The purpose of the article is to share my health journey. Throughout my adult life, I have struggled with constant allergy-like symptoms and chronic strep throat. Most days it was hard to get out of bed and I would pound stimulants (coffee, energy drinks, etc.) to stay awake and productive.
Over a 10 year period (20-30) I gradually went from an active physically fit young man to an obese desk jockey. Now at 34, I am in the best condition of my life. I no longer feel terrible when I wake up and I can't remember the last time I got strep throat or sick in any way.
I will start by showing photos of myself at various stages of life (please don't judge my cringy photos >_<) and then I will talk about the lifestyle, nutritional, and dietary changes I have made to facilitate my recovery.
Age 20: I was deployed in Iraq and worked out 2-3 hours per day. I would eat 6 times a day to try and gain weight/mass.
Fast Forward 10 years
Age 30: Working as a Software engineer, restrict calories, chose nutrition-dense foods, ate and snaked throughout the day, but did not work out regularly. My BMI was 32.6. anything over 30 is considered Obesity, which has a long list of negative health consequences. Here is a CDC.gov BMI Calculator for those interested.
Fast Forward 4 Years
Keys to my Health Transformation:
I achieved results in 4 main ways:
Removing Accumulated Toxins
If you are not familiar with the BENEFITS of FASTING check out this article Dr. Mari wrote about Nutritional Ketosis. For now, here is a summarized list of fasting related benefits:
Rapid Fat loss
Reverse and cure metabolic disorders
Decrease hunger and remove food cravings
Increase Mental clarity and remove brain fog
Increased energy and physical endurance
For me the main benefits where Rapid Fat loss & Decrease inflammation.
Burn Fat for Daily Energy Needs
Through consistent fasting, my body has learned to be very good at converting fat into energy. For instance, after 7 days of green juice fasting, which is the first phase in Dr. Mari's Green Reboot, I took a blood test for Ketones and registered at 1.4mmol/L, which falls between 1.0mmol/L to 1.5mmol/L, which is considered to be the optimal fat-burning zone.
2) Reduce inflammation
I have been able to reduce the majority of my inflammation by fasting and eliminating certain foods from my diet. Fasting helps give my digestive tract some much-needed rest and relaxation. Digestion takes a lot of energy. Furthermore, in my case, certain food sensitivities and high histamine foods cause additional inflammation in my GI tract.
a) Food Sensitivities
Dr. Mari ran a food sensitivity blood test to identify foods that were causing inflammation and damaging my gut. Surprisingly to me, at the time, some of my favorite foods were ones I was most sensitive to (eggs, grains, & almonds).
b) Histamine intolerance
Another big issue Dr. Mari identified was that I suffered from histamine intolerance because my body was so Overloaded with Toxins. Although our long term goal is to DETOX my body and restore its natural ability to process histamines, the temporary solution Dr. Mari gave me was 2 types of supplements:
Diamine oxidase (DAO), which is a digestive enzyme produced in your kidneys, thymus, and the intestinal lining of your digestive tract primarily functions to break down excess histamines in your body
Anti-inflammatory: After some biofeedback testing Dr. Mari found that Tumeric is a very effective supplement for me. In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, Tumeric is also an anti-oxidant, immune system stimulant, and liver function supporter.
3) Removing Accumulated Toxins
It is normal for people to be exposed to toxins on a daily bases. A healthy person's body is able to detoxify efficiently enough so that toxins do not build up. However, for an increasing majority of people, like myself, certain life conditions lead to diminished detoxification capability and a gradual accumulation of toxins in their bodies.
Toxic Overload Symptoms:
Toxic overload can cause a number of changes in your body. In the early stages, your body tries to expel those toxins by any means necessary. You may experience diarrhea, sneezing or coughing fits, excessive urination, sore throat, heartburn, nasal congestion or runny nose (from mucus overproduction), or vomiting. Many people notice changes to their body odor or excessively oily skin, as well, since their bodies are acting to purge those toxins through their pores. As the toxins gradually accumulate in your system, you may also find impairment to some of your faculties. Most people experience fatigue, memory difficulties, sleep impairment, eczema (and other inflammatory conditions like gout), depression, or “brain fog”.
I developed toxic overload while in the Army where I was bombarded with toxins from:
Vaccines: Before and during deployments I got an uncountable number of vaccines, which led to me having a lot of heavy metal exposure.
Environmental Toxins: breathing in literal burning military waste. Below is the guard tower I would sit in for hours each day breathing in toxic fumes. Furthermore, I lived in the Deplorable Moldy Barracks covered in this video. Upon returning home from Hurricane Katrina relief efforts my roommate and I found our entire room (close, bedding, & furniture) covered in mold.
4) Gut Healing
The reason Gut Healing is so important is that a leaky gut is what leads to food sensitivities, frequent allergy-like symptoms, inflammation, and a bevy of other health issues.
The 3-step process for Gut Healing
Heal Gut Lining
Replace Healthy Gut Flora
Consists of 3 things:
Increase Digestive Power, so that all food is fully broken down by the time it reaches your intestines. Digestive Enzymes are the main driver of healthy digestive power. In my case, we found that Diamine oxidase (DAO) worked best. However, Keep in mind there are multiple types of digestive enzymes and this decision should be made on a case by case basis.
Avoid Food Triggers (sensitivities), which cause inflammation. (outlined above)
Use Anti-Inflammatories, to reduce/eliminate existing inflammation. (outlined above)
Heal Gut Lining:
With my inflammation under control, Dr. Mari gave me a supplement called RepairVite-SE to heal my gut lining. A healthy gut lining matters because if there are gaps in your gut lining then food particles make their way into parts of your body they don't belong, which is often the root cause of food sensitivities.
Replace Healthy Gut Flora:
The final step is to replace your gut flora or gut microbiome, which refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your digestive tract. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
Pre & Probiotics Supplements
Prebiotic: help induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.
Probiotics: help maintain healthy gut barrier function