Healing Heroes – How Eating Real To Heal Healed Ayla From A Dangerous Brain Condition & Prevented A Risky Surgery

June 17, 2019

November 7, 2018

Edited by Stephie Hennekam


… who from being 220 pounds at age 16, being diagnosed with a brain condition requiring a risky surgery, and watching her dad go through a stage-3 cancer diagnosis, knows the feeling of hitting rock bottom. She also knows the feeling, however, of coming out the other side and creating the life she had always dreamed of living. Finding Nicolette Richer was really the beginning of that for her. But let us back up and start at the beginning.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Photo Credit: Unsplash


One day, 8 years ago, my parents sat my younger brother and I down and told us our dad had been diagnosed with stage-3 Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. I’ll never forget the calmness in his eyes as he told us not to be scared or worried because he had a plan. Having been a Holistic Practitioner for over 15 years, he decided to see what diet and lifestyle changes would do in the healing of his body before going the “traditional” route of chemo and radiation. Overnight, he switched to a complete plant-based diet, making his own fresh juices and trying to eliminate as much stress from his life as possible. Fast forward only 9 months, he was cancer free and has been now for over 8 years and is the healthiest he has been since he was in his 20s as a die-hard rock and ice climber.

This was the moment in time I knew what I wanted to dedicate my life to.


I switched from studying environmental studies to holistic health in my second year of college, with a mission to help as many people as possible to heal. I never imagined however, I would be using what I was learning on myself so soon after. About a year later, I was diagnosed with an incredibly scary brain condition called a Cavernous Angioma in my left temporal lobe. This was causing petite seizures and such foggy headedness I could barely drive a car and went from an A to a C student in just one semester because I couldn’t concentrate or retain information like I used to. I was told I needed a risky surgery to remove the cluster of abnormally growing blood vessels because the area had hemorrhaged; a surgery that could potentially leave me cognitively impaired, permanently.

Over the next several days after my diagnosis, I found myself at the same crossroad my dad had faced: “mainstream” or “holistic.” I began to ask myself given my background, “why was I the exception?” Why was I the exception given the thousands of miraculous recovery case studies and real people I had been reading and studying about? Why would I not give my body a chance to heal on its own without surgery first? That week, I decided to set out on a quest to heal my mind, body, and spirit, to try and avoid brain surgery at all costs and that is when I met Nicolette.

Photo Credit: The Green Moustache Organic Café

Photo Credit: The Green Moustache Organic Café


Somehow, I found myself in the right place at the right time in Whistler, BC right before the very first Green Moustache was about to open, met Nicolette and became one of her first employees. It was honestly such divine timing. Working at The Green Moustache and having Nicolette as such an incredible mentor, I switched to a 100% plant-based diet, learned all about the Gerson® Therapy which I did for several months and felt amazing on, I literally felt like I hit the jackpot.


Photo Credit: Ayla Yandow

Photo Credit: Ayla Yandow

Over the next several months while working at the Green Moustache and working with Nicolette, I began to make changes in my diet and started detoxifying my body, my symptoms began to get better and slowly reverse. My seizures subsided from every few days to about once per month, my foggy headedness began to subside and I started to feel better than I ever had in my life!

The day before my college graduation, I got the call from my Neurosurgeon in Boston, that I no longer needed surgery because of the fact my symptoms had almost completely reversed and my latest scans showed a shrinkage in the area, something he, a world-class surgeon, had never witnessed in his professional career!

Fast forward to the present day, I am now a Certified Health Coach helping others discover the power of nutrition and simple lifestyle changes and honestly, I don’t know if that would have happened without the support and inspiration I got from Nicolette. She is truly a rare gem that the world needs to remind us that we all have the tools to take our own health into our own hands and let our bodies do what it does best when it’s supplied the right nutrition: to heal.

If you enjoyed this blog, sign-up for the Richer Health newsletter to receive future updates. Do you feel inspired by Ayla’s healing story? Do you feel in line with our work and want to make a difference in the world? Read more about how you can help us by investing in The Green Moustache Holding.


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