Cecilia's story of how she got into raw foods and how it changed her life and her raw food before and after pictures.
As a child I was often sick with upper respiratory infections. At around age seven I was diagnosed with asthma and chronic sinusitis. At around age 10 I was on about 4 different medications for my asthma: 3 different types of inhalers and antihistamine pills. For me it was just a part of life to have asthma attacks and feel like I was suffocating on a daily basis. I didn't let it stop me from doing anything I wanted as long as I had my inhaler with me. I would use my inhalers sometimes up to 14 + times a day. Every time I would use the inhaler I would feel my heart race because of the stimulating affect it had on my system. I just learned to live with it and never questioned that I could heal it, I just assumed I would have asthma forever.
Before Raw Foods
This is me at my heaviest. I am 19 in
I am 22 in this picture. I have more
make-up on than in my after pictures
yet I look worse!
Another health problem I was dealing with was my weight. After
high school I stopped playing soccer and began to put on the
pounds. Although I was never obese, I was slightly over weight and
didn't feel comfortable in my own body. I was self conscious and
embarrassed. I remember shopping in Spain for a bathing suit at 19
and I couldn't find one because the only bathing suits that they
made in my size were designed for older women! It was embarrassing
and discouraging to say the least. I felt hopeless to change my
weight because I loved to eat food so much! It was my comfort and
my ultimate pleasure. So being overweight was another thing I just
learned to live with.
My last year in high school my family suffered a horrible tragedy; my beloved mother became mentally ill suffering from dementia, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. It developed all of a sudden and ultimately led to the eventual taking of her own life. Anyone who has lost their mother as a kid or has lost someone to suicide knows what a horrible painful tragedy this is. This plunged me into a deep depression and after my mom's death I suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety/panic attacks.
At 22 I was working very hard to distract myself from my feelings. At this point not only was I depressed, but I was sick often with throat infections, sinus infections, stomach flus, and strange rashes. I also suffered from weak digestion and had never had a regular menstrual cycle. On top of everything, I started to get reoccurring bladder infections for which the doctors finally gave me long term antibiotics. Finally one morning my body gave out on me. I tried to get out of bed but I couldn't. I tried to stand but my legs would shake from underneath me. I couldn't even go to the store because I was too exhausted. A few days later my boyfriend at the time broke up with me.
I was at rock bottom. At 22 I was too sick to work, barely had enough energy to go to college, depressed, and I had to give up everything I worked so hard for like my job and my dancing. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me. The low energy they attributed to depression so I went to see a counselor, but deep down I knew something else was wrong. Even though I was depressed before at least I was still able to function in society, now I could barely get out of bed. And my bladder never stopped burning and hurting, but the only thing the doctors were able to offer me were more antibiotics. I was convinced that the antibiotics weren't helping anymore, so I refused to take anymore of them.
After going through the "why me?" stage and realizing that there was no quick fix for my condition (There was part of me that hoped if only I found the right herb, the right remedy, or the right healing modality I would be cured.), I was told about a diet called The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. I followed the diet religiously for 6 months and loosely for about a year. I learned to give up dairy, white flour products, and refined sugar. I also learned about the importance of food combining and probiotics. I discovered new foods such as seaweed and tried to buy organic as much as possible. I began to prepare all my food myself. I learned many basic principles of healthful eating and will always be grateful for the book. Although I noticed some improvement on the diet, I was still exhausted on a day to day basis. However, it was a start.
After Raw Foods
This is me after about 3 1/2 years raw.
I am 28 in this picture.
This is me at 5 years raw. Can you see my
happiness shinning through? This is me at 30
but many people think I'm younger! I love it:)
This is me at almost 6 years high raw, so
and grateful for life!
This is me at 7 years high raw. My chronic
fatigue is officially gone and I'm happier
and healthier than I've ever been in my
life! I I'm just enjoying living my life to
the fullest and spreading the power of
living and raw foods!
I never thought I could be so happy!
Life is beautiful.
This is my most recent picture. I am a few weeks away
from turning 35, most people think I am 25:)
Then I was having a casual conversation with a friend in January of 2002, and he mentioned that his friend had gotten better from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from eating a raw food diet. That was all it took, that same night I looked up the diet on the internet and found the website www.living-foods.com. After learning a little information about the diet I bought a raw food cookbook and started right away. I have been high raw ever since!
The very first week I noticed that I had more energy. I thought that if the raw food I was eating was so full of life, the life force of the food could be transmitted to me. After feeling more energy than I had in all the 3 years I had chronic fatigue, I was hooked! At four months I was off all my asthma medications! Only after four months I no longer had asthma anymore! And it never returned. I don't even know where my inhaler is anymore! In about 6 months I lost about 15 pounds. At 8 months raw I did a supervised 9 day water fast. After the water fast I noticed that the pimples that I had on the back of my arms and thighs disappeared. I also noticed that my dark brown eyes had become a little lighter and clearer.
After about a year raw I noticed that my menstrual cycle had become more regular. The return of my energy was very gradual and even now my energy keeps returning to me. I also noticed a gradual lift of my depression. I definitely felt lighter from the diet, as if a heavy weight had been lifted off me. Emotionally I also felt more self confident in my body and I felt like I was becoming my true self and letting go of the mask I had been wearing for years.
Some other changes I noticed were that my skin became clearer and I didn't stink as much even when I sweat! Because of my skin, I often get mistaken for being 10 years younger than I am! My dreams were more vivid and my intuition and connection to nature felt stronger. The only way to put it, is that I became more alive!
And I truly enjoy every raw food meal that I eat. I love the vibrant fresh flavors of fresh ripe fruit and just picked vegetables. When I eat raw food I feel like every cell in my body is being nourished, my body sings with happiness. It is such an amazing feeling!
I'm still on a healing journey. I have learned to focus on the positive, cultivate gratitude, and love from a full heart. Raw foods gives me the energy to give and help others and be who I truly want to be on this planet.
Even though I have sooooooooooooooooo much more energy than before I was raw, I still need to pace myself and take care of myself so I don't get burnt out and risk getting sick. I'm also learning how to deal with stress in a positive way so it doesn't affect my health.
Raw foods did not cure all my problems but it gave me the one thing that I really needed and that was hope. Before raw foods I had no hope of a future or of a life. I never thought I would be able to function in society again or be in a relationship or anything, but raw foods gave me back my life! Now there is so much joy and hope in my life. I am so grateful that the information was out there for me to begin healing myself. It is such a miracle how far I've come and with God's help I will continue to get well, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It seems like with every year gone by I just get happier and healthier!
2009 was one of the best years so far. I added a very lovable rescued Chihuahua to my family and got engaged Feb. 14th and happily married in September. This would have never been possible if I had not healed myself from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome through Raw Foods!
It's important to note that I am no longer 100% raw, I was for about 5 years but for the last 5 years I've been about 75-80% raw. I find that adding some cooked foods such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, steamed vegetables, steamed squash, sweet potatoes, legumes, and tempeh has helped me to get more variety and nutrition into my diet. I encourage you to find what works for you in partnership with a health care professional.
The best gift from my illness was learning to love myself. Because I was sick I allowed myself to really pace myself and to say no to people's demands. I learned to put myself first. It just goes to show that there are many gifts and lessons we learn from our "healing opportunities" that are sometimes hard to appreciate when we feel so bad. I always remind myself that if I hadn't gotten sick I wouldn't have learned to have compassion for myself and I wouldn't have gained the compassion and understanding of what it's like to be chronically ill.
I know that this compassion and understanding is going to allow me to help many people. I want to give people hope that
things can and will get better. All you need is the sincere desire
to get well and the commitment to make the necessary changes in
your life. If I can be of any assistance to you on your healing
journey please let me know.
In Love and Light,
If you want to talk to me about my story and how raw foods can help YOU, schedule a raw food phone consultation. Also, I make my living through my online raw food store, check it out, there might be some information or products that might be useful to you. My dream is that no one will have to suffer from a chronic illness like I did. Thank you for your support.
*My story is my own and unique to me. I make no gurantees that you might experience something similar. There are many facets of health and healing and it is of utmost importance that you consult with a qualified health professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
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"I almost cried when I read your story, it is so inspirational, and thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with your website. Your "after" pictures look so beautiful and full of life and love! Your site is one of the most attractive, cheerful, and thorough raw sites I have found." - Susan
"I just came across your website and read your story and just wanted to let you know how wonderful I think your site is. I am also on a raw food diet, and I absolutely love it. It's so nice of you to share your story with others and to help others." - Kim
"You're a real inspiration!"- M.C., California
"I am so impressed with your success story. I admire your strength and your dedication to eating healthy and sharing it with the rest of us. I appreciate your hard work and time that you devote to educating others who are seeking a better way ." - Anne