That’s exactly what it feels like – there’s a hole in my bucket.
No matter how much I fill up on all this good stuff, food, exercise, loving service, and meditation, somehow it’s leaking out of me.
I had a couple of super-busy weeks, working extra days, volunteering at the women’s prison, night shifts and weekends at work, a writing course, my son’s sports games and training.
Increasingly over the past few months (since my last iron injections) I was feeling really foggy in the head, my mind lacked clarity, I was lethargic and dizzy.
The crunch came on Monday when I got up out of bed to go to work and sat straight down on the floor and cried. I was so dizzy I wondered if I had been spinning in my sleep. I realised for weeks I had been “managing” severe dizzy spells, brain fog, depression, and lethargy.
When I say “managing” I mean just doggedly pushing though. Not listening to my body. I remember one particularly bad day at work, every time I stood up to go and help someone, I nearly passed out. Did I say anything? Nup. I just talked myself through it. Breathe, move slowly. Do try not to pass out on the library floor, dear.
After seeing the integrative doctor, what serendipitous timing that the appointment coincided with this rapid decline in my health – I was all ears and no argument for once! – I was confronted quite starkly with the fact that my body is not healthy.
It was a huge blow. I realised I really thought I could heal myself with a raw food diet and here I was just getting sicker.
The doctor was very kind as I weepily explained, that in my attempt to heal myself, my diet and become more and more restricted. She told me the raw food diet was not going to work for me because of my gut problems, that raw food takes extra digestion and really what I need is lots of slow cooked, easily digestible food.
When it became apparent that I would no longer be writing a blog about eating 100% raw food – after my doctor made her case abundantly clear that a raw food diet was perhaps only moderately more suitable for treating my condition than say, a fast food diet – so began a quandary.
Do I write one last blog? Do I leave my readers hanging wondering occasionally and absently, “What ever happened to that raw girl?” Do I just start another blog about my new adventures in eating for healing? Which may or may not include going from being a raw vegan to eating bone broth – I kid you not. Apparently it’s the gold star treatment for my condition, I’m not convinced though, yet.
The answer came to me after talking to a dear friend, who said she was a little worried about me after seeing my day-100 post. She said 21 days or even 30 days was admirable, a good cleansing fast for my system, but 100 days was nudging lunacy, especially in the cold Melbourne weather. It was, she said, rather EXTREME.
When I told her the doctor had advised slow-cooked stews for my condition, my friend expressed relief. They’re so nurturing, she said.
Nurture. Ah yes! That IS important, I thought. Could it be I had become somewhat of a raw food fascist? Denying myself the comfort of some steamed veggies and rice? Had a become so rigid that I was doing myself more harm than good?
Now, I am a big fan of the plant-based diet. I have expounded on the benefits that had come into my life as a direct result of my foray into eating raw. However I think somewhere along the line my ego had become very attached to the whole thing.
Well, the doctor’s diagnosis smashed my ego to smithereens.
Eating raw has taught me great self-discipline and healthy habits when it comes to eating and preparing food. Many of which will be helpful on my new healing regime. (Oh dear, REGIME, I’d better watch that fascist streak of mine!)
The difference is this time I have health professionals creating the regime. Not me, after reading a few articles and thinking I’m some kind of expert.
At this stage, I’m somewhat in limbo until I see the naturopath this week and get an clear idea of the diet I need to follow. In the meantime. I’m eating lots of steamed veggies with tahini dressing and loving the soothing, nurturing warmth!
The reason raw food is not ideal for me is that my digestive system has been weakened by a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Say what? Well, think of it this way, the lining of your digestive tract is like a filter with very small holes in it that only allow certain substances to pass through – like nutrients. This lining acts as a barrier to larger particles moving through your digestive system that if allowed though could cause damage.
When you have leaky gut, or as it’s also called, increased intestinal permeability, the lining of your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop, so things pass through the protective lining that shouldn’t – things like proteins (such as gluten), bad bacteria, undigested foods particles, excess hormones, and toxic waste. These particles are recognised in your blood as being unwelcome intruders and cause an immune reaction. Hence the increase in intolerance to certain foods like gluten and dairy.
So eventually you get to the point I was, despairing “what can I actually eat?”
See the picture below for an idea of how leaky gut progresses. Bottom line, it’s not good! (BTW IgG antibodies are the body’s immune reaction to foreign particles in the blood.)
Read more here for information on leaky gut and treatment.
One other area for improvement the doctor suggested is sleep. I read this article during the week, a powerful testament to why we need good sleep. Sleep acts like a dishwashing process for our brains, removing toxic build up. That’s probably why if you don’t sleep you die. And it would explain the link between dementia and sleep issues. My dad is a case in point, chronic sleep apnoea, now dementia. Read the article here.
The doctor told me to go to bed at 9pm every night. As someone who spends those “precious” hours after my son has gone to bed, writing, reading, doing my nails, I was horrified. There were two factors to this suggestion. First that the body has its healing cycle before midnight, so if you’re not sleeping you miss that. Second if my body gets too tired it has no energy left to heal anyway.
In addition to leaky gut I have oestrogen overload, adrenal fatigue, and, of course, chronic anaemia. That was the bad news. The good news is that healing my gut and ensuring proper digestion and elimination of toxins from my body should remedy all these issues.
I would hate to leave the impression that raw food diets are not healthy. I don’t think that’s true. I think the importance of finding out what is causing the symptoms in your health and then applying the appropriate diet is key.
My goal is to heal my gut so I can return to a mostly raw diet, but that will take time, and probably a dedication to eating more fermented and sprouted foods – which are much easier to digest – rather than all green smoothies and salads.
Hey, you live and learn right? I said it was a journey and this is where it’s taken me. Towards health. It’s ALL good.
So, in the words of Bugs Bunny, that’s all folks! Once again thank you for following my raw food journey.
Above all, be well.
See ya xox
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