Su“The Reluctant Raw Foodist”

We create our bodies every day by what we put into them. I do not think I really thought about this over much until things started going very wrong with my body and this simple fact was pointed out to me by my then consultant.

I did not become a raw foodist by choice. In fact, I used to be a ‘foodie’ and my working days at the large UK food retail company where I worked as an employment and discrimination lawyer would be built around meetings over breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and even supper with coffee meetings thrown in for good measure. My work and my social life revolved around food!

This all changed suddenly when I was diagnosed as having a complicated condition including Histaminosis (severe histamine intolerance) and a form of autoimmune reactive arthritis akin to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD).

I had been ill on and off for a lot of my life starting when I was a 6 week old baby and no doctor or consultant had really ever worked out what was wrong with me. I certainly hadn’t.

My symptoms were many and varied and I had consulted various medics at different times trying to help myself and realising I was getting fatter and sicker over the years.

As time went on I became hypersensitive to high histamine foods, pollen, perfumes, body products such as shampoo and perfume, dust, mould, cigarette smoke, and some everyday household chemicals.

I had allergy like symptoms as a reaction to my hair dye, my face make up, my show gel, the smell of the laundry liquid, the smell in certain shops, the smell of paint, mould, the dust in certain clothes shops, some materials, the toilet cleaner, other people’s freshly applied deodorant and shower gel smells and well as perfume. I was terrified that I was going to spend the rest of my life in a bubble.

Eventually my condition affected every area of my life and with all the many symptoms life was becoming intolerable. Going out on public transport became a nightmare and several times I was robbed when on trains for my phone and money because I had suddenly fallen into a deep weird sleep like state and could not be roused.

I found that taking tablets for joint pain and antihistamines just made my symptoms worse and at least one large pharmaceutical company asked me never to take their products again because they could not guarantee my safety. So I had to find another way.

In 2009, I was initially prescribed a low histamine diet and then a raw food diet to ease my symptoms and over the past 5 years I have had to learn to do things very differently .

I have been experimenting to find the ideal diet and I have been learning how to eat a diet comprising mainly of low histamine raw fruit and vegetables. In doing my research I found that plant based diet was the way to go. I now eat an entirely vegan diet and have suffered the falling away of my old social life as, of course, I found that restaurants did not cater for my condition.

Stress exacerbates my condition and I slowly realised I would have to change my lifestyle too.

Slowly over the years I have been learning to rebuild myself to create my best possible chance for restoring my health. This includes changing the habits of a lifetime.

My biggest challenge apart from all my symptoms was my reluctance to embrace these changes. I found I was actually addicted to the foods that were most affecting me. My attitude and addictions needed to be sorted out as I was getting in the way of any possibility of my own recovery!

Despite my reluctance to change, I am starting to feel healthier than I have ever been before and my symptoms are receding. I have also lost more than 40+lbs in weight.

I will be sharing with you how I got here and I’ll be exploring low histamine raw recipes, natural beauty products, how I coped with being “allergic to everything”, how I overcame my reluctance to embrace change, and generally how I am regaining my health and fitness and starting to live life to the full again despite my condition.

I am adding a post script to this and will be posting more about this soon. I keep getting asked if I am “vegan” rather than just “plant based”. The short answer is that since changing my diet and my health I have looked a lot more into the whole issue and have been appalled at what I have read and seen. I have decided that yes, ethically, for the good of fellow creatures and for the planet I would want to eat this way even if I didn’t have to.  I now try only to buy vegan products and I am on a vegan journey too.