Welcome to the pure side of life where everything is healthy and good for you!
Hello, my name is Ella Leché and thank you for being here at Pure Ella where food is medicine in a very delicious way! I healed myself from a rare ‘medically incurable’ illness with food. It is the reason I love sharing healthy recipes because food can heal and transform our lives, yet you don’t have to sacrifice on taste and the pleasure of great meals and desserts! Want to know more… read my story below and follow along my journey of pure living one post at a time and connect with me via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for lots of daily inspiration! ;)
I used to think I had good eating habits; I ate salads, I drank water ~ but I also consumed too much of other foods that eventually tried to kill me. Too much wheat, processed foods, dairy, meat and other foods that were doing my body more harm than good. But I didn’t know that… and I wouldn’t know that for years to come.
About 10 years ago, when my daughter was 4 months old, I started getting mysterious symptoms in my body. I had difficulty breathing, chewing foods, and swallowing. I could barely form words and my speech was slurred and barely audible at times. I wasn’t able to even fake a smile.
My limbs were also starting to get weak. One day, I was lifting my infant daughter out of her crib, she was in my arms and my knees went so weak that I fell to the hard wooden floor with her still in my arms. She landed on my chest and was unhurt, but my head was smashed, bleeding from a cut. That was the scariest time of my life – not being able to trust my own body, not being able to hold my own baby. I couldn’t control my body, it was foreign to me and I couldn’t manage with simple tasks, like brushing my teeth, holding a mug of tea, walking on my own strength, and I needed help in getting up from a seated position.
I entered a dark phase of my life, imprisoning myself in my own home, afraid to leave the safety of my own misery. I spiraled into suicidal thoughts. Where had my life gone? Where were my dreams of new motherhood, of laughing and playing with my new baby?
It wasn’t till 16 months later that I was finally diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular autoimmune illness that medically has no cure: Myasthenia Gravis.
I was already on a myriad of antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and insomnia pills, but after my diagnosis, my doctors added steroids and immunosuppressants to the mix. But no matter what I did, I kept getting worse.
At some point, completely fed up, I realized if I wanted to improve my health, I’d have to do it on my own.
I felt like I was really all alone who knew what I was going through… and these ‘solutions’ were only bandaids for a deeper problem. I even asked for help seeking spiritual guidance… but there was just silence… a moment later I realized I have to just do this on my own!
Slowly, I began to transition in my life, first through acceptance, then love for myself. I started to listen to my body and look at the whole big picture; my lifestyle, my sleeping patterns, my stress level etc. I got really curious in my health (or lack thereof) and began to research a lot about my condition. MG is a neuromuscular autoimmune disease and the word “immune”stuck out to me. I’d heard about the immune system before, of course, and wanted to know more.
When I read about the immune system for a bit, I learned that 80 percent of the immune system was in the gut. I thought “that’s where the food I eat goes” and just like that, a lightbulb went on over my head. It was the food I was eating that was making me sick!
That was a huge breakthrough moment when I made the food-health connection. I was still very sick but now I had hope. I started to research more about the healing power of food. And I learned that it wasn’t so much about eating the right foods but it was also about removing the bad foods from your diet. And first the thought of removing something that I loved to eat scared me. But I felt that there was nothing else I could do, but try. I could just try and see if it would help me or continue suffering and never be that happy mommy my daughter deserved that could lift her on the swings and read fairytales to her (yes, I literally could not form words when I read aloud…) It came down to a choice whether I wanted to change or not. This was way more difficult to put into practice than to just say.
I realized that a better life was right in my own right hand and what it put into my mouth.
I started to remove the obvious foods: processed foods, sugar, white flour, artificial flavouring, artificial colouring, preservatives, sulphites etc. I began to read every label and researched a lot about food.
I began an elimination diet and removed top allergen foods such as: eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten and sugar for two weeks, tracking how I felt throughout. I learned that I had some food intolerances to these foods and they really affected my symptoms. When I eliminated them, I felt a bit better. But it was so hard—I kept focusing on what I was giving up. Food is so emotional, and I’d get connected to the foods I was eating, even if I knew they weren’t good for me.
This was definitely not overnight success. It took me years to slowly improve, and it was usually two steps back and one step forward, but I kept going. As I started getting stronger physically and emotionally, life started to be more positive and fun again.
I now see my disease as a blessing in disguise.
I just wish I tuned into my body early on and really listened to it before a terribly destructive illness destroyed my life. Going back to my 20s, I realized that I had a lot of stress in my life mostly due to taking on too much as a business owner, a lot of anxiety resulted from this as well as insomnia and panic attacks. I also developed bad eating habits; I often skipped meals and didn’t pay close attention to making sure I get proper nutrition throughout the day. I wasn’t even into junk food or fast food but I still neglected my diet in other ways. I definitely ate too much sugar for example – I always carried a chocolate bar in my purse just in case I needed a little pick me up. Now I know just how important it is to cut sugar from you life. It’s just not sweet at all when you can’t be fully healthy and happy!
Had I listened to my body’s early cries for help and made some changes to improve my health and lifestyle this devastating illness probably wouldn’t have happened. Food is now literally my medicine, but it’s fun (definitely not boring) and I always leave room for dessert!
I’ve tapped into an incredible rainbow-colored world of healthier, unprocessed, organic, plant-empowered foods that are good for your health and well-being. I eat about 90 percent vegan whole foods, which include lots of beans, lentils, a bit of tofu, and dairy-free milks. For the other 10 percent, I eat honey, butter, or ghee, and I eat about two servings of fish a week. This includes only wild-caught small fish such as salmon, certain white fishes like haddock, and some shellfish (I rarely eat tuna or other large fish as they are high in mercury). I prefer to eat low-glycemic grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and oats and sometimes ancient grains such as spelt and rye. These two are the only glutinous grains I eat, usually in home-baked sourdough bread.
I don’t eat any refined sugars, instead looking for low-glycemic sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, and honey. Beyond eating low-sugar desserts, I always try to incorporate protein in them. When you incorporate protein (in the form of nuts for example), you feel fuller and happier with less.
I’ve learned that the right foods can reverse health problems, treat numerous health issues and become a great preventative measure for all types of illnesses and health problems down the road. Remember, just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Even common symptoms such as anxiety and depression can spiral down if you’re not participating in a healthy lifestyle.
I practically had to relearn everything I knew about eating properly and I started embracing this new way of eating. Saying no to certain foods didn’t mean I was depriving myself but rather that I made better, more nourishing food choices. I even enjoyed desserts again – the sweet treats I was now eating were made with amazing quality ingredients. And best of all I didn’t feel sick or guilty after having a treat.
Now I absolutely love my life! I am now a mom of two beautiful girls, an almost 10 year old and a 3 year old and I’m the luckiest and happiest person I know! I’m also so grateful for this amazing community of supporters, for a great opportunity to now be a published author of my cookbook Cut the Sugar and for all those little things in life that I do not take for granted. I wake up each day with a grateful heart.
Disclaimer: All information presented on this website is for informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and is not intended to be a substitute or replacement for any medical treatment. Please seek the advice of a healthcare professional for your specific health concerns.