Finally…Food I Can Eat
As many of you know, I started on my path towards vegan when a series of health crises (being over weight, joint issues, anxiety, etc) began to dominate my life. Instead of piling on the pills, I turned to food as medicine and miracles began to happen.
Shirley experienced a much more dramatic metamorphosis through food following years of health and energy issues. As much as our doctors know about medicine, sometimes it’s our own intuition or experiences that lead us towards health. Check out Shirley’s compelling story of transformation.
For years I battled with illness and fatigue, not knowing what was wrong with me.
Medical tests didn’t seem to show much of anything, and my family doctor said it was all in my head, that there was nothing wrong with me. Well, he had it half right; it was in my head, and throughout my whole body too.
At the tender age of seventeen, I had been involved in a tragic train accident in Europe, where my best friend was killed. When I became ill, I think everyone thought it was lingering post traumatic stress. It probably was, but what I have since learned through hypnosis, epigenetics, and NLP (neuro linguistic programming), is that trauma stays in our tissues. If it is not dealt with, it can make us ill.
For years I struggled, sleeping more than 18 hours a day. I had to quit University and fought to hold down a retail job.
One day, my neighbour suggested I get tested for food allergies. Low and behold, I found out I was allergic to almost every food I was eating. Dairy, wheat, yeast, eggs, corn, sugar, pork, tomatoes, and the list went on. No wonder I was feeling so poorly. Every time I ate, my immune system went into attack mode.
I was given a long list of foods that I could no longer eat, and I wondered how I was going to move forward.
I also found out I had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). I had never heard of CFS and soon learned there was really no cure. The only course of action back then was to rest. That’s a hard thing to do when you are only twenty-two years old.
Hard rice crackers and rice cakes became the norm, and a treat was a piece of fruit. I wondered if I’d ever eat brownie again, and felt that there had to be more to eat, more to sustain me.
My energy levels were low during that transition period, and I struggled to make allergy-free food. Thankfully, a mentor entered my life, and she told me about different flours and ingredients that I could use for baking. As I started moving towards a plant-based diet, with an emphasis on raw foods, my energy started coming back. I started experimenting with foods that I had never heard of (and things I was a little leery to try), but I figured I had nothing left to lose.
I asked endless questions at my local health food store. I bought a dehydrator and a juicer. I learned and experimented. It reminded me of being back in school in the chemistry lab. I soon found out that flaxseed or chiaseed when boiled in water and then cooled, congealed and could be used like an egg. That rice, almond, soy, hemp and coconut milk could all replace dairy milk. The options were endless and it was all so exciting.
There was so much more was possible than I ever could have dreamed.
I started to write down my recipes, tracking each experiment. I even got friends and family to taste test the recipes, and to my astonishment they said they were good. Their feedback excited me to no end. So, back into my kitchen I went, and before I knew it, I had loads of recipes that were healthy, tasty, and allergen free.
It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took me quite a few years to change my diet, but now I love green juices and shakes and try to have a large part of my diet solely vegetables.
I knew there were other people out there just like me, struggling with what to eat within the confines of food allergies, and I wanted to help them all.
Fast forward to today and my cookbook, Finally Food I Can Eat, is now available worldwide. I actually get emails from people thanking me for saving their life. What a gift that is!
Perhaps finding out I couldn’t eat certain foods, has been a blessing in disguise after all.