Karina Edora
What led me to raw food was my desire and commitment to heal myself from many years of illness and not being well.

Throughout most of my life, my career focus was in business, and I never really had an interest in health and wellness. I was used to a busy, stressful lifestyle and definitely enjoyed the pleasures of fine dining and convenience of dining out.

It was during my 20’s, that I was diagnosed with severe Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease. I soon became accustomed to the routine doctor’s appointments, medications and many painstaking surgeries that were coming my way - I think nine surgeries in total but to be honest I stopped counting. Even though I spent the next 10 years of dealing with the after effects of my diagnosis, I was grateful for our health care system and to finally be ‘rid’ of my illness. I developed some less significant side effects along the way (in my opinion less significant), such as poor digestion, a weakened immune system and vision challenges, but I was happy to be feeling well again. So those small inconveniences were easy for me to accept. This experience became the framework on how I knew how to treat illness.

In my early 30’s, I was in two minor car accidents and developed chronic neck and back pain soon after. Even though I was active with my treatment, my conditions seemed to worsen and I was later diagnosed with Torticollis, a neck and muscle spasm condition. The doctors were less helpful this time around, offering me prescription solutions that would only offer me temporary relief - and these expensive medications would have to be taken for the rest of my life. I could not accept this diagnosis or this form of treatment, so I stood to prove them wrong. After four years of aggressive holistic rehabilitation, I was rid of my Torticollis symptoms. I was relieved once again and this time learned that a) doctors’ opinions are not always the right ones and b) there are other options to treating an illness. This experience became empowering.

Although I still had subtle ailments and a general feeling of not being well, I was told by doctors that there was nothing really that could be done for me and it was something that I would have to live with. As the years went by of this acceptance, I started to notice that I was soon not able to tolerate many kinds of food, and I was often sick. I had several complaints of chronic infections, trouble breathing and symptoms that doctors coined as being caused by ‘stress and anxiety.’ (Who wouldn’t be stressed and anxious over not being able to breathe??) My acute conditions were semi-treatable with prescription drugs and medications, but the relief became very temporary if they even worked at all. And of course there was always the issue that I was never really treating the underlying problem, I was always just focusing on the symptoms. It became a vicious cycle however, two things I soon discovered. Firstly, misdiagnosis by a doctor is common – I found this out when it was discovered that my ‘stress and anxiety’ ailment coined by several doctors was actually a paralyzed vocal fold (proven by a scope result) and secondly, the medical system is not so helpful when an illness is not fully diagnosed yet or there is nothing physical to treat. I was definitely not interested in waiting for that day to be diagnosed with something that the doctors could finally treat, so I needed to do something now, before it was too late.

My godsend was a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Pushpa Chandra, who addressed my diet instantly. We eliminated such things as dairy and wheat first, because these are things that most people have a sensitivity to, even without knowing it. I bought certified organic food whenever possible. I was educated on the harmful effects of medications. I was finally supported in my mission to heal myself, and I soon started to feel better. I met some wonderful and amazing people along the way, who turned up as my teachers, who supported this holistic and preventative healthy lifestyle, and a new community appeared. I started to realize what the food industry was about and what we, as a consumer, were allowed to buy and eat. I learned that most of our processed foods contained some form of genetically modified organism (GMO) and we would never know because labeling is not required for this type of ‘food’. I realized that chemicals and pesticides were acceptable to be sprayed on fruit and vegetable, and that hormones and antibiotics were fine to be fed to animals, that would later be served on our dinner tables. I started focusing my diet on more simple and whole foods that were less processed and in their natural state, and I started growing my own fruits and vegetables. I became very curious about raw food, which led me to another godsend Janice Storeyko of the Raw Food Foundation, an expert in health, wellness and raw food, and who I have learned so much from today. My chronic ailments started disappearing and my health started to thrive. And if that was not rewarding enough, I started to lose weight naturally and visible signs of aging started to reverse.

As my journey continues, my purpose in all this is to share my experience and information. Knowledge is potential power and it gives us opportunity and choice, a choice to question ‘why’ and ‘why not’ and to demand better health and wellness for ourselves. The rewarding effects of simple, whole raw foods are tremendous, from a health and well being perspective as well as the effect it has on our environment.

My learning is in my life journey and I discover new things everyday. I hope that I can help educate and support others just as I have been in the past and continue to be today.