About the Author: Jaci Wightman is a two-time author and certified Health Coach, and is happily married and has 7 children. She currently works as a health coach at Live Well Chiropractic in West Haven, UT. She’s a sought-after speaker and podcaster, a former food addiction recovery facilitator, and the creator of several online courses.
I’ve been frustrated about something lately and I’m feeling the need to vent. Because I work as a health coach, I’m always reading or hearing that this or that thing is the best (and only) way to be healthy. The information comes at us from every direction—online articles, news reports, Facebook posts, and it’s even passed on in the gossip from our family and friends.
“Eat THIS,” one nutrition expert says.
“No,” says some other expert, “you have to eat THAT to be healthy.”
“Do THIS kind of workout,” says another.
“No, THAT exercise is the only true way to get results.”
“Use THIS supplement.”
“Avoid THAT food group entirely.”
“Read THIS article.”
“No, THAT expert doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
It can all start to feel really overwhelming.
And yet, most of us face some sort of recurring health issues, so we often turn to the internet to find answers for whatever ails us—be it weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, depression, or anxiety. We browse the latest research and scour the most recent scientific studies. We look through amazon book reviews and read blogs from others with similar problems.
Yes, some of the stuff we read may seem a little odd or unsettling, but they’re experts after all. They know what they’re doing, right? They’ve done their homework. We can put our health in their trustworthy hands and do what they say, and everything will start to improve.
Or will it?
I feel like taking a megaphone and shouting the question for all the world to hear: Is the internet really the best place to turn for answers to our questions? And if it is, then tell me this: with all the conflicting information out there, how do we know which experts to believe? Do we base it on the credentials behind someone’s name? Or the impressive pictures and statistics they use in their blog post? Or the number of books they’ve sold or how much social hype surrounds their theories or products?
Again, it can all start to feel really overwhelming.
What gets me most is looking at what’s happened to all the expert advice from the past. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, for instance, doctors and government authorities were telling us to avoid fat and cholesterol like the plague. We were instructed to replace foods like butter and eggs with low-fat options that were often highly processed and refined. As a society, we embraced that advice wholeheartedly. Lived on it for decades. Raised our kids on those products. We trusted the experts to tell us the best way to care for ourselves and our families and proved it by spending our money exactly how they told us to.
But the crazy thing is, science is now proving that the “fat makes us fat” theory is absolute rubbish. The new paradigm emerging is that processed food is the true evil and the thing we should avoid like the plague. While I’m definitely on board with some of this emerging science and while I love the new emphasis on whole food (a friend of mine calls it “God food” or food just like God made it), we still have to face a very real and difficult question: is there a chance that part of today’s science will also eventually be thrown out as rubbish? Every generation thinks it’s got the actual truth when it comes to health and wellness. So how do we know that what we’re hearing now is the whole truth and nothing but the truth? If previous scientific studies from prestigious medical journals can be dismissed and thrown out, how do we know the same thing won’t happen again in 20 years? And if that’s the case, which voices should we listen to? Who can we trust to help us know how best to care for the health of ourselves and our families?
For me, there’s only one answer. It’s Christ alone. He’s the only One that can give me counsel I can truly trust for the health and wellness of myself and my family.
I know it may sound odd to think of our Savior as a nutrition expert. In our minds, we often view Him as compassionate or loving or merciful or gentle or even spiritual, but do we ever tend to think of Him as smart? Brilliant, even? Do we understand that His knowledge on the body and the way to heal it far outweighs even the most well-trained doctors and scientists? If you think about it, Christ really is the ultimate science expert. After all, He created the entire food system. He alone knows exactly what our bodies need to stay healthy and strong. Combine all the millions of articles on Google and you still wouldn’t even come close to His amount of wisdom on the subject or His almighty power to heal.
With that said, I want to be clear that I’m not implying that all the health advice out there is worthless. I’m just saying we need to go to the Lord first and make Him our foremost nutritional expert. As we ask for direction in health matters, He may very well direct us to read certain articles or books because He knows they hold the truths we need most. In fact, that’s exactly how I was shown how to heal my sugar addiction—He led me to an expert whose work changed my life in a very radical way. But the only way I knew I could trust what I was reading is because my Savior told me I could. It’s a simple pattern I continue to follow to this very day.
Before I adopt any advice I find online (or anywhere else for that matter), I pray about it. I seek the Lord’s guidance and direction before making any big changes in what I eat or how I workout or what supplements I choose to take. I do it because He knows every cell in my body and exactly what each of those cells need. There really is nothing like having access to the biggest and most impressive database in the universe: Christ’s knowledge of truth, or “things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24). That’s the database I want to turn to for answers to my most pressing health and wellness questions.