How Victoria Everett Keeps
Schizophrenia At Bay With Raw Foods
but with a
simple treatment that's only starting to percolate in the medical
community: an improved diet.
Although in recent years a few studies have linked gluten and several
others foods with mental disorders, there have been enough studies that
seem to refute the idea that the medical community is not even close to
But just as doctors and nutritional researchers are finally beginning
to recognize that heart
disease, cancer, and diabetes
are largely preventable and often
reversible with a low-fat diet full of fruits and vegetables, perhaps
one day they'll come to see a connection to mental illness as well.
Because she's had trouble battling cravings and emotional issues,
Victoria has not been able to stay on a raw
food diet for a lengthy period of time, and so normally wouldn't be
included on my success
But what she's experiencing is so incredible and the ramifications are
so large that I think her victory, even if inconclusive, has to be
shared. Her ability to turn the voices in her head on and off like a
light switch merely by going back and fourth between cooked and raw
foods has the power to change the way the world looks at mental
Victoria's life has not been a happy one, but her future is looking up,
I'm glad she's agreed to share her story with us.
For those not interested in Victoria's long background story, you can
to reading how she's turned off the intrusive voices in her head with
raw foods here.
This interview was conducted in February of 2011.
Interview With Victoria
Year of Birth:
January 26th, 1972
Home City: Boise,
Self-employed house cleaner.
Andrew Perlot: Tell
the symptoms? How did people treat you? How would you describe your
diet while suffering from the disease?
It started off and on when I was 12, which was the same time that my
health started going bad with irritable bowels and right after I
started menstrating. I was a very happy outgoing child until I suddenly
became depressed at 12. I grew up eating primarily junk food. I never
really ate fruit and vegetables, although I loved eating canned peas
and green beans. A serving of fruit in our house was considered a piece
of apple pie or those hostess fruit pies, which, of course, don't
really have fruit
By the time I was 12 I'd became more withdrawn. I
would sit by myself in the hallway at school during lunch, and these
voices in my head would be telling me that I was bad and no one liked
I didn't understand what was happening to me and I
didn't really have anyone to talk to about it. My mom and dad had a lot
of problems and ended up getting a divorce when I was 14, so they
couldn't really be bothered with anything going on with their kids. My
friends didn't know what to do at first.
They would come up to me and try to get me to do
things with them, but the voices would tell me they were really out to
do me harm, so I would tell them to leave me alone. Eventually they all
went away. After that I switched schools a lot and had a hard time
making friends. The voices became really bad when I was in the mid to
late teens. I was also extremely tired all the time. I would sleep 10
hours a night and have to take an hour or two nap after school every
My menstrual periods were horrible. I would have
horrible cramps and literally took handfuls to ibuprofen to make the
pain go away. My bleeding was so heavy that I would soak through an
entire pad in less than an hour. I was always getting blood on
everything, and it was awful to deal with.
Despite all of that I always got really good
grades at school. Reading and doing school work helped keep me focused
and kept the voices quieter. I remember getting a job at McDonald's
when I was 16, and that was when the voices became really bad. There
were several times in my teens and early 20s that I attempted suicide.
None of the attempts ever ended with me in the hospital, though.
I also grew up with a mom that attempted suicide
several times. I never had any clue that the voices in my head could be
diet related and I never told anyone. I saw what happened to people
with schizophrenia, and I didn't want to end up institutionalized.
Kicked Out At 16
Victoria Everette in 2007, prior to
starting a raw food diet.
At 15 I was living with my dad when he beat me one
night when I was freaking out and throwing things all over. He kicked
me out of the house and I went to live with my mom. I few months later
my step dad also beat me and kicked me out, so at 16 I was on my own.
I worked, payed rent, and went to high school,
which I find pretty amazing considering all the turmoil that was going
on in my mind all the time and the lack of parental support.
I got married when I was 19, a year after I
graduated high school. I married the first man who was willing. I was
raised with the mind set that you were supposed to get married young
and have babies and then live happily ever after...haha.
My husband never knew about my schizophrenia but
I'm sure he remembers how crazy I was. I would do strange things like
hide in the closet for a day until he would find me or start screaming
and crying for no apparent reason. He was a very mentally abusive and
I knew he would put me away for good if he knew
what really went on in my head. When I was 21 I had my first child. It
was very overwhelming to me. I didn't know how to be a mom and it was
pretty scary, plus I was still so young. When my son was born I had
postpartum depression and the voices were really bad. There were
several times I thought seriously of killing my baby and myself.
Thankfully, I never followed through with those
thoughts. When I was 23 I had my second son. When he was 3 months old I
got a divorce. Going from a stay at home mom back into the work force
with two little kids was very, very hard. I was seeing a guy at the
who recommended I go talk to his counselor.
Victoria Everett: Trying Out Drugs
medical channels and how did those
treatments affect you?
Victoria Everett: I
met with a counselor for the first time at the age of 23. I had very
little money, and I worked delivering pizza and took care of my two
young children. This counselor, Maggie, specialized in battered women.
She told me I could pay her whatever I could afford and actually saw me
for free for years. After seeing Maggie for a while I never told her
about the voices but I told her about being depressed.
She convinced me to try anti-depressants. I was
very much against the idea and I didn't want to be drugged. I wanted to
be able to make myself better on my own using my own inner strength,
but I finally said I would try anti-depressants and see how they
I started taking Prozac and it helped. I felt less
depressed, and actually felt so much better I decided to enroll into
school at Boise State University. I started going to college while
still working and taking care of my boys. It was a tough schedule but I
felt like I could handle it, and I did.
I felt much better for about a year. The voices
were not as bad, I didn't feel as depressed, but it was still a
problem. I was really loving school, but gradually the voices and
getting worse again. They just gave me more Prozac, and that worked for
a few months, but then everything would come back, a process that
repeated itself about every six months.
Another Pregnancy and More Drugs
Victoria Everett: I "accidentally" became pregnant when
I was 27. The pregnancy was really tough because I was sick the whole
time. The guy I was with was lazy and wouldn't work. The Prozac
wasn't helping anymore but I didn't want to up my dose again because I
Before my pregnancy my health had been
anyway. My irritable bowels were worse than ever. I had chronic
diarrhea every time I ate, and of course almost every meal was fast
I had heart burn a lot, I had chronic fatigue, and I felt like I
couldn't get enough sleep. My muscles and body ached all the time and I
constantly getting bronchitis and bladder infections and being given
antibiotics. I also had nonstop ear pain during the whole thing.
Somehow I survived that
pregnancy, but It was nine months of constant vomiting and feeling
every minute of every day. I'd gained a lot of weight during the
pregnancy, and afterward it stayed on.
I was still going to school, but I had quit
pizzas and switched to delivering newspapers. I was doing that seven
a week while supporting three kids
The Prozac wasn't helping the voices or depression
at all anymore, so
they switched me to Effexor. At first this seemed to make everything
worse, but the doctor assured me that after about 6 weeks my body would
adjust...and it did. It helped for a while just like the Prozac but
only for a while and then I would have to take more.
Around this time my joints started to become
arthritic, I developed fibromyalgia, still had chronic bronchitis,
bladder infections, and diarrhea.
maybe doing the newspaper routes 7 days a week was too much, so I quit
and put up fliers around town for house cleaning. I got a few jobs and
business picked up right away. Before I knew it I had a full schedule.
I was working less hours but I was still just as tired and the physical
labor was hard on me. I lived on ibuprofen. I took a handful of it
almost every day.
Losing Her Children
My oldest son was 11 at this time and told me that he
wanted to stop going to the babysitter and thought he could watch his
brother and sister while I worked and went to school. I was a little
bit leery about this, but told him it would be ok when I would only be
gone for an hour or two. I thought this was going good until my second
son's best friend's mom called me one day and told me that my oldest
was molesting my daughter. The boys had done some things to my daughter
one day when her son was over there and her son had told her about it.
I was horrified that this could be happening. I talked to my boys and
they admitted to doing some touching. I put all the kids into
counseling and ended the babysitting sessions.
About a week later
health and welfare came to my house, took my sons away and put them
into custody with their dad. I was devastated. I was allowed to see my
boys once a week for 8 hours. My daughter was not allowed to see her
brothers for 2 years. I went into a severe depression.
school...30 credits away from graduating....only to be told that I
couldn't come back until I payed off my student loans. I cried non stop
for weeks. I would cry all day at work and come home and cry all
night. A friend came over one day and talked me into smoking
some marijuana. He said it would make me feel better, so I tried. I
loved the way
it made me feel. I was hooked. It also seemed to help with all the pain
my body felt and quieted the voices in my head. I started smoking
marijuana all day every day.
Hooked on Marijuana and In Deep Pain
Victoria Everett: So here I was smoking cigarettes and
marijuana, eating a fast food diet, chugging Pepsi and ibuprofen,
taking a very high dose of anti-depressants, weighed 250lbs.,
mourning the loss of my boys, and somehow I was getting out of bed
everyday and going to work. Freaking amazing!
At the age of 34 though
my body was pretty much done. I felt sicker and sicker all the time.
Every single part of my body felt like it hurt every minute of every
day. I kept going to dr.'s saying that I was sick only to be told over
and over that it was all in my head.
Finally one day I went to the
emergency room because my stomach was in so much pain. They did an
ultra sound and found that my gal bladder was full of stones. Finally
someone believed me! So they scheduled for me to get my gal bladder
removed. I was so happy. Once that nasty thing was out, I was
convinced, I would be just
fine. This was why I had been feeling sick my whole life...it was my
I find it interesting that never once was I told
could lose some weight, stop eating fast food and chugging Pepsi and
then maybe I might feel better or maybe I could even save my gal
So out my gal bladder came in November of 2006 at
the age of
34. Once it was out I didn't feel any better. I actually felt worse. By
this time I was in full panic mode. I knew I was dying and I wasn't
ready. I kept calling the surgeon and talking to the nurse telling her
I was still sick. She suggested I drink chicken broth, or eat toast.
Nothing seemed to help. Finally she told me that some people have
problems for up to a year after gal bladder surgery and that I should
call back then if I am not feeling better.
I didn't know what to do. I
could barely even get out of bed. I was laying in bed a few days later
stoned to the max and this infomercial came on the television. It was a
guy named Kevin Trudeau, he had a book called "Natural cures they don't
tell you about". What he was saying made sense and even though I knew
it was probably a scam I was desperate and besides I was dying so who
Victoria Everett: Connecting Food With
What first turned you onto
the idea that diet could be used to treat your mental illness? Did any
particular books, researchers, or acquaintances tip you off?
So Kevin Trudeau's book got me started. It talked
about how bad food is with all the preservatives and chemicals put in
them. It also said to eat more fruits and vegetables. He said to eat
everything organic, even though he still promoted eating meat and
dairy, this still got me thinking.
I stopped eating fast food and
started cooking organic meals at home. I started to feel a little
better but not much, though it was just enough to make me realize that
food could change the way I felt. Something I was oblivious to before.
Shortly after this I came across a really short article about raw food.
It just talked about raw food and living enzymes. I thought to myself
that maybe I wasn't producing my own enzymes and that was my problem.
So I ate all raw fruits and vegetables for one
day. I immediately felt
better than I'd felt in years. I would eat raw fruits and vegetables
for a few days, but then I would be so hungry I thought I would starve
to death so I would eat some cooked food.
awful after my cooked food meal. I couldn't figure out how to make this
work, so I went back and forth for a while. Finally I was tired of
feeling bad and decided that I was going to eat all raw, but I
would eat as much as I wanted until I wasn't hungry anymore.
So that is
what I did. I would sit down and eat half a watermelon, still feel
hungry, grab the other half and eat that.
I didn't know that this is
what is recommended to get enough calories. I was just trying to stay
alive, and didn't know about food combining, natural hygiene, or
about health. I was just surviving. I ate and ate and ate, more than
I'd ever eaten, and I kept loosing weight and feeling better and
did this for a month or so, quit smoking cigarettes, was feeling
amazing. Every single affliction that I had suffered with many years
and years was gone. They just vanished. My periods were painless and
not near as heavy as they had been. For the first time that I can
remember since I was 12 the voices in my head were entirely gone.
thoughts were clear, pure and all mine. So I quit taking my
anti-depressants cold turkey, which I would never recommend. I went
through three months on horrible drug withdrawals.
Consequences Of A High Fat Raw Diet
Everett: It was around
this time when I met some other raw food people. I didn't know these
people even existed before...how exciting! So I started going to raw
potlucks and then I learned how to mix nuts and seeds, soak them, make
pizza, make brownies...eat all the food I used to eat but this way I
were good for me. Wow! that's even better! I could have my nut cake and
eat it too! So I ditched the fruits and vegetables and dove into high
What fun that was. I
literally lived off of guacamole and raw
brownies. Life was good....until I started to feel sick again and the
voices came back. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I had
read David Wolfe's book, and I was eating 100% raw. I didn't understand
more I could be doing. If I couldn't eat cooked and I couldn't eat raw
than what could I do?
I was co-teaching a class with a friend about how
to prepare and eat raw food, and I felt like a fraud. I
was telling these
people this was the best diet in the world and yet it was not working
for me anymore. I felt I had to be honest and told the class that I had
just recently started struggling on this diet. There was a lady in the
class named Michele Martinez.
She told me she was reading a book called 80/10/10
by Dr. Doug Graham and she thought that maybe it was the fats
in my diet that could be causing my problems. I
read the book and a
light went on. I remembered how I felt when I first went raw.
eating all fruits and vegetables because that was all I knew to eat. I
felt great at that time, then when I started doing the raw gourmet was
when I started having problems. I switched back to raw fruits and
vegetables and once again I immediately felt way better. The voices
were gone again and my body felt great.
Victoria Everett: On
The Path To Health
Andrew Perlot: Tell us about
your journey from schizophrenia to a more healthy state of mind. What
dietary and other changes did you make to get there? What state is your
mind and body in today?
So I was low fat raw vegan for a month or two. I felt like i was on top
of the world. I was down to 130lbs. I rode my bicycle everywhere and
loved it so much I got rid of my truck. I was invincible...ha! One day
I had a tiny bite of some cooked wheat berries with chicken broth. That
one bite brought back all my old food addictions.
I wanted my old foods
back, they were full of memories and comfort. I had no memories
associated with fruits and vegetables. I never ate them much growing
So slowly, over time, I started eating cooked
food. I would eat all
low fat raw and then have something cooked for dinner. Sometimes it was
just plain rice, but more and more it got to be vegan pizza or even a
little bit of cheese here and there. I found I could play a balancing
game. If I was careful I could get away with eating a little bit of
cooked food. I didn't feel too terribly bad and the voices were really
quiet. Sometimes I would tip the scale a little too far and the voices
would be loud and my body would feel horrible, especially my ears, but
it was only for one day...here and there. I was still in control.
also still smoking marijuana. It was better than other things If I was
going to have an addiction. I also kept putting on
weight. Just a pound here and there.
Also during this time I was reading and reading
reading, book after book on health and nutrition, proper food
combining, how to overcome addictions, and emotional intelligence. I
go low fat raw for a week or two only to take that one bite of cooked
food and end up back in the roller coaster. I would quite smoking
marijuana for months at a time only to take one hit and be out buying a
sack the next day.
I went to Dr. Doug Graham's Health and Fitness
Week in the fall of 2010, thinking that was
the key to getting back on track for good. It lasted two weeks and I
lost it again.
I came to Kauai to stay with Janie Gardener (ED:
who eats a low fat raw diet) for a month.
I was thinking...this is it...I'll get back on track now, a month of
eating all raw and then it will be a habit.
Well I lasted 2 days before
I ate cooked food. That episode caused me to have a candida outbreak. I
ate raw for 3 days until the candida cleared up.
Everett: I have now
been raw for over a month. This is the longest I've gone since
switching from high fat raw about 2 years ago. I feel very strong in my
eating habits right now. Staying a month in Kauai with Janie really
helped me a lot. I have no desire to stray and the cravings for cooked
food are gone.
A couple of weeks ago I had a really bad cravings for
some potato chips and fries. I wasn't sure where that came from, but I
told myself whatever it was I wasn't going to eat those things. As soon
as I made that decision the tears came bursting out. I realized I was
missing Kauai and as soon as I let myself mourn that loss instead of
hiding behind food, the cravings instantly went away and I felt like my
happy self again. :)
I feel differently this
time though. I just decided that I am going to do it no matter what.
Emotions come up...bring them on! Cravings happen....that's ok...but
I'm not giving in. I don't eat enough calories and get super
hungry...well then I guess I better get some fruit in me pretty darn
I was feeling frustrated for a long time, feeling
like I was going
backwards and not making any progress forward. I now see that I was
still going forward. There were addictions I needed to work out,
emotions I needed to process, knowledge I needed to gain. That has been
the past two years of my life.
Everett: Overcoming The Voices With Food
Andrew Perlot: Do
that caused your schizophrenia?
notice the symptoms are the worst when I over eat fats. Breads also
bring on the voices but not as bad as the fats do. Also preservatives
bring the voices up as well.
How long does it take for the voices to disappear when you start eating
a low-fat diet of fruits and vegetables?
Victoria Everett: For me the voices
almost instantly. Within a day or two
Andrew Perlot: What
including calorie count?
I try to eat at least 2,500 to 3,000 calories a
Yesterday I ate 70 oz. of fresh squeezed tangelo
juice, some rambutan, a couple of caimito's, 2 liters of papaya/banana
smoothie and a bunch of katook (a yummy green leaf). I actually felt
like I under ate on calories yesterday. I woke up hungry in the middle
of the night. I will be sure to eat more today.
Andrew Perlot: What
had been treating you when you told him
or her that you were successfully treating your Schizophrenia through
diet? What was the reaction of your family and friends? Have you tried
convincing others with mental illnesses to follow a similar path?
I did not tell my doctor, since
I don't have one
anymore to tell. I just recently came out to my family and friends
about my schizophrenia. My family didn't believe me and my friends have
been very supportive.
Andrew Perlot: Schizophrenia
Do you think some or all of these
could be addressed through diet?
I believe that all mental disorders such as
depression, bio-polar and schizophrenia are diet related. I can't say
about mental retardation or autism, those I have not studied them much
and have not experienced them with myself or first hand with others.
Learn about the healthy raw
food diet that's improved Victoria Everett's life so much.
Read more inspiring raw
food diet success stories.
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