Stephanie’s Journey

I grew up in your typical Standard American Diet (SAD) home eating some of the best American comfort food and spending my allowance on junk food and sugar. It was tough to get me to eat veggies and I rarely enjoyed fruit. Even though my mother tried to limit my intake, soda was a daily beverage. I was never very active but wasn’t exactly lazy either.

In June 2003 at 23 years old, I was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, a rare Autoimmunity disease. I struggled with reaching my feet and lifting my hands above my head. My menstrual cycle was so irregular I at one point went 70 days between cycles. At 5’7″, I was 175 pounds, a SAD eater, aBefore and After 2006nd struggling to find the strength to be an active person. I enjoyed dance, hiking, and the occasional yoga class but I was far from routine and needed a lifestyle change. So I quit my corporate job, moved back home with mom, and took my savings to see a Naturopathic Doctor. He put me on several herbal concoctions and a high protein, low carb diet. I avoided all things packaged and processed and completely stopped ALL sugar intake, including fruit. I was overridden with Candida from the inside out. I began losing weight quickly. I maintained this system steady for 3 months until I couldn’t afford it anymore. I had rid my body of all yeast overgrowth, walked around 20 pounds lighter, and started hiking and doing yoga regularly.

That Christmas I was in a horseback riding accident and broke my back in 4 places. I was bed ridden for several months wearing a lovely designer body brace (insert laugh here) and unable to continue my new found physical independence. During my recovery, I began reaching for comfort foods again. Due to the lack of physical movement and the foods I began eating, I gained 25 pounds and battled with the disease and Candida once more.

After a little more than a year of limited mobility, I started to incorporate walking and yoga into my lifestyle again. I ate rich German food and comforts of home for the first year until I started attending Australasian College of Health Science in the Holistic Medicine program. My first class was a Certificate in Nutrition, Bodycare, and Herbalism. Then in January 2006, I did a 30 day juice fast (click here to read more on my fast) and became vegetarian thereafter. During my fast, I lost more than 25 pounds and achieved a sense of empowerment over eating. Yoga was a daily routine and food was a part of nutrition rather than comfort. I have made juice fasting a yearly January event.

Life was coming into balance at this point. I no longer suffered from back pain and inflammation was in better control; I finished my college studies and started the Bare Necessities Cafe. The more I learned about our intrinsic abilities to heal, the more I researched the power of nutrition. It was in June of that year, I discovered The Garden Diet and Pear Magazine. I ordered The Garden Diet books and became 100% raw immediately. It took the first part of life to develop disease and I believe it will take years before I’m completely disease free; however, I firmly attribute my excellent health to eating a Raw and Living diet.

I now have regular menstrual cycles of 29 days; I weigh 141 pounds; I have taken up running; I suffer ZERO inflammation; my hair is growing back; my circulation has improved so much I think I have already beaten Reynaud’s Syndrome, a side affect symptom to Dermatomyositis; my complexion seems more balanced; and above all, I feel EMPOWERED. I suffer NONE of the normal muscle weakness associated with the disease but I do have the common Heliotrope rash on my face and Gottron’s Papules on my hands. Recently, I saw one thumb completely restore to normality! Even though I still suffer from symptoms of disease, I know by giving my body everything it needs to restore, rejuvenate, and repair my cells, I will in time be symptom free and living proof that nutrition is the best medicine.

Being 100% raw isn’t always easy. I still crave certain foods and I often fall into a routine lacking variety. This doesn’t help the SAD food cravings but I get stronger everyday! Fruit/Veggie Smoothie or juice for breakfast, salad with mixed veggies for lunch and often the same for dinner. Nuts or fruits are my snacks.  I recently received a dehydrator for my birthday and I can’t believe what tasty opportunities that opened up. I have made fantastic desserts, the occasional bread, and wonderful fruit roll ups!

I now offer Holistic Health and Nutrition Consultations through the Bare Necessities Cafe while working in our local Health Foods store.

here for your well-being,

Stephanie Austin 

%d bloggers like this: