We have always been into healthy eating. We are from Santa Cruz, California after all, which probably has more health food stores, farmers markets, health spas, chiropractors, acupuncturists and eating fanatics per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Over the years I have done various healthy diets from raw to paleo to vegetarian from Dr Ornish's high carbs to Dr. Atkins high protein, so find food information massively contradicting and ever changing. People tend to often be VERY attached to the way they eat being THE right way, but I think much depends on the individual and no one-thing works for all, so an open mind is needed, deep research and even using yourself as a guinea pig. Thus, I can just tell you what has worked and is working for me as it is an on going project. Your mileage may vary and I'd love to hear about your experiences.
EATING AND FARMING ORGANIC
We did organic gardening in Santa Cruz all year round and always ate healthy, organic food. Yes, I have a weight problem late in life, but I don't let it stop me in travel or any other way. Nevertheless I have spent most of my life as a normal sized person, who actually had a near perfect body as a young women in my 20's and 30's that allowed me to do things like model with the top agencies in the world, become a flight attendant for TWA, run a 26.2 marathon without training and do well acting in film, TV and theater. Strangely, sometimes I have been at my healthiest when I was overweight and unhealthiest at my skinniest, so body size doesn't always tell the story on health or healthy eating.
I think my physiological problems with weight and my sugar sensitivity has actually made me much more interested in learning about food. I've lost 100 lbs. twice in my life and kept it off for many years and now I am planning to do that one more time for good. For me that means NOT eating the Standard American Diet ( SAD) and for many years, I see most things in the average American grocery store ( same around most of the world) as poison, since most of it is processed and filled with pesticides and GMO's.
ORGANIC EATING AND PREGNANCY
I believe an excellent organic diet helped me get pregnant at 47 and I must admit I ate the best of my life before conceiving and during the 9 months that I was pregnant with Mozart. I believe everything we think, feel, eat, do affects the growing baby within, so I was impeccable with eating, sleeping, meditating etc during that time and had the easiest, most wonderful pregnancy without any problems what so ever, like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes, despite my age. Strangely, I was never hungry while pregnant, so it was quite easy.
Alas, the stress and post-traumatic stress disorder of having a baby late in life after a very difficult, excruciating 48 hour back labor - forceps -emergency c-section delivery.... especially with a high needs baby who had many physical problems from that delivery which made her "failure to thrive " with a severe feeding problem that kept her from gaining weight, but was also extremely busy, always awake/hyper-alert and advanced developmentally ( walking and talking at 6 months) who stumped the medical community even at Standford Children's Hospital... put us behind the eight ball for a while.
I only gained about 25 lbs during my pregnancy, but dealing with all the stress and doctors after the birth and first year of life, is when my weight problem began again. I was the opposite of most people, I didn't gain baby weight during pregnancy, but afterwards. Some doctors think that extreme trauma had impact on my current health issues as well as high trauma from my early teen years.
EATING ORGANIC WHILE TRAVELING
Keeping a healthy diet while traveling on a low budget is also MUCH more challenging. Yet, we managed to do pretty darn good with that with free food from orchards and organic gardening etc and we purposely have done no vaccines for health reasons. We hardly ever get sick and are full of energy despite me being over weight at this age and not being able to eat an all organic diet like we did at home. Our lifestyle allows us to get more exercise natually.
But then, I had a bike crash on the Danube and ended up in a foreign hospital needing surgery and paralyzing my dominant arm for over a year and doing physical therapy in 6 countries. I was given massive doses of antibiotics by IV during my 10 days in the hospital. I did my best to counteract it with Yogurt and Dannon Activa as soon as I got out of the hospital as I am a person who tries to never take antibiotics unless I have no choice, so rarely have in my life.
Nine months later, in May 2010, I had a gum infection, so my Danish dentist in Spain gave me another antibiotic which I reluctantly took to save my tooth as we were about to hit the road in our RV. I got violently ill for five days while taking it and have had severe digestion problems ever since. ( It's called Flagyl or Metronidazole in the U.S, it's for anaerobic bacteria and funnily is sometimes used for digestive issues too, but has a reputation also for causing many problems).
"if people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson
LOOKING FOR A CURE
Who knew that an imbalance in intestinal flora from antibiotics could create severe dysbiosis that meant eating ANY food was impossible, extremely painful, totally debilitating and the simplest foods would churn in one's stomach for 16 hours and more trying to digest and creating extreme toxicity and problems in the liver, pancreas, spleen and gall bladder?
I truly was on death's door, often writhing in agonizing pain, by the time I reached California and despite seeing the best MD's and alternative healers on 3 continents, no one seemed to be able to help me. I took what seemed to be a zillion tests..endless blood tests, MRI, endless stool tests that checked for parasites, bacteria, fungus, H-Pylori, gluten sensitivity etc, ultra sound pelvis, ultra sound abdomen, CDSA, etc, etc...that were all normal and only told me what I didn't have.
I was sicker than some friends who had cancer, but no one seemed to know a cure. Often there were consequences with the tests like the IV dye that they used for the MRI that gave me 10-level ( on a scale of 1 to 10) kidney pain for a week. Sometimes I would get temporary help, but within hours or days, it was back worse than ever.
Most of the medicine, herbs and supplements that the MD's and the natural doctors ( homeopathic, acupuncturist, chiropractors, Cranial Sacral therapists etc) gave me made me feel worse. More than 60 million Americans and 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive disorders, so I am not alone in my search for a cure. It is the most common complaint for doctors yet little they know about it or can do.
BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH
Just as I think you should take your finances and child's education into your hands, I think the same about your health. Many experts can steer you in the wrong way, so you have to do your own due dilgence. Unfortunately, this is really hard to do when simply sitting up is a major challenge, but I had to keep trying things or die.
I ate primarily a smoothie that consisted of lots of raw butter, raw unheated honey and a little papaya, organic whole raw milk ( from grass fed cows), fresh pressed green juice, avocado, raw cheese, fresh bee pollen and a little Perrier. I also found Terramin Clay from this book and Dr Jeff McCombs which has had an amazing healing affect for me and my family and finding Matic Gum on my own was a supplement that was an immediate help. The Westin Price folks call Clay a super food used by our ancestors and I agree now! I also did deep clearing work with Michael Hayes which helped tremendously.
"Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune." Noam Chomsky
WHAT FOOD WORKED
I haven't eaten honey or hardly any sugar in years, nor dairy from cows, so I wasn't expecting much, but I actually felt better almost immediately which no other diet had done. ( I seriously tried them all including organic vegetarian, organic vegan green juices, ayurvedic, Chinese healing foods, organic liver only, gluten free, specific carbohydrate, food combining, only organic liver, only miso, only bone broth, only goat yogurt/goat kefir and avocados, only Kicheree, etc etc etc ).
I had tried the raw green juices and raw veggies before, but they didn't do much for me without the raw dairy and eggs ( mostly made in smoothies) and good raw fats. I had never eaten smoothies in my life, nor owned or used a blender and suddenly I became a smoothie queen! I even got my 84 year old mother eating them ( and healing her osteoporosis and broken bone with it) and the whole family.
It sounds weird, but the more I ate the better I felt and the more I researched the more this started to make sense. Nutrition gurus Mercola, Trudeau, Rubin and more ALL rave about the benefits of raw milk and dairy and the negatives of pasteurized dairy. I went to very pure, organic raw food and was amazed that I could feel a difference.
WHY FOOD IS DIFFERENT AND LESS HEALTHY TODAY
I started to understand there is a huge difference in what exactly you eat and how primitive people and traditional diets have much to teach us all. The nutrition you get from organic food, grass fed beef, cows and goats that are not given hormones to increase their milk and antibiotics , free range chickens and eggs etc is very, very different nutritionally than conventional foods.
Another book that I really liked was Restoring Your Digestive Health ( which agrees with Vonderplanitz that raw foods, raw UNHEATED honey, raw milk, clays and even raw meat are important foods, but also recommends fermented foods, wheat grass powders, some sprouting grains and nuts and their importance and a different slant). At first I could hardly eat anything, ( and ate 100% raw except perhaps a slice of sour dough bread in California as I started to heal) but I am now able to eat more variety.
Interestingly, both authors of these two books were written by people who turned around a fatal and incurable disease ( Cancer and Crohns) and I could now relate to their suffering and long struggle to find answers. Another key book was Optimal Digestion and I brought all 3 of these books with us (as well as a bag full of supplements) to read and reread.
All three books mention Harvard educated Dr. Weston Price and his amazing studies of primitive people and traditional diets around the world compared to modern diets. Everybody should look into this research and I am using three great videos to share a little of the principals about what is truly healthy eating and the consequences of our modern diet.
HOW WE EAT
The problem is eating raw dairy is easy in California but not so easy in Asia, so I am trying to find a new way of eating here that works for us and uses the things available here like coconut and tropical fruits and vegetables. That is one of the keys for travel and food, take advantage of local foods. I've just bought my first juicer and a blender and will keep you posted on what works best and recipes that we love. Good fats are amazing for the body and healing, so avocados have become a mainstay for us.
At the moment we are kind of on an unconventional raw food- paleo -lacto-ovo-pescatarian - Weston Price principals combo. We try to eat raw as much as possible, but are flexible in our eating. We try to incorporate as much healthy food like organic wheat grass juice extracts ( and oat and barley..even took some on the plane and ordered the veggie platter), cultured beverages ( I make my own kefir but learning many others), cultured vegetables ( so easy to make your own and cheap), fatty fish like salmon and sardines, raw organic free range eggs ( great in smoothies), homemade stocks and bone broths from organic ingredients, we make our own mayonnaise and other condiments, coconut and cold pressed organic coconut oil, home made daily green juices from organic greens, raw unheated honey as our only sweet, and soak or ferment the grains and nuts we use like traditional people.
WHAT ORGANIC FOOD IS AVAILABLE IN ASIA
We've found three excellent organic food stores here and a great organic restaurant and I will write more about them. Luckily, there is even some good organic selections at Tesco which is just two blocks away, so that is very handy. And I am looking to arrange some partnerships with local organic growers to get some things sent directly to our home in bulk orders. Doing a long stay here with Penang as our base for Asia gives us some advantages compared to fast travel. All photos were taken in Penang.
Eating well also goes hand in hand with our sustainable living philosophy and supports the planet as well as us. DO take time to read this brilliant physicist from India who tells the truth about the poison in our food, the biggest corporate take over of the food chain that harms all and what we can do to Occupy our Food Supply.
On my good days, I'd say I am about 95% healed and on my worst days, I'd still say about 90% healed and I am so grateful to feel human again. I have enough energy to do a good workout every day. But, this has been such a long, hard struggle for health and vitality, that I am determined to make this year my healthiest ever and continue to find ways to make myself and my family as healthy as possible. We're looking forward to making a nice organic garden on our terrace soon.
What are your best tips on keeping healthy and home and during travel? What do you think about the state of food on our planet today?