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About the Author:
A New Life
I am Malaena Medford, aka "Lycantis" or not as often, "Puck". I'm a female "werewolf" living in America at present, and I am working toward a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Human Health. I have multiple rare disorders—acute porphyria: a violent sensitivity to sunlight and bright lights; Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type or type III: a collagen deficiency resulting in chronic dislocations; and hypertrichosis or hirsutism, or "werewolf syndrome": excessive hair growth in a male-pattern subtype. I also suffer from a less rare disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and that one is what gave me the ability to research and retain information the way I do. The one thing which has always maintained a strong presence in my life was my desire to help people, to teach people, and to fix people. I subsequently learned that if I helped and taught people, they could fix themselves and maintain their own health just fine!
This site contains a collection of my works on health and nutrition with supporting scientific evidence. Please read the Medical Disclaimer to avoid any misunderstandings of context. I also have a Patreon account where I will not only share my research, but my art and books as well.
I was recently interviewed (July, 2018) about my lifestyle changes.
Read it here: Zero Carb Zen Interview
From my book:
A Lesson in Experience
Health has been a major concern for the past century or so. Despite claims of efforts to improve health and guide people to better choices, a pandemic crisis has arisen, and everyone is getting sicker, spreading to every part of the globe. The last fifty years have been decade after decade of the same guidelines but stricter and more of the same plant-based, grain-based advice. The science for this promotion is not there; instead, it is against it at the very core of biochemistry.
In this book is a collection of explanations and the corresponding science which has been collecting for ages. Some wisdom existed before modern science, and yet people are surprised at this ‘new’ finding. The vocabulary within this text is kept to lay-person status, because that is for whom this book is meant as an informational guide. I will leave the sciency Latin-speak and big words for colleagues.
A personal insight
This is important and relevant, so bear with me, please.
I begin this book with my own experience. My sisters and I were born as a sheer miracle to our mother, whom experienced multiple miscarriages prior to carrying us to full term. Through unknown means, my mother gained inspiration to change her diet after her fifth miscarriage. The diet more or less avoided processed foods, synthetic chemicals, and focused on butter fat and such things for primary nourishment. It was basically low-carb and higher animal fats. My elder sister was conceived then born soon after this change; I became the second of her daughters at birth; my little sister was the last, and most dangerous pregnancy because of my mother’s age and physical status.
During my childhood, and even after my birth, it became apparent something was different about me. I was considered odd, my attention was always drawn elsewhere—as though I was whisked away to another planet, and most of all: everyone hated me. My mother soon came to have the saying that I had a sign above my head that said ‘pick on me’. Life was miserable when I had to interact with other people. I formed a deep distrust for the human species because of it.
There was another aspect about my life which was overlooked or just not recognized: I was chronically ill. I couldn’t ride a bicycle like other children, I had constant gastrointestinal distress, I was sensitive to food textures, I burned like a lobster but never tanned, I formed ‘acne’ but only in sunlight and bright lights, I had moments where it felt as though my intestines were being ripped apart, I had memory lapses, I would randomly lose consciousness, I would forget things five seconds after being asked or told them, I had more body and facial hair than was deemed appropriate for a female, I would lose track of things in my field of vision unless I momentarily looked away, I was always left feeling ill after any rigorous physical activity, my heart would pound and at a swift pace when I would stand up too fast or for too long, I couldn’t perform in track yet was forced to endure, and I was always in pain.
This brought my doctor of that time to a revelation: She must be a hypochondriac, and she’s doing it for attention. Bravo. Want a trophy for your outstanding insight?
What this doctor didn’t know, because medical science was severely limited, was that I have Asperger’s autism, which comes with some lovely (not) conditions like gastrointestinal dysfunction and ‘abnormal’ mental capabilities, in which some of it is good and some is not; having the memory capacity of an unlimited data storage computer seems like it would be fantastic, were it not for the complete and total inability to sense social cues and appropriateness until after one is reprimanded for doing something ‘wrong’. I also have hypertrichosis, or hirsutism (they are sometimes interchanged), which is excessive hair growth, specifically male-pattern hair growth; this makes for lots of bullying and adults looking down on me because I was hairy. Over time, I found a disorder which matched my sunlight sensitivity, and it was called porphyria. There are multiple forms of this, only two of which I could be diagnosed as—varigate porphyria (VP) and hereditary coproporphyria (HCP)—only one is a very detailed match: hereditary coproporphyria—the test for confirmation is expensive and I’m dirt poor. This disorder is a sheer nightmare, with people telling me to just act normal until diagnosed or to just get used to the sun. That’s stupid. A fish cannot simply get used to the air, so stop telling it to. The last of my major disorders was suggested by an emergency room physician after a physical examination made him react with surprise because my joints just fall out of place with no warning; Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type, is a form of collagen deficiency which causes loose joints, and for some, stretchy skin. Mine is the joints part. This condition comes with another, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which is a nervous system malfunction where the blood vessels don’t constrict on standing, causing blood to pool in the legs and not return to the heart or brain. With all these maladies combined, I basically became an indoor darkness bookworm who lays down most of the time, and eventually a scholar.
There was one malady which I could have had complete control over: I was overweight, and at one point, obese. I was bullied for this. It was not in my control, and no amount of starvation kept it under control. I also had an uncontrollable addiction to pasta and sugar, which people called gluttony and claimed I was just a fat pig. I was advised to consume ‘6-11 servings a day’ of grains and to avoid fat like the plague, unless it was the highly refined type originally used to lubricate machinery. I more or less followed these guidelines, and my health continued to worsen. After a while, I got tired of it and just ate whatever I wanted because nothing was helping in the first place.
Dancing with devils
In my adult years, I tried the diet called vegetarian, and the sources showed good health, slender people, and promised balance and nutrient density. The variety I found was a lacto-ovo, low-fat subtype, which only allowed egg whites and low-fat or nonfat dairy. I was given instructions to avoid processed grains and stick to ‘heart healthy whole grains’ and avoid ‘artery-clogging saturated fat’, as well as including copious amounts of beans and fiber. The basis of this way of life was to get protein from plant sources, so soy, grains, and beans were high on the list and were promoted constantly in advertisements and on doctor shows as being a very healthy food. I was hopeful. I finally found something that worked for other people.
After two months, I was plagued with chronic fatigue, brain fog, symptoms of early-onset dementia, severe depression, lack of desire to do anything, erratic or even nonexistent menstrual cycles, and I kept having moments where my heart fluttered like a hamster on crack. I was assured that this was just my body ‘releasing toxins from the meat I used to eat’. I persisted, and so did the symptoms. Some odd months into this, the symptoms either subsided with my body getting used to the diet, or I just stopped noticing it because it was always there. I included cardio in this regime because I was told it promoted pristine health and would make me burn fat. I ignored the chest pains and numbness in my extremities after these exercises because I figured I was just lazy and needed to get in shape.
Those two years resulted in a 45 lb (20 kilo) weight gain, severe decline in cognitive capability, loss of memory, loss of desire to be artistically creative—which had been my everything in life, depression and severe suicidal thoughts, amenorrhea (loss of menstrual period), major hair loss, severe vision decline, progression of extensive peripheral neuropathy, heart palpitations and chronic chest pain, muscle mass and strength loss, constant neurological problems associated with my sunlight disorder, chronic tooth and jaw pain, skin problems (rashes, dermatitis, scales, etc), brittle fingernails, chronic constipation and sometimes diarrhea at the same time, chronic arthritis, and some other things. The one horrifying truth that was weighing heavily on me, though, was that I was dying.
My moment of clarity, my epiphany, my massive kick in the butt, was when I had a severe porphyric attack. It was the worst I’d had in my life. I’m going to share this, and it is very personal so please don’t judge me harshly, but it made my situation so real, and it’s what woke me up to the path I now take.
This is from my journal:
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Today was possibly the most terrifying moment of my life. Because of multiple episodes of sunlight exposure for visits to the doctor's office I not only have skin pain, sun rashes on my face, and blisters around my face and back, but I also suffered the most severe porphyric attack in my entire life.
I woke up at 3 AM with severe abdominal discomfort, too severe for me to think of grabbing my Gabapentin which in past attacks has reduced the severity of the muscle spasms and abdominal seizing that accompanies attacks every time I have one. I quickly proceeded to the bathroom where I sat on the toilet, moaning and rocking back and forth in severe pain. That pain quickly escalated to a scale of 9 at which point I was deliriously begging for it to stop despite there being no one in the room. As it continued to rise in severity I started losing my sense of hearing, followed by an excessive, painful tingling in my extremities and my vision started to blur from the outside peripheral vision inward. There were static spots at the center of my vision which pulsated with my rapid heartbeat, and my skin became cold and clay-like as this “dead arm” sensation radiated through my body. My limbs became paralyzed and went completely numb. The pain finally overwhelmed me as I passed out on the toilet, terrified that I might not be waking back up again and realizing too late I had left my emergency phone in my bedroom and could not call 911 for assistance.
I woke 25-30 minutes later still in pain and shaking violently from head to toe. The knob growing in the back of my neck had become extremely hot and throbbed as I gasped for air which my lungs seemingly did not want to accept. I rocked back and forth for a few minutes, I could feel a hardened plug of stool making its way through my rectum, it took me 10 minutes to move it downward and pass it painfully as if it were completely dry. Three more smaller plugs followed suit and then my bowels evacuated every last drop of their contents, it was immensely painful and the smell can only be described as toxic and metallic. This process caused random muscle spasms, and also caused my extremities to tingle painfully once again.
Finally, after much pain and whimpering, I was able to stand and hobble to my bedroom to retrieve my Gabapentin and aspirin bottles. I went straight back to the bathroom and filled the bathtub with extremely hot water. The toilet was filled with excrement and darkened blood. I took 2 Gabapentin but not aspirin as I was experiencing gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and did not wish to aggravate it, and sank into the hot water. The heat of the water in the past has dulled the pain, and so it did this time, I moaned and curled into a fetal position, waiting for the medication to take effect as the attack came in waves, like labor from pregnancy, but worse… I would rather be suffering labor pain to be quite honest. I passed out once again in the hot water, waking two hours later to cold water and a sense of exhaustion. My poodle and my cat were both huddled around the top of the tub looking at me with great concern, they usually accompany me during attacks and try to make me feel better. I had to get out of the tub with a lessened sensation of pain in the middle of my gut, expelling a vast amount of mucus and leftover intestinal excrement into the toilet and unfortunately some into the bathtub as well. I drained the tub and the contents of my bowels and washed the tub. I then filled it up again with more hot water and climbed back in for a 30 minute “nap” in the hot water.
The medication finally set in and relieved a massive amount of the pain, I was suffering less than before but I am still having to visit the bathroom at a regular rate each time a wave hits. The attack caused some damage to my intestines which I shall report to my physician as I noticed oily deposits and massive amounts of blood in the mucus-laden stool. This is the first time this has happened, but I can feel myself regenerating quickly, albeit slower than usual due to a complete lack of energy.
I ate some whole wheat spaghetti and a bowl of Raisin Bran, both high in carbohydrates. The carbohydrates tend to diminish the effects, as they help reduce porphyrin production as far as I’ve read.
ADD ON: I realize it was stupid of me not to seek medical attention right after I regained consciousness, but my track record for being labeled as a hypochondriac and being treated like a bother makes it difficult for me to ask for help, ever.
Later, after I had passed out again in my bedroom, I had my mother take me into the emergency room because I felt dangerously faint and I was a bluish-white hue with deep dark brown circles on and around my eyelids. The corners of my mouth and the whites of my eyes were a yellowish hue.
I arrived at the ER, where the doctors took me back immediately because I looked like I’d climbed out of the depths of Hell and survived. They weren’t far off. I was allowed to keep taking my Gabapentin as they took an hour to get to me. At first, when I arrived, they treated me like a drug addict looking for a fix. The doctors were really skeptical that I was ill, and that anything I told them about porphyria was true. They tried to take a blood sample, but I was so drained of it that they had to tilt the bed with my feet really high up and my head closer to the floor. They attributed this to dehydration, automatically blaming me for not drinking enough fluids, but if they’d seen my toilet they would have understood why there was hardly any blood for them to take. It actually felt wonderful to be reclined that way, and I became more lucid. They took the blood from my jugular, as no other veins would cooperate with the phlebotomist. They applied a bandage (which ripped my skin off when I removed it). I didn’t feel like telling them there was no point. Bandages won’t hurt anything, but I heal really fast so the teeny puncture wouldn’t have done anything but form a drop of blood on my skin. They took a direct, uncomfortable stool sample, a urine sample and a few other samples, then carted them away. I was rolled on the gurney to the MRI. They injected me with something that I could literally feel as warmth moving through my veins, it was so weird. Their reaction to my rapid healing was amusing. After the scan, I was taken back to the room and waited.
The physician who’d taken the more embarrassing of the samples came in, looking apologetic, to my surprise. He informed me that there was a dangerous amount of blood in my stool, to which I informed him that that’s why I told him about my experience on the toilet. He was really polite from then on. The tests made him realize I wasn’t lying about it, too. He informed me that I had diverticulitis, an increased antibody count, as well as huge tears in my intestinal tract which were in the stages of several days of healing. He asked how long ago I’d had the attack. I informed him it was only a few hours prior to my visit. He and the rest of the staff were really confused about this, but they dubbed me “Wolverine” as something silly to make me feel better. He asked if I wanted pain medication. I told him no, I hate narcotics. I informed him that I was only in there to make sure I wasn’t going to bleed out or suffer sepsis. He was genuinely surprised about this.
After making sure I didn’t need anything, he left me there. I was asked to stay for observation until I wasn’t so weak anymore. The yellow tint had gone away. I was allowed to leave later, donning my UV blocking undergarments (it’s actually swimwear, but hides well under clothing) and returning home. My mother was adamant that I fill up on carbs, making several food dishes for me to eat. I was just grateful that I hadn’t perished in the bathroom in a humiliating way.
I do not pity myself, I just feel great sorrow for those suffering as I do and the public turning a blind eye so as to not burden themselves. I would not wish this upon my enemy.
Reading back on my old thoughts, I realize how ignorant I was then. Had I known what I know now, this would never have happened. I attributed it to just the sunlight, when in fact it was my dietary change which had caused severe decline. I lay there in my bed, thinking about my life, how horrible it had been, how worthless I was, and how miserable I was—the fact is, I’d tried to commit suicide multiple times, but found I was annoyingly resistant; when the attack happened, it was one of the moments I didn’t actually want to die. It hit me then, that everything I was doing was wrong. The path to good health and longevity is not paved in plants and grains, it’s lined in butter and bacon.
The moment I found the Ketogenic lifestyle, my life changed. It took five years to ease into it so as not to aggravate my porphyria, then six months of strict adherence, but my body began to heal. After poking around, I found the Carnivore lifestyle, which is exactly what it sounds like. I have lost anywhere from 130-150 lbs (did not get measured right before, but I know about the 45 lb gain), my diseases reversed and some disappeared entirely, my genetic disorders are more manageable, my eyesight is improving, I do not suffer constipation and hardly need to poop—I’ll explain that later, my neuropathy continues to get better, my cognitive capability returned in full force which allowed me to become a 4.0 student in nutrition and health sciences, my memory capacity has returned and seems to be improving, my love for the arts is back in swing but still needs work for motivation, depression is not as bad but I still have flares, my teeth have healed, nails aren’t so brittle, hair is growing back, menstrual cycle is normal for once in my life, and I have taken up yoga, resistance bands, and heavy lifting to aid in regaining my muscle mass and strength.
I just wish there was something for Ehlers-Danlos and porphyria, but both continue to permanently cripple me.
A silver lining
My life really has been a nightmare, which I go into in my autobiography, so I’ll cut this short and get to what this audience wants to learn about. As I said before, every horrible thing, the pain and suffering, the bullying, the feeling of utter worthlessness, led me to compassion for those suffering, desire to mend those in need, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and truth. My mother once told me that I am crippled to keep me grounded, and I think she is absolutely correct, because Yin would have no balance without Yang. Always stay grounded, lovelies.
Welcome to Grove of Wisdom. Seek the guidance of the ancients, be well, be healthy, and never stop learning.
I also learned something critically important:
Almost everything we’ve been told about nutrition and health is wrong.