My Background and History: Part 2

The Teenage Years

I spent my middle and high school years in mediocre health. The wheat allergy drama was over, but I was still getting sick at least once a month—especially with sinus problems and chronic congestion. At some point during my freshman year of high school, my parents pointed out that I’d start clearing my throat constantly (and probably annoyingly) every time I ate yogurt. After lamenting over my much-loved milk products, I snipped dairy out of my diet. Boom! No more sniffles.

Then, in the summer of my 15th year on earth, I ran into Mystery Health Problem Number Two. It happened one night when my grandparents were visiting from the Midwest. We ordered Chinese takeout, and I got my usual: stir-fried veggies with fried tofu blocks.

About an hour after eating, while we were all lounging in the living room watching the movie “Contact,” I suddenly got dizzy and felt like I couldn’t breathe. I stumbled into the other room and opened the front door, desperate for fresh air. Didn’t help. I started tingling all over and feeling like I was going to pass out.

This lasted for a month straight.

To this day, I don’t know what the diddly was wrong with me. Weird case of food poisoning? Maybe. Psychosomatic illness? Maybe. Prolonged anxiety attack? Maybe. Whatever it was, I spent a month barely eating, glued to the couch, nearly blacking out every time I stood up. It got so intense one evening that I went to the ER. They found nothing wrong.

Eventually, I regained some sense of normalcy—just in time for school to start. The dizziness went away, but I vowed never to eat Chinese food again; I somehow felt it was responsible for the experience.

Shortly after this, my interest in nutrition surged through the roof. I can’t remember exactly why. I felt fragile, precarious, and desperate for a better way of eating. As I was already fairly slender, I didn’t have an interest in weight loss so much as health improvement.

And that’s when I found…

Raw.

4 comments

  1. Hey no one has commented on this post…I wanted to be the first. I’ve read your blog for over a year now and always enjoy returning for the updates. I’m looking forward to your upcoming literary release very much.
    Peace and Good Vibes from Australia.

  2. Chinese food often contains MSG – a neurotoxin. My husband has Parkinson’s Disease – a neurological condition. When he eats Chinese food all his PD symptoms escalate. While many of us may not feel the effects of it, your raw food diet may make you highly sensitive to MSG.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      I completely agree. I recently had Vietnam Pho and it was delicious. I figured it was healthy and low on sugar and with no additives or preservatives. I ate it and felt fine. About 5 minutes later my arms felt tingly and so did my legs and before I knew it so did my whole body. I went limp and felt like I would pass out. After about 30min it went away. I told my mom about it and she said it was the MSG so we looked it up. Low and behold it was all the symptoms denise talks about and what I was going through. If anyone eats takeout Asian cuisine always make sure that it is MSG free!

  3. Hi Denise!

    Since I am Chinese and I hate to see you forever loathing Chinese food, I thought I may be able to suggest a reason for your allergic reaction to the stir-fried veggies and fried tofu takeout dinner. Fried tofu blocks are often dusted in a thin layer of flour to ensure a crispy coating. Since you have severe allergy to wheat, I think this may be the cause.

    I really enjoy your blog and find many articles helpful! I especially love the one on wild fruits.

    Thank you for writing and sharing!😀

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