March 8, 2021

98: Overcoming Autoimmune - Erica Taft's Journey

This is one of those stories that someone needs t…


This is one of those stories that someone needs to hear. Erica Taft spent most of her life battling a variety of health conditions. She has battled with systemic inflammation, lupus, celiac disease, PCOS, Hashimotos, IBS issues, etc. This is an incredible story. During her health journey she tried a variety of elimination diets to relieve her symptoms but nothing really seemed to work. Eventually she learned about plant based physicians such as Dr. Brooke Goldner, Dr. Michael Greger, and Dr. Dean Ornish.

Today Erica has found that a fully plant based raw diet has helped to calm her body. Erica is a godly woman who’s faith has guided this entire journey. She is currently working on a book to share her story with a broader audience. Erica is a holistic nutritionist and you can learn more about her by visiting her Facebook page called Overcome Autoimmune. I apologize in advance for the eco in my voice. I forgot to turn on my mic recorder for this interview. What can I say..sometimes I do have technical difficulties.

  • https://www.facebook.com/ericataftovercomeautoimmune/ https://www.instagram.com/erica_walker_taft/
Transcript

Erica Taft  00:00

I was tired. I was in pain. I was working two jobs for a little while and I would come home and my feet would be so swollen, my hands so swollen and red and painful that I would stick them in the freezer for a very long time to cool them down. I remember one time I got out of the shower, my feet were on fire so bad, it was snowing outside. And I went and I stood on the front porch, and just to cool my body down. And all of this was during high school. And that's definitely when the plane took off, was about 11th grade is when I started seeing a huge decline in my health.

 

Maya Acosta  00:43

Welcome to the Plant Based DFW Podcast weekly show with Dr. Riz and Maya. Our podcast focuses on lifestyle medicine, which is the use of evidence based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole food plant based diet, regular physical exercise, adequate sleep and stress management to treat and even reverse the lifestyle related chronic diseases that are all too prevalent. Every week we will feature physicians, dieticians, health coaches, and everyday people who will share their stories and speak on one of these lifestyle medicine modalities. Let's meet today's podcast guest. This is one of those stories that someone needs to hear. If you've ever battled with a variety of health conditions and have tried to figure out what is wrong with you, you might be able to identify a little bit with Erica Taft. She spent most of her life battling a variety of health conditions she battled with systemic inflammation, lupus, celiac disease, pcls, hashimotos, IBS issues, etc. This is an incredible story and during her health journey, she tried a variety of elimination diets to relieve her symptoms, but nothing really seemed to work. Eventually she learned about plant based physicians such as Dr. Brooke Goldner, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Dean Ornish. Today, Erica has found that a fully plant based raw diet has helped to calm her body. Erica is a godly woman whose faith has guided her during this entire journey. And she is currently working on a book to share her story with a broader audience. Erica is a holistic nutritionist. And you can learn more about her by visiting her Facebook page called overcome auto immune. I apologize in advance for the echo in my voice, I forgot to turn on the mic recorder for this interview. And what can I say sometimes I do have some technical difficulties. As usual, I have all the links for our guests in the show notes. And I hope you enjoy this episode. So welcome Erica.

 

Erica Taft  02:44

Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure to speak with you and with everyone else that's listening.

 

Maya Acosta  02:50

Well, Erica, tell us a little bit about yourself. You You're in the East Coast, right?

 

Erica Taft  02:55

I am. I am in northern Ohio. And it's freezing and brutal and cold right now. there is snow outside, but we're making it through, and I will be 30 years old this year. So my journey has kind of started years ago from when I was younger. But as of right now, this last this past year, I became certified as a holistic nutritionist. It was just something that stuck with me because when I was going through this, I wanted to learn in a whole new level of what I was doing to my body and how to help and how to grow from here. And so that's just something that I had adopted, I love that I did. I'm involved in church and my spiritual aspects of life is very important to me in life in balance. And with nutrition. It just comes all together. I'm married to a wonderful man, Kyle Taft. He gives His life and sorry if I get like little emotional, but he's wonderful. And it's just a beautiful place to be right now.

 

Maya Acosta  04:03

I read what you have lived all these years. It's just incredible. And I remember reaching out, you know, by email and asking, how do you get through this? It's your faith?

 

Erica Taft  04:14

Absolutely. Definitely. I could not have made it without my faith. Because there's so many times that you want to get up on the road and things get hard and you're in pain, and you get frustrated. And you have to find these things to combat these issues. And yes, the the tangible things, the things that we ingest, yes, those are healing medicine, healing herbs, things that are going to calm our body and heal our flares. But at the end of the day, who gives us those sources, who who gears us through those to get the strength to get through. It's our faith.

 

Maya Acosta  04:53

It's not just education, but you do it from a different place and when faith is involved in your heart is involved, what you can do and how you can transform other lives. It's amazing.

 

Erica Taft  05:05

Thank you so much. It is amazing because I know the people that have impacted my life. And a lot of them have the foundation of the Lord, under their feet, in their heart, above their head around and all over them. Everything that they are, before we hear a little bit about the the health issues that you have struggled with. 

 

Maya Acosta  05:29

Can you explain to us what a holistic nutritionist is? 

 

Erica Taft  05:33

Food also plays a huge role in our bodies, as we all know. And with nutrition comes herbs and wonderful things of the earth. And that goes all the way around such as earthing and forest bathing, tinctures, teas, vegetables, fruit, lagoons, all of these beautiful things that have the power to heal. So you put all of those together, you mix them up a little bit, you create a plan. And that's where the holistic nutritionist comes in, you learn about the 24 hour path and how the body works and how it groups the time seat and the times too fast. And so you learn all of these things. And then you have people coming to you they have gut issues, or they're wanting to lose weight or lower their blood pressure, something such as that. And that's where I can come in to counsel to give guidance to answer questions, things like that, where I can sit down with them, say, what are you doing now? And what can we adjust to help you and improve your situation?

 

Maya Acosta  06:41

Are you currently working with other clients? Or is that something that you're working towards in the future,

 

Erica Taft  06:48

So I'm leaving that platform open right now, I would love to work with clients as they come in, as they are needed, as they need somebody to help them to root them on the air and to lead them in the right direction. As of right now, just because of my journey, I stepped back a little bit from you know, the whole business aspects of life, it's a very stressful place to be and where I was, I needed that time to heal and rebuild who I was and find who I was. So as I started progressing, I started learning. And I started finding myself. And that's why nutrition, you know, the holistic side of everything just seemed so intriguing to me. And then as I started diving more into the word, and I started learning and educating myself there and learning people that needed somebody to relate to, and they needed somebody to hear and encourage, because that's also something that I needed as well. You know, when I was going through it, I used to love listening to inspirational stories and hearing how they made it through and thinking I can do that I can do that. And so they gave me hope. And so that's right now where my biggest inspiration is, is to bring hope to people and to speak to people and to write books, and recipe books, juice books, in order for people to learn how to heal and be educated at the same time to know the power behind food. And the beauty there behind. Yes, yes. So when it comes to detoxification of the body, not only are you not detoxifying the body, but you're detoxifying your mind, your brain, you're opening it up. And this fog is then just lifted off of your mind. And you have clarity and sanity and peace. And it's a lot easier to read the Bible for a long period of time where your devotion or whatever you're learning about to heal your body. But in when there's all of those toxin toxic build ups and foreign things in your body and your stomach is upset and it's sending terrible messages to your brain and your brain then is upset it's causing this uneasiness. How are you supposed to hear from God? How are you supposed to see his purpose and his vision for you? How are you supposed to learn and retain these things? In the journey of my healing journey, it was very hard to retain very hard, and I had to write things down. I had a concussion in 2016. So that also took a lot of my memory out a healthy diet removes that fog and you just feel wonderful and you can hear God's voice and it's just so beautiful.

 

Maya Acosta  09:35

And there's so much inner peace to for some reason. The food is just a lot more calming. And so you feel more connected to everything including nature. So you have this long history of you know, ailments that you have battled with. How old were you when you started noticing that, you know you were starting to develop some health problems.

 

Erica Taft  09:56

I think around like 14 I would say it started creeping up on me. And I was noticing a lot of the discomfort in my stomach, I had a lot of pain in my stomach and constipation and migraines, I quickly gained a dramatic, dramatic amount of weight in a very short amount of time. And I didn't really know what the culprit was. Now my diet was bad. And it was it became worse with friends and I would go out to eat a lot. We ate fast food a lot. And that was also a huge downward spiral to my, my journey. As it was growing up, we had the most loving family. And we went through bouts of poverty, and just different changes in life, which brings a lot a lot of stress. So you mix stress with bad food options, and you don't get a really great turnout. So I then decided to transfer schools. And I thought that would be a good idea. No, probably was not a good idea. Because then I experienced a complete culture shock. And I began hyperventilating every day before school, and having these huge panic attacks and anxiety attacks. My separation anxiety became much worse. And all of these things just started accumulating. And so it was definitely in high school, I stopped going to school, I skipped the majority of my school and the 11th grade. I was going in late coming home early, my my teacher would say if you can't keep your head off the desk, you need to go home. I was just so tired. I was tired. I was in pain. I was working two jobs for for a little while, and I would come home and my feet would be so swollen, my hands so swollen and red and painful that I would stick them in the freezer for a very long time to cool them down. I remember one time I got out of the shower, my feet were on fire so bad, it was snowing outside. And I went and I stood on the front porch, just to cool my body down. And all of this was during high school. And that's definitely when the plane took off was about 11th grade is when I started seeing a huge decline in my health. 

 

Maya Acosta  12:36

That must have really affected. your dating life, your social life, just because you're feeling uncomfortable. And then Things just got worse after that, right?

 

Erica Taft  12:47

Things got worse, and I became a little scared. And now in 2012, I decided to go on to Daniel's fast. Now previously, in 2009, I needed rid of stress I needed rid of weight. I was very concerned. And so it was my friend, I wanted to lose weight for prom. And my friend said well Erica, maybe if you don't eat so much fast food, maybe lose some weight. And I'm like, I love chick fil a I can't. So I decided though to withdraw myself and step back a little bit from some fast food. And I quickly lost 10 pounds. And that was very encouraging to me like it was hard to lose weight and I didn't realize how important it was. And so I lost the 10 pounds in early, early 2009. Late 2009 I decided I wanted to start working out and I wanted to get my bowels where they needed to be on their own because I was addicted to laxatives and dulcolax and nothing worked for me nothing I was up to three dulcalex and it still would not move.

 

Maya Acosta  14:13

Can I ask about that? Were you taking those because you were dealing with constipation or because you know some people use some sort of like for weight loss?

 

Erica Taft  14:23

For constipation. It was very, very chronic and very severe. I would look extremely pregnant fleets event my mother felt terrible for me my grandmother, they made me do fleets. I'm like oh my gosh, I'm not doing this. And so even I would try that and nothing would move. The doctor would prescribe me relax and things prescribed like me relax or Metamucil? No it just made it worse and it would harden all my stool and it would really make it on comfortable. sorry to hear that. Now you had asked me if the dulcolax was in reply to constipation, or in reply to weight loss. It was in reply to constipation. That's how I learned about it. As the years developed, and my periods became really bad and uncomfortable, they were very painful. I learned about my doll. And so Mitel and dulcolax, were something that I put in my back pocket to try to lose weight as well. And I remember talking to friends, like if there's something that I can do to lose weight, and I think my friends respected me on a whole nother level because of my faith, and my belief, and they just wouldn't open that gate to me. And there were there was one time I was able to get diet pills. I don't even know what they were. And one of my other friends found out about it, and they're like, you are not taking these. And so I thank God for that friend. Remove those from me, I listened. But I became addicted to those things. So late 2009, I just started having this crude to work out fix my bowels naturally. And I wanted to start incorporating ways to lose weight, but do it naturally. And so I started changing and adjusting things. And between the months of September and March, were my biggest impacts of health, I felt great, I was working out more I lost the weight that I needed to lose, and I felt a lot better. When it came to my confidence. My body, however, was still struggling a little bit. Now in 2010. I continued my dieting, I guess you can say I was eating more vegetables I most definitely was restricting calories. I was eating still things that I should not have been eating bakery items, high sugar containing coffees, that was my one of my go to favorites of Starbucks. A little addicted there for a while, but 2000 and then I continued my workout routine. And I just mustered through the pain and I kept growing. And 2012 I gained some more weight due to stress. And we had in 2010 my dad lost his business, he lost his other job. We almost lost our home, it went into pre foreclosure. Everything we suffered with everything. And so my my weight went back up especially by 2012 I started eating more unhealthy things, again, came across the Daniel's Fast. I learned about it because spiritual purposes. And I thought I need to do this I need a spiritual fast. And I loved the things that it had to offer. And I loved the the foundation of where it was founded everything derived by seed. And I thought that is so beautiful. Like I want to eat everything derived by seed, I want to learn these things and be involved. So that was actually like my first sucking moment. The draw in of eating everything derived by seed. And so I learned a lot, a lot, a lot going on this Daniels Fast. And I lost the weight that I had gained, I felt so much better. I had noticed my acne had cleared up, my inflammation had gone down, everything was at peace. And I thought oh my goodness, this is wonderful. Like I'm feeling better. And then little by little I gradually added everything back in, and the slope went back down.

 

Erica Taft  16:27

So now the stress of what your dad was going through financially really affected you.

 

Erica Taft  19:13

Oh, it did. My family and I are extremely close. And we are always very open to one another. And whether that means like we're there for one another or we pray together. So I really took on that burden even as a young child, if I saw somebody in distress, I would feel distressed. It broke my heart and I just I didn't like seeing people in pain and I still don't like seeing people in pain. And so when I saw my my mother and my father going through this, it put a lot on my mind a lot of my heart I started suffering with ulcers at 14 and it was just it was hard it was difficult. 

 

Maya Acosta  19:56

At one point you begin to have the symptoms of arthritis Is celiac disease and then you have hashimotos. And then I'll let you kind of just guide us through those conditions. It just seems like it was one thing after another.

 

Erica Taft  20:10

It was definitely one thing after another. And it started like with a chronic migraines, like I was saying, and then the irritable bowel came and they diagnosed me with irritable bowel, constipation. Here's lenses. Here's another form of lenses. This isn't working. Let's try this. And so it was just like, the bowel is where it started the bowel and the mind, the head, the brain, the migraines. And so if you notice, they're all those neurotransmitters that right there kind of tells you the correlation between the two. So irritable bowel and gastritis. And then celiac came up on my bloodwork, and that's when they were like, Okay, here we go. So that was another issue. And then later on, I was diagnosed with actually the first diagnosis was Raynaud's disease. I didn't even know what an autoimmune disease was. And a lot of people don't.

 

Maya Acosta  21:11

Yes, I agree. It's PCOS. One of the side effects is that women battle with fertility as a result.

 

Erica Taft  21:19

Absolutely. menstrual cramping, bloating, discomfort, irregular menses, and it's a whole ordeal.

 

Maya Acosta  21:27

Yes, and it seems like more and more women are now battling with that at a younger age than before,

 

Erica Taft  21:33

Especially when fatigue kicks in, and you're trying to be a successful woman.

 

Maya Acosta  21:37

Gosh, talk about adding pressure.

 

21:40

Talk about needing a platform to help women.

 

Maya Acosta  21:44

I kind of set that I feel like I can identify with you in so many ways, because I've been through my own journey. And I was going down your list. And I love that you have all of this organized. But there are many kind of alternative things that I have looked into, of course, out of all the things that I was doing, I never really understood how important food was.

 

Erica Taft  22:03

Yes, food is a huge thing. That's when I started with constipation, that's when I started like consuming so many fruits, and oranges, anything I thought, Okay, what can make my bowels move, oranges, grapefruit, so I started consuming those on a regular basis and banana. And it helps it helps.

 

Maya Acosta  22:26

You know, I so I see that on your list as Hashimotos. And I know it's a little bit different than what I dealt with, which is I've had, hypothyroidism. I had an endocrinologist in California who was working with me, and then I relocated to Dallas. So he still kind of wanted to be there to monitor and supervise me and put me on these heavy kind of cortisol because of the adrenal fatigue and medical medication. And I went from 121 pounds to close to 140 pounds in about four weeks, I blow up and it was early in my relationship with my husband too. So it was just like, here we go. And so I understand the whole battle what I can't say that I've been a woman who's battled with weight all my life, but because I've gone through weight, a significant weight gain period. I understand how it affects the self and self-esteem on top of swelling, the leg swelling, retaining water, so I can have done identify with a lot of things that you were going through. So tell us about what was life was like you and maybe some of the treatments. You ended up in the hospital. So I'll let you pick up on that.

 

Erica Taft  23:37

So I've ended up in the hospital quite a few times. Just the ER was kind of like a run to because I never knew what was going on. And every time I went they were like Oh, you're fine. This is you know, whatever. This is irritable bowel, this is stool backup, this is migraine go home. And it's like, No, I'm sick help me. And there was never a clear indication of something that they were really like, Okay, this is it. This is how I can help you. They just wanted to administer medications all the time. And so the ER kind of just came to something that I had to run to, and they would feed me prednisone and steroids and then they would send me home with them to taper off. And in fact, I was on prednisone for a long time to bring down the inflammation. Thank God I am no longer on prednisone. It's been a very long time since I've had to take it since I have adapted to this way of eating. And so I was on prednisone and spironolactone and that foreman. Well, when we were trying to find if I had diabetes insipidus or not, they actually gave me a medication to find if it was coming from the pituitary if it was coming from the kidneys like what was the issue here. And so as they gave me that medication, I stopped to urinate And I could not go, Well, I became very, very, very ill I was sweating. I was very sick, I was on the couch. I thought that literally I that I could have died. It was horrible. I had to strip down completely. I couldn't stand out, I was completely weak. They're like, we're going to the hospital. So they had to carry me to the car. I actually Excuse me, but I actually had vomited before. And so they they knew that something was definitely wrong. So we went to the ER, they administered me that night found out that my sodium had dropped tremendously. And they said, If I wouldn't have come in, then I could have slipped into coma. And things could have just gone from there. So they they kept me overnight, they gave me fluids hydrated my body again, you thought you would think I was dehydrated, because I wasn't urinating. But I was actually still dehydrated, my potassium was low dehydration, sodium, all of that I was just my electrolytes were completely off. my kidneys just didn't know what to do with the water. And so, so yeah, things like that I would swell up with water, my body wouldn't know what to do with it. And so the ER kind of came that comfort zone for me to run to when things were when things were wrong.

 

Maya Acosta  26:29

And at this time you were in your early 20s, I'm assuming.

 

Erica Taft  26:32

Yes, I was. I was and it was scary. And that's when I was dating now my husband, and he was there. When I went through all of this, he was there the night before he actually brought me home, I had been in a play and everything. And then that next day, he stayed with me a little bit. And then that's when we went to the hospital. So it was

 

Maya Acosta  26:59

You were diagnosed with Hashimotos. And then you were diagnosed with lupus. Did when the lupus diagnosis came up, were you able to then say or to tie a lot of the symptoms in the elements that you were dealing with? Were they related to lupus or were they just all kind of separate?

 

Erica Taft  27:16

They just made it sound like they were all over the place. And one right after the other one right after the other year, go to this specialists go to that specialist. Oh, here's your new diagnosis. Here's your new diagnosis. Here's another one. And I knew that there was something that they weren't finding still. And when they found the lupus mix, connective tissue and all of that I thought, okay, there's where it lies. I knew something had been underlying. So because when I would go in the sun, my face would flare really bad, it would swell extremely, my hands would swell extremely. We couldn't go to hot tropical places. If we did, we couldn't be there for long. And I love the sun now I love it. I soak it up every chance I get. But before it was very, there was a lot of chronic pain for me. And so they diagnosed me at that same time. The doctor looked at me and said, Do you have the probability to live six to 10 years, and I looked at my father, and tears just swelled my eyes. And I just remember how defeating that fell over my entire beam. And I became really scared. So they started talking to me about medication, you can prolong it. If you take this medication, and they started going over things with me, you'll have to go to a hearing doctor ever so often and an eye doctor every so often, to make sure that these things aren't declining. And so I that scared me. And then she there were two doctors in the room, a male and a female. And so then the female spoke. And she started talking to me about the chances of infertility already, but then then increasing with the medication that it would become a lot more difficult and worse, miscarriages things such as that. My life has been about thinking about having a little boy or a little girl. I mean, that's what God put us on this earth to do. Right. So something that I really looked forward to. And she told me the complications and so I did not agree to any medications that day. And I went home and I talked about it with my parents. I talked about it with my husband. I remember taking him to the lake. Sorry, because we had been talking about getting married. And I said, I don't know if you want to bring on my case. I'm, I'm a rough case. And he said, we're gonna get through this, we're gonna we're gonna do this. So I decided not to do the medication, I started adapting more healthy lifestyle changes and what I could do eliminated things that gave me flares. And, you know, like, I progressed with that journey that way. And it really, really, really helped. We started eating at home, way more. And I remember getting messages from the doctor, you know, this medication is important. You need to take this medication, this medication is important. Like it's urgent that you go on it. They were talking to my mother, and they were trying to persuade her like, she needs to go on this medication. I said, I am not. I'm not doing it. And I'm really happy that I stood my ground. There was a there was a time that I became so frustrated and tired that I almost gave it up. And I'm, my family said, I think you need to stick to your ground. You made your decision, and you need to keep going. I did and I'm happy that I did.

 

Maya Acosta  31:18

When I was in my late 20s. I had a very good friend who also didn't know she was battling with lupus and I was sitting we were both teachers at the time. And I would see her just up and down up and down and moods and health issues and couldn't figure out what was wrong. And then she was married and couldn't have children. And then eventually she was diagnosed with lupus. And at the time it was like Well, what do you do? You eventually discovered Dr. Brooke Goldner, who herself would have battled with lupus early in her marriage, I believe. And how did you learn about her?

 

Erica Taft  31:53

I was just researching, like, protocols, lupus protocols, because my journey started. A long time ago, I started becoming obsessed with YouTube channels and YouTubers and things like that. And then I came across when I was diagnosed with hashimotos. I came across Dr. Isabella Wentz. And then I was diagnosed, you know, like, and then I met a doctor in Tennessee who said you have a histamine intolerance and leaky gut. So I'm like, Oh, I need to do a histamine diet and the leaky gut diet. And so I literally did everything out there. Everything is a book. So then when I got diagnosed with lupus, I was like lupus protocol, lupus diet, what do I do? And so later I came across Dr. Brooke Goldner. I was like, oh, my goodness, you know, like, she reversed her lupus and I had already started improving. But when I came across her protocol, I'm like, I need to do this. So I didn't do it the whole time. It was a lot for my body, I had a lot of trouble digesting all the fat and, and the quantity was a lot for me, I became bloated. So I modified it a little bit, I brought it down to where I can build back up. And now I eat two pounds of greens a day. So I mean, there, there's no issue there. I can eat greens all day long. But I did it for 37 days. And it was a great eye opener. For me, I limited my my fruit dramatically. The beginning year of 2020. 2020 was a huge year for us that we made a lot of shifts. And it was in July 2020 that I found out, I no longer am a positive. So all of that was, you know, switch. Of course, it wasn't Dr. Goldner to get me over the hump, because before I had done so many switches already. But she was definitely an enlightenment and an encouragement. I bought her book, I read her book, I watched countless videos, I would watch her Q and A's. They taught me so much. And she gets on there and she shares free information. You're like, Oh, I didn't know that. Oh, and it does that. And you just want to keep going and watch it. It's great.

 

Maya Acosta  34:06

Yeah, you were on this path of discovering what worked for you anyway, you were already, you know, in the sense taking control of your own health. When you returned for your labs in July of 2020. Did you have a particular physician who was already working with you and saw kind of a reversal? I guess you could say of your lupus? 

 

Erica Taft  34:24

No, actually, I had seen her in May for the first time. And so we were kind of still trying to come to a common ground of the things, her approach. And I was a little hesitant on the approach. So it kind of prolonged our journey together. And I actually didn't stick with her journey that she wanted me to take. Insane that she ended up getting more blood tests drawn for me in July to see where I was standing being one of the ones where ama, and sure enough, when we got the results, it came back, you know, nothing. So I thought, Oh my gosh, this is the first time. And I was so nervous to even take this test. I was pushing it off pushing it off. I'm like, oh, my goodness, oh, my goodness. And so when we took it, and those results came back, I freaked out, I freaked out. It was a glorious day, let me tell you,

 

Maya Acosta  35:33

I guess in some ways you can say that you no longer have lupus?

 

Erica Taft  35:38

Is that something you can say I longer have lupus, it's no longer active in my body, it's no longer eating my tissues. And now I can restore and heal and keep running forward to where then everything else is just going to come back into play and into into coming the way that God created us.

 

Maya Acosta  35:57

Yeah. So tell our listeners what really worked for you. Because in your history of battling with all these conditions, you try various type kind of holistic approaches different types of elimination diets, at least, that's what it sounded like. And you did start to go towards a plant based diet. But what really out of that diet really worked for you.

 

Erica Taft  36:19

The plant based I would say noticing eliminating cooked foods really, really helped me. I noticed that when I ate cooked foods, especially with oil, oil was the worst, it would flare me up in a second, even just cooking. And so in a plant based I would say juicing, though, if I had to pick one, it was the one to call my body Give me those macronutrients that I needed to fill myself and to hydrate on a cellular level, because that was something that I suffered with a lot was electrolyte balance. So those juices automatically filled my cells and gave me the energy that I needed to keep going forward. And so my brain was hydrated, my cells were hydrated, I felt great, my skin cleared up. And it so I would say juices.

 

Maya Acosta  37:13

Exactly. There are a lot of things that are so powerful that have helped people. And then of course, we never try to make any claims by I love to hear testimonies of how other people have benefited from certain approaches. So another thing we have in common is that we both sort of started attaining some of our information from YouTube. And we learned about some people in the raw food community.

 

Erica Taft  37:36

Absolutely.

 

Maya Acosta  37:37

So what got me on board with Banana Girl when I heard her say that he can be healthy, and be athletic and have high levels of energy without having to eat animals. Like once I heard that I think I've watched just a handful of her videos and overnight I stopped consuming animal products then I went raw till four, which means all your foods are raw till 4pm. So tell us about your journey with raw foods.

 

Erica Taft  38:09

Oh my goodness. So to get to raw foods took me a while because so many doctors were my inspiration. I learned about Michael Greger fell in love with his work. And I noticed like the different content like, you know, there's more beta carotene and cooked carrots versus raw carrots. And there's more in raw broccoli, and raw peppers, like don't cook your peppers whatsoever, or they lose their value. So all of these things were very interesting to me. But his biggest cake was as long as you eat them, you're good to go. And then I learned from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish, about the brain, and how all of the food can affect the brain. And so I fell in love with them. And I don't agree with everything from like Dr. Isabella Wentz because she also wanted to incorporate a lot of meats, and different things like that. So I withdrew from, you know, that information aspect of it. So Dr. Isabella Wentz was another big one. And I just started consuming myself with all of these that gave me knowledge. And I loved it. So then I came across Fully Raw Kristina Actually, no, in 2019, I went to a detox program or a place that helps you detoxify the body and people were getting like really disease and their liver was shrinking, like in 10 days. And I knew that's where I needed to be when I learned about how the gut lining restores itself. And I thought, Oh, my goodness, I need to go so I went to California. And I learned about more about the raw food and what it can do for you. Daniel and Jessica are huge there and they now oversee the Bellavita. And so I knew that that Something I was intrigued by I learned about the raw living enzymes and not cooking food too long. And I already knew it was beneficial to me because how the cooked foods harmed me. And so when I adopted the raw and the enemas they gave me huge relief while I was purging the toxins and putting more good things in to replace those back where the balance came in. So then I became a high raw foodie. And everything I ate was high, high, high raw juice galore, low caffeine, things like that. So my lifestyle really changed. No more sugar, I went completely vegan completely. And my health started soaring. For the first time it started soaring in 2019. I had crazy, sinusitis, harmful like chronic painful, couldn't smell swollen face, swollen lymph nodes. And that gave me huge relief. And then in 2020, we came through the whole purging sugar, changing plastic to glass, getting rid of toxins, toxic makeup, toxic skincare, toxic hairspray, all the whole ordeal. And then recently, I came across fully raw Christina, I already thought I wanted to do 100% raw, at least starting this year just to see how I do. And my husband and I agreed on it. I came across Fully Raw Kristina, I'm like, oh my god. This is wonderful. So I fell in love with her aspect of things and how she viewed life and viewed plants have viewed fruits and health. And she inspired me to think, okay, I could do this, I can definitely do this. Yeah,

 

Maya Acosta  41:57

It's so important to understand intuitively what works for your body. And so all of that food just really reduced your inflammation, how's your celiac disease?

 

Erica Taft  42:08

It's completely under control. Like there's nothing. Now I have not touched gluten. Like with my genes. That's another thing that people really should probably look into our gene mutations, because that also has a lot of underlying factors of illnesses. And you can adjust a lot by eating and selecting different foods as well.

 

Maya Acosta  42:30

I wonder if you know this from your training in nutrition, but that, you know, people when they say, you know, I I'm staying away from gluten, they think like pastas and breads, but I heard that, you know, a lot of processed food has gluten.

 

Erica Taft  42:44

A lot and they will try to say vegan, kosher plant based all of this. You're like, Oh, it's plant based. Oh, it's vegan. Oh, it has to be gluten free? No, no, it doesn't. It doesn't make sure you look for that contains the word. And it should tell you in the ingredient label. I became obsessed with reading ingredients. And let me tell you, I've made mistakes. And we were actually on vacation one time and I ate cookies with gluten in them. They were in the same container. My mom, my mom had to have the same one was gluten free one was not. And they were the same color cart in everything. And I ate the non gluten. I mean the one that gluten and gluten. That was one of my episodes to the ER. That's horrible. prednisone was administered. 

 

Maya Acosta  43:37

You know how there's that saying that you never knew how bad you felt until you felt better?

 

Erica Taft  43:42

Yes.

 

Maya Acosta  43:43

A lot of times you live with a condition not knowing how that is affecting your quality of life until it's gone.

 

Erica Taft  43:50

You don't want to live life. You don't want to clean your house. You don't want to work your job. You don't want to be with people. You want to seclude yourself. It's just a natural way of living and then you think I'll never want to do that. I don't want to clean I don't want to see people I don't want to interact. It's just because you're so miserable. And it's because you're in pain.

 

Maya Acosta  44:16

I wanted to hear what foods you enjoy on a raw food diet. And if you can give our listeners some tips.

 

Erica Taft  44:23

I have a very much of the same protocol every day I wake up I drink 40 ounces 30 to 40 ounces of hot lemon water. Warm I do 16, 10 to 16 ounces of celery juice 10 to 16 ounces of cucumber juice all in the morning green juice. I love, love, love love greens. So I am a very simple eater. I on the go. It's very easy for me to take a huge hardest celery, take just whole heads of romaine, I take them out and I just eat them by the bunch cabbage I eat them. like apples I just I love eating foods and whole I'll eat an entire broccoli head. Now, my husband is a little different. He likes his cabbage and his salad. Now he is also switching to more simplified foods, but avocados he's obsessed with and he loves mixing his avocado and spices on his cabbage. Before we were doing extensive like huge salads we would put every topping that you can imagine on and those that don't want to waste their juice pulp, you could take the juice pop and add different spices like whether you're wanting like a Mexican flavor, you can add cumin like a taco pop, and cayenne pepper and onion, diced onion, you can put salon tro in there, mix it up, pack it in and make it nice and damp for you so it sticks together. Many people like you what you could do is grind it in your food processor with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to give it like that crunch in it that meaty flavor. And mix it until it's all nice and pureed. Same with beet pulp, you can mash it with avocado, add some cilantro in there some salt and pepper, put it on your salad, love doing raw chips in the dehydrator, you can do sweet potatoes, yakka chips, banana chips, carrot chips, kale chips, whatever suits your heart, throw it in your dehydrator, you will be impressed it'll taste good.

 

Maya Acosta  46:31

If you want to touch a little bit on forest bathing and then help people can and then how can people reach you if they want to learn more about you because I think you said you were working on your website or your Instagram.

 

Erica Taft  46:42

My Instagram, I'm still trying to learn to become social media savvy, I'm not the best at it. And I'm a little sensitive when it comes to EMF. So I try to withdraw as much as I can. I know that has a lot of effects with a health and mine in particular, so I try my best to withdraw. But for those that are wanting to find me You can find me on Instagram @erica_Walker_Taft, which is e ri CA, underscore WALKER underscore, T A f t. And the username is Erica//overcomeautoimmune. You can also find me on Facebook @overcomeautoimmune where I give tips. And I share inspiration and hope and maybe things that I'm doing throughout the day if you catch my story. And you can hold on to those @overcomeautoimmune as well. I'm working on a book right now. So hopefully I'll have a book coming out soon that I'll be able to release to anybody who is interested.

 

Maya Acosta  48:00

Yay, we'll have to have you come back on and talk about that. So you kind of kind of bring it back full circle and how we kind of started the conversation with your training now in holistic as a holistic nutritionist. This journey that you've been on most of your adult life has really led you in the direction of wanting to work with other people and to now offer support.

 

Erica Taft  48:23

Oh, yes, because I feel like I can offer a lot of people some help. And some hope and inspiration inside experience. I have really been through a lot where even one night, I seriously told Lord, I said, God, I will understand if I don't wake up in the morning. And with my whole heart, I really didn't want to. And that same evening, my mom woke up in the middle of the night my grandmother woke up in the middle of the night. And they both said that they just felt compelled compelled to pray for me pray over me that night. And I woke up that next morning. So I mean when it comes to things like that, I know what it feels like when you're down to the last straw, and you just want to throw it in the journey is very difficult. And so with the knowledge and the experience that I've been given, I want to help relay that to other people to give them hope that they can get through it too. And that they can also be disease free and happy and healthy and free. 

 

Maya Acosta  49:39

Well, your story your journey has been truly inspirational and I can't wait for more people to hear about it. We'll look forward to your book as well. 

 

Erica Taft  49:48

Thank you. I'm excited.

 

Maya Acosta  49:50

Well, thank you Erica, for sharing your story with us and for spending some time here today.

 

Erica Taft  49:55

Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

 

Maya Acosta  49:58

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