March 20th, 2011

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We don’t usually write much about the health benefits and vitamin contents of the food on this blog. By now, everyone is tired of hearing about whole, fresh food in comparison to anything processed. These things have been said countless times before, and I have to admit that I was hesitant to write this post, which involves tales of health, interwoven with those of food. Golubka is, after all, a place for sharing tasty recipes and pretty photographs. It is about inspiration in the kitchen and an optimistic approach to food. It is most definitely not for preaching about health, as everyone has a different tactic, their own ways that work personally for them. However, I decided that the outcome of this story is promising, full of hope, and something I would love to share.

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Up until recently, we have been confident that one’s lifestyle is an absolute indicator of their health. A couple of months ago, though, we discovered that there are situations, in which a diet of vibrant food and a healthy dose of weekly exercise may not be enough to sustain health. I’m talking about a genetic deficiency, which recently turned up in my husband’s family and affected its every member.

Alpha 1 Antitrypsin deficiency. Never heard of it? Neither did we, it is extremely rare and not much is known about it. Basically, this deficiency means that one’s body cannot produce a certain protein, which leaves some organs unprotected. Especially the lungs.
After getting tested, my husband found out that his lung capacity had gone down significantly. We were faced with the choice between putting him on serious medication or taking a chance and trying to further optimize his health without the “help” of inhalers and injections.

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Because the inherited disorder is largely unexplored, the treatment is limited and was never proven to be effective or safe. There are many people who, based on their condition, don’t have a choice and have to follow doctor’s orders. In our case though, I believed that we still had an option, as my husband never had any symptoms.

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As it often happens when it comes to medical issues, we went in opposite directions. He started the prescribed treatment, while I read up on the disorder, and researched ways to improve his lung capacity and overall immunity.
But it wasn’t my persuasive ability that made my husband stop the treatment after a couple of weeks. In the period of time between learning about his deficiency and finally quitting the medication, he went from being a young, healthy, sport-oriented, and happy man to a groggy insomniac with constant headaches, a foggy mind, and permanent bags under his eyes. Turns out that his doctor forgot to mention one of the most common side effects of the medication – sleep disruption. Instead, he prescribed more medication – sleeping pills – which never worked, but completed the poor guy’s misery. After hitting rock bottom, my exhausted husband stopped taking all medication and went with a different program.

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How true it is that negative events can provide a proper push towards something positive and new. Through my research, I learned about Alexandra Strelnikova’s amazing breathing exercises, which we now practice on a daily basis. They do great things for our energy level, and keep my husband’s lungs in shape. We renewed our daily yoga routine, which we usually do after putting Paloma to sleep. We found an amazing, open minded doctor, who utilizes many traditional and modern wellness techniques along with more conventional medicine.

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As for our diet, the most important thing we’ve done is put our juicer back to work. I’m not sure why I’ve neglected it for so long, as having a glass of fresh juice every morning is the best possible way to start a day. We’ve definitely felt an improvement in the way we feel and look after starting to juice daily. Not to mention all the fun I’ve had with creating new veggie to fruit formulas. My favourite is an emerald-coloured juice with all kinds of leafy greens, cucumbers, apples, citrus and ginger. It’s got a nice bite and wakes us right up. We also love the combination of beat and pineapple or tangerine juice, and, of course, the classic carrot, apple, and ginger. We continue drinking green smoothies, Paloma’s favourite, along with more indulgent ones like Bunny Spice and Nick’s #7.

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I’ve been working on keeping our diet delicious and exciting, even though we’ve been trying to eat less and healthier than ever. Lately, we can’t get enough of green mix salads with local fruit, hemp seeds, and a drizzle of truffle oil.
I’ve started buying whole cases of young Thai coconuts. After a long work day, opening a bunch of them takes away some stress and frustration. The coconut water often replaces lunch, while the meat goes into all kinds of tasty dishes.

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Two months of the Life Force machine (one of the wonders in our new doctor’s office), extensive breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, homeopathic remedies, juices, fasting, and a serene ski vacation in Utah – and I have my husband back. Finally, we beat it. He is sleeping again and coming back to his true self.

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Every day, we work very hard on increasing his lung capacity without the dreaded steroids. The true test will take place in April. That is when his appointment with his pulmonologist is scheduled. We are full of hope.

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For now, here is our favourite green juice. I don’t measure the ingredients precisely, and it will still be very good with small deviations in proportion. Please share any of your favourite juice or smoothie combinations, we look forward to hearing from you.

Emerald Juice
1 very large bunch of celery
1 large bunch of cilantro or parsley or both
4-5 small to medium apples
2-3 grapefruits
1-2 handfuls of any green leafy vegetables
1-2 cucumbers
a piece of fresh ginger root – to taste

Juice, pour into an airtight jar or bottle, and keep refrigerated. Enjoy throughout the day.

Tags: drink, raw food, recipe

  • VeganLisa says:

    I’m so happy to hear that your husband is feeling better. The healing power of food never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it will inspire others to be their own health advocates.

  • Jennifurla says:

    What an inspiration, you are a great partner too. Love to have some fresh juice in the morning.

  • Ina Todoran says:

    Gorgeous colors and photos!

  • Flo Makanai says:

    Thank you for publishing that post, and I’m happy for you that the news are good! You’re a fantastic team, you and your husband (and your daughters!).
    And the pictures, fantastic!
    I have a question : how do you make your juices? What kind of machine exactly? Because my juicer makes me waste so much pulp I really don’t use it much anymore…

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Golubka:

    I love your recipe for the emrald juice. I am rather new at juicing but I just bought a breville juice fountain elite 800jexl and this was the first juice recipe I tried. It was yummy!

  • Sarah says:

    I truly, truly believe in this kind of medicine. I’m so happy you found a solution that works for you! Wonderful blog, as always, and I don’t think the “health story” takes away from things at all! Have a great week :)

  • jacqui says:

    Such an inspiring story! What we put into our bodies can have such a powerful effect on our health and well being. I’m so glad your husband took charge of his own health and is feeling much better!

  • Linda says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! More and more do I hear these kind of stories! Your blog and photographs are inspiring. One question, where do you get your glasses (the taller ones) from? I’d love to get some to drink my smoothies out of!

  • Anonymous says:

    So glad to here your husband is ok. I will keep him in my prayers. We, too, have started juicing and notice a big change in how we feel.

  • Nadia says:

    I do hope and believe everything will be ok with your husband! The path you follow is the best possible one and it’s great that you convinced him to take it.

    I will check how you can improve his health even more in my books and will mail it to you :)

    Good luck!

  • Sweet Faery says:

    I’m really glad for both of you. Traditional medicine can be awfully overwhelming and not of great help, I know what I’m talking about. I hope everything will be ok from now on.
    As my favourite smoothie, these days I can’t get tired of spinach leaves mixed with 2 or 3 ripe kiwis. With no added sweetener or nut milk, it’s fresh and really energizing!

  • Sécotine says:

    What a nice post today ! I’m happy to learn that your husband is going better. Please let us know what will happen in april.
    We also use what we call alternative medicine even if it’s difficult to say “no, thank you” to your doctor. I have to search and read a lot to find my own way for each disease, but I think all the efforts are worth.

  • Angela says:

    What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing. I wish you and your husband all the best.

    Thanks for inspiring me to dig out my juicer!

  • Callie! says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring post! I think it’s nice to drop some nutrition knowledge every now and again, for you never know who you may be able to help! I’m sure everyone will read this, and in the end, feel just as inspired as I do :)

  • A delicious recipe for juice called A-C-E here in Germany is simply a carrot, an apple and an orange. One of my favorite juice blends.

  • Golubka says:

    Thanks so much everyone for all your warm wishes and support. My husband is overwhelmed and grateful for all of your amazing comments!

    Flo, thank you! We use a Green Power Kempo Pro juicer, here it is . You can also get it in 220V.

    Linda, the glasses are from TJmaxx. They are made in Poland from recycled glass. We love them too :)

    Nadia, thank you so much for your email! You are the sweetest.

    Sweet Faery, the smoothie sounds delicious, thanks for sharing.

    Theartfulgardener, oh yes, what a delicious combination!

  • I’m currently on a juice fast, it’s hard to stay awake! lol but your beautiful juices are keeping me encouraged

    I just started this healthy food photo sharing site: http://healthfreakfood.com/

    I would love it if you submitted your pretty food photos! :)

  • Sous Chef Sean says:

    Glad to hear your husband decided to go the natural route…skiing high up in the snow covered peaks can certainly heal the body, mind and soul. Combined with your juices, no doubt he’s back in full form. Great story about how we do have alternatives to the traditional route of all the overly and easily prescribed Rx’s!

  • Found you just right now. All of your recipes and photos are so mouthwatering that I almost went to your whole blog! The drinks, the desserts, icecreams, quiches. Sooo good and makes happy by looking at! I’m your newest follower!

  • Andre says:

    Just tried your green juice recipe – so good! Thank you

  • Silani Wahlgren says:

    This post came at a perfect time for me. THanks for posting. (I’ve been juicing and using other movement and breathing methods with my husband and your post gave me some wonderful backup)

  • Heidi says:

    Oh my goodness. I JUST found out that antitrypsin deficiency runs in my family. This post is right on time! Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, it seems to be all too common. Medical drugs being the only answer these modern “doctors” know.
    How blessed is your husband to have you in his life!
    Good luck on this journey.

  • Golubka says:

    Thanks again for the wonderful comments, everyone.

    Jennifer and Jaclyn, I’ve done a juice fast before and I know exactly what you mean! It is almost impossible to stay out of bed :)

    Lapetitecuisine, thank you so much and welcome!

  • I like it because i was seeking for such type of info.

    I hope it benefits all one who land up here.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • brigette b says:

    I like carrot-grapefruit-tangerine-ginger. I just had a big Mason jar full of it. It’s like sunshine in a glass.

  • Golubka says:

    Brigette, right now I’m “easing off” of 10 days on the Master Cleanse, and your carrot-grapefruit-tangerine combination has become my favourite. So unexpected and yummy, thank you!

  • Kasey says:

    Inspiring post. I have been considering purchasing a juicer for some time and you have definitely renewed my enthusiasm. Glad your husband was able to overcome his health problems!

  • Tunacupcakes says:

    So sorry to hear about your husband! I deal with my own auto immune condition (Crohn’s) and I wish us both good health in the future!

  • Coco says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the link to this post G! How great that you and I can see healing in our husbands just by changing their diet. I am thankful your husband is reaping the benefits of fresh, whole foods! Prayers to you as you continue your journey.

  • prolix says:

    The juice in the pomegranate is great because:Slows down plaque build-up in the arteries….Contains antioxidants that protect the blood vessels and increases blood circulation

  • amit says:

    Well done for all your hard work in providing this high quality blog.

    Isuzu T-Series Turbocharger

  • Anonymous says:

    Few days ago I did for my mum fresh juice made from beetroots. She drunk it quickly and she loved it. But after ten minutes she asked me to call the ambulance because she has vomited and had nausea.
    Eventually it cames out that beetroots’ juice can’t be dring immediately after prepearation because it has a compound which is not tollerated by human body… so, please, be carefull!

    PS. I drunk two glasses of it and nothing happened to me.

  • I’m so glad your husband is feeling better! I love this story – it’s so important that we write about alternatives to Western medicine. I wrote about my own experience with doctors while discovering I have Celiac Disease, and how I used food to heal myself. I added a link to your blog post at the bottom of mine, if you’re interested. View my story here.

    Also, I’m in love with your blog. Keep up the good work!

  • I’m so glad your husband is feeling better! I love this story – it’s so important that we write about alternatives to Western medicine. I wrote about my own experience with doctors while discovering I have Celiac Disease, and how I used food to heal myself. I added a link to your blog post at the bottom of mine, if you’re interested. View my story here.

    Also, I’m in love with your blog. Keep up the good work!


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