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When I turned 27, my health started deteriorating. I was faced with an onslaught of health issues, including acne, eczema, hives, alopecia and a monthly recurring case of UTI. I popped my prescribed pills like candy, but one day, the UTI medication simply stopped working for me. I was in tremendous pain and discomfort, and couldn’t stand, walk or sleep. The doctor sent me back home, saying that I was already on the strongest medication, and there was no other treatment.

I remember that night vividly. It was late, and I was all alone in the dark, feeling depressed and dejected. I was only 30 – how could I live with this constant pain for my entire life? I was sinking into a whirlpool of pity when I was struck by a thought: The only person who could save me, was me. Mind you, I was not a very confident person at this point, so this realisation was daunting and empowering at the same time. I wanted to take back control of my mind, body and soul, instead of being dependent on others.

Of course, my first stop was Google. The first few pages repeated what I already knew: Take medication, change my body wash, drink more water, and so on. All tried and tested, to no avail.

Finally, on page four, I hit the jackpot. I came across Markus Rothkranz’s free e-book, called Heal Yourself 101. He shared his healing journey where the key, he said, was to eliminate foods such as meat and processed meats from our diet. He added that many modern refined foods contain harmful toxins that damage our cells and reduce their functional capabilities.

The belief is that going on a regular detox gives our cells and digestive systems a break from toxic substances and, in turn, nourishes our body with essential vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Rothkranz recommended a 30-day detox period. I was so desperate, I was ready to try anything at that point.

That meant, no more eating out with friends, no more hawker centre favourites. I initially thought I’d only last five days, but by the second day, I could already see the effects: I woke up at 6am (no alarm!) feeling fresh and bursting with energy. Within a few days, I also stopped getting eczema outbreaks. I decided to push through for 30 days, and ended up losing even more weight – my family was understandably worried, but I had to deconstruct to reconstruct.

I managed to get my health issues under control within 30 days. Today, there’s evidence that meats like chicken and pork contain reservoirs of extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli, which is what causes UTIs. In fact, a 2020 study by a Taiwanese research team noted that a vegetarian diet led to a lower risk of UTI.

But beyond the health benefits, taking control of my own narrative altered my relationship with myself. My experience led me on a path I never expected to take. Before this healing journey, I never believed that I could own my own business. I was not confident, and overly reliant on what others thought and believed. With my healthier body, I underwent a physiological change, and had better clarity of mind and spirit.

I gained more confidence as I dug into the science behind health and nutrition. I started The Breakfast Club, providing healthy, plant-based meal subscriptions and catering solutions. I was told that my business would fail as the costs of organic ingredients and produce were too high – but six years on, the business is stronger than ever.

I learnt that I didn’t have to always adhere to society norms, or follow the opinions of others, even if they were my loved ones. Their advice didn’t come from a bad place, but I had to determine for myself whether it was right for me or not. It taught me that connecting with yourself, and believing in yourself, is the most effective tool.

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