I honestly thought I had cracked life and the secrets of health after nearly twenty years of studying and practicing complementary health as my profession. My only problem, so I thought, in the late summer of 2003 was a case of burn out and the desire for a change of scenery! That was until I discovered, and quite by chance, the benefits of raw and living food by having to eat it exclusively for 48 hours on Lisa Jeans’ Complete Retreat in Spain. I couldn’t believe that in two days time I felt twenty years younger and had a new vitality to replace the “burnt out” feeling. I was hooked; I wanted to learn more and wanted to consume a greater percentage of living food. So, I gave up my Natural Health Clinic in Devon, England as well as my volunteer work at Breast Cancer Haven (a charity in the UK offering complementary therapies to women with breast cancer). I resigned my post as an instructor for the College of Naturopathic Medicine in Dublin and London and headed to Florida totally sure of my decision to become a Hippocrates’ Health Educator as Lisa Jeans had.
Initially, my interest in health and the holistic way was fueled when I was diagnosed with carcinoma on my cervix. I took this diagnosis very seriously as five immediate family members have succumbed to it. Shortly after the cancer, I experienced a rare and incurable skin disease called, Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris, which threatened to leave me bed-ridden. I smoked 30-40 cigarettes a day, took a few drugs and not many days went by without me downing a bottle of wine and a few gin and tonics. I lived on Coca-Cola, peanuts, milk and toasted bran cereal, constantly battling weight gain. Seeking to be thin, I would binge eat and then abuse laxatives. I was thirty-five years old, miserable and sure that I was dying. While it is hardly surprising that my life and health were in tatters, all of this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Through the shock of the diagnosis of cancer I was motivated to change my life by detoxifying and trying complimentary and alternative medicine. I stopped drugs, drinking, and smoking and adopted a vegetarian diet. I learned of and applied the benefits of juicing and cleansing with enemas. These helpful lifestyle changes took me to a level of health that I could only dream of previously. Little did I know then that there was even MORE to discover about the secrets of LIVING food. The extent to which I went to learn more about this lifestyle became legendary to my friends!
In 1987 I lived on a desert island in The Maldives for four months while being treated by a medicine man. I learned and applied the Gerson Therapy in Mexico, and I meditated alone in a croft in the Scottish Hills for seven months. My recovery from the skin disease and cancer, using only alternative medicine motivated me to study virtually every natural therapy I could find. I was willing to travel the world in my quest for knowledge. I went on to qualify in Chinese and Western Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Iridology, Ayurvedic Massage Therapy, Bowen Therapy and Manual Lymph Drainage.
During my journey, Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine actually taught me to stop eating raw food telling me it would “weaken” the spleen energy (digestion). Now I know that living food actually enhances digestion! I hardly touched raw food for fifteen years, unwittingly becoming more and more vitamin, enzyme and mineral deficient and ever more toxic without realizing it. When I actually did eat raw and living food along with wheatgrass juice (which takes some getting used to…still) on that fateful day in Spain with Lisa, my poor little cells just gobbled it all up and asked for MORE! Finally listening to my body, I packed my bags and made my way to Hippocrates.
When I arrived in Florida, I was greeted by the wonderful staff and Hippocrates’ 40-acre sanctuary. I felt I had been given a second chance at understanding health on a far deeper level than I had been taught in twenty years attending all of those health colleges and acquiring all of those qualifications. I was not disappointed. Everything amazed me: from how young and vibrant Brian Clement was to the miracles I witnessed among the guests. I had never witnessed anything like this in all my travels around the world, nor in the Chinese and Ayurvedic hospitals where I worked and studied. It was truly beyond my wildest hopes and dreams.
There were nineteen students in the Health Educator course who came from all walks of life, all corners of the world, and a variety of professions. Some had medical backgrounds, some did not, some were younger, others mature and some were still struggling with health challenges (or opportunities). We were a mixed bunch but bonded incredibly on our path to knowledge and vitality.
We learned about the science of living nutrition, how to grow wheatgrass and sprouts, run a raw and living foods kitchen, perform iridology, reflexology, and much more. We had classes in yoga and all sorts of physical exercise, spent time in the four pools, and savored the wonderful sprouted and living delicacies. Our group became so close-knit that it was sad when the nine weeks came to an end and we parted ways.
Where did all of this take me? Last November, with the help of four other health educators, I organized a seminar in London for eighty people to learn from Brian Clement. I returned to my beloved job at the Breast Cancer Haven and have utilized the teachings of Hippocrates Health Institute with our visitors and staff, and I will soon be teaching a workshop there. I conduct seminars and evening tutorials on raw and living food and also privately instruct patients on how to create REAL health with sprouts, wheatgrass and juicing. The training has created so many business opportunities for me as well as healthier patients!
At the moment I am in the process of preparing for a seminar with Brian in London for 250 people to be conducted in early November. There are so many projects that I am developing as a result of the Hippocrates Health Educator course. New, breath-taking developments will be unveiled at the seminar in November. I am beginning a Ph.D. program at Westminster University this fall researching the benefits of raw and living food and detoxification in people with breast and prostate cancer.
What happened to the burn out? It’s gone, and now I have a sense of being in control of my life, rather than my life controlling me. I realize that I can attain my dreams- ANYTHING truly is possible. What a gift! What a life! Thank you Hippocrates! Thank you Brian and Anna Maria!
Vol 24 Issue 4 page 19