> My Natural Health Journey
My natural health journey and interest in health started in 2009.
I had stopped smoking in 2005, with the help of Allen Carr's brilliant book: 'the Easy Way to Quit Smoking', after several failed attempts in the 13-years of my smoking life. I was 26-years old when I stopped, and just finishing my degree at a university in London. In a way I chose the worst time to quit, which proved for me - in fact - to be the best time.
After many years of party-filled lifestyle in London, I moved to California to study, funded by scholarships and a sizeable student loan. I was curious about the healthy Californian lifestyle and for the first time in my life I ate at a raw food restaurant, and was positively surprised how tasty the food was but a little surprised about the huge portions. The local young crowd living a healthy life also made an impression on me - they consumed very little alcohol and for them exercise was the norm.
This was in 2007 and my diet was junk vegetarian. I remember not being able to eat a full salad for lunch because I would get a headache. I saw a homeopath, who thought I was in very bad shape healthwise. I couldn't sleep well at night and had nightmares. My lifestyle was very stressful and I was struggling with a daily alcohol habit - often not more than one beer a day but a problem nevertheless - while studying hard, having occasional breathing problems, tiredness and sleep disorders. I also had developed a beer belly, which I tried to combat by daily 30-minutes of pilates exercises and by going for a very short run around my two neighbouring blocks. That winter I also ended up very ill in bed for 2 weeks - when a cold I had developed into bronchitis. I had to take strong antibiotics before getting better and at the time I was also on birth-control pills.
Meanwhile, my boyfriend discovered the Bob Beck Protocol, a healing method based on attaching electrical wires to the wrist and running a low current of electricity through the veins using battery power (blood electrification). I was sceptical at first, but then started experimenting with this method, slowly building up to 2 hours of 'electricity' per day. We would literally just hook up three 9-volt batteries together, attach some wires to each end with crocodile clips and tape the other two ends to the arteries on the wrist for up to two hours at a time. (Need 100% cotton thread around the exposed ends of the wires to stop burns.) It is crucial to drink plenty of water while doing this, because otherwise you will get ill. This low current of electricity is harmful for bacteria and other single-celled organisms, which are less sophisticated than human cells, and should not be in the blood anyway. (The beneficial bacteria are in the intestines, and other places of the body, not in blood, as I understand it). The human cells are unharmed when this simple method is done correctly.
Since starting on 'electricity' in 2007, I have not been ill and neither has my boyfriend. I may feel like a cold is trying to get to me and feel a bit under-the-weather but within two days I feel normal again.
That is except my bout with swine flu, which took a little longer to cure using this method. The fever went away quickly but it took some days after for the coughing and other symptoms to completely disappear.
I felt that the 'electricity medicine' kick-started my health and I discovered many benefits from it. I believe I might not have had the strength to become a raw foodist unless I gave my health a jump-start with the electricity - as well as silver colloids - drinking silver! My immune system definitely improved greatly as a result.
I discovered that silver colloid, which is another part of the Bob Beck Protocol, seemed to work incredibly well for me to smoothen the skin of my face as well as to clear sinuses (I used it in a similar way to the neti pot).
Returning to London in 2008, I still had not gotten rid of my beer belly and was still trying to combat it via exercise. I would try to regularly go for a 30-minute run around the nearby park, as well as to do pilates, but the belly seemed unaffected. But my experience with the 'electricity medicine', as well as some natural health remedies which were readily available in California, such as wild yam cream (which helped my menstrual pain to a degree that I didn't have to take painkillers again) had opened my eyes to new kinds of alternative health cures.
Me in April 2012 (at 32 years old)
I had always had a good understanding of natural health as a result of my upbringing (in Northern Finland) but my interest in health was suddenly growing by leaps and I was discovering many new things in fast succession.
I had read Jeffrey McCombs' book the 'Lifeforce Plan' and had self-diagnosed my 'beer belly' as candida. I also had joined a gym for a short while (before quitting when I could no longer afford it) and the instructors there had told me that a bloated belly was a diet issue, not something that could be 'cured' by exercise.
I did the full Lifeforce Plan in the autumn of 2009, which lasted a little over four months. I had learned that anyone who had taken antibiotics or pain killers at some point in their life was likely to suffer from candida overgrowth. After completing the plan my health had greatly improved: I lost weight and looked a lot younger, my beer belly was completely gone, and I never had to take antibiotics again. After the diet, however, I got slowly used to the junk vegetarian diet again but with a renewed confidence that I was indeed in control of my own health.
Other health problems still remained, however, the period pains came back, a slight but chronic cough persisted, as did tiredness and I also developed allergies. Luckily, I was able to self-diagnose myself with estrogen dominance and keep the menstrual pains in control with wild yam cream, without the need for pain killers.
The following year, in 2010, I read Queen Afua's book: 'Heal Thyself for Health and Longevity'
and decided to start drinking green juices every day - which I did for many months and felt good for it. One major change I remember was that I felt that my moods were much more balanced. I felt happy more.
Her book started my interest in raw foods and this interest would only grow over the next few years. I first started having raw breakfast every day as well as experimenting with raw dishes and raw cakes. I was completely blown away by how tasty and quick to make many raw foods were. I gradually increased the amount of raw foods by starting to have huge salads for lunch almost every day. I also gradually weaned myself off coffee, only to begin drinking copious amounts of green tea every day.
The raw bug had hit, however... and now, five years later, I have much more experience on eating raw and on juice fasting
as well. In the beginning my raw food trials felt ridiculously easy and I felt many benefits from eating all raw, and from juice fasting.
2011 was definitely a year of big achievements on my raw food journey, whereas 2012 was a little slower in terms of achievements but very fruitful in terms of self-reflection, theoretical learning, and also in terms of new realisations on juice fasting, caffeine and food intolerance.
I tended to, however, go back and forth between 1) very strict diets and 2) eating quite freely and not so healthily. This is a typical problem called yo-yo dieting. I was also worried that even during my longest raw food trial, which was three months long, I didn't eliminate some of my health problems. I also had a nagging feeling that something was missing. Although I did experience many benefits, I didn't feel the huge energy increase that other people reported on raw foods. And increase in energy was one of the main things I was since the beginning hoping to achieve with my health trials.
So I thought I would spend some money on the advice of nutritionists, to see if I was missing something important.
Hair mineral analysis
found that I had sluggish adrenal glands
and an underactive thyroid
, causing fatigue
, inability to handle stress and a slow metabolism. Live blood analysis
found acidic blood (sticky red blood cells), weak white blood cells (impaired immunity), impaired digestion, weak liver and various deficiencies. Later on, a Chinese Medical Doctor
found out that I had too much emotional heat, and resultant dehydration
, which meant various energy imbalances. These imbalances, in turn, caused mucus congestion (the cough I still had), hormonal imbalances, and I also didn't have enough Qi energy to 'pump' nutrients into the cells, which caused malnutrition and weakness.
Despite all these findings, I was generally in good health, as the Chinese doctor confirmed as well, and the doctors at my local health center could not find anything wrong with me.
Each of these nutritionists also advised against raw foods until I was feeling stronger again, for various different reasons.
It slowly dawned on me that once one part of the body is out of balance, all of it is out of balance. I spent a lot of money on supplements, and started slowly to build my adrenal glands back up. I also learned to have some form of protein on every meal to keep the carbohydrate intolerance in check. And I started to have some more energy.
However, around the summer of 2013 I developed a new problem: anxiety. I gathered that it might be due to my stressful life circumstances, as I was doing some soul searching, not sure of my direction in life, and I was also living quite poor despite working hard due to student loan payments. I also had put myself through a lot of stress all throughout my adult life, living in different countries, and studying and working hard. I found out through research that anxiety can be linked to an imbalanced gut flora, allergies, lack of sodium, etc. In the end I managed to overcome the worst anxiety fairly quickly by quitting some supplements (adrenal glandulars), and not eating sugar or alcohol. The Chinese doctor was an important help in this process, as were the acupuncture and the herbs she administered.
I realized the importance of changing one's diet slowly, aiming for a long-term change, so that one can monitor each change carefully. I also slowly begun to understand the huge importance of an anti-inflammatory diet.
I was caffeine, gluten and dairy free, but now ate some organic meat here and there. I followed the advice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and at the same time, paid more and more attention on keeping my subconscious mind happy. I tried to balance my sometimes tiring office-job as an architect with exercise, stretching, yoga, meditation, and other right brain activities - each in small but frequent quantities. I found that this improved the quality of my daily life. And finally, after so many years, I started a morning 'ritual', which made a real difference to how I felt each day.
In July 2014 I stopped working for a while, which allowed me to focus more on my health. I came out of a situation where I had had to commute four hours per day in total, work a fair bit of overtime, and try to work on this website when not in the office. I felt burned out and my body felt out of balance. I didn't seem to be able to keep to my eating plans as well as I wanted due to a busy lifestyle, a very tight budget, and new health problems. The anxiety was getting worse again, accompanied by alternating cold and hot body temperature. I had developed headaches, occasional insomnia, tiredness, often flu-like symptoms, heart palpitations, and I felt like I needed a real change in my life.
So I took as much time off work as I could (10 months), and went sugar-free, grain-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free and dairy-free again. But two weeks into the diet I was suffering from new problems: headaches, throat aches, and nasal congestion, which I then thought were just classic detox symptoms.
I did start to have more energy, though, since I taking methylcobalamine B12 spray (and working less). I would sometimes wake up naturally at 7am after going to bed at 10pm, so that made 9 hours of sleep. It may seem a lot but it was less than I had needed before.
I was eating an approximately 50% raw diet, with quinoa, potatoes, fish, some organic meat, eggs, and some fried or boiled vegetables. I ate very little packaged foods and processed condiments, some of the ones I had, though, included sugar-free peanut butter, vegetarian yeast paste, stock cubes, Tabasco sauce, soya sauce, etc. I did found out later that some of these included foods I was allergic to, like celery, which had been causing the flu-like symptoms and fatigue.
I got my hair mineral analysis redone as well. I kept searching for solutions while working on the website full-time and giving my body and mind a rest from office-work. This was a very important time in my life and I learned so much about my body, mind and health.
At the very beginning of 2015 I started another 30-day raw food challenge
, which was the strictest one I had done yet. After 30 days the plan was to slowly transition into an ideal diet for me
, which I thought would be a combination of best results of juice fasting (menstrual cramps
eliminated); raw food diet (happy moods, balanced mind, healthy looks and more flexibility, etc.); and low-sugar, high-protein diet (less anxiety, more energy, balanced blood sugar). However, I didn't feel well on raw foods this time, possibly at least partly because I had to eliminate all fruits due to severe sugar intolerance
I started to come to a realization that my symptoms were in many ways now worse than before I started experimenting with raw foods, juice fasts, hair mineral analysis, supplements, etc. I suffered from hot flushes, my throat and sinuses were still near-permanently congested, I had managed to eliminate my menstrual pains only temporarily, and I often had a feeling of weakness in my muscles, combined with feeling cold and as if I had fever, sometimes chest pains and heart palpitations, etc. I also seemed to still gain weight easily, as if my body was unable to digest carbohydrates properly.
Of course I know knew that juice fasting eliminated my menstrual pains, raw foods improved my looks and mood, certain supplements calmed me down or gave me energy, and being sugar- and carbohydrate-free reduced anxiety and hot flushes. But I didn't feel well sticking to extreme diets for long periods of time. In some ways they increased stress because of the additional needed food preparation while my life was already way too busy. But also, I didn't feel in balance while sticking to them in the long term.
I couldn't eat most types of fruit anymore because I had developed an extreme sugar intolerance, so the raw food diet became much more limited. I had food intolerances, some of which only gradually started to become clear to me during 2015, which included some cheap raw foods that I had overeaten, such as celery and carrots. And my latest raw food experiment had failed, as I started feeling extreme fatigue when eating that way - this was a low-carb, sugar-and-fruit free raw food diet.
The last juice fast I did had to be a green juice fast, because I couldn't tolerate fruit. But I started to have a strong metallic taste in my mouth every day (a sign of being too alkaline), as well as fat cravings, and an out-of-balance feeling, so it didn't feel right sticking to it for longer than about five days at a time. Again, I got many benefits but in the end couldn't stick to it.
I now think that my sugar intolerance is linked to a mold infection
in my lungs and sinuses. The Chinese doctor says that it is due to stress, and the resulting liver weakness and energy imbalances. Hair mineral analysts say that it is probably due to the fact that I am eliminating toxic copper
from my body, ever since the adrenal glands speeded up. Or it could be a combination of these things.
Staying away from sugar proved a good route to go, but completely eliminating carbohydrates did not. It seemed that I needed some carbohydrates to sustain my energy levels. And in many other ways I ended up, by May 2015, treading a path of careful balance between extremes.
I found - and eliminated - many more of my food intolerances, which got rid of the weak flu-like feelings. I managed to stop the heart palpitations by avoiding sugar, chemical foods, and by using some thyroid-calming herbs. I put more emphasis on daily exercise again, to balance my hormones, bring 'warm' energy into my body, and to help mucus elimination. I focused on partly-raw foods combined with alkaline cooked foods, avoided chilled foods and drinks, as well as cold in general, as advised by the Chinese doctor.
Most importantly, I realized that much of the weakness in my body was due to a systemic sinus and lung infection (probably aspergillus) that I had had ever since the beginning of my health journey, and probably for much longer. I had been looking for answers from diets, whereas this condition needed stronger means. I returned to blood electrification and started drinking ozonated water and the infection started clearing and I begun to feel stronger. I developed strong cough after two weeks (a cleansing symptom) and once that cleared, I wasn't as intolerant of carbohydrates and sugar as I had been before. But only part of the infection had cleared.
In May 2015 I was feeling good, and health-wise I was perhaps better than I had been for a long time. I found a certain way of eating, which was simple, satisfying, low-cost and kept me feeling good. I suspect that once the sinus infection is completely eliminated, I might be able to tolerate sugar again. Digestive enzymes helped a lot if I happened to eat a food I was intolerant of. I was then happily free of dairy and caffeine (apart from occasional butter). I gave up meat again, since it seemed unnecessary, but I ate seafood and cooked foods, including some carbohydrates and even gluten-products.
A big mystery is why did I develop so many new problems during my health journey which I didn't have before? Here is a list of reasons, why the natural health journey is not always a smooth one:
- When you eliminate a food from your diet, which you are intolerant of, you may react more strongly to it when reintroducing it. Intolerances can also develop if you eat too much of something for a long time. I found out that I was intolerant of carrots, celery, canned tuna and brown pasta, among other things.
- It seems that you build 'tolerance' to certain unhealthy foods, similarly to the tolerance people build to alcohol and coffee. However, I don't think this happens with healthy foods eaten in moderation, so if eliminating junk foods seem to make you allergic or intolerant of them these foods were probably causing problems all along, even the noticeable symptoms were less strong. In my case I started reacting strongly to sugar, many 'chemical' foods, many long-life foods and caffeine after eliminating them.
- Diets that eliminate meat protein and fat can easily tend towards many more carbohydrates. This can worsen any existing carbohydrate intolerance or possibly even develop it. In my case I suspect that behind my carbohydrate- and sugar intolerance is an aspergillus mold infection. These infectious agents, as well as many others (and parasites), feed off sugar and carbohydrates (which turn to sugar in the digestive process), so my juice fasting with fruit juices and some early high-sugar raw food diets probably made these infections worse. The worst thing about such infections as aspergillus is the toxins they constantly produce, which can affect the nervous system and all of the body's organs, as well as slow down the cleansing and strengthening of the body in general.
- Any high-sugar and some high-carbohydrate diets can increase inflammation in the body, which causes myriad problems.
- Certain detox protocols, such as the hair mineral analysis I have been following, can cause detoxification of heavy metals and other changes in the body, which in some cases can be very long-lasting (many years) with quite severe symptoms, as the toxins come out and the body rebalances itself. Be careful with these protocols so as not to take on more you, or your body can handle, and also to make sure that they are genuine, and not doing your body harm.
- Taking supplements can help your body or bring it off balance. All supplements should be tested one by one and retested periodically (sometimes they can reverse their initial effect or stop working). Adrenal glandular supplements caused severe anxiety in me, and C-vitamin megadosing made me unable to sleep at nights. Both had great benefits as well, at least initially. Some supplements and herbs can have strong effects so it is best to try one type of supplement or herb at a time, monitor your response to it, and also use the pulse test to ensure that you are not intolerant of it. Used correctly, supplements can be very helpful, but it can be difficult to get them right, as sometimes even nutritionists are confused as to what suits whom.
- Everyone's body is different. What works for 99% of the population may not work for you, and many 'miracle healing stories' from natural health books, as well as doctors' books, focus on the patients who had the best possible results following one protocol. Try what works for you, don't believe that anyone has the ultimate truth or knows exactly what works for you, even though they may have plenty of useful advice.
- Sometimes when your body gets stronger it uses the newly found energy to detoxify you, which causes different symptoms than you had before. But beware of people who say that all your symptoms are detoxification symptoms or 'healing crisis'. They may be detox or it may be that something in your new diet or lifestyle is not working.
- Too fast changes to one's lifestyle can cause stress and tiredness. Diets can be difficult and/or expensive to stick to. Plan your life changes as gradual, realizable, and easy from the start. It is possible to eat healthy on the cheap and achieve lasting results if you don't rush it.
- 100% raw food probably doesn't work for everyone or every lifestyle. It seems that if you want to be a raw foodist, at the very least you have to exercise a lot and/or live in a warm country to bring enough 'warm' energy to the body. In addition, there may be individual health challenges which make it more challenging to succeed with raw foods: infections, parasites, 'cold and damp' body type (vata), food intolerances, digestive challenges, deficiencies, etc.
The overall outcome, however, is that I don't regret these health experiments, as in the end I do feel better and have eliminated many of the initial problems. I have also learned to know my body much better. Perhaps some mistakes have been made and I keep updating the diaries and reporting back on my findings, so that others can avoid those. But right now - even though I still need about nine hours of sleep per night, and more during my menstrual period - I have no more headaches, very little dehydration, a balanced mind (though not as inspired as during juice fasts), and my weight stays fairly stable. Exercise is starting to feel easier and more enjoyable than it has since at least 2007, probably longer. My eyes are rarely red anymore, and the heart palpitations almost never happen anymore. I did unlock some new mysteries (sinus infection, new food intolerances, yin deficiency, alkaline cooked foods, etc.), which allowed these promising changes to take place.
Update in August 2015
Soon after writing the last update on the above I had to return to full-time work. The job I took on was more challenging than any I had had before. I was constantly working long hours (approx. 12-hour days) without being paid overtime and I never had time to take more than a 15-minute lunch break. And my diet and exercise regime suffered as a result. I didn't have time for blood electrification or sinus rinse anymore, and I stopped any energy-giving supplements (including C-vitamin and B12) because sometimes I found it difficult to sleep because of the stress.
On a positive note, however, I arranged my commute in a way that I had to walk to work 20mins x2 every day. I believe that these walks were the reason why I didn't gain any weight despite eating some less healthy foods, like croissants and egg-avocado-mozzarella wraps. On some days I enjoyed the challenge at work and it was easy not to eat too much because my mind was so busy. I still often had smoothies for breakfast (spinach, apple juice, avocado, lemon), salads with potato salad mixed in for lunch, lots of eggs, steamed salmon and kale for dinner (prepared by my boyfriend), etc. Lots of mandarins, dark chocolate and liquorice bars for snacks.
I handled stress better this time than at my last job, and most of the time I avoided heart palpitations, red eyes, fever-like feeling, extreme fatigue and weight gain, which had been problems before in my previous job. There were still quite a few anxiety symptoms, however, but not as many as before.
But on days when I tried to have just cucumber and berries for breakfast, then salad for lunch, I started feeling unwell - headachy. I'm not sure whether it's an intolerance to cucumbers or just that I don't handle cool raw foods very well. (I later found out the problem was probably the difficult-to-digest fiber ("insoluble fiber") in these raw vegetables.)
What felt like an amazing achievement was the elimination of my headaches despite plenty of stress. I ate carbohydrates regularly, although I tried to limit them. I took magnesium flakes and epsom salt baths every night as recommended by the chiropractor I had seen regarding the headaches. I noticed that if I had to hold my head in a forward-leaning position I would get headaches either soon after or the following day - so I lifted my computer screen high up to allow me to hold my head straight and was careful not to spend too much time looking down at a laptop of a mobile phone. Glasses also helped with headaches from screens.
Plenty of progress there, a little bit of back-tracking again, and more and more respect towards the complexity of nature and the human body-mind-soul entity. Every health story is unique.
Update in January 2016
I quit my crazy job to return to full-time study for one year. This will get me deeper into debt again, but at least by next summer I should be a qualified architect.
I practiced an aspergillus-busting diet and lifestyle around September with good results. It included oregano oil breathed in, very little dairy, and blood electrification on as many days as possible. Lots of mucus cleared again after about two weeks of continuing this practice. I also breathed in the oregano oil vapours directly from the bottle occasionally, and took 2 drops in water internally on many days, even though it burned my lips.
I had many new realizations in the autumn, which were summarized in Dec 2015 health journey update, and related articles. Putting these findings into practice improved how I felt by miles and inspired the new high-raw, vegan diet that I started at the beginning of the new year 2016 (link to diary below). This time there is no set length for the eating plan, as I hope to make this extremely healthy, high-raw diet a long-term lifestyle, while eating an abundance of amazing foods (as varied diet as possible while still feeling the best possible). It is important that this long-term diet works with my (still) busy lifestyle, so that not much food prep is required, and it is not stressful to stick to the eating plan. In addition, the diet has to be fairly low cost since I am again a full-time student (at the age of 37).
Update in August 2017
So I completed my studies back in 2016 which were both enjoyable and stressful, as you might expect. I had some time off in the summer and spent time with family back in Finland which is very important for my peace of mind and also very relaxing. Finishing the studies was a definite weight off my mind.
Afterwards, I went to work for local company (5 mins walk from my flat) four days a week, which was perfect. Nice people, no overtime, and I could come home at lunch breaks. It was only temporary, however, and in the spring I began to work remotely (from home) for an architect lady who lived on the coast, some 1h commute away from me. These freelance positions didn't offer enough work, however, and I had to go back to commuting to London and working for an office in London.
At the moment of writing this I am at crossroads again. Whether to continue working in London or to figure something closer to my heart which involves less overtime and less commuting.
- Quitting gluten results in one day of feeling poorly, flu-like symptoms (sign of the immune system being activated) and less of the fever-like symptoms afterwards.
- Histamine Intolerance. DAO Enzymes enable me to withstand histamine-rich foods much better. This was a big realization and helped to understand my food allergies more. Now the question is how to fix it. Apparently some pathogens in the body release histamine when you eat foods that can help eliminate them, causing symptoms, so this might not be a true 'intolerance' but a pathogen problem.
- Sinus congestion is back and seems to get worse with stress, lack of protein, and anything that feeds pathogens (dairy, gluten, sugar).
- I've been going to gym 2-3 times per week since the beginning of this year. I do 20 minutes of running keeping my heart rate to no more than 145 bpm, and some weights, with plenty of stretching afterwards. I make sure to keep it enjoyable and not to tire myself too much, as I don't want my body to go back to 'burnout-mode'. The exercise makes me feel so much happier, stronger, fresh, upbeat and more flexible.
- Anxiety and blushing: These problems are not there almost at all anymore. Less stress at work definitely helped a lot - much shorter work days and no commute last winter. Finishing my studies which were a weight on my mind helped too. I did some counselling (six sessions) which was not groundbreaking but definitely helped. She taught me to breathe deep into my stomach which seems very important and immediately anxiety-reducing, as I was used to breathing just into my chest. Gym and exercise have helped, no-sugar diet, magnesium supplementation (probably), amino acid supplements, etc.
- Passionflower tea at night has been a life-saver! Whenever I get histamine intolerance symptoms (which include anxiety) or just can't sleep I drink passionflower tea. It has helped a lot. (... but it won't knock you off your feet, you have to be already in bed ready to sleep when you drink it.)
- The histamine intolerance and food allergies can be kept in check with DAO enzymes, digestive enzymes, exercise, and by being careful with the diet. Too much stress, tiredness and hormones can aggrevate symptoms. But I suspect all these weaknesses do have to do with an underlying pathogen, therefore I am trying to find time again for blood electrification, ozone water, oregano oil and steam breathing, as well as exercise, meditation, cooking healthy wholefoods, work, website, etc. I am trying also not to burn myself out this time as before and it helps that I know the warning signs this time (it can sneak up on you).
- On 27th August, when I started a new raw food diet, I seemed to withstand certain histamine foods, e.g. strawberries, cashew nuts, white tea (similar to green tea), citrus, cherry tomatoes and dried dates. Perhaps I can withstand histamine better since 1) I've been gluten free (for about 1.5 weeks) 2) I've been drinking ozonated water recently (which has been making me feel stronger) 3) I've been doing a lot of blood electrification for more than one month now.
- I think the key for me to be able to eat raw is to eat a lot of fruit.
Here are more detailed accounts of all the documented diet trials during my natural health journey, in time order. Note that the links often take you to a summary/ conclusions page, and you can follow the links from there to the full (lengthy) diary notes, if you wish.
- 2009: McCombs Diet/ Lifeforce Plan
- April 2011: 7 Days on 100% raw food diet - My first 100% raw trial!
- May 2011: 22-day raw food diet challenge
- July 2011: 18 days on 100% raw
- Oct - Dec 2011: 100-day raw food diet, challenge finished early, at 62 days.
- Oct 2011:
7-day live juice fast and 1-day new moon fasts
- 30-day alternative health trials (ongoing)
- April 2012:
21-Day Juice Fasting While at Work
- April - September 2012:
Food Intolerance/ Home Allergy Test
- December 2012:
Live Blood Analysis
- December 2012 - Ongoing:
Hair Mineral Analysis
- January 2013:
Dairy and Gluten Free Diary
- March 2013:
38-Day High Raw Diet with Cheat Days - First Part of the 2013 Raw Food Diet
- May 2013:
One Week 100% Raw - Second Part of the 2013 Raw Food Diet
- April 2013:
- June 2013:
Live Green Juice Fast (one week) - Third Part of the 2013 Raw Food Diet
- Feb 2013 - Feb 2014:
Trauma Release Exercises
- Dec 2013 - April 2014:
Traditional Chinese Medicine - Acupuncture, Herbal and Diet Approach.
- January 2014:
Caveman Diet - High-protein, sugar-free, low-carbohydrate - similar to paleolithic diet.
- March 2014:
- August 2014:
Hormone Balancing Diet - Green juice fast and a low-sugar, high micronutrient diet to follow, with various supplements and exercises for hormone health.
- January 2015:
30-Day Raw Food Challenge - 100% raw for 30 days, this is the most strict raw food diet I have been on yet, at least initially, with no added salt, only very good quality olive oil, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine, etc.
- May 2015:
Natural Health Journey Update - Good progress, feeling better. Eating warm foods to combat yin deficiency, some carbohydrates, alkaline green soups and salads, no dairy, no caffeine. Found some new food intolerances, fighting a chronic sinus infection (suspected aspergillus). The importance of exercise, new hair mineral analysis, moderation in everything seems best.
- June 2015:
No-Stress Healthy Diet - I realized that for me to stick to healthy living in the long-term, I will have to minimise the time spent in the kitchen and focus on meals that are very quick to make. Cheap, healthy and quick meal plan to get you through a whole week.
- October 2015:
Visit to a Raw Food Nutritionist in London
- December 2015:
Natural Health Update - Many important realisations regarding my health summarized in this and linked articles. A fair bit of progress in understanding my health and natural health in general is recorded here.
- January 2016:
Raw Food Diet 2016 - 50%+ raw, healthiest diet I can imagine, NOT low-carb, includes fruit, plenty of protein, all vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, chemical-free. Avoiding most harsh fiber from raw vegetables, finding new food intolerances, including steamed foods and boiled herbs for ease of digestion and warmth in the middle of the winter. Many previous health problems have been solved by now and further details are outlined in the beginning of this diet diary.
- March 2016:
Hyperthyroidism Caused by Copper Deficiency? I have now supplemented with copper for one month and feel much stronger. Less exhaustion, less anxiety, less heart palpitations.
- June 2016:
7-Day Water Fast.
- January 2017:
Happy New Year 2017! Includes a health update summary.
- Carbohydrates Increase Energy
- February 2017:
Self-diagnosed Histamine Intolerance. Histamine Intolerance is the deficiency of an enzyme 'diamine oxidase' and explains why I can't tolerate mature cheeses, pickles, long-life foods, wine, beer, tomatoes, yeast, certain types of bread. It also explains why I feel worse during the menstrual period and why stress makes the symptoms worse. I took diamine oxidase capsules before drinking an experimental two glasses of wine and I felt completely fine after, none of the usual horrible symptoms.
- March 2017:
Doctor diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She said that this explained the painful menstruation and related symptoms (apparently endometriosis or cysts may also have IBS underlying). I am now experimenting with eliminating histamine, histamine-releasing foods, etc., other allergens, starches, excess fiber, etc from my diet. Also, eating high-micronutrient diet should be helpful in healing these linked conditions. I exercise regularly at the gym now (2-3x per week, 1.5h at a time running, weights and stretching, since January) and this seems to make me feel much stronger also.
- October 2017:
I'm waiting for my NHS Dietitian appointment, who has asked me to keep a food diary. However, I have now discovered a simple and quick way to reduce histamine intolerance symptoms: by drinking more water! To hydrate properly and for the water to get into the cells one needs to 1) drink water (some types may be more hydrating than other types), 2) take sufficient quantities of macro and trace minerals, 3) avoid stress and diuretics in excess which are dehydrating, 4) move the body to enable water, oxygen and nutrient transportation and the elimination of toxins. I now believe that the problem underlying most of my health problems and imbalances is dehydration (i.e. lack of adequate water and minerals). My eyes get bright when I either drink water with ionic minerals or when I eat enough fruit. Therefore the redness/ dullness in the eyes must be due to dehydration (the optician just checked my eyes and confirmed once again that they suffer from dryness). The sinus problems I have may also be due to dehydration. What is more, Dr. Batmanghelidj found out some time ago between excess histamine and dehydration - therefore by drinking more water - according to him, and others - the histamine load of the body can be reduced. Consequently, not only histamine intolerance but other allergies, possibly even asthma, can be reduced by proper hydration (drinking adequate amounts of water and taking minerals). The liver weakness Chinese Doctor discovered before may be linked to dehydration also, as can painful menstruation and symptoms of leaky gut, etc.
- December 2017:
I saw the NHS (National Health Service) Dietitian today. She was a young lady, looked healthy and a vegetarian. As a Dietitian she has to follow what research findings show and therefore cannot recommend raw food diets, juice fasts or paleo diet since, according to her, there is no research evidence showing that they are healthy. She recommended eating potatoes and rice for carbohydrates (a handful at each meal), a handful of protein twice a day, 5-6 200ml glasses of water per day, little bit of olive oil for fat and 5-6 servings of fruit and vegetables. She is trying to get the GP to order blood tests for me for micronutrient deficiencies. She though that since I didn't eat any dairy I may be calcium-deficient.
I have now concluded that gluten and grains definitely cause my belly to bloat and since I've been gluten, grain, and dairy-free the bloatedness has reduced a lot. The histamine intolerance symptoms have definitely lessened as well, which may be due to drinking warm water (Chinese Doctor recommendation), taking a copper supplement in liquid form, drinking coffee, magnesium supplements, B12 spray, vit D3 spray, or because I've been grain- and dairy-free. On days when I eat protein on every meal, plus paleo protein bars as snacks, I do seem to feel much stronger. Generally I feel stronger but even now there are occasional days when I'm feeling very tired and weak.
I have begun to drink coffee regularly at work (after approx. 8 years of being coffee free), and it seems to help to make work more 'bearable'. It definitely helps with concentration and focus, it makes it a lot easier to get out of bed early in the morning, and it may also be good for the liver. I feel good drinking it, and since I tire myself out during the day more (as coffee allows my brain and body to spend more energy), I also seem to fall asleep easier in the evening. Coffee also has some copper, which may help. Generally I do feel healthier/ more balanced when not drinking coffee but since I have a demanding job I use it as a tool to make the job easier. It gives me strength to work hard and to push my mind and body, which seems sometimes necessary in modern life.
My current diet has to be quick, cheap, flexible when I'm on the run, and keep me feeling strong. Generally I eat potatoes and small amounts of rice, fish (incl. tuna), beans (incl. baked beans), eggs, vegan cheese, protein bars, 'Naked' nut bars, pecan nuts, grapes, bananas, and ready-cubed fruit (especially melon and pineapple), Thai vegetable curry ready meals and rice noodle soup (ready meal). As drinks: warm water, coffee, and small amounts of orange juice, mango juice, or store-bought smoothie. I would prefer to eat more cooked vegetables and eat my starches raw (sweet potato and squash in a smoothie) but in practice I eat these less as I'm constantly running around and working long days. This is the absolute most basic diet I can feel fairly good on and any variation from this is either recipe for problems or a luxury. I have to avoid insoluble fiber, especially when uncooked, dairy, grains and certain other foods. Dairy, alcohol and cold air seem to be giving me a cough so I try to avoid those also. If I eat sugar in any other form than fruit my energy levels seem to dip and sometimes I get restless feet or congestion in my throat a few hours after eating (especially if eaten in the evening).
Unfortunately I have almost completely stopped exercising due to time constraints (since approx. two months ago, when I started my new job) but will find a way to get back into it, even if it's sometimes 5 mins per day. (14th Dec).
- July 2018:
I have started an Instagram account, titled 'Good Life Meals' to show you what I eat these days and what makes me feel my best. I aspire to eating very well while enjoying life and not being 'perfect'. I don't want food to restrict my life too much. I don't want junk food to make me feel unwell, and I also don't want to eat so strictly that social events and work become too difficult.
I feel much stronger and more energetic, even without much exercise.
I've quit coffee again a couple of weeks back, because it made me feel 'drugged', but also because I hated the constant taste of coffee in my mouth, because I had a tendency to drink more and more, and because I began to wake up very tired. Actually, perhaps the most important reason to have quit it is that coffee would occasionally give me sharp chest pain, making it difficult to breathe. My adrenal glands are probably still quite worn out from previous burn-outs so the coffee exhausts my body quickly, and more and more over time. After I quit the coffee I had to sleep so much for so many days, my body was exhausted! It did, however, make me feel stronger while I was drinking it, either just because of the stimulant effect or perhaps also because it contains some copper.
Being gluten- and dairy-free seems to greatly reduce stomach bloatedness and also sinus congestion! And regarding sinuses, it doesn't seem to be just the dairy, gluten seems to have possibly even bigger role in this. I suspect now (will confirm later) that gluten is also behind the cough I have on and off. It may also be the primary reason for the food intolerances.
I don't have histamine intolerance symptoms anymore since I don't eat gluten! Many other food intolerance symptoms are gone also, partly because I stayed away from eating them so long. I still have to avoid many packaged foods, however, as I do still raised pulse from them.
I've also taken strong probiotics (see the Instagram account for details) and copper, which both seem to help. The anxiety symptoms are almost non-existent, and hot flashes have greatly reduced also. Even though I still work hard at my office job and commute approx. 3h in total every day, the stress levels are nevertheless much reduced as well.
I still have menstrual pain which I think is inflammation-related condition to a large degree, and linked to my general gastrointestinal problems. Occasional hot flashes are related to stress and the recent heatwave, but I think inflammation plays a part in this condition also - many times people have redness of skin or pain it is linked to inflammation.
As long as I eat protein, fruit and fat on every meal I feel good. In the long-term, however, I seem to need starches also, in raw form, as I can't tolerate them in cooked form. Examples of these are: raw sweet potato, raw oat groat porridge (soaked 24-hours) and raw root vegetables in limited quantity. If I don't eat any starches I start to get symptoms of weakness and fevery feeling within a couple of days. If I eat cooked starch, however, I put on weight quickly and my face gets water retention ('puffiness').
I also still have to be careful with insoluble fiber, so I can't eat large salads. Just today I tried and the problem is still there, strong dehydration and 'blocked' feeling in the throat/chest/stomach appears.
We've had a heatwave for all of June and July up to today (10th July) and there seems to be no sign of it stopping. Therefore I have also benefited from plenty of time out in the sun and also some swims in the sea. Both very good ways to strengthen the body, reduce stress and get those happy hormones flowing!
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