Edited by Stephie Hennekam
Meet Ella* …
… who, as a life-long foodie, thought she was eating good food. She avoided processed foods and packages, made elaborate meals from scratch, and loved to cook, smothering things in butter, marinating in oils, stirring up rich gravies and sauces, adding salt and rich spices to everything. Even putting a pinch of extra sugar in her guacamole. You’d find her in the kitchen, a glass of wine in one hand, creating a rich, fattening, addictive meal with the other. There she was, 36years old, a mom of two, and cooking her way to ill health.
Hi Ella, can you paint a picture of your health before you met Nicolette?
I experienced a long period of post-partum depression with my youngest son, was overweight by 50lbs, had sluggish digestion, TMJ pain, a permanently aching lower back, heavy painful periods, tired easily, and just didn’t have the energy I used to. I was terrified when doctors discovered pre-cancerous cervical cells, and a few weeks later, tipping point came with a series of gallbladder attacks, leaving me connected to a morphine drip for pain in the ER, and with a referral for surgery to remove my gallbladder.
But I was too young and have too much to do to be this sick, and I didn’t want to lose any organs! Something had to change, and quick. I was so lucky to have Nicolette as a friend in my life - I knew she promoted healthy, organic eating and was passionate about good health. It was time to tune in. Just before starting the therapy. I felt relieved and hopeful: relieved that I was doing something pro-active about my health at last, and hopeful about where it might take me.
When did you learn the Eat Real to Heal Therapy?
I attended Nicolette’s “Eat Real to Heal” retreat in the spring of 2018, and finally, truly, understood what healthy eating really looks like. I committed to trying it out for the next five weeks – not too daunting a timeframe, right?
I was daunted by the initial setting up, but with Nicolette’s detailed information and plans, and the support of my partner, I committed to trying the therapy: I bought a juicer and my partner built me a shelf to keep it on in our tiny kitchen. I ordered the supplements and repurposed my beloved 9" cake pans to store them in (waste not, want not!). I took the plunge and invested in a stainless steel water filter for the household, adding a filter for the shower as well. One of the hardest steps to take in preparing was clearing the old, unhealthy foodstuff from the pantry, but without doing that I would not have been successful, and I wanted to give myself the best start possible on the therapy. The entire house switched to only organic food, and we made friends with a lot of local farmers over the summer.
How did your body react? What was the first change you noticed?
My body reacted more quickly than I could have imagined. Within two days, my taste buds revived – I could taste the delicious flavours of organic produce without needing to add salt. I ate as much as I wanted, using the great recipes in the book to satisfy my need to potter about in the kitchen, and without increasing exercise, the excess weight began to fall off. I wasn’t doing it for weight loss, but dropping four dress sizes in a month sure was a great motivator to keep going! My periods normalized, the pain in my back simply disappeared, my skin cleared, and my energy levels went through the roof!
Nicolette talks about healing reactions during the retreat, and after three months, I experienced a strange metallic taste in my mouth for 48hours solid, and nothing I tried could shift it. Then it simply disappeared. I believe it was part of a healing reaction.
How did the therapy impact your life?
I'm almost six months into the therapy, and have found a sustainable way to fit it into my life, so it is just a natural part of my lifestyle. At first, the time requirements to sort supplements, shop for ingredients, make juices, prepare coffee and cook nutritious meals seemed like a big challenge for a busy working mom. But as I got into the routine, Nicolette’s time saving tips helped me organize a system that worked for me and my family, and we actually spend more time together. My kids love helping with shopping and cooking, and take turns to fill the water filter. My 3-year old is a pro coffee grinder, counting and pouring the beans, and is fascinated by the juicer every time. He like to play 'doctor' and give me my vitamins, and the whole process has opened up great conversations about healthy eating.
The initial weight loss stayed off, and six months later I have had to find almost all-new clothes to fit. My energy levels are still amazing, and I find myself able to run and move more confidently, play with my kids more, and approach new projects at work with enthusiasm instead of weariness. I felt transformed. I haven’t had a gallbladder attack since I began living this way. Most excitingly, with the advice of my doctor, I was able to cancel my autumn appointment for gallbladder surgery!
One of the most amazing stories belongs to my partner - he isn't exactly doing the therapy - no coffee, no supplements and minimal juices, really only when I make him a little extra. But as we cook as a family his diet has improved along with mine; organic food only, no added salt, mostly plant-based food. Turns out his new diet improved his health to the point of him no longer needing to take tablets for his chronic high blood pressure - tablets he has been taking since I met him 18 years ago. Boy, his doctor's were surprised at the positive change!
Ella is still a lifelong foodie, only now, what's on the menu is equally delicious, fresh, colourful and even more nutritious. Experimenting in the kitchen is still her happy place, and knowing what she is cooking does her health and mind good. For the first time in years, she feels as healthy inside as out, and she is determined to keep it that way. Ella decided to continue with the therapy for a year, and see where else it can take her - and by that time, who knows? She might be a lifelong convert.
*Ella is an alias name to ensure our clients’ privacy.
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