(I will probably be writing quite a bit about this topic, it is on my mind a lot at the moment. 'Word of Wisdom' will just have to be it's own label).
I saw it first hand last year during a camping trip with my lover's family, this issue of health, principles, and forbidden substances. There together, sharing meals and evenings were my lover's parents, fully active true believing members of The Church, and then his siblings who have left the church, most of whom are vegan/vegetarian. Those apostate siblings with their whole grains, fruits, veggies, meatless bacon strips... and their fair-trade organic coffees and beers. My true believing parent-in-laws with their bacon, eggs, white bread and (caffein-free) soda pops.
Many people I know who have become vegan/vegetarian did so for reasons beyond mere health. There are principles involved, such as environmental and animal cruelty issues. Likewise, most Mormon's I know, while recognizing that following the Word of Wisdom is healthy, follow it for reasons beyond just health. There are principles involved, primarily the principle of obedience to the prophet's counsel.
I had my first alcoholic drink in my life last year. Not too long after that I was reading a book by Dr Andrew Weil and came across this passage: "Alcohol is the strongest and most toxic of all the common psychoactive substances. It is a 'hard' drug, harder than heroin, cocaine, LSD, and all the other illegal drugs. Our culture promotes and encourages the use of alcohol and gives the false impression that it is not as dangerous as the disapproved drugs." The good doctor then goes on to say that he is not a non-drinker, that very occasionally he has a beer, or a Japanese Sake, or "a sip of something stronger..." And he didn't specify why. Perhaps the taste? The camaraderie of a drink with a friend? Tradition? Ceremony?
I think about these sort of things a lot as I am making changes in my life for my health, and as I move from being less concerned with obedience for obedience's sake toward being more concerned and involved in environmental and social issues. It feels ironic, switching out one set of prohibitions for another.
So, I am vastly curious about your thoughts and experiences with this. Please. Share.