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.
Advice from a survivor – a synopsis of my story
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 (primarily on one side)
- 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
- Lumps in lymph nodes
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Allergies and sinusitis
- Blood that felt very acidic
- Traces of blood in stools
Simply put, I was on a VERY cancerous path.
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.
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, especially in the night
- 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 “make-overs”. All issues were completely gone. I had completely healed my body.
To put this in perspective, not 1 in a million people could accomplish this 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 saved 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.
The foods I ate and avoided
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.
The foods and beverages I primarily consumed on my road to recovery included:
- Organic vegetables and low sugar fruits
- High quality anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herbs
- Herbal teas
- Fermented foods
- Healthy fats
- High quality spices
The foods and beverages I really limited or avoided altogether included:
- Non-organic fruits and vegetables, and conventional animal products
- Processed foods
- Hydrogenated fats
- Wheat and many other grains (all gluten)
- Dairy products
- Soy and corn based products
- Vinegars (except apple cider vinegar)
- All these deal breakers
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 also ate foods that were very easy on digestion, to save energy for repair. This is important to remember when healing the body.
The personal care and household products I used and avoided
One of the first things I did in my journey was clean up my personal care and household products, because it was really easy and they can be very toxic. This meant deodorant, cologne, hair products, lotions, detergents, cleaners, and more.
The personal care products I primarily used contained no aluminum, parabens, or other toxic agents. My household products for cleaning and laundry were primarily essential oil and water based in order to clean up bad bacteria, but not destroy everything living in sight.
This took the toxic load of these products down to negligible, and I was really enjoying the natural scents.
I chose a healthier environment
A healthier environment was very important for my recovery, in every sense of the word.
I started with my air quality, and did this primarily through essential oils and cold air diffusers in my home. I also spent less time in toxic air and more time in nature where the air quality was clean and oxygen was abundant.
I also began searching for a more purposeful way to earn income, as my jobs were only adding to my stress. This meant actually getting out of a desk job altogether and becoming an entrepreneur where I could establish my own path doing what I really loved to do, which was getting the results people wanted for their health and empowering them to continue on the path.
To stick to this often long and winding road, you are also going to need some intestinal fortitude, and some external support. Your journey will often not be understood by others, but their support is often critical in order to facilitate a proper healing process.
The most important thing you can do is to find strength within, so that if external support does not come to to the plate, you will have a back up in your own faith, will, and determination. For those who do support you, stick as close to them as you can for uplifting messages and motivation, so you can more easily stick to your journey.
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 learned to listen 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.
I used the earth, water, and sun wisely
We have become removed from the earth, pure water, and sun in a way that has resulted in serious health problems. Since many of these elements are free, we should use them fully to our advantage.
Proper use of the sun
To maximize the absorption and storage of vitamin D, (it can be stored for up to three months) I would get in the sun and allow it to penetrate the skin for 15 to 30 minutes in peak hours of the day (the further north, and the darker the skin, the longer the exposure required), of at least my arms and legs. This meant NO sunscreen before going out as it would block vitamin D uptake altogether. I took the time to soak up the suns rays, then get out of it or put on a non-toxic skin block or botanical formula.
Proper use of the earth
Earthing is the simple act of reconnecting with the negatively charged Earth. Although it is not always easy to connect bare skin to the soil, grass, sand, or even concrete, it is an action worth figuring it out due to its incredible benefits. Grounding has been linked to many incredible benefits, including:
• Decreased pain and inflammation
• Improved immune system
• Better sleep
• Reduced anxiety and stress
• Improved cardiovascular function
• Improved energy
• Improved hormonal cycles
• Reduced jet lag
For those that are not willing or able to ground themselves consistently throughout the year, there are indoor grounding products that can deliver the same effects, with the same benefits.
Proper use of water
The type of water that is given to the body is of primary importance. Most water solutions are derived from the tap, which is full of toxic byproducts such as fluoride, chlorine, and VOCs. This is NOT the type of water that the body is going to use effectively in order to keep itself healthy.
The purest, most beneficial water for true health is spring water. An approved source free of bacteria and other contaminants delivers unprecedented oxygen and minerals in a highly bioavailable format.
If that is not an option, then filtered water that can be re-mineralized in the same type of fashion (a pinch of sea salt in filtered water may be the easiest solution) which will also provide the body with some benefits.
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.
Keep in mind this advice comes with the disclaimer that this was my journey and what worked for me may not work exactly the same way for you. We are all different, even though we are also very much the same. I do believe, however, I can fast track people’s journey to optimal health much more effectively than they can do it on their own.