The first time I ever became aware of ‘self-empowerment’ was in 1998. I had been struggling with ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for 7 very long years. The doctors had told me there was nothing they could do for me, that I had to accept it and live with it. I felt angry that ‘nothing could be done’, I found it hard to accept but back then (1990) we never had the internet, and I couldn’t find any books in the library that could help me either. The only ‘thing’ I discovered that helped me, was diet pills. I honestly don’t know how I made that discovery as I had no need to be on a diet as I was so skinny, but when I took those pills, I was able to stay awake and keep working. I was a single mother of two small children and not working was not an option for me. My ex-husband was a no-show and growing up in South Africa, we didn’t have benefits or the dole. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat, it was as simple as that! Plus, I never came from money, my parents helped as much as they possibly could, but not working was not an option for me.
So, at the beginning of 1998 I popped around to see my mom and noticed a book lying on her coffee table. It was called ‘God’s Way to Ultimate Health’. A friend of my mom’s, who was an agent for a network marketing company had got it from America and gave it to my mom to read. I picked it up and read the first few pages. The book had been written by a man called George Malkmus who had healed his stomach cancer by changing his diet and by drinking vegetable juices. I was stunned! How could changing your diet heal cancer? To me, as I understood it, the doctors were the authority on health and the only people who could ‘heal’ you with their prescriptions and / or surgery. I was intrigued, I asked my mom if I could borrow the book and took it home. That night I stayed up late reading, I just couldn’t put that book down. Not only had George healed his stomach of cancer, but he also mentioned other people who had healed themselves from cancer, arthritis, diabetes, skin conditions, cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. I was astonished and said to myself, ‘if all those people could heal themselves from all their ailments, then I can heal myself from chronic fatigue syndrome.’ The next day I got out of bed with more energy and passion than I had felt in a very long time. I had made up my mind, I was going to do it, I was going to heal my body from this ME that the doctors had said was incurable.
I went out and bought myself a vegetable juicer, contacted my mom’s friend and ordered some super foods and a colon cleansing powder, went to the veggie store and stocked up on veggies, threw out all the junk food in my cupboards and fridge, spoke to my boss and took a month off work. I told my children that our lives, and diets, were about to change and started preparing. Up until then, my diet was shocking. I wasn’t a ‘foodie’ and ate whatever I could afford. I never craved food and often when passing by my parents’ house, my mom would cook and insist I ate before I left, she was always telling me I was too thin and should eat more. I was happy to eat toast with Bovril spread on top at every meal if I could and when I took the kids out once a month, on payday for a treat, I would have pizza. I loved pizza, I still do. My favourite dessert was ice cream or chocolate or both. Sometimes ice cream would even be a ‘treat’ meal, where the kids and I would share a tub of chocolate Gelato for dinner on a Sunday night. I fed my children relatively well (expect for the ice cream for dinner ‘treat’) but when it came to feeding myself, I really was terrible.
So, the big day arrived. I was about to embark on the most incredible journey of healing my body and I was excited! For breakfast I had a huge glass of freshly squeezed carrot juice, a teaspoon of barley green and a teaspoon of colon cleanse. The rest of the morning I ate fruit, as much as a liked and whenever I was hungry. For lunch, I made myself a big salad and ate it with some homemade bread and butter, for dinner it was another glass of carrot juice with a teaspoon of barley green and colon cleanse followed by a salad and some steamed or cooked veggies. I also drank 8 – 10 glasses of water throughout the day which was easy for me as my favourite drink is cold water. The kids had the same. Part of the plan included doing some exercise every day. The first week was tough as my body started to detox from all the years of medicines, junk and coffee I had over the years. I felt even more tired than usual, I felt nauseous and dizzy, I had awful headaches and just walking down our 5-metre passage felt like a gruelling marathon. Every night I would walk, the kids would walk with me and initially I could only make it halfway down the road, every day I pushed myself to go a bit further. By the second week I was walking around the neighbourhood easily and effortlessly and by the end of the second week I felt so much energy I could practically run around the block without feeling tired at all. I couldn’t believe it, I don’t think I had ever felt so much energy before as an adult, so much so that I went back to work two weeks earlier than planned and when I got there everyone at work commented on how fantastic I looked, they asked if I had been on a health farm or at a spa whilst I was away. I felt like I had been reborn and given my life back. I felt so inspired by how my health had changed that I wanted to share it with the whole world! So, a few months later I quit my job, flew over to America and attended a course led by the Author and a panel of renowned Doctors including an oncologist and paediatrician who treated their sick patients with nutrition instead of with medicine and were achieving incredible results. The course was incredible and hearing so many stories of healing I left America, with my Health Coach Certificate in hand, feeling empowered and excited about my future.
What I learnt from this experience was that;
- I don’t need a doctor to heal my body. My body is intelligent and with the right fuel, it can heal itself.
- That doctors don’t know everything. In fact, I went back to my own GP who too had ME and he asked me to share everything I learnt with him, he told me that in Med School they had only received a mere 4 hours of training on nutrition in the 7+ years they studied to become doctors.
- Food really is medicine, Hippocrates himself said ‘let food be your medicine’.
- Your body is your vehicle and just like you don’t put diesel in a petrol engine as it will completely mess up the engine, you cannot feed your body junk, or live on toast, and expect it to be healthy, energetic and vibrant.
The biggest lesson I learnt was that I am not at the mercy of others especially doctors. Don’t get me wrong, of course we need doctors at times to help us, but when a doctor tells you he or she can’t help you, it doesn’t mean that you must accept it! Look for a second opinion and look for alternatives means.
Today I believe that there is always a way. We as human beings are capable of so much more than we realise. You just need to take that first step, step out in faith and look for other people who have done things for themselves and then follow their lead. And if you can’t find that person then become that person who will lead the way.