There is an old trial lawyers’ saying “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.”
The Church has picked up on this with a recent article in the New Era about the Word of Wisdom. With regard to vaping, they have the facts.
Most vaping pods contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and all of them contain harmful chemicals.The New Era, Aug 2019
They even reference a Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use among Youth (2016). They pound the facts, vaping is bad for you. This is easy.
Next they talk about coffee drinks, and to be careful with drinks that have café or caffé, mocha, latte, espresso, in the name. They also say that green tea is against the Word of Wisdom.
Green tea and black tea are both made from the leaves of the exact same tea plant. The only difference is that the leaves in black tea are fermented and in green tea they’re not. They’re both tea and against the Word of Wisdom. Some drinks have tea in them but don’t advertise that fact, so always check the ingredients. Also, iced tea is still tea.The New Era, Aug 2019
Here the facts are not on their side. Green Tea is good for you. In fact it was just in the news again this week! This is not a fact they reference. They only reference the handbook, that says “hot drinks” are not for the body. They then say that prophets have interpreted this to mean coffee and tea.
So without facts (which they had no problem referencing with vaping), they have to go to the law (D&C 89), but even that is not clear (hot chocolate is OK???). They reference revelation when the facts or the law don’t support them, which is the pounding on the table.
Jana Riess picked up on this when she reviewed the New Era article.
We can’t just use medical science when it supports the church’s position, as with vaping, and then ignore medical science in favor of prophetic authority when it does not, as with green tea.Jana Riess, Religious News Service
So what do you think. Is it disingenuous to use science when it helps them, and then ignore it when it doesn’t? Are there other instances of the Church cherry picking the facts when it supports their cause, and ignoring them when they don’t?
People do this all the time (relentlessly really!) in the alternative medicine world. They promote their pseudoscientific or “natural” products/practices with a weird combination of (typically misinterpreted, cherry-picked, flawed) “research” citing “doctors”, and anti-science/medicine propaganda. Not exactly what you’re asking but at least the church isn’t putting forward bogus or distorted “evidence” to support the coffee and tea prohibitions.
Actually, so much of the current science consists of experiments that can’t be replicated or studies like the one that gave us all the headlines about chocolate (which intentionally abused statistics to make a point).
On the other hand, tea remains linked to cancer (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/03/20/hot-tea-linked-cancer-international-journal-study/3229339002/).
Which I’m pretty sure isn’t good for you.
As for the “tea really isn’t what is meant by ‘hot drinks’” argument, we have a contemporaneous sermon by Hyrum Smith that addresses the argument and disagrees with it.
Easy enough to ignore, I guess, but a staple of bloggernacle discussions every time the argument is raised.
Note that when you get away from hot tea, the results are currently inconclusive.
You can click down to the human studies summaries for details.
But, just like homeopathy and essential oils, tea does have believers.
Coffee has more current science, though, especially if filtered and limited in temperature—especially for people not getting fruits and vegetables in their diets.
https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-10-2013/coffee-for-health.html is a nice summary of current theories.
(Yes, that is an older article, updated, but is consistent with the current trends and beliefs).
Let’s not forget about FDA and AMA approved (or formerly approved) drugs and procedures that have proven harmful. They’ve had their believers, too. I wonder if anyone has compiled a list.
Hot drinks don’t refer to coffee and tea. In the days of Joseph Smith hot drinks were spirits or liquor that felt “hot” as they went down.
Humans are generally terrible at using logic – and especially statistics – while making decisions.. I believe this includes church leaders, especially when they believe the higher law is on their side. But we should keep striving for science based reasoning.
On a personal note I’ve tried coffee and green tea many times and in various flavors and I cannot develop a taste for either unless they are overloaded with fat and / or sugar. I suspect that some (ie many??) people drown potential health benefits mentioned in scientific studies in sugar and cream.
Stephen R. Marsh: “On the other hand, tea remains linked to cancer (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/03/20/hot-tea-linked-cancer-international-journal-study/3229339002/).”
Highlight from from the article: “It’s the temperature not the type of beverage that poses a threat, although Islami noted that more research needs to be done on why hot beverages can cause cancer.
He said chronic thermal injury could cause inflammation that could lead to cancer or make it easier for carcinogens ingested through food or drink to penetrate the esophageal lining.”
In short, it’s probably not a good idea to regularly drink piping hot liquids of any kind, even soups and water.
Church leaders have drawn the line at total abstinence from coffee and tea. When we believe God is behind that direction we’ll stare at the teaching long enough until we come up with something that answers the all important question, “But why?”
Tannic acid? No, all kinds of fruits have tannic acid and we don’t ban those.
Caffeine? No, chocolate and sodas have that and we don’t ban those.
Temperature? No, we can’t even consume those if they’re iced.
I think all we’re left with is because that guy said that God said so. And, “that guy’s” reasoning is probably also because that guy said that God said so.
Stephen R. Marsh: “Note that when you get away from hot tea, the results are currently inconclusive.”
I don’t think, “because there’s no proof that it actually *cures* cancer” is a good enough reason to maintain a ban on tea. Not to pick on you or anything, it’s just that I personally believe keeping coffee and tea in the list of prohibited substances is silly and that’s coming from someone that has zero plans to start drinking either.
Nothing else quite illustrates the hopeless stuckness of the institution than WoW – misinterpreted, ignored, and generally observed more as an ostentatious cultural marker than health law. I stand by green tea and coffee as extremely healthy in moderation. The preponderance of studies support this. What I don’t see are studies touting the health benefits of Diet Coke, meat and ice cream, the staples of Zion.
Fred VII: I was mentally composing my response about the temperature, not the type of beverage, when I arrived at your comment. Thanks for beating me to it and saying it better than I would have, anyway!
UT has a somewhat high opioid death rate.
Perhaps they should add that to the WoW,
in place of the silly ban on coffee and tea.
It is ridiculous for the church to tie WoW to health risks when research shows some potential benefits to coffee and tea.
(If the church is concerned about health risk, why doesn’t the church require members to wear helmets when riding motorcycles—or prohibit motorcycles altogether)?
I’ve read that the coffee and tea ban was a sort of “revenge” on the women of the church—that is, if the men had to give up something, then the women did, too. Also, since the idea for the word of wisdom supposedly originated with Emma’s complaint about the men’s tobacco messes, it seems that it was easier for them to imagine going without tobacco and alcohol entirely than spitting carefully into a bowl or—god forbid—cleaning up after themselves. Maybe the word of wisdom should actually read: Don’t be such an inconsiderate slob.
These pronouncements were published in The New Era, a church magazine for teenagers. As a grown adult, I don’t consider them binding on me. Same with the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet. These are not scripture, and we are not under covenant to them. They are merely well-intended pieces of advice for young people, nothing more.
A faulty premise will result in all sorts of faulty arguments. Any argument regarding the Word of Wisdom, pro or con, is faulty if the premise is that the Word of Wisdom is a health code. Both pro- and anti-Mormons make this error. Anyone wanting to know the real reason for the Word of Wisdom can find it in v. 4 of D&C 89. Even so, I know that this error is deeply entrenched among us.
Tobacco is a nauseous, stinking, abominable thing, and I am surprised that any human being should think of using it. For an elder especially to eat, or smoke it, is a disgrace to him;—he is not fit for the office, he ought first to learn to keep the word of wisdom, and then to teach others. God will not prosper the man who uses it. And again, “hot drinks are not for the body, or belly.” There are many who wonder what this can mean, whether it refers to tea or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea and coffee. (Times and Seasons 3:800, June 1, 1842)”
“I well remember that, soon after the publication of the Word of Wisdom, the same excuse was made, by some of the people, for drinking tea and coffee that is now made—that hot drinks did not mean tea and coffee.
On a Sabbath day, in the July  following the giving of the revelation, when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints:
“I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom.”
“The Lord was showing us what was good for man to eat and drink. Now, what do we drink when we take our meals?”
“Tea and coffee. Is it not?”
“Yes; tea and coffee.”
“Then, they are what the Lord meant when He said ‘hot drinks.'”
Brother Hyrum Smith spoke to the same effect. (Joel Hills Johnson, Voice from the Mountains, Being a Testimony of the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as Revealed by the Lord to Joseph Smith Jr. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Juvenile Instructor, 1881), 12-13; quoted in Remembering Joseph, 253-254)”
Just for reference.
If one had to choose a poster child for demonstrating how science constantly changes, challenges, and rearranges how we believe, I think nutritional science would be it. So much of the WoW has been confirmed. Some science may seem contradictory to it, but wait a while.
I remember being in a nutrition class when a fairly landmark study came out saying that a glass a red wine each night was great for you. Our class, much of which was LDS, had quite a conversation about it. Our teacher pointed out that most all the benefits listed in the study could also be obtained by simple grape juice. Many would also count red wine as superior because of the fermentation and its cleansing effect on the digestive system, but such effect can also be obtained by non-alcoholic fermented foods such as Kimchi (a favorite, just don’t breathe on anyone for an hour or two afterward), Saurkraut, or Kefir, among others. Taking all that into account, the study becomes borderline misleading.
So yeah, lots of thing about tea might be great. I’m doubtful all those things are unique to it though. Science may have yet to catch up in those regards.
I don’t know that I’d call it disingenuous to pick parts of science that support the WoW while others do not. If one sincerely believes truth is truth, using a second witness surely would not hurt. Not using other science would simply result from a belief that the science, as of now, is incomplete or only telling part of the story. For my own part, I’ve started quoting science that backs my beliefs less and less, even if I’m confident it will do so in the end, because it can change three or four times over the course of decades before it stays fixed that way. It’s just part of the reality of mortality.
And yes, I’d agree the WoW is more than a health code.
Fred & Dot—I hope you caught my comment about “hot” vs not and that link reflecting the difference.
I’m caffeine immune, so I don’t feel the pull some do. Coffee has the same attraction for me that Postum does.
But I tend to ask myself how people who stand up for coffee and tea would feel if the ban were on Postum and Chamomile.
Generally the reaction is far different.
Though I would note I still would like to see the Word of Wisdom replaced with a call to Kindness.
For anyone interested in the chocolate hoax:
For the current issues with studies that don’t replicate:
Stephen, I appreciate your comments, but have one question. Given that “hot drinks” were defined in the early 1830’s as tea and coffee by Joseph and Hyrum, why were both of these drinks (tea and coffee) included in the standard supplies for every handcart company of pioneers that crossed the plains in the 1850’s? Just curious.
If we are speaking about the delivery system of a drug, then vaping is more healthy than smoking—the lungs are not absorbing carcinogenic carbon from “smoke.” If, for example, a medical marijuana patient was to choose between “smoking” Cannabis flower, or “vaping” the pure oil extracted from Cannabis, vaping is the healthier option. The problem with vaping is a problem of purity: some producers, just like the food industry, will sell contaminated products: chemicals, preservatives, additives—these are the vector for health and safety issues.
The institution’s approach to vaping is very Utah-sheltered. Backward. It is also dishonest. What a bummer.
Yes, another example of cherry-picking science is church membership’s meat consumption. But note that in this case we’re ignoring BOTH the science AND the law.
Particularly with beef, we know that beef-heavy diets are unhealthy both for the individual and society/the planet. The US consumes so much beef, which requires huge tracts of land both for the cattle and again for their food crops, that we are incapable of producing sufficient food domestically. We depend on exploiting poorer regions by accruing the fruits of their land, too, rather than using our own land efficiently– i.e. raising crop foods for people and cutting the beef. An intrinsic assumption of our behavior is that we expect a higher standard of living at others’ expense. Our beef dependence grinds the faces of the poor.
Moreover, CO2 emissions and habitat destruction from ranching are substantial, and are hastening mass extinction, ecological breakdown, and climate tipping points that are already causing food and water shortages, worse natural disasters, refugee crises, and international instability. This will all get worse. Ranching is among the environmental harms literally killing our future.
I doubt whether any drug is as harmful in our society now as beef. But the church is not only selectively not enforcing the ‘meat sparingly’ bit of WoW, worse, the church itself is ranching! What are we doing??
My random thoughts on WOW:
1. In my pre-Mormon days, I occasionally drank a glass of wine or beer; did not like hard spirits. Having grown up in an alcoholic family, alcohol was not hard for me to give up. In moderation, it can be helpful. My 80-something grandmother developed GI-tract problems, and her Dr. recommended a small glass of red wine at dinner. She started doing this, and her digestion improved. But my own experience is that the vast majority of people who drink overrate their ability to do so sensibly. There is nothing more boring or depressing than being the only sober person at an office Christmas party. The Church asks that I not consume alcohol, and I am fine with that. Alcohol is also expensive and is better left alone. It causes a lot of heartbreak.
2. Tobacco: I don’t think anyone complains about the Church’s ban on tobacco. My parents smoked five packs a day between them. One got emphysema and the other got lung cancer. Tobacco is dangerous. Enough said.
3. I drank coffee before I joined the Church. Liked it. Gave it up at 22 because that was a requirement for baptism. I think that coffee in moderation is okay, but when I was in the military and later when I worked for the government, I had many co-workers who simply could not function without coffee. When I drank too much, I would get the caffeine shakes and was wired. But I do not think of coffee in the same negative light as alcohol or tobacco. I abstain because the Church asks me to. I think of it more as a boundary marker for Church membership. although there are health benefits to abstaining.
4. There seem to be some health benefits to tea, particularly green tea. But I am just a bit leery of fads, and I think that green tea has become a bit of a fad, and my experience is that fads eventually receive future course corrections. Science can be wonderful, but what was yesterday’s science is today’s superstition. So the reason I don’t drink regular tea made from tea leaves is that the Church asks me not to. Any group will have certain expectations of its members, and the proscription on tea is one of them. I am willing to accept it, even though the previous “reasons” given to support abstaining from tea (tannin. caffeine, cancer, etc.) seem not to have stood up well to scrutiny. So I take this one on faith. I know it bothers a lot of Church members. I enjoy drinking herbal teas.
5. Ji’s assertion that the WOW is not a health code is, I think, spot-on. I think that he made a good point when he cited v. 4 of DC89 as the reason for the WOW. That opens a whole new approach to understanding the WOW.
6. HJG changed the WOW from being advisory to a requirement for a TR. And then the Church and it’s members tried to find various health reasons for thus change. WOW is a different thing now than when Joseph received DC89 in 1831. I think it will continually to gradually and slowly change.
IMO, it no longer occupies such a huge place in Mormon living, as when I joined the Church in 1974. It still serves as a boundary marker for Church membership. That can be good, but it becomes bad when people use it in a Pharisaic way. And it becomes a convenient crutch to allow us to avoid living the higher law of loving God and our neighbors as ourself. I remember several FR interviews I help with Ward youth for temple baptism trios, and when I asked them about the law of chastity, they said, “oh, no, I don’t smoke or drink.” (I am not making this up.)
I observe the WOW requirements for a TR, but it is not high on my list of what is important in the Church.
And last of all, a huge shout-out to DFU’s crack in GC, when he was in the FP, about drinking “certain diet beverages that shall remain unnamed” while he was doing FP work on his computer at home. Church attitudes about Diet Coke have not been the same, since.
As to Bishop Bill’s question, is the Church cherry-picking the facts and shifting gears, to support WOW, sometimes citing science, and sometimes the law? Yes, it is. Everyone does this, including just about everyone who visits W and T, on one issue or the other. We tend to seek data to support positions, rather than base our positions on data. (The problem is, data can be cherry-picked, too!) That is why I think ji’s point about WOW is so important, here. Yes, it deals with health-related issues, but it is not primarily about health.
Dark Traveler, good question. I understand they were still staples for many and the amount on the list was the amount someone would need for the journey. Solid pragmatic planning.
TM—I agree on smoking but you do have a pushback against advising people not to vape for nicotine. Interesting how things go.
For those unaware, the Newsroom published an official statement on the vaping, coffee, and green tea prohibitions, as well as a caution about opioids and medical marijuana (use only as directed by a “competent physician”). It’s not just a directive for the youth. Here’s the August statement in full:
The Word of Wisdom is a law of health for the physical and spiritual benefit of God’s children. It includes instruction about what foods are good for us and those substances to avoid. Over time, Church leaders have provided additional instruction on those things that are encouraged or forbidden by the Word of Wisdom, and have taught that substances that are destructive, habit-forming or addictive should be avoided.
In recent publications for Church members, Church leaders have clarified that several substances are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, including vaping or e-cigarettes, green tea, and coffee-based products. They also have cautioned that substances such as marijuana and opioids should be used only for medicinal purposes as prescribed by a competent physician.
As to the cherry-picking, I feel like it’s a normal thing and they’re working with what they’ve got. Since there’s been a public health scare over vaping, I don’t blame the Church for pulling in outside help when it’s a relatively new phenomenon.
One the most disingenuous patterns I’ve noticed is when leaders emphasize President Nelson’s credentials as an accomplished physician when it suits there objectives, but then ignore science when it doesn’t. This seems like cherry-picking to me, maybe even manipulation. Another irony that I’ll raise delicately involves President Monson. My assumption is that moderate eating, and exercising, was a struggle for him as evidenced by his weight and other health problems. Perhaps he’s a good example of someone who complied with the rigid parts of the WOW but was immoderate in other aspects of it. Taking this thought back to the original intent of the WOW, its counsel to be moderate in all things seems to have withstood the test of time. When Joseph’s successors tightened some aspects of the WOW while ignoring others, it devolved into an arbitrary code of obedience, not health.
Stephen R. Marsh:
I did not mention vaping because it is so foreign to my own experiences; I am 67 years old, and rarely come across it in person, while I had a lot of negative experiences in my family with alcohol and tobacco when younger. I am aware of news articles in circulation that deaths are now being attributed to vaping, and a variety of health problems. People used to cite vaping as a problem-free alternative to smoking. Sadly, there are no free lunches.
I remember ads of men in white doctors’ coats extolling the health benefits of X brand cigarettes. Joseph received the 89th Section during a time when consumption of hard spirits was much more common than today. The negative effects were known, even back then. The views of the 89th section on tobacco were prescient, whatever the cause of the revelation (thank you, Emma, for being fed up with the mess and complaining to Joseph).
The sticking point for many people is how the phrase “hot drinks” is interpreted. Drinks at very high temperatures are not good; neither are ice-cold drinks good for us. (We were not allowed in basic training to drink anything but room temperature water. It was in San Antonio in August, hot and humid, and we were outside marching and doing PT all day and sweating gallons.) The Church interprets “hot drinks” as having meant coffee and tea in the 1830s. Okay. I can accept that, but as has been pointed out in this thread of comments, how the Church interprets that phrase seems to change. When I joined the Church in 1974, cola beverages were commonly accepted as a no-no; now, we realize that that was a cultural interpretation. And the WOW has changed over the years. I don’t think smoking and drinking are going to ever be allowed by the Church, but what “hot drinks “ means HAS changed, and will probably evolve some more.
I think it was a general caution against drinking scalding-hot fluids.
I also think that HJG’s changing the WOW from being advisory to mandatory was part of America’s larger temperance movement. HJG was a huge supporter of Prohibition, and it galled him no end that Utah was the state that clinched repealing prohibition.
And an unqualified “yes” to David F’s comment about the purpose of the WOW being moderation in all things, and how it has changed into something legalistic—a point that I agree with, even though I myself observe WOW. I think that is why it is becoming less important in the Church than before.
No matter how you look at the specifics of the WOW, there is still one overriding concern I have. My husband and I spent two years running our stake’s addiction recovery program. We would tell people in the program that alcoholism and other addictions are diseases and not moral failures. Their response was “It doesn’t feel like a disease. I feel like a worthless failure.” I believe tying a health code to a worthiness interview creates this “moral failure” mentality. The church leaders, by enforcing a code that is fraught with confusion,impedes the growth of individuals trying to make sense of it all. By the way, given the ages of the Church leaders, and the ensuing aches and pains that accompany old age, they might consider drinking green tea for it’s anti inflammatory properties. It works for me.
Institutional practices gather a lot of commitment, even credibility, from just sticking around. Leadership defenses of the WoW are just knee-jerk defenses at this point. Whatever health benefits the LDS proscriptions have at this point are purely coincidental. That’s obvious because (1) anyone can take a variety of potent drugs that are potentially harmful as long as a doctor prescribes them. In other words, medical opinion that a drug is beneficial via a prescription overrides any WoW consideration. So (2) it should be the case that any food or drink that is beneficial according to medical opinion should be likewise allowable … if it’s about health. But it isn’t.
And why on earth are these items considered moral transgressions sufficient to deny a TR? If I eat chips, a soda, and a hot dog for lunch instead of a spinach salad, hey that’s not healthy. But it’s not a moral fault, it’s just me making adult choices about what I eat or don’t eat, like any other adult eating lunch. Why should a choice to drink tea or smoke a cigarette be deemed morally wrong as opposed to a possibly bad health choice, like the many bad health choices we all make fairly regularly?
The WoW looks more like a cultish control technique than a health code. And it flies in the face of the clear New Testament teaching that it’s not what we eat or drink that constitutes righteousness or moral fault, but what we say and do.
The ratio of meat/everything-else mentions in this thread mirrors every WOW discussion in or out of church. Marissa is dead-on with her comments. Meat consumption is the elephant in every room. The OP should have added a third option after pounding facts and tables: pounding forehead, which is what vegetarians and vegans do every time we read about alcohol, tobacco and hot drinks. And giant cattle ranches. I do thank W&T for providing me a new way to defend the WOW as a cultural marker/obedience test that has little to do with logic.
“…and when I asked them about the law of chastity, they said, “oh, no, I don’t smoke or drink.” (I am not making this up.)”
My brother, a new counselor in the bishopric, was doing a TR interview with one of the teen age girls in his ward about 15 years ago. She was a great young woman, smart, faithful and committed. She knew the scriptures, she made intelligent comments in class, she was outstanding in every way. He asked her, “Do you obey the law of chastity?” and she hesitated before saying no. My brother immediately thought, what do I do now? I don’t want to talk about this subject with a teen aged girl. Do I send her to the bishop? But before he could say anything more she offered a qualification. “Sometimes I drink Coke.”
2 things I would like to address:
The first is from the OP regarding vaping. In my work capacity, I see a lot of studies and research that may not be readily available. Nicotine is often on my desk and, like most things, moderation may be the key. Daily doses in the 1 – 4mg range aren’t considered addictive (think Nicorette). It can be used to treat addictions as well as being an appetite suppressant and a nootropic. Vaping makes a very easy method of controlling the dose.
The second involves meat consumption. We need to be careful comparing ourselves to a different time and culture. The Lewis and Clarke expedition often faced starvation but consumed 9 pounds of meat daily. My 24 ounces of animal protein daily may seem very sparing from that perspective.
The WoW is analogous to observing kosher in judaism. There may be some health benefits to a kosher diet, but they’re not the reason practicing Jews observe it. The church has asked its members to observe the WoW and says this is what God wants. It is a cultural marker of religious observance and commitment to the faith. Jews keep kosher, Muslims keep halal, Mormons keep the word of wisdom. It’s a matter of faith for the observer. If someone doesn’t accept or believe that God actually commanded it, then they choose not to observe it.
I personally enjoy my morning coffee as a great way to start my day, and feel my dramatic reduction in sugary soda consumption since I started coffee is a great health benefit. However, if I wanted to be a practicing mormon, I think I’d willingly give it up. Similarly, if I decided to convert to judaism or Islam, I’d willingly keep kosher or halal as a manifestation of my faith.
Klc…when i was involved with the youth and in the cultural hall one evening, the bishop walked in chuckling. He had just interviewed a young man and asked him if he obeyed the wow…long pause…he then blurted out no…i hate my mom! Good bishop. .discussion ensued….just saying…it happens.
Came across this article on the history of WoW in UT…
Click to access Dialogue_V14N03_80.pdf
I think member health would improve more from giving up green Jell-O than from avoiding green tea. Can we get a Jell-O revelation?
In all seriousness though, last year my digestive system decided middle age meant time to stop working. For months I couldn’t eat anything with after getting terribly sick. After an elimination diet and a lot of trial and error, I have landed on a diet that works, a diet with a whole lot of meat (and rice and spinach) as my main staple. Clearly the “eat meat sparingly” aspect of WoW doesn’t apply to me.
My coworker has celiac. Clearly the “wheat is for man” aspect of WoW doesn’t apply to him.
My son has ADHD. When he runs out of medicine, he will sometimes drink coffee. (Unlike other people, coffee has a calming effect on the ADHD brain.) I’m not sure the coffee prohibition applies to him.
My father had precancerous polyps every time he got a colonoscopy. Then he started drinking green tea. Since then, his colonoscopies have always come back clean. For my father (and me since I share his genetics) I’m not sure the green tea prohibition makes sense.
What we really need is a revelation that says, “Eat what is right for your body. But everyone should exercise regularly, preferably strength training.”
Some of you have pointed out that the WoW is NOT a healthcode and you’ve cited the Doctrine and Covenants to back that up. Meanwhile, one of you cut and pasted the statement from the Mormon Newsroom that describes the WoW as a “health code”. So is the Church’s official news release incorrect? Um, yes.
I agree that the WoW is not a health code. The WoW is a set of rules that give us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the institution, a kind of loyalty marker. We dress it up as an opportunity to show we “love the Lord” and we know it provides some health benefits but if it’s truly a health code it leave a lot to be desired.
As a parent I am confused, amused as well as a little sad that an institution that sticks to old discourses rather than progress on such personal matters tells young adults to not drink coffee but gives “energy drinks” like Monster and Red Bull a pass.. I would much rather have my college kids drink coffee on their road trip back to a certain church school but only the energy drinks with at least twice the drugs are allowed by this church if you want a TR, so that is what they drink. Where is the intelligence in that?
When religion conflicts with science, I choose science. For centuries now findings, arrived at through empirical-based evidence, endure.
Almost always a person can find an expert here or there that will advocate something contrary to what the vast majority in any field recognize as strong findings. (Science is reluctant to state things as truths, thus we have germ theory and the theories of gravity and evolution.)(This is one of science’s strengths.) Virtually always you’re safe sticking with the main body. In my observation, these rogue voices often personally profit from their platform (does anyone else keep getting ads for the cardiologist who says to not eat tomatoes, and shows bloated crickets as proof? He also says to eat dark chocolate, but without pictures of the ill effects it has on dogs.) or have some other biases motivating them.
I’ve done a bit of research on green tea. For several decades now, studies have borne out that the catechins (a type of polyphenol) in green tea contribute to good health.
Here are some practical tidbits I’ve learned:
-don’t steep in boiling water. That can burn the leaves and cause a bitter taste. Use water that is just beginning to steam, and has tiny bubbles forming on the bottom of the pan.
-don’t steep for longer that 2-3 minutes. Again, bitterness can result as more tannins are released. Similarly, don’t squeeze the tea bag.
-for stronger green tea without bitterness, use two tea bags instead of one in a cup of water.
-a little bit of sugar or ascorbic acid added to the tea helps the body absorb the polyphenols more readily.
I couldn’t particularly taste the green tea as I sipped it, the after taste wasn’t great (but being a novice, I’d used boiling water and let it steep for quite a while). Pomegranate flavor was good, better when I added a small amount of cranberry juice I had. A peppermint round improved the flavor of regular green tea.
There are more flavor choices for regular green tea. I prefer to limit my caffeine consumption, and don’t see many flavors readily available for decaffeinated. I added some frozen raspberries once-lumpy, but good. Things I’m also considering: adding an herbal tea bag for more flavor choices. Experimenting with some Lemonheads or lemon drops.
On top of its health benefits, green tea is soothing and inexpensive.
While I choose not to drink green tea, because I have chosen to observe the WOW as part of my Church membership, I very much enjoyed Sasso’s remarks about science and she was informative about benefits of green tea. Her comments about being leery of non-disinterested people who are pushing an agenda for profit are spot-on. She says that virtually always you are safe sticking with the main body of science. I agree, but I am just a bit more leery of accepted wisdom, because of personal experiences, than Sasso seems to be.. Accepted science is fallible, although it is better than crackpot fads.
My wife has had a long history of heart problems that have caused a lot of physical pain. We have run a gamut of well-respected doctors and have seen how prevailing medical science has turned away, thank goodness, from opiods to treat serious pain. But it was all the rage in the 2000s, and we came to see how medical care givers can be influenced by pharmaceutical companies. Yes, there are wonderful breakthroughs, but they often come at a high price, both physically and literally. It is very hard for science to be disinterested. It also suffers from conventional wisdom. Suggest reading “The Cry and the Covenant,” the historical novel about how the man who discovered the cause of childbed fever was hounded from the medical profession.
When my wife and I were born, our mothers were both given chloroform to put them to sleep at the very moment of coming out of the womb—this was considered advanced medicine at the time, for the comfort of the mother in labor.
TM – I’ve experienced the good and the gritty of medicine. So gritty. It feels like being sucker punched. It strongly contributes to my support of science. Administering chloroform to new mothers was accepted wisdom. How sad for both mom and baby. Evidence-based medicine has brought us far beyond that.
I’m sorry your wife has ongoing serious pain. It’s hard for her and affects everyone close to her. There is much that science hasn’t found good answers for yet. The Sackler family”s Purdue Pharma caused so much destruction to so many, purely for their greed. For many years the field accepted their propaganda that you couldn’t become addicted when opioids were used to treat pain. That was wrong. It wasn’t science. Science exposed them.
Another example in recent history: two researchers trying to find the causes of stomach ulcers and gastritis were met with skepticism from the medical community when they proposed a bacterium as the culprit. Conventional medical wisdom believed that no bacterium could survive the high acid stomach environment. Really interesting how the tale continued to ultimatelytheir being awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering helicobacter pylori (which should be written in italics) in 2005. One of them knew he was right and even drank a sample containing cultured H. Pylori during the quest. The results were more rapid than he expected.
Science is also properly skeptical until evidence bears it out. That is vital to the scientific process.
Best to you.
Journalism also played a role in exposing Purdue Pharma. Solid investigative journalism.
Thanks for your comments! Agree with your thoughts, and another great example you cited on stomach ailments.