Carol’s MS is in Remission on a Vegan Diet – 039
Birch Bay Washington is beautiful and the site of our first Thousand Trails Campground! Vegans in Blaine and a wonderful interview with Carol about how she is overcoming MS on a Whole Food Plant-based diet!
Intro to this episode:
Good morning from Birch Bay, Washington! Wake up everyone it’s time to be vegan! This is episode 039 of the Two Vegans on a Mission Podcast. Thanks for joining us again today as we give you an update on our latest Thousand Trails campground, along with a wonderful vegan restaurant review in Blaine Washington.
And finally, an incredible interview with a lovely woman named Carol, who is overcoming multiple sclerosis on a whole food, plant based diet. I really think you’re going to get a lot out of this episode, so grab your vegan snacks and enjoy!
Intro to the podcast:
Welcome to the Two Vegans on a Mission Podcast. I’m Louisa, and together with my husband, Michael, and our dog Sugar, we’re traveling and living full-time in a Winnebago Class C motor home; visiting animal sanctuaries and animal rescues all across the country.
Each week we’ll share what new camping spots we’ve found, what great vegan meals we’ve eaten, and our latest vegan outreach activities. So, please join us as we strive to inspire, educate, and support you in your efforts to be vegan!
And we’re off. Here we go. We want to tell you a little bit about our camping experience this week, because if you’ve been listening to us for any length of time you know that we like to travel in our RV and not just live in it.
That means we don’t stay in one place for very long. We like to figure out where we’re going to spend the night, get there, and then wake up in the morning, look around a little bit and maybe, do a hike, maybe do some shopping, and then we’re in our RV and we’re off to the next place.
We’ve decided though, in this second year of RVing that we should probably slow down, but in order to slow down we need to be able to make more reservations for a longer period of time, in certain areas.
So, we decided to look into the Thousand Trails Pass and we had this pass at the beginning of our RV adventures, because when we first bought our class B RV we were given the camping pass for one zone from our dealer.
Well, we used the zone that was for the Southwest and we did use it for camping on the weekend before we finally went full-time and that was quite fun. We liked not having to worry about paying for a place and we were able to pick a spot, and then go up there into the Oneonta area of California and we had some great time practicing in our new RV. And then we didn’t have to worry about paying for the spot, because it was a gift.
So, this time around we wanted to look into maybe, staying a little bit longer and getting some more zones. And we talked with some friends who already have the Thousand Trails Pass and they told us all about how they found it on Craigslist I think, and they were able to get a really great price to have a full-time membership for life, but it was close to $4,000 and we didn’t really want to put that much money into it right now, because this year for sure we still have plans to travel quite a bit and not stay put for very long.
Because, first of all, we’re going up to Prince George in Canada, and then we’re going to be going through Jasper, and then Banff, and then into Montana, and over to North Dakota for the Family Motor Coach Association’s rally. And then we’re going to go over to a wedding in Utah and then down into the National Parks in Utah, and then over to Texas of course, to see the grand-babies and the son, and the girlfriend!
So, we don’t really want to stay put for very long this year, but we did decide we would find a camping pass that you can get for about $585.00 and that gives you the right to have 60 days ahead of time to make reservations, which is not really very long.
And then you get to stay for four days and go from park to park if you like to, but we are thinking more like, we’d like to stay 14 days, which is what we also have, that option. And 14 days then means you have to stay out of the system for seven days, which, that pretty much fits what we like to do right now because we have other places to go in between the parks.
And so, what we decided to do was get the camping pass with a zone for the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and the Southeast. That means we get to use some parks in Texas, so we might be able to use that when we get back down there.
But in the meantime we have found a park in Birch Bay that’s why we’re here in Birch Bay and we’re going to tell you all about how that works for us. So, Michael, tell us what you think about the Thousand Trails here in Birch Bay Washington.
Well, I really like the concept of the Thousand Trails. Everything is paid for, that’s always and issue when you are in a RV, “What are the costs of the place that you’re going into day by day?” And whether or not you’ll have a reservation.
So, now that takes some pressure off of us if there is a Thousand Trails in the area. This particular one was really busy and I believe it’s really busy because it’s close to the Canadian border, it’s close to a major beach, and also a major city, Bellingham.
So, we don’t know what each one of the parks will be like, but this one is particularly packed with Canadians, Americans, people crossing the border. And one of the fun things that we found right away, I really enjoy, everybody was really nice at this park.
We met Canadians, we met people who live in the Washington area that use the Thousand Trails just to get away for the weekend, as one gentleman told us. I met a Canadian police officer who found it easy coming across the border and then he’s going to travel south into the United States, and everybody was really friendly and very genuine.
The RV park itself, a little dated, a little old. However, the spot we had was level, really close to the bathrooms. There were six showers. I’ve never been into an RV park that has had six large showers in it. And they were clean, and it was nice and warm.
Also, one of the things to be aware of with the Thousand Trails, they are really well used and this one I would say was really packed. I can’t say if there were 200 or 300 people, but it seemed like it. There were a lot of folks there.
So far Thousand Trails is paying off. We believe that the money that we invest it in maybe, five to six months we will have recouped all of our moneys that we paid up front. So, we’re looking forward to visiting as many as we can.
And I just want to give some more details about this Birch Bay RV park in Birch Bay Washington, because it was, like Michael said, very large and crowded.
They had two phases. Meaning two sides of the park. The first phase was really, really packed. It had four RVs to the site and the restrooms were not as nice as the ones on our side, apparently.
But there were lots of trees on that side and it was closer to the clubhouse, closer to the office so if you needed to stay closer to that kind of area then you could be on that side.
We drove over to phase two, which was more wide open. It had no trees in the middle of the parking area, but you only had two RVs butt to butt I like to say, so that you didn’t feel like you were one on top of each other like on the phase one side.
I did also use the laundry, which was great. They have this system where you just use your card in a machine and it knows which machine it’s hooked up to, so you don’t even have to worry about having any quarters, which was always a nice thing. And it was very comfortable sitting there. I didn’t have any problem doing my work there, because I edited a podcast while I sat there.
So, I do think that this park was very nice for our first RV park on the Thousand Trails system and it was close to Bellingham. Like Michael said we could leave our RV feeling very comfortable leaving it there, and then driving down into Bellingham or going over to Birch Bay and hanging out.
Now, this was not on the bay, you cannot see the water from the RV park so if you don’t have a towed then you do have to figure out how to get back and forth to see the water and go down to the bay, but it was really a fun experience. I enjoyed it.
We stayed there for four nights and we would have stayed longer perhaps, if they had, had room, but like I said, you only get to reserve 60 days ahead of time and this one was just handy that we were able to get in for those amount of days at this point.
So, we liked that one and then we’re going to also talk Michael, about the one that we went to after that, which was across the border into Vancouver BC and it is called Cultus Lake. C-U-L-T-U-S Lake Campgrounds. So, Michael tell us your impressions of this place.
My understanding is, this is the only Thousand Trails RV Park in Canada, and I can say in the 13 months that we’ve been RVing it’s the most packed RV camp that we have been in. And we’ve been in a bunch. Military, we’ve been on the side of the roads on beaches, we’ve been in paid RV parks. This one is really, really, really packed and I’m not exactly sure why, but it is.
But let me tell you something about the surrounding area. The Pacific Northwest and into Canada in my opinion is probably some of the most beautiful coastline in the United States and Canada. So, that is a big attraction here.
The lake that this sits around is just, absolutely beautiful, it was packed, there were families coming as late as 6:00 in the evening to go to the beach, because it doesn’t get dark until around 10:30 around here.
And I think a lot of the families using this Thousand Trails park take advantage of that. So, when you walk around you see lots and lots of families. I mean, tons of families. We haven’t seen this many families since my wife stopped working at a high school. We like kids, don’t get me wrong, but there are a lot of kids, a lot of families, a lot of people here just for the weekend. It’ll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow, on Monday when people have to go back to work.
But everything works here. The hookups are wonderful, the dump is wonderful. They have a nice store, there’s a beautiful creek that runs through the park. We got in our towed vehicle and explored the surrounding area it was very unique, very pretty. And one of the things that we absolutely love about this area, which is connected to the park is all the organic farms in the area.
I mean, all the corners somebody is selling their wares corn, blueberries, blackberries, fresh food abounds here. They have some specialty grocery stores, which we were surprised and really enjoyed going into. And then you have your standard stores.
We saw Starbucks, we saw Walmart, but we really enjoyed learning about some of the new grocery stores and the organic products in the area. So, yeah, I would recommend it, but please be aware that if you use this Thousand Trails park in Canada it’s going to be busy.
It would be interesting to see what it was like … What it would be like in the winter, but during the summer months definitely will be busy.
And my favorite thing about this park is the fact that all the people who work here are very friendly and all of the people who are here visiting the park are very friendly. There are a lot of people, so the noise level is a little loud, but we are enjoying it.
So, when we get back to this episode after this break we’re going to tell you about the great vegan restaurant we ate at in Birch Bay, actually Blaine Washington, which is right up the street and right by the border.
This next segment was actually recorded as we were sitting at the restaurant, so you can hear some outside noise, we were sitting on a patio. You can hear some traffic and maybe some noise from the neighboring community, but we hope you enjoy this review of the restaurant.
Okay, we’re sitting out here on the patio at Rawganique or Rawganique. Depends on your perspective. It’s R-A-W-G-A-N-I-Q-U-E and from the patio we can see Canada right across the bay there. Not very far, but you have to go through the border crossing and we’re going to do that tomorrow.
But right now this restaurant is a clothing store restaurant, and it’s all raw food. It says it’s “Organic lifestyle store and café. It has fresh, local, organic, vegan foods.” And so, we’re sitting out here on the patio enjoying a sandwich and a juice, and some ice cream.
So, Michael, what do you think about it?
Well, it’s a beautiful setting and first thing I was impressed with, the chef came outside to our patio and actually cut the fresh greens off of potted plants that he had in the back. Can’t get any fresher than that. I had the curry garbanzo sandwich with toasted almonds, celery, dates, mixed greens and vegan mayo, and it was just enough flavor to make it totally delicious.
And again, this is a beautiful setting, it’s quiet, right near the border of Canada and very vegan. Everything in the store is vegan. Even the clothes are made out of hemp, etc.
So, this was a nice treasure to find.
Yeah, I liked it too. My sandwich was actually called the sun dried tomato sandwich and the wheat bread was not as tasty as I thought it could have been. However, I liked the hummus, the bell pepper, the lemon pesto and the mixed greens. Again, like he said, the chef came out and just cut it right off of the plant, so it was very fresh.
And then it had sun dried tomatoes, which I really like, but they’re a little oily so we don’t always eat those. So, this was actually a very cool find that we were able to find in Blaine, Washington, because this was an all vegan restaurant in an area where there weren’t a lot of other restaurants around to begin with and then those that were around were of course, not at all vegan.
So, we really appreciated this. Go out and have your share of vegan food in Blaine, Washington. And you know what? We sat there right on the patio and could see the border crossing into Canada, which we were going to do the next day and it was a beautiful day on the bay and a wonderful way for us to be able to enjoy food in Washington right before we left.
But we were given this opportunity, because we met some people in the campground and their names are Carol and Buzz, and the next segment of the podcast is going to be the interview that I was able to have with Carol, who saw our license plates which say two vegans, and they said, “We’re vegan too.”
So, they stopped by to say hi. We had a nice chat for about an hour standing there next to the RV, and then we said, “Hey, why don’t you come back to our RV tomorrow and we’ll interview you for the podcast, because you have a great story?”
Carol is full of life, full of vibrant life and so is her husband Buzz, and they came right back the next day and sat down for this interview, and I really hope you enjoy it.
I am really privileged to be here with Louisa and Michael, with two vegans and Vegans on a Mission. Am I right?
I get to share my story of my journey with being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 2004 when I was 46 years old, while I was attending cosmetology school I started having problems like, my balance was off, I was dizzy, I was having hearing loss. So, I went to an audiologist and he did some tests on me, found out I had a unilateral hearing loss on the left side.
That led me to have to find out, was it genetic? Or was there a tumor going on? I was then sent to a neurologist and the neurologist said, “Well, let’s do some other tests first.”
So, they sent me to an ENT and I did all those fun tests with the ears, and flooding my ears with water, and all that kind of stuff. Found everything looked good so they said, “Okay, let’s do an MRI.” So, they did an MRI, came back with some lesions on the brain, none on my spine and they decided to do a second test, which was a lumbar puncture.
And they did that and it came back with a confirmation that I did have multiple sclerosis. I decided that time I wanted a second opinion. This was a little scary kind of, a diagnosis at that time so I went to Barrow’s Neurological Institute in Phoenix Arizona and they did some more tests on me, and some more MRIs and came back and confirmed that I did have MS.
I have relapsing, remitting multiple sclerosis. That started my journey then in 2004 of going on and off medications like Copaxone, going on and off trial studies that I was the first one on a medication and the first one off.
They were constantly testing your eyes, your ears, your lungs, everything you could think of they’re testing to make sure you don’t have those side effects.
Of course, every drug that you take, just one of them has a page or two of side effects. And then they’re putting two or three of those drugs together on you. Well, finally after about four years of that I decided I didn’t like it anymore. I was tired of doing shots every day and I said, “No more.”
So, they switched me over from the studies, over to the clinic side and I became an in and out patient as needed.
Louisa: So, is this about the time that you started looking into a different way of eating?
So, I was a clinical patient and at that time, around 2008 I was introduced to a holistic way of looking at trying to treat the MS. And I call it, “The,” because it’s not mine. I don’t own it. It’s a diagnosis.
I decided to look into this holistic way and it was through Hallelujah Acres out of, I think it’s North Carolina, and it was 85% raw and 15% cooked. That started my journey and it was almost like a drug addict in that, I had to learn why I went to the kind of foods that maybe, were making me sick.
And a lot of emotions, a lot of dealing with why I felt a certain way and during that time I wasn’t always a lovely person to be around, but I had to get to the heart of the problem that I was struggling with.
But that year as I started juicing more and removing a lot of the meat I think the only kind of meat I ate once in a great while was some eggs in an omelet, or in a pancake. I pretty much gave up all dairy, and cheese, and most of the meat.
I started feeling better, and the more I started better, the more I wanted more of that feeling. I knew how I felt before with the drugs and everything. So, each year it got better and I started finding out about people within the holistic movement that I wanted to read some of their books.
Dr. John McDougall, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, then I started reading Dr. Roy Swank’s work on multiple sclerosis that Dr. John McDougall works with and is carrying on his work with the MS community.
And I saw that they were having much success with eating plant based and I thought, “Well, I like this raw and I like juicing, but I’d like a little bit more in my diet.” And that’s when I learned about the “Starchivarian” diet with Dr. McDougall and I thought, “I can do this.”
Louisa: So, how did you get started?
Carol: I happened to find the cassette tapes my father had when he, Dr. McDougall was just out, he had all the cassette tapes that he used and followed having cardiovascular disease. And that extended his life a lot longer. He wouldn’t have lived as long as he did if he hadn’t.
I wish I had asked him more questions then. He’s not alive anymore, but I have a good example. So, I did that and then I just started feeling better.
Louisa: And what did that look like?
Carol: I got to the point where my relapses, they had been every six months and now were, like, maybe once a year. So, it was getting longer in between them.
Louisa: Would you tell us what a relapse looked like?
Carol: When I would have a relapse I would be pretty much extreme fatigue, pain in my body like, having flu symptoms in your body that you can’t get rid of. I would be on a cane, I walked on a cane, and I was on two anti-depressants. And I had been for over 10 years.
My quality of life was not fun at all and I was … I just wanted something more. So, as I started feeling more life and energy, and I started reading I kept trying more. And the more I tried, the more I experienced and I loved it.
So, you get up to about 2000 … I can’t remember what year it was. It was later. We took the T. Colin Campbell and the eCornell Plant Based Certification and learned so much. And I just, have been on this journey just to bring more of life into my body.
Life through the words I say, life through the words I express to people in my love, life in the food I eat and less of things to do with death in my world.
And as we started with health issues that led us to really being about the animals and how the suffering that they go through at the expense of eating meat and dairy, that we really don’t need to eat today.
We also then became more involved with the environment and to know how much of our land is being ruined, and the climate change and everything that’s happening to do with the meat industry that’s happening.
Louisa: At this point in the interview Carol starts to tell us all about how they got involved with different Vegfests and different activities in their new way of eating.
Carol: Got involved in VegFest in Sedona, and in Phoenix, Arizona and really, just helping to spread our story of how my health has changed considerably. I’ve run a half marathon, I bike, I play with my grandchildren, I walk, we do camping and road trips in the summer. And I just love life right now, and it’s a great place to be right now!
Louisa: And what does the future look like now for you?
Carol: I want to continue sharing my story that, you can change your health with the foods you eat. You can help change the health crisis that we have in the United States today and in the world. We can change the starvation in the world and the malnutrition.
Louisa: Can you tell us about one of those great organizations you got involved with?
Carol: We got to volunteer with a group called Feeding My Starving Children. They are in Arizona there and what’s neat about them is they do packaged food for the different parts of the countries in the world that have starving children.
And there’s no meat in these products at all and they take them from malnourished, to fully developed children that are playing and full of life! So, I say, if you can do that, we can switch over to plant based and help the starvation in the whole world.
And I’m just really excited to be a part of that.
Louisa: And now would you please tell us all about WhoFoo Adventures, and how you and your husband started that and what it’s about?
Carol: My husband Buzz and I decided that we wanted to do something very important with our retirement days, and leave a legacy that we could leave for our grandchildren and for our kids. For them to see what we’re doing and to keep modeling our belief system and our lifestyle.
So, we came up with what we call WhoFoo Adventures. W-H-O-F-O-O. And yes, we came up with it when we went on a walk and we thought, “Oh, that sounds good.” So, it represents whole foods, plant based and it’s our adventures being that whole food, plant based and our lifestyle.
We go and we do YouTube videos on camping, on biplane airplane rides and zip lining, and biking down near Birch Bay in Washington and we just talk about how much life we have being plant based and what we can do!
And so, our desire is to share this worldwide, because we can do that on YouTube videos and podcasts and let everybody know that there are choices that you can make that can change not only your health, but can change your life, and can be some legacy that you leave your grandchildren, and the next generation, and the next generation.
Leave our earth better than we have left it. Sort of, like when you go camping. You’re always encouraged to leave it better than what it was when you got there, right?
So, we pick up and we make choices that are about sustainability.
Louisa: Well, you have an amazing story Carol and we’re so happy to be able to share it with our listeners today. So, one last time tell us about what you want to share.
Carol: Check us out on our YouTube videos, on our YouTube channel WhoFoo Adventures and our website whofooadventures.com, and we look forward to hearing your stories. And thank you very much Louisa and Michael for having us on your podcast.
That certainly was a powerful story and I hope you enjoyed listening to Carol as she explained how she used the whole food, plant based diet to really turn around her health. And I want you just to remember that you, too, can turn your health around, or stay healthy by adopting a whole food, plant based diet, or go vegan the way we say, because it’s for the animals, it’s for the planet, and it’s for our health!
So, if you’d like to see some pictures please go to our Instagram @heaveninaclassC or you can go to our website at www.vegansonamission.com for a transcript of this podcast. And in the meantime, go out and enjoy and BE VEGAN!
We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.