My Personal Story
The meat and potatoes kid
I had the typical Midwest childhood. I lived on meat and potatoes with very few vegetables, if any. I ate tons and tons of sugar, candy, hot dogs, and pizza.
I was the kid who could never eat just one of anything, but rather ate as much as I could stuff in my mouth. I would easily down several pounds of Halloween candy in a few days, and I was continually slurping down orange and grape soda. I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house, where I gorged on her incredible cooking and amazing cakes.
At age 11, I remember starting to become aware of feeling odd and lightheaded after I ate, something that would go away if I ate something sweet. I now recognize that these symptoms were the start of my blood sugar issues. But for the most part, I could ignore it and pretty much get away with eating anything I wanted.
High school and college: pushing my body too far
Through high school I played football, track, and wrestling.
And I pushed myself hard, not having a clue about rest or recovery. I experienced lots of injuries from motorcycle accidents and even experienced bone fractures in both high school and college wrestling.
Looking back now, I think it was a combination of a terrible diet and cutting weight. Before wrestling matches, I would literally starve myself to make weight, becoming drained and stressed. I remember not eating and barely drinking water for three days before a match. And after weighing in, I would stuff myself with a jumbo submarine sandwich. This continued all through high school, until I ended up exhausted and depleted.
After high school I joined the army reserves. I barely passed the physical fitness training test and was confused at the time as to why not. But reflecting back, I see that with the combination of very little sleep, eating more refined carbohydrates, and a whole lot of stress, I just never recovered.
During my college years, I lived on very cheap refined carbs (noodles, pasta, bread, etc.), lots of coffee (Cuban), and absolutely no vegetables whatsoever. I craved and consumed huge bags of Doritos. The closest I came to improving my health was eating skinless chicken, low-fat pizza, and a lot of so called “healthy” whole-grains. I kept justifying it by telling myself, “I’ll eat better after I graduate.” I remember one time shopping at one of those discount grocery stores and loading up on canned Hormel Chili…ouch!
The combination of bad foods, no sleep, and stress put my health into a quick downward spiral.
Around this time, I started to experience a weird right shoulder pain that radiated to my right upper trapezius muscle, which I thought was from a previous injury. Little did I know that was my lovely gallbladder. On top of that I had heartburn and was carrying around mega-packs of antacid tablets that I chewed like candy.
Things were not looking good. One day, my grandmother sent me a recipe for meatloaf. I decided to quickly scan it and not fully read the directions. I omitted the step of draining out the one pound of hamburger grease and just baked it into the white bread. Well…. At about 2 am the next morning my gallbladder reminded me there was a big problem. I was doubled over in a ball in pain for hours.
Starting my practice and my first attempts towards health
After graduation I started my practice, which was in part fueled by my desire to connect to my own personal health struggles. I decided it was finally time to get healthy and thought the natural thing to do was become a vegetarian. But I ended up more of a “grainatarian.” I was a vegetarian without eating any actual vegetables and only cheap soy products, refined breads, pasta, and lots of prunes (which I relied on for my never-ending digestive problems).
I was always tired but couldn’t sleep and developed restless legs at night. I would literally have to go for a run in the middle of some nights to get the energy out of my legs. Looking back at that, it was a condition called lactic acidosis, which is a build up lactic acid from all those carbs and low vitamin B1. It also felt like I had sand in my eyes because they were so dry. Again, looking back, I can see this was insulin resistance because blood sugars can affect the eyes.
My intestines were like cement. I walked around with these darkened bags under my eyes and always felt half asleep. I remember going to the park with my kids and feeling like I was still 90% in bed. I even left a restaurant once in the middle of dinner with my wife to take a nap in the car (which did not go over too well). I was fricken tired!
Needless to say, I was in trouble. And I started to search for solutions.
I searched every health food and vitamin store I could find, creating a warehouse of remedies. By age 28, I had arthritis inflammation in my spine and hands, severe right shoulder pain, unending fatigue, and insomnia. Other than that I was doing great
The turning point: getting my body back
But through my continued research, I stumbled upon an interesting book. It was called Mastering the Zone, and it shared information about insulin and protein requirements. After reading the first chapter, I decided to try eating a buffalo burger for breakfast instead of my regular low-fat muffin. And believe it or not, I actually felt like someone took a helmet off my head and my head was finally clear.
This was the turning point. It was fascinating to realize how little I knew about nutrition and health – zero. But you know what? Knowing nothing at all was actually a good place to start, because I was open to learning anything I could.
Slowly, I shifted my diet from grains and sugars to a lot more vegetables and protein. I included huge salads with kale and greens. Finally, my body started to turn around.
AND I GOT MY ENERGY BACK.
It was exciting and hopeful. I was finally able to keep up with my kids and feel good. I was 32 years old at that time.
Sharing my success with others
This dramatic transformation with my own health fueled me to start studying nutrition with a passion. I quit my full-time chiropractic work and was driven to study everything I could get my hands on in the fields of food therapy, endocrinology, autonomic nervous system physiology, Chinese medicine, nutrition, alternative techniques, acupressure, and exercise physiology.
I was either constantly watching nutritional videos on VHS at night or studying in the early morning.
I had a large group of patients who I could test things on, and I started to learn what worked and what didn’t. The results got better and better. Eventually, I started teaching my methods to other medical professionals and even taught at Howard University as an associate professor.
This went on for about 29 years.
Over time, my passion grew and I became a guru in the field of healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss. I wrote a book on my findings and published The 7 Principles of Fat Burning. But the journey didn’t end there, and I kept learning new things with the help of my large group of clients. Around 2012, I realized that there were a few key things I had wrong. In my original book, I recommended fruit (especially apples) to snack on throughout the day.
Ultimately, the principles of intermittent fasting and Healthy Keto turned things completely around for me. I updated my book to The Healthy Keto Plan and started my YouTube channel, where I currently share my knowledge on these healthy ways of eating.
Ever since, my mission has been to extract from the sea of confusing and complex information the simple, powerful truths about health. My purpose is to be The Knowledge Doc, helping people understand health in a simple way.
I am happy to say that I was my very first success story.
I got my health back, and you can, too!