Thoughts on Health

Thoughts on Health

Everyone has his secrets to happiness. For some, it’s the next party or tryst. For others, it’s the next big game or new business contract. For me, it’s all centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through the Gospel that I have my Queen today, who is my best friend and greatest joy. We’ve been blessed with a big, forever family. The Gospel has given me a sense of purpose to fill my days in service and learning. I feel my life is like a rock, even though I’m far from perfect and work every day to repent and try again a little harder.

For 62+, I feel very healthy and blessed. I can do 50 push-ups in the morning, run four miles, or do sprints. I am slower nowadays, but still enjoy a healthy heart, lungs and other organs, muscles, joints and brain. I look young for my age. Some have asked what my secrets are. Well, here they are for anyone who wants to know.

1.     I work my body into a sweat every day but Sunday. I believe the body is intended to be pounded, stretched, twisted and flexed. It is not meant to sit continually in comfy chairs in air-conditioned luxury with even the brain in a low orbit. In fact, I think that is a recipe for atrophy and health problems. I do not worship my body or spend huge blocks of time working on my physique. But I have conscientiously exercised most days except Sunday for decades.

2.     I enjoy a whole foods, plant-based diet. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have known for almost 200 years that alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee are not for the body. We’re actually a little smug about it, as if by avoiding only these we will double our lifespan. But when it comes to the volume and types of foods we eat, and the consumption of meat, we turn a deaf ear to the Word of Wisdom. Where it says to eat meat sparingly or only in times of winter or famine, we skip that part. Recently, even the World Health Organization (WHO) has included processed meats as being hazardous to our health. I haven’t had meat of any kind (including fish and chicken) since August 2014. And before that, I was careful not to have too much. I fought my weight for years until I switched to my current diet. Now I just keep an eye on my weight, but it does not balloon up like before. It’s far more stable and much easier to manage. I believe a whole foods, plant based diet is a twin key to my health, along with sweating and exercising my body.

3.     I take a spiritual shower every day. I begin my days by singing a song, praying aloud, and reading scriptures aloud. I also love reading Church publications along with other great literary works. By doing this, my mind remains healthy and flexible and creative. I still feel myself slipping on occasion, and can’t seem to remember appointments without my calendar nearby. But I’m grateful for a mind and spirit that is alive and vibrant.

It is not my intent to boast in any way. Rather, I hope to express my great love for God and His marvelous plan for our happiness. This is not me, it’s Him.

I have some favorite foods that seem unique to my wellbeing. I love salads, soups and breads. I regularly take Maca Root, Gotu Kola, Chia Seed, peanut butter, honey, and bananas. Aw, heck. Let’s just admit I have plenty of chocolate too. Here are some favorite recipes for foods I enjoy:

I have a nutritious shake most mornings. Usually it is a variation of this favorite:

Nutri Shake

Creamy and thick with a taste better than anything from the creamery.


·       1 c soy or almond milk

·       1 c water

·       1 c frozen bananas or 2 T pea protein

·       2 T peanut butter or 2 T peanut flour

·       1 T chia seed

·       1 t maca root powder

·       1/4 t gotu kola powder

·       1/4 t pure vanilla extract

For lunch or a snack, I love one of these foods.

Play Dough

This chilled dough is delicious but messy (4 or 5 balls per serving)


·       2 c peanut butter (or gnut paste)

·       1 c honey

·       1 c peanuts roasted

·       1 c chocolate chips (semi sweet)

·       1/2 c cocoa

·       1/2 c coconut (desiccated)

·       1 t pure vanilla extract

·       1/4 t salt

o   Mix wet ingredients first, and then add dry ingredients.

o   Spread 1/2″ thick on plate and cool in refrigerator.

o   Roll into balls and keep in fridge for a handy and tasty snack.

Gulu Gravel

This works as a crunchy granola cereal as well, but I like it dry as a snack mix. (1 cup per serving)


·       2 c brown sugar (pure cane)

·       1 c peanut butter (or gnut paste)

·       1/2 c water

·       1/2 c honey

·       1/2 c sunflower oil

·       1 t pure vanilla extract

o   Mix above ingredients, then add:

·       1 c unbleached white flour

·       1 c cocoa

·       1 t baking soda

·       1 t baking powder

·       1 t salt

o   Mix again into smooth batter, then add:

·       7 c old fashioned rolled oats

·       2 c peanuts – raw or roasted

o   Spread into deep baking pan or dish – not more than 1″ deep

o   Bake at 350f for 20 minutes

o   Roll and break apart into bite-size chunks using a fork. Leave in clumps

o   Continue to bake for another 20 minutes

o   Roll and break again, then let cool at room temperature until crunchy.

RaNae and I hope to celebrate our 80th wedding anniversary together. That will put us at age 101. Of course there will be unseen challenges, but we’re doing all we can to reach that goal while enjoying good health and quality of life along the way.


  1. Thank you for sharing this Bernell. You and Renae inspire me!

  2. Awesome post, Dad. It’s the reminder I needed to get back in the game. I’ve gotten lax with what I eat. So are you still eating mostly vegan? I’d like to think we don’t eat much meat, but when I pay attention we eat it almost every day. My next menu will be vegetarian. We’ll see what Kyle thinks.. I think it’s awesome that you work out so much. I gotta be better at that too. 101 sounds good to me!

  3. Last year I was looking over the documentaries offered on Netflix and noticed one with a peculiar title that I selected…”Forks over Knives”. Dr. Collin Campbell’s evidence and documentary convinced me to switch my diet almost immediately to PBWF (Plant Based Whole Food). Little did I know at the time that is what Bernell had been practicing all this time. I knew he enjoyed whole foods but I thought he still ate meat. In changing my diet, I noticed a boost in energy withing a couple of days and I’ve continued to enjoy some of the healthy benefits like low glycemic reads in the mornings, where mine have usually been high.
    Thanks Bernell, you still set a terrific example for your older brother!


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