Author Topic: My health journey thus far  (Read 4084 times)

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Offline andvanwyk

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My health journey thus far
« on: June 28, 2010, 07:17:19 am »
Hi everyone. I'm a 24 year old male from South Africa getting into the whole raw paleo diet and lifestyle. It feels to me like a raw paleo lifestyle is what I need to follow to regain and retain my health, so I've decided to start a journal on this forum. Here's a link to my journal ttp://www.rawpaleoforum.com/journals/andvanwyk's-journal/.

Below I've written a brief summary of my health journey so far. More details to come in my journal.

I come from a traditional Afrikaans family, so my diet wasn't the best while growing up. Usually one "healthy" meal in the evening of carbohydrate, meat and vegetables with breakfast consisting of cereal and lunch some type of sandwich. I loved chocolate and anything with milk in it. I got asthma when I was 9 years old and we soon discovered I was very allergic to milk, tartrazine and sodium benzoate, with all of these triggering sinus and asthma attacks. I grew out of the asthma when I was 14 or so.

When I was 17 I became very interested in Eastern philosophy and tai chi and the martial arts. Due to the writings of some "gurus" that I had respect for I decided to become a vegan overnight. The initial health benefits were great (even though I was eating a lot of fake meat and bread instead of vegetables). My health declined pretty rapidly in the year that I left school when I was 18. I got holes in nearly all my teeth, which led to me getting 3 root canals and many mercury fillings. My weight dropped to 53kg no matter how much I ate (I would have many binge and purge sessions). My height is 178cm. I was very fanatical so I carried on with my "health" pursuit despite all the signs. Fortunately at some point I became wise and started eating "normal" food again including a bit of meat.

At this time I stopped thinking about what I was eating and abused my body with sugar, chocolate and alcohol, although I seemed happy for the most part. Fast forward to March 2008. I became interested in psychedelic drugs and obtaining altered states of mind. I didn't like smoking but wanted to try marijuana (after having already tried ecstacy and wanting to slowly progress onto the harder drugs like LSD). I decided to bake some weed cupcakes and ended up eating 3 grams of very strong weed. I either had 1.a psychosis 2.an EXTREMELY bad panic attack or 3. a very very bad trip. I don't want to go into all the details yet but I probably burnt my adrenals out in the process. Every little thing would send me into an anxious state or give me feelings of depression and I didn't sleep even 1 hour for literally a week after taking the weed. I didn't like the idea of going to a doctor or psychiatrist as I believed my body could heal anything. I just ate lots of raw fruit and vegetables and would close my eyes and try and fight the "waves" of altered reality I was experiencing for as long as I could.

I seemed to be getting better and had gone to an IAOMT dentist in the interim to see about getting my 12 mercury fillings out. She referred me to a naturopath to test how much mercury was in my body. He gave me 250mg of DMPS as a challenge test. About 16 hours after doing this challenge test I had a "flashback" where it felt like I was tripping out on weed again. It was actually just a panic attack or my burnt out adrenals trying to deal with the increased load of mercury in my body from the challenge test. I've subsequently learnt that giving DMPS to someone who still has fillings in their mouth is very dangerous as the drug can leech mercury out of your fillings. Sites like www.dmpsbackfire.com are filled with testimonials of people having terrible reactions to this drug. Unfortunately that panic attack was the final straw that broke the camels back. I didn't or couldn't fully recover this time and went another week without sleeping. On the 7th day after being given the drug I thought I was going completely crazy and asked me friend to take me to the looney bin. He took me to a doctor who prescribed tranquilisers.

That was the start of a long road with many psychiatric visits, antidepressant usage, tranquiliser usage. For the most part I was doing ok on the Paxil antidepressant in 2008. I knew it wasn't good for me and my friend gave me the Primal Diet book to read. I was desperate and tried eating raw meat and drinking lots of raw milk for a while. I didn't feel too good and the meat made me feel nauseous. Honestly I didn't have much clue on what I was doing though, and was eating the wrong things at the wrong times. In November 2008 I became extremely physically ill with muscular pains all over my body and a terrible headache that wouldn't leave me. Doctors couldn't find out what was wrong except that my inflammation markers were very high. I was given a treatment of cortisone which helped a lot. During that week of agony while they were figuring out what to give me I was desperate to try anything and read online about fasting and it sounded like something that might fix me.

I signed up to fast with a naturopath in a small town outside of Cape Town (where I live). in January. I fasted on water and small amounts of lemon juice with raw honey for 17 days, quitting my antidepressant cold turkey, getting lots of rest. For 4 days I ate raw fruit and vegetables at the fasting clinic before going home. The doctor said that I should return to come fast again soon, because I still had a lot of toxins in my body. This whole experience was a big turning point for me and it taught me that I was in a large way in control of my health and my life. I did very well for the next 3 months, sleeping well, being physically active, and I was doing so well in fact that I thought it unnecessary to go fast again. I ate almost completely raw vegan this time as suggested in the book the 80/10/10 diet, where the diet consists almost exclusively of large amounts of fruit and leafy green vegetables. 2 and a half months after I finished my fast I had a really bad panic attack out of the blue, where it felt like I was tripping out on weed again. I phoned the naturopath and asked if I could come fast again because I was having panic attacks. His clinic was full but he said I could come in another month. I deteriorated very badly over the next week to the point where I was unable to sleep again and my life had turned into one permanent panic attack. I threatened to kill myself to the naturopath at which point he made an extra room for me to go fast.

Needless to say my second fast didn't go nearly as smoothly as the first. My anxiety was out of control and by the third day I completely broke down mentally and physically. I cried and cried and cried like I'd never cried before. I couldn't sleep. It felt like all the things I believed meant nothing and like there was no hope in the world. After an extremely bad panic attack (yet again feeling like I was completely tripping out on drugs) on the fourth day (After 3 nights of no sleep) I packed my bags and left and decided to go back onto the antidepressant drugs. They didn't work quite as well as before.

I started eating a lot of cooked meat, and changed my diet around completely. This worked quite well and I gained 12kg and went from 59kg to 71kg in 6 weeks on a weight training program. At this point I knew that meat was something very magical. I still had a lot of anxiety though and didn't feel "right". My dentist recommended I see a clinical metal toxicologist in May 2009. She did live blood analysis for me as well as DMSA mercury challenge tests (I had my mercury fillings out in April 2008) and hair tests. The mercury levels on each test were completely off the chart and she said she had never seen anyone detoxing so much mercury before. I went on her supplementing scheme (I went from taking 0 supplements to taking about 20 different supplements each day including 16g of the magical "cureall" vitamin c). Unfortunately lots of the things she recommended to me to take made me feel a lot worse. I had a few good months though, but messing with the body's biochemistry on so many different levels has it's own set of implications and problems.

She recommended that I "chelate" the mercury out of my body by taking 1500mg of DMSA a day for 3 days and then taking a 2 weeks break. I did this after we had done ozone colonics and special supplements to heal my gut that was "leaky" and had some other problems. On the second day of taking the DMSA my body completely broke down again with a very bad panic attack and all my extremities shaking uncontrollably as I was filled with adrenaline. I realised that what she was doing with me was very unsafe. This was a very difficult time for me as I didn't know what to believe anymore but knew I had to get the mercury out.

My antidepressant wasn't working so well anymore. I was having panic attacks every few days and had to start using tranquilisers again. I learnt a lot about mercury detox during this period using "safer" protocols with lower doses of chelation agents dosed on their half-life. My psychiatrist recommended I change antidepressant. I changed from paxil to Lexapro and starting taking a tranquiliser every morning and evening to "tide me over" while my body adjusted to the new drug. Things started getting bad despite being on a new antidepressant AND a tranquiliser every day. I was still feeling depressed and and having panic attacks and it felt like I was losing my memory.

I read the primal diet again in January 2010 and read all the testimonials and decided to try it again. I did it much better this time, drinking less milk and I was better able to handle the raw meat (since I had been eating lots more meat in general). Unfortunately I got very sick from eating some raw chicken (labeled as free range but defnitely grain fed). That completely put me off the raw meat. I found some interesting books like "The Mood Cure". I learnt a lot about the different supplements I was taking and how some of them were more than likely triggering anxiety attacks. I played around a lot with my supplement program, got blood tests done and saliva tests and did things like supplementing with DHEA and hydrocortisone, on the guidance of my new, cool doctors. I have a whole cupboard filled with different supplements. Some of them seem to help a bit but nothing has a dramatic effect and sometimes it feels like a supplement gives me a negative effect after a while (I'm guessing as the body adapts to the vitamin or nutrient "overdose"). I noticed after 3 months of taking DHEA that my hair was starting to thin and fall out (which I found out later online is quite common).

I also did some "chelation" during this period according to the Andy Cutler protocol. I think some of this was quite helpful in getting mercury out of my body and my brain, but everytime you do it (over a period of 3 days) it feels very difficult, particularly on the mind. It gives me quite bad brain fog and makes me question if I'm doing the right thing nearly everytime ... and so the cycle continues. I have a feeling it might be useful to keep doing this over the next few years. Most of the mercury toxic people on the Andy Cutler yahoo forums, have taken about 2-4 years to get completely better. They all seem to take a million supplements though and their bodies reject certain nutrients after a while. It's a helluva thing to continuously be figuring out what does and doesn't work in terms of isolate nutrients. It's anxiety provoking in it's own right! If things like clay and a natural diet can detox my organs and brain completely of heavy metals I would much rather do that.

I did manage to withdraw off my antidepressant and tranquiliser over a 4 month period using nutrients and supplements and learning to mentally deal with anxiety and panic attacks. I read the primal diet again and Geoff Purcell's posts on yahoo again as well as talking a lot to my friend who eats a fair amount of raw meat. I've been eating a lot of lightly seared meat for the last 2 weeks and seem to be feeling decent. Being on the anti anxiety drugs actually end up causing anxiety as your body gets tolerant to the effects it seems, so I feel more "alive" and less like a zombie now that I'm drug free. It feels like it's time to let my body heal on it's own, and who knows, maybe with this diet, some exercise and some good old sunlight I can be free of anxiety and panic attacks forever.

It is clear to me that I don't tolerate dairy, even raw very well at all. It aggravates my sinuses and gives me a runny nose nearly everytime (if I eat it a few days in a row). I ate raw steak (about 650g each day for 2 days) last week. It took me about 3 hours each day to eat it and is quite aggravating to my sensitive teeth and gums. I find ground meat a lot easier to chew, so I have borrowed my friend's grinder and will grind my own steak and meat for now until I get used to eating tougher meats. (and yes.. I swallowed a lot of it reasonably whole without chewing to smithorines)

My plan is to try a fairly simple diet for the next week or so while I phone organic farms and try and source some organs and suet etc. I want to eat about 400g berries with a little bit of honey, 200gram of other fruit and about 500-750gram of raw ground steak or lamb (made into steak tartare for now while I get used to the taste) and 50grams of raw lamb kidney (which I find absolutely disghusting but is the only free range organ I can get hold of at this point). this is just under 100grams of carbohydrates per day, which is a lot less than I've been eating for the past few years. After a week or a month I can adjust the fruit consumption down if need be. I have hardly eaten any fish since 2008 because of the whole mercury scare thing. I don't think I will be eating any fish anytime soon until I feel comfortable on this diet and know that I'm on the right path. For now I just want to eat fatty land animals while I get used to the idea. I also want to eat maybe 1 coconut per week and a tiny amount of almonds and vegetables per week for variety's sake. It's quite scary going from eating tons of vegetables every day to eating hardly any. I am afraid I won't get enough antioxidants as nearly every website on the internet says how amazing it is to eat vegetables. Haha, I have a feeling they are wrong though. I didn't take many supplements this week, and will see how I do without them.. except maybe some vitamin D.

I'll try post daily on my journal about what I'm eating each day and how I'm feeling physically and mentally while making the transition.

I just realized this turned into more of an essay than a summary... oh well. :P I wish everyone well on their own journey.

Offline Paleo Donk

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Re: My health journey thus far
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 07:45:12 am »
Wow, incredible journey. That's horrifying that a doctor decided to do the DMPS challenge test, and especially so when you still had your fillings in. You write very well and your diet looks good. Definitely keep the journal and very best wishes to good health.

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: My health journey thus far
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010, 08:30:55 am »
Wow.

Buy your meat whole.
Grind meat yourself at point of eating... it's a cleanliness thing.
I personally don't like ground meat, I cut it in cubes, sashimi style.

Try high meat.  Try small amounts at first.

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Offline djr_81

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Re: My health journey thus far
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2010, 09:00:11 am »
Welcome to the forum. :)

It sounds like you've been through a lot but I think you'll find one of the flavors of RPD will help your healing.
How is the availability of quality grass-finished fat where you are? Raw grass-finished meat is a great addition to the diet but the quality raw fat is what performs the biggest miracles IMO.
Good luck. Make sure you keep us updated on how things are going.
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Offline wodgina

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Re: My health journey thus far
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2010, 09:31:31 am »
Pot can really bring on some serious panic attacks...the first and last time I smoked I was 16 and totally freaked out thought I wasn't real, didn't feel real! for the next few months I kept freaking out at stupid stuff. Like I had the feeling the world was spinning off it's axis!

Similiar story to mine minus metals detox, I think high meat bacteria can detox metals anyway.


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Offline djr_81

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Re: My health journey thus far
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2010, 10:20:51 am »
Pot can really bring on some serious panic attacks...the first and last time I smoked I was 16 and totally freaked out thought I wasn't real, didn't feel real! for the next few months I kept freaking out at stupid stuff. Like I had the feeling the world was spinning off it's axis!
I've smoked it twice myself and had horrible panic attacks both times. If I could keep detached from the anxiety of losing control over my body the experiences I went through would definitely be "vision quest"-esque but as soon as I realized I had no control the fear began mounting and it's all downhill from there.
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Offline TylerDurden

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Re: My health journey thus far
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2010, 05:06:04 pm »
Oh, missed this one as I was abroad. Welcome to the forum!
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