I've experienced pretty much every deficiency that a raw vegan can get and my medicine pack is loaded with daily supplements. By correcting deficiencies, I've seen improvements over time. But it seems like I just keep getting new deficiencies. Why is this happening?
My latest speculations are that living in a moldy apartment was destroying my health over time. I've learned that moldy environments can cause all sorts of unexplained health problems.
Though it was only five months ago that we discovered the mold, I now believe it could have been present for years. Working online from home, I spent most of my life in that apartment.
Reflecting back, I remember that long before we suspected mold, our drawers and clothes were getting a strange smell, as if things were "breaking down" rather quickly. We attributed it to the increased humidity of living in Florida, as we had not experienced this in the Midwest.
And the amount of deficiencies I've had is not a common experience for raw foodists. I've always wondered why I had so many when others never got deficient in anything, despite our common lifestyle and health practices.
All this has come into consideration because of my recent health crash. I'd gotten the usual hypersensitivity (multiple chemical sensitivity) upon leaving the moldy environment, along with relief from the immediate symptoms of being around mold.
Once I found a safe environment (away from chemicals and molds) to live in, I began feeling better and better. I saw improvements in energy, skin, and eyes.
But then, things began to go downhill. I thought I was just getting tired from my increased activity level. Until the crash.
I experienced symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency (EFA). I knew them because I've dealt with it before. Here is a video about that.
When I added chia back into my diet, the EFA deficiency symptoms improved. But after that crash, I did not regain my strength or energy. I was constantly weak, too weak to do things on my own, requiring major help from my hubby.
I also felt like eating my hemp protein powder (which I had been taking for amino acid deficiency) totally wiped me out. My tummy felt sick for hours, and I became too weak to type or carry on conversation. I felt this also after eating raw walnuts. I also experienced muscle spasms.
At first, I thought maybe it was some kind of mineral deficiency, or that maybe it was due to mold on the walnuts. I sought out advice on mold groups and from health mentors. I started getting lots of testing done and reading, reading, reading online, in search of answers.
My next big scare was (warning: graphic description coming) a horrible case of constipation. I've been constipated before, but this was like 1,000x worse than that. I thought I was dying. I couldn't breathe, felt like I was going to pass out, in so much pain, felt like my body was trying to have a baby.
My hubby said he'd had the same experience in the moldy environment, and it lasted for days. NO!!! I drank probiotics and coconut water and after a couple of hours, I was able to "have my baby".
What that "baby" felt like was a huge ball of undigested food. In light of my other experiences with walnuts and protein powder, I wondered if perhaps my body was not digesting protein for some reason. I could eat oranges and juicy fruits just fine; they made me feel good.
This hypothesis was also considering that when my amino acid deficiency was uncovered (through trial and error), I needed two scoops of hemp protein powder per day in order to not "tremble" and feel incredibly weak. The protein powder made those symptoms go away (it even helped me to make amazing strength and muscular gains), but they returned when I skipped the protein powder.
Over time, I had increased my amount to 3 and sometimes 4 scoops per day (a scoop = 3 tablespoons). I did this because it seemed I needed increasing amounts of protein powder to keep away the "tremblies". Something was not right about this.
Could it be that my body was simply not digesting the protein? Taking larger amounts of protein to make the EAA deficiency symptoms go away was burdening my body even more, trying to digest all that protein. It was wreaking havoc on my blood sugars, that's for sure.
Though I can't explain the specifics, I learned from others that mold could definitely be causing my issues. Here are some reasons:
1) Mold attacks the gut.
2) Mold byproducts interfere with protein synthesis.
3) Mold inhibits gastric acid production.
In order to address the first problem, I've started taking 2 containers of Goodbelly probiotic every morning on an empty stomach. This has made my tummy feel much happier.
I've learned that having good gut bacteria is very important for fighting off mold. When yeast, fungi, mold, and bad bacteria overwhelm the good bacteria, bad things can happen. Using a probiotic helps to increase the "good guys" and help the immune system to function better.
In order to address the second problem, I've begun "attacking" the mold. I had been using Chelex and chlorella to help bind the toxic mold byproducts and escort them out of my system. However, I was doing nothing about the mold itself.
I began yesterday to use two nasal inhalers: one with colloidal silver, and one with diluted food-grade hydrogen peroxide. These are aimed at killing off the mold that resides in the warm, wet, dark areas of the sinus cavities. I have noticed a few effects, but would like to observe longer before making any comments about it.
To address the third problem, I've looked into stomach acid and stomach acid testing. Apparently, what many of us have come to know as "too much acid" in the stomach is actually not ENOUGH acid. This can cause many digestive issues, including belching, bloating, passing gas, feeling full all the time, slow digestive emptying, acid reflux, leaky gut (leading to food allergies), etc. I've had many of these symptoms for close to a year now.
As far as testing goes...the "best" test (Heidelberg) is 700 dollars, not covered by insurance. At this point, I'm not ready to pay out for that test. Instead, I tried an experiment at home.
I woke up in the early morning hours with a stomach in pain. I had two probiotics, which eased the pain enough that I could go back to sleep. Upon awakening, though, my stomach still hurt. I took a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar followed by a couple swigs of water and waited to see what happened.
After some small burps, strange weakness, and very short headache (a few seconds), my stomach started to feel better. In fact, it felt very nice. It was an unfamiliar feeling.
My next experiment was, an hour or two later, mixing 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon Udo's Omega oil (I've been using this to help with EFAs during this time of poor digestion). I used this as a "dip" for 3/4 head of romaine lettuce.
I've normally been taking digestive enzymes with each meal but decided to skip it on this meal to test. The result? My tummy felt very happy, while eating, and afterward.
What does this mean? Well, in light of all I've read about symptoms of low stomach acid and how they square with my experience, I'm thinking this has been a major problem for me.
Not only does low stomach acid impair protein digestion, it also impairs nutrient absorption. Zinc, my latest deficiency, is a mineral I've not been able to raise to normal levels with supplementation. Interestingly, zinc needs enough stomach acid to be absorbed.
Iodine is also needed for stomach acid production. I've been supplementing with iodine for over a year now. However, I didn't know that stomach acid is also needed for iodine absorption/use!
So my hypersensitivity, which could be due to low levels of zinc, could possibly go away if my stomach has the acid to absorb the zinc (from me supplementing, for now).
My fibrocystic breast disease (possibly cancer) could possibly go away faster, instead of getting worse, if the iodine I am taking were better utilized
My constipation and UTI, mostly likely caused by gut issues (many health problems are due to gut issues), could possibly be resolved/improved.
My incapacitating weakness, which I think is caused by amino acid deficiency (probably among other things), could be resolved if my body could digest amino acids (like my hemp protein powder and nuts and seeds). That is my biggest concern at the moment.
I've got a lot more blood, urine, and saliva testing to do in the upcoming weeks. I am excited to see the results, especially of the nutrition testing (NutrEval from Genova Diagnostics). I want to see if indeed I am amino acid deficient. I'd also like to see if there are any other glaring issues in my test results.
It seems that eating a fruit-based diet has been a great help to me for a long time. Although I've gotten these deficiencies, I've been able to supplement in a way to at least function fairly well for a while. And if my body has had digestive issues, eating mainly simple fruits and easy-to-digest "veggies" (which I had been doing for energy reasons) has definitely been a good move.
All in all, I am very uplifted by this latest discovery.
My plan is to continue the digestive enzymes with meals, add in apple cider vinegar as well (haven't decided how I'll do that yet), continue with probiotics, continue to fight the mold and help my body clear out the toxins, and do a little bit of experimenting with amino acids & protein.
I'm praying for great results!!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it can give you some food for thought as well.