When my daughter came home and said I have just had lunch with ”Deliciouslyella” and you must read her blog I was intrigued to know what would be revealed. She had been to one of her cookery workshops which have now along with her Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, blog and facebook account have been overwhelmed with a phenomenal number of hits and there have been several articles in the popular press during the past few weeks describing her recovery from a rare condition by following a vegan diet.
She describes during an interview, “I couldn’t have guaranteed to walk the length of my flat without needing to lie on the floor. I looked like I was pregnant,” she continues, tracing an invisible bump in front of her slender frame. “My stomach was huge. It was so, so weird… My world was permanently spinning and I was in pain. My body had just completely broken, basically.”
Ella is describing the illness that brought a traumatic change to her life one morning in 2011. She had just finished her second year studying history of art at the University of St Andrews, and all was good. “I was doing really well, I had great friends and a great boyfriend. My only stress was maybe that my essay was 10 minutes late.”
Then she woke up one morning, after a party at which (she promises) she’d had no more than three drinks, feeling as if she had downed the contents of a brewery and been run over by a bus. Her stomach was hugely distended. “I was never really someone who panics, so I just thought, ‘OK, it’s some kind of allergic reaction’, and went home,” she says.She came back to London and was admitted to hospital where she had countless tests over a period of 12 days but no definitive diagnosis was made.
Then came a stroke of luck when a nurse took her blood pressure one last time and noticed that when Ella was standing, her heart rate was a terrifying 190. When she sat, it fell to 55 or 60. Finally, she was referred to a specialist who diagnosed postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), described as “an abnormal response by the autonomic nervous system to becoming upright”.
She was told there was no cure but began taking the medicine and steroids, which she was told were the only way to manage the illness. Changes to her diet were never suggested. But the pills brought only marginal improvement.
Ella was still in bed 75 per cent of the time and the remaining hours would be spent mostly on the sofa. House-bound and miserable, she pretended the world outside didn’t exist. “For six months I didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t do anything. I literally sat in my bed eating pick ’n’ mix and watching Grey’s Anatomy.”
The turning point came when she realised that a holiday to Marrakesh, which she and Her boyfriend had booked when she was well, was approaching. He tried to talk her out of it, but Ella insisted. The trip was a disaster. “Everything went wrong. He bought me back semi-conscious, in a wheelchair. It was really bad. But actually it was really good, because it was the first time I’d had to address what was happening.” She decided that conventional medicine was no help.
Googling “natural healing” and “alternative remedies”, she came across a book by Kris Carr, a 43-year-old American cancer survivor who had changed her diet to nutrient-rich, plant-based foods only.
She soon started to feel a difference – a little more energy, a little less pain. Then, after one more relapse, she realised that she needed to make her new diet more interesting if she didn’t want to keep raiding her housemate’s Haribo.
She started her blog, Deliciouslyella.com, adding three new recipes a week. The cooking was simple but imaginative, as she experimented with the new, limited range of ingredients available to her and tried to forget the much longer list of those that weren’t.
“I remember thinking, ‘If I get better, I’ll go straight back to meat’,” she says. But her improving health made her realise that this way of eating was, in fact, curing her. It took 18 months, but Ella is now a picture of health, with glowing skin, a slim and toned body and a great appetite. She still has to be careful about her health and has virtually given up drink, but says she feels “phenomenal”.
Hello and welcome to Deliciously Ella!
I started the blog as a way of dealing with a relatively rare illness, Postural Taichycardia Syndrome, which I was diagnosed with in September 2011. The illness had a pretty devastating effect on my life – I literally couldn’t walk down the street, I slept for 16 hours a day, had never ending heart palpitations, was in chronic pain, had unbearable stomach issues, constant headaches and the list goes on – it was anything but fun! I tried healing through conventional medicine for about six months but it had little effect on my symptoms and I was still bed-ridden 95% of tohe time. So I decided it was time for something new and began researching holistic, natural healing approaches, which is how I started eating like this. Overnight I took up a whole foods, plant-based diet and gave up all meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, anything processed and all chemicals and additives, which was a pretty drastic change. I literally never ate fruit or vegetables before, my diet instead revolved around Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Chocolate, peanut butter and jelly eaten with a spoon, pick-n-mix and lots of cereal and pasta – I was a sugar monster! So everything you see here is part of my learning and healing process, I’m not a trained chef by any means – everything is self-taught and the result of lots of failed experiments! I also totally understand how daunting the idea of changing your diet so radically is, but it’s single-handedly the best thing I have ever done. Knowing that I’m giving my body the love and health that it needs is an incredible feeling, and even better – everything tastes so incredible now! I’d take a batch of raw brownies over candy any day!
Eating this way has allowed me to take control of my illness, stopping
the constant pain, restoring my energy and giving me my life back again. It really has healed me, and just eighteen months after starting this lifestyle I’ve been able to come off all my medication and I feel so incredible, better than ever really! I’d never have believed that I could come this far simply through diet; it is just incredible – better than any drug ever. I’ve learnt more on this health adventure than I could have possibly imagined too and I really want to share all of this information with you. It’s my way of turning something negative into something really positive. If I can spread health and happiness with anyone then this is a success!
More than anything I want the blog to show how easy and delicious healthy food is – it’s so much more than bland salads and iceberg lettuce! It’s all about sumptuous desserts, delicious dips, raw treats and rainbow bowls of incredible veggies, all made with nature’s most natural ingredients. Everything here will nurture and love your body, leaving you feeling incredible. This way of eating is absolutely not about deprivation and starvation but instead it’s about embracing a positive, healthy way of life! Take a look at my food philosophy for more on all the awesome benefits of this lifestyle.I graduated from St Andrews with a Masters in Art History in May 2013 and I’m back home in London working on a lot of awesome projects! I realeased my best-selling app earlier this year, which I’m always working on (it’s available on the iTunes store and the google play store), I’ve also just finished writing my first cookbook and it will be being published January 2015. I also teach cooking classes, host supper and brunch clubs and I’m training as a naturopathic nutritionist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, so as this blog grows so will my knowledge of health!
Have a wonderful day,
Deliciously Ella App
The Deliciously Ella App is all about celebrating natural healthy food.It has over a hundred simple, easy to follow recipes, which you and your body will love.
As it happens I remember a short discussion at a doctor revision course in 2013 on the condition Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTs) which Delciously Ella describes as the start of her journey into the world of food and diets. I have been looking for a case of this since then and was fascinated to read her story.
MORE ABOUT POSTURAL ORTHOSTATIC SYNDROME
PoTS was only defined about 20 years ago , it is a form of orthostatic hypotension which particularly affects people between 15 and 50 and is 4 times more common in women.
When we stand up 500mls of blood descends from the thorax ; a normal autonomic nervous system responds with vasoconstriction, an increase in heart rate and minimal change in blood pressure. In a patient with PoTS there is inadequate peripheral vasoconstriction, and heart rate and catecholamine levels rise further to try to compensate.
This gives rise to
Feeling faint or fainting
Weakness, nausea, fatigue etc
This condition is more common in patients who have hyper mobility syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes. It is made worse by standing, prolonged sitting and exacerbated by heat, alcohol and certain foods. It is commonly misdiagnosed as anxiety, panic attacks, chronic fatigue etc hence these patients often develop a mistrust in doctors!
The diagnosis can be made if there is:-
Positive Stand Test
*A sustained heart rate increase of 30 beats/ minute within 10 minutes of standing up, in an absence of orthostatic hypotension.
*Standing heart rate is often 120beats/min or more within 10 mins of standing up.
* May be accompanied by symptoms of cerebral hypofusion ( lightheadness, brain fog, headaches. fainting) and autonomic over activity ( sweating, shakiness, fatigue) relieved by lying down.
Positive Tilt TableTest.
The patient rests flat on a special bed with a footplate whilst BP and heart rate recordings are made. The bed is then tilted (head end up) for up to 45 minutes while further recordings are taken. (Both tests are stopped if the patient faints or if satisfactory recordings have been made).
If you are concerned that you have this condition contact your GP who can easily carry out the Stand test in the surgery