There is no shortage of advice to consider when it comes to your health. Everyone has an opinion, whether it is valid or not, on how you can get better and be stronger with just a few changes and some will power. Although in some rare cases this advice may actually benefit you, in most cases it will not, and in many cases it will actually harm you. This is primarily because the advice you are considering is from someone who has not extensively studied the fundamental principles to true health and/or has not even achieved a significant level of health themselves. I promise you that I have done exhaustive research and have went from rock bottom to the mountain top, and this is advice from a survivor on how to live a healthy life.
How it all started
I was a “healthy” guy in my late 20’s who failed to recognize the “subtle” signals that I had a ticking time bomb in my body that was one pin pull away from going boom.
That day came December 27th, 2004. I was 30 years old.
In a short period of time, my health went unceremoniously down the tubes. I had a fraction of the proper functioning that was needed in order to be healthy. I reluctantly went to a conventional doctor and ended up with an arthritis diagnosis and some pain medication. Fortunately, I rejected both of those ideas quickly, even though I knew I had no other answers currently available to me.
As a result of being caught flat footed with this diagnosis (which is where many people find themselves), my health deteriorated as I searched for answers. In 2005, I suffered from a number of problems, all a result of every system in my body being severely compromised. These symptoms included:
- Extreme neck, shoulder, back, elbow, joint, and wrist pain
- Severe knee problems
- Excruciating shin splints
- Debilitating plantar fasciitis
- All kinds of skin conditions (eczema, rashes)
- Extreme sensitivity to chemical smells (liver problems)
- The need to urinate frequently (especially at night)
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Pancreas “attacks”
- Lumps in lymph nodes
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Allergies and sinusitis
- Blood that felt very acidic
- Extremely sore tailbone (not injury related)
- Traces of blood in stools
Simply put, I was on a VERY cancerous and deadly path that was not going to end well.
I didn’t find any answers to my problems until early 2006 when I managed to hook up with a very talented massage therapist. She was able to alleviate my pain and educate me in the process, which included understanding the intimate connection between muscles and joints and a proper functioning lymph system. Since I didn’t understand nutrition yet, body work was my primary way to reduce pain and get things working, with massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic being the primary methods (with naturopaths, biofeedback, and reflexology also factoring into the equation).
I ended up focusing on this for 21 months until I found an exceptional source of online information on natural nutrition. The views expressed on this website were “opinion” and NOT from a conventional medical professional, which likely ended up saving me from a life of physical and mental ruin. I read everything I could, bought every supplement I thought would help, and started making immediate changes to my diet.
In about 3 months time, I felt a lot different. My inflammation was curbed and I was feeling better overall. I was on the path.
For the next 2 years I followed this path and was slowly getting better as the weeks passed. Then I discovered, through a biofeedback session, that I may indeed have a systemic Candida overgrowth. At the time I had no idea what it was or what it could do, but as I read up on it, I knew exactly what my problem was and how to overcome it. The final stage had begun.
(By the way, the proliferation of Candida also created many other disease labels for me, including leaky gut, hypothyroidism, and extreme adrenal fatigue. Not to mention an impaired liver, damaged kidneys, and impaired cardiovascular function).
Over the next year, I would knock down this terrible disease and slowly regain my health. Stage after stage, I felt different, newer, and lighter. After 5 years, I felt nearly completely normal, even though I also had to battle extreme stress related to a unhealthy working relationship I had during 3 years in that period. This significantly slowed down the process, and when removed, facilitated another layer of healing.
The end result
By the time it was all said and done (10 years), my “routine” had left me in a much different place. I NO LONGER had:
- Neck, shoulder, back, elbow, or wrist pain
- Knee problems
- Shin splints
- Signs of plantar fasciitis
- Skin conditions
- High sensitivity to chemical smells
- Frequent urination
- Digestion problems (even with foods I had to monitor previously, like nuts)
- Lymph issues
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Acidic-feeling blood
- Allergies or sinusitis
I was also off the prescription pain killers I was very reluctantly taking at the time!
On the flip side, I was now enjoying:
- Refreshing and well balanced energy
- Completely resolved digestive problems
- Glowing skin
- Loose muscles and joints
- Deeper sleeps
- Alkaline blood
In other words, all remnants of my previously painful disease were eradicated FULLY. This was not a partial removal with some symptoms remaining (allergies for example), as is typically the case with many “transformations”. All issues were completely gone. I had completely healed my body.
To put this in perspective, not 1 in a million people have accomplished this type of feat on their own. If I went the conventional medical route, I could easily be the walking dead, and if I went the naturopath route, I would likely be only managing my symptoms, albeit naturally.
No one completely knew the foundation to TRUE health, and to me, that was incredibly disappointing. That set me out on a path to bring it all together one day, and 7 years later, my expertise and dream was born through the THRIVE online holistic health program.
The thinking patterns that helped save me
As soon as I heard the word “arthritis”, my mind instantly refused the diagnosis. There was no way that I was going to live with that label and pain for the rest of my life. My mind was made up that no matter what the cost, I would fix it, and damn conventional medicine for thinking otherwise.
This mindset, along with a very open mind on alternative remedies and solutions, led the way to my recovery. I had complete faith, the mindset of a champion, and the persistence of a 5-year-old, all of which were paramount in my transformation.
I also realized later on that my thoughts were actually what caused this physical burn out, and just like they got me into this mess, they could also get me out. I was right.
It’s wasn’t as simple as eating clean, whole foods
There were numerous foods that were instrumental in my healing process. I’ve written about some of them in the natural remedies section of my blog. There were also many that I avoided, that fed the disease process, even when they were whole and natural.
In the end, it took me over 5 years to refine my diet to a point that resulted in real healing. The deal breakers were obvious, but other foods were not since I did not have a direct allergic reaction to them. This is when I truly learned that just because a food is clean and nutrient dense, doesn’t mean it’s good for me, right now. This is when I also realized that you are not necessarily what you eat, but more importantly, what you DIGEST.
In a nutshell, I ate only real, whole, foods that would establish a healthy ecosystem, and avoided any that would harm it in any way.
I used supplementation appropriately
There are many debates over supplementation. Some believe its absolutely necessary, and others think it is not. I agree with both, depending on the situation.
Supplementation should be considered therapeutic nutrition and be used wisely when the situation demands it. In my case, it was a vital requirement in order to stay off drugs and maintain my sanity. I also had some severe deficiencies that could be remedied by food alone IF I had a full time job of just taking care of myself and preparing meals on the hour. However, I didn’t so this was the best way at the time to help fully heal my body.
In my case, the right supplementation was critical to my recovery. However, it was only as good as my nutrition, mindset, and other lifestyle factors. Supplements tend not to “work” as well when you are engaging in other unhealthy practices and if they are of poor quality (hint: big name brands often deliver the poorest quality, due to obligations to external parties only interested in increasing profits).
I primarily used 3 different types of supplement brands to help with a full recovery. Without them, I wouldn’t have the happy ending to this story.
I learned how to interpret bodily signals
We have become grossly inefficient at interpreting signals, and as such, we have little idea when our body is trying to help us by sending warning signals of impending danger. It’s as dangerous as not being able to read a traffic light properly, and with as dire a consequence.
Unfortunately, when people choose to get healthy, they equate any symptom as destructive. This is simply not the case. If you are choosing the purest and most nourishing foods and you are a toxic mess, you will likely experience detoxification symptoms which many people immediately interpret as something destructive. In most cases (when done effectively) it is actually constructive as it is removing toxins from your body that often make you feel temporarily uncomfortable (and how long you will feel this way depends on your toxicity and how effectively you are detoxifying), but in the end, it is allowing your body to work more optimally. This is how healing the body often happens.
Knowing a destructive reaction from a constructive one is crucial, but not something you pick up right away. It takes years of feeling different kinds of symptoms and analyzing them along the way, which is exactly what I did and why I understand not only my own symptoms if they temporarily arise, but others as well.
I stayed out of hospitals
I always had a healthy dislike for hospitals. The sights, smells, and instruments were all indicative to me of a place where sick people lived, not someone who was looking to become truly health.
Anytime I’ve ever seen someone go into the hospital, when they came out (if they even do), they were worse. Sometimes subtly, but often progressively worse to a point that the road back was extremely difficult or near impossible. They never got more healthy, and any fixes were short term answers with longer term damage.
I knew that if I was to go to the hospital in my situation that I would inevitably get worse. Since I didn’t have an immediate emergency situation where modern medicine excels at treatment, using them as a resource was flawed at best. Any answers that they would provide would have only made my condition progressively worse (and that was proven by the vicious effects of the drugs I used very short term).
Hospitals have their place in emergency situations, but they are not a place where you go to become HEALTHY (when you understand the true sense of the word), in my opinion. Most situations (not all) that people go to the hospital for can be solved at home through completely natural and health promoting methods, once they understand how to incorporate a natural pharmacy into their home and learn how to use it.
You don’t need a degree or certificate to understand the body and its functions. You just need personal experience and some research, or a mentor who can teach you who has taken themselves from rock bottom to the mountain top.
That’s where my one-in-a-million story shines. I not only FULLY recovered and enjoy the best health of my life, but now I also TEACH people how to put the odds in their favour to do the same.
I listened to those who went before me
The only reason I am still standing and not horizontal is because I heeded the advice of someone who went before me. Someone who had been there and done that, and was generous enough to offer information that could help me recover. The fact that he had no medical degree was of little importance to me, as I could see clearly that it had to work (and shortly discovered that it was working) based on the fundamentally sound principles and his own success.
If you want to avoid the land mines and get results, look to those who have done it and will offer to help you, to make the path much more economical and rewarding.