I decided to update this introductory blog written at the onset of Living WOW! If you follow the Rise to Shine Blog or have read my book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases, you know that my journey began as I approached my 40th birthday. Well, another decade has passed and a lifestyle program has been born so here are a few reflections I have experienced.

For the first 39 years of my life, I lived the Standard American Diet & lifestyle. I was absolutely typical and found myself with the typical dilemmas as a result. Overweight, exhausted, stressed and sick.

When the light-bulb went on I began to understand the connection between nutrition and healing. That is what you see in the above transformation picture. When I began being intentional about my choices and lifestyle, I found what has felt like the fountain of youth! I felt and looked younger than I had in my 20s and 30s.

So was it sustainable? You be the judge! Here is a picture taken the morning of my 49th birthday. Do I look 10 years older? I’m guessing not since my husband thought I had just changed the background. What I did was put the exact same outfit on and ran out front and had my daughter snap a pic on my phone. Similar to what she did when the first “transformation” pic was taken. No makeup, no touch-ups, just a raw headed-for-workout pic!

So how have I maintained the transformation? Really the question is how could I not! When you take off 20 years of pain and disease, it’s pretty simple to embrace being a little different and it certainly isn’t difficult. It’s just a choice! When I found this shirt recently, I had to pick it up because it absolutely exemplifies my point…it’s a lifestyle folks… Not a fad or a trend.

This is where the Living WOW Lifestyle Program was born. As I began promoting my book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases and sharing my Change Your Story: From Surviving to Thriving presentation, I started hearing “this is good information for ANYONE, even if they don’t have an autoimmune disease”.

I realized that if I put it together in a way that could be replicated, as a complete lifestyle program, it would be something that could be doable and sustainable for others too. It’s not a fad or a trend, or even a simple diet…it’s a lifestyle folks. This is how I began to define it and delineate it from our most normal and socially recognized SAD lifestyle…

Introducing the WOW Lifestyle

I am often asked if I am a vegetarian or a vegan. I am asked about my diet because of the health transformation I have undergone in my 40s. I have journeyed from the diagnosis of 3 Autoimmune Diseases with a survival mentality and SAD (Standard American Diet) lifestyle to thriving by living what I refer to as the WOW (Words of Wisdom) Lifestyle. It is more than a diet, however both the name and the eating guidelines I’ve taken from the word of God, scripture. In fact, when I put it all down as tenets of a lifestyle it can all be derived from guidance we have been given throughout time from our maker of how to live our best lives.

Many have heard of the Word of Wisdom; revelation given through the modern prophet Joseph Smith in 1833 and canonized in scripture, Doctrine and Covenants Section 89. Many practice abstinence from alcohol, coffee and tobacco due to the guidance and instruction in this scripture. We see lifestyle guidance for the needs of the people in ancient times from the creation in Genesis, as well with the children of Israel, the Law of Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel and many others.  Also during the time of Christ, guidance was given and recorded in the New Testament. However, as with most scripture, different things speak to you at different times as you need it in your life. That is the miracle of God’s word. It is both timeless and personally relevant. This is how the WOW Lifestyle came to be in my life.

I actually had adopted a clean whole food plant based diet which is a mouthful and probably why so many people were confused and thought I was a vegetarian or vegan. The reason I am not is because I do not eat processed foods, which are prevalent in both vegetarianism and veganism which is how you can have things like Tofurkey and mac n “cheese”. I am not criticizing either diet or lifestyle; I am just stating the difference. The purpose for the diet may also be a difference, as many vegetarians and vegans abstain from all animal products due to carbon footprint or cruelty to animals. Although I am conscious of my impact on Mother Earth and try to always leave it better than I found it, I coexist well with animals and appreciate all they give to me and I use it regularly. Few things are better than raw honey or eggs from my backyard flock.

So it comes down to the fact that nothing takes toxins out of our bodies better than plants. Period. At the time that I was discovering the WOW Lifestyle, I was on an autoimmune journey, and boy did I have toxins built up! I was also learning that Hippocrates philosophy of “Let food be thy medicine” was absolute truth and realized that God’s pharmacy was in my garden.  Elimination diets and detox diets kept bringing me back to the produce.

But then comes all of the “FAD diets”. I’m not sure what FAD really stands for, but I’m going to say Fade And Die because that is what happens.  They burst onto the scene as the latest and greatest solution to weight loss, because let’s be honest, no one eats for health. Most people eat for social, habit, and comfort and then see the results in the mirror and panic. They see others have success and jump on the bandwagon. In my adult life, I’ve seen this cycle come and go with low fat, low sugar, low carb, high protein, gluten free, etc.  Why do they fade away? They are not sustainable and often even harmful. They are a short term band-aid of the symptom rather than a cure for the cause.

The problem is our SAD lifestyle. You can’t replace a SAD with a FAD, because it’s not sustainable. We aren’t addressing the cause!  The problem is that our food doesn’t nourish us, and our bodies think they are starving so we feed them almost constantly. Our SAD diet is a product of our SAD lifestyle; 24-7 on, sexy, fast, instant gratification, toxic overload. In order to keep up, we power up. But the law of physics and opposition in all things will win every time. Whatever goes up must come down. In my experience, that down is usually an ugly crash and why I know FAD diets don’t work. I always gained back at least twice what I lost. SAD lifestyle was also the cause of my chronic autoimmune diseases, after running in full-on stress mode for 20 years my body said enough, and gave me the option to stop and address the problem or die.

So what is one to do when faced with a health crisis? First you have to realize that a health crisis is really a lifestyle crisis. The hard part is owning it and taking responsibility for it. It is not your doctor’s job to fix you, unless it is a broken arm that can be repaired. Your body will heal itself if you give it the right environment to do so. Your doctor may help you understand what modifications you need to make to support your body. Most doctors I know are frustrated trying to help people manage diseases they have due to lifestyle. Patients are not willing to make the lifestyle changes, rather most just want a prescription to manage the symptoms so that they can continue the SAD life.

Enter the solution! The WOW Life! I have defined it and created a program that I am confident will not harm you in any way. It will not cost you any more (in fact, my experience is that it is actually more affordable) than your SAD Life.  I’m even going to go out on a limb here and say that I am not a doctor and I do not give medical advice, but this may even heal you. Why am I so confident in this program? Because it is based on Words of Wisdom found in scriptures that are revelation for our time.

Listen to this…”thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—“ (Doctrine & Covenants 89:4). If that’s not meant for us in our time, I don’t know what is.

Look beyond the obvious and well known abstinence of alcohol and tobacco which is well documented and supported in science of the toxic effect on our health (although it was not when this revelation was received in 1833). “Strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies” (Doctrine & Covenants 89:7). I can’t help but wonder if that would be a better use for energy drinks.

Let me circle back around to where the link to the whole food plant based diet came in for me. It’s not about what we aren’t supposed to eat but rather what we ARE…”all wholesome herbs 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.” (Doctrine & Covenants 89:10-12)

And He continues, not with what we can’t eat but how we should eat…”Yea, flesh 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.” (Doctrine & Covenants 89:12-13)

More on those wonderful plants…”All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life… 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–.” (Doctrine & Covenants 89:14-16)

The best part is, of course, the WOW promises which are quite different than those of the SAD lifestyle. “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; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.” (Doctrine & Covenants 89:18-21)

So how does CallyRae interpret these guidelines? Plants are best! If it comes from the ground it is good for me. I am to eat with prudence and thanksgiving… buzzword “mindful eating”. Meat is fine, but sparingly, and when plants aren’t available like winter and famine.  Evils and designs create franken food which is addictive and toxic. Overwhelm and confusion of information keeps us on the SAD roller coaster.

Pairing the aforementioned Word of Wisdom with other scriptural lifestyle guidance such as “Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault with one another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” (Doctrine & Covenants 88: 124) This combination really embodies the WOW Lifestyle that is not a FAD and is quite different than SAD because it is timeless and true and more needful as guidance in our day than ever before.

I hope you will recognize truth in these words as they are not mine, only my interpretation and application. I also know that when I am living a WOW Lifestyle I have more energy, health, and happiness than at any other time in my life.  This is my foundation for thriving!

Living WOW Lifestyle Daily Playbook

This is my foundation for the Living WOW Lifestyle Transformation Program and the Living WOW Lifestyle Daily Playbook . Tools that help you step out of the SAD life and into a WOW life day by day, choice by choice.

I have compiled these power habits into the Living WOW Lifestyle Daily Playbook to help you step out of the SAD lifestyle and into the WOW lifestyle more easily and quickly than I did. Twenty five years of behavior modification and neuro reprogramming as a speech language pathologist, 10 years of continuing education in nutrition and lifestyle, as well as my own life laboratory healing and reversing autoimmune diseases has led to this Living WOW Lifestyle Daily Playbook to synthesize and apply powerful strategies every day.

To claim your copy of the Living WOW Lifestyle Daily Playbook just click here and join our RisetoShine.life community. There is no cost as it is my gift to you! It is my gift to you, but it is up to you to receive it, open it, and use it. I also have a training on the Living Wow Stonehouse Style YouTube Channel so that you can maximize the tool, for FREE!

By being a part of our community of Rise to Shine and Living Wow you can join us whether in person or online. If you are in Idaho we would love to have you join us at our Healthy Living Revolution and Change Your Story events. You can find the calendar of events on the website! If you are somewhere else in the US, we are planning to visit all 50 states this year and would love an excuse to meet you as we inspire healthy living across the nation. Contact us to schedule an event in your area! When you are online you can friend and follow the RisetoShine blog, You Tube vlog channelFacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn. Please share this blog and resources with those you know who want to start thriving. I know there are way too many who are just surviving! Shine on!

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