“You are what you eat.” How many times have you heard that old adage? Countless for me, and I’m sure for many of you too!
We, as vegans, ARE what we eat. No matter the reason to go vegan may be, we have made a choice not to consume animal-based products. We look to plants to give us what we need in sustenance even if its naughty junk food, but we’re being conscious about it, right? What if we took it a step further and moved away from processed foods to adopt a raw, whole foods diet? Certainly, it’s not for everyone, but can making such a change heal us?
It can and it has for Bethany, the subject of Janet McKee’s wonderful and inspiring documentary, Bethany’s Story. Bethany looks like your normal, everyday teenager on the onset. However, she has gone through more than many of us ever have. She experienced numerous medical issues as a child, which took her away from her passion, which was soccer. Diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, she suffered with pain and nerve damage for years, repeated doctor and hospital visists and being on various medications, including muscle relaxers. It would be a seemingly simple tentanus shot that would ultimately lead her to paralysis from the neck down.
Having been told over time that first she shouldn’t play soccer and later that she would never walk again, Bethany was determined to beat the odds. She found strength in herself at an age when many teenagers are doubting themselves. She researched her disease and made her own decision to adopt a raw, vegan diet. Her parents gave full support and helped her on her mission.
Quickly, over a few months, Bethany saw improvement. She began regaining sensation and movement in her limbs. She worked her way through from wheelchair to crutches and braces to cane to walking on her own. This is what she has attributed to making solid food choices for herself, being a whole foods, raw-based diet.
In addition to Bethany telling her story, meeting her family and friends, the documentary also engages a number of medical and nutritional experts who share research findings in examining Bethany’s history. Certainly, they are proponents of plant-based eating. However, many, like the renowned Dr. Neal Barnard from PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) and Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionalFacts.org give sounds recommendations, as well as facts on how food impacts your body. Physician and homeopath Dr. Gabriel Cousens of Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona really delves into Bethany’s condition, defines demylination (loss of the myelin sheath that encases and protects our nerves) and discusses the healing power of food and the reversal of many conditions, especially chronic diseases. The many voices contributing to the documentary really opens the viewer up to attaining greater knowledge.
Now, I’m not going to say that Bethany’s transformation and healing are a “miracle” or that a raw, plant-based diet is something everyone should follow. I don’t eat raw myself, but I think what I’ve seen through this documentary is enlightening and hopeful. A change, no matter how easy or quick, big or small, can make a solid impact on one’s life. That alone is inspiration.
A little bit about the producer: Janet McKee is a board certified holistic counselor from Pittsburgh, PA. She is also a member of PCRM. She is the founder of SanaView, which she is hoping to develop into a full interactive community on healthy living. For more information or to purchase the film, “Bethany’s Story,” please visit the SanaView website at www.sanaview.com.
Thanks to Janet McKee for producing a very solid, touching and informative film. Thanks to Bethany and her family for making her story public.
Just to share some knowledge, “sana” comes from the Latin word, “sanus,” which means “sound in mind” and “healthy.”