I recently interviewed LaShonda Renea Maxfield, who shared her personal journey through the pandemic and her bout with COVID-19 in March 2021. She reflected on the irony of contracting the virus a year after its outbreak, especially after diligently maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent it.
Before the pandemic, LaShonda was on a plant-based diet. Having undergone surgery two years before the outbreak, she was determined to be in the best shape of her life. She believed that maintaining good health could be a protective shield against the virus, echoing the prevalent thought at the time that healthier individuals either wouldn’t contract the virus or would experience milder symptoms if they did. Her motto during the initial stages of the pandemic was clear: “Don’t get sick and be in the best shape of your life.”
Despite her precautions, she believes she might have contracted COVID-19 either from her doctor’s office or her swim instructor. The symptoms hit her hard. Within a few days, she felt lethargic and flu-like symptoms took over. The worst came when her vision, once 20/20 post-LASIK, began deteriorating rapidly, an alarming symptom that no one seemed to be discussing. Moreover, she lost her taste and smell, which is common, but uniquely, she also lost her appetite for fruits and vegetables.
As the symptoms piled on, the advice she received was to stay home, rest, and take over-the-counter painkillers. It was a harrowing time for her, with the fear of the unknown looming large.
However, a silver lining appeared right when she needed it most. Before contracting the virus, LaShonda had enrolled in the Plant Pure Jumpstart program. The program promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet and its potential to alleviate certain medical conditions. As a participant, LaShonda received prepackaged plant-based meals and was paired with a plant-based doctor for guidance. To her astonishment and delight, her assigned doctor was none other than Dr. Klapper. Recognizing her strained voice during a telehealth call, Dr. Klapper offered invaluable advice to help her combat the respiratory issues caused by the virus.
Before COVID-19 disrupted her life, LaShonda’s diet was rooted in plant-based nutrition. Occasionally indulging in vegan junk food, she primarily ate to fuel her intense workout sessions, as she trained for triathlons. This sudden and unexpected bout with the virus felt like a gut punch, especially considering the extensive precautions she had taken based on the available guidance at the time.
LaShonda’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the unpredictable nature of the virus, but also the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of community and expert guidance during challenging times.
But I know you want to know how this story ends.
Navigating her way through a post-COVID world, LaShonda’s struggles intensified. Within three months of her diagnosis, she faced the relentless symptoms of long COVID. Attempting to find solace, she turned to the “Plant Pure” program for ten days. It was during this time that an unexpected twist occurred. LaShonda, who had previously detested celery, found it to be the only food she could stomach. She laughingly shared, “I craved celery like candy.”
Intriguingly, the path towards healing led her to revisit an old dietary choice: raw veganism. She fondly remembered starting her vegan journey in 2006 by going “cold turkey” on raw foods for six months. With this experience under her belt, LaShonda committed to a raw diet again, hoping to alleviate her long COVID symptoms. By the 8th or 9th day, the effects were undeniable. Brain fog, fatigue, and aches vanished, and she experienced a dramatic reduction in inflammation. “Every symptom I had was completely gone, except for some vision issues which were improving,” she reflected.
Curious minds would want to know – what was she eating during this raw vegan journey, especially after her surprising affinity for celery?
LaShonda’s Raw Vegan Diet Choice to Overcome Long COVIDs:
- No Grains: She decided not to consume any grains, especially those that needed sprouting like sprouted rice or oatmeal. This was because she wanted to avoid the temptation of consuming the warm versions of these foods.
- Avoiding Certain Sprouted Foods: She also avoided sprouted beans for the same reason.
- Liquid Intake: In the initial weeks, she consumed a lot of liquids, particularly in the mornings. However, she didn’t make smoothies as she wanted to chew her food, believing it would make her feel more satisfied and give her time to reflect on her dietary choices.
- Dinner: She opted for large salads every night.
- Lunch: Typically consisted of lettuce wraps.
- Simplicity Over Gourmet: She emphasized simplicity in her meals, avoiding gourmet options. Anything she consumed had to have one main ingredient.
- Avoiding Sugars and Sweeteners: LaShonda refrained from consuming dates, cacao, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and date syrup.
- Basic Raw Vegan Diet: Her diet was primarily comprised of fruits and vegetables.
LaShonda’s story is a testament to the healing power of food and the resilience of the human spirit. Her experience serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for many navigating their health challenges, highlighting the potential benefits of a raw vegan diet.
Learn more about and from LaShonda:
- LaShonda’s book “The Raw Vegan RAWvolution” is available for purchase. You can find the link for it here https://www.instagram.com/primarilyplantbasedvegan
- Her free 5 day vegan course can be found here: https://forms.gle/58kqua8psgD4hRq77
- Her free course, book and resources. All can be found on her website: www.primarilyplantbasedvegan.com
Follow her on social media:
- Instagram: @primarilyplantbasedvegan https://www.instagram.com/primarilyplantbasedvegan/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@primarilyplant-basedvegan