I grew up on the standard british diet of meat and 2 veg, lots of dairy, drinking quite a bit once I hit 16, smoking too. After being queen of the allergies for all my life not to mention crippling asthma and eczema, for me this was a path of necessity, not chosen on a whim or for fun. My body was shouting at me to listen and eventually, after ignoring for as long as I could, I did. I started to doubt the regular medical system whose advice added up to, keep up with the creams, keep up with the inhalers, stay indoors when your allergies get bad, stay away from animals. Basically, just keep safe. No, your diet has nothing to do with it, carry on. I felt confused and alone but just set about researching, getting out books from the library. It was not a path I had any help with initially, I felt quite alone in fact and often felt doubt and judgment from those around me about the changes I started to implement.
There were so many factors involved in my healing. I started on the path to vegetarianism very slowly, at first just cutting out beef and pork, more for ethical reasons at the time. The first big realisation came when I did an exclusion diet back in 2011. I fasted for a couple of days eating just apples and pears and drinking water. Then I added in a new food each day starting with the foods known to be less likely to be allergens. As soon as I added in wheat I suffered a huge flair up, I took that out and continued, then the same happened with dairy. I cut them out for 6 months which I read was a good amount of time for your body to reset and after that you can try and add the foods back in.
Fast forward to late 2012 and I was right in the middle of a huge life transformation after the end of 7 year relationship and the end of our joint business, a travelling festival café. A long time seasonal traveller I was itching for a big adventure to clear my mind and shake myself out of my pit of depression. I’d been pulled towards California for many years but had given up flying. An opportunity presented itself to sail to Brazil on a boat, well in my mind, that was near enough! Then came the packing. I figured I wanted at least a year, which for most things, is the same as packing for a month. Well, apart from the medications that is! I laid out what I had and worked out the whole amount I would need with some emergency back up- it filled half my bag! That’s when I made my decision. No More! I felt trapped by the system that was apparently interested in my wellbeing. I left it all behind. No daily asthma medication, no emergency attack medication, no medicated creams, no extra strong steroid creams, nada. I felt better all ready.
From that point on it has been a continuing journey of researching, making choices, observing and listening to my body, making informed lifestyle changes, falling back into bad habits and receiving huge affirmations each time, adding, subtracting etc etc. I now enjoy and relish this process. I am no longer shy to ask about ingredients in restaurants and cafes, I am no longer shy to state my preferences to friends and family. I enjoy the discussions that manifest because of that, and often I find people are experiencing similar problems which I can then offer up my experience and possible solutions.
During my time in South America my asthma failed into insignificance, my eczema on my hands healed and didn’t come back. Many factors were involved, including climate, my personal sense of peace returning gradually, my diet which was pretty much plant based by the time I arrived in California 2 years later, my huge daily fruit intake (so much cheap, abundant fresh fruit!) and giving up alcohol, which started after too much cheap Brazilian watery beer took its toll.
Since then I have experimented with a full fruit diet, raw vegan, cooked vegan, Ayurveda, mono-diet but never claimed any such title. It was more dictated by my environment and who was around influencing me. Often I would experience being inspired by vibrant, healthy people who crossed my path and I would probe them for their secrets and then, try them out myself. I’m not scared to try new things and have got really good at moderating my bodies responses. Its such a subtle thing a lot of the time, it wants to only have to whisper what it needs, you’ll soon know when it starts screaming! Ignore at your peril!
What I have learnt is that big meals and complicated cooking with many ingredients and courses is not what my body wants. The digestive power that requires is just too much and grinding to a halt is the result. Perhaps sometimes that’s a nice feeling when you aren’t up to much and you want to just disappear into a couch on a wintery evening but I much prefer fuelling my body to be able to run, dance, create beauty with my art, hike in the wilderness and enjoy this world to the maximum each and every day before falling into bed feeling tired but satisfied. I always fall asleep straight away clocking 7-8 hours.
I finally claimed the title of Vegan in may 2016. I had held back as before then I was always being led by deep cravings for sugary treats (where I would find myself munching non-vegan cakes pretty regularly), and fluctuating energy levels where I would feel drained by mid afternoon or really be struggling with exercising or a manual task. In those cases I would often resort to eating whatever was around, generally sugary. I tried mind power and general avoidance of the things I didn’t want to eat but there would always be a time when someone would offer me something and I just couldn’t resist. I kind of accepted it actually, that I was a slow mover with not much energy sometimes and 80% vegan, I told myself that was great for me
So what happened in May 2016? This is when I was lucky enough to stumble across the Australian company Miessence and their range of superfoods and protein powder. I wanted to really test the big claims they were making so I set myself up on the 10 day vitality challenge with the 3 superfood blends, mixing them into fresh juices with one serving of protein powder each morning. I had read in David Wolfe’s book on superfoods that these are powerful substances can support you in transitioning to a healthier diet cutting away your cravings at the root, which simply is your body crying out for nutrients with you mixing up the signals. My intention with the detox was to reset my taste buds and hopefully be able to cut out my sugar binges for good without having to feel I was torturing myself. I wanted just not to want sugar! But this my friends is a powerful beast so I didn’t set my expectations too high.
What I found was after an initial few days of low energy and headaches, as I went through the detox process, I found I expanded into this light feeling of balanced peaceful energy. I kept my activities light during this time to fully be able to sink into the experience and feel what was happening. Detoxing and fasting are amazing times for visioning on the future you want to create, the future you that you want to nurture into being and how you want to live. For me I knew I didn’t want to support unsustainable farming practices, animal suffering, planetary degradation or take toxics into my body. I made the decision on my superfood fast that I would go full vegan for a year and see how I felt.
I believe all products have been key in supporting me through this transition. The complete protein powder has met my needs, which I had been missing consistently for years (read full article here). The Deep Green has remineralised my body so I no longer have breast and knee pain, the InLiven has sped up my metabolism and my somewhat sluggish digestion giving me more energy from my food, and the Berry Radical is, I’m sure, somewhat responsible for my general health and wellbeing which has just kept getting better and better. Coming back to the UK from California for the winter I saw everyone around me dropping like flies to various viruses and colds which apparently were ’worse then ever’ this year but I have felt well supported the whole winter, all be a bit more subdued with the hibernating energy of the season.
And yes, I no longer do the processed sugar thing. I can tell right away when its been added to something, it just tastes unbearably sweet! Which it is! We have just become numb to it, needing more and more to get that same sensation. I feel my taste buds have been stripped back and opened to the tastes of the world. My food tastes so full of flavour and alive. The sweet delights of fresh fruit and veg are more then satisfying my once uncontrollable sweet tooth with the occasional date or spoonful of honey, but even that I am thinking of cutting out, not really sure I want to support that industry (yes I know honey isn’t vegan- I guess you would say I’m a beegan 🙂 ) , all a process, a really wonderful journey of discovery. So I became an independent representative for the company the following month and haven’t looked back. I love introducing the products to people who I know are going to benefit. It ticks all the boxes for me of a business I would want to support. Products that work and actually help people, ethical, certified organic, sustainable and the company director and formulator of the blends is a woman and a very inspirational one at that!
I am proud to be sharing my knowledge about nutrition and the vegan lifestyle with you all. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions or would like a consultation on the way forward towards your own optimum diet.