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60 Pounds Lighter and Rawsome

  • Profile photo of Stephanie Austin Jun 14, 2012

    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 2002 at 22 years old, I was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, a rare Autoimmune disease. I struggled with reaching my feet and lifting my hands above my head due to severe connective tissue inflammation. 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 and 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 moved to Germany and 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 the American College of Healthcare 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 and became vegetarian until June that year when I became Raw and Vegan. 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 since made juice fasting a yearly routine.

    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 Wellness by Mother Nature online. 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 could take years before I’m completely disease free; however, I firmly attribute my excellent health to eating a Raw and Living foods diet.

    I now have regular menstrual cycles; I maintain my weight in the 140′s; 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. Even though I still show symptoms of disease, I no longer suffer. 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.

    I don’t eat 100% as when I initially started out, but I do maintain an average of 75% raw plus healthy plant based additions. In using nutrition, holistic medicine and being conscious of available alternatives, I live a vibrant and healthful life.


  1. Profile photo of Brian Claypool

    WOW. What a powerful healing testimonial.

  2. Profile photo of Sanjiv
    Sanjiv says:

    It’s all about RE-GENERATING those dead cells in our body and creating fresh vibrant cells in the body that can FIGHT the toxins. My Yoga teacher always reminds us about the healthy habits and the KEY mantra is eat & dring in MODERATION – that way once can enjoy the fine cuisines of this phenomenal eco system that we live in. Also, another way to keep a calm & healthy mind/body is simple DEEP BREATHING exercises.

    I really enjoyed reading your experience Stephanie! One habit I gradually developed – especially when going out to restaurants to eat is to keep 50% of the food aside and have it packed at the end. This has helped me to learn to avoid those natural cravings :-). Enjoy and have fun on WellTree!

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