My name is Andrea, some of you may know me as @earthyandy on Instagram. I have three rambunctious little boys and an incredible husband. We live on the North Shore of Oahu. I moved here as a teenager from the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada. My heart always belonged in the tropics! Soon after I moved here I met Shem and we fell in love. We actually never went on one date, he hadn’t even spent a dollar on me (in fact I don’t think he had $1 dollar to his name!). Long story short he proposed after a week and almost 10 years later we have two little blonde babes living a simple, yet beautiful life with the beach as our playground. This year, due to solving my health conditions once and for all, life as taken an additional upgrade. Below is the full story of where I came from and how I got there. I hope it is of help to anyone who is looking for it.
Personal Health Journey in detail in case it’s of any help…
I have never experienced this current state of being in control of my health before even though I have been desperately trying for the last 16 years. Health has always been a struggle for me, even though my efforts were in place. Thousands of dollars have been spent on specialists and doctors, medications, and yet never have I achieved much of anything other than a short fix. The cycle of my problems always came back or did not leave at all. This included a long list of chronic stomach pains and digestive issues, celiac disease, fatigue, asthma, allergies, brain fog, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles, candida overgrowth, hypothyroidism, and skin problems. I would wake up and go to bed with stomach aches. I stopped eating as much as possible during the day because I couldn’t work with the stomach issues I was experiencing every day. It was becoming impossible to function as a normal person. I would eat at night for the most part, thinking, at least I can be home with a stomach ache. I did my best to put on a happy face, I exercised every day, I am a hands on mother and wife, but inside I was struggling and counting down the hours of the day. It was no way to live. Not if you don’t have to. I love my kids and my husband, and I feel very blessed to have them happy and healthy. I need to give them the best mom and wife possible. I needed to change, not only for myself, but for them.
This year would be dedicated to health, to becoming an expert on my own conditions.
In January 2016 I began researching doctors and seeing specialists. These are examples of the responses I got from these doctors, “Oh yes, there is something your liver is producing that is a little high. I am sure it will pass, or we can put you on some medication”, “Oh you have had a period for 6 months straight, here are some hormones”, “You have stomach pains, here is something for that”… “You are sick? You look fine, I’m sure you are fine, but don’t worry we will send you the bill!”
It was not until I saw a homeopathic doctor, whom I did a ton of research on that I got some answers. She said when I walked in, “What could I possibly help you with, you look great”. I began to tell her why I was there to see her, and she said, “Well I’m sure it’s not all that bad.” She began to run the tests and then basically looked at me and said, “You are right you are a complete mess.” She was shocked at how poor my body was functioning. I saw her for four months straight almost weekly and took a host of Chinese remedies, and homeopathic supplements religiously. My health progressed and then would loop back around. But there seemed to be a pattern two steps forward one step back. Why was I having these setbacks when I was following her advice to the T? Four months in I could eat in the day and just have a stomach ache, but no longer chronic digestive issues. I was eating a ton of vegetables (still too scared of fruit) and animal protein like turkey and fish and eggs. I had cut out all my bad habits, like diet coke and candy bars, for three months now. Yet I was still holding on to 15 pounds that I had gained from, who knows where, and did not feel good. I didn’t feel horrible anymore, but I just did not really feel good eOne night after coming home from my umpteenth doctors appointment, I was lying on my couch in tears, feeling defeated. I told myself; this is just something I will have to live with. As I was sitting there, my sister in law texted me and said, “So what are you going to do for the next month now that Ira’s (my baby) arm was broken. My sister in law said, “You should start your old recipe blog up again!” I thought that might be an idea, but the idea of eating baked goods and little activity was a recipe for disaster. I thought about it for a few moments and for whatever reason the idea of giving the raw till 4 lifestyle a shot popped into my mind and piqued my interest.
I had been watching youtube videos for the past months thinking raw till 4 was crazy. After seeing so many testimonials I began to understand the idea that fruits and vegetables are whole foods and were put here on earth for us to eat and it triggered in me, “Maybe I should give this a try”. So sitting there, it was about midnight at this point, I decided I would give 30 days of eating raw till 4 a chance. I told myself it didn’t matter what the outcome is; I was going to give it a go for 30 days with full effort. I decided I would keep my decision to go vegan quiet with my friends and family. I opened a separate Instagram account to journal my days of eating and how I felt. I followed accounts for recipe ideas and to stay motivated without any room for judgment, haha. My family owns four restaurants predominately known for burgers. I wasn’t sure how going vegan would go over haha! So I kept it to myself, my husband didn’t find out I had made this decision for two weeks ( so aware right ;))! One morning he picked up my phone and said… “@earthyandy… what is this???” I laughed and said “don’t worry about it.”
That night we went on a date and he ordered me a plate of calamari while I was away from the table (a dish I previously loved and it was gluten free at this restaurant- he was being thoughtful) I laughed and said I’m so sorry I’m going to order something else if you don’t mind. He asked why, and I decided it was time to explain. He was shocked, figured there is no way I could stick to it even past this dinner. He said, “You’re telling me that you are not going to have one piece of the calamari? I’ll believe it when I see it.” I laughed and guess what, I made it through that dinner and now it’s been almost four months that I have continued this lifestyle! My entire family knows now, and they think it’s awesome including my husband! They have seen the positive changes that are taking place and are all for it!
In fact, many of them have adopted healthier lifestyles and are making some major changes in their own lives! Even my father in law, the owner of the burger restaurants, has eaten plant-based for over a month now! This is one thing I know, everyone wants health. There is not a single person in this world that would say, “You know what, health isn’t for me.” Another thing I have realized is that everyone of us has our own unique lives, including health situations. Many of us are looking for a change, trying to change but are just not quite sure how to get where they want to go. I have tried everything and eating a plant-based diet is what worked for me. I am no longer on medication except for a low dose of thyroid medication that my doctor said I may be able to wean off eventually!
I feel amazing! I was aiming to feel good, and I got great! All from following a high carb low fat vegan plant-based lifestyle – raw till 4 style! I love to eat now! Instead of food making me sick I can literally feel energy entering my blood stream. My mind is clear, I feel stable instead of on a roller coaster emotionally and energy wise. I feel leaner, stronger and more agile than I ever did on a animal protein diet. This really shocked me because I used to think vegans were, for lack of a better term, ‘clueless’ and that you needed animal protein for health. In fact I thought it was one of the biggest components of achieving health, but for me this was not the case, quite the contrary.
The best thing I ever did for myself was to take the advice, that I should take my health into my own hands and “become an expert on you”.
I have retaught myself how to eat and how to grocery shop and have changed my entire quality of life, starting with what I let enter my mouth. It’s truly amazing the changes that have taken place from living a high carb low fat vegan lifestyle. I wish health and happiness upon every one of you. If I am but a mere help in any way of helping you find your health, I am completely honored. I know what it’s like to be lost and frustrated and to even believe this poor quality of life is what you are supposed to feel like. When you start feeling the vibrancy that is available to you, you will wish that you had felt this way your entire life. Nothing is better than feeling great. Everything is better! Even food tastes better! It’s a complete win!
I hope that this website can be used as an informative tool to help anyone out there that is looking to make some health changes. This is not a quick fix; it is far from a diet. It is an all-encompassing lifestyle that can potentially and completely change your quality of life. It worked for me, and it may work for you too!