Luck!

  5. Chicken breast meat is very healthy compared to red meat. I buy boneless/skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale for under $2.00/pound. I cook them whole in a George Forman grill, or slice them up and stir fry them with veggies, or grind them up into chicken-burger, and cook the ground chicken in "good oils" that are low in saturated fat.

    They store well in the freezer, either whole or ground. I put a chicken breast, or its ground up equivalent, in an inexpensive fold-over sandwich bag, then store 4 of those in a quart sized freezer bag. That way I can defrost one at a time, cuz they don't stick together.

    Defrost them in the fridge for 24 hours, not at room temp.

    Kroger has 1 pound of frozen veggies on sale at least once a month for $1.00.