Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Still alive and back with a vengence

Hey guys, and thank you for your patience. I've been laying low for several reasons. First of all, I suffered a severe kidney infection with high fever lasting over a week. Since that, I've done a lot of thinking. Why despite my healthy lifestyle did I come down with such an illness? Why despite the all organic, pure diet does my daughter get sick? Many other health food/raw foodie bloggers seem to be the epitomes of health, insisting that as long as you eat pure food, you can't get sick. What is it that I do wrong then? I eat mostly raw, mostly vegetables and fruit, I exercise but don't overdo it. Nearly all my food is organic. Although I work and study, I don't ever feel overwhelmed or stressed. All in all, I am happy and love my life. What gives?

Is this all due to a tick bite that went unnoticed years ago? Doctor's think I suffer from chronic Lyme disease. I thought so too, initially I was in a lot of chronic pain because of it. So much so, I was on horrible medications. I was sick constantly, and it was never the flu or anything mild. Now, thanks to completely changing my diet and way of life over a year ago, I am pain-free and medication free. But could this be something that is affecting my immune system? I have been rigorously tested for every condition that may cause compromised immunity, but they all have come back negative. If this is the case, is there anything I can do about it? Echinacea, medicinal mushrooms, camu camu for vitamin C boost? If anyone one of you has tips, I would greatly appreciate any advice.

This all being confessed, I am starting a project of my own that I will continue to write about here. For months now, I have been taking a dose of 2000IU vitamin D and some supplemental zinc.  I have also been eating raw shiitake mushrooms weekly. This month I started B12 supplements, since this could help improve my immune system. Just this morning my husband and I decided that we will try some wild game birds in our diets, so that we wouldn't need the supplements. Before I was disgusted by the thought of eating anything else than chicken or fish, and even chicken I haven't had in a long time. Now, although I am not going full on paleo, I think it is wise to try to eat what is natural and what our bodies were designed to eat. I am blood type O, which is a hunter blood type. This could be the reason for my gluten-intolerance and milk allergy. I find I need a high protein diet, maybe also because my work is so intellectually demanding. So, I am going back to my roots in search for better health. From now on, this family is on a "wild diet", consisting of  mostly vegetables, with an emphasis on seasonal foods including weekly self-caught or sustainably caught wild fish and game.

I will be back with recipes and thoughts on my new journey. Let's hope this does the trick!


Aletheia said...

For some reason blogger is not functioning so I can't edit this post. Before it starts working again, I'd like to clarify what I wrote. When I talk about eating what we are "supposed" to eat naturally, I do by no means want to imply that veganism is somehow unnatural. On the contrary, I very much respect this ideology. I also believe that when given some thought, a vegan diet can be very healthy. I hope I did not offend anyone :)

Yaelian said...

Glad to see that you are back.I am sorry that you had to go through such an ordeal, and I can certainly understand, why it made you think and maybe do some changes in your diet.I am not really sure Ì can believe that even the purest of diets could completely eliminate all sicknesses, and as city dwellers(which I suppose you are too)do get a fair amount of pollution in our system. I guess the right way is to eat as natural food as possible and avoid unprocessed ,and listen to your body.Btw, I am type O as well, but I never liked meat, so I don¨t eat it. And I remember,that Victoria Boutenko told in an interview about having serious health issues around the 7th year into raw food.

Elina said...

Sorry to hear about your health problems, hope you'll feel better soon!
It would be very interesting to read more about proteins; what do you consider high protein and from which sources you'll take it.
And, partly liked to this, how do you get you 800-1000 mg calsium daily? With a diet with meat, fish, veggies, nuts & seeds, oils, berries and fruits I find that somewhat challenging (I try to avoid dairy).
I have been trying to get more info and since you seem to have quite a lot of thinking already, I am cruely trying to take advantage of that ;-)
Thanks for the interesting blog, have been reading it for maybe half a year!

Aletheia said...

Thanks Yaelian for your comment and for still continuing to follow my blog even though I have been posting quite infrequently. You have got a point, I suspect too that there are many other reasons for getting sick besides just our diets - pollution is certainly a factor. Cold climate also can increase risk of infections.

Funny thing, from early childhood I have disliked meat. As I grew older, I began to enjoy fish and chicken/turkey. Now I am ready to try some wild game, but I could never ever eat beef or pork. Perhaps organic lamb, but even that seems unattractive still. Without doubt, your body is better off without the meat if you don't enjoy it. There are so many other factors than just the blood type, we are all individuals. Right now, I am not too convinced 100% raw is the way to go, although it may be right for some. For the vast majority I think it is too far an extreme.

Elina, I'm thrilled to hear you have an interest in healthy eating and that you have been following my blog. After proper rest, I am finally back to the health!

Protein is such a complicated nutrient to talk about. First of all, we all need diets high in plant protein. Good sources include raw buckwheat, quinoa, which are complete sources. As you probably know, soaked nuts and seeds are important as well. Legumes can be tricky, since they don't suit everyone (at least not in high quantities). I also advocate wild ethically caught fish and meat, in moderation. Eating too much animal protein will hinder calcium absorption.

Speaking of calcium, I have written an elaborate post on this in the past ( Great to hear you avoid dairy! There is also a list of several non-dairy calcium sources. I am 100% certain that with some effort, a carefully constructed non-dairy diet will result in better bone health than the average, milk-laden Western diet.

I find that Chia-seeds are the most convenient form to get your calcium- highly bioavailable, concentrated, tasty and easy (eg. smoothies). Sesame seeds are amazing as well, when you remember to soak and sprout them. Homemade raw tahini is a daily treat for me :) Also sprouted and dehydrated honey-sesame bars when I am on the move.

Hope you will continue to read my blog and ask questions/suggest topics in the future as well =)

Elina said...

Thanks for your response! It's definately interesting.

I had read your post on calcium, that, in fact, triggered me to my question. Being the nerd I am, I simply took a calculator and counted, what amounts of food (non-dairy) it would mean, ino rder to get that 800 -1000 mg calcium. I ended up having huge pile of grean leaves and hefty amount of (sesame) seeds and nuts.

But, to be honest, eating half a kilo - kilo of green leaves (~200 - 500 mg calcium) is not very tempting (I'd like other stuff in my lunch salad as well).

100 g of sesam seeds (~1000 mg calcium) is about one third of small woman's daily energy intake. (I do not advocate counting calories but there is still only so much one can eat without gaining weight). But it's only some 25 g protein, which I do not consider high protein (hence the question about the protein).

Raisins and dates are delicious but in 100g of those there is some 50 mg calcium, while the sugar load is quite high, at least for me.

And, yes, fish is a good source of calcium but few of us consume it on a daily basis so much that it would be sufficent.

I am by no means claiming that it is not possible to construct a well balanced diet without dairy. I was plain curios, how you've done that since a quick calculation reveals it's not all that simple. As I confessed, trying to take advantage of somebody else's homework :)

(Another topic of course is that what is actually the calcium need with this kind of diet. It could well be less than the recommendations due better absorbtion.)

Aletheia said...

Thanks Elina again for your questions. I hear where you are coming from, it does seem challenging to get enough calcium. This seems to be the case for both dairy and non-dairy eaters. If we consider that only 30% of calcium in milk is absorbed, one would in fact have to drink 2 liters of milk daily (assuming 120mg/100g -> 40mg/100g absorbed). Then again, eating pounds of salad is not attractive either.

You raised the issue of how much calcium we actually need, which again is a very valid question. From what I have read, I believe for a healthy adult around 400-600mg daily is sufficient (assuming a moderate animal protein intake). In most cases, females require slightly more than males. This is all very individual, as I am sure you are aware.

But now to answer your main question, which was how I get my calcium. This is just an example.

Morning smoothie: 30g dried rose hips (310mg/100g -> 93mg)
2 tbsp chia seeds (30g = 250mg)
3g / 1 tsp chlorella (7mg)
3g / 1 tsp spirulina (15mg)
= 365mg

Lunch salad: 30g sprouted, spiced and dehydrated sunflower seeds (38mg)
fresh parsley around 10g (14mg)
3 large carrots (about 100g = 33mg)
= 85mg
Sprouts (1 C alfalfa =25mg, 1 C mung 35mg)
Sometimes seaweed

1 grapefruit (around 12mg) + 10g almonds (30mg) and/or raw sesame bar (30g= 192mg) or around 50g of dried figs (125mg)
= 40mg-192mg

100-200g broccoli/ 1 C kale/dark leafy greens (enough to yield roughly 100-300mg) and/or more carrots/parsnips, sometimes nuts/seeds in salad
1 C peas/beans (100-150mg calcium) as or fish
= combined such that adds up to at least 200mg, depending on what I have already eaten during the day

An orange (72mg) or sometimes tahini cream with berries/fruit or some other raw treat made with almond milk
=70-200mg calcium

This is around 760-1050mg. I however do not calculate calories (I exercise daily and maintain a constant body weight of 51kg/163cm), nor do I put much effort in calculating this daily. Some days I get less calcium than others, but I do make sure I get a minimum of 400mg daily. Most of the time my daily intake is around 500-700mg, since my daughter weaned herself.

In a nutshell, I would like to argue that (unless a doctor has told you otherwise) you probably need at most 800mg daily. UK authorities say 700mg for both adult men and women (, while US values are higher. I believe this is achievable.

Got to go, got a toddler needing the potty :) Hope this answers your question!

Elina said...

Thanks for the answer! Based on that I calculated an example for me and it seems that adding some more seeds, nuts and greens, together with eggs and fish it should not be a problem to get enough calcium.

I was surprised about oranges and grapefruits, I have never thought them as a source of calcium! And I will definately experiment with tahini cream, after having recovered the attac of a very aggressve noro virus...

Hanna said...

Sorry to hear about your health issues! Hope it's getting better now. Though I wouldn't go so far as to think health is only a matter of eating well. There are so many factors and I don't think our bodies are that mechanical at all. Of course nurtition has a big role too.

I a lso wanted to thank you for the great answers above, really interesting to read, those numbers are very informative as well :).

Aletheia said...

Elina, glad to hear that! It was surprising for me too, after being touted that dairy is the only calcium source already from early childhood. Thankfully there are a lot of alternatives.

Hanna, thanks for the comment! I do agree, and many of those other causes we can't even change. Nonetheless out of the things we can do, changing our diet is one of the most powerful ways to prevent illness. It's great that you found the answers informative, it wasn't easy writing that up with a toddler in my lap!

gayemel said...

I have been using Primal Diet - Aajonus Vonderplanitz for 2 years. It is clearing up many longstanding health problems. Many are 75% improved now. It does help to get a consult done with him. He uses Iridology and has 30 years experience in Raw Nutrition.

I have just become aware of Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. Her ideas on using Cultured and Healthy Natural Foods to more effectively repopulate and heal the gut may also help. She does mention using the Young Coconut Kefir and Raw Butter to heal the gut well enough to eventually tolerate milk products again. I am going to give them a try.