What is going on with me? Finding the answers

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On Monday I listened to a webinar with Brendan Brazier, vegan triathlete and author of Thrive and Thrive Foods. Much of it was a repeat because I’ve read Thrive and have studied vegan nutrition for years. But it’s always good to get a refresher and get updated on anything new in the world of nutrition and fitness. One thing that really stood out for me was the discussion on adrenal fatigue. This is something so widespread that no one understands it’s happening to them. You can’t get out of bed in the morning, you need stimulants to get through the day, you crash around 3pm and run for the vending machine, you have more energy in the evening and have a hard time going to sleep, you’ve become addicted to exercising at night. Does this sound familiar?

Another issue that is very common among vegans and raw foodists is candida. This condition is an overgrowth of yeast in the gut and can spread all over the body. It can cause symptoms like yeast infections, fatigue, fogginess and inability to concentrate, food cravings, skin conditions, weight gain, and general feelings of blahness. Does this sound familiar? Ricki has the most comprensive FAQ on candida and if you are looking to treat it naturally and vegan her website is your new best friend.

One thing in particular that I was concerned about was over the last year dark circles under my eyes became more visible. In Chinese medicine your face shows what’s going on with your organs, so I knew this must be a sign of something. Turns out it is a sign of kidney weakness and adrenal fatigue. Kidney weakness comes from eating a diet that is too cleansing and too cooling, i.e. smoothies, raw food, juices, sugary foods and from eating too much protein/not a balance diet. Sound familiar?

I see these issues all around me, especially in the vegan, raw food and fitness communities. But what I don’t see is a desire to heal these ailments or even to have a discussion about it. Most people will continue eating whatever they want and/or exercising too much, sending themselves into a downward spiral. And people like me; authors, wellness coaches, etc. don’t address it because we espouse the benefits on the vegan diet and do not want anyone to think that something is physically wrong with us. Well, I feel like I should speak out about it so that others may benefit from my dietary experiments.

Some people eventually get help and are told they must eat animal foods to recover from these conditions. When I had an inkling that I may be affected by adrenal fatigue I saw a macrobiotic counselor and a student of naturopathic medicine. Both said I must eat animal foods, particularly fish and eggs. When I told them I wasn’t going to do that and compromise my ethics I was told that I could put a band-aid on the situation but it may never get better. In the words on Barney Stenson “Challenge Accepted!”.

So how did I know I may be affected by candida and adrenal fatigue? For the last year I have had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I used to literally jump out of bed at the same time every morning without an alarm clock. Also, my sugar cravings were through the roof. I couldn’t go a day without having something sugary (including natural sweeteners). I was foggy and my memory was seriously lagging. I started working out a ton, preferring high impact classes like boot camp and would spend hours at the gym (and I could run circles around everyone in class). I got huge amounts of energy after 5pm and then couldn’t get to sleep at night. These are tell tale signs that something was not right. So that’s when I sought the help of two different kinds of alternative healers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like what my recommendations were so much; my macrobiotic counselor told me to stop eating so much raw, cooling foods (bye-bye smoothies), to eat more grains and a balance of protein, grains, and veggies. I needed to stop doing so much high impact exercise and add more oil and fat into my diet. The naturopath told me I needed to eat more protein for candida (at least 75 grams per day), but it couldn’t be from soy or beans (uh??), I needed to reduce the amount of complex carbohydrates I was eating (total opposite of macrobiotic recommendations), and no sugar or fruit or caffeine (well duh). I also needed to start taking supplements every day (b12, D, probiotics, oregano oil,Β gaba and serotonin precursorsΒ and possibly: zinc, selenium, l-carnitine).Β I hate taking supplements.

So what do I do with all this? The first week I did exactly what my macrobiotic counselor told me. I ate more whole grains and a balanced diet with no sugar, no raw foods or smoothies, miso soup every morning, and tons of veggies. I started cooking with oil again. I cut my workouts down to one high impact and 1 low impact class. By mid-week I felt amazing. I was able to sleep soundly and woke up feeling refreshed. But by day 6 I starting baking a ton of desserts and binged on them. Fail.

The next week I tried a variation of what the naturopath student recommended. I started supplementing, eating more protein and less carbs (in the form of two protein shakes per day, lentils, more nuts), lots of veggies, ate snacks throughout the day like nuts or rice crackers with peanut butter so my blood sugar didn’t drop, and continued to work out less and opted for yoga classes and spinning rather than the high impact boot camp class.

How do I feel? I feel pretty good. I think I’m going to continue a combination of these recommendations. I’m eating whole grains one meal a day, sometimes two, two protein shakes a day, and lots of veggies. I’m cooking with more oil. I’m trying my hardest not to have fruit or any sweetener (though I made cookies yesterday made from quinoa and peanut butter so they were protein cookies!). I’m supplementing every day with b12, D, and lots of good stuff that is in my protein powder and greens powder. I’m fine not exercising as hard and I still feel really strong. We will see what happens!

I encourage everyone to evaluate your diet and how you feel, to experiment with eating different ways. I know that juicing and green smoothies and raw foods are all the rage, but sometimes that’s actually not what’s best for our condition. And like I always say, what works for you today, may not work for you tomorrow, next week or next year. If you are feeling any of the symptoms I’ve talked about today, they are not normal. Seek guidance from someone you trust. And if you need help or someone to hold your hand, I’m available for consulting via phone or Skype.

Thank you for letting me share my personal journey with you. It’s hard to be so open and frank about your health, but I feel it’s important so we may live the mostly blissful, healthy lives. Please leave comments here of your own experiences so we may learn from each other. And happy eating!


Comment List

  • Audrey 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Wow, a lot of the stuff you describe here (like almost ALL of the symptoms) are things I have. Hmm. I just get really confused sometimes what is the best thing to do, and I don't really know if mentally I can make any big dietary changes right now.

    I really appreciate your sharing your experience. I like that you are always open to improving.

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Audrey, I don't think you are the only one! I only have some of the symptoms, but it is enough to make me want to experiment with my diet. I don't like not jumping out of bed every morning ready to go πŸ™‚

  • Lowrie 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    i really appreciate your honesty also – thanks for sharing. which protein powder is yoru fave? i've heard so many different recs..

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      This is the one specifically that she recommend http://www.thorne.com/Products/Amino_Acids_Proteins/Protein_Supplements/prd~SP645.jsp

      I really like Lifetime Life's Basics and PlantFusion as far as taste and texture. I'm doing Amazing Grass GreenSuperfood combined with protein powder with a little almond milk/water and nut butter.

  • Ricki 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Christy!  As you know, I've been dealing with candida for some time and have been on the diet for the past 3 years.  I got much of the same advice, of course, when I first started. It's tough to do the diet in a strict way if you're vegan, but it can be done. For the first 3 months, I limited my grains to one serving (ie, half cup) per day–and that was gluten-free grains only!  I limited starchy legumes and other starchy vegetables like winter squashes.  I didn't give up tofu, though, as I knew I'd need the extra protein source.  And protein powders were a great help, too. 

    I think what you emphasize here, and what is so important, is that we each have to find the specific combination of foods and supplements that works for us (though I'd say as a vegan, B12 is absolutely non-negotiable; studies have shown that the B12 in seaweeds, nutritional yeast, etc, unless it's added to the food as a supplement, is actually a B12 analogue that can't be absorbed effectively–and nobody wants to end up with B12 deficiency, which is not reversible once it happens!).  I used 3 different anti-candida diets and chose the parts that worked for me when I designed my food lists.  I never veered from what was "acceptable," but having the options before me was very useful. And I found that what worked for some people didn't work for me.  It reminded me that we are each unique, and require a unique approach to whatever we do to improve our health as well.  Kudos to you for sticking with your convictions AND finding something that worked! πŸ™‚

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks for chiming in Ricki! I consider you THE vegan candida expert and we have a lot to learn from all your trials with the candida diet. 

  • Stacy 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    I'm a little torn on this. On one hand, I appreciate your honesty. I think a lot of bloggers are afraid to "show weakness," or let on that they're not perfect and don't live a charmed life. I work with clients to improve their eating and lifestyle, and it can be overwhelming to only think of the end result without seeing how small your first steps can be. It's also so important to realize that the "best" diet for you this week may not serve you next week (or next month), and being open to change is healthy. So thank you for sharing this.


    That said, I actually gasped when I read "add more oil and fat into my diet (bye-bye skinniness)." Every person's body and life is different. When I added MORE fats (healthy ones from avocado, nuts and seeds, and unrefined oils) to my diet, I LOST weight because I wasn't eating more carbs to compensate for a lack of fullness. Yes, it's a throw-away parenthetical comment, but it perpetuates a nutrition myth that is one of my pet peeves and implies that being thin is more important than being healthy and feeling good.

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks for your comment Stacy! My comment was more directed at the fact that I’m not intensely exercising anymore. I’m writing a follow up post on the Stop Chasing Skinny blog that expresses my rekindled appreciation for my health over my physical appearance and learning to embrace my body wherever it is at. I have never in my career or on this blog implied that being skinny means health or should be more important than health. πŸ™‚

      I have found that I do better with whole food fats plentiful in my diet and some oil. Many people in the plant-based world have researched how our body reacts to oil and actually doesn’t fill our stomachs or triggers are satiation like we would think. Everyone is different. I feel better with a little oil in my diet, but I don’t eat it every day.

      • Stacy 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

        Thanks for clarifying. The wording in the post is less clear.

        I hope you find something that works well for you!

  • jessica 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    It's a little crazy to be reading this! I have been experiencing a few of these symptoms lately – particularly being tired all day only to have crazy energy bursts at night, lack of concentration and an increased sweet tooth. At first I was attributing my symptoms as being sleep-related, but in the last few days have been looking more carefully at my diet, wondering what I am "doing wrong." Having been vegan for six years, vegetarian for 13, I have a good idea of what I need thanks to a few nutrition classes and sessions with nutritionists (or I think I do, at least) and have been having trouble coming up with an answer. I was thinking it was maybe an iron deficiency?

    But his post really makes me think about candidia… against my own will! Having recently gone gluten free (which has been working out great, in reality) I really dread the idea of further changing my diet. However, given the fact that I am too poor to juice/make daily smoothies, usually only eat around 1-2 serving of grains a days and already eat tons of veggies, it shouldn't be TOO bad. If this diet is working for other people, it is worth a try. I want to feel my best every day… because being tired all the time makes the beautiful life I have been blessed with seem like a total drag. Thanks for inspiring me to do some of my own research and begin experimenting with what works for my body. You really are the best!

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks Jessica for sharing. These issues seem to be very common for long-time vegans. Experiment and let me know how it goes. I would love to compare notes with you πŸ™‚

  • Mattheworbit 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Thanks for your bravery and honesty, Christy.. I do hope you are feeling better soon, and thanks for encouraging people to stay plant-strong, while still being honest and open enough to re-evaluate their diets, practice trial and error, and make some changes, particularly admitting that common "health food stuff" isn't currently working for them!

    I find that I feel so much better when I eat more protein (legumes are great) and less white flour and white sugar. I'm going through a similar thing as you, but without the crazy desire to exercise πŸ˜‰ Damn-it! Take care.

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks Matthew! I'm feeling really good, having given up bread and white sugar this year and eating more whole foods. I know I will continue to feel better! I think the fact that I have to be in a bikini next week sparked the strong desire to exercise (going on the vegan cruise) πŸ˜‰

  • Gena 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    So sorry to hear that you've been feeling off, Christy. I think it's absolutely right that you should talk about it here: vegans should not feel under pressure to fake "perfect" health! All people, even healthy eaters, may sometimes experience these moments of mystery.

    As you probably know, I'm deeply skeptical of traditional Chinese medicine, not to mention naturopathy (especially sine 90% of naturopaths I've bushed paths with have a strange, insistent bias in favor of eggs and fish, which is unscientific as well as prejudiced). But I do support your taking whatever path you need to take to feel better again. I hope that wellness comes soon.

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment. I do not understand the egg/fish thing either. It seems to be something like this is what our ancestors ate or they were strong/healthy, sort of paleo stuff. I will never eat animal foods again even for my health, and I’m already feeling better with adjustments to my diet! πŸ™‚

  • "Authors, wellness coaches, etc. don't address it because we espouse the benefits on the vegan diet and do not want anyone to think that something is physically wrong with us" – Oh Christy, you're more correct than you can know.  I'm still not ready to blog about my health struggles of the past two years, though I've been considering doing so pretty soon.  (Adrenal issues are involved, but not the main factor/problem for me.)  One thing I will recommend is lots of coconut oil!  We don't need bile to digest it so it's easy on our liver, and it nourishes the thyroid, adrenal complex, etc.  Thank you for your honesty about your health, and keep us updated!

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Well I hope this post inspires you to share your struggles. We all need to opening talk about this so everyone can learn from our experiences. I def am using more coconut oil and I feel so much better! πŸ˜‰

  • Meghann 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    I was shocked when I read your post today. Not in a bad way (though I AM sorry you're feeling unhealthy), but in an, "Oh my gosh, this is what I've been going through for YEARS". I got really sick about 6 years ago, but doctors couldn't/wouldn't find anything wrong (one told me it was all in my head and to see a shrink). I lost my job because I couldn't work. I gained over 20 pounds because I couldn't exercise the way I always had (it's like breathing for me – absolutely essential, every day). I lost friendships because I was too tired and sick feeling all the time to keep up with people. My business suffered. My health suffered

    I was at my wit's end when I called my friend and asked for her homeopath's contact info. That was almost 2 years ago and I'm just now starting to turn the corner. Though I did for a while eat some yogurt and chicken, I have stopped that now and am focusing on more vegan-based foods.

    My problem? I have mild reactive-hypoglycemia, which, when coupled with high stress jobs, over exercise, and not eating well (I'm severely gluten, dairy, egg and corn intolerant), went on to deplete my adrenals. When the hypoglycemia and adrenals weren't treated (or even diagnosed), that in turn went on to totally deplete my thyroid. My homeopath is fantastic, and though it is expensive, I am totally getting what I pay for.

    I'm now feeling much better, though I have a long way to go. I have more energy, though I still would like to lose some of the extra weight I'm carrying and eat more raw vegan foods. I don't exercise nearly as intensely or as much, though I try and fit in some sort of yoga and cardio when I feel up to it, at least 3-4 days per week. I'm also able to work on my business like I never have before, and THAT alone is worth more than I can possibly describe.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I have purchased a few of your e-books in the past, but I think I should get your cookbook as well and start looking more into the raw vegan with gluten free grains. Your knowledge is invaluable to people like myself, who really want to be healthy and CARE about what goes on in their bodies, as well as the planet, when it comes to their food choices. You rock!

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing with us! It’s good to know you aren’t alone with this sort of stuff. I’m sorry you had to go through so much, and that the doctors couldn’t help. They really know very little about how the body works holistically! I’m so glad you found a homeopath that could help you and are feeling better!

      I’ve been doing less and less gluten and I feel so much better. I think you will enjoy my book, it’s got lots of gf recipes πŸ™‚

      • Meghann 25 / 02 / 2012 Reply

        Thank you! I ordered it yesterday and I'm excited to get it πŸ™‚

        I've been gluten free for about 10 years now and I have to say, I wouldn't go back even if I could. If you ever need GF vegan recipes, let me know, I've got hundreds of healthy (or mostly healthy!) recipes and love to share πŸ™‚

  • Katie Cain 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Christy, I think it is so great that you shared this. A "healthy vegan diet" can mean different things to different people. You're right – there are so many people promoting smoothies, juicing, raw, no oil, gluten-free, etc. I eat a mostly vegan diet but only make smoothies in the summer and don't own a juicer. I prefer cooked food to raw 90% of the time. I do cook with oil because I think it improves the flavor/texture of my foods and helps me feel satiated.  I also enjoy wheat products in moderation. So I find myself going against what a lot of people are promoting. Still, this is what works best for me.

    Another vegan craze is sweets – whether it is vegan cupcakes, muffins, sweet breads, pies, etc. Unfortunately, eating sugary baked goods does not make me feel good at all. I also get addicted to them easily so I pretty much have to avoid them entirely so I don't fall down that rabbit hole. So I'm not really participating in that trend either (though I do enjoy reading blog posts about them).

    So I think it is great that you have sparked this discussion. In spite of what various people are promoting, we have to do what feels good in our own bodies. 

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks for this Katie. It’s so true. I wanted to be everything to everyone, but now realize that I must be true to myself and do what’s best for me (even if it goes against what is popular).

  • caryn 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Enlightening and candid post, Christy.  As many on a plant-based diet, I too, do this for health reasons and just because I am doing this to (hopefully) combat any chronic illnesses that may be in my future, it does not mean that other ailments might pop up.  Sure, they might not be nearly as serious as debilitating diseases that animal products may have a hand in perpetuating; our bodies can still become "out of wack"  if the correct ratios of veg/fruits/nuts/grains/seeds are not met to fulfill the needs of our unique bods.  Just 'cuz I eat only plants does not make me 100% healthy- and I'm not afraid to admit that.  No holier than thou attitude here.  This is my take away from  your post and I truly, truly appreciate it, girlfriend!

    • Christy Morgan 25 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Exactly! We are always changing and affected by many things, but at least I know I'm giving myself better odds against serious conditions and helping the animals and planet at the same time πŸ™‚

  • JL goes Vegan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Christy it was really kind of you to share your very real experience with us. I think that as vegans and bloggers we often feel that perfection pressure. There are so many out there who espouse the "right way" but there are may more of us who believe that what is right is based on the individual. Thank you for sharing your journey — I think we will all learn a great deal from it!

    I look forward to sharing your thoughts on Stop Chasing Skinny!

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks JL! You are one of the great bloggers that is so open and honest. It’s an inspiration! I start working on that post soon!

  • Elijah 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I so appreciate your openness.  As you describe, we seem to be in a world of nutritional frenzy that quickly become DOGMATIC…and that is dangerous.  Raw food is wonderful and can be very healing but as you said, it isn't for everyone.  That is extremely difficult for some people to realize.  We are all individuals and I firmly believe in bio-individuality. What you are doing by experimenting with the advice you've been given and, I suspect, following your own intuition, is perfect.  Only you can feel what is going on in your body and only you will know what is working or not.  So keep on keepin' on!!!
    I want to remark on your comment about adding fats to your diet and "bye-bye skinniness".  I was very dismayed to read this!  I did read your explanation up above, and totally understand but for my own sense of well being I need to comment as well πŸ™‚  Even though you did not intend the comment of more fats to your diet eliminating your "skinniness", the reality is that in America today there is major fat phobia.  This fat phobia is one of the leading factors to our obesity and a range of health problems.  When the idea of a low fat diet was introduced, companies and products popped up everywhere that were low fat.  As a result, people were consuming exponentially more processed foods than ever before and these foods were typically loaded with sugar and had zero nutritional value.  Nowadays I see that people don't buy those products as much but the damage is done–people cannot get the idea that "fat makes me fat: out of there heads.  And this idea is scientifically wrong! It simply is not true!  In fact, clinical or subclinical fat deficiency leads to major problems: low energy, depression, digestive disorders, carb cravings, just to name a few.
    We need fat to metabolize our nutrition and indeed, it helps us LOSE weight.  It may be counterintuitive, but it is true.  Just how much fat is needed for each person will vary due to our bio-individuality, but we all need it.
    Okay, that's all! I just feel it is so important for the health of people to eliminate this false belief that fat makes us fat.  Thank you for letting me get this out!!  Much love and healing to you and blessings for the wonderful person you are in this world! I know you have kept me motivated and interested ever since I came across you…so lucky I did.

    • Audrey 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      I tend to think too much of anything is unhealthy. Limiting ALL fat is not healthy. But swinging too far the other way and eating a ton of it is also not healthy. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that's easy to say but hard to practice! And like Christy says, everyone is different.

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      The comment about skinniness was to imply just what you are talking about. I thought to myself that if I stopped exercising so much and started eating more fat that I would gain weight, because it’s easy to get sucked into that mentality. In society in general and in the vegan world we are constantly bombarded with fanatical restricted diets, and I’m glad to not be a part of it frankly. I want to put my health first.

  • Kay 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    You had me until you said overwheling need to exercise :). I don't think I will ever have that symptom. I will embrace it if I do ;).

    Thank you for being brave enough to share and to help others going through the same thing! I hope you find your perfect balance soon.

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Hahaha I guess the exercise thing is personal. I found I had so much energy in the evening and I started exercising intensely thinking that would give me more energy in the day. When in fact that contributed to adrenal fatigue. It was a nasty cycle, so I’m glad I’m not doing it to myself anymore!

  • Ree 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Thank you for sharing this important information. So often I feel like I'm doing all the things I should be doing, eating right, exercising, etc. but  then there are days when I still just don't feel right. You truly gave me food for thought. Being a vegan for a little over 3 years, I know I have a long way to go before I can say I'm doing it "right".  But we have to keep trying until we do. Thanks again.

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      That’s the thing I don’t really believe there is a “right” or “best” diet, because we all have different issues, addictions, body chemistry, genetics, and karma. We just have to try and figure out what works for us and learn from each other πŸ™‚

  • Jen 24 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.  It is so helpful to hear of other's experiences and I, too, have had some of the same difficulties.  I went to a chiropractor that also practices functional medicine and found a great resources in her.  We did food allergy testing which was a great help.  It took two years but we finally found a combination of supplements and diet that seems to be working.  It is definitely a process!

    Just to share what worked for me for anyone else that it can help….I had very bad GERD-type feelings, some food allergies, some candida, horrible bloating, adrenal fatique, high cholesterol, and low testosterone.  I didn't know all this when I started. I just felt like I had the coming on all the time.  And the fatique was the worst.  Now I am mostly vegan, limit my alcohol greatly and rarely drink wine, watch foods that promote candida (rarely eat wheat, almost no sugar, fruit is not my friend! etc.).  

    The hardest part was realizing what I needed to do.  Give up fruit?  But that is supposed to be so healthy.  What is wrong with my super healthy bread from the super healthy store?  And my daily glass or two of wine was killing me and I couldn't imagine it was making that much difference.  If you feel bloated and dull after eating any food, consider removing it from your diet for a while.  It is ok.  Read, read, read.  Every candida diet is different.  Tweak, tweak, tweak.  

    Find a good doctor/practioner (my GP wanted to keep me on Nexxium forever!), keep trying until you find one you click with.  Get food allergy tested.  This is a great starting place.  Get your hormones tested.  Your doctor/practioner should know what foods and supplements can help these areas so you don't need drugs.  Try giving up gluten, alcohol, yeast-feeding foods, sugar.  Changing your diet appears to be hard until you do it and then you realize it isn't that bad.  It's just different.

    I am still on my journey but feel so much better than were I was two years ago. Thanks to all for sharing.

    • Christy Morgan 25 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Jen thank you SO much for sharing your story with us. I totally feel you on what is "healthy" and knowing what is really truly healthy for you personally. Everyone is different, some people can live on those carbs and high sugar foods and some us don't do so well. It's a process figuring out the equation that make us feel good. I think a lot of people are also scared to get things checked out. We just assume if we are vegan or eating "healthy" that all will be well. No shame in getting tests done!

  • Christy! I love this post and I commend you for your bravery and honesty. My opinion is that everyone needs to figure out what works for them as an individual and then, after a while, we need to figure it out all over again because it changes!

    But one thing I have noticed is that because we all come at this from a place of trying to achieve our best health, we feel bad to talk about these issues, as if it means there is something wrong with "raw" or "vegan." And that somehow that means that we need to eat more animal or oil. But the reality is that everyone eating all variety of diets will have dark spells–it's nothing peculiar about vegan diets. So a person who eats meat, dairy, eggs and oil might be missing tons of vital stuff from their diet and suffer the ill health effects. Would they feel bad about talking about their health problems and making adjustments? Probably not.

    But because we as a community feel that we are the underdogs, it sets up a phenomenon where we cannot talk about the downsides. I was really glad when I found out that Victoria Butenko (sp?)and other big time raw foodies admitted that they were not at their best health and decided to make major adjustments to their diet. I thought that was so brave and so necessary. This is a journey, not a destination, unfortunately!

    Just some of my thoughts on this, and again, thank you for this thoughtful post. I wish you the best in achieving those great feelings again! 

    • Christy Morgan 25 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thanks Wendy! So very true. Change is the only constant in this world. I was also happy to read of those raw foodists talking about the downsides of their diet. We can all learn so much when people are more frank with their diets and health. It's all a journey! πŸ™‚

  • bitt 26 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Christy, this was so important for me to read because I know I am not alone. I have adrenal fatigue and likely candida too. It's hard to be vegan and not have perfect health, and people will often blame it on veganism. I think you are so wise to try changing your diet around within the vegan parameters, as other people have left veganism without even trying this. My diet is a constant search for what is best.


    I have been researching the candida diet with little outside help from doctors (the only thing my Dr told me to eliminate was wheat and dairy–been off that for 15 years!). I have read that beans are fine (not sure why your ND was against them–soy is another issue) but peanut butter is a no-no. Here is a great resource Rick gave me: http://www.wholeapproach.com/. Today is my first say with no fruit at all, I miss it so much! But I know I need to be strict to kill that candida. I am trying to think of it as a short term thing, because I don't want to live a life without fruit forever. I love raw foods too,  but I am having to add in a bit more cooked foods in order to get some satiation. However green smoothies can be replaced by green juice and salad can easily be low sugar. I think Kris Carr is onto something with her approach. Good luck and hope to support each other along the way.

    • Christy Morgan 27 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Yes it makes me so sad to see so many people stop being vegan because of health issues. Thanks for sharing with us and the info on candida. I was told that even though pb is a "no-no" that it would be good every once in a while for it's protein. I'm switching to almond butter and other seed butters because I really don't like to eat pb. 

      Please keep me updated on your progress! We can definitely learn from and support each other! 

      • bitt 27 / 02 / 2012 Reply

        I guess it's because peanut butter is more likely to be moldy, aflotoxins and all. I miss peanut butter but other nuts are just as good in my opinion, if not better! And seeds too are great.

  • Heather Nauta 27 / 02 / 2012 Reply

    Awesome post, Christy πŸ™‚ So many people get caught up in trying to find that one 'perfect' diet – but it just doesn't exist! There are some basics that are true for most people, and will usually get someone to a place where they can start listening to the feedback their body gives them. But from there, it's so important to listen to those messages and do what's right for you! Like you said, what's best for someone to eat might change throughout the day, the week, the month, the season, or the stage of their life.

    Raw vegans are especially prone to getting stuck in the theoretical ideal for what they think they should be eating. I don't think that negates the benefits of eating raw food, or the value of doing a smoothie or raw food cleanse, but there's definitely a lot of hype around a fully raw diet.

    I think it's possible to keep showing the positive side of a plant-based diet without ignoring the issues that might come up. It's so important for people to know that there are ways to solve certain issues without forcing themselves to eat meat. Not that I think everyone should be forced to stay vegan if they don't want to, but there are so many options for certain nutrients now that we didn't have before. And animal foods don't guarantee someone they'll get the nutrients they need, so it's important to talk about that, too.

    I hate the idea of supplements too, but I also hate that industrial agriculture has depleted the soil so much that food nutrient levels have dropped, and I hate the health/environmental/ethical downsides of animal foods. I love the info on veganhealth.org for reminding me of why it's important to take supplements. I don't feel like taking supplements makes me inferior when I look at the big picture of the world we're living in today. So many things have changed – higher stress, food quality, pollution, hormones, etc, etc, etc… We have to do whatever we can to be as healthy as possible, maintain our environment and not abuse other creatures.

    And the last thing I'll say in this super-long comment (sorry, your thoughts made me want to share mine :)) is that I know exactly what you mean about wanting to portray an image of health. I often worry when I have a pimple or a sore throat that people will think I must be eating something wrong. Maybe I did, or maybe it's just something weird – like I had to wear makeup for a skating competition or I slept with the window open on a really cold night πŸ™‚ But I also think it's good for people to see that no one's perfect – and I think it draws people in to your story even more when they see that you haven't been doing something perfectly and are now working to correct it. It's inspiring, it's motivating, it helps people take action for themselves. They don't have to strive for perfection, they can work on improving right along with you πŸ™‚

    I hope you get feeling better soon – and remember that the adrenals are really sensitive to stress, so try not to be too stressed while you're out on your book tour! xo

    • Christy Morgan 29 / 02 / 2012 Reply

      Thank you Heather for your comments and wisdom! Thank you for bringing up some very good points about supplementing, I really like the way you brought that to light.

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