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The W.O.W. Diet: A balance of science and religion to find the perfect diet

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 1:10 a.m. MDT

 (Bonneville Books) (Bonneville Books)

"The W.O.W. Diet," by Michelle Snow, Bonneville Books, 213 pages, $14.99

The commercials are on television constantly. Eat this yogurt to help to feel more regular. Drink this juice for more energy. Subscribe to this plan to have meals delivered and to help lose weight.

A desire for a body that worked the way it was supposed to work is what drove Michelle Snow to write "The W.O.W. Diet." After having little to no success solving her problem, her husband suggested prayer to receive inspiration on how to proceed. The answer she received surprised her.

Snow, a registered nurse who has a doctorate in public health, had approached her issue purely from a scientific angle. The inspiration she received told her it was time to move beyond that perspective and see what the diets of various religions suggested.

From there, she studied the diets of six different religions — Seventh Day Adventist, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Latter-day Saints and Muslims — as well as what scientific research suggested. What she found through her extensive research was not only interesting, but helpful for understanding the reasoning behind each dietary constraint.

Finally, Michelle broke down the ideal diet based on information from her seven sources and labeled it the Word of Wisdom — or W.O.W. — diet. The Word of Wisdom is commonly known as the health law of the LDS Church and is found in Doctrine and Covenants 89.

To keep it simple, she pared it down into a few rules, including: fill your diet with legumes and whole grain; eat until you are no longer hungry, not full; eat breakfast, eat at regular intervals, eat meat sparingly, eat foods in their natural state whenever possible, don't be afraid to eat snacks to tide you over until meals, drink water liberally, avoid refined sugars and grains, fatty foods and processed foods.

While nothing in this diet is necessarily unique or out of the ordinary — nutritionist have been preaching these concepts for more than 20 years now — the research and background is what makes this book a compelling read. Seeing the comparisons of where these seven different groups agree and where they diverge from each other made for and interesting thought process that lead to an examination of the average western diet. The end of this book hosts multiple pages of suggested reading, all in support of the W.O.W diet.

After her research and dietary journals, Snow included nearly 100 recipes to give those trying the diet a jump start. They provided recipes are not only nutritionally sound but varied and approachable for the home cook. She also goes out of her way to denote which recipes are gluten free.

Kevin Whitmer is a chef living in West Valley City with his wife and two children.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company