Health Update and New Directions
*NOTE: I haven't done many (or any) personal posts on this blog, but, as you can tell from the title, some things are changing. From here on out I will be documenting my journey fighting cystic fibrosis here on the Anna's Organics Wellness blog, in addition to sharing recipes, health tips, my favorite finds as of late, and anything else that is requested (as I'm able, since my health is quite poor right now due to my development of chronic pancreatitis and a host of other complications that go along with CF...more info to come--God is faithful through it all...and as you'll read in a moment, He's working good...even through this!) Hope you'll subscribe so you can stay up to date on all the exciting developments with Anna's Organics, including upcoming books, recipe ebooks, devotional books, and more.*
I went raw one month and 7 days ago, after an excruciatingly painful bout with acute pancreatitis, which, little did I know then, would be the start of hell on earth. I went vegan 5 years and 7 days ago, after reaching my wits end with chronic digestive and lung issues, which, little did I know then, would turn out to be cystic fibrosis. I embarked on both of these "diets" (I prefer to call them lifestyles) to heal my physical body. But I've learned a lot since July 6, 2013 when I went vegan, and a lot more since July 6, 2018, when I went raw vegan.
I’ve known it for a while. My body has been craving cooked foods. My pancreas has been hurting more and more the longer I’ve been raw and my intestinal ulcers have gotten worse and worse from so much roughage. Ive stuck with it for over a year, holding to the promise that “raw foods will heal me” and “raw foods are the best for pancreatitis,” but I’ve learned a lot recently—about myself, about healing, and about our walk with The Lord.
Though a lot of people will say raw foods are easier to digest because of the enzyme content, my body feels otherwise. I've been told time and again "raw foods are the ultimate cure...the best for any pancreatic issues" and that all my decline has been "detox." But neither of these things are true. I'll cut to the chase...the main thing I've learned is CYSTIC FIBROSIS CANNOT BE DETOXED. More on that in a bit...
Like I said, I’ve given raw a good go, but I simply can’t digest raw foods--and never really could...but like I said, I had to try because "everyone said it would help..."--because of my GI issues and total lack of pancreatic enzymes, and my body has been screaming for steamed veggies and mashed sweet potato. As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I incorporate a lot of TCM principles into my practice with my clients, and into my own healing regimen. And in TCM terms I’m “too yin”—my body, as an earth element, needs a balance of raw and cooked...and my cravings have been confirming this.
Raw is amazing for cleansing and detoxing and I have cleansed A LOT—all of which was extremely necessary following my intestinal obstruction in 2016 and bout with fecal and blood toxicity/mild sepsis at the end of 2016–but CF I’ve learned can’t be cured by detoxing alone. It requires high nutrition and honestly, I just can’t get enough calories when I’m raw. Especially now that my GI is getting worse. I can barely drink juice anymore because my intestines are so inflamed from undigested raw food passing through my digestive system as a result of a nonfunctional pancreas and practically annihilated stomach acid.
I realized the whole reason I went raw and vegan is for healing. I’m so sick that I am unable to consume practically anything even juices, but broth sounded good. But broth was cooked. So I had two options: drink the broth as it was the only thing I could stomach, or don’t consume anything and “stay raw”. I realized it’s silly to stay raw if it’s harming more than helping, when you went raw in the first place for healing. So no, I’m not raw anymore. In fact, I’m not even (wait for it) 100% VEGAN anymore.
The Lord has recently convicted me but time—I haven’t been obeying the WHOLE scripture. I haven’t been living by His design, as written in Scripture. If God is everything to me, as I’m desiring Him to be, than I need to have faith and step out in faith...whatever that means. To move forward in the way He’s called me to even if it seems to defy logic. He is a miracle working God!
My body has been craving cooked for at least 3 months. I can only do liquids anymore and juice is just tearing up my stomach and oftentimes making me throw up or have excruciating pain. I wanted warm and savory. Vegetable broth would be soothing, but not healing and reparative. My gut needs collagen—bone broth. I’ve been feeling Him leading me to incorporate bone broth into my diet for 2 1/2 years...but again, it “wasn’t vegan.” So I didn’t. But He laid it on my heat in a new way recently...so I continued praying about it and God led me to The Makers Diet. Wow. This book. READ IT! Even if you want to remain a vegan, if you’re a believer and are striving to care for your temple in the best way you can, you need to read this book!!!
Since I literally can’t hardly walk because I’m so weak, I read the whole thing in 3 days (it’s not a thin book!). After I finished, I prayed. A lot. Reading this book had brought up some things—questions I’ve had—that I’ve been ignoring for the entire 6 years I’ve been vegan. Let’s face it friends—we can’s get around the fact of deficiencies—all vegans are deficient in B12 unless they take a supplement. There were no supplements in biblical times...so how is a 100% plant based diet Gods design for man? Additionally, plants only contain the beta-carotene form of Vitamin A...the body has to SYNTHESIZE this into TRUE vitamin A (retinol) in order to be utilized. However, only about 30% of people can do this because, well, our bodies are exposed to toxins and are out through the ringer on a daily basis. Only animal foods contain true vitamin A (retinol) that can be consumed and utilized without having to transform it into a utilizable form. And then of course Omega 3 fatty acids. Yes, we can get ALA from flaxseed, but by the time our bodies transform that ALA into EPA and DHA we are only getting about 30% of the EPA and DHA we would get from taking something like fish oil, where the Omega 3s are already in EPA and DHA form naturally. Plus, put bodies can only break the ALA down into EPA and DHA if our bodies have the proper enzyme to do so. Very few of us do anymore. Hmmm...
Then I kept thinking. I went vegan and raw both originally to heal and I haven’t. CF is obviously not curable by diet, but I’ve GOTTEN WORSE. Again, I am IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM saying this is due to the vegan diet. Absolutely positively not. But I feel that my body is requiring more than what I am (and have been) giving it...for a while now. Then I realized something: I’ve tried everything—every diet, every herb, every mind body technique—BUT the “Bible diet”. I’ve done everything except try that which The Lord laid out for us as plain as day in Scripture. That truth hit me like a ton of bricks! I’ve been over here advocating “the Eden diet” and all raw foods as “God’s design for mankind” when His REAL diet for mankind is listed in the Scripture...and it includes animal foods! He tells us EXACTLY what we should eat and what we shouldn’t eat...who am I to say raw foods was His design when He TOLD us what He wanted us to eat?!
Truth is, this issue is so much more than what I’m eating (or will be once I can eat solids again!)...it’s a heart issue—what are you putting your identity in? What are you putting your faith and trust in? A diet? A label—raw foodism/veganism/paleo? Everything will fail except Jesus. The Bible is our manual for LIFE IN ITS FULLNESS—even down to what we should eat.
So what about cravings? I’m so glad you asked. I truly believe cravings are The Lord’s way of helping us know what our bodies need when. I’ve been craving bone broth (no shame—it’s now all I can consume and I love it!), and I know my poor inflamed gut needs collagen and gelatin, and that my overall body is too yin. Wonder why ladies crave chocolate around their period? IRON. So do we need to listen and give in to all cravings? Yes and no. Yes in we should listen. Yes I’m that the cravings ALWAYS tell us something—either good or bad. No in that we shouldn’t (obviously) give in to eating a pint of ice cream and 2 cheeseburgers if that’s what we’re craving...we may just want to think about increasing the amount of healthy fats in our diet. See what I mean?
Listening to our bodies, including our cravings, is essential to healthy body, mind, and spirit. Why? Because WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT—there is not ONE person who is like you! Our microbiome (what literally makes us up) is 70% unique to us and us alone...so how could one diet be right for all of us? Ever wonder how some people can thrive on paleo while others soar on raw veganism? MICROBIOME VARIATIONS. GENETIC DIFFERENCES (email me for more info on this). Listen to your body— it will tell you what it needs! It’s our job to LISTEN.
People told me time and again to go raw for my pancreas—with my particular CF mutation I have a 95% chance of chronic pancreatitis and an 85% chance of pancreatic cancer. I also naturally am predisposed to developing cystic fibrosis related diabetes (CFRD). I feel good on high raw...but I cannot do all raw. And the worse my pancreas gets, the less raw I can do. The longer I was raw the less food I could tolerate, simply because it took my body so much effort to break (or attempt to break it) down. And all fruit was not the solution, either. All fruit was WAY too much sugar for me with my likelihood of developing CFRD, and caused major blood sugar fluctuations...and honestly, it was way too much sweet for my liking!
Enzymes are a big part of it, but I have to take enzymes regardless because of my pancreas (I don’t produce ANY of my own enzymes). And now that it is so chronically inflamed because of the pancreatitis, it is physically too painful for me to do fruit (too much sugar for me right now) or blended raw veggies (too much roughage). With CF, I have to eat almost twice as many calories as the average person to function—my lungs work overtime, my GI system almost burns up the energy from what I eat just by trying to digest it...and the reality is I just can’t get enough calories as a raw foodist. I physically can’t stomach the volume and roughage anymore. And that’s okay. That’s where I am and I’m accepting where my body is and where the Lord is leading me next. I have been able to stomach a few bites of cooked purred pumpkin, but not without pain. Less pain than when it’s raw though, so that’s something. I’m mainly surviving on lemon honey water and bone broth. But that’s okay too—baby steps. The important thing is I’m listening to my body, giving it what it needs, and letting The Lord guide me in all things...walking in obedience—wherever that leads and whatever that means! And that, to me, is true health.
Now how does this change Anna’s Organics and CreationNutrition? It doesn’t at all. The longer I’ve been on this journey, the more it has become about JESUS—not my healing or my health—and taking care of our our temples/purifying our body, mind, and spirit FOR HIM—and we do that by obeying His commands, as laid out in His Word! Jesus is everything to me, and anything that I’m doing—even if seemingly healthy, beneficial, and productive from the outside—that begins to take the place that ONLY HE should have...well, it’s gotta go. That coupled with the fact that I just can’t ignore these major factors anymore—deficiencies...what His Word says. His commandments to us. Study after study has shown that it’s NOT the animal products...it’s what we DO to them—its the chemicals (I have tons of resources and articles I can share if you’re interested, just email me). And the studies that tout the consumption of animal products as directly linked to cancer and heart disease? Well those have been debunked (again, email me if you’d like to see these articles and the REAL raw unmanipulated data from the studies).
And what about CreationNutrition? My whole Eden diet philosophy? Hasn’t changed at all. I believe it is absolutely ESSENTIAL to spend time following a fully raw, plant-based diet. In the Bible, Daniel imparted on a 10 day plants-only diet and the Scripture says “his strength was restored.” I am in the process (or will be once I am stronger and can work on it) of formulating a CreationNutrition Cleanse as part of my Anna’s Organics Wellness coaching business (make sure you’re subscribed to the Anna’s Organics blog...I’ll be posting recipes, health tips, devotions, and book release announcements there!). Like I said, it’s an amazing cleansing diet...but there’s so much more to healing than cleaning out your insides. Healing is a repairing process—a building process. Cleansing = breaking down old. Healing = building up new.
I am so thankful that The Lord has revealed this to me. I have felt so strongly for so long that something has been holding me back from FULLY committing my every cell to Him. It was this. My “healing diet” that hasn’t been healing. It’s time to step out. In FAITH. Following His Word and knowing I will reap the peace, joy, and benefit of giving my all to Him and trusting Him totally.
So what can you expect from here on out? Lots of veggies. Lots of raw food dishes. Lots of cooked plant based dishes. Lots of fruit. Lots of CF life updates, health tips, and devotionals—the same as what I’ve been sharing for 6 years. But now from a healthier perspective—one that is JESUS CENTERED in all things. One that is balanced, coming from a place of self-love, self-respect...one that prioritizes listening to our bodies...one that recognizes that we are all beautifully unique, and that there is no “one size fits all” diet that is right for everyone. And one that includes some gut-healing, stomach-soothing bone broth. One that includes some grass fed, organic, free range meats. One that includes some wild fish. Because what is the ultimate goal? “Fitting in” in the vegan or raw food or paleo or keto community? Finding your identity and friends through what you do or don’t eat? Or healing mind, body, and spirit by walking in obedience to where The Lord is leading YOU? Finding happiness and healing in the knowledge that you are walking in obedience as a faithful servant of The Lord Jesus Christ. Denying myself bone broth simply because it’s cooked and—forbid it—it’s it’s an animal product is silly, and so far OPPOSITE of healthy behavior and a healing-focused philosophy. And ESPECIALLY far stray from a Christ centered philosophy—one that looks to Him as our complete Healer and guide, and trusts that He has equipped our bodies with an amazing mechanism to tell us what they need. I’m not just drinking bone broth. I’m savoring it. Because for right now, where I am in life, that’s what my body needs. That’s ALL it can tolerate. And it’s silly to say no to that when I’m commanded to care for my temple. Put Jesus first, friends. Always and forever. And EVERYTHING ELSE falls into place.
If you’ve reached the end of this post (more like book) congratulations, haha. Thank you for hearing me out and for coming on my journey with me. If you’re infuriated by this post and getting ready to comment that I have betrayed vegans across the world and am a bad example of health and healing, then I would encourage you to ask yourself what does true health really look like? Forcing yourself to stick to a diet that you know for a fact just isn’t working for you, just because you’re “scared of what other people might say,” or listening to your body—caring for your temple by giving it what it needs, whatever that may be—and knowing that you’re practicing true self-love, true self-acceptance, and true faithfulness? I can’t answer that for you, but I know what I’ve chosen. Feel free to unfollow me or unsubscribe to my blog—that’s totally your choice. But always remember true health lies in love and acceptance. You do you and I’ll do me. Give your body what it needs and I’ll give my body what it needs. That may not be the same...and that’s okay. Let’s coexist with each other. Living in respect and love for each other. And not ending friendships simply because someone no longer follows the same diet as you.
Sending love to ALL of you and thanking each of you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support you have shown and continue to show me as I fight cystic fibrosis. Here’s to health, happiness, and healing...mind, body, and spirit.
Note: I will continue to post updates about my health/dr appointments, etc. I so appreciate all the prayers...keep them coming. Hoping I will be a candidate for a surgery down at UNC that will enable me to eat again. I will definitely keep everyone updated.