Lying in bed aged 19 Jessica Michael knew that to combat her ME she was the one who had to make a difference.
Jessica said: “I couldn’t believe it they basically told me that I would just be in bed all the time, but also that I may have points where I would feel fine but it wouldn’t last.”
Known on social media as Miss Superfood she assessed her lifestyle choices, having been vegetarian since the age of eight she admits that she lapsed at various points in her life by eating animal products.
“I found that once I cut out all the animal products from my diet I started to have more energy and feel better.
“I didn’t know at the time it was vegan I just saw how it made a difference to me and I found I slowly was able to do more things.”
ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome is described by the NHS website as ‘is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.’
It adds that it is more common in women and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.
“I had a bout of glandular fever which I think was the start of it,” explained Jessica, “but I’ll never know for sure.
“After my diagnosis I ate a lot of raw food, made juices, smoothies and ate a lot of fruit, veg, nuts and seeds.”
Jessica has been symptom free for 17 years, and now is a mum and runs two businesses.
“The specialist did tell me that having children may cause a relapse so I was prepared for that but it never happened.
“There was no way that I would be doing what I am now if I hadn’t made that change in my lifestyle there is no way I would have met anyone let alone had children.”
In 2004 Jessica took on the challenge of the London marathon another feat she felt was out of her reach when she was debilitated with the condition in her late teens.
“I ran it in just over four hours,” she added.
“I used to not be able to get out of bed much when I was really unwell, and now I run the full time vegan superfood skincare brand; Rawgaia, I’m a single mum to two energetic children, and I advocate on the benefits of going vegan through my Youtube Channel, social media, website and events.”
Alongside her diet Jessica also looked at what she put on her skin.
She said: “Our skin is the largest organ you have so I felt I couldn’t change what I eat and then not look at what I was using on my skin.
“I started Rawgaia a pure, organic, plant derived skincare by blending the highest quality raw botanical ingredients gently together under low (cold processed) temperatures to formulate exquisite, nourishing skin food.”
Jessica started Miss Superfood to run alongside her skincare website.
“It was quite niche and I felt I couldn’t share recipes or what I was up to so I started Miss Superfood.
“It is more personal and open and I talk about my vegan journey.”
For those that have ME Jessica has this advice:
“I just think if people have ME and want to help themselves they need to want to change.
“They need to look at their diet and lifestyle and see what they can do to make any changes that may help with the condition.”