Although this year has at times felt quite difficult for me, the end result has been very good, as I've finished my studies, found a less stressful day job, and made good progress on my health. These endeavours have meant, however, that I have spent less time on writing and updating this site. One of my main priorities for 2017 is to improve on that and begin to update the site more regularly.
Now I'm going into 2017 with much anticipation, as I believe it's going to be a good year on a personal front. I feel so much more relaxed, calm and healthy than I did a year ago and I believe more than ever in the limitless power of diet and the holistic health approach to improve one's quality of life.
In terms of health, I have made the following discoveries:
Allergy testing with BER machine revealed that I have systemic candida overgrowth, which would explain many of my symptoms. Having been on an anti-candida diet for one month now, I feel much better and my weight has stabilised at 55kg (my ideal weight).
Staying away from alcohol completely is necessary for me to stay healthy. BER allergy testing also highlighted a sensitivity to ethanol (alcohol).
My anxiety symptoms have disappeared - even very stressful events don't affect me that much anymore! The key is to stay away from alcohol completely; eliminate sugar, fruit juice, and sugary fruit completely; minimise the eating of cooked starches; to stay warm at all times (including eating warm foods); to reduce stress as much as possible; and to get enough sleep. Eating 'clean' in general, taking digestive enzymes, ensuring enough protein in the diet, and taking certain supplements may have contributed also. The blushing problem has also disappeared. I hardly ever have to take GABA or Thyroid Calming Tincture (motherwort herb) anymore.
I rarely suffer from heart palpitations anymore. An ECG test revealed that there is nothing wrong with my heart itself. Even prior to the test the palpitations had become almost non-existent due to the allergy symptoms and anxiety being under control (see above). Fighting candida may have improved my situation further.
My thyroid blood tests have started to come back normal again. The symptoms I was struggling with previously had seemed to match hyper-thyroid and auto-immune disease symptoms. However, now most of those symptoms are under control, due to general improvements in diet, stress levels, and supplementation. I am still researching whether the standard tests I did at the doctor were thorough enough and whether further tests are needed. One single blood test also indicated no auto-immune disease.
Eye problems: I found out that the eye problems I was having had to do with a 'perfect-storm' combination of issues. The foundation make-up cream I was using to cover up my blushing was causing an allergy reaction in my eyes, causing redness, light-sensitivity, stinging sensation, achiness, and worsening of vision. Luckily I don't have to use that cream anymore as the blushing problem is gone (see above). Also, an eye-doctor in Finland diagnosed me with very dry eyes, saying that I had severe lack of tear fluid in my eyes, suggesting it may be Sjogren's Syndrome. I saw an maxillofacial surgeon in the UK, who said it was very unlikely that I had Sjogren's Syndrome. Preservative-free, gel eye-drops help when my eyes get too dry at work and eliminate swelling around the eyes, achiness and redness that would otherwise result. However, when I eat very 'clean', I seem to not need eye drops and also see better. I use glasses at times when my eyes are tired and my left eye vision gets worse. The eye doctor also confirmed that my eyes were generally healthy, and there was no 'bulging' caused by hyperthyroid. The eye puffiness seems to appear anytime I eat cooked starches (possibly also sugar and dairy contribute). If I manage to strictly stay away from these, the puffiness dissappears and my eyes look fresh.
Flat stomach. My stomach is nearly flat now, as I've eliminated certain vegetables that cause bloatedness, soak my grains longer than before, take digestive enzymes and occasionally probiotics, and stay away from foods bad for the gut (and leaky gut).
The food-intolerance, auto-immune-like symptoms, anxiety, bloating stomach, and occasional gas problems are likely to be caused by leaky gut, which is possibly caused by candida overgrowth, though other things may contribute also. The anti-candida diet and supplements, probiotics, avoiding foods causing intolerance, and reduced stress are what I'm using to try to heal my gut. So far it seems to be working well as all the symptoms are reducing or disappearing.
Sinus congestion and related sinus headaches. These don't bother me much as long as I stay away from dairy, sugar and alcohol. Also, my ears don't hurt much anymore when flying, which I think is a sign of congestion clearing. There is some ways to go, still, until my sinuses feel completely clear.
Protein. I have done more research and thinking on vegan and raw food protein sources. It seems to me now that to ensure adequate protein on a raw food vegan diet is not difficult, as I have finally understood in a clearer way the difference between protein and amino acids. With amino acid supplements, [vegan protein powders], spirulina, greens, 24-hour soaked oat groats, sprouts, raw crackers, and ozone-water-treated nuts, it seems one can fulfil their protein needs. Amino acids from raw foods are more potent than cooked protein in the sense that they need less breaking down and are not damaged by cooking. Therefore the amount of amino acids needed is not directly comparable to the daily 'grams of protein' usually recommended.
Taking a multi-mineral liquid supplement in larger quantity than recommended on the bottle seems to cause my eyes to become clear - the redness and yellow tint on the eye white disappear. If I don't take the minerals one day or take less of them, the problems reappear. Read more in 'Mineral Deficiencies'.
I have begun to see a counsellor to ensure that there are no blocked emotional patterns contributing to the anxiety I felt in the past. I also feel that it's important to address my health holistically, addressing and balancing the body, mind and soul all at once.
Sleep. I still have lower than normal energy levels, especially now during winter with less daylight, and over the holidays, I have slept between 10-12 hours per night. This may be temporary as my body fights candida, however. It may also have to do with other issues highlighted below.
Vitamin D3 and sunlight. I know I am deficient in Vitamin D, and I will either have to supplement, take regular holidays in the sun, or start going to sunbed. The Vitamin D3 supplement I have comes mixed in oil and my body rejects it - I suspect the oil has become rancid. I prefer using a non-oil-based spray supplement.
Vitamin B12. I get some in the B-complex supplement I'm taking but I will need to order the spray bottle again as it seems to work better and give me energy.
Magnesium would be a good addition to my supplement regime, I think. I don't like the transdermal magnesium spray after all, however, because I forget to use it, and it leaves the skin feeling sticky. I think I prefer magnesium in capsules - although I don't know how well it will be utilised by my body.
Menstrual cramps. These still plague me. I can control them if I'm at home, stay horizontal and warm, and use a hot water bottle and other remedies. However, if I have to be at work, sitting up at the computer, I unfortunately have to take painkillers. I'm hoping that this problem I've had since teenage years will finally heal permanently when I clear the candida overgrowth from my body. (It has cleared before on raw food diets, juice fasts and a candida diet but always comes back after I return to less careful eating.)
Exercise. I do hardly any exercise these days, which will definitely sap my energy levels. I will make use of January discounts to join the local gym, since in the winter it is too cold for me to exercise outdoors. I will make sure to eat protein (or amino acids) and carbohydrate both before and after exercise, as well as monitor my heart rate while running, so as to avoid the problems with tiredness I had earlier this year on the days I went running.
Raw food. I would really like to move more towards raw foods but still seem to feel better when eating warm foods. Cold or even room temperature foods sometimes (not always) seem to weaken me a lot. They are ok in moderation but seem to cause problems when the hot foods are completely lacking, even for half a day. In addition, too much fibre seems difficult to digest.
Strengthening digestion. I would like to strengthen my digestion so that I can tolerate more fibre-rich foods. The good news is that the BER allergy test indicated that I don't have too many deficiencies, despite the candida, which the person doing the testing thought was unusual. So either my digestion is not as bad as I think or the supplements and the digestive enzymes are working.
Asthma symptoms. My lung capacity is currently at around 400 litres/minute (PEF reading, best of three blows). For a female my age and height the ideal capacity is 480 l/min. Therefore I have to focus on clearing any inflammation from my lungs and strenghtening the lungs in general. Exercise and breathing essential oils in steam should help.
Healing the leaky gut and eliminating systemic candida overgrowth, as described above.
Making my diet work long-term without excessive amount of special food prep needed. Beginning a morning ritual. Ensuring enough time spent outdoors.
Meditation. I strongly believe that 1/2hr-1hr of meditation daily would improve the quality of my life by leaps and bounds. I do occasional meditation but it would be good to start a regular practice. In all honesty, it does seem difficult to achieve time-wise at the moment, especially as I want to enjoy my days and not make them feel like I have a long list of things to 'achieve' every day. I trust that a time will come when this will slot into my everyday life effortlessly, however, as I do love how I feel after meditation, and I do constantly work to simplify my daily life.
"Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on the earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10-12 gms, each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world."
― Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis
I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year, with plenty of time to spend in nature, with loved ones, and in positive self-reflection. Remember to respect the miracle that is your natural body.