Matthew’s Story – Ulcerative Colitis (age 12)

My experience with Russell has been nothing but great pleasure. When I was first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, I was scared. At the age of 12, I had no idea what an ulcer was, let alone what this disease would do to me. I complained a lot, feeling that my life had started on a turn for the worse.

One day, my mother came back from Whole Foods with a mission. She went to the computer immediately, and went to Russell’s website. From that point on, the healing had begun. The weekly phone calls from Russell started coming in, the enzymes (and other supplements) came to our door at the speed of sound, and my mood became much improved.

The healing had some nice and very unexpected side effects. When my program began, I was 130 pounds and about 5’4”. About 6 months later, I started to lose weight and get tall very quickly. From age13 to 14, I was around 110 pounds and grew roughly 2 inches. From age 14 to the time of writing this (July 2010), I am now at a steady 135 pounds and now am 5’10.”

As a teenager, I go out and constantly stay out for long periods of time. When I do this, it usually means that I will not be home for lunch and sometimes dinner. If this is the case, I will bring a plastic bag of my Essentials, knowing if I don’t take them, the ramifications might be severe. My friends understand why I carry pills in my pocket, can’t eat pizza and ice cream with them, and if anyone asks at school for instance, I just say that I have an intestinal disease. Sometimes it is hard to live an active life with IBD, but I can prove that anyone can do it.

Russell takes a hands-on approach with each person. He has no pre-set plan for each person, but instead creates a plan for you, based on the severity of your issues and what your lifestyle is. For me, he helped me to find foods that would be in a 14-year-old’s palette. I eat what normal teenagers eat, for the most part. After a year working with Russell, I am healed and I know in the future should there be a need, he’ll be there for me again. Thanks Russell!

Matthew Felsenthal
Diagnosed with IBD-Ulcerative Colitis in October of 2008
Currently asymptomatic in March 2011 and now I weigh 150 lbs and my height is: 5’11”.

Alison’s Story: Matthew Felsenthal’s Mother

Our journey with Russell began at Whole Foods. I was looking for something in the vitamin isle when a very helpful man asked me what I was looking for. We had a short dialogue about a certain supplement, DHL and then he asked me “what I was taking it for?” I replied that it wasn’t for me, but for my 12 yr. old son, who was recently diagnosed with UC (ulcerative colitis) and that I was told by a friend who is a naturopath, that it was very helpful in aiding digestion.

He then proceeded to ask me if I’d heard of his friend, Russell Mariani. I replied that I had not, and he pulled out his book for me to take a look at. (Russell’s book, Healing Digestive Illness is on the shelves of Whole Foods Market.) I looked through quickly and as a mother was hesitant to jump into anything new and different regarding my son’s treatment without carefully examining it; so I asked him to jot down his name and website for me to further investigate.

I knew that there were healing methods for UC besides being on drugs for years and that what you eat can heal, so I had been on my own path, researching and trying out supplements and foods that wouldn’t aggravate Matthew’s illness more. There was website after website preaching that their methods would heal, looking at them though I was very skeptical and didn’t want to “test” anything that could be harmful to him.

While he had a mild case of UC and mostly asymptomatic, he wasn’t healing completely with the medicines. As I went from page to page on Russell’s website, I read every testimonial and was intrigued and hopeful as I read each story. Unbelievably, one of the last stories I read was of someone who I knew and lived close by (Mark from Massachusetts, also who had UC) I instantly called him and asked to chat about Russell and his journey of healing. We spoke about the “porridge” and miso soup, supplements and the elimination of processed foods and that what you put into your body can heal you. I called Russell after my chat with Mark and so began our journey. I say “ours” as it really was my son Matthew’s but I was in charge of preparing meals and what he ate and all the supplements he took. I also needed to cook for the rest of my family so that the meals we ate were all the same.

First, I needed to know that Matthew was committed to the changes he was about to embark on, which he was, as he knew even at an early age that what goes into your body effects your overall health. We were introduced to many different supplements and learned about the benefits of the IF#2’s and Blue Green Algae. Changed diets to no red meat, no milk/dairy, no processed foods and began eating millet, quinoa, brown rice and sea veggies and more veggies and cut out refined and processed sugars.

We were very fortunate to have met Russell on his visits to our local Whole Foods store. Having the connection over the phone and meeting in person was fantastic for both Matthew and me. During our weekly phone conversations, Russell really got to know my son.

For a 12-year-old boy, this was a very difficult transition, taking his lunch to school wasn’t new but what was in the lunchbox was. His friends tried his lunches daily and were amazed at the great taste. He also was consuming many supplements a day, which was a huge undertaking in itself. After many months and changes weekly, we began to notice a difference, healing was in process and in evidence. Eating slowly was a constant struggle as Matthew’s a “hoover” with food, eating very quickly at meals. But after many reminders, he slowed down to chew slower and take smaller bites for better digestion.

Emailing Russell daily and writing about Matthew’s “output” (in the toilet bowl) was very supportive. Matthew and I had a language that we shared with Russell, we had TB’s (tiny blood) TTB’s (teeny tiny blood), and NB’s (no blood). This was our lingo. After months of the program and several “cheats” along the way for Matthew, he was so much better. We were reducing his medicine but he still wasn’t completely healed. We had done food allergy and microbiology
testing with no specific problems but it wasn’t till we did a food sensitivity test IgG & IgE that we discovered the underlying problem. Matthew had sensitivity, not allergy to Gluten and Eggs. So I put him on a gluten-free diet and limited the eggs and within a week after about 7 months, no
more blood. We have been following Russell’s program and have introduced more foods into his diet and now Matthew can enjoy more foods and have treats now and then. We are nearly off all medication and in the next month will eliminate medicines completely.

I have recommended Russell to many people, and all who have chosen to work with him have seen improved health quickly. I am so fortunate to have been told of him by the Whole Foods employee, and am fortunate to have my son’s health back. Thank you Russell, for all you have done for us, given us hope and health.