I am passionate about life and health of the body, mind, spirit, and planet.
I guide people on healthy eating and living, but most importantly I empower people to find what’s right for them by seeking those answers from within.
After living most of my life being sick (read my health journey below) I met a man, now my husband, who inspired me to change and rethink everything about my life. I was on the path to health, and a few years ago I made a great friend, Maureen Whitehouse (http://www.experienceaxiom.com), who inspired me to again rethink everything I ever thought and wished, she connected me to truth! Most recently I made some more amazing changes and finally got out of pain, by following the advice of Dr. John McDougall.
The past 16 plus years have been an amazing adventure and I am sharing my knowledge and information with you via this blog, my videos, classes, workshops and private consultations.
I hope you In-Joy!
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- twitter: http://twitter.com/InJoyIn
- podcast: http://www.podomatic.com/profile/lorilib
- email: email@example.com
- location: Jupiter, Florida
My journey, the short version
From early childhood to mid 20’s I had medical issues—all resolved by age 24 or earlier with a vegan diet, and discontinuing the use of medicine.
- Lungs collapsed at birth
- loss of peripheral vision
- enlarged tonsils, removed at age 20
- Cigarette smoker for 10 years
- loss of pigmentation in skin
- a few weeks of continuous menstrual bleeding – happened twice
- vitamin levels would not show up on blood tests
- Long term monthly use of antibiotics
- B-12 shots put me into very long sleeps
- slight scoliosis
- suicidal thoughts
- numerous car accidents, as a passenger
- stomach ulcers
- lactose intolerance
- monthly ear/nose/throat infections
- Urinary tract infections
- S**ually assaulted and was almost gang raped, thankfully my friend found me right in time
- salmonella poisoning
- was in a short term abusive relationship, physically, emotionally and s**ually
- urinary tract infections
- yeast infections
- I would get a severe rash if in the sun too long
Issues that started in childhood but continued/reduced after changing to a vegan diet at age 24
- mouth sores
- varicose veins
- hemorrhoids, internal and external
- blood in bowels, typically from eating seeds or chocolate
- fibroid/cyst on ovaries, painful when ovulating on left side
- heavy painful menstrual cycles
- tick bite
- very stressful family life
- MTFHR gene mutation
- food addiction
- limited activity
- knee pain
- tiny bumps on my arms, sometimes itchy
- severe itchy scalp, constantly scratch until bleeding
- cold hands and feet, often the nails turned purple
- don’t sweat very much
- tmj, grinding, misaligned teeth
- sensitivity to light, smells, energy
Issues that started in childhood, stopped or reduced after becoming vegan at age 24 and returned or got worse, after a wisdom tooth surgery at age 37
- need to nap to get through the day
- seeing spots and stars
- severe migraines
- intense muscle spasms, typically on my entire left side
- food allergies
- memory issues
- rotated pelvis
- dislocated shoulder blade
- lightheaded and blackout vision that restored quickly
New health issues started after a wisdom tooth removal surgery at age 37:
- burning tongue
- corn allergy
- A heavy metal test showed some elevated levels
- nerve damage
- shooting pain in gums
- numb tongue
- tingling in my legs during menstrual cycle that can only be resolved by taking magnesium
- very irritable, decreased patience, anger
- memory issues
After switching to a whole food plant based, no oil, no salt and no sugar diet all of my issues have resolved. Now I feel some of these issues when something in my life isn’t right. Diet is usually the number one issue, however I still need proper rest, sunshine, clean air, clean water, peaceful environment and physical activity.
My journey, The long story
When I was born my lungs collapsed. I was in the NICU for the first few weeks of my life. That started my life of sickness and medications.
Throughout my childhood I had monthly ear/nose/throat infections. I left school early most days in junior high because I was tired and just didn’t feel good, I wasn’t allowed to nap at the nurses office so they sent me home. In my early teens I lost a lot of blood from an extremely heavy menstrual cycle that went for 18 days, then stopped for 5, then started again for 15. The Dr’s. tried a few different birth control pills until one made it stop. After that every month my cycle was at least 7 days and very heavy for most of it. I lost the pigmentation in my skin, my Mediterranean olive skin became ghostly white. My vitamin levels wouldn’t show on blood tests and I often got asked how I was even walking around. 3 times I got vitamin b12 shots, and all 3 times I had a severe reaction. Within a few minutes I would have to go to sleep. And I would sleep a very very long time, 15 hours, 20 hours then 24 hours. Thankfully I got them on fridays and my mom was big on sleep and napping and just let me sleep. I recently found out why this shot, that is said to give lots of energy, put me to sleep—most of the b-12 given by Doctors and is in enriched foods is cyanide. I have a gene mutation called MTFHR so the only safe b-12 for me is the methyl form. I started getting severe migraines several times a week. From elementary school age (I think about 10) I started going to a chiropractor regularly (at one period of time I went 5 days a week), for slight scoliosis and several car accidents. I hurt my back in martial arts when an instructor stepped on it while I was doing a push up. The menstrual non-stop bleeding happened again 7 years later until they found another birth control pill that worked, that time it was about 3 weeks. I developed fibroidal cysts, so whenever I would ovulate on my left side it would be very painful. I had to sleep every moment I could during menstruation.
I remember being 14 and a going to a new chiropractor. It was the summer I started smoking cigarettes. The chiropractor told me that if I didn’t make some serious life changes I would be paralyzed, disabled or dead by the time I was 21. His only answer was supplements and exercise. He warned me not to dive into a swimming pool because one wrong movement would instantly paralyze me. I was not happy with life and had lots of suicidal thoughts at the time, so that very day I went to a pool and dove in as many times as I could, even off a trampoline, to try to paralyze and drown myself. Obviously it didn’t work. This was the same summer I got attacked by mosquitoes. I had hundreds of bites on my legs. I wouldn’t leave my house until it healed, so I had plenty of time to count them, it was over 100 on each leg, I don’t remember how many exactly though.
At 20yrs I had my tonsils removed. The surgeon told me in his many years of practice he had never seen ones so big. He had to show them to me. Sure enough, a little bigger than golf balls. This made my monthly ENT infections go from monthly to every 3 months. An ENT infection often happened when cold wind blew in my ear.
At 21 years old I got salmonella poisoning from one of my (then) favorite dishes, Chinese sesame chicken. Even in all the pain I had experienced that was probably the worst week of my life. I never knew someone could vomit so much and for so long. My mother made chicken almost daily. No problem though, I just started eating more cereal, eggs and cheese. Around this same time I started having vision issues. I often would lose my peripheral vision and see spots. It was common for me to see stars whenever I stood up.
Another big problem I had was pain. Everywhere! If someone touched me in the wrong place I would scream in pain. You could imagine what going to a chiropractor was like—torture! They would have to warm me up with hot packs for a long time before I let them touch me. I don’t know when this problem started, but it was a daily occurrence for as long as I can remember. I learned later on from a few Drs that this was fibromyalgia. They told me this, but didn’t think it was necessary to test me, because it wasn’t needed, it was too obvious. The answer they gave was steroids and more antibiotics. They said it would never heal and that it would cripple me quickly. They talked about other autoimmune diseases I “probably” would get. They never gave hope, only meds and a grim future. My family doesn’t know much of this. I didn’t think it was any bigger of a deal than any of the other issues I had so I just went on with life, one painful day after another. It was my normal.
Physical activity was limited for most of my life. Due to the slight scoliosis and car accidents, I was medically excused from participating in gym class for much of my 4-12 grade schooling. When I did have to participate, I hated it and often got hurt. I didn’t have the strength to do what everyone else was doing. I was always afraid of getting more hurt. I learned to tolerate the pain I was already in, I didn’t want any more. I enjoyed riding my bike, martial arts (for the short time I did it), walking, dancing and swimming, that was about it. I’ve had a pot belly since I was very young because I never developed those core muscles and from the monthly antibiotics wiping out my gut flora.
Chronic constipation was the norm for me and my family. We would have discussions around the table about our bowel movements. Laxative became them norm. When someone had a bowel movement we all knew about it because it was something to celebrate. I started getting varicose veins in my legs, which I recently learned are caused by constipation, thank you Dr. Mcdougall!
In my early teens and then again in my early 20s I had braces on my teeth. Its only been recently that I stopped tasting metal on my back teeth. Dentists wanted me to have surgery to break my jaw and realign it, because I have TMJ, severe grinding, lockjaw, and my teeth don’t line up.
After college at age 24, I started working as a aeronautical engineer, designing helicopters for Sikorsky. I was on 15 prescription medications, as well numerous over the counter drugs. I ate advil/mydol/tylenol like candy. Every morning I would have to take a muscle relaxer and several other meds just to get out of bed and make the muscle spasms stop. I went to the chiropractor every night after work. I did my best to stay active by walking, dancing, a short stint back at martial arts, and even tried running-huge fail! I used every sick day and then some. I got bit by a tick and had a big circular bulls-eye mark but couldn’t find the tick, the nurse at my job said it looks like a tick bite but since there was no tick to be found it was probably just a reaction to a mosquito bite, which swell on me. I often worked overtime to make up for the missed time. My personal and family life was a mess, and full of drama. I still got ENT infections and would just call my doctors office for a prescription – again! I had to have my vitamin levels checked every 3 months, still dangerously low and most of the time didn’t even register on the test results. No amount of red meat or supplements changed my levels. I still needed to nap every day. I hated handling meat, and remember forcing myself to make it, with gloves and scrubbing everything. I was the type of person who took one bite of a burger, threw out the meat and ate the bun. I would hide turkey in my mashed potatoes on thanksgiving. I would stop eating if I found a vein or small bone in my food. Yes I ate what everyone else did, but I didn’t have a choice, so I thought and just made the best of it.
In 2001 at age 25 I asked G-d for this insanity to stop. The summer 2001 I met my soul-mate, now husband Chris, and my life was about to change drastically.
Chris was a vegetarian when we met. It made sense to me, so I quickly became one too and gave up smoking cigarettes. One month in, my lactose intolerance brought us both to becoming vegan, which at the time we didn’t even know about—we only knew we had to get rid of all animal products and chemicals in our lives. We did lots of research, I love research. We bought lots of vegan books, including one from Dr. John McDougall. One night with Chris helping me, on the phone, we cleared out every animal and chemical based thing in my life. Only the produce in my fridge was left in terms of food. Everything else I got rid of: the chemical cleaners, the medications, the supplements, the make up, the personal care products, non vegan clothes and accessories. ALL OF IT GONE! It was amazing and so freeing to let go. Soon after Chris moved to CT, we started doing yoga and hiking.
2 months after becoming vegan I was due for a vitamin level test. It was normal, yes even b-12. My doctor was shocked and didn’t believe that my changes made the difference. She warned me that stopping my meds so fast would surely cause me lots of problems and even said I could risk death if I go off them too fast. I never had any issues. That was the last time I had any contact with her. If I didn’t make it obvious already, let me make it clear now, I went from taking 15 prescriptions and multiple over the counter medications to nothing, overnight, yes even the birth control pill.
In high school my friend Tommy Jurgens left a wish for me in our yearbook, “a day without pain”. Tommy died on 9/11/2001, he was last seen running into one of the towers before it came down. I didn’t know this until a few years later. The interesting thing is that on the most painful day in America—in my lifetime, I was in process of gaining health and having days without physical pain.
The changes started happening immediately. I had more energy. I didn’t hurt as much when someone touched me. I was happy and looking forward to life, instead of hating it. Every day I felt a little better. It took a few years but my skin started to darken. 6 months after the change I had my first headache, my mom convinced me to take half a baby Tylenol and I hallucinated (thanks to MTFHR). Headaches became a thing of the past after that, well that is until recently. Almost all of my other issues, except fibromyalgia became a thing of the past – gone! I could get out of bed in the morning, move my body and think clearly. Chris immediately lost a lot of weight, thanks to being vegan and his physically demanding job of working for cable-vision. I lost some weight, but not enough to make a big difference, and my weight continued to go up and down, a few times I reached 200 pounds, and I’m 5’6″.
One year after Chris and I met we decided to take a yoga teacher certification course. We spent a few months at Yogi Hari’s ashram in Miramar, FL. What a fun summer. In November of 2001 we got married in a beautiful ceremony on the beach next to my moms house, with a small party at her house. It was planned only 2 weeks before, and was just perfect! My mom made and bought some amazing vegan food.
In Dec 2001 we moved back to Connecticut for a contract job I got, and started to experiment with not eating oil, as Dr. McDougall suggests. At this time we loved food, and became some serious vegan foodies, going into NYC most weekend to try another vegan restaurant. Giving up oil was hard. We went back and forth with it, but never long enough to have lasting changes.
Dec 2003 we made another big change and decided to stop eating cooked foods. We had no idea what raw food was at the time, we just both knew we felt best when we ate uncooked fruits and vegetables. Being a quick drive to NYC we got to experience some of the best raw food restaurants. I soon came to find out that I was allergic to nuts, they would make me itch. Oh yes, the itching, I forgot to mention that all through jr. high/high school my head would itch so much that I would scratch it, making it bleed. I had scabs I would pick off daily. I was given a prescription shampoo for that, but it never helped. That summer in the ashram we would wake up early in the morning and sit in meditation, I couldn’t help but itch and was told many times to stop, I couldn’t, instead I would hold off as long as I could and then run to the bathroom to scratch then go back again.
Eating a raw vegan diet was amazing. I lost weight very quickly and started to become much more active, hiking and walking daily. I went from 190 to 135 in less than 2 months. I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. At the same time we went to an Ayurveda practitioner, having learned about it in the ashram. We decided to do pancha karma, a cleanse where you only eat a lentil-rice dish called kitcheri, do oil and other enemas, and other oil therapies. We made the kitcheri raw by sprouting the lentils, mixing in the spices and raw oils and omit the rice. Then the cravings started, specifically for pizza, and I wanted the pizza from down the block from my family home in NY. The physician told us that the mental stress wasn’t worth it, just go eat the pizza. So we did, every night we drove to NY and gorged on pizza, for a whole week! We went right back to being vegan, incorporating a lot of raw but not 100%. And learned to order pizza with no cheese from then on.
The summer of 2004 we moved to San Jose, CA. We ate primarily raw vegan and met many like minded people, joined a local raw vegan monthly potluck and enjoyed the many vegan restaurants in the SF Bay area. It was amazing to be around so many like minded people. We learned and experienced so much there. Permaculture and natural building made a real impression on us. Soon we started talking with 2 other couples about moving to Hawaii and starting a permaculture farm/homestead. We also learned about natural hygiene and went back to being raw vegan with many other changes, including not wearing metals, jewelry, underwire bras, getting an organic mattress, bedding, linens and clothes, a natural wood bed, and not even wearing organic vegan makeup. Natural hygiene in short is eating foods how they come from nature, no oils or lots of processing. It was difficult to maintain as the cravings got severe, but we managed to follow that lifestyle for some time. We did lots of cleansing, even some short term water fasts. Before we left for Hawaii I was pregnant and miscarried very early on.
The move to Hawaii was fun. My mom and older sister came with us for a week, exploring Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. We connected with a vegan community on the big island who got us a live/work situation on a permaculture retreat. For our 4 year anniversary we celebrated on the deck overlooking the mountainside of northern Hawaii, eating fruit we picked from the garden. Something very odd was happening at the same time to us, we fought, a lot. We never fought before. On the way to look at the property we planned to buy, we got into another fight. The property was not at all what we expected. It was a very high elevation in the middle of a barren wasteland. The only people who lived up there had junk yards and broken down homes. We left sad and angry and realized that being in Hawaii wasn’t right for us. The energy of the island, to me, was like an angel getting it’s wings ripped off. We stayed for another week enjoying the island and then went right back to California, as I still had my job, and was working from home while in Hawaii.
I soon didn’t want to work anymore and decided to go to Florida for another job, trying to convince myself that maybe I would like that better, I didn’t. We then went back to California to try to piece our lives together again and figure out what to do next. While being natural hygienists we got very involved with that community and designed a few issues of Living Nutrition magazine. We continued that and started a small freelance web design/graphic arts business. We failed miserably and burned through our savings. We ate occasional raw vegan food but pretty much ate cooked vegan. We lived in a house with 3 men who introduced us to “The Secret”, gratitude practices and conscious living. We also started working with Maureen Whitehouse, who I mention above, who had a very profound and positive impact in my life. Our bodies had gone through lots of changes, and now it was time to shift our minds. We dove right in, even attending a school to become holistic health practitioners.
Feb 2007, pregnant and in serious debt-living off credit cards, we moved to florida to be near family. The pregnancy was the best I felt and looked in my life. The birth was amazing, and happened exactly how I envisioned, we became blessed with our first son in Oct 2007. During the pregnancy I ate really well, mostly raw. But towards the end I started having intense dairy cravings and gave in a few times. I recently found out that my mom would hide dairy and other animal foods in the food she made me. Food is an addiction, once you start eating dairy its very hard to stop, same goes for fat, sugar and salt.
August 2008, after a failed attempt at working in CT, Chris started working in Jupiter, Florida. Finally settled and with an income, we did our best to be as raw vegan as possible, it came and went, as did the pain and weight. I breastfed until my son was almost 2, and gained a lot of weight. I started to get some headaches but it wasn’t so bad, I just slept when Chris got home and kept it under control. I did a 40 day master cleanse which helped for a while, and have done many since, however the results didn’t last very long. With each water fast or master cleanse I felt my body let go of something. One time I remember smelling like chemo, I went to pick up my mom after chemo once and years later I felt and smelled that chemo coming out of me. All the meds I had taken came out eventually and they felt just as bad going out as they did going out, but I was happy to detox from them.
Dec 2011 we became blessed by the birth of our 2nd son. It was also a beautiful blissful birth, however his cord was very short, which pulled on the placenta, making that birthing of the placenta painful, and it took months before the torn pieces all came out. Again I got slim and felt great during the pregnancy but gained weight quickly after giving birth and breastfeeding.
Our older son asked to have dairy, and being open minded we said, he has to make his own choices, so we got him some dairy. Then came eggs, then a few times fish. I did lots of research to tried to get him the cleanest forms possible. My problems started coming back. As I said food is an addiction, and if my kids are eating it or it’s in my house, it’s too hard not to eat it myself.
I was tired, and irritable. The pain was getting worse, and headaches became a daily occurrence. I had to get 2 wisdom teeth out. I freaked out while under anesthesia, and coming out of it was very difficult. I was left with nerve damage and a gut that now needed some serious healing. Vitamin IV therapy helped, but didn’t last long. High dose vitamin C helped a little. The most important for me was sleep. I was back to needing naps to get through the day. We still ate vegan most of the time, but when we went to family or friends I would eat some food with eggs or dairy, and a handful of times even fish, which I had instant allergic reactions to.
Early 2015 after a very oily, vegetarian but not vegan dinner at a friend, I spent the entire night running to the bathroom with diarrhea. At that moment I gave up oil, high fat foods and avocado and remembered Dr. John McDougall. I read every book and watched every video I could find. And immediately adopted a whole food plant based, no oil diet. It was surprisingly easy. Chris and I both lost weight very fast. I went from 200 to 145 in less than 2 months. And finally I became pain free long term! I started taking methyl b-12, which helps with the tiredness. For over a year we stuck with it 100%, then occasionally, usually around birthdays or holidays, the boys have some treats, which means I wind up eating things that just don’t work for me. My menstrual cycle has lightened up, however on the months that I do eat something high in fat or processed it gets heavy again. During the times I’m not compliant I also start to have headaches, some pain, fatigue, memory loss and some other small issues. The good news is as soon as I get back on track it all heals just as quickly. I’m grateful for these warnings, they keep me from going back to a sick life.
I don’t have an immediate life threatening illness, but I do wish people took me as seriously as someone who does in terms of supporting my family. My biggest wish is that more and more people learn about the whole food plant based lifestyle and that we find a supportive community. My husband and children love this lifestyle and have seen huge benefits, but being around others when it comes to food is such a challenge. People think we do it just because we want to, and don’t realize that we HAVE to.
Thank you for reading all of this. I hope it helps inspire you to make the changes you need to regain your health and get control of your life, or at least become more supportive of others who live this way.
p.s. I sometimes henna my hair, and when I let it grow out people start commenting on my grey hair. This has happened a lot lately as it been growing it for many months. I came to realize why I like my grey hair, I have lived long enough to have it!