Shiva shares her story of saving her life holistically.
By Shiva Rose
After the birth of my first daughter I was exhausted. At 25 years old, I was a young mama for LA standards; however I really struggled with recovering after the birth. After a few doctor visits, I was diagnosed with a life-threatening version of three autoimmune conditions: Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Scleroderma. I had one doctor in Beverly Hills tell my mother and I that I had possibly a year to live unless I took serious action. Somehow I knew I could help my body cure itself and that this doctor wasn’t the only solution.
After attempting the traditional methods to keep the auto-immune issues at bay, such as using steroids and an anti-malaria medication named Plaquenil, I struggled with the horrible side effects and never felt any better. I decided to pursue a more holistic route since it always felt intuitively better for my system and so I began researching, reading and experimenting with vitamins, minerals, acupuncture, herbs, healers, shamans and so on.
I am happy to report that I have been in remission for several years now. Many things probably have helped me regain my health, but I know the most important and crucial piece to the recovery has been a dramatic shift in my diet. By going 100% organic, and by adding more fats, I have been able to reduce the inflammation that was wreaking havoc on my system. There have been numerous studies supporting the fact that grains contain phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of crucial minerals. Soaking and sprouting grains can eliminate phytic acid, which makes absorbing them better for us. I only wish I had known all of this crucial information in my twenties and thirties.
I had been a strict vegetarian since the age of seven when I realized the animals I was petting one day would become food the next. Being a strict vegetarian was a moral reason for me, however to compensate for the lack of protein and energy I began consuming lots of pasta, bread, other grains. These grains I know now are all contaminated with GMO’s and pesticides. Grains and gluten are also converted to sugar and not easily digested. Eating pesticide filled vegetables, fruits, dairy that wasn’t organic, and grains contributed to the high inflammation in my body. I believe that eating these toxic foods contributed to the autoimmune issues I battled with. I am not a doctor, however I know my body and I can tell the difference between eating organically and not. Today I try to either grow my own food or visit local farmers markets and organic health food stores. If I happen to have a piece of mainstream pizza while on vacation or out with some friends, I can see the changes in my system suddenly. In a few hours I start to feel sleepy, sluggish, and achy.
A diet rich in organic vegetables, soups, salads, eggs, raw dairy, nuts, coconut oil, ghee, some organic grains, and nut milks has helped me feel better than I ever did at 25. Below is what a typical day as far as my diet looks like. Most of the foods are known to reduce inflammation in the body.
Tea with honey or a maca Cacao smoothie made with almond milk. Oats that have been soaked in water, with a teaspoon of yogurt. I add a touch of maple syrup and organic cinnamon (http://www.thelocalrose.com/sugar-and-spice-beware-of-cinnamon/) from Ceylon to this. (Soaking the oats with a touch of yogurt helps break down the grain so it is better digested and slightly fermented) I also add some berries which are known to be an anti inflammatory food. Berries have anthocyanins, which is a powerful antioxidant.
I’m usually on the run during the day so lunch is usually some nuts or a nut butter on gluten free seeded crackers. (Nuts contain vitamin E, calcium and fiber. Walnuts have lots of alpha-linolenic acid which helps prevent inflammation) Slices of avocado (excellent fat and great anti-aging food) with drizzled olive oil and sea salt and either some feta or raw goat yogurt. (Raw dairy is excellent for us since it has so many wonderfully natural occurring probiotics and it provides calcium and protein). If I’m eating lunch out in a restaurant then usually a salad and soup as long as it’s organic. Vegetables grown with pesticides will contribute to disease in the body. Hard boiled eggs are also great quick lunches. A version of egg salad made with mustard and sea salt is very popular with my kids.
I usually need a pick me up in the afternoon and nothing does the trick better for me better than some raw cacao chocolate. I am seriously addicted to the energy I receive from it. Raw cacao is full of antioxidants and anticancer, anti aging and more.
For dinner I will have vegetables either in a big soup or salad. One easy soup is made with cauliflower and lots if turmeric and ginger. Turmeric and ginger are excellent for combating inflammation. They actually can turn off a protein in the body that can cause inflammation. Ginger and turmeric can be added to stir fry dishes, curries or lentil dishes. I will sometimes have a grain as well perhaps protein rich quinoa or brown rice pre soaked. Once every few months I will eat some form of animal protein for its medicinal properties. Either grass fed beef or organic lamb, but very small amounts.
I have a sweet tooth so there is always some sort of treat at my house. Being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy food. Our favorite these days is a gluten free apple spice cake. (http://www.thelocalrose.com/autumn-apple-spice-cake/). We also are huge fans of Kippy’s coconut ice cream made with organic coconut cream which actually gets rid of plaque in your body. (http://www.thelocalrose.com/kippys-ice-cream/)
My hope is that organic foods can become accessible for everyone until we all go back to cultivating food the way it was meant to be. Until then visiting local farmers markets and health food stores can help so much in having a healthy body. I personally don’t think eating organic is that much more expensive, and in the long run it saves us from crazy medical bills.
Shiva Rose created http://www.thelocalrose.com out of a desire to celebrate a holistic, healthy, authentic life style without sacrificing taste and glamour.