An Epiphany that Changed my Life – so I called it LIFE

The Backstory

I was a Baby Boomer with below average health trying to overcome constant tiredness, gout attacks, being overweight and catching all the colds going around.

It was just before Xmas 2004 when I had a gout attack swell my knee to elephantine proportions and which saw me on crutches in Phuket, Thailand. I got home from the trip and only 10 days later that infamous tsunami hit Patong Beach Road along which I had hobbled on crutches. I then knew that I had to do something because there was no way that I could have survived that wave. This thought pushed me to get serious and find the perfect solution to my gout AND my weight. It was time to change my life.

Tsunami Xmas 2004

I could so easily have been in one of these body bags and a statistic in the list of the 246,000 people who died that day.

The Challenge

I really wanted to understand how it was that traditional Indigenous Australians did not suffer from the diseases of nutrition which included obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, gout, poor eyesight and hearing and so many more. I knew that I couldn't live my life on pharmaceuticals with all their undesirable side effects.

My Desires and Struggles

I wanted to be able to get healthy naturally through a better diet and avoid Big Pharma's drugs. I wanted to undo the damage from my genetics, my past diet and lifestyle and retune the way my body responded to foods and to reset my rate of ageing.

The thing is, like all of us, I only had modern foods to eat and these kept me tired, hungry and unhealthy from what is called Hidden Hunger. We all live in the shadow of Big Ag for whom profits are everything and quality produce is not even a consideration. It meant that because of modern produce, I wasn’t able to avoid prescription drugs, let alone lose weight and get healthy.

To make things worse, my desperate desire for a sleep when 3 o’clock came around every weekday afternoon and sleeping in till midday on weekends, really stressed my relationship with my girlfriend at the time. She often said that I was boring even though she was all too happy to try to catch up on her sleep deprivation too. I must admit, we had a very limited life together and we also both gained weight as we still ate 3 meals a day in spite of the reduced time from sleeping so much.

I felt even worse about the situation because I was working in nutrition and slowly discovering how wild foods supported the World's longest living culture in ideal health. Perhaps the answer was right in front of me and I had the means to find a solution. I needed to know more.

The Wall We Had to Climb

We both tried narrowing our diet to only healthy foods and avoiding take away, fast foods as well as processed, packaged ingredients. We cooked lots of vegetables and only ate a few fruits following the 5 and 2 recommendations of dieticians. We joined a gym and ‘warmed up’ on a treadmill, cycled for 40 minutes then worked the weight machines for an hour and a half along with all the other fat, unfit, sweating, towel-carrying gym members.

We tried weight loss programs from swallowing a bucketful of tablets daily; to using free weights to muscle exhaustion; to long distance cycling, swimming and bush walking.

The main things we lost were time and money along with the hope that getting healthy was even possible. Oh and my gout attacks kept coming every few months from the time I turned 50, just like my father and his too.

Then, as if by chance, something amazing happened...

Inflamed knee

The Epiphany

I had been analysing the nutritional values of Australian wild foods since 1983 and after a few years I was able to commercialize about 3 dozen of them for chefs, manufacturers and home cooks. I have won awards for functional foods and worked on many major food and beverage brands, cosmetic products and more recently, cycled back to focus more on my nutritional roots.

For the last 15 years I have been working on wild food, super-nutritionals and I discovered that adding a wide range of selected foraged foods to my daily diet and exercising like an Aboriginal hunter (for about 3 to 10 minutes at a time) were the keys to better health!

It became crystal clear to me how eating wild foods every day gave me energy. The physical boost helped me do more and the mental energy stopped overwhelm and helped me focus, concentrate and think more clearly. I could better control my weight without fanatically struggling to eat less and for some reason I no longer got gout attacks.

I realized that I could get healthy without drugs, without starving myself and without a gym membership.

3 Faces of Hidden Hunger

I also learned that there is a reason that obesity and all its complications is on the rise in Australia and we are amongst the most overweight nation in the developed world. Modern foods are falling in food quality and eating more fruits and vegetables and cooking at home will not get us healthy even if we listen to government dietary guidelines, exercise like demons and try using willpower and counting calories to lose weight.
My discovery was to use wild foods as a daily top up to what you eat and then pay attention to what your body 'tells you' to eat. Doing this reduces the amount we eat and stops the undernutrition that occurs in Hidden Hunger.

With my new approach I found that I was satisfied by 2 meals a day so I saved money by dropping my midday meals (which were usually takeaway food). I lost 35kg in excess weight, got tons of energy and so many aspects to my health and wellbeing improved. I have not been sick for over 10 years and many others told me the same things once they got started on the blend I had made. Incidentally, I even married my girlfriend who was equally eager to enjoy our extra hours awake now.

Suddenly, I had a plan to help others, I felt super-charged and with a renewed passion for wild foods as the antidote to modern foods.

That’s when I realized that Big Ag (or Big Farma) develop modern foods for distribution and in-store appearance and not for our ideal nutrition. The other party to our collective ill-health is Big Pharma and their drug dealing doctors are also complicit in keeping us just well enough to work but susceptible to illness because we just can’t get totally healthy. They embrace the concept that a patient cured is a customer lost. The same belief goes for all those disease associations and foundations that never seem to cure anything they represent. Why would they if it means they would lose their jobs? Let's launch another War on .............. (insert your favourite disease). We could wear a purple hat to go with our pink ribbons, red noses or whatever. Has anyone ever won one of those wars? Or even a battle?

Incidentally, there is a way to exterminate a wide range of conditions. The proof is in the evidence that paleoethnopathologists who studied pre-agricultural communities on 3 continents found extremely rare incidences of any cancers, ischemic heart disease, diabetes or obesity. The answer lies with wild foods, wild ways of exercising and the power of communities.

My Plan

My plan was to start to refine the formula for my product and to find the way to reach a particular group of people who I could help to change their lives.

So I started asking some of my Indigenous friends if they would try my product and to let me know what it did for them and I had an aged care facility in the Kimberley give their Indigenous residents my product (and the results were amazing). But I didn’t stop there.

I approached naturopaths and associations of people with undiagnosed health problems including chronic fatigue, Lymes disease, intestinal parasites etc) and asked for their help to see if my product helped them in any way. It was challenging in that I could not make direct claims of the successes since my products were foods and not the synthetic, highly profitable, patented chemicals of Big Pharma.

Still, I began compiling the various effects people got when they started taking my product. I tabulated whatever biochemistry profiles I could get and even spoke with some of the health care professionals who were more into complementary or alternative medicine than in just pushing the drugs that Big Pharma had for sale.

But there was still a problem...

I was actually making and testing different formulations of a liquid blend that was easy to take but it meant that it was expensive to make and we had to pasteurize the product. This heating deactivated the live enzymes that are so good for us and which are also rare in modern foods.

The processing also reduced the antioxidant capacity of the mix and so many important phytonutrients were compromised. Phytonutrients are like tiny superheroes from plants that we eat or which are formed as we digest the plant parts. Phytonutrients get into our blood and go all through our body fixing, protecting and supporting our biochemistry, joints, cells, tissues, organs, the bugs in our gut and so on. There are hundreds of thousands of phytonutrients and they include natural vitamins, bioavailable minerals and lots of simple to very complex compounds.

I realized that I had to get away from cooking the product if it was going to be the best of the best and not manufactured to be the same as modern foods or what I call rubbish foods that are making us all so ill, tired, fat, fast ageing and dependent on medicines and health care.

The Achievement

I ended up getting so frustrated that I decided to go back to the drawing-board and look at how they make dry live yeasts and other micro-organisms, vaccines, whole blood for transfusions in war zones and even how they make food for astronauts. These all used the process of lyophilization or freeze-drying to preserve the overall nutritional quality, flavours, phytonutrients and shelf life of whole foods.
I thought if I could create something that would make it possible to just add a heaped teaspoonful to a little water or juice and this would be enough to top up our nutrition, I’d be really happy. The powder could even be taken as it comes from the packet and followed with a long drink of water. This is so easy I can take it on the move.

After 3 years of more research and after buying a freeze drier costing tens of thousands of dollars and then running test after test in a raft of areas I finally settled on a formulation that is totally unique as a functional food.

I created LIFE which stands for “Lyophilized Indigenous Food Essentials”.

From then on, I was not only able to build my business helping others to have better health and use the mental and physical energy from LIFE but I’ve also been able to stop making liquid products with a tiny amount of wild food phytochemicals and lots of water. I can deliver the amazing protective, restorative, concentrated properties of the phytonutrients in lyophilized wild foods to get and stay healthy.

As a result of all this I was able to achieve the following:

I have helped thousands of people address their health concerns with some even surviving their doctors' terrifying prognoses. In fact, I know that I have saved lives and changed many more with a simple process of adding LIFE to your existing diet and paying attention to your body's signals as to what to eat or what to avoid.

A bonus for me was that I discovered, tested and proved a way to exercise because once you get more energy and regain some mobility in your joints and limbs, then exercise is so much easier. There are many ways to exercise including how to waste hours of every day for the rest of your life. By researching the physical abilities of a group of traditional hunters and preserved footprints they left in the mud of an ancient lake, I learned the shortcut to losing weight easily and permanently.

Healthy, happy and loving LIFE

The Transformation

  • I can now eat the foods I all like - seafood, red meat, beer, bread, mushrooms, peas and so much more that the doctors said I must never eat again.
  • I have energy, my weight is more easily managed and I only exercise in 3 to 15 minutes every other day.
  • I don’t get ill now so I know my immunity is high.
  • My gut health has never been better.
  • Joint niggles have disappeared.
  • I have the same blood pressure and biochemistry profile that I did 45 years ago.
  • Even my eyesight improved.

I can legitimately say that I am getting healthy and ageing more slowly and I have begun to help others do the same using LIFE as the antidote to modern foods – a work-around Hidden Hunger and eating too much for little nutritional return.

I now confidently offer my globally-unique, science-based, super-nutritional to anyone wanting to share in its health-giving, life-supporting, anti-ageing, almost miraculous qualities. Well they would be miraculous if they were not just from natural, whole, plant-based foods – wild foods – the kind on which modern humans survived for the last 200,000 years. For most of humanity around the planet, this healthy food was available up to the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago when farmed produce became nothing more than a commodity for business.

However, for the hundreds of clans of Indigenous Australians who managed their Country for maximum biodiversity and learned to live within the carrying capacity of the Land and its tough seasonal variations over millennia, the reliance on wild foods and limiting their numbers gave them the means to become the World's longest living culture.

This is the legacy of our First Nation peoples and once you enjoy the benefits from LIFE, may I ask that you also share your story with your friends and family. This way we can start a movement and build demand; provide increasing opportunities for remote region Indigenous communities; preserve what remains of Australian wild foods; as we manage our unique food (and medicinal) resources in partnership with traditional owners. We can all continue to learn from the traditions and knowledge of a People who go back more than 65,000 years and are still willing to share their familiarity with Country in lessons on ecological sustainability that we must grasp if we wish to survive the Age of fossil fuels and overpopulation.

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Vic Cherikoff