Why it all made sense*… getting educated
When I am asked “when did you turn the corner?” “What made you change your ways?” I look back and think that it must have been a break through moment—perhaps :
- when my eye-sight went down to one line on a computer screen;
- when the steroids had bloated me beyond recognition;
- or even when I got punched out in a club and ended up in hospital with a broken jaw?
But none of the above applies. Simple truth is that I didn’t get moving on my recovery from an auto-immune disease that was making me go blind until I put my hands on the right information. Even though I had access to that information (or most of it) for a very long time. It wasn’t until the information was almost spoon fed to me that I sat up and took notice. And who spoon fed it to me… none other than my Mum! How and when this happened, I will come back to later but first
My Great Start in Life
I couldn’t have had a better start in life as far as health and nutrition is concerned. All the information was in front of me. Easily accessible at home with a mother who was a biology teacher and botanist (studied plants!). She had for many years been drinking loads of coffee and eating like the rest of us but it suddenly dawned on her that our bodies were not designed to take on board lots of meat. Our digestive system… our gut… was far too long for this. She cited lions and tigers having short guts to push rotting through flesh quickly so it didn’t damage their guts or upset the gut equilibrium. Humans on the other hand had long guts more akin to herbivores (plant eaters) and all the problems of gut disease was caused by eating meat and digesting it in a long digestive system. And so she became a vegetarian pretty much on the spot. That was a bit embarrassing. Eating out became a bit of a problem. Not many places catered for it back then. Bigger family occasions, ditto. We didn’t do lots of eating out but it definitely caused a problem being a vegetarian.
However, it didn’t just stop there. My Mum was into health food and supplements in the 70s when it really wasn’t that trendy. I remember being dragged on shopping excursions to health food shops that were generally in warehouse type premises, off the beaten track and staffed by hippies. I wasn’t sure but was Mum secretly a hippy?☺
However, what she said made sense and so I took notice, well I thought I did. Certainly she gave me a good grounding in how to look after myself food wise. Even when I went away to Uni, I followed the basic rules and had the right breakfast most days, wholemeal bread and no sugary drinks. But there was another side to the story…
Enter my Dad…
Dads always get bad press… but it’s not always deserved! My Dad was massively into rugby and he passed that down to me and my two brothers. So we were massive sports fans and players too. We played sport every night at school, rugby, football, cricket, swimming, basketball, athletics…you name it, we did it! So on the one hand, I had a Mum who was a health food nut and on the other a Dad who was a sports nut. We were all going to be super healthy as a result, all our lives. Absolutely guaranteed…WRONG!
So I thought I was eating healthily, I did a good deal of exercise. In fact, I did a lot of exercise at the time I got ill the second time but none of this mattered. Why? Because you can be the fittest person in the World and think you are eating all the right stuff – But it’s not about all the good stuff you are doing or THINK that you are doing…
IT’S ALL THE BAD STUFF THAT YOU DO
All of this included drinking quite a lot think rugby… and drinking and heaped on top of this was a stressful job that also encouraged drinking quite a lot!
Then there was smoking! A sportsman smoking? Best cigarette of the week was always after the game on a Saturday afternoon. Think Ed Moses!
Heaped on top of this, I decided to go into endurance sports so triathlon and channel swimming, stressing the body further. This included….wait for it….a blubber diet that required I put on 2 stone in a month, just so I could cope with the temperature of the English channel (10 degrees C in April and 16 degrees C in September).
Blubber diet?….McDonalds milkshakes, cakes, biscuits, pasta, beer, chocolate, you name it, I ate it ignoring everything I had been brought up with. Why?
Because I was training hard, I could eat for England. As long as I was eating good stuff at the same time :
Wholemeal bread, brown rice, muesli, no coffee, brown pasta, plenty of fish and vegetables
I could do the one thing that all of us do… FOOL MYSELF
I ended up with an auto-immune disease that made me nearly go blind. My immune system was eating my retinas in both eyes (the part that projects the image that your brain sees at the back of your eye). Small holes caused scarring on the back of my eye that resulted in me having reduced sight down to one line on a computer screen.
I was at Moorfields A&E regularly (what a great place) and at Prof Lightman’s clinic every week and was put on heavy drugs by the medics. Steroids and transplant drugs to suppress the immune system. But every time it stopped and I started to get weaned off them, the holes kept coming back…every time for better part of 3 years. The drugs were also doing me no good. Destroying my stomach and gut lining at the same time. To say that I was having a bad day at the office was an understatement.
I was also seeing my GP about my guts and stomach that were badly misbehaving. Basically IBS for weeks on end. Until someone pointed me in the direction of functional medicine in the US. She got me reading about leaky gut syndrome and suddenly it all made sense…to coin a word! Guess who…my Mum, of course!
Immediately I worked out a new diet with my Mum, came off the booze and began putting green vegetables into my body en masse and avoided gluten and dairy. The results were immediate. The next time Moorfields started weaning me off the drugs, they just kept reducing the dosage. No holes in the retina, no rush back to A&E for urgent prescriptions, it never came back and that was 4 years ago.
What were the 5 things I learnt from my research and experiences:
- Processed food…pretty much everything big food companies produce and sell in supermarkets is bad for you…and your digestive system
- Alcohol has a tendency to destroy gut and stomach linings
- Over time the gut starts to leak microscopic particles of undigested material and waste……literally CRAP…into your bloodstream. It’s called “leaky gut syndrome”.
- 70% of your immune system is around your gut. So “flashing lights” go off in your immune system when foreign particles come through your gut wall. Until your immune system becomes over active, called “auto-immune disease”.
- If you stop eating rubbish, drinking alcohol and focus on unprocessed food, you will slow down and eventually prevent particles getting through your gut wall.
And what has this got to do with supplements?
Part of my recovery has involved getting my insides right. Killing bad bacteria that had taken hold. Repairing the damage caused. It occurred to me that supplementing your diet was no different than supplementing your life, your real life, the one that you live because you want to live it. If I had done this earlier and looked after myself better, using supplements to detoxify those toxins I introduced voluntarily, and those that got in because of the world we live in. To enhance diet and well being too, then perhaps
Your lifestyle + Expert Supplementation = a happy healthy medium
So it was no surprise that one of the projects I was working on suddenly expanded. At the same time all of my health issues were going on, going back until 2010, my old self had been developing a hangover cure as a result of the old lifestyle I had enjoyed. Imagine, being able to drink with impunity, why hadn’t anyone come up with this before. I had researched the subject thoroughly and corresponded with a scientist in the US. He had sent me is own personal hangover preventative, based on scientific papers that I had found in my research. I was amazed. I took a mortar and pestle and literally ground down the different ingredients he suggested and tested it on myself and friends and family. It worked brilliantly even if it took a few bad Sunday mornings to get the mix just right!
However, my new self didn’t want to go out drinking all the time or to simply benefit from other people’s vices. I now wanted to help people through the ups and downs of life and to share the knowledge I had obtained. I had thought being fit, eating the right bread and cereals, keeping off sugar and detoxing every once in a while would be enough. But I was fooling myself. I over loaded on so much bad stuff on the premise that nothing bad would happen to me….I was invincible. I wonder how many doctors have heard this?
But I have found out:
- It is about the BAD STUFF you eat, not about the good stuff
- Alcohol is really to be respected not abused
- Add large amounts of stress and it is a disaster waiting to happen.
AND BAD STUFF = NORMAL FOOD (SO CALLED) = PROCESSED STUFF FROM SUPERMARKETS
So I decided to make a lifestyle range of food supplements that could benefit everyone. Everyone who has lived a normal life and had issues. No matter what your vice is…drink, nicotine, food or just a hectic lifestyle, everyone needs help from time to time. Always in the back of my mind, I knew this needed to be done.
Against big food / drink companies… solidly
Big food companies are producing rubbish and governments were not, until recently, doing anything whatsoever to protect us. They still let food/drink companies get away with…slowly killing us…literally.
I had obtained a secret, that so-called normal food, processed foods, meats, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, soft drinks etc can over time actually kill us or make us really ill. A very good friend of mine died from MS, an auto-immune condition, and I couldn’t convince him to follow my lead because we are brainwashed from an early age to believe that “normal” foods are not going to harm you, but guess what, to some degree or other, they are harming you every day.
What else did I learn?
I also learned that you need to try and be as good as you can be health wise or fitness wise or how you eat or live your life. We cannot always be brilliant or the best but to be as good as it gets, in your lifestyle, in your body, with your resources.
Give yourself the chance to be healthy…it’s good for you! You don’t put rubbish on your face that will give you pimples and make you look like a pizza. So why put rubbish inside yourself and make your insides suffer! Respect your insides, respect yourself not just your skin!
Because it is worth feeling great, it is worth loving life and loving yourself enough to do these things. It is worth being a little bit different if it means being yourself.
It makes me really quite angry, big food/drink companies, have the money to brainwash us through large advertising budgets. It is amazing how effective this advertising can be, let’s face it they wouldn’t do it otherwise. You know about Coca Cola:
- What do truckers use coke for…to clean engines
- What do the police use coke for…to clean the roads at a scene of an accident
- What does coke do to teeth left overnight…dissolve it
- What does coke do to dirty coins overnight…turn them into new coins
- Why? Because it’s so good for you of course… NOT!
How much profit does the Coca Cola company make selling really nice drinks…to kids…too much, is the answer! And they are allowed to do it with impunity! Couple this with the fact that nearly every food on supermarket shelves contain sugar and that governments are considering taxing it. Why? Because we have greater levels of obesity than ever before. Why? Because processed food and soft drinks are really good for us….
So what to do….
- Develop a new mindset…look on supermarket shelves differently
- Don’t buy processed food/drinks…fresh food and drink is best
- Be the best that you can be, with your lifestyle, with your body, with your resources
Because loving yourself more, loving your insides as well as your outsides means looking in the mirror is a different experience. Looking yourself directly in the eyes (or in my case one eye!) knowing you are being as good to your body as you can be, is a great feeling.